Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Putting Things in Order

Putting Everything in Order
    I have been on an "organization kick" lately.  Since the school year has ended for me & my daughter, I have had more time on my hands to sit & take a good look around me.  When I was busy working 2 part-time jobs, it was easy to ignore or put-off things that I have longed to do around the house & for spiritual growth, but no more.  This summer I am claiming victory over many areas in our lives & reclaiming some stretching space.  
     This morning's devotion spoke about how the Israelites set out into the desert of testing after the Lord released them from Egypt's bondage.  It spoke of their obedience to pack up & leave or sit & stay whenever the cloud moved or did not move (Numbers (9:17-23).  I thought about it & wondered if I would have been so obedient or if I would have been among those that grumbled & complained to Moses all the time.  I want my life to be so free of bondage that I can & will go where he asks me to go & do what he asks me to do.  This is when I start to see the mess that builds up around me & wonder if I am chained to it or if I can just let it go.  Not that the Lord may tell me to physically move, but He might.  He may just want me to move in His work...am I ready or am I bogged down with so much stuff that I can't even think? 
     As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we are in a 2 bedroom mobile home & I so much want a space to be creative.  We bought us a portable building back in March (I believe) & then my husband's dad took ill & all of our time was absorbed with his hospitalization.  Now that he is home & stable, we are trying to complete all of those projects we have had in limbo this year.  Since we have no way to add on at this time, the building (Big Red) will be our office/craft/storage space & our other storage smaller building will be the workshop for tools, saws, & such (messy projects).  
Cleaning up the Clutter
     I have been reading several blogs focusing on organization, chickens, homemade products & DIY projects for some time now.  I usually read about ideas for months before doing, making, or building something large or expensive.  I read about chickens for over a year before we built our coop & ordered them.  I have been collecting ideas on Pinterest.com along with newsletters.  I have always loved going to Ross stores, mainly because they are cheap & have neat stuff.  Some of my favorite items that they sell regularly are the decorative storage containers.  I have used the plastic drawers sets & bins for years, but I love color & these are simple ways to disguise junk that you need to keep handy for everyday use, but may be ugly or cluttered to look at.  I ran across an idea using some of these pretty containers on Organizing Made Fun.  You can see her example on http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-i-organizemy-feminine-products.html
     One space that I have found to be hard to keep clutter-free is the bathroom.  This blog may not appeal too much to the male population, but if you are a minimalist like my husband, you may want to share it with your wife or girl-friend if they tend to be unorganized or seem to have alot of clutter laying around.  I use to think I was organized...at least I could get organized, but I could not stay organized without some storage solutions.  There are so many small items that fall over & just look messy when out in the open.  The bathroom is a space we often tend to go to to "get away from it all & relax".  How can you relax with tons of junk laying around?  Even if guests never goes beyond the living room, often they use the bathroom when visiting.  I have seen some bathrooms that made me wonder what the rest of the house looked like.  Even when we are clean fanatics, being unorganized can make us appear messy & dirty.  I am not a dirty person, but I have cleaned all day to turn around & wonder what happened, it still looked junky.
     I had seen an idea at church with a basket with feminine products in a basket for anyone to use in case of an "emergency".  This is nice so that you do not have to go digging under cabinets that you can't quite reach while using the restroom...ya know, it happens.   Well, I loved this hospitable idea, but when I used it at home for my child, it just made her small bathroom space appear messy. So when I saw Becky's idea, I knew it was just what we needed to do to fix the space.  I also went out and got several for my bathroom in which to put my make-up/skin care products away.  Here is a picture of the guest bath:

Hide-away box on shelf over toilet
The girl's basket was behind the trash before
This little box holds an entire package.  I realize that I had just cleaned the bath & filled the trash.  My mom gave me a toilet paper rack she had in storage...I spray painted it & now the pack is no longer sitting on the floor!  Unfortunately there is no where to hide the mixed-matched towels.  I am thinking about using some drawer liner material to wrap around the toilet paper holder so you do not see the guts of it.  I can use the spongy-mesh type and use a small zip-tie to clamp it on in the 4 corners.  Then I just cut off the ends of the zip ties then viola' the middle section is covered by whatever color I chose to use.

Here is my bathroom:
It is bigger in size, but with absolutely no storage.  I have installed shelving on all of the walls & am using an armoire for my linen closet.  I have drawer sets underneath for the pharmacy supplies & items such as hair spray, deodorant, & the like.

I used a double lazy-susan on my vanity with all of my daily routine products on top of the counter.  It was neat as it could be, but it still was cluttered.  Now, when I enter our bathroom, my eyes are not drawn to the clutter. It is now more relaxing to both me & my husband.  I think I might even move the larger box to the top shelf, since it does not contain items that I use "everyday".  This is my space that my husband gave me this past Christmas.  It use to be a round short garden tub.  It was straight-backed & I could not recline, so my sweet husband spoke my language & put one in that was deep & meant for soaking.  I enjoy making my own soaps & body oils.  I still have a ton of "store-bought" products that I have not used up, but I am definitely working on it.
In the kitchen, I have been adding little wire racks here & there to un-stuff my pantry shelves & sort like items together.  I found some food storage containers at our local salvage store very cheap & labeled them for the pantry.  I no longer have Kool-aid, tea bags, & seasoning packets in zip-lock baggies.  Now they are sorted & in "stackable" containers.  When I find more & finish, I will do a blog on the kitchen.
Lightening my Load
     This may all seem a bit over the top for some, but I am at a point in my life where I am trying to de-stress & enjoy my mid-life years.  We are not promised tomorrow.  I am no longer holding on to those "things" that I will never use, never wear, or never fix. I just dropped off 2 garbage bags full of clothes.  Some of them I am ashamed to have still been wearing (too loose & baggy).  I want my spiritual life de-cluttered as well.  No longer do I want to hold onto things or habits that hold me back from serving the Lord.  These things may be tangible things or they may be mental or spiritual stresses or hindrances.  For example, we do not to run the TV unless we are watching a specific program & even that is set to a minimum.  I can remember a day when the TV was on all day whether we watched it or not.  All that racket going into the mind & spirit. Some of it may be good, but alot of it is negative...it is no wonder people say they do not hear the Lord's voice.  Even commercials can be negative and very persuading.
     Not all of our extra curricular activities are bad, but in excess, they can take up too much time that is needed to be spent strengthening our relationship with the Lord and our family.  You can be so busy that you lose track of your purpose & become exhausted & burned out.  This is why we need a daily charge or renewal from God & take time to humble ourselves before him so we do not grow too proud.  I have seen things come into my life & distract me...before I know it I have been so busy that I have not had my "real" quiet time in days (time to study & pray).  All I have made time for is a quick read & run.  Then I realize I am empty & irritable, because life is hard & I can't do it on my own.  It is a work in progress to seek out & remove those things from my life that interfere with my time with God & my family.  
     Another example is that I like games, but I can be lost in a computer game for hours.  I also like to see friends & family on Facebook & catch up, but for most every day, I allow myself to see it for a few moments in the morning & check for responses in the evening.  On days I work, I only check it for about 5 minutes after supper while we are unwinding from the day.  I do most of my "sharing" from my emails & do not actually have to be on Facebook.  I must set limits & stick to them, because I know myself.  Before you know it the day will be half gone & the house will not be touched & I will have wasted so much time & energy on something so temporal.  We must be on guard all the time.  There are so many real important things to involve ourselves in (like helping or praying for our brothers & sisters) and we can miss out on it if we wrap ourselves up in irrelevant activities.
Our New Chicken Life
     I look forward to harvesting fresh veggies & collecting eggs from our hens in a few months.  I call them our girls.  It is hard to believe they are 7 weeks old now.  They actually look like chicken & not chicks anymore.  Boaz (our new rooster) is 11 weeks old & began crowing this past week.  It is so sweet & suttle for now.  Our neighbor's rooster has given him a bit of competition & incentive to be manly.  Here is a new picture of them:
Boaz 11 weeks old
  I thought it was pretty funny this morning when I was changing out their water...Lacey (the mostly black one on the right) caught a cricket and they went nuts.  They all got excited over it as if it was a dinner box to share.  I was pleased that it only took 2 days of chasing them down & putting them back into the coop at night & chasing them back out the next morning.  After the first 2 days they started going in & out on their own.  I open it when I get up & I close it at dusk/dark...they handle everything in between.  It was not easy chasing those little boogers down, but the bigger they get, the slower they are.  Our dog still watches out for them.  When she hears me messing with them, she comes running.  I would hate to be a critter trying to break into their run.  So far our 3 cats have killed every field mouse/rat & rabbit that has had the nerve to enter through our fence.

Boaz & his girls
     I consider myself to be very blessed.  I get to see God's miracles in his creations all around me every day, whether I am in the garden, chicken coop, or in my house watching my child & husband.  I look forward to learning something new every day.  I am so interested in hearing your stories about the Lord's work in your life, farm life, gardening ups and downs, & organizational tips.  Until next time God Bless.  Marla B.

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