“This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Titus 3:8 (NIV)
God has been inviting me to organize and minimize our home for quite some time now. Two summers ago, I decided to approach His invitation by pawning it off on our daughter – offering to pay her for organizing our mess. She did an excellent job and earned every single dollar – but when a person isn’t invested in the project because it’s not their clutter, soon the clutter become unmanageable again.
This past summer I decided to take a different approach – this time I enlisted the help of all three kids and I joined in too. We tackled various rooms each week and while we made progress, it still wasn’t the change I wanted. While some areas stayed fairly neat, most of the clutter returned.
God, however, wasn’t finished with me. He knew there was more He wanted to teach me and more He wanted me to learn so that real change could occur. (I love how our Father doesn’t leave us in our messes but continues to work on our hearts until true change takes place.) He used three different friends’ examples to give me the push I needed to make real progress. He also used a book I have the opportunity to read and review to give additional encouragement and tips on how to declutter and keep it that way. He knows my heart is ready at this point (not last year or two years ago) to learn from others and put into practice the wisdom I’m learning.
None of these friends judged me. None of these friends told me I had to join them in their pursuit of minimizing, organizing, or cleaning. Two of the friends encouraged, invited, and shared how their lives were calmer as a result of their organization projects, and while they encouraged me to jump in as well, there was no condemnation if I didn’t.
So I started with my clothes closet. This was an area I had decided I was going to wait on, but actually, according to one of my friends, the closet is one of the easiest places to start. So I jumped in one Saturday afternoon and tackled only my clothes. Not my husband’s. Not the clutter under the bed or on the shelves, just my clothes. Three garbage bags later, I felt lighter. It really was freeing. I found clothes I forgot I had. The clothes that remained were organized and all had a spot in a drawer or the closet. Then life happened and we got busy and it was three weeks before I returned to our bedroom to continue the project. This time I tackled the other half of the closet floor and under the bed. Three more garbage bags later, our room feels even better. I have probably one or two more projects left in our bedroom to take care of, and then it will be finished.
The work that was accomplished almost a month ago is still neat and tidy. By keeping only what fits in the space, everything has a place and it’s easy to put it away. All of this sounds like simple wisdom, but it was a heart change that made the difference. Creating a home that creates an environment of peace for my loved ones became more important to me than trying to find room for stuff. I also put off beginning this project because of the amount of work it would take, but now that I’ve started, I’m loving the results and that motivates me to create that safe haven, the place of rest in the remaining rooms in our house.