FlyLady says, “You can’t organize clutter. Well, I guess there is always a way. You could go to one of those organizer stores and get shelves, storage containers, a label gun, jars, little drawers and a hundred other cutesy products that ring your wanna-be-organized chimes, but guess what! If you really took on a project to organize your clutter, you’d end up with a home that resembles your local Goodwill store.
Clutter is the greatest destroyer of peace in a home. There’s a way to bring more peace and it starts with getting rid of what you own that no longer serves you. I remember a headline in the Oregonian: Reformed Slobs Sweep Homes Clean Including One Husband. I’m not suggesting this to you.
Get the Picture
Just imagine your home peaceful and free of clutter as I take you on a make-believe tour of your home, room-by-room:
Your Children’s Bedrooms
They hold your children’s’ currently loved toys, games and books and their closets and drawers hold just the garments that fit them and are in season now. Beds are made because you’ve provided your children with easy bedspreads.
The floors are vacuumed and dusted because your children have chore charts on their bulletin boards and they know what’s required of them. It’s also easy for them to dust and vacuum because the floors are clear of dirty clothes, clean clothes, toys, books, games and garbage. That’s because you’ve provided them with clothes hampers, simple ways to hang up garments, dresser drawers that are easy for children to open, containers for toys, shelves for books and games and a waste paper basket.
Also, the House Fairy makes surprise inspections leaving rewards for children who mind her rules.
It invites you to rest and promises intimacy and comfy sleep. It’s free of distraction. No television. A chair for relaxation and contemplation is free of the clothes you wore yesterday and the day before. It beckons you to sit and enjoy a hot cup of tea. One (1) current magazine shares space with a single pink rosebud in a vase and a scented candle on the small table beside the chair. The floor is vacuumed and the room smells fresh and clean.
I hope I didn’t blow your peaceful visualization by bringing up your closet, as I’ve seen women shrivel at the thought of having me, or anyone see their closets. Ah, but your closet is beautiful! It holds slacks, blouses, shirts, jeans, shoes, scarves, skirts and dresses. You love EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING fits. It smells fresh, like sheets straight off a clothesline. There’s order in your closet and it’s easy and fun to decide what to wear.
The kitchen is the heart of your home and its counters are clean and clear. It invites everyone to enjoy its tantalizing aromas of good cooking and because it’s maintained, the family is eager to help with clean-up after meals. There’s no IPOD (Important Pile of Decisions) on the kitchen table or counter. The cupboard shelves are clean and hold wholesome foods. The refrigerator is clean and the contents are tempting. All processed foods (which there are few) have current dates for consumption.
Your Living Room
The living room has room for family and friends to, well, live. The sofa is free of clean laundry to fold and put away and dirty laundry because no one changes clothes in there. There are no IPODs on the coffee table, end tables or floor space. The room is vacuumed and the furniture is dusted and polished, because there are clear surfaces in which to perform those tasks.
Your Family Room
The family room is filled with the joyous vibes of fun and entertainment, not the clutter of bad habits. There’s an organized shelf of games complete with all their parts. Puzzles, books, videos, CDs and art supplies are organized and stored for easy access. No IPODs or dried up food from last night’s Family Pizza and Movie time.
The car is in the garage because there’s room for it. The garden tools, bicycles, sports equipment, outdoor toys are organized and easy to get to.
This imaginary tour of your home may be far-fetched right now, but if you’re serious about creating peace in your home, you can start by committing to a weekly trip to Goodwill with as much clutter as you can collect and leave there. The second recommendation is to stop buying what ends up being clutter. The next time you’re tempted to purchase something for your children, or grandchildren, imagine it on the floor of their rooms or the family room. Stop clutter at the cash register.
De-cluttering is like going on a diet
Establishing peace in your home by getting rid of clutter is no different than going on a diet to lose weight. If you really want peace, you have to reduce more clutter than you take in. When I got organized in 1977, I was 35 and my kids were four, nine and twelve. I made it a habit to fill my trunk every week and donate it to Goodwill. They got to know me there!
In my years teaching mom’s to declutter, the one thing I kept hearing was, “what if I give this away and then I need it?”
I discovered the answer and it has helped tens of thousands of moms. If you miss something you got rid of, it’s at Goodwill. Consider Goodwill as your storage unit. You can buy the item back if you absolutely need it and help the good work Goodwill does. You can also go to Goodwill just to visit your stuff.
De-cluttering is essential for peace. If you know this is true, I’d love to give you one of my most favorite chapters in my book: The Joy of Being Disorganized. It’s Chapter Seven: There Arose Such a Clutter. I share a new way to eliminate clutter and it’s helping to open eyes and ears to what clutter does to your peace.