I want to address those readers out there that are overwhelmed.
Maybe you’re the reader who is drowning in clutter and chaos.
Maybe you’re the reader who has some semblance of order but just can’t seem to get anything productive done from day to day to keep the clutter and chaos under control so you have to spend days at a time trying to gain order back.
You may be the reader who never had the care and keeping of your home modeled for you by your mother or an older woman.
Most of my home keeping has been self taught from books and websites that I have gleaned and learned much from over the years. My grandmother was a beautiful example to me of how to keep a home but most of my time was spent with her when I was little. When my husband and I first got married we moved away from family for his job so I was on my own in figuring out cleaning, shopping, laundry, meal planning and caring for my children and husband. Before we were believers I read a lot of Alexandra Stoddard’s books. They were lovely and taught me how to work beauty into the everyday moments of life. I still refer back to Living a Beautiful Life often.
I know there are many of you feeling drowned in chaos and not doing anything about it because you don’t know where to start. Let me help you by telling you to just begin. You have to do something. The dishes won’t magically disappear, laundry doesn’t jump into the washer by itself and meals don’t automatically appear at mealtime without some thought, planning and preparation.
The Lord desires for you to care for your family and your home. (See How Well Do You Manage Your Home.) This is your domain and the area He has given you to care and keep. Sitting there in self pity isn’t getting anything accomplished. There are many days that I don’t feel like doing dishes, cleaning bathrooms or putting laundry away. Let’s face it, it’s not that exciting and there aren’t any awards given for how many times you do it or how well you do it.
The reality is it has to be done and Mama it is your job to do it. This is your calling as a wife and mother. So I’m not going to give you any excuses here but just tell you to “Do the next thing”.
Where to Begin:
–Start by taking care of all the dirty dishes in the sink. Next wipe down and tidy the kitchen counters. Put out some clean dish towels when you are all finished and try to go to bed without any dishes in the sink.
–Throw a load of laundry in the washer (or re-wash that load that’s been in there a few days) and finish it all the way through. That means dry, fold and put away. Yes, doing a load of laundry entails all those steps. If you can only get through one load a day and get it put away – then only do one load a day!
-What does your front entry look like where company comes in? Can you tidy it by dusting, sweeping the floor, making sure the entry rug is clean and there is a place for visitors to put their coats.
-What about your family room? Can you find a place to sit? Only keep in the room what needs to be in the room. Make sure family members take their belongings to their own rooms every evening before bed. Give it a quick pick up, dusting and vacuum. Don’t even deal with the decluttering at this stage.
–Could you take it one room at a time and just clean the surface areas that are visible? Take the time to tidy the bedrooms and make sure there are clean sheets on the beds. Does your family have clean towels to use?
It Takes Hard Work:
You cannot even begin to organize if you have lots of clutter. Don’t worry about the cupboards until you can manage the day to day clean up, laundry and meals. When you begin to have a routine and some sense of order, make a list of areas you would like to declutter. Always declutter before you even begin to organize. So many people go out and buy all these fancy containers and storage bins when they may not even have a need for them once they determine what they are keeping, throwing away or giving away. Those are your three categories when you declutter – Keep, Throw Away & Giveaway. (See Bringing Order to Our Homes).
Keeping a home is work, there is no way around it. It is not going to happen if you just sit around on the computer all day or sit around making lists of what needs to be done but never doing it. It takes discipline. There are not special skills needed to wash dishes or do laundry. You just have to do it. Every day you put these tasks off the piles just build and it gets harder and harder to begin. You have to begin somewhere and I hope to encourage you to start.
Having a home with a sense of order and cleanliness will truly be a blessing to your family. It is teaching your children how to be good stewards of the home and belongings the Lord has blessed you with. It is showing your husband you are thankful for the home he has provided for you. It will save you money by being organized so you know what you have on hand and not buy duplicates. You will spend less time running all over trying to find items you’ve lost – eventually you’ll have a place for everything. You will find yourself practicing biblical hospitality by inviting others over. These are just a few benefits.
I’ve put together some resources for you to help you get started and motivated. They won’t do it for you – you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work Mama!! You have a job to do so begin now. Let’s stop making excuses. Let’s work today for a home that is orderly and in control.
Take a look at the various websites and resources and see if one would be a help to you in motivating and guiding you to take these first steps in overcoming the chaos. You really don’t need anything but discipline and a to do list that you can determine on your own.
Some Places to Visit to Get Started:
I have several posts that may be a help to you. My Morning and Evening Routine posts are good places to start. Read How Well Do You Manage Your Home and spend some time in my Homemaking Binder section and in the Homemaking 101 Series posts.
The Confident Mom has her weekly planner for FREE this year. Each day the tasks to be taken care of are all filled in so you don’t have to think about anything – you just have to do it. This may be a good start for some of you.
“The way to do a great deal is to keep on doing a little. The way to do nothing at all, is to be continually resolving that you will do everything.” ~ Charles Spurgeon