Three Sneaky Ways Our Misconceptions Land Us in Piles of Clutter

Three Sneaky Ways Our Misconceptions Land Us in Piles of Clutter

What you believe directly correlates with what you do. Sometimes our false beliefs hold us back from living the clutter-free life and being the person God created us to be.

Today we talk about a few of those misconceptions and how we can replace them with the truth.

Clutter Misconception #1

So-and-so gave it to me.

As a twenty-something, I visited my family in my home state. It took two days to drive with two little girls in the back seat. We had a wonderful visit, but as I was packing my car, an aunt insisted that I take two giant stuffed toys — a bunny and crow dressed as a scarecrow.

I said no. She ignored my request, instead buckling them into the seatbelts as if they were passengers. My twenty-something self simply shrugged and drove away. (My forty-something self would…respond differently.) I got quite a few second looks as I drove home two days through three states with a bunny and a crow riding shotgun.

A year later, after the girls were tired of keeping the oversized toys, we put them into our garage sale and sold them to good homes.

Again I made the trip back home to see family. When the topic of the bunny and crow came up with my aunt, I told her I’d sold them. She then had the audacity to scold me for getting rid of them.

And then…I died.

Kidding!

I didn’t die. I survived the awkwardness and (mostly) enjoyed my visit with family.

We’re afraid of other people’s reactions sometimes and that’s why we keep stuff we don’t love or use. But my experience with my aunt’s reaction only took a few minutes as opposed to looking at stuff we neither want nor need indefinitely.

Clutter Misconception #2

We might need it again someday.

I’ll never forget the day I pulled my beautiful rose-shaped candles out of storage. Instead of delicate pink petals and perfect, unburned wicks, I found a melted glob of cloying pink wax all over photo frames and other keepsakes. I’d never had a specific purpose for them, but I thought surely I’d use them someday.

This is the worst reason to keep an item you’re not using right now. If you don’t know for sure whether it will come in handy, wouldn’t it be best for your space (and the item) if it were being used by someone who does need it now?

To be clear, I’m not talking about a treasured, irreplaceable heirloom you have to put in storage because you don’t have room in your living space in this season of life. If you can say yes to “Do I love it?” then keep it. But if you don’t use it, love it, and wouldn’t buy it again, give someone else the pleasure of using it now.

Clutter Misconception #3

I spent money on it, so now I need to keep it even though I don’t use it.

We visited our friends in Oregon City, OR a couple of years ago. Their adult son, his wife, and four children were home on furlough from their mission in Indonesia. They gave us a special gift: nutmeg still in its shell, grown on the island where they were serving. (They looked almost like pecans.)

I kept them in a special bowl on my dresser, where they served as a pretty fall decoration. I came across the perfect kitchen tool one day in the store — a spice grater. How perfect! I would save it all for Christmas and then make my family wonderful holiday drinks with freshly grated nutmeg on top. It would make Christmas even more magical!

Well, Christmas came and went in a flurry of present buying and wrapping, post office trips, grocery store runs and aaaalllll the cooking. We had a great time but I never got around to making special hot drinks or grating my own nutmeg. The little grater sat in a drawer for months and my cat scattered the nutmeg seeds all over the house. (She thinks my dresser is her personal toy store.)

I knew where those paws had been, so there’s no way I was going to consume anything she’d batted around the floor. Every time I looked into the kitchen drawer, I saw the grater taking up space. You might say it grated on me, but that might be getting a little cheesy.

Still, I couldn’t get rid of it. I’d spent good money on it but never used it.

The next Christmas, my brother smoked some ribs for us all to have for Christmas dinner. In the process of making iced tea, I flooded my counter and all the water drained into that drawer. As I was emptying the drawer to dry everything out, my brother made fun of all my obscure kitchen tools, especially the grater, in the way only siblings can do. (Don’t you love siblings? They’re ruthless and some of your favorite people ever all rolled into one.)

That Christmas, I chose to put the grater (and some other tools) into the giveaway bin. Guess what? I haven’t felt guilty for spending money on it since then, because I don’t have anything around to remind me. By giving it to someone who would use it, I got out of the guilt cycle and blessed someone else. (Who knows? I may have enabled the next winner of Top Chef by providing the one tool needed to get to the next level!)

Clutter-Free Truths

Before you get rid of the clutter, you have to get rid of the misconceptions that make you believe you need to keep it.

Kathi’s three questions help us base every decision on the truth:

Do I love it?

Do I use it?

Would I buy it again?

 

Giveaway Time!*

Speaking of misconceptions, clutter isn’t the only thing we get confused about. That’s why Amanda Haley wrote Mary Magdalene Never Wore Blue Eyeshadow — to help us sort out our misconceptions about the Bible.

Thanks to the generosity of Harvest House Publishers, we have a few of these to give away to our readers!

One Grand Prize Winner will receive one copy of the book, along with some lovely things to provide a cozy reading atmosphere. Curl up with some slippers, tea, a journal, and pens to enjoy this book and dig into truths from the Bible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment below to be entered to win.

What clutter misconceptions are holding you back from a clutter-free life?

*Giveaway for US residents only.

EMPTY NEST FULL LIFE: Kids and Stuff Go Hand in Hand

EMPTY NEST FULL LIFE: Kids and Stuff Go Hand in Hand

Kids and stuff go hand in hand.

There are school papers and toys and permission slips and awards and backpacks and treasures and art projects and…the list goes on and on.

Having to manage their stuff while they’re living under your roof is to be expected, but what about when they’re NOT living under your roof anymore? You now have an empty nest and a full house. What do you do with your adult child’s stuff that they haven’t taken with them?

We have five young adult children. Three are married, but they all live out on their own. At one point our nest was empty, but our attic was not! It was full of our adult kids’ memorabilia, awards, sports equipment, and even some furniture.

As you walk towards the clutter-free life, what do you do about the stuff that belongs to your adult kids? Here are nine strategies we’ve found helpful:

Identify their status: are they in transition or settled in?

When you have an adult child that’s in transition, you might choose to give a little grace until they are in a more settled place. Our second oldest daughter’s husband was in the Army for four years. She moved home twice during each of his year-long deployments, so we gave some grace on keeping some of their items in our home until he left the Army and settled down. One of our sons is currently living abroad. He has two small pieces of furniture he couldn’t take with him but he didn’t want to get rid of that he asked us to keep in the attic. We were okay saying yes to that.

Give a warning.

You’ve likely been thinking about this for a while, but your kids probably have not—out of sight, out of mind—right? Every child is different, but especially if you have a “saver,” it’s important to give them a heads up that you’re going to need them to deal with their stuff in the near future.

Set a realistic deadline.

Let them know that you’re renovating the bedroom/cleaning out the attic or garage/having a yard sale on a certain date. Ask them to come get what they want to keep or sell themselves by that date. Let them know that anything that’s theirs in your house after that date will be sold, donated, or disposed of on that date. (And you’ll be keeping the proceeds from any sales!) Then do exactly what you communicated you would do.

Be prepared for your own emotional responses.

It may be hard for you, but you have to keep your eye on the target—to live light, free, and not weighed down with stuff. Getting rid of things doesn’t get rid of the memories. You always have those with you, and you don’t need their things to remember.

Adjust your expectations.

The items you thought were important to save may not be important at all to your child. That has to be okay. You have to allow your child to have differing priorities than you do. They have to have the freedom to assign a different meaning to stuff than you do. Resist the urge to try to convince your child of why something should be important to them. He or she is different than you and that has to be okay.

Understand today’s young adults.

In general, millennials (born 1981 to 1996) and GenZ (born 1997 to today) are disposable generations. They are a generation or two away from a direct influence of the Great Depression where you learned to save everything and use it in some way. Many of today’s young adults are minimalists and not very attached to their stuff. One of our daughters and her husband have sold everything and traveled full time not once, but twice! They are not attached to things at all. While I treasure some of my great-grandmother’s antiques in my own home, I may be the last generation in our family to do so, and that’s got to be okay. We have to resist the urge to pressure our kids to value something because we value it.

Use your phone.

As you are decluttering, take photos of questionable items and text them to your kids for quick decisions. Accept their answers. Remember, however, there may be special items (NOT EVERYTHING!) none of the kids want (such as their Dad’s train set) that you might choose to keep because your adult kids may not be at the age or stage of life where they might use or appreciate them. You could wait on those few things until they are further down the road of life with children of their own.

Have a plan for sentimental baby items.

Maybe you brought each of your children home in the same outfit and you’re not sure what to do with something like that. Could you frame it and put it in a wall photo collage with each child’s baby pictures? Things in boxes aren’t enjoyed. Is there a way you can enjoy the things that mean the most to you?

Think about future generations.

We’ve gotten rid of many toys over the years, but I kept my kids’ Rescue Heroes, Little People, and Legos as well as some books and other small toys they all enjoyed. Now our grandchildren are enjoying those classic toys when they visit, and they are vastly different than the toys they have at home.

One of the best parts of the empty nest is being able to reclaim the use of your house in a way that fits your passions and interests. With a little bit of communication and effort, you can make sure you’re not tripping over the past on your way to the future you’re creating.


All images © Michael Gowin Photography, 217-737-7908, www.gowinphotography.com, Lincoln, IL. Images may not be printed, copied, reproduced, or distributed without written permission from the photographer.

Jill Savage is the author of fourteen books including her newest book Empty Nest Full Life: God’s Best For Your Next. You can find out more information about Jill and her resources for empty nest or close-to-empty-nest moms at www.EmptyNestBook.com.

What Are the Hidden Reasons for Clutter?

What Are the Hidden Reasons for Clutter?

For some people, a three-step plan for a decluttering system results in a neat and cozy home within a few months. For others, decluttering is an arduous journey. It’s not because of busyness or not having a system in place. Behind stacks of clutter, hidden spiritual and emotional issues lurk. If we’re honest, we admit that sometimes it’s just easier to keep those issues hidden in the piles of clutter.

Here are some hidden reasons for clutter:

  • Low self-worth
  • Pleasing other people
  • Clinging to the past/reliving our mistakes
  • Poverty mindset—fearing the lack
  • Depression/anxiety clutter cycle—If we’re constantly in the emotional part of our brain, we can’t use the logic part (where we make decisions).

Some of these reasons are chronic, while others are situational. In 2014, my eyes were opened to a long-time clutter problem in my own house.

A few months after my dad passed away, my siblings and I traveled from three different states to his house. It took us four days to clean it out, working from early morning until late evening, when we were too tired to move.

I lost track of how many giant, industrial garbage dumpsters we filled. Time and again, a driver would load it onto his truck, empty it at the dump, and bring it back again.

Anything you could think of, we threw away. (We gave a lot away too. A charity came and took what was useable to help needy families.) Stacks of old magazines, mattresses, bank papers from before I was born, and an entire drawer full of keys to who-knows-what. Sixty-seven years’ worth of stuff, and I don’t think Dad ever tossed anything besides old food.

For me, it was like looking into my future.

When I arrived home, I saw everything I had piled around my house. Even some stuff I didn’t want but kept anyway, for fear of offending the relative who gave it to me. If I didn’t do something now, I realized, my kids were going to be saddled with loads of useless stuff to deal with upon my death.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t ever learned a practical system for being clutter free. One of the books in my many stacks was Kathi’s The Get Yourself Organized Project. I’d read it and even written a review for a newspaper article.

So how did I get from cluttery mess to (mostly) decluttered and organized home business owner?

 

Here I share five crucial elements on my clutter-free journey.

 

1)      Awareness.

Here’s the main difference between then and now: Today I really can’t stand clutter and work the systems from Clutter Free daily to keep it out of my house. Before, I didn’t notice it or care that my house was cluttered. I lost time, money and sanity because of my clutter, but I tolerated it because it just seemed normal to me. I didn’t consider there might be a better way to live. This is the simplest—and also hardest—of the steps.

2)      A new safe space.

Since clutter is often accompanied by feelings of low self-worth, we must redefine what feels safe to us. It’s a big mind shift to feel worthy of the time it takes to improve our living spaces. Making change is hard; it’s easier to just stick with what we know. Gradually, I accepted that my new way of living was the actual safe space, and not the unhealthy condition of an overly cluttered house. Instead of making ourselves feel better by buying more things, we can enjoy the calm, peaceful feeling of an uncluttered home.

3)      Treat yourself like the treasure you are.

Once I became aware of my clutter problem, I worked to keep my thoughts about it positive. I changed “I’m such a slob!” to “I’m working through Kathi’s steps to get clutter free; I didn’t get here overnight, and I won’t be rid of it all overnight, either.” If we’re constantly berating ourselves, we’ll stay stuck in our low self-worth mindset. Kathi’s mantra of decluttering being a lifestyle and not a “one and done” became my mainstay. The more kind and gentle you can be with yourself, the more progress you’ll make.

4)      Deal with specific issues you’re hiding.

Among my stacks of books, I had one titled Not Marked that deals with childhood sexual abuse. I had purchased it with several other titles and dumped them into my other piles of books. At that point, I hadn’t told anyone I was suffering from PTSD flashbacks to childhood trauma. Not even my husband knew about the abuse or that I was trying to cope with overwhelming memories. Other places to hide our issues might be ridiculously messy pantries to hide eating too much junk food or crammed-full closets to hide a clothes shopping addiction. It starts with telling one friend you can trust (or a therapist) and getting to the source of whatever’s eating you.

5)      Celebrate your wins by enjoying that decluttered room again.

Once I got all the piles of books out of my living room, we bought some pretty pictures and couch pillows to make it cozy. Since it looks so nice, I’m really hesitant to leave anything that doesn’t belong out in the living room. One by one, as you conquer the specific areas of your home, decorate and personalize them so that they feel complete.

Whether your hidden reasons for clutter are chronic or situational, there is hope. Establishing a system for decluttering and recognizing the hidden reasons behind the clutter is the first step. Remember, give yourself grace for whatever you’re struggling with; even if it takes longer than you hoped, you’ll get to the place where you can live peacefully in your space again.

Enter to win!

Want a chance to win a copy of Lyneta’s memoir, Curtain Call? Comment below and two random winners will be mailed a copy by March 13th. (Winners outside the U.S. will receive a digital copy.)

3 Ways to Stop Screen Time from Ruining Your Mood — and Your Marriage!

3 Ways to Stop Screen Time from Ruining Your Mood — and Your Marriage!

3 Ways to Stop Screen Time from Ruining Your Mood–and Your Marriage!

A few years ago I found myself, on pretty much a weekly basis, pondering, “How can life be so cruel?”

I’d fixate on how deplorable our culture was. I’d bemoan how awful so many men were to so many women. I’d stumble to the bathroom and brush my teeth, and drag myself to the bed and crawl under the covers, hoping to disappear.

 

My husband would find me like that and try to talk me out of it. He’d want me to open up and explain what was going on in my head. He’d offer to help me make a list of good things that I could focus on instead.

And I would lie there and fume. “Why can’t he just let me have my mood? Why can’t he just leave me alone instead of trying to fix me? He’s always doing that. Every week, he tries to make me see the bright side when I just need to FEEL. Every week. In fact, every Thursday he does this.

 

“What’s wrong with him that on Thursdays he always has to interfere?”

 

Then I thought,”Wait a minute. What’s wrong with me that every Thursday I’m depressed?”

 

And then I realized that every Thursday, we watched Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Every Thursday, I’d get depressed. And every Thursday, I’d take it out on my husband.

 

Maybe the problem was not Keith. Maybe the problem was my television preferences!

 

So we turned off the TV and we switched off Netflix and a couple of times a week we’d find other things to fill our time and build our relationship — things that didn’t make me grumpy and hate men.

 

It’s not just our homes that can get cluttered. It can be our minds, too.

 

What we fill our minds with affects our outlook on life. And watching TV or watching a movie doesn’t necessarily build your relationship with your husband that much. Sure, it can be fun occasionally, but many of us turn to screens by default in the evenings, when there are much better options that raise our mood, make us laugh together, and build memories.

 

Keith and I have focused on three different things that help us. See if you can find one that can work for your marriage, too!

 

1. Play a board game as a couple.

 

Board games aren’t just for groups! Board games can be awesome as a couple, too. And we’ve discovered some great new ones, even in the last few years. It’s not all Monopoly and Scrabble and Boggle. Here are a few others that we love:

Hive: It’s like chess, but with bugs. And octagons. Or are they hexagons? Your five pieces can move in different ways, and whoever surrounds the queen bee first wins! The great part about it? It only takes about 10 minutes to play a game all the way through.

Carcassone: Here’s one of my favorites that works great with really young kids and bigger groups, as well. You get to build a medieval French countryside together, putting down tiles that create the board. Monasteries, villages, roads, rivers, and more. You rack up points by finishing a road, city, or building, or by cultivating crops. But the best part is that the board looks different every time!

Pandemic: Another game that works well in groups, but also works well just for couples! It’s a cooperative game, so you can play it with a super competitive husband and no one will get grumpy. (Although you may get killed by a wicked virus. Sometimes stuff happens.) Four viruses are spreading in the world, and you need to use the skills of scientists, researchers, medics, and more to stop the spread. It’s great strategy, and you’ll learn geography, too!

 

Find 17 other suggestions for board games to play as a couple!

 

2. Find a new hobby to do together.

A few years ago, my husband and I watched the movie The Big Year, all about competitive bird watching (yes, there is such a thing). It was such a great movie, and right after that, we went out and bought two sets of awesome binoculars, a bird book, and started ourselves. We live near one of the best bird migration sites in North America, and it didn’t take long to start getting quite the list!

Keith’s way more into birdwatching that I am, but I still love it. We get outside. We get fresh air. We get to talk. And hey–the birds are pretty!

We also love ballroom dancing, and periodically take classes to learn more steps. We’re to the point that we can actually impress people now at weddings.

 

If you’re looking for a new hobby that you can enjoy, I’ve got a list of 79 hobbies that couples can do right here.

 

3. Get outside.

If you were to say to your beloved, “Honey, can we talk tonight?“, chances are he’d panic. But if you were to say, “Honey, how about a walk after dinner?“, he wouldn’t get his back up, and he may even agree.

When women talk to each other, we tend to like to do it face to face, gazing into our friends’ eyes. But when men talk, they tend to do it side-by-side, when they’re doing something together.

One of the best things we can do for our marriage, then, is to do something that puts you side by side with your husband. And for that, nothing beats getting outside, whether it’s just taking that walk, or taking a bike ride, or even just gardening!

When we get outside, the screen isn’t trying to pull us in so much with its promise of Netflix and movies. We’re able to be fully present and fully available. And that’s going to make you feel far closer to your husband, too!

 

I had to declutter my mind to see clearly that my husband is a good guy, and he can be a lot of fun. And when we added some fun things that had nothing to do with screens, we increased the laughter. (And I stopped dwelling on horrible sex crimes, too.)

Maybe, as the new school year starts up, it’s time to develop a new routine of your own. After all, no one wants to be grumpy every Thursday!

 

Get Tasks Done: How to Tackle Your Never-Ending To-Do List

Get Tasks Done: How to Tackle Your Never-Ending To-Do List

Learn 3 simple ways to get tasks done so you can spend time on what matters most.

get tasks done - how to tackle your to-do list
If I could pick one word to describe being a single mom, that’s the word overwhelmed. When Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory came out with the book Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore your Sanity, I’m pretty certain I was one of the first to sign up to be on the book launch team. I was only a few chapters in when I went to my Small Group Coordinator at church and offered to lead a women’s small group diving into it.

And that group filled up fast.

It’s. Not. Just. Me.

So many of us struggle with that feeling of being overwhelmed and how to get tasks done. Where do I even start with this? Overwhelm can apply to a lot of things in our lives—our clutter, our calendars, our projects that need to be tackled on top of daily necessities, or our daily necessities!

When my husband was alive, we could divide and conquer. And if I was just out of steam, he could cheer me on to finish or begin a task that needed to be tackled. He helped me with motivation and I helped him. (Ever seen a husband’s face when you hand them a Honey Do List on a sunny Saturday? That’s encouraging them to be productive, right?)

So what’s the secret to tackling the must-do-but-not-fun-to-do things when you are the grown up and there’s no one there to help you get motivated? How do you persevere to complete the things you’ve been avoiding once you realize YOU are the grown up?

 

How To Get Tasks Done

 

Microsteps for the Win

In Overwhelmed, Kathi and Cheri talk about microsteps. It’s such a simple concept, really, but one that we often forget. I even forget to use it when trying to get my kids to do their chores or tackle their odious tasks. Microsteps are simply breaking the big task down into smaller pieces and then breaking those pieces into smaller steps.

There’s a psychological payoff to this that might seem silly, but has been proven. When you accomplish something and put a little check mark by it on your list, you get a bit of a mental rush. “Yay! That’s done!”

Recently I needed my kids to step up and clean up the house for my son’s graduation. Company was coming and I’ll be honest—I’m not the best at housekeeping. I can let it go for too long until it’s a whole lot harder. Tackling this kind of huge cleaning project often led my kids to losing momentum and devolving into whining and complaining. Instead, I put this micro step plan into action.

I didn’t say, “You clean the bathroom and you clean the living room.” I wrote out all the things that needed to be tackled in each room we were cleaning. Then I said that anyone could tackle any task, just let the rest of us know what you were working on and put a check with your initials when done. The bathroom list, for example, included:

  • Clean outside of the toilet.
  • Clean inside of toilet.
  • Clean mirrors.
  • Wipe down tub.
  • Sweep floor.
  • Wipe down floor and baseboard.
  • Pick up dirty towels and take to laundry room.

You get the idea.

It was an amazing change. The house was cleaner than it had been in a long time. No one fought. And only the littlest one ran out of steam before we were fully done.

 

Make a List and Check it Twice

Santa’s not the only one who likes lists. Writing down the steps of tackling an overwhelming job can help you feel like you’ve got a plan. It lays out for you in black and white exactly what needs to take place and lets you mentally follow the progress and celebrate each step accomplished as you get tasks done.

 

Set a Reward

Kids aren’t the only ones who like a reward for finishing something loathsome. My reward for my kids when we tackled the whole house was a promise of no one having to get up early the next day (teens love their sleep) and no one having to do any chores either.

But what about you? Do you give yourself a reward for finishing the grown-up list that you need to tackle? Maybe it’s getting to binge watch your favorite Netflix or Hulu show for a bit. Maybe it’s going to coffee with a friend. Maybe it’s doing your nails or some other type of self-care pampering. You may not need a trip out for ice cream, but setting yourself a reward for finishing a task is a mental motivator that shouldn’t be overlooked.

 

We all have those things that we hate to do—cleaning, running errands, making appointment calls, balancing the checkbook…. I could go on for a while. But we all have to get tasks done so sometimes we need to just do it. Help yourself by using micro steps, making a list and rewarding yourself to make it fun.

Now go out there and be productive! You can do it!



Jenn Buell is a writer, speaker, radio DJ and widowed mom of four kids who lives in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. She loves using her superpower of encouragement to cheer on other Christian single moms through her blog and podcast, “Right There With You.” You can connect with Jenn at JennBuell.com.

How to Stop Arguing About Clutter

How to Stop Arguing About Clutter

Learn how to stop arguing about clutter and enjoy a stronger marriage. 

My grandmother’s Norman Rockwell figurine is permanently placed on top of the piano. My father-in-law’s collection of watches will always fill a corner of Rob’s dresser drawer, dead batteries and all. We both hold on to keepsakes the other doesn’t value or understand.

Over our 25 years of cleaning, organizing, and shuffling possessions from one address to another, we’ve had our share of conflict. We don’t always see eye to eye on what to keep or purge from our house.

As we face this inevitable conflict, it can be positive or negative. On the up side, we can choose to value each other over our stuff. We can practice problem-solving as a team. We can open the door to sharing ideas and knowing one another better. And we can be challenged to be our best selves—listening, working, and putting each other first.

Yet conflict can also bring out the worst in our nature, stirring up anger and driving us apart. We’re not just fighting about material things, we’re fighting for our identity and sense of “home.” Before we can solve any dispute about what to save or throw, we have to eliminate the “clutter” keeping us from coming together.

 

How to Stop Arguing About Clutter

Here are five tips to clear the way to agreement and unity.

 

Kill the bunny.

When we start to tackle conflict, it’s tempting for the discussion to rabbit-trail into other issues and complaints, but it’s important to keep the main thing the main thing. Focus on the one keep-or-throw question at hand instead of trying to reinvent your entire relationship dynamic or five-year financial plan.

 

Play nice.

You might think your husband’s grade-school clay sculpture is stupid, but he’s not stupid. Your wife’s affection for vintage salt shakers does not compete for her affection for you. Keep insults, sarcasm, and criticism out of your conversation. Avoid remarks you know will push your partner’s buttons. It’s impossible to resolve a thing when you’re too mad or hurt to see straight. Attack the problem instead of each other.

 

Face forward.

Keep the past in the past. Dragging old mistakes and tensions into the now will push you farther apart. It will feed discouragement, stealing hope for tomorrow. Declare confidence in your relationship by pressing on to work it out. Cast a vision for a peaceful space you both can enjoy together. Give yourselves the gift of change you can look forward to.

 

Clear the decks.

Dedicate time to talk through your differences. Give yourselves the benefits of privacy, quiet, and energy. Don’t fight about sex in bed after midnight, argue over parenting while your little darlings can hear you in the next room, or wrangle out your budget in front of the car dealer. Don’t start sorting and cleaning when your garage sale starts in two hours! If your conversation becomes heated, show respect by taking time to step away and cool off. Do what’s needed to finish the hard work of resolving your issue.

 

Count the cost.

Is it more valuable to win the debate or win your loved one’s heart? Let go of your need to have the last word. Be willing to listen, compromise, and honor each other’s perspective. If you walk away feeling one of you lost and the other won, you both lost.

 

One of the greatest benefits of resolved conflict is the intimacy it can bring. You can celebrate your tenacious marriage. You experience a fresh sense of unity. You hold hope for the future, knowing you’re strong enough to overcome any battle. Let God use your conflict to deepen your love and commitment today so you can stop arguing about clutter.

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” (Philippians 2:1-2 NLT)

 

Giveaway

Win one of these beautiful gifts from Growing Home Together!

To Enter to Win:

Leave a comment below telling us one of your “prized” possessions that you’ve had trouble decluttering.

 

Giveaway Rules 

-One entry per household. A comment on THIS post only constitutes an entry.

-Prize includes one of the three items pictured above from Growing Home Together..

-Contest ends July 26, 2018.

-3 winners will be randomly selected from the comments on THIS post using third party software and will be notified by email.

-Prizes will be shipped by Growing Home Together.

 

Thank you to Growing Home Together for sponsoring this giveaway. Please see our disclosure policy for any questions.

 


Joanna Teigen and her husband Rob have celebrated 25 years of marriage and are loving life with five awesome kids, plus a beautiful daughter-in-law. They share an addiction to coffee, bookstores, and Christmas music. They’re a neat-freak married to a mess, an explorer to a homebody, and an introvert to a ‘people person.’ But they do agree that their vows are for always, children are a gift, and prayer is powerful. Over the years Rob and Joanna have lived in five states as they made their way to West Michigan. They look forward to meeting you at www.growinghometogether.com, supporting your pursuit of God and the hearts of your loved ones. They can’t wait to grow together with you.