Spring Cleaning-It’s really all about the clutter

 

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Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

 

It is that season.  The temperatures begin to rise, the sun comes out, green emerges in our gardens and we feel this urge to “spring clean”.  And if you are like me, the picture above makes you take a deep breath and feel a sense of relief.  You want your whole house, whole office, whole life to look and feel this serene.

I realized years ago, that my bent towards organization and that spring cleaning urgency, which frankly hits me about every three months, was really a longing for space-white space.  It was a need for room to breathe.  It was a desire to be able to find things, keep up with my schedule and have moments to breathe.  In the end it meant I simply wanted SPACE- space to live, laugh, relax.

I came up with the following acrostic to help me organize and manage my time.

  • S-Sort
  • P-Purge
  • A-Assign
  • Contain
  • Evaluate

We often begin the process wrong, and so in the end, we simply do little more than move things around, finding ourselves a few months down the road, handling the same items, shifting them from one space to another.  If you can embrace my SPACE method, I promise you will find exactly that-space to live, to play, to breathe, to rest.

Step 1 is to Sort.  You can begin as small as one drawer, one closet or as large as one room.  Simply sort the items into categories:  like items together.

Step 2 is to Purge.  Take a good look at what you have.  Get rid of duplicates, broken items, the unknown…  Elect to either throw the items away or donate.  Either way have a bin or bag for both.

Step 3 is to Assign.  All that remains are the items you have elected to keep.  These should be things you use or enjoy.   Decide where you are going to put each item.  Some may find a home on a shelf, some in a drawer, some a closet.  What matters at this point is to simply decide where the item is going to live.  If the item is going to be moved to another room, take it there and simply leave it in a holding space until you are ready to address the space.  Once you have assigned each item a place to reside, step back and determined whether or not the space is sufficient to hold the items you have assigned to it.  If not-yep, hate to tell you, but it’s time to purge a little more.

Step 4 is to contain.  So many of us want to rush out and buy all these cute bins, containers, labels BEFORE we begin organizing.  PLEASE DON’T!  You will waste money and simply find yourself trying to organize the items you bought to help you organize.  Once you know what you are keeping and where you are going to put it you determine how it will be stored in the space.  If you need extra containers, hooks, boxes, etc. you will know what size and how many.  Make a list of any items you need to purchase in order to effectively contain the items in the assigned space.

Step 5 is to evaluate.  This is the step most of us want to ignore.  We want to organize our space and have it magically remain organized.  But that sweet friends is simply not reality.  We live.  Our families live.  Items make their way into our homes and at some point many of those items need to find their way out of our homes.  It is important to periodically (maybe once every 4-6 weeks) evaluate your space.  Is there an area causing you frustration?  Do you find yourself distracted each time you set out to begin a project or work in a particular space?  While this step can often be the most difficult to do, it really is the key to success.  The more mindful we become about our spaces, the more we stop to think about the impact of our spaces on our lives, the more intentional we become with our purchases and our decisions.  As we begin to live with intention and focus, we find that space we have longed for, and in that moment we take the deep, rejuvenating breath.

*this same process works for your calendar and time management system, but that’s a whole other blog 🙂

 

 

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I Give!!! (But, I vow to focus and finish)

I GIVE!  It is 8:00 at night, and quite frankly I am T-I-R-E-D.  I have too much on my plate, all of my own choosing, and quite frankly I have been following very little of my own advice.  So tonight, I feel like a two ton gorilla ready to plop down and call it quits.  There’s nothing wrong with my life-we are employed, we are healthy, we are safe.  No, it’s just all that little stuff-that stuff that when not managed well turns you into either a screaming hyena or an overwhelmed gorilla.  I am juggling two businesses, homeschooling (for the first time) a high school student, managing a home, and living out my gifts volunteering with Christian Women’s Job Corps.  I love it all.  But, some days I get distracted, I fail to block time and my mind starts wandering.  I fail to focus and finish.  Oh, how many times I have uttered those words to my children, “Focus, finish what you started.”  Ouch.  So goes motherhood.  It always comes back around doesn’t it?!  As the tension crept up my back today, as I lay awake at 4:15 a.m. thinking of all the tasks left undone, I silently screamed out “I GIVE!”.  

Focus.  That’s what I need to do.  I need to set aside some time this week to tackle three items on each of my projects.  I need to focus.  I need to quit multi-tasking, flitting from one thing to another, attempting to juggle.  I need to focus.  Focus brings stillness, quiet, resolve.  Focus brings fresh breath.  Focus helps me hear the still small voice of my Master.  I can’t finish until I focus.  I’ll never finish if I look too far ahead or keep turning to my right and to my left.  I’ll only finish when I focus.  Focus will bring clarity to the path, enable me to see what is ahead.  Intent focus has me looking only one step ahead, at the one thing that needs to be done next.    

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While I have to admit I still feel a bit like an over weight, grumpy gorilla, I have new resolve.  I know God has ordained my days.  I know God has a plan.  I know God can and will bring clarity.  Focus to finish.