Need to simplify your homemaking? You might be surprised at how one factor in your home can be a huge game-changer.
As a wife and mom, finding the time and energy to care for my home is pretty tricky. After all, there always seems to be a zillion things I’d rather do than care for the same things over and over:
- Do the laundry.
- Do the dishes.
- Make sure everything is picked up.
- Fit deep cleaning in somewhere along the way.
But those neverending chores are just part of being a homemaker – and that’s OK. Even if I’d rather forget about them, my feelings don’t take away the fact that I still need to focus on them.
Since I’m always looking for ways to make mundane chores easier and quicker, I’ve also realized it’s important to identify the problems that stand in my way.
As I’ve peeled away the layers of homemaking problems in my home, I’ve noticed that one issue seems to be at the core. This enemy steals my time, my focus, and it leaves me feeling frustrated.
Meet my enemy …
The majority of my homemaking problems all boil down to clutter.
Just when I think I clear all of the clutter out, more appears. And the funny thing is it always seems to accumulate in the same areas.
Clutter enters my home in the form of junk mail or gifts or great things that people have passed along to my family. And when it’s around, I lose focus. It distracts me and makes it tough to find the things I’m looking for. It steals my peace of mind and makes it difficult to fully relax.
Clutter is the bane of my haven.
I used to think clutter was similar to junk. But it’s not. Clutter can be great things. But if something in your home is not loved or used or needed, even great things end up as clutter.
And when clutter accumulates, it has a way of crowding out important things and cluttering your thoughts.
Aside from having to deal with the mental distraction of clutter, you also end up wasting precious time on cleaning and organizing around that clutter.
Why stay cluttered?
So if clutter sucks your thoughts, energy, and time, why keep it around?
Very simply, clutter sticks around our homes because it’s easier to leave it where it is than make the effort to declutter.
Purging – methodically and routinely getting rid of your clutter – takes time and energy. You need to muster up enough motivation to purge.
Yet it’s so necessary if you’re looking to simplify your homemaking.
Without taking the time or energy to purge, you’ll only add to your housework as you try to work around your clutter. Or you’ll always know in the back of your mind that you need to do something about it.
As you work to simplify your homemaking by decluttering, I’ve found that holding on to clutter largely reveals one of two harsh secrets:
- You don’t have enough time to care for what you own.
- Your belongings have become an idol.
Do you have enough time to care for what you own?
If you struggle with not having enough time to care for what you own, you might feel trapped – trapped in a busy schedule with no room to effectively care for your home.
And your schedule may very well be overfilled with commitments and responsibilities. But at some point, you’ll need to step back and realize that your home needs to become a priority, too. Your mental health and a clutter-free lifestyle is worth being a commitment.
When you do make this shift in priorities, you’ll start looking for ways to get rid of the clutter in your life. You can carve out five minutes here or ten minutes there to routinely work your way through the clutter in your room.
(Yes, only devoting five or ten minutes a day will mean that your decluttering process will last a while. But doing something is better than doing nothing.)
Have your belongings become an idol?
If you have enough time to declutter, though, and you don’t want to let go of your things, it’s possible that your belongings have become an idol.
If this is the case, your stuff might give you a false sense of security – if only you hold onto these material possessions, you won’t have to worry. If you own more and more stuff, you don’t have to fear the future.
But what do we have that hasn’t come from God? What will we have in the future that doesn’t come from God?
In her book Discipline, Elisabeth Elliot shared,
“It is God’s nature to give. He can no more ‘help’ giving than He can ‘help’ loving. We can absolutely count on it that He will give us everything in the world that is good for us, that is, everything that can possibly help us to be and do what He wants.”
As 1 John 2:15-16 reminds us,
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world.” Are you loving the things of the world?
If your home is crammed full of stuff you “might” need someday, it’s wise to ask yourself if you’re trusting God for your future. Will you trust Him to provide for you if you get rid of these unused belongings but you do eventually need to use them?
“The Bible says, ‘God … endows us richly with all things to enjoy.’ It also says, ‘Do not set your hearts on the godless world or anything in it.’ It is altogether fitting and proper that we should enjoy things made for us to enjoy. What is not at all fitting or proper is that we should set our hearts on them. Temporal things must be treated as temporal things – received, given thanks for, offered back, but enjoyed. They must not be treated like eternal things.”
Are you setting your hearts on the temporal stuff around your home by holding onto it? Or is it time to bless someone else with the belongings you don’t need in this current season of life?
When you know you need to deal with clutter
If you’re ready to get the idol of clutter out of your life, be prepared for a much simpler life. You can simplify your homemaking by getting rid of what you don’t love or need.
Decluttering really is as easy as going through every single belonging and asking yourself if you love it or need it.
(Personally, I’ve found it’s helpful to go through one room at a time, starting in one corner and working your way around the room, clockwise and top to bottom.)
If you do love – not love it in an idolatrous sense, but really enjoy or appreciate it – or need a belonging, keep it! It’s not clutter.
If you don’t love (enjoy or appreciate) it or need it, though, it’s time to pass it along. Bless someone else with your unnecessary stuff.
As you purge your clutter, throw out any trash. But donate or sell the rest. Take items to consignment stores. Hold a garage sale. Take trunk-load after trunk-load to a local donation center. Wherever you decide to get rid of your clutter, make sure you do get it out of your house.
Once the clutter’s gone, enjoy these perks:
- Notice how much simpler life is now that you know you own what you need or love. Hopefully you’ll know exactly where everything is now – that alone will make life easier.
- Realize how much more time you have now that you’re not consumed with finding things in the midst of your clutter – or now that you don’t have to devote free time to decluttering.
- Enjoy not having to clean around a bunch of unnecessary things! Once you know that everything in your home is needed and wanted, there simply should be less to clean.
Clutter’s an aggravating problem that adds so much work and complication to homemaking. But it’s not an impossible problem. With a plan, some focus, and hard work, you can begin to conquer clutter in your home … and simplify your homemaking in the process!
What are some of your favorite ways to successfully deal with clutter? How has decluttering helped simplify your homemaking?
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