Monday, August 03, 2009

Messy, Messy, Messy

Do you have a hard time getting your life together?? Do you spend more time looking for things than you do getting work done? Do you constantly pray for more time in the day?
Joan Westphal, an organization specialist, has a few tips for you.


I have made it a habit to get up 30 minutes early in order to pray and read my Bible. My goal is to read the Bible in one year. I found that giving the Lord my undivided attention in the morning left me with a day that flowed more smoothly. I still have normal complications but being at peace and knowing that it is in His hands helped me to relax.
One morning I read a newspaper article that stuck with me. The title was “45 Life Lessons and 5 To Grow On.” #42 read, “Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.” It hit me….I was a CLUTTER BUG. How did this happen? I was putting things away. I could walk through my hallway. Yet, I still felt like a Clutter Bug.

I wondered how many things I had that weren’t used. Even worse, how many things were still around because “one day I might need them?” I was determined to de-clutter my home.

My first problem was how to start….my plate was full. Children, laundry, soccer games, practice, volleyball games, more practice, dinner, take my mom for her chemo sessions, more practice, etc. You get the idea. While I waited at practice, chemo and more practice, I thought how I could sort through the clutter. Since I couldn't read the Bible in one day or lose weight in one day, maybe I should consider a plan that would materialize over time. Maybe if I found a way to declutter a little each day - in six months I would be well on my way.

I started with my kitchen. The place that I seemed to spend most of my time….breakfast, lunch, dinner, homework, science & geography projects… get the idea. I went first to my junk drawer and cleaned out my ancient coupons, broken rubber bands, the excess twist ties and the items that were not “useful, beautiful or joyful.” I felt so great about this accomplishment, I wanted to shout and dance the cha-cha. I made a dent and it only took a few minutes. This was going to work!

I cleared a place in my basement for four boxes and labeled them. REPAIR, DONATE, ASK AND SELL. The REPAIR was for items that were worth keeping a small family heirloom (joyful) that needed gluing.

The DONATE was for anything that was going to an organization. I ended up with a second DONATE box for things that I would give to other family members or friends.

The ASK was for my husband or children. This included things that I wanted to get rid of but had better ask them if they agreed.

The SELL was for an eventual garage sale. This box would be around for a while until I had time to go through everything.

You should see my house now! If you need to de-clutter your house, start small. Do just a little every day and you'll be surprised how much your can accomplish!

If you have questions, send them to Joan Westphal at

"To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." - Ephesians 3:20 -


Cassidy said...

Congratulations Mrs Westphal!
Your officially a blogger...and now I think I'm going to use these tips on my room. It's atrocious. Good luck!

Alaina Maloney, CLACC Secretary said...

If I was a clutter bug I would totally use your ideas - gladly - though - my husband is such a neat freak that any clutter I might accumulate would only get in his way. Not a good idea if you've ever met my husband you know!! Thanks for the great blog.....Alaina Maloney

On the road to de-clutter said...

Thanks for the great advice! I look forward to more each week!

Your description of things needing to be "useful, beautiful or joyful” is a good guide in de-cluttering my home and my life!

I have often complained that I do not have enough time in the day to devote to reading the Word and praying. Your idea of waking up 1/2 hour early just for that purpose is so simple and yet genius!!

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Decluttering in small steps is great advice. I look at everything and get overwhelmed and walk away. Small steps is a great way to start. Thanks for the great tips!