What is the key to keeping a house organized?
No, it is not a maid, though maybe that would work.
It is de-cluttering.
I can clean and polish but if I have too much stuff it will immediately become disorganized again. I like to think of this principle of home organization as margin.
We are all familiar with the margins on a page. The margin is the white space around the text which makes a book easier to read. A dictionary defines margin as "an amount beyond what is needed."
Somehow, by default, my home can become crowded with items. And just like a page filled to the edge with words, a house without margin is overwhelming. It is difficult to clean and impossible to keep orderly.
Just because I know this to be true doesn't mean it is easy to live. I enjoy organizing a closet, bookshelf, or drawer - fitting each item in a neat manner like a puzzle. But if I wedge them together closely, with no margin, the organization may not last a day.
Margin is the difference between crammed and comfortable, overload and order.
I can't expect my children to replace a book when the shelf is wedged so tightly with books that not even a magazine can squeeze in. And the art drawer is in a constant state of disaster when three items need removed to find the scissors.
It is easy for me to think that I just need more shelves, more containers, or some other organizing gizmo. But the real problem is that I have too much stuff. I have seen very tiny homes that are orderly because the homeowners limited their belongings to what would comfortably fit the space.
But margin never just happens. I need to plan and fight for it. The Scripture says to do all things "decently and in order." (1 Corinthians 14:40) And often it seems like an impossible goal.
I have a lot of room for growth in creating margin in my home. While deep cleaning these next few weeks, I'm planning to carry some items out of my home and create some more space.
(And no, this doesn't mean I'm getting rid of any of the mess-makers that reside in my house.)
Want to join me? I'd love to hear your hints on how to de-clutter your home.