Today is a two-fer day! Not only is it Day 13 in my Clutter-Free Challenge, but I also have a devotion running on Encouragement for Today titled, “Remind Me Who I am.” In that devotion, I promised to include some Scripture verses that remind me who (and whose) I am. If you stopped by to read those verse, welcome. I’ll include them first. Then I’ll include Day 13 in my series on decluttering.
Remind Me Who I am!
For many years I defined myself by what I did. Unfortunately, I didn’t know I was doing that at the time. I just knew an inner drive to achieve consumed me. My hunger for significance led me to over-commit and lead a very stressed-out life.
It took a move across country and the removal of all my responsibilities to reveal the truth about how I defined myself. And it wasn’t how God saw me.
Here are some Scripture verses that have meant a lot to me, and help me understand how God sees me. I am …
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Let these truths settle in to your heart today. You are not loved because of what you do, but because of who you are!
Now on to the practical topic for today - Day 13 in our Clutter-Free Challenge.
Today we are going to address bedrooms and baths. I’m sorry we won’t have time to address children’s rooms specifically (which could take a week if your kids are like mine). For today, the tips I’m sharing will likely apply to your room.
If you stood at the door to your bedroom, what would you see? A treadmill doubling as a clothes hanger? Books on the floor? Bills strewn on the dresser? Laundry piled on the bed? Now, ask yourself: Why is it like that?
Here are some possible reasons:
- The closet is too full
- The dressers are overstuffed
- There aren’t enough hangers
- You need a bigger jewelry case, or less jewelry
- You need a bookcase, a bigger bookcase, or fewer books
- You hate taking the three extra steps needed to hang up your robe
The answer to your clutter problem is somewhere in here. You probably know what it is, but you avoid it because of the domino effect. In other words, your clothes are draped over the treadmill because your closet is too full. Your closet is too full because your under-the-bed boxes are filled with things you don’t wear any more. One problem leads to another, and it’s easier to ignore them all by doing nothing.
Perhaps the answer lies in solving one problem, while allowing another to sit until you can address it. You can’t solve everything at once. But you can change something … even if means loading books, magazines and clothes in plastic tubs until you can figure out what to do with them. So, here are some suggestions to deal with clutter.
Minimize visual clutter
Even if your husband’s ties are organized by color – but are hanging in plain view – it’s still clutter. When possible, avoid the temptation to install hooks or racks in your master bedroom, as these create visual clutter. Instead, move these items to the closet, or hide behind a door.
If possible, invest in a bedside table with drawers or shelves. Use it to store reading material, glasses, hand lotion, journal, pens and television remote controls. Limit the number of items on top of your bedside table to one book and magazine, plus your lamp, clock and one decorative item.
If you don’t have the option for a bedside table with drawers, purchase a decorative box with a lid to store your nighttime accessories.
To get even more storage, consider putting a small dresser by your bed instead of a nightstand. Or if you are a reader, consider a specially-designed reader’s table, with multiple shelves for books and magazine.
Fill every space under your bed with specially-designed boxes. Spend a bit more to purchase the kind with wheels for ease of access. Make sure you measure the height of that space to avoid a second trip to the store. If you don’t want to buy boxes, consider storing suitcases under the bed filled with items to store. Another option are the space-saving bags. Use these to store items that are bulky such as linens, comforters or heavy winter outerwear. To hide this storage space, use a bed skirt.
Here are some ideas on what to store under your bed:
- Off-season clothing
- Seldom-worn dress clothes
- Shoes or boots
- Extra bedding
- Books, DVDs or CDs
- Craft supplies
- Photo albums
To make the most of the space you have, take the time to empty each drawer in your dresser. Consider the following tips:
- Store themed clothing elsewhere (exercise, pool/beach)
- Remove unwanted or off-season clothing
- Match socks; discard singles (or use to dust)
- Discard stretched/torn/overly-worn undergarments
- Add drawer dividers to sort smaller items, like socks and underwear
If you need storage but don’t have the budget or room for another piece of big furniture, consider these ideas for alternate storage:
- Hope chest or trunk. This can sit at the foot of the bed, and doubles as a bench.
- Vintage or antique suitcases stacked on top of each other. These suitcases could hold blankets, winter clothes, sweaters
- Decorative covered boxes. Stack multiple boxes on top of each other. They can hold lightweight items like scarves, belts, and jewelry
- Vintage picnic basket. Tuck the television remote, CDs or DVDs in a picnic basket with lid.
For years I focused on every other room in the house – except my bedroom. It was a disaster. Not restful. Very stressful. About six years ago I decided it was time for me and my husband to have a clutter-free haven. So I applied my own tips and LOVE how orderly it is. And I’m more motivated to keep it that way too. Although I still leave my bathrobe on the unmade bed some days … just keeping it real.
I hope this post inspires you to focus on your own room first, then de-clutter the other bedrooms in the house.
I’ll end with some tips for the bathroom. There are two places that seem to get the most cluttered in my bathrooms: The medicine cabinet and under the sink. Here are a few tips for de-cluttering these spaces.
Here’s a step-by-step approach:
- Remove all containers. Clean shelves.
- Throw away empty bottles.
- Safely discard unused prescription medication (return to a pharmacy for safe disposal)
- Consider storing medications away from humidity of a bathroom
- Discard products you won’t use or don’t like
- Combine like products when safe to do so (like suntan lotion)
- Replace items in similar groupings
- Add tiered wire shelving for small items
- Add labeled drawers for small items
- Create kits: camping, manicure, beach, first aid
- Make a list of emergency products to have on hand
Under the Sink
Don’t neglect to bring order to the space under the sink. You can apply many of the same steps as the medicine cabinet. By adding affordable stacking shelves, you can utilize every inch of vertical space. Consider adding baskets to stand items like curling irons and blow dryers. You might also add stacked drawers. These come in plastic, wire or mesh, and in various sizes.
Tomorrow will address the dreaded black-holes of our homes – the bedroom closets! Until then …
Grace & Peace,
Heavenly Father, You created us with a need to rest … our bodies and our minds. I confess that I haven’t always honored Your request to rest, nor have I prioritized it in my life. Help me to create a place of peace and quiet, where I can sleep without feeling like there’s something I should be doing. Guide me as I de-clutter my bedroom and the rooms of those I love. I want to be a woman who is rested, strong and ready to do Your work. In Jesus name, Amen.
If you want more encouragement and tips on how to bring order to your mind, schedule and home, I hope you’ll consider purchasing my book, “I Used to Be So Organized.” It’s available through Proverbs 31 Ministries, Amazon, or wherever books are sold. Thank you.