5 Fall Decluttering Tips

5 Fall Decluttering Tips

Halloween is now behind us and Thanksgiving right around the corner but before we start bringing out the Christmas decorations let’s take a moment to celebrate fall by decluttering a bit, shall we?

Here are five simple things you can do this week to get rid fall clutter and create space in your home to welcome in the holidays:

1. Get rid of any fall décor that you don’t use anymore. As you are unpacking those pumpkins and scarecrows, are there any pretties that just aren’t making your heart sing anymore? It’s time to give that velvet pumpkin to your friend who has always admired it, or straight to Goodwill if no one has asked you to leave it in your will to them.

2. Clean out your pantry to get ready for holiday baking. There is nothing worse than mixing up a batch of pie dough than to find out that one of your ingredients has “turned” and now the whole thing is ruined. If you don’t know how old that flour, butter, etc. is, it’s too old. Pitch it, replace it, and keep track of when you opened the box/bag.

3. Check your broom. For years, I used the same, awful broom that had all of its bristles pointing in wildly different directions. Then – I swept with a broom at my friend’s house, and it actually… well, swept… (Shocking, I know…) Is it time to do something different with your broom (like, replace it?)

4. Garden stragglers. Are there still beach toys, “Welcome Summer” signs and Uncle Sam statues hanging out in your garden or back yard? It’s time to put all those away and make room for all the fall.

5. Pack away beach towels. My kids would use these way after the last bathing suit was put away. Sadly, each towel takes up a half a load of laundry.

Taking a few minutes to declutter this week will set you for success as you prepare to move into the holiday season.

A Cluttered Faith (guest post with Shauna Letellier)

A Cluttered Faith (guest post with Shauna Letellier)

I turned the doorknob with the precision of a safe cracker and closed their bedroom door. There couldn’t be so much as a click-clack to wake any of my five napping kiddos. I was too tired. Tired of meeting needs and feeling needy. Tired of being a grump and dealing with grumpy kids. Tired of trying so hard to be a faithful example and failing so often. Tired of praying for things to get better while circumstances remained unchanged.

I tiptoed over squeaky floorboards toward my living room and accidentally kicked a mound of unmatched socks. Books I meant to read were piled on my side table. My Bible laid opened on the ottoman, with red pen scribbled across the 91st Psalm and a three-year-old’s signature scrawled over the footnotes.

Collapsing in my armchair, I began to cry. Not loudly, of course. I didn’t want to wake the nappers, which made the shoulder-shaking, headache-inducing cry that much more miserable. My overwhelming fatigue required release, but it had to be silent if I wanted to “have my cry” all alone. And I did.

I’d been reading to my kids from our Children’s Bible every night. The disconnect between the heroes of the faith we read about and the disaster of my own faith made me feel like a slimy hypocrite.

In my earliest memories of Sunday school, I sat on a thin carpet square in an echoing church classroom. The industrial carpet was brilliant turquoise and smelled of antique basement. Other children wriggled in close as my mom told the Bible story of a little boy who gave his five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus. With them, Jesus fed a meadow full of people. She distributed colorful postcards with a vivid image of the scene that transported me to that hillside, and I believed.

But over the years, my childlike my faith had become cluttered. I thought if I “did hard things” and if I “let go and let God” and if did things “right” then everything would turn out right. Inspiration plucked from coffee mugs and bumper stickers had stacked up in my soul alongside misunderstood scriptures like so many unmatched socks.

If I was obeying God in the regular work of mothering, then why did it feel so hard?

I had friends who were doing really hard things—homeschooling, parenting large families or medically fragile children, even building orphanages in Haiti!

I was barely making it to church. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the free childcare provided by the nursery may have been my main reason for attending church during that season. “Everyone else” was performing remarkable acts of faith and ministry, and I could barely fix supper.

I began to suspect that something was wrong with my faith. I was disappointed with myself, and I was certain God was disappointed in me too. The Bible heroes my kids and I read about were giant-slayers, ark-builders, and sea-crossers!

Followers of Jesus were supposed to be great examples like that.

Weren’t they?

Thumbing through our Jesus Storybook Bible, I read this shocking statement by Sally-Lloyd Jones, “the people God uses don’t have to know a lot of things or have a lot of things—they just have to need him a lot.”

Now there was a qualification I could meet. But for some reason I didn’t completely trust the “children’s Bible.” Thankfully, over the next few months I read through the gospels in my grownup Bible, and I discover the same clarifying truth.

Throughout the gospels Jesus regularly commented about people’s faith. But they weren’t the people you’d expect. They were some of the most unlikely “heroes” in the Bible. We don’t know their names. We only know them by their afflictions—the hemorrhaging woman, the Samaritan leper, the paralytic. What did Jesus notice about them when they crossed his path? Their disease? Their interruption?

Maybe.

But the thing he remarked about–even marveled at–was their faith. The fact was indisputable: they were people who knew they needed Jesus a lot. They brought him their desperate needs, and he commended their faith.

For many of us, somewhere between the carpet squares of Sunday school and the living room chair, our understanding of faith becomes cluttered. Growing up means doing things yourself, becoming independent, and achieving more. But faith in Jesus is not a matter of great, independent achievements.

The stories of those eight nameless and afflicted individuals taught me that saving faith is a matter of dependence on Jesus.

As Jesus spoke to a father with weak faith, as he lifted a woman from a pile of dirty laundry, even as he angered the religious leaders of his day by rescuing the helpless, Jesus showed himself to be the hero. And the response of the rescued person was to worship and thank him.

Jesus was not demanding that I “Go therefore and be a Bible hero.” And if I had read the stories of the ark-builders and giant-slayers more carefully, I would have seen their “achievements” were because of their dependence on God.

It was a clutter-clearing revelation for me.  We are not responsible to make ourselves a “hero of the faith” or even a perfect example of great faith. Our job is to rely on Christ–to point to him as the hero. He gives rest and relief to weary Christians. Over time you might find that your children, neighbors, or coworkers are looking toward Jesus too because they saw how he rescued you. And by God’s grace you will have become the faithful example God meant for you to be all along.

Giveaway!

We are so excited to announce that Shauna has offered to give away a prize bundle of her book, Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at Faith in Unremarkable People. To enter, leave a comment below on how you have tried to be the hero of your faith or how you’ve learned to rely on God to be the hero. One grand prize winner will be chosen and two others will receive a copy of her book. Don’t want to wait? Get your book wherever books are sold. For Amazon lovers, purchase your copy here.

*US residents only.

*Affiliate links used


BIO:
Shauna Letellier is the author of Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at Faith in Unremarkable People. With degrees in Family and Biblical Studies, she teaches in her local church and writes regularly at shaunaletellier.com. Shauna and her husband Kurt are raising three sons on the banks of the Missouri River where they fish, swim and rush off to ballgames. Website: https://shaunaletellier.com/blog/

#329 When You Feel Like Screaming-Help For Stressed Out Moms With Sue Heimer

#329 When You Feel Like Screaming-Help For Stressed Out Moms With Sue Heimer

On today’s show, Kathi chats with author, Sue Heimer to talk about her book, When you Feel like Screaming: Practical Help for Frustrated Moms. Drawing from personal experiences, Sue and Kathi share practical tips for frustrated moms as well as encouragement for why you are the best imperfect mom for your child.

In this encouraging episode you will learn:

  • why it’s important to identify the root cause of our frustration
  • how to start looking for patterns to avoid blowups
  • practical tools to reduce the overall anxiety level in the home

Download Sue’s 7 Questions to Ask Before Adding anything to your Schedule

 

Enter to Win!

Enter to win a copy of Sue’s book!

Two lucky winners will win a copy of When you Feel like Screaming: Practical Help for Frustrated Moms

Enter by answering in the comments:

 “What do you do when you’re caught in that moment when you feel like your about to lose it?” Or tell us a recent moment when you “lost it” with your kids. 

*US residents only

Or buy the book here.

 

 

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:
• Leave a note in the comment section below.
• Share this show on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:
• Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
• Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe now.

 

Special thanks to our sponsor (in)courage.me

This episode was sponsored by the (in)courage Devotional Bible featuring devotions from over 100 of our favorite writer friends, including our very own Michele Cushatt, Kathi’s co-host of Communicator Academy Podcast. Find out more here

 

 

 

 

Meet Our Guest

Sue Heimer

Sue Heimer

Sue Heimer is an author, counselor, Bible teacher and international speaker. Sue is the president and founder of Leaving Your Legacy Ministries, a ministry to encourage and support women in every stage of life. She is a sought after conference and retreat speaker inspiring thousands of women each year with her messages of hope. As a veteran home school mom she loves speaking at home school conferences and to moms in the trenches.

Sue recently authored When You Feel Like Screaming:Practical Help for Frustrated Moms which is available on Amazon, is the contributor to multiple books including What I Wish I Had Known, and is a regularly featured writer for Focus on the Family. Her greatest passion is to encourage women to love and lean on God in every aspect of their lives.

Learn More

5 Ways to Help the Hoarder you Love When You’ve Lost Hope

5 Ways to Help the Hoarder you Love When You’ve Lost Hope

Looking at photos of my mom’s house creates a conflict of emotions. On one hand, I think, “Oh…that’s where that yearbook went,” and then on the other, I gasp, “Did we really live like that?”

The answer is yes. Yes, we did. Though my mother’s home got worse after I moved out in 1995 and even worse than that when I stopped visiting her home in 1997, it wasn’t beyond recognition when I walked through the front door after her death in 2015.

This is life when you love a hoarder.

Hoarding comes up frequently over in our Clutter Free Academy Facebook group. We attract people who love hoarders and want to help them, and we attract people who identify as hoarders. As the kindest corner of the internet, we love every single one of them in our shame-free zone. Our recent two-part podcast, “Is It Hoarding or is it Clutter?” (listen to Part 1 and Part 2) debunks common myths around hoarding.

Hoarding isn’t about organization or cleaning, and it’s not about laziness. It’s a mental health disorder that comes in varying degrees. The thought or act of getting rid of saved items causes great distress to people with hoarding disorder. And the thought and act of living with people who have this persistent inability to discard possessions, regardless of value, causes great distress to the rest of us.

Loving a hoarder is not an easy life, but neither is being a hoarder.

Most of us are not equipped to help the hoarders we love. That requires the intervention of professionals. The International OCD Foundation estimates 1 in 50 Americans falls somewhere on the hoarding scale but only 15% will ever seek professional help. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost, but it does mean we have to be strategic in helping the hoarders we love. Here are my personal tips:

We can educate ourselves

The International OCD Foundation’s Hoarding Center offers a helpful and effective Clutter Image Scale that helps to identify hoarding vs. clutter. When I discovered Kathi’s book, Clutter Free, most of my house fell in the 2-3 range on this scale. One room was a 4. My mom’s home, on the other hand, was an 8 all the way.

We can set boundaries

Due to the obsessive-compulsive nature of hoarding disorder, removing things from a hoarder’s home without their consent or cleaning up after them causes more harm than good. The hoarder can become agitated, angry and might distance themselves. However, you can set limits. My mom wouldn’t allow me or anyone to visit but she often brought her stuff into my home and would try to leave it. We had to make a rule that whatever she brought had to leave with her, and it was a battle we fought till the end of her life.

We can encourage

Understanding that even a single bag of trash can be overwhelming for a hoarder, we can celebrate any level of progress they make and encourage them further. We can listen without judgement, and we can support their efforts at getting help.

We can get help for ourselves

We can seek the help of a therapist or counselor in working through our own emotions and challenges of loving a hoarder. There are also organizations that exist to support those who love or live with hoarders. Children of Hoarders is a nonprofit with a wealth of online resources that apply to anyone with a hoarder in their life.

We can plan ahead

That means those of us who love hoarders need to prepare for what we will inherit when they die. I knew I’d need help with my mom’s house and had started saving for it. Her death came sooner than expected but the mental preparation helped me handle the burden of settling her affairs while grieving her death. Aftermath Services specializes in hoarding clean-up. It took me two hours of phone calls and internet searches to find them, but they had my mom’s home cleaned and sanitized in six hours. The relief they brought to me in my time of grief is priceless.


Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo is the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group.A speaker and writer, Tonya makes her home in the heart of California with her husband, Brian, their two spirited daughters and one very tolerant cat. Visit her at www.GreatMoms.org.

#328B Is it Hoarding or is it Clutter? – Part 2 with Tonya Kubo

#328B Is it Hoarding or is it Clutter? – Part 2 with Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo is back and on today’s podcast she and Kathi continue the conversation on the differences between clutter and hoarding. Drawing from personal experiences they share practical tips for what to do if you or a loved one struggle with hoarding.

In this episode you will learn:

  • why the mess is not always the actual problem when it comes to hoarding
  • when it might be time to seek professional help
  • what resources are available to help

Find out more about Aftermath Cleanup Services 

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

Leave a note in the comment section below.
• Share this show on TwitterFacebook,or Pinterest.

To help out the show:
• Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
• Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe now.

Special thanks to Tonya for joining me again this week!

 

Meet Our Guest

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo is the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group.A speaker and writer, Tonya makes her home in the heart of California with her husband, Brian, their two spirited daughters and one very tolerant cat. Visit her at www.GreatMoms.org.

#328 Is it Hoarding or is it Clutter? With Tonya Kubo

#328 Is it Hoarding or is it Clutter? With Tonya Kubo

Do you have a loved one that struggles with hoarding? On today’s episode Tonya Kubo joins Kathi as they discuss what it’s like to live with and love a family member who struggles with hoarding.

In this episode you will learn:

  • the difference between hoarding and clutter
  • why hoarding is really a symptom of anxiety
  • how to practice empathy with loved ones while understanding that only hoarders can help themselves

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:
• Leave a note in the comment section below.
• Share this show on TwitterFacebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:
• Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
• Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe now.

Special thanks to Tonya for joining me again this week!

Meet Our Guest

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo is the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group.A speaker and writer, Tonya makes her home in the heart of California with her husband, Brian, their two spirited daughters and one very tolerant cat. Visit her at www.GreatMoms.org.