(This is an article written by Marty Schupbach. Marty is known as a organizer and mommy “extraordinaire.” She is the mother to three daughters and “Mimi” to six grandchildren. She has been a “mommy mentor” and savior to many.)
T.V. is full of before and after shows where the ugliest house on the block gets transformed into a stunning beauty. Everything is perfectly matched and coordinated. Few of us, however, can have a home where everything is new and perfectly chosen for each space, but we can all have a home that is neat, clean and clutter free. This is not a difficult task, but it is a job that takes maximum effort until necessary changes become routine.
A well kept home is a haven of rest, reduces stress and frustration, and according to Proverbs 31, a well kept home is a Biblical home. A Proverbs 31 woman is not idle and according to verse 27 “she looks well to the ways of her household” which will be appreciated by her husband and family!
I grew up in a small home and learned these lessons from my mother. Bedrooms were upstairs, but nothing was ever left on the stairs to be moved up at a later time! Dishes were done immediately after we ate, not left in the sink. (No dishwasher) Beds were made before breakfast. Clothes never hit the floor, they returned to a hanger or a dirty basket. The result was a tidy home for all five of us where our things did not get in the way.
Luckily we live in a world with lots of “stuff” to help us regardless of the task, but all of this equipment must be maintained, cleaned, cared for and most importantly, quickly located when needed. Looking for something only 10 minutes each day adds up to 60 lost hours each year! That is a two and a half day vacation! Lost or misplaced items can also be costly because they are unnecessarily replaced. In addition to this it takes much longer to clean a cluttered home which must be picked-up before the cleaning can begin.
Keeping a neat, clean, well-kept home takes thought, discipline and routine. It must become a natural way of life.
TRAINING THE TROOPS
The first person that needs to be trained is you, the home manager. Think of yourself as training to become the “Olympic champion” of a home where the entire family wants to come at the end of the day. As you look around, this job might seem impossible, but it is within reach of everyone. Start with just three changes that you commit to do every day until they become second nature. When you have mastered three things, give responsibility to your children and spouse to work on while you add three new habits. Don’t get discouraged and keep making small changes. Everyone has to be on board to want an organized home and become good stewards of their own possessions. Changes can be small at first but they will eventually pay big dividends.
Keep the goal in sight: A clutter free home where everything has its own specific resting place when not in use.
Look around your home and decide where the extra focus will make the biggest changes at the beginning. We all have our own trouble spots and bottle necks. Here is a list of things you might try at the start, but I am sure you will have your own ideas. Good luck and I pray that you soon discover how much easier and peaceful it is to live in a clutter-free home, not to mention how much you will enjoy your own makeover!
TIPS FOR A CLUTTER-FREE HOME:
- Run the dishwasher every night right after dinner
- Sort the mail every day… junk to trash, bills to your desk
- Make all the beds every morning
- Clothes are hung or put in dirty basket, never on a hook or the floor
- Keep the bathroom counter clutter free by putting everything away after you make your bed
- Straighten the living room each evening before you turn out the light. Fluff pillows, fold blankets, put books away
- Do a bathroom run every morning to wipe sinks, neatly hang towels, put medicines away
- Clean out refrigerator every week before you make the grocery list
- Empty the dishwasher every evening…ready for the next day
- Clean out one drawer in the house every night; (or shelf)
- Scrub the kitchen sink and stove top every night; wipe the kitchen counter
- Pick the day to clean and dust on this day every week
- Run the vacuum on cleaning day every week
- Throw trash bags away or store immediately
- Put all receipts in an envelope immediately in case exchanges must be made
- Keep kitchen counters clutter free…find storage for cookies, snacks, etc
- Put clean, folded clothes away immediately….don’t stack for later storage
- Keep the counter, shelves, washer/dryer …what every you have by the garage door, clutter free. Clothes basket only
- Put shoes in closet when you take them off….in their cubby or box or on a shelf
- Sweep the kitchen floor daily if your children are small
- Empty the trash every night, never let full bags collect in the house
- Become a stickler about putting toys away…put it away when you are done with your play
- Keep the front porch swept and door wiped of handprints. This is the first thing visitors see
- Create a routine when kids come home from school; check work and identify homework, have a spot for book bags
- Don’t keep anything you “might “ be able to use someday
- Have a bag for clothes to give away. Add to it each time you get something new
- Donate anything you have not worn for a year.