Friday, December 17, 2010

Challenge Week 5: Organization of our Homes

Last Week

Well, we are already in week 5 of the Being Intentional Challenge!! It has gone by so fast! I hope you have been taking the time to read the different challenges each week, and to put them into practice in some small way in your life. And who knows, it might even start a habit in your life that you can continue on down the road. Last week we talked about relationships. About healing our relationships with people. About loving people. Forgiving people. I will not say it's easy, but I will say it's rewarding and it's what God calls us to do as His saints, loved and forgiven by Him. Call on His Word and His promises!!

This Week

You know, it is a challenge to be a stay-at-home-mom and keep you house neat and clean all the time. If you are a SAHM, you know it just doesn't happen. It might seem like we have all this time and if we are home, how could we not keep a perfectly clean house? But when you have 1, 2, 3 or however many little rugrats running around, in direct opposition to all your cleaning efforts, then you know what I'm talking about!!
And then we have the question of how clean do we need/want to keep our homes. And what is the reason we want our homes to be clean in the first place??
I know for me, a clean house means my heart is at rest. I can relax, calm down, and breath in a clean house. A dirty house makes me restless, irritable, and more impatient! I know this about myself, and I'm not saying it's all good, but it's how I roll. I will say that my home is definitely not clean all the time, not even close!! And so there are things I must let go of, especially during this season with small kids, so that I'm not grumpy throughout the day as they play and make little disasters!!


Since I already blogged about Organized Homemaking at the beginning of this month, I won't repeat myself. There were many good hints, helpful blogs, and different resources mentioned in that post. So to read more on my finds, click here. But there are some other things that I'm finding lately that are helpful, especially as we are getting ready to move, but are still entertaining and having a myriad of houseguests before we leave. I still want my house to be presentable, and walk-thru-able (you like that?), so here are a few hints:

1. Set a goal. I have found that when I look at a huge mound of laundry that needs to be folded, I put it off because it seems like too much. But when I say "every time I walk past it, I will fold 5-10 things," it gets done so much faster, even if I can only get that much done at a time. Or I will set a time. Like I need to finish cleaning the kitchen by 9pm so I can start doing_____. Little goals can help you move along.
2. Do little things that make your life easier. When the kids are in bed, it's a great time to do small things that don't seem to get done when they are awake. At night, I measure out formula for Judah's night/morning bottle. I also make coffee so all I have to do is push the button in the morning. These small things just help my morning go that much smoother because I don't have to spend time doing those small, mundane things as I'm trying to do my morning routine.
3. Enlist little helpers. I'm not always the best at this, but I know that teaching responsibility and delegating little jobs make for a happier home. My daughter is 4 so she is perfectly capable of doing little jobs and cleaning up after herself. Teaching them good little habits like immediately putting shoes/coat away, bringing their own toys back into their bedroom, and clearing their own plates at mealtime not only helps mom out, but it instills a little responsibility in them. Try to make it a game. See how fast they can go. I set little timers for Maddy when her room is a disaster. She will get a 5 minute timer on the microwave for her to make a dent in cleaning her room. That way she isn't overwhelmed with cleaning the whole thing herself, but she is at least making some progress.
4. Make a night to-do list. It doesn't have to be exhausting or grueling. But if we can get some things done when the kids are sleeping, it lightens the load for the next day. Or do your online banking since it's a quiet, easy thing to do at night. I like to blog at night, especially if Tad works the evening shift, since the house is quiet and I get a little "me" time. If you still want to spend that special time with the hubby, then fold laundry while watching a movie together. Do what works for you!
5. Do little things that bless your family. I really love the philosophy of this blog Home Sanctuary because she is striving to do little things that can make a big difference. If you haven't already checked out how to be a Company Girl, this is a good way to be challenged to do something small daily, and to earn points towards winning prizes!! Check it out here!
I like to clean my house at night, because it is refreshing to wake up to a clean living room. When I don't, even my 4 year old notices!! If I clean Maddy's room, she is so blessed and will thank me for doing it. It blesses my husband if I can clear the front area by the door so that when he gets home he can get in the door. When there is trash ready to go out, the stroller, a laundry basket, etc. and he can't even squish through, it's not a very good "welcome home!" If the living room is clear of toys, clothes, trash, food, books, and whatever else accumulates during the day, then it is a blessing to my 11 month old son, because he can crawl all over the place and play in a bigger, more open space. We can even bless our babies!!

So these are just some simple hints, things that I've found that help me in my day. I'm sure when we move and our circumstances and living situation are different, things will change. But for now, in this small apartment, these are things that I've found helpful, and I hope they challenge you too!
So this week, these are more reminders than a firm week-long challenge. But I still do challenge you to pick some of these things, and try to bless your family this week!!

Here's a recap:

  1. Set a goal.
  2. Do little things that make your life easier.
  3. Enlist little helpers.
  4. Make a night to-do list.
  5. Do little things that bless your family.
During this busy season with lots of family get-togethers and parties, we need all the help we can get towards making our lives easier and simpler! When we find good routines and little things that help make our day go smoother, it can help us to rest and find peace in our homes. Have a great week!

Don't forget to check out our first 4 weeks of the Being Intentional Challenge:
Week 1: Our relationship with God
Week 2: Our marriages
Week 3: Our parenting
Week 4: Our relationships with others

Join me next week for our last weekly Challenge #6: Our health!

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