Roy’s death and having 6 additional temporary residents in my home is taking me back in my mind to when I first began to let go of clutter and to develop systems to deal with different areas in my life–home and family, finances, paperwork, and even faith.

One of the things I have remembered is that when I first began to get my home in order the basics were totally out of control—piles and piles of laundry and mending; sink and every flat surface covered in dirty dishes, pots and pans; every room out of order. Everything seemed so hopeless that I put it off and – surprise!!!- it did not get any better.

So I:

·         Gathered all the laundry from all the  rooms in the house

·         I sorted the laundry and started a load. And kept the laundry moving

·         I checked all the rooms for dirty dishes and sorted the dishes by type–first, glasses, then, flatware, then plates, bowls, and mugs, and finally pots and pans. With the laundry running, I loaded the dishwasher. There were more dirty dishes than space in the dishwasher so I washed what would not fit in the dishwasher and allowed those dishes and pots and pans to dry on the counters.

·         I got a trash bag and gathered as much trash as I could from each room

·         Then I put each room in as much order as I could.

It is harder to clean a cluttered and disorganized house. I began to read all I could about organizing. I still read but I soon realized that the best solution was action. So I started next to my front door and began to work my way through my home—a little at a time—room by room.

This is simplistic: I had small children and a husband so there were meals to prepare, and children to love and keep occupied. I had to work before they got up in the morning and after they went to bed at night. I also found that if I would first spend some time reading or playing with my children they were usually happy to play for a while, while I worked.  As with me recently, I had to give up other activities for me today I have to spend less time on the computer both posting and playing games. In those days, I got a really long phone cord so when I talked with my friends I would be able to work, and I turned off the television. I quit watching the soaps and game shows and gave my time to my home and family.

As you work you will find that as your home becomes cleaner, less cluttered, and more orderly you will be able to see dirt and disorder you couldn’t see before. Don’t be discouraged. You will get there, when you get there. Don’t get bogged down with what you have to do. Appreciate what is improving.

Caring for your home is a way of loving yourself and your family. You are providing a pleasant and nurturing place for the people God has given you to love. In the process don’t become such a shrew that you are continually upset with the people in your home for living there and making messes.

When you have awakened to the situation in your home and begun to make changes, don’t expect your family to catch on by osmosis. You need to first live those changes in front of them—make your bed, hang up your clothes, and pick up after yourself. When I first started to wipe out my bathroom sink after I used it I was shocked when I realized that Roy had begun to do the same. Some mature people may actually learn from your example but if they don’t, remain loving and begin gently and with wisdom to teach and tell them how things work:

·         Dishes go into the empty dishwasher

·         Dirty clothes go into the laundry

·         Trash goes into the waste baskets

·         We put away what we take out

·         And we do all things with love

Do I fall short, even now after almost 40 years of trying to learn? YES! I mess up but I don’t give up. Each day I get up and try to do my best and if I fail, I don’t beat myself up. I just try to work a little smarter and to be faithful.

If you cannot be loving and have a clean house—have a less clean house. Your family is more important than your stuff. I just know that if you do work smart, you can have both.

Have a sweet day,

Much love,

Mary

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