Welcome to the third installment of our Spring Clean series!
This article series is designed to focus on ways to refresh our spirits, bodies, emotions and homes. These areas often work together in our lives as a whole and all are worth examining as we press reset and form new healthy habits. This week, we’ll be looking at ways to organize and bring order to our living spaces.
For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:11-12
Part 3: A Spring Clean At Home
A deep clean of one’s home after winter, commonly known as “spring cleaning,” has roots in numerous religions and cultures throughout history.
In Jewish custom, spring cleaning is linked to Passover, marking the liberation of Jews from slavery in Egypt. Having any leaven or bread made with yeast in the house over Passover is considered taboo, since this was fed to Egyptian slaves. Practicing Jews will take part in a general cleaning, historically to remove any yeast bread, or chametz, before Passover every year. In the Catholic church, the alter is cleaned the day before Good Friday, also normally in March or April. Members of the Greek Orthodox church clean house for a week leading up to Lent. And in Iran, the Persian New Year signifies new beginnings. The ritual, “khooneh takouni” which means “shaking the house” has been a customary activity performed by Iranians looking to turn over a new leaf and refresh their homes.
The global popularity of spring cleaning, as well as the tradition’s longevity, should be enough to tell you it’s worth considering. In 1 Corinthians 14:33, Paul reminds us that our God is a God of peace and not disorder. Being organized can bring calmness and peace into our homes and lives.
But being organized can be easier said than done. Many of us are guilty of walking past a household drawer, closet, or room, purposefully ignoring that fact that it is overdue for a good weeding. We hope that these suggestions encourage you to take some simple steps toward get your home “swept clean and put in order” (Luke 11:25).
Going paperless doesn’t stop at bills. Snap photos of your children’s artwork and toss the actual drawings in the recycle bin, or devise a creative way to display that doesn’t include resting on your countertops. When you get an invitation in the mail, enter the necessary details in your calendar and send the paper invite packing. For more personal mail, like photo Christmas cards, LifePointer Andrea Phillips uses Post Its to make fun lunch box notes for her kids, sending mid-day messages from family and friends. “The cards still end up in the recycle bin, but I feel better about giving them another purpose that brings joy before they do.”
If you aren’t comfortable getting rid of your important paper documents, set up a storage system that makes paperwork easy and quick to sort and store. Designating a spot for everyday items such as mail is the stopgap that prevents your entire home from filling with unnecessary clutter.
Establish a Household Donation Station
Charity isn’t only good for others, it’s good for our soul. Giving generously prevents unnecessary clutter from filling our homes. A great start is by giving away the things we no longer use that could be a help to others (Luke 12:33). While you don’t need to purge everything you own, you should invest in “sell” and “donate” bins and set them up in an area of your home that is easy to access. Having a collection area for things you plan to get rid of will keep them out of the way until you have time to drop at a donation center or list to sell.
There are many places to bring donations in our community. LifePoint partners with The Addiction Healing Center at the Westminster Rescue Mission and they are always in need of general household items, including furniture of all kinds, kitchen items, lamps and lighting, box fans, mattresses and box springs. If tackling your closet is on your to-do list, the Center also needs clothing, especially lightly or unused men’s pants, shorts, shoes, shirts, and dress clothing – and these donations can be conveniently dropped off in the bin in the LifePoint parking lot! More info on donating to the Center is available here.
Embrace the “one in, one out” rule with toys, kitchen supplies, shoes, toiletries, or any other area where “more is more” can be tempting. If your children want a new game, encourage them to donate a toy they no longer play with. If you replace your crockpot, give away the one with the cracked lid. Chances are, someone out there needs it more than you need it to sit in your cabinet as a backup.
Set and Stick To A Budget
If you are wondering what a budget has to do with getting organized, that answer is more than you think!
Just as having a spot for everyday items can keep unwanted clutter at bay, a budget can do the same for unnecessary purchases. The less you buy, the less there is to make room in your home for. It’s easy to get into a “want that, buy that” habit, but minimalistic living and spending can be incredibly freeing, not to mention Biblically sound. In Matthew 25:14-30, Christ describes believers as stewards—meant to oversee His possessions and his affairs. This includes the financial provisions He has provided to us.
LifePoint members can enjoy a free one year subscription to Ramsey+ which is a great resource to help you establish and stick to budget. LifePoint also offers a money management course based on Dave Ramsey’s methods called Financial Peace University. The next eight-week course is scheduled to start in September – stay tuned for details on how to register. If you’d like more tips on budgeting and money management, check out our recent article series Common Cents.
Make the Most of the Space You Have
Don’t allow a small space to be an excuse from de-cluttering – there are many ways to make more room in the spaces you do have. Design choices like tiered shelving, furniture options that pull double duty (the storage ottoman is one of the best inventions ever), and space saving versions of bulky household items (an ironing mat works just as well as an ironing board and is easier to store) are all simple ways to make the most of your living areas.
To keep clutter from building up yet again, have a goal in mind for the space you make. Turn your home’s catch-all space (say the formal dining room you’ve used maybe once since you moved in?) into a home office. The storage room piled to the rafters in the basement could make a perfect crafting area. Rooms with a specific purpose are less likely to be a destination for junk to pile up.
Ultimately, organizing isn’t just beneficial for our living spaces. Clutter can make it difficult to get things done, to find what you need, and to live efficiently. Remember that our possessions are just things, and everything we truly need comes from Him. Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12:15).
We hope you’ve found these suggestions useful! Please check back next week when our focus is ways to spring clean our mental state.
A Mental Spring Clean
Welcome to the fourth and final installment of our Spring Clean series! This article series is designed to focus on ways to refresh our spirits, bodies, emotions and homes. These areas often work together in our lives as a whole and all are worth examining as we...
A Physical Spring Clean
Welcome to the second installment of our Spring Clean series! This article series is designed to focus on ways to refresh our spirits, bodies, emotions and homes. These areas often work together in our lives as a whole and all are worth examining as we press reset...
A Spiritual Spring Clean
Welcome to the Spring Clean series! This article series is designed to help us renew ourselves after a long winter (and even longer year.) Over the next four weeks, this series will focus on ways to refresh our spirits, bodies, emotions and homes. These areas often...