Tuesday, March 04, 2008

On the Gospel and Clutter

I am taking a life-changing class right now. I say "life-changing" because this class has practically impacted my life and lifestyle more than any other thus far. It is "Redeeming the Time" -- basically a class on time management, or rather, a class on self management within the amount of time I have.

Among other things, I have had to track my every move for 4 days (including weekends), write out goals for this season of life, submit my day planner to be scrutinized by Mrs. Mohler (yes, it was just a year ago that dear woman inspired me to go purchase such a thing), write an ideal week schedule based on my priorities and declutter t
he worst areas of my home (see photos below).

The living room closet BEFO
RE pictures -- a mess of outerwear, art supplies, tools, videos, games, etc. Scroll down to see the delightful after!

This week our assignment was to make a housekeeping schedule. I have had a rather ragged schedule in the past, but ironing it out a bit has helped tremendously. Most of the weekly jobs I do I can fit in to the early morning time slot before I go to work (that was the depressing part of keeping track of every day -- so much was covered by being gone to work!). With the help of my housekeeping schedule, I can keep things fairly tidy and clean, just leaving minimum maintenance for the weekend (for instance, the neighbors might get frowny if I vacuum at 5:00am). I do all the laundry on Mondays, and focu
s on our bedroom that day. All clothes, shoes, jackets and bags get put back in their proper place (especially helpful if we've been gone over the weekend, or just running around alot). Tuesdays I clean the bathroom. Sometimes this means scrubbing down the tub and shower, sometimes bleaching the floor, sometimes just the basics. Wednesday is grocery, and once a month cleaning out the fridge (entirely). Thursday is general household straightening (mainly living room), and Friday and Saturday are dusting, vacuuming and special projects (those are the nights Josh works, and I can put in at least an hour or two while he's gone).

This has been so helpful to me! Instead of feeling like "ooooooooh, more chores!", (which is what I was afraid of), I instead feel relief! I simply do not stress about the chore that does not go with that day. I know it is planned for another day, so
I do not need to consider it now. It actually takes a mental burden away.

Another thing that has been utterly helpful, and ultimately freeing is to recognize what is causing my disorganization. Is it overcommitment? Procrastination? Perfectionism? Maybe you can identify with those. What are the roots underneath those failures? Usually pride, selfishness, laziness, etc. Call that sin what it is! That is good news! That means the gospel applies to my disorganization! Christ died for my sin of pride and laziness, so I have grace to repent of those sins, and walk in newness of life. I do not have to flounder in despair, trying time and again to pull myself up by my bootstraps to "get it together". I can't save myself from sin. Christ saves me. I must repent and ask for his aid.

Some people are more naturally inclined to organization -- my sister Anna, for instance. But being a messy person naturally is no excuse. We are all sinners naturally. We must fight the sin of laziness and pride, and cling to the gospel as our solution!
Okay, if you care about this sort of thing, here is the after of my closet. I put the hats and scarves in a basket, my paints and crafty stuff in a shoebox, combined the tool boxes so the little one can be used for lightbulbs (they were always dangerously teetering on the edges of shelves), and organized the videos and game baskets so they are accessible in the front of the closet, not under the coats.


Steph said...

Great job Gret! I'm sure it feels like a wonderful relief to have that all sorted out... ya wanna come over and show me on my bedroom? :)

Anonymous said...

Great job on the closet! That's a good idea to plan out your housekeeping for the week. I should try that myself!

Sharon said...

What? You mean the gospel even applies to the clutter in my house? Thanks for the challenge and the encouragement even in the seemingly mundane and monotonous chores of housekeeping. And thanks again for the book recommendations. I've been looking them up and deciding which ones I'm going to buy. I found a few on bookmooch, which is great. Here we are trying to get RID of stuff, and I'm bringing in more. :) It's worth it though, and I know I'll be glad for my books when we're in Brazil.

James and Christen said...

I was wondering if you still used your day planner. My runs out at the end of March I have been debating on whether or not to replace it.

I needed the reminder of how much an organized life produces more peace. Wish I could get in on the whole class with you.

Gretchen said...

Steph -- um, yeah! I'll be right over. :)

MR -- It's been helpful to me!

Sharon -- Ha ha! YES! Christ atoned for my laziness and pride no matter how it manifests itself in my life!

Chris -- Yes, I keep my planner still! I had to submit it to Mrs. Mohler for inspection. I use it now more than ever. I bet you can get refills for yours.

Beth said...

Sounds like an awesome class. Looking back, I wish my college had offered classes like that- so practical.

Enjoying your blog.

GloryandGrace said...

You've been tagged! :)

jillybean said...

Sounds like a great class! Greg is always trying to get me to write out my list of chores and organize them into daily assignments like that rather than waiting until I am completely overwhelmed and then bursting into tears because I am an unfit wife, mother and woman in general. :) I made a list actual last week and all the basic "to-do's", but so far we haven't done anything with them. The closet looks great and I'm sure feels so fun when you open that door. :)

Anonymous said...


Thanks for telling everyone I am organized, even though currently my home looks like Jonestown. . .the day after.... har har..>:) We just finished Apples of Gold, and Hila Inman did our lesson on Hospitality and taught us so much on how to be hospitable with our homes to family and friends....one thing being keeping organized. :)


Gretchen said...


Yeah right.

And Rogue is Bob's twin.

Karen said...

If there is one thing I've learned over the years, it's avoid "stuff", the stuff that makes up clutter at all costs. It's hard...and I still have to re-learn it a couple times a year when stuff creeps into this home. I enjoyed the post!

Hugs, Gretchen!

Anonymous said...

Gret - one of my favorite quotes of the year was by Paul Tripp - "We live in the utterly mundane". Yes! Christ did die for the "acceptable sins" too...it's so good to know that we can praise him as a missionary in deepest, darkest Africa, but also in our living room as we vacuum. As Paul Tripp commonly says, "PRAISE HIM!"

GloryandGrace said...

Hey! Didn't get a chance to talk to you at the seminar last week. Did you get to stay for the Q&A? If not, I have notes I can get to you if you'd like. It was GREAT--

R. D. Bailey said...

way too organized for me:)
but I will send my wife over here to appreciate it. her site is