Getting Organized in 2017
by Cheri Cowell
The holidays are over and the calendar has flipped to a new year. Use these tips to get yourself, your home and your heart better organized for a productive 2017.
The best way to organize a room is to bring in several empty containers and label them: junk, sort, donate, must keep and ponder. Remove everything not used or adored in the last six months to one of those containers. Do this quickly, with a timer if need be, so you don’t get distracted. Then take the contents of JUNK to the trash, the contents of DONATE to friends or a thrift store, the MUST KEEP return to the shelf, and hold the PONDER box to re-sort a month later. Giving yourself distance from this last task will help you to ponder the contents with less emotion. Place these items into piles such as file, find a new home, and trash. Before you know it, one room in your house will be clean and organized.
To organize your life become a bag lady. Assign a bag to each job in your life (a bag for PTA, a bag for Bible study, a bag for carpool, a bag for meals, etc.). Spend some time assembling items in each bag that will make that task a little easier. For instance, in the meals bag make a list of your family’s top ten meals and the items needed for each one. Be sure to include a pad for making a grocery list and a pen. Include your coupons or add the weekly sales flyer when it comes in and mealtime will become an easier task. For the carpool bag, place items in the bag you can do while waiting—a new devotional book, a gratitude journal, a praise CD—and add the carpool phone list as well as the school schedule. When it is time to do that task, just grab the bag and off you go.
Learn the secret of giving away. One year I decided to ask God to show me what He wanted me to give away and boy, was I surprised. Besides all of the clothes, purses, scarves, belts, shoes and jewelry I knew I needed to get rid of, He asked me to get ride of a few new items I’d not even worn. But when I obeyed, God had a huge gift in store for me. Not only did I feel much better having blessed someone else with beautiful things, a friend called me to say her mother had some clothes she wanted to give me—designer clothes I never would have bought myself. “Did I have room for them,” she asked. You never know what God can give you unless you let go of what you already have.
Get everyone on a single calendar. When everyone in the family is on a different calendar, things are bound to be missed, and life just becomes more stressful. Decide if the family will use a giant paper wall calendar, or a Google calendar on their cell phones. Add the big family things first such as church and holidays. Then add the important commitments. Finally, when a new doctor’s appointment or a soccer tournament comes up, it will be easier to see who will be where and how that new thing plays into all of the other things already on the calendar. And make sure Dad adds his trips and other commitments to this calendar. This only works when the whole family is working off the same calendar.
Schedule some YOU time. Getting organized also means making time for you. You can’t take care of everyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Schedule time for exercise, for going to lunch with girlfriends and for spiritual renewal. Put it on the calendar just as you would any other important commitment. Even Jesus went away to renew and refresh. You can’t keep giving if you don’t recharge. Make this a new habit in 2017.
Finally, don’t forget to organize your spiritual life. Begin with a little de-cluttering–what baggage are you carrying around that you need to get rid of? Do you harbor resentment, anger or unforgiveness? Take these things to God and He will give you a clean slate. But don’t leave it there—the Bible tells us an empty room refills with like items unless we change course (Matthew 12:43-45). So where there was resentment sow contentment, where there was anger sow peace, and where there was unforgiveness sow mercy. Soon you will have a weed-free garden and a great way to begin 2017.
http://www.organizinghomelife.com/about-me/ – A homeschooling mom and pastor’s wife
http://christianhomekeeper.org/ – The 21st Century HomeKeeper
http://www.christian-homemaking.com/ – Tap into your God-given organizing ability
http://www.homemakingorganized.com/ – Homemaking tips and articles and free printables
https://www.pinterest.com/youngwifesguide/christian-homemaking/ – A Pinterest page
Clutters Last Stand by Don Aslett
The Get Yourself Organized Project by Kathi Lipp
Having a Martha Home in a Mary Way by Sarah Mae
Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul by Ruth Soukup
The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark
Cheri Cowell is the author of 365 Devotions for Peace (Zondervan), and Parables and Word Pictures Bible study (AMG). You can learn more about Cheri at her website www.CheriCowell.com, or twitter.com/chericowell or facebook.com/chericowell
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