Ironically I’ve not yet seen a top ten list of New Year’s resolutions for 2017 or 2016 from a professional research organization, but in 2015 Nielsen reported that 18% of people want to get more organized and I would guess that holds true every year.

As a person who helps people achieve their goals, I know this is a common one that makes a world of difference. Knowing where your stuff is, when you need to get to it, saves time, money and reduces stress. And having a comfortable and attractive place to live or work makes life better. When I work with clients to help them improve their level of being organized, I use principles from the Bible, because they work.

I wish all of the concepts were laid out in one place. But like many specific topics, they are spread throughout the Scriptures and this makes perfect sense because the Bible has 66 books, by 40 authors and was written over a span of 1500 years.

That said, if you are seeking to get your home, office, calendar and life tidy, logically arranged and functioning effectively please contact me for help and in the meantime, here are a few principles from the One who created the world and all its systems:

You are to bring in the table and set out the things that belong on it; then you are to bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. Exodus 40:4 (NET)

Your grandmother was right… have a designated place for everything and then put things in their designated place.

Most clutter happens because people don’t know what to do with our stuff. (This happens to everyone I know, myself included.) For example, my daughter brings home papers from school and in the old days they would sit on the kitchen counter. But now we have a designated school binder. It has the wonder pocket tabs.

img_1707 binder-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Papers that we need to keep for information, or to study for a test, etc., go into the binder and then the binder goes on a cabinet in the kitchen, right it is used. Other papers get tossed or recycled. If she has a cool drawing of project I may take a snapshot of her with the item so we have a record and then it get tossed and she has a really special item she has a keepsake box in her room or it might even get framed and hung.

It does take time and diligence to create a logical “address” for the stuff in our lives, but it is well worth the effort and is key to being organized. In the verse above, God is giving Moses a very detailed set of instructions to set up the place where He would meet with His people. And though our spaces are not as formal as that place, our homes and offices and classrooms and vehicles, etc., will function better if we know where things are and they are logically organized.

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Therefore be very careful how you live – not as unwise but as wise, taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NET)

Use your time wisely.

I use to waste time “browsing” online stores for items that I didn’t need and likely couldn’t afford. I’d plan to search for 10 minutes and 60 minutes later, I was mad that I got caught in the time-waste-vortex, because God’s know I have too much to do.

Using my daily calendar helps me waste less time. I think about what I need and want to do, then schedule time to do it. This might include some online shopping, but I try to set my phone timer so that 10 minutes stays as 10 minutes. I use mu calendar for important things and urgent things alike. Reading my Bible first thing in the morning is very meaningful to me. So is watching University of Cincinnati Basketball, which is date night quality time with my husband when he asks me to watch with him. And yes I the usual work assignments and appointments .

Most importantly, I find that praying about how God wants me to use my time, invites Him into the process and He helps me to get more done.

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Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest. Proverbs 14:4 (NLT)

Be focused and balanced…

I love this verse. In a nutshell it says, that a stable stays clean if there are no oxen, but during Bible days oxen were needed to make a living. To me, that means that some amount of clutter is evidence of a productive life. And cleaning, stooping, composting, etc., is required. So yes, you have a laptop or pots and pans or exercise equipment that enable you to do what you need to do. Just arrange them so they are well cared for and positioned attractively.

It is wise to be balanced regarding possessions as you pursue a well-organized life.

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Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NLT)

Get help from a friend or professional to get organized if you need it. I need help with many things because they are not my area of expertise. I am grateful for those who provide support. And – I am grateful that some people are willing to forgo other things or risk embarrassment in order to hire me to help them get organized. I help them to succeed.

It is a privilege and a joy to see a space go from dominated by clutter to arranged, tidy, organized… Yes!

I hope these principles will encourage you to achieve greater organization in 2017.

Kelly

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Let me start with a simple statement. The way you position your furniture is key to making your space function well. And it is a huge part of making the space comfortable and attractive.

I was recently visiting a new neighbor of mine. Sherry Grzanka moved to Ohio from Nashville with her husband and two sons about a year ago. Sherry is a true Southern Bell. She loves the home. Ironically she injured her arm a few weeks after moving to greater Cincinnati and despite her best efforts to get the family room arranged, she was not still thrilled with the layout of the space.

After we talked about the room for a few moments, I said, “How about we just tweak a few things.” She said “Sure, let’s do it.”

Before: The Love Seat and Leather Chair
are across from the TV

Before: The sofa is not yet facing the TV. It’s perpendicular to it.

Sherri’s spacious family room is open to the kitchen. Surveying the space, I asked Sherry what the room was primarily used for. She said, watching TV and entertaining. In the before picture, a love seat and club chair were positioned in a “v” shape directly across from the television. The longer sofa sat perpendicular to the TV. So I said, let’s try moving the sofa directly across from the flat screen so more people have a front-on view.

With the sofa now parallel with the TV, we made an ” L” by moving the shorter love seat to now be perpendicular with the TV. This created a more balanced room. We also moved a red accent chair that had been in the front corner near the TV to the back corner. We made this area a secondary focal point by hanging the artwork that had been leaning on the mantle on the wall where it could connect with the red of the chair.

The brown leather chair, which originally formed a “V” with the love seat was now in front of the room near the TV. This allowed all of the brown leather to be in a cohesive unit with accents of color added in. (I suggested the Sherri buy a red throw blanket to go on the brown leather chair in the future.)

After: The brown leather furniture forms a cohesive seating area for watching and conversing.

After

After

We finished by positioning the various side tables and bringing two larger lamps from a different room. Though the moves only took 15-20 minutes, they made a world of difference to the function and feel of the room. And Sherri’s son Jack, seen “enjoying” the sofa agreed with this sentiment.

Here are a few principles that might come in handy, if you want to do some rearranging:

  • You might have to do the actual move to see if it will work.
  • If you can’t do the move without help, try to draw the floor plan from eagle eye view on a sheet of paper. Draw your current arrangement on one sheet and your new proposed plan on another. Compare to see if  the new arrangement has the potential to be an enhancement.
  • Sometimes you need to get rid of something. Less furniture might be better.
  • If you are watching TV in the space, consider centering the sofa directly across from the TV. Place a sofa table or attractive bench behind the sofa to add “jewelry” to the back.
  • Place coffee or accent tables so that each seat has a spot to place a beverage or book.
  • Artwork can bring focus to an area. It’s a great way to share your personality.

    After: Close-up of the Red Chair

  • Pillows and Throw blankets are ways to tie colors together and they are comfy for lounging.

If you would like ideas on how to rearrange a room in your home – please let me know.

Get your furniture groove on…

Home-ista Kelly

P.S. The red wreath in the first photo is now adorning Sherri’s front door.

When dear friends, Adam, Heather and their two young sons, came for dinner a few years back, Adam paid me a huge – but unintended compliment. I heard him say to say to his wife, “This is a really nice house. You know what’s missing… the clutter.” I had to laugh, and I admitted that a lot of the clutter had been corralled in anticipation of having them as guests.

Ironically every time I do a “de-cluttering clean sweep” of mostly mail and un-filed papers, but toys, clothing, and kitchen contents are included too, I confirm that I want to live with less clutter more of the time.

As you prepare to have guests for Thanksgiving, this is a great week to purge the visual noise that makes your décor less vibrant. The picture below is my kitchen desk/workspace and I’ll use it is an example of some principles that might be helpful.


First think about how a space needs to function. My desk the hub where I think, dream, pay bills, work, write, etc. The key items needed are my laptop computer, phone, and office supplies. The desk is also my five-year old daughter’s favorite workspace where she uses the computer, draws pictures and does “homework” She needs crayons, markers, tape and place to put all of the finished artwork. My teenagers also do homework, Facebook and check their fantasy football stats here too.

Keep in mind how to you want to area to feel -which will affects the choices for how it looks. The desk is part of our kitchen and I want to feel organized, hopeful and welcoming. The layout of the space along with the colors used, textures, are the vehicles that help create the feeling. I basically have natural materials in neutrals with a few splashes of a burnished red.

Now, move (or get rid of) the non-essentials. This is usually the toughest thing to do. But, I do not need really really, to have my high-school yearbook or two board games in this space.

You will have to identify a permanent new “home” for the items that are being “relocated” and those that stay.

For the items that will remain, find permanent homes that make the items look as attractive as possible.

I think my laptop is pretty on her own. But the magazines needed a to be de-emphasized so they are on the left in the woven basket. It’s an open container so they are easy to access, but it looks neat.

Koah’s crayons and markers are in a red lidded-box from TJ Maxx. It looks great and adds a pop of my accent color, and she can move it to where ever the art is happening. I repeated the red by spray painting a wooden “K” from Hobby Lobby. I used picture-hanging putty to attach it to the tile.

The large brown woven basket with the lid is a great place to “temporarily” stash stuff like unopened mail, school papers, recipes to try, keys, or whatever needs to be hidden. However we have to go back and handle its contents daily or it might be “out of sight, out of mind” which will cause another set of problems. (Both woven basket were purchased at Pottery Barn and I suspect similar ones can be found at Target, Crate & Barrel, Pier One, etc.)

Most of the items that get hidden in a de-cluttering sweep have permanent homes outside of the kitchen in a four drawer metal filing cabinet or in binders that live in the cabinet above the desk.

Use your space creatively to store what you need. Half the cabinets above the desk have binders. The other side has dishes and serving pieces. I put plastic organizers in the drawers to make it easy to find, tape, pencils, post-it notes, my label maker, etc.

Important side note – clutter thrives like weeds in a garden – because we are all so busy that we rarely take the time to purge, sort and put away the “stuff” when or before it comes into the home. Once a permanent home is identified, I can usually manage the clutter if I commit to spend 15-30 minutes handling stuff daily.

So… force yourself to take time daily – to corral the clutter. Maybe you can put things away before you go to bed. Or set the timer for 20 minutes and address mess after dinner. Purge before you head out for work. Or regularly plan to have guests and purge before they arrive. Just joking…

More on décor next time…

Happy De-Cluttering

Home-ista Kelly

P.S. My desk is not this neat the vast majority of the time! But, if needed I can clean sweep it in about 90 seconds