Today is Wednesday the Twenty First Day of January 2015—Desk Day—the day to bring your paperwork up to date.

Today is Wednesday the Twenty First Day of January 2015—Desk Day—the day to bring your paperwork up to date.

My Desk
My Desk

Each Wednesday bring your desk into order. Check those little areas where you stow papers you do not want to not forget to take care and then never check.

  • Action File
  • Folders
  • Wall Pockets
  • Any Other Places You Stow Items
My File Box for My ACTION FILES
My File Box for My ACTION FILES

Each Wednesday

  • Are there any bills to pay?
  • Are there any issues you need to make a phone call, send a letter or email about?
  • Is your filing up to date? Filing is simply putting papers that you will need again in order so you can retrieve them when they are needed. If you will never need a piece of paper again, throw it out, don’t file it.

Today is the last day with your bedroom, bathroom, and closet as your Area of Focus BUT the One Small Area challenges continue to be in your bedroom.

When you begin to become tired and less focused and decisions become difficult, finish only what needs to be done and come back to it tomorrow. If you go on organizing when you are not focused and you are tired, you will make poor decisions and you will need to do the work of decluttering and organizing again.

Tomorrow the Area of Focus moves to the Front Porch, Entry, and Dining Room.

Here are the Cleaning Checklists for those areas:

D= Daily, W=Weekly, M=Monthly, S=Seasonally, EOM=Every Other Month

Front Porch Cleaning Checklist

  • Remove clutter. Put away unneeded items (M)01d95270dcb6b1bea78df6088b7c8b22ff4bcd393b
  • Clean light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs. (M)
  • Remove spider webs. (M)
  • Wipe down bannisters and light fixtures. (M)
  • Sweep walkway and porch.  (As Needed)
  • Get rid of dead plants. (ASAP) Deadhead live plants (D)
  • Do any shrubs need to be pruned back? (S)
  • Do any plants need repotting? (S)
  • Does your doorbell work? Does it need to be replaced or a new battery? (M)
  • What do you do to keep your front porch fresh and inviting?
Keys and OutGoing Mail Live Here
Keys and OutGoing Mail Live Here

Foyer Cleaning Checklist

  • Clean cobwebs. (M)
  • Clean light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs. (M)
  • Wipe down window sills and front door. (M)
  • Remove fingerprints and marks from door, door frames, switch plates, and walls. (M)
  • Clean window treatments and windows. (M)
  • Polish furniture. (M) Dust. (W)
  • Dust baseboards. (M)
  • Declutter, organize, or straighten coat closet. (M)
  • Sweep, vacuum, or mop the floor. (W)
  • What can you do to personalize your entry and make it more functional and welcoming? (M)

Dining Room Cleaning Checklist

  • Clean cobwebs. (M)DSCN0038
  • Clean light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs. (M)
  • Wipe down window sills and front door. (M)
  • Remove fingerprints and marks from doors, door frames, switch plates, and walls. (M)
  • Clean window treatments and windows. (M)
  • Declutter, organize or straighten china cabinet and buffet. (M)
  • Clear top of dining table. (as needed)
  • Dust chair including bottom and legs. (M)
  • Polish furniture. (M) Dust. (W)
  • Dust baseboards. (M)
  • Declutter, organize, or straighten coat closet. (M)
  • Sweep, vacuum, or mop the floor. (W)
  • What can you do to personalize your dining room? (Centerpiece, table cloth, decorative touches).

Tomorrow is Thursday Floor Day. While you give a little more attention to the flooring in your Area of Focus, the other areas are not given slipshod attention but don’t make cleaning the floors a career. Sweep or vacuum and then mop. Just get it done.  Like on Duster Dance Day, some  happy music makes it a little more fun.

Love and Hugs,



Tuesday, February 11, 2014: Routines, Sharing with MOPS, Starting Our Walk Through Colossians

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bible Reading: Exodus 23-24; Psalm 35

Area of Focus, February 8-14: The KitchenIMG_0403

Tuesday is Duster Dance Day

Dusting is a dreaded task for many people, so make it fun. Put on music. Grab a duster that you can have fun with. Chicken feather dusters are NO fun! They only move the dust around. Ostrich feather dusters are incredible. They capture dust so you can go outside and release it to the world. Lambswool and Swiffer dusters work, too.

Declutter for 15 to 30 Minutes

Walk in God’s Love

Today I am Talking with the MOPS Group

This morning it is my turn to talk with the MOPS group. I know it will be good because the enemy has been attacking—my voice. I know this is no surprise to God and He will provide all I need to share with this beautiful group of young women. I only have 20-30 minutes so I need to be focused.

  • As usual, my husband and because of him, our home, come first. Our home is in order as I write this. I will not, will not, will not go out the door to tell other people about organization and leave a major mess at home. The laundry is running, the dishes are in the dishwasher, our home is in good general order.
  • I have reserved time for my Quiet Time. I found Kay Arthur’s Precept broadcasts on GEB TV. I set my DVR to record the broadcast. I can now take quiet moments to study the Bible with a woman I respect and admire. So I enjoyed a cup of tea and time in Philippians with Kay, this morning. I pray immediately whenever I hear of a need but I take time to pray each morning.
  • I gathered a few things from my home to help me in sharing some methods I  have used oruse for getting and keeping my home in order.

This morning I am going to share on how to do a quick whole house declutter using banker’s boxes.

Banker’s boxes are  white cardboard boxes available in office supply stores. A 10 pack is $19.99 at Staples; a pack of 6 is $14.79 at Office Max. I found some at Walmart, too.

Bankers Box Basic Strength, 10pk


  • 10-pack of basic strength boxes
  • Lift-off lid
  • Dimensions: 10″ x 12″ x 15″



Was $16.88

Free shipping available on orders over $50

Free store pickup

as soon as today


  • Assemble a box.
  • Before you begin to go through your home, make the first box and ACTION box. Go through your box and gather the items you know you need to take action on. Make an appointment with yourself for that evening to go through that first box and deal with what needs to be taken care of. Label this box ACTION and put it in your chair.
  • Begin near your front door. Gather all clutter. (Not things that are regularly in use.)
  • Put all the clutter in the box and label the box with the place that the clutter is from. (Front entry; Dining Room table; Corner near chair in bedroom)
  • Have a place for the boxes. And gather the boxes in one place.
  • Make a point of going through the boxes until you have dealt with all the stuff in each box.
  • The categories are
    • To keep (put away where it belongs or will belong—make a decision)
    • To donate or give away (give it to someone who needs and WANTS it)
    • Throw away
    • Return to owner
    • Put away the keep items
    • Put the donate items in your car for a trip to your favorite charity that accepts consignements.
    • Take the trash to the trash can
    • Put the return items in a basket for delivery to friends and family—put a time to do this on your calendar in the next few days.

For Paper Clutter

  • Helen Buttigieg—a professional organizer uses the RAFT method for papers.
    • R Is read
    • A is act—bills and other items that need to be acted on
    • F is file
    • T is Toss
    • That RAFT can keep your paperwork afloat. (Grin)

Purging your family’s clothes

The sweater organizer holds my purses.
The sweater organizer holds my purses.

The closet: I bought a package of brightly colored stickers at Target for less than $2. I am putting a sticker on each of my husband’s hangers. When he wears something it will go back on a hanger that I have removed the sticker from. I am putting a note on my calendar for the end of March. At that time I will go through his seasonal clothes (winter) and remove any clothes he has not worn. I will repeat the process in July for summer clothing. Our closet has enough space to store all our clothing. If I was changing clothes around seasonally, I would put stickers on his summer clothes as I put them in the closet.

Keep a box in your child’s closet and when you notice something no longer fits it can go in the box to be sent on to someone who needs it or passed down to the next child in line.

The drawers: You can share with your husband what you are doing and put stickers on the tags of each item in the drawer. Tell your husband to remove the sticker as he wears his clothes.  Clothes that still have stickers after about 4 to 6 weeks should be set free.

These are the two strategies I will share today with the MOPS group. I will share bits of other strategies I use but many of them are taking Apples of Gold this winter. I do the mentor’s segment on hospitality and share then on how I keep my home in order so I am free to offer hospitality.

Walking Through Colossians: Colossians 1:114—Paul and Timothy to the Colossians—Greeting and Prayer

IMG_0194Who is this letter from?

  • 1This letter is from Paul,
    • chosen by the will of God
    •  to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and
    • from our brother Timothy.

Who is this letter to?

  • 2We are writing to God’s holy people
    • in the city of Colosse,
    •  who are faithful brothers and sistersa in Christ.

How does Paul greet the Colossians?

  • May God our Father give you grace and peace.

How do Paul and Timothy begin the letter?

  • 3We always pray for you,
  • and we give thanks to God,
    •  the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Why do Paul and Timothy pray and give thanks for the Colossians?

  • 4For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
  • and your love for all of God’s people, 
    • 5which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven.
    • You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.
      • 6This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives,
      •  just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

Where did the Colossians first hear the Good News (the Gospel)?

  • 7You learned about the Good News from Epaphras,
    •  our beloved co-worker.
    • He is Christ’s faithful servant, and
    • he is helping us on your behalf.b 
    • 8He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.

How long have Paul and Timothy  been praying for the Colossians?

  • 9So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you.

How have Paul and Timothy been praying for the Colossians?

  • We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and
  • to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 


  • 10Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and
  • your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.
  • All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

How also have Paul and Timothy  been praying for the Colossians?

  • 11We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power
    • so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.
    • May you be filled with joy, 
      • 12always thanking the Father.


  • He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 
  • 13For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and
  • transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 

What has the Son done?

  • 14who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Tomorrow—Christ is Supreme



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bible Reading: Exodus 25-26; Psalm 36

Area of Focus, February 8-14: The Kitchen

Each Wednesday is Desk DayMy Desk

  • Pay Bills
  • Bring Personal and Family Business Up to Date
  • File


Declutter for 15 to 30 Minutes

Walk in God’s Love

Monday, February 3, 2014: Routines, Keep Decluttering and Forget the Excuses; Walking Through Ephesians: Ephesians 6:1-3– Instructions to Children (Don’t Get Too Excited, Parents, Tomorrow –Instructions for Parents

Monday, February 3, 2014

Bible Reading: Exodus 9-10; Psalm 28

Area of Focus, February 1-7: The Living Room/Family RoomIMG_0001

Monday is Launch Your Week Day

  • Pick up your home after the weekend
  • Clean Your Toilets
  • Check Your Bathrooms for any needed items and add to your shopping list before you run out.

Declutter from 15 to 30 minutes each day


My Whole House Declutter

My File Box for My Simple Filing System
My File Box for My Simple Filing System

I am now in the inch by inch declutter—paperwork.  Not fun but not too bad because I keep up with it and I actually file papers. Store papers in a way that you can locate them.

The main question is will I ever need this piece of paper again? If not, toss it or shred and toss it.

I am remembering as I work to not  try to be prepared for every possible scenario in life—that  can result in keeping waaaay too much stuff. Be prepared but use your common sense.

Reminder: shop your home. Ask yourself, would I buy this piece of furniture, décor, clothing, whatever, today for the purpose it needs to fulfill? If there is no specific purpose, you don’t need it..

One of my old favorite television programs on Organization was neat with Helen Buttigieg. She counseled one man who had difficulty letting go of most anything (comments are mine):

Excuses that Don’t Cut It

1.       I’m going to fix it some day. (Today is someday. Fix it or get rid of it)
2.       I need it just in case. (Are you living in a home or a storage closet?)
3.       I’ll sell it in a garage sale or online. (Either schedule a garage sale with a friend within the next few weeks or donate it and take the tax deduction.)
4.       This may be worth something some day. (Space has value, too, if it doesn’t have value now and you don’t need it, let it go)
5.       Someone else may be able to use it. (Call them and ask them if they really could use it, without pressure, and if they actually want it make arrangements to get it to them this week.)


Walking Through Ephesians: Ephesians 6:1-3 Instructions to Children


  • 1Children, obey your parents


  •  in the Lord,


  •  for this is right.

What command from the Law God gave Moses does this echo?

  •  2“Honor your father and mother”

What comment does Paul make about that command?

  • —which is the first commandment with a promise—

What is the promise?

  •  3“so that it may go well with you and
  • that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Be Prepared: Tomorrow –Instructions to the Father (Parents)



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bible Reading: Exodus 11-12; Psalm 29

Area of Focus: February 1-7—The Living Room/Family Room 

Each Tuesday is Duster Dance Day—Grab your duster, put on some music, set a timer for 10 minutes and see if you can beat the timer.

Declutter Each Day for 15 to 20 minutes.

Monday, October 7, 2013–Area of Focus for the Week, Clear the Decks, Titus 2–Review of the Basis for Submission

Area of Focus and Daily Tasks October 7-13








Living Room







Clean Toilets

Duster Dance Day

Desk Day

Floor Day

Wrap Up Your Week

Family Fun Day

Worship The Lord/Plan Your Week

imageEach Monday I am sharing the Areas of Focus and Tasks for Each Day for the week.

Each Monday

  • Pull your home back together after the weekend
  • Clean all your toilets
  • Check your bathrooms for any needed supplies—personal, paper, and cleaning and add them to your shopping list

Each Tuesday—Duster Dance Day—Draft any little helpers in your home to help you. Grab some fun dusters, and put on some happy music and dance that dust right out of your home.

My File Box for My Simple Filing System
My File Box for My Simple Filing System

Each Wednesday

  • Pay your bills
  • Take care of any personal and family business—Cards to send? Phone calls to make? Emails or letters to send?
  • File any papers you need in a way that you will be able to locate them, if needed. Don’t clutter your life with papers you will never look at again. Toss them!

Each Thursday—Clean hard floors—wood, laminate, tile, or linoleum

Each Friday—Wrap up your week—

  • Clean out your car
  • Clean out your purse, backpack, diaper bag, tote, or computer case.
  • Vacuum the traffic areas in your home.

Saturday is Family Fun Day –whether you work or play together, make it fun. Create memories.

Sunday is the ring on your week that signifies your love relationship with the Lord—take time to worship. Then plan your week with your husband and children. Anticipate the needs of each day ahead of time—for activities, games, concerts. Will food be needed? Special clothes or uniforms? Write it down now and work out the details calmly instead in a last minute panic.

 Clear the Decks

imageKeep the surfaces in your home clear of clutter. I am as good as the next person at creating a mess. My nest on the love seat in the Living Room regularly gets cluttered with papers and electronics. I simply make sure that I put things away daily. I keep baskets for the papers I use routinely. As I  have worked through my home I have placde some lovely things on the surface to discourage myself and my family from leaving papers and other stuff on those surfaces. When anyone leaves anything on the Dining Room table I put it away right away. I know if I leave papers on the table, someone will add to it.  So clear your decks. Put away papers and other stuff that seems to multiply on flat surfaces, as quickly as you can. If you are facing this dilemma for the first time:

  • Get a box or boxes—I like white banker’s boxes.
  • Collect the papers and other clutter that are on the flat surfaces, room by room.
  • Label the box with the name of the room where you have collected the papers/clutter. Otherwise you will have a stack of white mystery boxes.
  • Stack the boxes in an unused corner
  • Make an appointment each day to deal with a box at a time until you have gone through all the boxes.
  • Don’t get comfortable with the boxes. Make a point of dealing with clutter as it comes into your home.
  • When a surface is clear and clean, put something lovely on the table to discourage junk buildup.

Dealing with the boxes

Sort the contents of the boxes by type.  Bills to pay, coupons, materials you want to read, school papers.

As soon as the contents are sorted.

  • Toss the trash
  • Deal with anything that is due or overdue
  • Put items you want to read into a reading file.

These are some earlier posts on dealing with papers:

April 24, 2013—Papers and Files

July 10, 2013 –Setting up a Simple Filing System

July 26, 2013—Do You Know How to Declutter

August 28, 2013—What Papers to Keep—For How Long?

imageTitus 2—Submission—A concept the enemy has marred.

3Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers.aInstead, they should teach others what is good. 4These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, 5to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes,b to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

I am going to repeat a series I had written a few months back because understanding the basis for submission becomes easy when we realize that Jesus—God with skin on—modeled it for us long before Ephesians, where the principle teaching on submission is taught, was written.

One of the most misunderstood concepts I have encountered is submission. The idea of submission as presented by the Lord is one of mutual support, service, and protection. The world has changed it into lording it over other people, and demanding compliance.

If we look at our example—God with skin on—Jesus the Messiah—we see a totally different picture.

One portion of Scripture that speaks clearly of Jesus’ attitude is Philippians 2:5-8(NLT).

5You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.6Though he was God,He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.7Instead, He gave up His divine privileges;He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, 8He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross

We are called to have Jesus’ attitude and chose to serve other people. Even in leadership we are to be servant leaders not seeking privilege and prestige but to serve with integrity, putting the interests of others ahead of our own.

On the night before He died as Jesus prepared to share the Passover meal with His disciples:

John 13:3-5:

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

From a position of power Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. One pair of feet Jesus washed was the feet of the man who was already in the process of betraying Him. Washing the feet of guests and family members was a task for the one of the household servants of lowest rank. Jesus told them that He was doing it as an example of how we are to treat others.

John 13: 12-17

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Jesus wasn’t speaking just of washing each other’s feet but of a life of service to each other. We are told in Romans 12 how to walk this out in our lives. Read this chapter and note the specific instructions there.

Return also to Philippians 2 to see Paul’s specific instructions in that chapter:

  • make my joy complete by
    • being like-minded,
    • having the same love,
    • being one in spirit and of one mind. (v. 2)
    • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
    • Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (v. 3)
    • not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.(v. 4)
    • Do everything without grumbling or arguing, (v. 14)

Our obedience to others in authority is actually obedience to God.

Romans 13:1(NLT):

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.

Insofar as governing authorities do not violate God’s commands, we are to obey them. We are also to pray for them. 2Timothy 2:2:

Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

These verses apply Scripture to serving and submitting to governing authorities, tomorrow we will look at our family relationships. Bottom line—service and submission is to God and not to man. There is never a right to do wrong so we are not commanded to submit to ungodly commands by anyone in authority over us. We hold ourselves accountable to God for appropriate response to those in authority over us and for those we have authority over.

Love and Hugs,




Wednesday–April 24, 2013, Desk Day and More on Papers and Files

Each Wednesday I try to give at least 15 minutes to making sure my filing is up to date and all business is current. I use Quicken to download and reconcile my transactions DAILY. I never have to go searching for a transaction or try to find where I am off by a few dollars or cents. I also can immediately alert my bank when something is incorrect—an unknown transaction or an altered tip.

In dealing with paper my questions are:
 Do I need this paper?
 Why do I need this paper?
 Can I find the information somewhere else?
 If I was trying to locate this paper where would I look?

I have a small action file—To Do, To Pay, To File, To Read and a file for each month of the year where I put receipts I may need.

I have my archive files where I keep records like insurance policies, mortgage papers, income records—pay stubs, social security. I use the Homefile filing system. I have used it for years and I love it.
I have a topical file where I keep tourism information of places I want to visit, information related to groups I participate in, game rules and directions, and other things of interest to me and my family.

The goal is to be able to quickly locate information when it’s needed. I try not to clutter up my files with unneeded papers and to purge a file or two when I have time left on Desk Day.

Tonight I am hosting our neighborhood Bonco group. I am a last minute fill in for a friend who had a family emergency. My home needs a light cleaning—dusting vacuuming and mopping. I will shop for food this morning, have my nails done with my friend Cathy during her weekly beauty day, and fix the food this afternoon to be pulled out tonight. I like Mason canning jars and my home is very slightly country so I am using a country theme for our menu:
 Emeril’s recipe baked chicken wings
 Pigs in a Blanket
 Potato salad
 Fruit kebabs
 Strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream for dessert
 Lemonade and ice tea
 Nuts and bridge mix on the tables.
The table tents, score sheets, and name tags will have Mason jars on them.

Did you notice I am taking time to have my nails done? When your home is in order from the inside out you can take time during a busy day to relax and be with friends. The way I declutter, organize, and clean my home gives me freedom to do other things instead of being tied down to endless drudgery. Caring for my home is not drudgery but a way of expressing gratitude to God for all He has given me, and love for my family and friends by providing a welcoming place for them (and me, too).

Saw something in one of my favorite groups that got me thinking: I am a welcome mat, not a doormat. I want my home and my life to say welcome to all who come here.

Love and Hugs,