3 Simple Housekeeping Tips to Inspire Busy Parents

simplehousekeepingtips

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.

DoHardThings

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

depressionintheway

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!}

 

conqueringdepression

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.

simplehousekeepingtips

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!

choosearoom

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.

MessyHouseFights

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.}

GetOrganizedButtonWeb


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.

7benefitsoforganizedhome

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.

familyfun

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.

clutter-is-straining-your-finances

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.

after

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


Kindle Giveaway Winner & Playhouse Declutter!

Thank you to all who signed up for last week’s Kindle giveaway!

KindleWinnerIs

Of the 1,062 entries, Rafflecopter randomly chose Kelly M. as the Kindle winner! Congratulations, Kelly! I hope you enjoy reading your Spring Clean eBundle on your brand new Kindle! And speaking of spring cleaning…

Live Declutter Update:

On our drive to work on Friday, we discovered that our park had turned into Narnia overnight! We had nearly a foot of the prettiest snow I’ve ever seen so I took some photos and posted them on Instagram.

InstagramSnow

Then, less than 24 hours later, the temperature was in the 50’s and the snow was rapidly melting so we spring cleaned the playhouse! We tossed items that had been damaged over the winter, organized everything else, and swept the floors. It only took 20 minutes to clean and the girls have been enjoying their freshened up “home!”

What have you been organizing lately?

SpringCleaningPlayhouse

Playhouse Summary:

  • Spent 20 minutes decluttering the playhouse.
  • Filled a partial trash bag with trash.
  • Filled 0 trash bags for donation.

OVERALL TOTALS:

  • Time spent cleaning, decluttering & organizing my home in 2015: 52.5 hours (not including everyday maintenance)
  • Bags for donation: 22
  • Bags of trash: 21
  • Plus we purged 1 huge Christmas tree, a bag of egg cartons, and a broken bookshelf.

LiveDeclutter2015b


FINAL CHANCE for Kindle Giveaway & Spring Clean eBundle

Today is the last day to enter to win a Kindle and to get your Spring Clean Your Home & Heart eBundle for just $14.74!

I’ve been reading through the books in this eBundle and let me tell you, there are so many fabulous resources. I absolutely love all of the books but I’ll highlight just a few of my current favorites:

Spring Clean Bundle All books

For starters, if you want to organize your home, this is the perfect bundle to help you do that! My own book Chaos to Clutter-Free is in there and Becky Mansfield from Your Modern Family has included her brand new book Freed from Clutter as well!

ClutterFreeBooks

The Simplify Your Wardrobe video course alone is a $39.99 value. That’s like buying the video course for 60% off plus getting 19 other great resources to go with it for FREE!

Simplify Your Closet cover image 001

I just read A Gentle Answer last weekend and it was so soothing to my weary, wintered spirit. I’m already noticing a difference in my response to how I react to my children when they make – and then fight over – their messes. And they’re already noticing a difference in me, too.

A Gentle Answer 3D

 

The Good Wife’s Guide by Darlene Schacht of Time-Warp Wife is powerful. I’m slowly working my way through this one because it provides a lot of food for thought that should be absorbed, not rushed through. (Also, I have the same dress the girl on the cover is wearing and my kitchen is blue – isn’t that fun?!)

Good Wife Guide

I took a sneak peek at Putting on the Spirit by Katie Horner as well as Spring into God’s Word by Mandy Kelly, and WOW I cannot wait to read them thoroughly! I’m making myself hold back so I can slowly saver the inspiring messages this spring.

DevotionalCovers

Tell Your Time is an absolute must read for busy moms! It’s short and sweet, and like the author Amy Lynn Andrews says, “What if you could change your life in 30 pages? And for less than the price of a fancy coffee?” Don’t skip this book – you’ll be so glad you read it!

TellYourTime_FINAL_COVER

So what are you waiting for?! Go enter to win a Kindle and purchase your Spring Clean Your Home & Heart eBundle now – hurry because it all goes away at 11:59pm EST tonight (Sat. 3/7/2015).

For those of you who have read some of the bundle books, which one is your favorite?

Time is running out