I’m a big “thrower away-er.” I’m constantly throwing away, paring down. Every couple of months I will go through drawers and closets and toss anything I haven’t used recently.  My guiding principle: if you haven’t used it in three months, get rid of it; good chance you’ll never use it again. But you have to watch out for that “I’ll use it next year” syndrome. You never will. Throwing stuff away makes it easier for me to keep things clean and organized in my home. Rather than having a basement you haven’t visited in three years, or taking two whole weeks to organize your home, tossing stuff (or giving it away!) keeps the home running smoothly.

The most helpful tip I’ve learned for organizing my home is to invest in containers. As a new wife, I often tried to organize my home by simply collecting items into neat piles. But it didn’t take long for those piles to melt into other piles and I was right back where I started. Last January, I finally took the plunge and purchased containers of all shapes and sizes from Wal-Mart (much cheaper than the Container Store!). Now that everything has its own container, my house stays relatively organized, and when it gets a little messy, I can de-clutter it in a snap.

I’m sure it’s painfully obvious that we’re not organizational experts, just ordinary women fighting the war against clutter. Not that we’ve won! It constantly is and will always be a work in progress.  But as we strive for an organized home, we hope in some small way to reflect to our family and guests the peace and order of our Lord.

For a more in-depth read on this topic, check out the Mahaney's newest book: Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and NOT be Overwhelmed (Crossway, 2007)

This article was adapted from "Girl Talk" - a blog kept by Carolyn and her three daughters for women in all seasons of life.

Carolyn Mahaney is a wife, mother, homemaker, and the author of Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother, Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood and Shopping for Time: How To Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed (written with her daughters) due out in July. During her more than 30 years as a pastor’s wife, Carolyn has spoken to women in many churches and conferences, including those of Sovereign Grace Ministries, which her husband, C.J., leads. C.J. and Carolyn have three married daughters and one fourteen-year-old son, Chad.

Nicole Whitacre is the oldest daughter of C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney, as well as a wife, mother, and homemaker. She assisted her mother with Feminine Appeal, and is the co-author of Girl Talk. Nicole and her husband Steve—who is a youth pastor at Sovereign Grace Church—have one son Jack, 4 and a newborn daughter Tori.

Kristin Chesemore and her husband Brian are the busy parents of three boys. Andrew is seven, Liam is four, and Owen is three. In the little spare time she does have, Kristin supports Brian in his role as a pastor in Family Life Ministries at Covenant Life Church.

Janelle Bradshaw has been married to her husband Mike for four years and they have a beautiful daughter Caly, 1. Mike serves as a pastor in Children’s Ministry at Covenant Life Church.  

Pictured above, left-right: Janelle, Kristin, Carolyn, and Nicole