Even thinking about the word brings up frustrating feelings inside me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house.
I even enjoy organizing.
But with 5 kids and a dog, it’s very possible that things won’t get put in their rightful place.
What does that mean for me?
I find that all the stuff can literally make my house feel stuffed!
An unorganized house not only makes me feel cluttered on the outside but stressed on the inside. As I sat and looked at my cluttered closets yesterday, I realized that there are some issues that are cluttering my heart as well.
[clickToTweet tweet=” Because home is where the heart is, I want to make sure both are decluttered.” quote=” Because home is where the heart is, I want to make sure both are decluttered.”]
So how can we ensure a clutter free heart and home?
How to Declutter Your Heart and Home
Identify the trouble spots
When beginning any new project an assessment is always necessary to determine what needs to take place.
When decluttering my house, I usually know that my closets are a trouble spot.
Closets are the place where junk is collected and shoved in a disorderly fashion to escape the view of potential visitors.
Although I know these are “problem areas” I tend to save those for last.
My main focus is usually on what’s visibly seen–living rooms, dining rooms, kitchen, etc. Those are the places other people see.
I tend to deal with the things in my heart the same way.
The stuff that is most apparent to others, I want to deal with first.
I want to address the behaviors, rather than the real issues, which are much deeper.
Those places are like my closets.
They are shoved deep into my heart, from past hurts or pains and are in danger of rearing their ugly little heads–unless I deal with them.
Just like my closets, eventually they will be opened and stuff will spill out everywhere.
That leads me to the next point.
Focus on one area at a time
Have you ever started doing a project only to get overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies ahead?
I can’t count the times I’ve thought about beginning something new, but when I began thinking about how long it will take or how much needs to be done, I give up before I ever begin.
The key to avoiding a meltdown before you begin is to focus on one area at a time.
Sometimes we are faced with an enormous amount of clutter that we have let build up over the years.
In these cases, this point is crucial.
We can begin asking ourselves what area really needs the most attention?
As I mentioned before, for me it’s definitely my closets. Yesterday, that’s exactly where I started.
I set expectations… I was just going to do my girls’ closets, not every closet in the house.
Starting small would make me feel confident I could complete what I was about to start. It took several hours, but by the time I was done, I felt accomplished and successful.
When decluttering my heart, this same rule applies.
If I begin focusing on too many issues at once, I can quickly give up.
Is there a certain issue that keeps coming up as you read the bible or in conversation with others?
That may be an indication that God wants to do a work in that area of your life.
Different issues will have different courses of action.
Some matters being dealt with may require prayer, reading the bible and processing with a trusted friend, while others may involve a more strategic method involving counselors or pastoral care.
Whatever the issue, you can be sure that once it’s dealt with, you will feel the freedom from the burden of clutter that has been occupying valuable space.
Assess the necessary vs the needless
When going through my girls’ closets, I assessed what I was getting rid of through these two questions: Do they need this? Will they wear this?
When determining what to throw away, I looked only as far as the next season.
If it won’t fit after the summer, it goes in the “give away” pile.
Some people tend to be pack rats.
I’m not saying that’s you.
But obviously there are enough people out there to create a reality tv show about it so let’s go ahead and address it.
If we haven’t used it in the last 2 years, there’s a good probability that it’s not ever going to get used again.
Let me just admit, I used to be that person who kept everything.
It was so bad that when I moved 5 times, I brought boxes that hadn’t been opened since the first time I moved, which was about 9 years earlier.
Why did I continue to move things that I hadn’t used in years?
Because I had a problem getting rid of things.
By the time we moved into our most recent house I didn’t even know what was in those boxes, but I knew I didn’t need them after 9 years. I knew it wasn’t family treasures like pictures or memorabilia from grade school, so it all went in the trash.
I finally came to the point of realizing that carrying these things from house to house was taking up precious garage and attic space.
Similarly, there are things in our lives that are taking up precious time. I have to consistently ask myself, Is this project or activity pertinent or is it cluttering up my calendar?
I can fill up a calendar like nobody’s business.
Maybe you’re the same way.
But just because something seems like it’s good doesn’t mean it is. Paul says it this way, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful” (1 Corinthians 10:23).
[clickToTweet tweet=”Sometimes we have to say no to good things, so we can say yes to great things.” quote=”Sometimes we have to say no to good things, so we can say yes to great things.”]
What we call opportunity, God can be calling clutter.
The key to avoiding clutter in the future is to consistently monitor our stuff.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Whether it’s physical or emotional, our stuff can become clutter that produces chaos in our hearts and homes.” quote=”Whether it’s physical or emotional, our stuff can become clutter that produces chaos in our hearts and homes.”]
As a life coach, I walk through this with women monthly. We talk about the priorities in their lives and how they can continue to keep them as priorities.
Many things vie for our attention, seeking to clutter our hearts, our schedules and our homes. Having a discipline of evaluating where we stand each month can keep us on the right track, reducing the amount of clutter that gathers.
How do you declutter your heart and home?
Do you have a method for keeping the clutter out? If so, I’d love for you to share it today! If not, I encourage you to try the points listed above. Decluttering your heart and home will not just produce more peace, but it will open up areas for God to do an amazing work!