You’d like to enjoy a beautiful, peaceful home that’s completely organized. But that goal seems out of reach when you consider how easily your home gets messed up in the stress of daily living, plus how overwhelmed you feel at the thought of organizing everything in it.
While it’s unrealistic to expect that you can organize your whole home immediately, it’s definitely possible for you to get your entire home in order one area at a time. Uncluttering your living space frees you to focus on what matters most, like your relationships with God and your family and friends.
Here’s how you can create a completely organized home:
Begin with prayer. Don’t let the large task of organizing our entire home overwhelm you. Ask God to empower you to organize your home and encourage you throughout the process. Pray also for a vision of your home already organized so you can imagine your home’s potential. Rely on the strength God gives you to begin your work and trust that you complete and maintain your home’s organization.
Set measurable goals. Plan to break down your work into specific goals that each describe how much of the task you hope to complete by a certain time. For example, you could write a goal that states: “I plan to organize my refrigerator and freezer by (set date), organize my pantry by (set date), and complete the kitchen organization by (set date).”
Recruit everyone in your household to help. Call a family meeting to discuss the need to organize your home and assign each person who shares your home to help with specific tasks as part of a team. Meet regularly throughout the process of organizing your home to discuss what’s working and what isn’t working; make changes accordingly. Celebrate milestones together after you reach them.
Get rid of clutter in every area. Keep in mind as you work in each room of your home that you need to put away, throw away, or give away every item that you come across.
Invite order into your home starting with the entrance. Sweep the walkway leading to your home, as well as your porch or stoop. Clip overgrown plants and replace any unhealthy ones outside your door. Clear out clutter in your foyer, such as by getting a rack for shoes that people take off soon after your home.
Create peaceful bedrooms. Remove phones, TVs, books, papers, and other items that may disturb your family’s ability to relax and sleep well in their bedrooms. Organize the bedroom closets by removing clothing that doesn’t fit or hasn’t been worn in at least one year, placing like items together and color coding them, and installing shelves and racks to more easily find items you use regularly.
Clean up your bathrooms. Clear clutter by getting rid of health and beauty products that are more than one year old and getting items off of the floor and sink (such as by installing wall hooks on which to hang towels, using a basket to collect small items such as soaps and barrettes, and adding a corner tension to shower stalls to hold shelves for storage).
Establish a system for dealing with your children’s belongings. If you let all of the stuff that your children bring into your home accumulate too much, it’ll create a huge mess. Develop a system for dealing with their school papers and home artwork, saving only what’s most important after you look at them initially. Regularly give away toys, clothing, and books that your children have outgrown. Use large containers to store toys, and designate that last hour before bedtime each night as time for your children to put away their toys. Keep your children’s clothes in easily accessible places, such as dressers with low drawers. Hang a mesh bag on each child’s bedroom door to collect their dirty socks to be washed together so you don’t lose or mix up their socks in the laundry.
Designate a particular homework spot for your children. Your children can focus best on their homework if you choose one place in your home for them to do their work. Set up a comfortable desk and chairs near a computer that’s in full view so you can monitor what they’re doing online. Have your children keep their school backpacks nearby so they can immediately place their completed homework into their backpacks to take to school the next day.
Create an orderly kitchen. When your kitchen is organized well, you’ll be able to cook your family’s meals efficiently and enjoy eating them in a peaceful environment. Keep like items together (such as all of your pots and pans in one designated place) and keep items that use regularly close at hand (such as utensils that you often cook with in a special crock on the counter). Clear out any items from your kitchen counter or table that don’t relate to cooking (such as bills to be paid). Clean out your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry regularly, throwing away all expired food and noting which items you need to stock up on for when you next go grocery shopping. Label leftovers and food you’ve cooked in advance with the meal description and date to avoid confusion later.
Tame the paper piles in your home office. Schedule 15 to 30-minute blocks of time to go through your existing paper piles, and purge whatever you can. Be careful not to waste time re-reading the papers any more than necessary to determine whether or not you should keep them. Immediately throw out paper that you don’t want or need to save (such as junk mail). Shred documents with personal information before discarding them. Set up a filing system to categorize papers that you do plan to save (such as bank statements, insurance policies, and tax records). Whenever possible, try to handle each new piece of paper that enters your home just once rather than throwing it into a pile to deal with again later. Place your most important papers in a secure location, such as a safe.
Use your home’s vertical spaces. If you’ve gotten rid of unnecessary items throughout your home but are still having trouble finding enough space for everything you need to keep, add shelves, racks, and hooks on walls in different rooms to display or store items.
Adapted from 365 Ways to Organize Everything,copyright 2012 by Emilie Barnes and Sheri Torelli. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthousepublishers.com.
Emilie Barnes is the author of 70 books, including 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter; Heal My Heart, Lord;and 15 Minutes Alone with God. She appears on more than 300 radio stations as host of “Keep It Simple.” Emilie and her husband, Bob, are also the founders of More Hours in My Day time management seminars.
Sheri Torelli author of the popular The Fast-Food Kitchen, is a nationally recognized conference speaker and owner/director of More Hours In My Day. Sheri and organization founder, Emilie Barnes, have worked together since 1981 to help women nurture their families and homes with simple steps. Together they co-authored the popular More Hours in My Day. Sheri and her husband, Tim, reside in Riverside, California.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: email@example.com send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.