Organizing Home, Life & Heart

Fresh starts. Do overs. Beginning again. Mulligans. Each of these is a way to think of a new start in a New Year. Whether your New Years resolutions are bent to the tangible (exercise three times a week) or interpersonal (create more) this is the time of year most people think of ways to live life differently in a positive way.

And, boy, do I need this! The truth is we moved in to our home five years ago and I quickly went back to work, therefore nothing ever really got completely unpacked and organized. I have lovely Spode Christmas dishes in a box in my garage that I have not seen since 2004. I need to purge my closets, clean a garage and bring order to my life in a way that will bring a new level of freedom to me mentally, physically, and spiritually. So I am looking at ways to accomplish this in 2013.

Each of the books I bring to you this month offer an opportunity to achieve positive changes in any one of multiple areas of life. I hope one (or more) speaks to a part of you in a way that answers questions that have been echoing within.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

On a gray day riding a city bus Rubin chooses to dedicate the year ahead to things that really matter. These “matters” she found to be the essence of happiness. Each month gets its own chapter where she looked at a new facet to a happy life.

Rubin shares what she learns on her journey in an engaging narrative that will cause you to think and draw out what is true for you on issues such as money, eternity, friendship, work, marriage, parenthood, etc. What is nice is you could really take the whole year to read the book following the one-month at time method.

The Happiness Project has been out for a while, so if you have read it please leave feedback in the comments area below.

The Messies Manual: The Procrastinators Guide to Good Housekeeping by Sandra Felton

I came across this book in the 80’s. As a young wife, mother and skilled procrastinator, it was just what I needed to get my head around the tasks that were closing in on me. The book has a humorous tone that kept me engaged. The ideas and methods were within reach. Mostly it helped me know I no longer had to be on the losing end of this battle.

As I have met other women over the years who have read this book, I find they share my testimony of being able to be true to self while taking dominion over all we have been given to steward well. Be sure to have a stack of 3 by 5 note cards near by so when you read the book you can be quick to put this method into action.

To this day many of Felton’s phrases pop up in my head and are implemented. Such as, “Don’t pass it up, pick it up.” and the Mount Vernon method of cleaning a room. I really believe the principles in this book can bring relief to anyone who is not a natural Martha Stewart or has limited time due to demands of home, work and family.

As an educator, I tend to be a pack rat. I never know when I might need an item or be called on to teach a subject again. Which is why I look forward to revisiting this book, as I know it has the power to inspire me to action. This power is backed by clarity of thought that will help me realize the goal set a head: I can keep what I need and use in an orderly fashion.

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living By Tsh Oxeneider

As I have confessed to my packrat leanings, it only seems appropriate that my longest friendship is with a clutter-free personality. We complement each other well, each gleaning from the other. Having been a military wife for 20 years and making multiple moves in those years, Donna is skilled in the ways of simplicity and desires to take the chaos of clutter out of the lives of those she loves. She is a clutter-free evangelist and sent me this book.

Oxeneider’s book is a gold mine of information. It is laid out in a visually pleasant style similar to the magazine Real Simple (the January issue is another great resource to get a new year started). It is presented in two parts: living simply in the real world and ten days to a simpler, more organized home.

In the first part she addresses mindsets and philosophies needed to sustain a change in your home. Done with simple wisdom and empowerment, the reader is not left feeling overwhelmed or judged.

The second part addresses the different rooms in a home down to the entryways and coat closets. Each chapter begins with a game plan and what you need so you are not blindsided and can get going.

The book ends with an appendix that include recipes for making your own cleaning products, as well as inventory and home management templates. These will allow you to embrace her methods to whatever degree best matches your needs and personality.

Is there a resource you have found that meets the need in your life in the areas of setting and executing goals for your life? Please let others know in the comment area below.

Until then may the start of your New Year be bright. May it be richer in the matters of life that truly matter and lighter in the areas that can unnecessarily bog you down.

*Originally published on Destiny in Bloom*