5 Keys to Clutter Control

By Lori Wagner

True confession. I am susceptible to cluttering – not just my home, but cluttering my life with busyness and never ending to-do lists, all with every good intention, of course.

Clutter affects me emotionally and spiritually. I can ignore it for a while, but not for long. I simply think better and feel better when things are neat and tidy. Maybe there is a spiritual principle at work. The Bible says God is not a God of disorder, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). This verse speaks to me about the wonderful benefit keeping things in order brings — sweet peace.

Life comes with clutter. Just open your mailbox. If you don’t keep up with it, the mail will take over — and not just paper mail, email and internet communications, too. We have to be intentional about taking care of clutter before it becomes chaos in our physical homes and in our spiritual homes. So pull out your apron. We’re on a mission.

KEYS TO DECLUTTERING

1. BREAK OUT THE RIGHT TOOLS

Face it girls, if we aren’t on top of things, dust bunnies will take up residence in our homes. If we don’t want to house wayward lint and fuzz creatures, we have to purposefully take out the tools we need to exercise our homes of these unwanted intruders.

What is dust anyway? I don’t want to gross you out, but dust is made up of little pieces of soil, flesh and pollution — parts of our environment floating around. We deal with “dust” in our hearts and minds as well, but God has given us a tool to clean away the elements of this world. We cleanse our minds and spirits through the washing of His Word. Just as we open the closet and take out that vacuum cleaner, we need to open the Word on a regular basis. If we don’t, we may find unwelcome soil, flesh and pollution taking up residence in our hearts and minds.

2. HAVE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING

To successfully keep decluttered, we should have a place for everything and consistently put things in their places. Ah. Consistency. Discipline. Do we really want to go here?

I have found that having a place for my stuff is very important. Like my calendar. I keep my calendar current on my computer and phone and use a 3-ring binder for a hard copy the family can access. It’s easy to keep updated and also a place for all those papers and schedules that find their way on my desk. Sometimes everything is punched and filed neatly, but if it’s not, at least I know where it is.

To help in the heart, mind and spirit department, I’ve also made a prayer notebook. This 3-ring binder includes sheet protectors where I slip in prayer requests, photos of friends and family, and flyers for upcoming speaking engagements, church events, etc. I keep this in a basket in my prayer room with my Bible, journal, pens, prayer resources and note cards for the times the Lord prompts me to write someone. Sometimes I jot a note in my journal to send an email later, but I’ve found keeping these things together makes it easier to remember, be consistent and follow through with the things the Lord leads in prayer. It also helps my prayer time, because if I write things down as they come to mind, I’m not as tempted to interrupt my prayer or devotion and butterfly through the house to tend to whatever thought just fluttered through my mind.

3. HANDLE IT ONCE . . . AND AT ONCE

Procrastination is the number one reason people clutter. It’s best not to lay things down and think you will take care of them another day. There is a “handle it once” filing philosophy that would be extremely helpful if we would be faithful to it: as soon as you get something in, take care of it right then if possible and never have to deal with it again. This concept could substantially improve our paper handling and our relationships. Selah.

4. GET RID OF EXCESS

One thing paramount to decluttering, I believe, is getting rid of excess. Think about this. Physical circumcision, the Old Testament symbol of covenant with God, was an act that removed excess. Water baptism, circumcision of the heart, strips away the build-up of that dusty stuff we discussed before — flesh, the world and its pollution.

Excess is an individual issue. God made us each different as it pleased Him. What one person handles effectively without distraction might drive another person crazy. In considering excess, evaluate the current balance in your life. Do things or activities of no spiritual benefit to you or others dominate your time? If so, I encourage you to be like Abraham, cut them off, and walk with God. The rewards of living close to Him are better than anything you or I are holding on to in this world.

5. THE FREEDOM OF “AUTHORIZED LIVING”

Several years ago I heard an awesome message by Dr. Gerald Jeffers on “Authorized Living.” Its principles can help us declutter without guilt. Let me explain. There are things we spend our time on and hold on to that aren’t necessarily good or bad on their own, but the very fact they consume our time is reason enough to consider the roles they play in our lives. We are called to be good stewards of our time, redeeming the time the Lord has given us. Every idea that pops into our heads is not what we are called or authorized by God to do, even if it is a good and noble pursuit.

Keeping things in order means keeping them prioritized and in balance, which will help your walk with God. Invite the Lord to access every part of your life — every day of your life. When you invest some upfront time in decluttering, the result will be more time and more peace of mind. Instead of spending hours searching for that missing passport, you’ll have time to search the Word — and that’s a lot more edifying and so much less frustrating. So cut the clutter, cleave to the Lord, and reap the reward of peace God has for you today. That’s all for now. I have to go clean the basement.

About LoriWagner

Lori Wagner is the best-selling author of 15 books, with over 50,000 copies sold. Her works include The Pure Path Series (discipleship/Christian growth for girls), The Briar Hollow Series (historical fiction), and "Holy Intimacy." Her most recent projects include Orbis, a board game, and "Wisdom is a Lady," a small-group resource that includes video teaching sessions.  Lori is a licensed minister, a Purpose Institute Campus Administrator, and serves as the Michigan District Prayer Coordinator for the World Network of Prayer. She has served as the Michigan State Coordinator for the National Day of Prayer and is an elected representative in her community for five terms.  
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