I am sharing excerpts from my e-workbook, Spring Cleaning for the Heart and Home available in the P31 Bookstore.
Problem Areas – Creating Order
You have made your chart listing your problem areas, those areas in your home that need attention. Now what? Where do you begin?
Having a messy and/ or unorganized kitchen is the number one problem that will ruin your day. Your first priority for spring cleaning your home is get the kitchen in order. If you have a habit of going to bed with a dirty kitchen, you are setting yourself up for a bad day!
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As you move through your home, deep cleaning and creating order, you will need self-discipline to maintain what you have accomplished. This is often easier said that done – at first.
If you struggle with self-discipline, you will need to literally fall down on your knees and ask God to create in you a clean heart and a right spirit and to give you the strength and the will power to live a life that brings glory to Him. One of my favorite hymns is Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. You need to lean on Him. Seek him out every day. Pray before you go to bed at night as you set your alarm and ask God to help you wake up in the morning. Ask him for the self-discipline you need to keep your freshly cleaned home tidy each day.
As you clean each space – whether it is an entire room or a cupboard or a closet – you need to work each day to maintain the space so that clutter does not return. A tidy house is easier to clean and takes less time to maintain than having to clean up a huge mess. Just like washing the dishes is easier if you do it right away. Letting the food dry on the plates requires a lot more elbow grease! It is that way with everything in your home.
I have 7 Rules of Housekeeping that would be fitting to go over now:
1. “Put it away, don’t put it down.”
2. “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
3. “A tidy house is easier to clean than a messy house.”
4. “Kids need chores appropriate for their age.”
5. “Plan, plan, plan – and make a list!”
6. “Create a routine and stick to it.”
7. “Don’t wait till the last minute to start a chore. Do it ahead of time.”
By keeping those 7 Rules, you should be able to manage you home quite nicely. Teach these rules to your children. Don’t be in a hurry to get your entire home cleaned up. Although, feel free to work on it each day. But some days if all you do is maintain what you have previously accomplished, that is okay – and even good!
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Make a commitment to change the way you work in your home. Don’t leave a stack of dirty dishes in the sink. If you do need to leave them after eating for a short time, rinse them and stack them neatly. You’ll be glad you did! When you do the laundry, fold and put away the clothes immediately. It only takes a few minutes!
How to Declutter
People hang onto things for different reasons. Unfortunately, clutter will take over your life. Either, you will be forced to live in a chaotic mess all of the time or you will spend your life moving, sorting, and trying to figure out how to organized all of your stuff.
I have had to learn this the hard way. My kids have heard me say more than once, “This stuff is ruining my life!” I have learned two things:
#1 Do not keep things that have out lived their usefulness.
#2 Do not buy things you don’t absolutely love or need.
#3 I don’t really need two (or three or four) of something.
As you clean each area ask yourself: “Do I really need this?” “Do I love this?” Have I worn this in the last year?” Be honest with yourself. If the answer is no to any of the above questions, get rid of it. If you choose to keep it, find a “home” or place for it. Remember the rule – “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
I like to use the “laundry basket method.” Get two or three laundry baskets to use as you clean. Use one for “Giveaways;” one for “Move to another room;” and use a basket or big trash bag for the “Trash.” Remind yourself that you do not need stuff to define you as a person. Our society has become so materialistic and decadence has become a way of life for many, many people.
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Why do we need so much “stuff” in our lives? Things do not matter. Should we really have more than we need? Why not send the money we would spend on “more stuff” – that will just be thrown in the back of a closet or sold at a yard sale in a year – and instead send that money to a charitable organization like ADRA or the Red Cross? Or give it to your local church to purchase new supplies for the children’s department. Or send the money to a church like mine whose needs are so great? Wouldn’t that mean more?
When it comes right down to it… what does having a lot of stuff mean for you and your family? Does it mean that you spend hours putting things away, cleaning, dusting, organizing, decluttering, stressing over stuff? Does it mean your children are so over stimulated by video games, television, and an over abundance or toys that they no longer use their imaginations? What if you had all of those hours to do something else? What would you do?
For me, I decided that what I wanted was to be able to spend meaningful time with my family (in a clean house) doing things like playing games, knitting, sitting by the fire, reading books aloud, etc. – not cleaning all the time.
Those are the things I want my children to remember.
- Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay That Way
- Simplify Your Space: Create Order and Reduce Stress
- Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!
Today’s Spring Clean Challenge:
- Deep clean the master bedroom.
Instagram Photo Challenge: Share a special photo from your wedding or a favorite photo. Use hashtag #P31SpringClean.