organization · Spiritual Refreshment

Time To Unclutter

There are seasons that just make us want to dive into our areas of clutter and begin a donate campaign. The beginning of the new year, springtime, or a move all give us that proverbial shove to get rid of our piles!

We tiptoe into closets that are brimming with things we’ve stuffed inside, perhaps because we didn’t know what to do with them, or we were in too much of a hurry to put them in their proper place. Lurking on shelves, in shadows and under stacks, we find so many items that are no longer useful. Oh what freedom comes from filling bags with all the undesirable bits and bobs!

Early one recent morning I walked into my closet – my walk-in clothes closet where I also pray. I grimaced at the little pile I had hidden placed behind the door, but I ignored it, shut the door, and knelt to pray. It was then that the Holy Spirit brought to my mind that there are areas of clutter that are far more serious than that pile in my closet. It was so easy for me to see.

Oh yes, Lord! In my life I look around me and recognize the hording that slows my spiritual progress. It deadens my sensitivity to Your Spirit. It makes my testimony ineffective, keeping my eyes on earthly things, rather than the heavenly treasures.

A “pile” of spiritual clutter that came to my mind is found in Colossians 3:

  • sexual immorality
  • impurity
  • passion
  • evil desire
  • covetousness, which is idolatry
  • anger
  • wrath
  • malice
  • slander
  • obscene talk

Before you raise your eyebrows and think I’m living in immorality, (I am not), I was reminded that this list might sound like it’s directed to the “really bad sinner.” But the Spirit of God reminded me that if I allow any of this to enter my closet door through means of someone else throwing it in there, it’s still cluttering my life. That means I may need to “toss out” people I follow on social media that promote their sinful lifestyle. Comedians that laugh at what God calls pure may need to be added to the trash pile, and “entertainment” that uses profanity, promotes obscene language or nods “yes” to things God clearly condemns all must be added to the “donate pile.”

I also see that filling my minutes/hours/days with useless things is even more cumbersome to my life than hanging onto the sweater I loved but has a hole in the sleeve.

As I continued in my prayer time, I heard the Lord giving me directives on what to “toss” and what to add to my spiritual closet. Confessing my spiritual clutter was the only thing needed to unload the mess. I rose from my knees with a sense of peace. This time was needed. The shadows had revealed the lurking loads that were now clean, fresh and ready for enjoying, rather than sighing with the burden of knowing it is all there, but not dealing with it. It is gone.

Lest you think this is a boast of legalism where we have to “follow all the rules,” I must add that in Christ we are free. We are free to choose the path of righteousness that will lead to greater spiritual fruit, or we can choose the way that gives a short-lived satisfaction but yields only weeds and thorns that we will regret. We live with eternity in view , knowing that Christ could come today. I want my “closet” clean and ready to receive Him. I want others to see the joy of walking with Christ. I, too, love the precious things the Lord adds to my life each day. You know the happy feeling of dumping all that load of junk at the donation center? This is far greater!

If you ask the Lord to show you the clutter that needs to be removed from your life, He will faithfully reveal those things to you. Humble yourself before Him and be ready for the peace and joy that comes from your obedience.

Praise God for removing the clutter!

Cleaning · organization · refreshment at home · refrigerator contents

A Fresh Start in the Fridge

Last week on Instagram I saw Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) do a reel showing how she stocked her refrigerator. She started with a fridge that clean and empty. Then she added all new, unopened grocery items

  • Bottles of water
  • Condiments
  • Piles of fresh lemons and limes
  • Eggs
  • Cheeses of every kind
  • Several kinds of meats
  • Sodas
  • Milk
  • Juices
  • Deli meats
  • Veggies of all sorts, all washed and wrapped
  • Freshly roasted chicken
  • Homemade soups and hummus
  • And lots more

It was pretty incredible to view the video, but as I watched, I wondered what “regular person” could really purchase all that so they could end up with that lovely, satisfying result? What do you think? Could the average person fill their fridge like that all at one time? I don’t think very many would be able to follow her example.

But I have some good news! I have a few ideas for you today to help your fridge be as organized and lovely inside as Ree’s – and it will cost you nothing extra!

Since we’ve just come through the holidays, perhaps your fridge is nearly bare. Great! Or maybe it’s still full of little leftover containers of this and that. That’s okay.

  1. Start by emptying the shelves one at a time. Analyze each food item as to whether it should stay or go. Check the expiration dates and pitch anything out that’s old.
  2. Once the shelf is empty, wipe it down with hot, soapy water. Then begin to put the items for that shelf back in.
  3. Keep like items together – condiments, salad dressings, sauces, dairy itms, etc.
  4. Place each item with labels facing out so it looks uniform.

I like using vinyl placemats in my fridge because it makes it easy to wash. I plunge them into the hot, soapy water, then dry them and put them back in their spot! You’ll notice the turquoise ones in the picture below.

I also line the drawers with the vinyl placemats.

I like putting my blueberries and strawberries into Mason jars (after the berries have been washed). They stay fresh SO much longer that way! You’ll see the jar in the left drawer below. They also look pretty displayed in the fridge that way! Mason jars are also great for leftovers!

I try to keep all the leftover containers together on one shelf, that way nothing gets forgotten, and it keeps the fridge from getting cluttered up with little dishes.

Start the new year with a fresh start in your kitchen by taking what you have and getting it clean and organized. You’ll be inspired to keep it that way. There’s something very satisfying about opening up a freshly straightened up space – especially something as big and important as the refrigerator!

Is your fridge full or empty now that the holidays are past?

Meal planning · organization · Thanksgiving

Early Preparations For Thanksgiving

Slow and steady wins the race, right? What are we racing towards?

Thanksgiving!

Yes, it’s true. Five weeks from tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day! (Didn’t we just celebrate Labor Day?!) Well, maybe so, but it’s true – we have five weeks to plan and prepare for this special holiday! That may sound like a lot of time, but considering how much there is to do if you’re hosting, the weeks will fly by! If you want to enjoy, rather than endure the holiday, planning and working ahead of time is your best friend!

I’ll be hosting this year, so I am trying to get my ducks turkeys in a row! No, I don’t have an outside job, but my life stays very busy. It would be easy to push things back and let the holiday slip up on me, but I am praying that the Lord will give me wisdom to prepare in such a way that I will be able to smile and embrace the day and each of my guests when Thanksgiving arrives!

So, what am I doing? Well, first of all, I’m doing what works best for me, and that’s making lists! I am using my phone for some jobs that need attention before my guests arrive. Here’s a peek at the list I’m adding to each day…

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I made that on “Reminders.” I like having that on my phone, because if I’m out and I need to remember what I needed to buy for the table, it’s right there at my fingertips. I will make a detailed list of the menu and food prep in my Happy Planner.

It’s amazing what tasks can be accomplished in short spans of time! Yesterday when I had 15 minutes while supper was finishing in the oven, I grabbed my large tablecloth and got my Thanksgiving Tablecloth ironed!

When I was finished, I hung it on a hanger and hung it in the front closet.

That’s one task completed!

Little time spans are useful to accomplish small tasks. Look for those five or ten minute windows when you’re on hold on the phone, when you’re ready to leave for work or church but have a few minutes to spare. Look for ways to use those minutes wisely so you can smile when Thanksgiving arrives, rather than panic!

This week I read in Luke 10 about Mary and Martha and was reminded that I often get my priorities out of whack when I’m having guests over. I am asking the Lord for a worshipful heart like Mary. If some things on my list don’t get accomplished, I don’t want to be in a flurry. I want to be fervent instead – fervent in pointing my family and guests to the Lord, Who so graciously blesses us every single day with an abundance of reasons to celebrate this day…with a smile.

Will you be hosting Thanksgiving this year? What are you doing now to prepare ahead?
If you’re going to be a guest, why not ask your hostess what you can do for her even now?

Refresh Thanksgiving by making early preparations!

organization · refreshment at home · Tips and Tools

Tips You Need to Know!

I love to pick up a book or magazine that has some really good helpful ideas in it that simplify my life. I thought I’d share some of my recent finds with you here. Feel free to share your good ideas; I’d love to hear your helpful hints!

  • Use an embroidery box or a tackle box for your small pieces of jewelry. If you don’t use it at home, this is a great way to pack jewelry for vacation!
  • Place all your shoes in clear shoe boxes rather than shoe racks. They’re shorter and trimmer than standard shoe boxes and stack nicely on the closet shelf. Because they’re in clear boxes they’re easy to find.
  • Put Clear plastic drawers in your closet to store socks and belts.
  • Use a magnetic clip to hold your recipe while you’re cooking. Stick the clip to the stove hood and you’ll be able to see the recipe easily.
  • Wrap a rubber band or two around the ends of a hanger to keep your camisoles and sleeveless tops from sliding off the hanger and into the floor.
  • Pop your medication into a contact case for a handy pill box. This tip is especially good for men who don’t want a “cute” little pill box! My husband keeps a contact case in his pants pocket with his Veritgo meds and a couple Advil.
  • When you get to the bottom of your favorite tube of lipstick, dig out the remains with a Popsicle stick and put it into a clean contact case. Presto! Lip gloss is now at your finger tips!
  • When you’re in the middle of a painting project and it’s time to quit, instead of washing all the paint off your brushes and rollers, simply wrap them in plastic wrap ’til you’re ready to paint later that day or even the next day. This way you’ll only have to clean up the messy brushes once!
  • Keep cilantro fresh by cutting off the bottom of the stems and placing the cilantro in a cup with enough water to cover the stems. Place the cup in the fridge. The cilantro will stay fresh for a couple of weeks.
  • Magic Erasers are great for more than just crayons on the wall! They clean the outside of appliances super well! That grimy covering that can make toasters or microwaves “sticky” is wiped away easily!
  • Lastly, this simple idea came to me recently when I was cooking hot dogs for lunch on the stove top. Spray the hot dog buns with cooking spray, then gently open them just enough to hang them on the sides of a rounded skillet. Brown on one side, then turn them and brown the other side while the hot dogs cook! Nice, crispy buns will be ready when your hot dog is!

Okay, your turn! Tell me your favorite tip!

Refresh your life with simplicity!

Kitchen Tips · organization

A Kitchen Pantry Check-In

My pantry is an essential part of my kitchen. Kind of like my own little “store,” it’s where all of the staples are safely tucked away. I’m in that closet space many times every single day!

We’ve lived in our current home for 7.5 years and this is my first time to have a decent size pantry. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to maintain it and keep it in order, so in an effort to organize it, I got baskets, bins and jars and got things in shape four years ago. I thought I’d do a little check-in today to give you a report on how it’s going.

First off, I still LOVE my chalkboard vinyl that I got at Hobby Lobby. It allows my kitchen reflect the season. I did the spring pick-up truck last week when I added the spring vignettes to my downstairs. If you have a white closet pantry door, you should try adding this vinyl chalkboard. You could use it for an ongoing menu board, shopping list or for drawing or writing things like Bible verses, sayings or quotes!

This side of my pantry gets used a lot! From the Olive oil, cooking spray, and canned goods, it holds the things I use the most. I love that my oils and vanilla are in baskets that slide out. It makes it super easy to pull it out and grab what I need. I have a couple of my favorite cookbooks behind the brown sugar cannister on the left side and my aprons are on hooks to the far left. That works great!

The lazy Susans are perfect for my canned goods. It’s easy to turn and see what’s available. On the top shelf are the pots and pans I don’t use that often, as well as some of my home canned fruits and vegetables. I have some of those things “hidden” by the framed recipe for bread, written in the handwriting of my dear friend, Hope, who is now in heaven. It’s a sweet reminder of her giving heart.

I don’t love the way these shelves look, but boxes of crackers, pastas and jars of condiments are all a little taller than my containers. These came from the Dollar Tree and have been okay, but I think I’ll be looking for deeper baskets in the near future.

Above that shelf are two baskets with “extras.” They contain tea for sweet tea, Chex mix, crackers, Syran wrap and the like. I think this is the kind of material I’ll get for to replace the white Dollar Tree containers.

I LOVE keeping my pantry stocked so it’s easy to pull a meal together. I try to use what I have on hand, then restock as I empty my shelves. Canned tomatoes, pasta sauce, pastas, dry beans, and baking ingredients like chocolate chips, sugars, coconut and nuts are all sitting and waiting to be stirred into my favorite recipes. My girls tease me and say if there’s ever a food shortage, they’re coming to my house! Live and learn, right?

After my little survey, I’m going to be looking for new baskets, but other than that, my system is working well. I say that because as Whitney, one of the most organized people I know, says that if your organization makes it difficult to use your things, then it’s not well organized!

How about you? Do you need to take inventory of your pantry space? Do you need bins, jars or baskets to keep like things together? Is your space working well and making it easy to work in the kitchen? Even if your pantry is a cupboard or one shelf in a closet, it’s important to keep it organized so you know what you have, you don’t over-purchase and you’re more effective because of your organization. Also, it will make you smile every time you open it up! Well, maybe you’ll be smiling at the chocolate chips you see, but you will be smiling!

Refresh your pantry!