This past week I've had the invigorating experience of finishing projects, big projects, and not just one but several! I completed a family history project that I've worked off-and-on (mostly off) since February. The last bushel of apples was made into sauce and canned. Unless I get venison to can, my canner is on sabbatical until next summer. Yesterday, I finished up the winter sewing, though I'm certain to find a Christmas project or two to sew just for fun. And that hated project, clothes sorting, is finished until warm weather hits.
I love the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies a completed project and job well-done. But then I'm reminded of the danger of finding my fulfillment in what I do, and not in Christ. Why do I either feel like a failure who can't keep up with life or proud at what I have been able to do? Both maladies stem from the failure to keep my eyes on the Lord. Both can be cured by focusing on serving God with the time, strength, and resources He has provided and letting the results to Him.
But finishing several projects has me wondering, what next? I work best with a slight sense of urgency. Overwhelming impossible deadlines are demoralizing, but a few attainable goals help me use my time wisely and avoid time wasters. It has been far easier to keep the computer off the past couple weeks (though I've missed reading your blogs and interacting with you) when I had a focused plan for my days.
Now that much of the seasonal work is finished, I see a need to make some new goals. Maybe I could actually complete some of the projects that never get enough attention.
It doesn't take long to think of the perfect project. House cleaning. I don't do so bad at general upkeep, but deep house cleaning and de-cluttering happens far too rarely.
When we built our home addition, I had the goal of going through our entire house and re-organizing. I made some headway, but I'm far from done. My goal is that you could ask me at any time where any item in our house is located, and I'd be able to direct you to the exact location of that item. Of course, that is an impossible goal. There is five other persons living in my house who may not have replaced that item in it's place. But at least I should know where the item should be, or tell you where to put the item. To meet this goal, I see three steps.
1. Each item in our home belongs in our home.
2. Each item in our home has a specific place in our home.
3. Each item in our home is marked or organized in a way that others can return it to it's place.
There is a whole lot of things dwelling in our house that have no purpose being here and need removed. Far to often I put something "here for now" without deliberately considering the purpose of the item and where it is best stored. Making it easy for my children to return items to their place and then training them to do so, is a constant challenge.
Of course, I plan to live in a home and not an institution. I never plan to enforce this goal strictly. I want a home organized enough that we can find things and messy enough to be comfortable. With four young children, I think the messy part will be easy! I also give the children a lot of freedom about what "treasures" they keep and how they organize their rooms, as long as it can keep from spilling out in the hall.
Think I have my work cut out for me? I'm sharing this with you all because I know what great accountability you have been in the past. Not that I'm afraid that you'll come check out my basement closets (if you value your life, I wouldn't recommend it) but to gain your encouragement. Maybe I'll share some of the organization journey in the coming weeks.
What are your organizing/de-cluttering tips?