Through the years, Emilie Barnes taught me a lot. Her books helped me in my desire for making the home beautiful. It doesn’t matter the size of the home and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Learn to organize, prioritize, delegate. It won’t be perfect but you will be on your way to a brighter, more organized future! Please spare a prayer for Emilie…R.I.P.+
by Emilie Barnes, 101 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter
The Paper Shuffle
One of the most difficult tasks to manage is cleaning up all the paper that comes into your home. How you handle that in an efficient manner will depend on how hung up you are on handling all this paper more than once.
The fewer times you handle paper, the more efficient your system is. The ultimate goal is to handle each piece just one time. Try to determine whether that paper is necessary or not needed the moment you pick it up. Then, either put it in its proper place or dispose of it.
The papers that fill your home right now have probably been handled numerous times. Do you notice how they rarely get to their final resting place?
Pursue this new goal with conviction. It can take extra time in the beginning, but in the end it will give you a clutter-free existence.
Distributing the Mail
Incoming mail is a good test case. When mail arrives, immediately begin the process of distributing it. As you touch each item decide:
Is it junk? Toss in the trash. This usually eliminates at least 50 percent of the mail. To whom does it belong? If it is a bill, give it to the person in the family who is responsible for paying bills.
Does it need follow-up? Give it to the member of the family who will take care of it. (Respond within 48 hours.)
Does it require reading? Place it in your reading file folder so you can read it at your leisure, while waiting at the doctor’s office or while waiting to pick up your children at one of their events.
The art of progress is to preserve order amid change. ~Alfred North Whitehead
We all know that if you don’t fertilize the soil before you plant a garden, nothing can grow. If you don’t knock down the old house and haul away the debris, it’s impossible to lay a new foundation and build a house. We have all heard it said a thousand times before: You have to get rid of the old to make room for the new. ~Debbie Ford, The Best Year of Your Life
Filing the Files
What does one do with all the paper that needs to be filed away for record keeping? Many people prefer to file their papers in file folders and store the folders in file drawers, boxes, baskets, or other containers.
Be sure to label the containers and manila file folders using the following basic headings: ~auto ~bank statements ~credit cards ~escrow papers ~insurance ~Internal Revenue Service ~medical ~Social Security
If you’re practicing the rule to handle each piece of paper just once, this system will help make that a reality. If you have a place for each piece of paper, you won’t need all those in-between spots.
Evening…a Time to Clean Up
Get your children and husband into the habit of cleaning up after themselves, especially before bedtime. Schedule a family meeting to explain the new routine and get everybody on board.
Initially they might not be too excited about the idea of an evening clean up session, but you can make developing this new habit fun. Stress the importance of waking up to an orderly home and ask everyone for ideas so each member is included in the pursuit of this new goal.
It takes 21 days to form a new habit so don’t be discouraged on day 12 if they haven’t caught the vision! Press on. Keep the cleaning simple.
You can either set a certain amount of time each person needs to spend cleaning or designate an area for them to maintain. Even little kids can clean their rooms in just a few minutes.
Adjust the cleaning plan as you go so that it works best for your family.
Beware of Procrastination and Laziness
Procrastination is one of the main reasons we don’t de-clutter our homes—and laziness is one reason a person procrastinates.
The book of Proverbs speaks about this poor character trait:
As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed (verse 26:14).
Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare (verse 20:13).
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys (verse 18:9).
So get out of bed, put your feet on the floor, and start out your day with a purpose. Don’t be a sluggard when it comes to uncluttering your home. Put action to your desires!
“She made Heaven such a reality to us that we felt that we knew more about it, and liked it in a way far better even than our home, where, until she died, her children were wildly, supremely happy.
Religion under her teaching was made so attractive, and all the treasured items she gathered from the lives of the Saints made them so fascinating to us, that we loved them as our most intimate friends, which she assured us they most certainly were.” -Fr. Bernard Vaughn, S.J., “My Mother”, early 1900’s, Painting by Walter Langley
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