With two little people under foot, I am no stranger to a mess. And not just from them – I tend to be messy at home. This isn’t a new thing. My poor sister had to share a room with my for 14 years and share in the yelling and punishments of having a dirty room. That is, until we decided after a move to not share a room anymore. Then it was obvious who was the messy one. And it wasn’t her.
My classroom was never messy. It helped that I knew…oh 200 people would be in and out of it on an given day, so things needed to be organized. Plus my boss could come in. Plus someone would come into sweep and couldn’t do their job if I left a mess. So yeah, my classroom was always clean.
I thought I was messy at home because of my age. Or because I was working. Or because my house was small and took no time to clean up. While these were all factors, they weren’t the reason why I was messy.
I am messy because I put other priorities above cleaning. I don’t like cleaning. I get easily distracted. And it’s easy to not do it and say “Well, we have two kids” and hope that’s good enough.
Going through The Respect Dare has given me a new perspective on housework. I don’t see it as a his chores/her chores list anymore. I now try to see housework as a way I can serve my husband in our home.
Also, I love hospitality and sharing life with other people. So I really need to think about how welcoming my home is first to my family. Is this a comfortable and enjoyable place for my husband and kids?
My outlook on housework changed, too, when I became a stay-at-home mom. Now the house, the housework, and the kids are my job. And I am “busy at home ” (Titus 2:5).
But I don’t always find myself being busy with good and useful things.
Sometimes I just make myself busy. Then make excuses and justifications.
I’m not picking on you at all because I know I do this.
Since being at home (going on two years now) I keep thinking I’ll ‘get into a rhythm’ and that’ll it’ll just happen. It doesn’t just happen while I pass my day on facebook or that becomes my rhythm. I have to work at my rhythm and see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve been working on this a lot lately, by the way, and that’s what I’ll talk about on Thursday. So get excited.
Today though, as I think about the 17 frying pans, I keep thinking about how quickly we accumulate stuff. The kids’ stuff just never ends from t-shirts in ever teeny-tiny little size to the art projects they start bringing home from Sunday school at age 2. And the toys…o my the toys. And the wardrobe I now have in “small baby bump, I need maternity clothes, ugh I hate maternity clothes I’m wearing regular clothes, my clothes are all stretched out now, suitable nursing attire, business professional in case I need it” and so on. I could think of a million more ways we accumulate. And I know we all do.
One of the best ways I have to not accumulate so much is to move every 2 ish years. Since I was 16, I have moved 14 times. I’m 27. That’s less than every two years. When I pack boxes to move, I get rid of when stuff goes into the boxes, and when stuff comes out. But I’m a terrible packer (remember the easily distracted and the having things as a higher priority part from above?), and when you’re moving you’re already sentimental, and you can’t just move every time you want to declutter. So other ways to stop the onslaught of 17 frying pans? :
– Have a sell and donate box sitting out somewhere like the garage, basement, or next to closet. That way when you find something that you want to get rid of, it can go right into the box and out of regular circulation. If it’s trash, just throw it out.
-Go through the kids’ toys at Christmas time and before birthdays. Throw out broken stuff. Donate stuff they no longer play with. Put some items in storage. They are most likely going to get some brand new things. Then you can get the stuff out from storage in a few months and it’ll be like new toys all over again!
-If you look into your pots and pans cupboard and way in the back is something that you cannot remember using? Get rid of it.
-Declutter a little at a time. Set a timer for 15 or 30 minutes and attack a closet or cupboard or room. Do it with your husband and get each other’s feedback. Everything will get a place, get touched to decide if it’s wanted, and get cleaned up.
-Be aware of the new things that are brought into the house. Instead of just adding more to the cupboards and closets, if you get something new, look at what it can replace. Get the old stuff out right away. You won’t have to do it later or touch it more than once.
-If something has been in a box in the attic for years you probably don’t need it. Now there are obvious exceptions to this like old photos or family keepsakes.
Get on pinterest. There are about a thousand people blogging on this. Seriously. People are starting to look around more and more and say “what am I going to do with all of this stuff?!?”
And I’m not expert. Each of the things from this list are things that I’m working through right now or have done in the last 6 months. Every. Single. One. of. Them.
But like I said, Thursday, I’ll tell you what it’s taught me and the system that is really working for me right now.
I’m so glad you’re here this week. It’s more fun doing stuff like cleaning with other people.
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