Saturday, January 8, 2011

a new year, a new home...


hi sweet friends.

so a new year is upon us.  are you still crawling out from beneath christmas gifts not yet put away and christmas decorations not yet in the garage?

this time of year usually sends me over the edge.  all of us get more stuff than we really need, and now it's time to find all of this stuff a home.  so not fun.

i'll be honest with you -- i gear up for incoming christmas gifts in june.  embarrassing, but true.  i usually spend the last week before school ends cleaning and eliminating to make room for birthday gifts (both my kids have fall birthdays) and christmas gifts. 

it feels like i spend half my life looking for a place to put all of our stuff.  and given that i thought my life was over, the last thing i want to do now is spend the rest of my life looking for a place to put all of our stuff.  what a waste of precious time.

for me to function and feel calm, i need to have everything in its place.  if there are things that take up permanent residence on our dining room table that don't belong, it makes me crazy.  but when all of our things have a final resting place, i too am finally free to rest.

"and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel and might; the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.  His delight will be obedience to the Lord."

-isaiah 11:2-3 


a lot of my dear friends struggle with unrest in their own homes.  their stuff -- and where to put it and how to organize it -- can be overwhelming.  they know they need to tackle it, but they don't know how or where to start.

so given that one of my favorite hobbies as a 10 year old was to clean out my sock drawer and organize my closet (oh so true), i would love to offer some suggestions that may help you turn your chaotic house into a cozy home.

first, and i know you so don't want to hear this, is to try and part with as much stuff as you can.  do you really need 25 purses and 11 spatulas?  i find so much pleasure in donating our extra stuff to people who are really in need.  and the bonus is actually being able to open a cupboard or drawer and find exactly what you need.

and speaking of need, i began teaching my kids (and myself) that this is a year of need, not want.  i will buy them new crayons or new shoes only if they need them, not because they want them.  what a concept.  and less stuff to put away.

secondly, ask yourself what area needs the most attention.  maybe it's your desk. maybe there are coupons, bills, party invitations, recipes, reminders, catalogs, unopened mail and business cards all over the place.  i know that because before too long, my desk could be covered with them.

so i'll show you what works for me.


bills -- i open my mail every day and immediately put my bills in order by due date in a cute little basket on my desk.  i actually have two desks.  one in my kitchen and one in our den.  clearly, a sign that i need organization!   i now pay my bills online which saves, oh i don't know, 50 hours a month.  and i save money on stamps too.  when my bills are paid, i tuck them inside the top drawer of my dining room sideboard.  i know that's not traditional, but it works for me. and at the end of the year, i place all of my paid bills in a box in the garage marked "2010 bills." the end.

the smaller basket on the left holds my bills.  the larger basket to its right holds my file folders.  the basket beneath them holds everything else.  my proverbial junk drawer.   thank God for baskets with lids.  one of the best inventions! by the way, the total price for all three baskets was probably $10.  shop at thrift stores, my friends, not pottery barn.



my desk calendar hides it all!

party invitations -- i enter all party invitations in my calendar book and rsvp the day i receive the invitation.  i then tuck the invitation beneath the calendar on my kitchen desk (just in case I forget the location or their "bring a towel" request).

I also tuck school reminders, class schedules and brochures I'll need in the future under my desk calendar.  out of sight, but not out of mind.


recipes -- i take a lot of recipes from magazines.  i use a magazine holder and file folders to contain them all.  i keep them on my kitchen desk and label each folder with "breakfast," "appetizers" or "desserts."  simple.
however, after looking at my choice in file colors, i need new ones. 
time to update.
target, here i come!

i think the bottom line of success is tackling paperwork the day you receive it.  if you do a little every day, you're done in five minutes.  if you put it off, it usually takes you three weekends to catch up.  and when do you ever want to spend three weekends sorting through paperwork?  exactly.

when all is put away, i am then free to enjoy my day.  and a big part of my day is spending time with God.  sometimes i find time to go on a walk and talk to Him, sometimes i sit in my little corner of my family room and read His word, and sometimes i have enough free time to share with others.  all without feeling restless about the mess on the dining room table or the stuff that's lining the staircase.    
the best.

i hope that helps a little.  if it does, please leave a comment and let me know.  better yet, if there's an area of your home that really makes you feel overwhelmed, let me know that too and i'll see if i can share a few more ideas to help you.

as it is with my first blog, i hope this new blog brings your walk 
a little closer to God. 
and maybe with your mind off of clutter, 
you'll have a little more time to focus on Him.


















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