Monday, April 26, 2010

A Sense of Order

This weekend, we took some time to clear out clutter. I went through my closet and made some hard decisions about what I loved the most; lesser loved items went to the thrift store. My husband and I did the same thing in the garage, tossing items that were past their prime and bagging up usable items to donate. After filling the van, I immediately drove to the thrift store, before I could reconsider and start removing items from the donation bags. There is still more to be done, but I feel lighter now.

It seemed fitting that I came across this reading in my Women's Devotional Biblewhen I returned home:
"A Sense of Order"
by Emilie Barnes

A home [filled with a welcoming spirit] has a sense of order about it. A sense that people, not possessions, are in charge of the household...that life is proceeding with a purpose and according to an overall plan.

Most of us respond positively to that kind of order in our lives because we are made in the image of God, and because God organized the whole universe to proceed in an orderly fashion. Think of the creation, when God created a beautiful, populated globe out of darkness and chaos. He is the ultimate organizer, and the results or his ordering Spirit are always good. We automatically feel more comfortable and more welcome when we sense his kind of order in our lives.

In a truly welcoming home, organization takes its proper place in the overall scheme of the universe. The daily chores of maintenance become something we can glory in, partly because they don't overwhelm us or define our whole existence.

Don't let this talk or order and organization make you feel guilty or panicked. Even in chaos and clutter in your home and life are wearing you down, the solution is not a whirlwind effort to "get organized." Unless you begin with the heart, the most complete reorganization of house and home will just give you a clean slate for chaos--and may drive you and everyone else crazy in the process.

We humans weren't made to "get organized." We were made to live as God's children, worshipping him and delighting in him. As we open our hearts and attitudes to God, putting him first in our lives and looking to him for guidance, he will show us little ways to organize the chaos and lead a more peaceful, ordered existence.

And it doesn't happen all at once. It has taken me thirty years to develop the systems that help me maintain my life--and I'm still learning.
I really want to second that it doesn't happen all at once. Getting it together takes time--skills build on top of each other; seasons of life change and make organization either easier or more difficult (such as  children in the toddler phase). Think of it less as baking a "dump-it cake" and more as building a layer cake.


  1. Thank you for this post! Exactly what I needed on this messy Monday!

  2. I really needed to read this today as I deal with the clutter around here too. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. It's especially hard when I feel like people "Judge us" on our clutter and make rude comments about what we chose to do with our time etc. I have been getting rid of alot of outgrown children's clothes, the potty chair, baby bathtub, etc. but it seems like the process is never ending. The more bags that go to the charity shop I see more things that need to go... it's hard to keep the motivation up and continue to "make those decisions" and not just give up and veg and accept the status quo. Thanks for your motivational post...

  4. Just what I needed! Thanks for posting!

  5. My new year's resolution was to declutter my home in 2010. That gives me 12 months to do it. When you break it down into 365 days (less if you take time off for holidays :p ) it makes it sound quite possible. I'm about 3/4's of the way through the main living area (kitchen, LR, bedrooms). You hit the nail on the head when you said decluttering made you feel lighter. I've reached a point where the decision to purge something takes all of 3 seconds. It gets very easy once you get a taste of lightness.