The Difference Three Hours Can Make

I rose early, resisting the temptation to snuggle close to my husband and drift back to dreamland. Tiptoeing across the hardwood floor to the kitchen, I squinted at the glowing numbers on our 1980’s microwave. Three hours. That’s all I had. I knew I couldn’t do everything I needed to in that amount of time.

But I could do something.

3 hours to a haven

So I wiped the previous evening’s mascara from my eyes, brushed my teeth, and pulled open curtains to let the morning light softly awaken my home.

Time to work, I told myself softly.

As I hurried, I kept silently echoing a phrase: Love them enough to give them a soft place to land. Focused on that thought, I rapidly waded through clutter, scrubbed counters and swept floors, one eye continually on the clock.

Only three hours.

Here’s the difference:

Kitchen Before and After

“Our kitchens are where we pour love into the foods we make, reconnect as a family, entertain guests, sit and linger over coffee with friends, and where many childhood memories are made.” – Davonne Parks, Chaos to Clutter-Free

Living Room Before and After

“Remember that the less there is, the less there is to clean. And, the less stuff there is, the more usable space you will have.” – Davonne Parks, Chaos to Clutter-Free

Bathroom Hallway Before After

Wanting an easy success, I tackled the bathroom and hallway next. What you’re seeing on the toilet paper holder isn’t toilet paper – those are paper towels that I tore into fourths. #KeepingItReal

Bedroom Before and After

It took exactly 30 minutes to make the master bedroom feel clean and cozy(ish) again. Hemming curtains and replacing the mirror are on my mental to-do list.

girls room cleanup

And then I decided that, bad allergies or not, it was time for my sleeping beauties to rise and shine.

playroom cleanup

By this time I was tired and wanted to stop cleaning. But I decided I could push through for just a little longer and do a 30-minute power session in our school/play room.

Far from perfect. But so much better. Three hours (and sixteen minutes). That’s all it took to create a haven, a soft place for my family to land, at the end of a long day.

How would you bless your home if you had three extra hours?

home is a haven

$500 Cash Giveaway

Friends, I am so excited to share with you that housekeeping isn’t the only thing I’ve been working on – I’ve also gotten together with a group of bloggers to bless a family with $500 (Paypal) CASH!

Our hope is that we can monetarily bless a family so they can pay off a bill, be able to have their kids participate in extra curricular activities, begin an emergency fund, or take a little weekend getaway.

500CashGiveaway

For your chance to win $500 CASH, simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter –

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends August 25th, 2015 at 11:59pm EDT.  Must be at least 18 years of age.  Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

I’d love to hear – what would you do with an extra $500?


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


Welcome to My Mess

My house is a bit of a mess right now. Laundry needs folded. Dishes need washed. Not to mention the living room and schoolroom that could use a good tidying:

WelcomeToMyMess

That’s my life, my house right now. And while normally messes made in a clean house frustrate me, today they don’t. I’m trying not to see so much of the mess. I’m trying to see the life that created those messes.

Lily and Grace spent the day yesterday having tea parties with their dolls, building with blocks, doing science experiments, and trying out new art projects. So much life. So much love. So much fun. And yes, so much mess.

Sometimes it’s okay to be messy. The important thing is to keep cleaning it up so new messes can be created and more life and memories can happen.

It’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about the Spring Clean Your Home and Heart eBundle this week. Sometimes my house looks pretty clean, sometimes it doesn’t. And my heart? Oh, it needs renewing! I just read A Gentle Answer over the weekend (it’s in the bundle), 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.

Go check out the fabulous details, and make sure to enter to win a Kindle Fire or Paperwhite (winner’s choice) while you’re there!

How do you feel when you see messes in your own house?

WinAKindle2


Why I Stopped Waiting for Perfect

“Mommy, come play with me,” my little one requests. We only have ten minutes before bedtime and we still need to brush teeth and put on PJs. Tomorrow, I tell myself. Tomorrow I’ll have more time to play.

StopWaitingForPerfect

Except that when tomorrow comes, it’s filled with school lessons, office work, laundry, and dinner. Then, before we know it, it’s nearly bedtime again. And as I reflect on our week, I know this whole time I’ve been waiting for perfect:

  • The perfect amount of energy to clean.
  • The perfect slower schedule to be a really fun mom.
  • The perfect mood to exercise.
  • The perfect timing to watch a movie and fold laundry.
  • The perfect opportunity for a service project.

I try to absorb the realization: I miss out on so much good because I wait for perfect.

But I can make my house clean enough even if I’m tired. I can jog in place and do crunches in the living room when it’s too cold to go for a run outside. I can appreciate my husband even though he doesn’t do everything just the way I’d like (I’m pretty sure I don’t do everything exactly how he’d choose, either).

I can also savor time with my kids today even though we’re busy. Here’s a photo and caption I shared on Instagram over the weekend. I’m so glad my desire for perfection didn’t stop me from seeing the beauty in this:

If I continue to wait for perfect, then I’ll spend the rest of my life waiting because perfect will never show up. What I have – and what all of us have – is today.

We can eat healthy foods that fuel our bodies and give us energy. We can savor the fleeting moments we have with our family members. We can organize and declutter so we no longer need to spend time searching for missing items.

In spite of our imperfect circumstances, and in spite of our shortcomings and struggles, there is hope and redemption. We can do amazing things. And those first steps towards amazing things start at home.

Coming Soon Image 2

Declutter Update (Nathan’s spare closet)

Nathan completely surprised me on Saturday evening by cleaning out his closet! I was so excited when I realized what was going on and I ran upstairs to help! 3 bags and 1 hour later, we were done!

I love the imperfectness about his closet – it’s a wonderful reminder to me that organization isn’t always about perfection.

WhenOrganizationIsntBeautiful

Organization isn’t always about beauty or perfection. Sometimes organization is simply about being able to find what you need, when you need it.

Nathan’s Closet Summary:

  • Spent 1 hour decluttering Nathan’s spare closet.
  • Filled 3 trash bags with trash.
  • Filled 0 trash bags for donation.

OVERALL TOTALS:

  • Time spent cleaning, decluttering & organizing my home in 2015: 52 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