The Best Housekeeping Reminder You’ll See This Year

There are so many thoughts and posts in my heart right now. But I’ve committed to taking care of my own home before writing about housekeeping. You understand, right? Family before Internet!

So today, I simply want to share a gem of wisdom I first read in a book a few years ago:

BitterSweet

Take a minute to ponder that sentence and let the message sink in a bit.

“The bitterness of living in a mess remains long after the sweetness of resting is forgotten.” Sandra Felton, The Messies Manual

Even if we don’t have all day to clean, most of us can still give our homes a few minutes, can’t we? We know all too well the bitterness of a mess. Let’s leave that bitterness behind and instead seek the reward of an organized home!

For more short nuggets of housekeeping encouragement, follow me on Instagram, like me on Facebook, or join the challenge. If you’d rather have a complete room-by-room organization guide, then make sure to check out my new book – it’s packed with inspiring information and helpful how-to’s.

What’s one thing you’re going to do to take care of your home today?

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How to Get Your Kids to Willingly Pitch in With Chores

I’ve been mulling over this question for awhile, wanting to answer, but afraid to say the wrong thing. And then last week I told you that while I may not have the perfect answers, I’m going to do my best to help, to encourage, and to inspire.

I promised to stop backing away from the hard stuff.

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So here we go.

“I am a stay at home mom and I do understand that it’s my job to take care of the home. However, am I wrong to say that it’s the entire household’s job also to keep the house standing? I just feel as if I get taken for granted. How do I change this? Can I change this? I can’t keep the house going on my own.

“How do I get everyone to realize that I just did the dishes and the respectful thing to do is to clean your dish so the sink is once again clean? That way one dish doesn’t lead to another then another and another… next I have a sink full of dirty dishes once again.

“Your blog has given me some faith that maybe you could help!” – Danielle

Danielle, thank you for your kind words and for your patience in waiting for an answer! I’m not responding to this question as the queen-of-having-perfect-little-helpers. Not at all.  I’m answering your question more as an “I’m right there with you!”

Throughout my nearly ten years of motherhood, I’ve worked part time in an office, worked from home, stayed home completely, and am currently working full time outside the home. Switching gears so many times has taught me that while the dynamics of who does the most housework may change from season to season, the underlying issue is this:

We are training our children for adulthood.

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The answer to your question isn’t the perfect chore chart or some sort of amazing super-secret method. In fact, the answer isn’t really an answer at all – it’s simply more questions:

Are you speaking to your children’s hearts? Are you taking the time to teach them why taking care of a home is important? When the sink is full of dirty dishes, what is your response? Are you frustrated while you wash them yourself or are you using that opportunity to gently call your children in so you can work on the dishes together? Are you teaching them that they’re blessed to even have dishes?

Yes, we are to be good stewards of our possessions. And yes, stay-at-home moms should generally be doing a larger portion of the housework than a woman who works full-time outside the home. But the hard truth is that if we feel like we’re being taken for granted, it’s a sign we’re bearing too much of the load on our own.

Training takes time. It’s hard, discouraging, and repetitive work. But eventually, the training sinks in. It pays off. And though it may not feel like it right now, your children will eventually notice. And it may happen sooner than you think.

Proverbs 31:27-29 “[The virtuous woman] looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.”

What encouragement and kind advice do you have for Danielle as she works to help her children develop good housekeeping habits?


3 Simple Housekeeping Tips to Inspire Busy Parents

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After I unburied myself from my messes, I promised that I’d help others dig out from under their clutter, too. But sometimes that’s hard. Because clutter isn’t always just about a messy room.

Clutter is often a symptom of something much deeper. Childhood loss, financial strain, deeply-ingrained habits, depression, chronic illness, and marital stress are all circumstances that lead to clutter.

So a few months ago, I turned away. I stopped digging into the difficult topics because they hurt. My heart ached for the women who cried out to me in letters, asking for help. I gave quick, peppy answers and ignored the deeper cries because that was easier.

I’m sorry. And no more.

I may not have the perfect answers, but I’m going to do my best to help, to encourage, and to inspire. We tend to hold on to things while trying to fill holes deep within our hearts. But no heart is too wounded to be encouraged, no home is too far gone to make progress, and no success is too small to celebrate.

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Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.” Romans 12:15-116 (NKJV)

Sometimes, life is hard. Change hurts. But after the hard, after the hurt, is something beautiful. And I’m ready to be right here, talking about the hard stuff and cheering you on.

Today’s hard question is from Danielle.

   “I’ve led such an unorganized life that I have no idea where to start. I tend to bounce from room to room because I get overwhelmed! I’m almost at the point of a panic attack! I suffer from depression which hasn’t helped, but I want to overcome it. I don’t want something to take such control of my life that I’m consumed by self loathing and sadness.” – Danielle

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Danielle, I am so sorry that you suffer from anxiety and depression.

When depression becomes deep, just getting out of bed in the morning is a huge ordeal and housekeeping can feel nearly impossible.

I recommend reading Conquering Depression: A 30-Day Plan to Finding Happiness by Mark A. Sutton and Bruce Hennigan. This book goes through a month-long study on depression, with tips and strategies to conquering the depression. {The Kindle version is on sale for $0.99 right now!}

 

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Conquering Depression covers topics such as things you can do to relieve depression on your own, when to find outside help, and what to do when there is a chemical imbalance. Each chapter is short and to the point, so the book only takes a few minutes to get through each day, and offers hope from day one.

When you start feeling depressed, talk to your spouse or a friend, or seek help from a counselor in addition to reading through a helpful book.

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To help you receive encouragement when you’re feeling overwhelmed, I invited you to join the secret Facebook group.

Plus, here are a few quick tips about handling overwhelmed feelings:

1) Only focus on one room.

You may choose the room that bothers you the most, the room that’s the easiest to clean, the area company first sees when they arrive, or any other room you’d like. The room itself doesn’t matter nearly as much as just starting somewhere and giving yourself a success!

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2) Just do something.

You may not have time to clean your entire kitchen, but you could unload and reload the dishwasher. If you can’t organize your entire dresser, you can declutter one drawer. It doesn’t seem like much, but all of these little minutes help add up to make a huge impact!

3) Give yourself grace.

It’s easy to feel discouraged when we’re not making progress as quickly as we’d like. But we can give in to those discouraged, paralyzing feelings or we can push through and refuse to give up!

I hope this helps you, Danielle! You also asked some great questions about who should be doing the housework. I talked about that a little bit here and I plan to address your specific questions in my next article.

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What tips or encouragement would you like to share with Danielle for when she’s feeling overwhelmed or anxious?

{To submit your own questions, go here.}

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7 Benefits of Creating an Organized Home

It’s easy to think that cleaning our homes isn’t as significant as playing with our kids, doing community service projects, or climbing the corporate ladder. But when we take a step back, we can see that cleaning really does matter and there is great value in taking care of our homes.

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Here are 7 benefits of creating and maintaining an organized home:

1) It’s easier to be hospitable.

For many of us, when we’re drowning in clutter, we rarely have people over because spending days cleaning for a few hours of company is so much work. And how many of us have wanted to pretend that we’re not home just because we’re embarrassed by our mess when someone’s stopped by unexpectedly?!

On the other hand, when the house is clean, we can welcome guests in and be happy to show them around!

2) The house feels bigger and brighter!

I used to think that my own house was cramped and somewhat small, but after getting rid of van loads full of clutter, I realized that we have more than enough space! Perhaps you do too?

Plus, when the house is clean, it’s fun to make it feel even more spacious and breezy by flinging open the curtains, doors, and windows without worrying about who might see inside!

(If you are in a very small home, read this article for encouragement and inspiration.)

3) There’s more time for family time.

I used to spend at least an hour a day wading through laundry mountains, hand washing enough plates to eat a meal, looking for keys and shoes, and rifling through piles of papers to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything important.

After I invested the initial time into decluttering and organizing every square inch of my house, I was shocked to discover that it takes less time to maintain a clean house than it takes to put out clutter-fires every day!

That translates directly into more family fun time, not less.

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4) Everything is easy to find.

When everything is in it’s place, family members don’t need to ask for help finding clean clothes, toys, or tools every 20 minutes. Likewise, when company comes over and asks to borrow a particular item, we know right where to find it! No more digging, no more searching. It’s a calming, relaxing feeling.

5) Maintaining an organized home saves a ton of cash.

Having clutter can be so much more expensive than many people realize. Between overdue fines, frequent outside activities, and bigger houses, many of us have spent thousands of unnecessary dollars just because of having clutter.

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6) Taking care of a home is honorable.

Often times we view women who do a lot within the community as strong and influential women. And while that’s true, a woman who is properly caring for her home and family is also very strong and influential, just in a quieter way.

She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.'” Proverbs 31:27-29

7) A tidy home is a haven.

When the house is a mess, most of us will subconsciously find reasons to stay away such as dinner out, family nights away from home, and trips to coffee shops with friends so we can relax somewhere inviting.

When the house is clean though? My family (and probably yours too) can’t wait to get home in the evenings because we all love relaxing here. We also enjoy having other people over instead of meeting out, and we understand just how Dorothy felt when she closed her eyes, tapped her heals together three times, and breathed, There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

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Why do you think cleaning is important (or not)? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!