Thursday, March 31, 2011

Keeping the Clutter Out: Maintaining Clutter-Free Spaces

Clutter is a problem in every home all across America. We LOVE to hang onto our junk. We move it from room to room, stuff it under our beds, heap it in the garage, leave it laying around ANYTHING but get RID of it, right?! We say, 'why bother, it will just accumulate again!'. Well, let's look at some ways to maintain our clutter-free spaces so it won't accumulate again...

~Decide What is Really Needed:
If you haven't used it in a year, you probably don't NEED it, and it's time to get rid of it. Use that space more wisely. Keep this in mind, and when you see that item in the store that you really THINK you need; ask yourself if you have a space for it. If you've gone to the trouble of de-cluttering, you probably aren't going to want to do that on a regular basis and will decide it's worth it to maintain.

~Put Things Back:
When you use something, don't just toss it on the floor and leave the room. Make it a rule of thumb to always return things to their original place before going on to the next thing. If you do this all the time, you will avoid the overwhelming task of doing it later when it has had time to accumulate!

~25 Pick Up:
If things HAVE accumulated, here's a trick to take care of the problem quickly and easily. Grab an empty laundry basket and take it with you from room to room, filling it with all the items that don't belong in that room. Then as you go from room to room replace the items that belong in that particular room and continue on to the next room until your laundry basket is empty. Again, if you do this on a regular basis, you won't accumulate large amounts of items that tend to overwhelm you and make you give it up.

**The Biggest key to remember when maintaining a clutter-free space, is to keep on top of it or you will get snowed under!

For other articles concerning this subject visit Joy Ever After and Borrowed Time Blogging for their expert opinions.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fitting It All In: Storage in Small Spaces

I'm NOT an expert when it comes to storing things in small spaces. However, I have had to learn a few tricks since living in my current home. We live in a ranch style home with no basement or garage. We do Vacation Bible Schools during the summer so we have quite a bit of 'extra' things to store besides just our own items we have acquired over time. We do have an attic, so I have learned to make use of that in storing the larger items that won't warp, melt or explode in the heat. But, for the rest of the items that WILL do those things if stored in our very warm attic, I have had to become a little creative in my storage ideas. Since we are a pastor and live in a parsonage where we frequently have overnight guests, I can't just stuff things under the beds or throw them in a heap into the extra guest rooms either. (Not that any of us ever do that I'm sure...)

But we have one bedroom that is an "extra" room right now that I have dubbed my "work room" for VBS material. Keeping in mind that this room also has to be able to be used as a guest room at a moments notice, I have utilized some "ordinary" means of storage in this room. As you see in the pictures above, I used the dresser as a means of a sort of 'filing cabinet' and storage bin. It's a great way of getting the "odds and ends" out of sight. It also makes it easy to organize things so that you know where they are when you are in a hurry.

Of course, you can't get along without using those WONDERFUL storage bins that they sell in every shape, color and size nowadays! But, don't just throw a bunch of odds and ends into them that will make it impossible for you to find it ever again. I try to put "like with like" or do it by themes (since I am using this for VBS storage). Then put a label (not permanent) on the outside so that when they are stacked you can easily see what is in each bin.

Learn to use EVERY available storage space in your home. By that I mean, look around and see if you have an empty crate, toy box, decorative bench with a cubby; ANYTHING that would work as a means of storage, BUT will get the item out of sight. For example, the room I use as my "work room" for VBS storage is decorated in a outdoor woodsy type of theme. As a part of the decoration, I have a wooden crate with a blanket that matches the decor tossed over it. But no one can see what's in the crate. So guess what?! It's a "hidden storage space"! I put small items in here that otherwise don't have a "home" and they're easy to get to whenever I need them! But I haven't ruined my decor, or cluttered up another closet; just utilized the empty space that was sitting vacant.

Maybe these ideas wouldn't work for you or were not very helpful. Don't despair! Check out Joy Ever After and Borrowed Time Blogging for more ideas on this subject!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Look Inside: Spiritual Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning is an activity that usually requires great effort on the part of the one who wants to see results. You can't expect a room to clean itself. YOU have to do the grunt work, right? It's the same way with our spiritual life. We can say we want to draw closer to the Lord, but are we willing to do some spiritual "spring cleaning" of our own in order for that to become reality? Someone once said, "You can have as much of God as you want". In other words, it's up to us to do the seeking and searching. In Jeremiah 29:13 it says, "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." You can't go half-heartedly into a room, move a few things around, rearrange some drawers, and stuff some junk under the bed, and wipe a rag over the furniture and say you did a deep spring cleaning. No, you might have made things look a bit better on the surface, but you didn't do a deep cleaning. THAT is the kind of cleaning that has lasting results. In order to see LASTING results in our spiritual walk with Christ, we must dig deep into His Word; and allow Him to dig deep into our lives removing whatever He sees fit to remove.

Part of spring cleaning is getting rid of clutter that is taking up space in your home that could otherwise be used for other purposes. In our walk with Christ, we have to get rid of some things that are cluttering up our time with Him if we want a fulfilling relationship with Jesus. Take a few moments today to get quiet before the Lord and allow Him to show you the clutter in your life that He wants you to remove. Allow Him to do a deep cleaning of your life and to get rid of anything that would hinder your walk with Him. Do your part to follow through with what He's asked you to do; then, you will have room in your heart and life for Him to fill you with good things.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8

For more ideas on this subject visit Joy Ever After and Borrowed Time Blogging.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Small Spaces Blog Series

I will be participating in a "blog hop" type blog series for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week on how to manage clutter in small spaces. There will be two other blogs participating in this series: Joy Ever After and Borrowed Time Blogging which I will post a link to after each of my posts. Hopefully they will be helpful to you as you try to maintain your "small space"! Stop back tomorrow for the first post!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Top Five Favorites

Here we are on the brink of Spring time! Finally this long winter is about over! I'm going to post my top five favorite things about Spring and then I want YOU to post your top five favorites in the comment box! :0) Here we go!

My Top Five:

1. Warm Weather!
2. New Life-Flowers blooming, trees budding etc.
3. Easter Season
4. Fresh New Start-Clean slate
5. Planting- New flowers, vegetables etc.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Family Fun

Here are some recent pictures of our family. I'm known as the family "shutter bug" so-to-speak, so I'm usually the one to capture the special (since I think EVERY moment with family is special) moments in our lives. :0)

Jen, Jeff, Jerry and Elizabeth getting ready to head out :0)
Jerry and Elizabeth

Joey- 5 months
Jerrod-2 1/2

Jen & Jeff

Jessica and Daddy

Jessica and Jeffery with daddy

Our little "cool dude" Jerrod showing off his sunglasses

Bus Convention 2011

It was our privilege to get to attend Bus Convention in Camby, Indiana this year. It was our first time going to Bus Convention, and we certainly enjoyed it!! The sessions were very helpful and it gave us a fresh outlook on our ministry. We especially appreciated the ministry of Rev. James Plank who spoke in the morning devotionals and the evening services. It was a time of spiritual refreshing and filling up.

Luke outside of the Grey Brothers Cafeteria where we went for lunch one day.
UBC Choir singing in the pre-service.

My parents at our motel :0)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy!

I was out of town over my dad's birthday this year, so I apologize for this late post! I thought it was better late than never though... :0)
I wanted to wish my daddy a VERY Happy Birthday! He is the best dad anyone could every wish for. I have been truly blessed with the best of parents. My dad has always been there for me, even when I know it was inconvenient for him to be. He always puts his family first, (under God of course), and we know we are loved and mean the world to him. Thank you daddy for being a good example for your children to follow. You have led by example before us, and you live what you preach. Your consistent Christian lifestyle gave us the desire to want what you have. Thank you for being that example that we could follow. Love you! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday's Teaching Tips

This is the last of the "Tuesday's Teaching Tips"! Hope it has helped you along the way!

Keep in Touch

Find out your students' birthdays. Buy, make or e-mail cards for them on their day, when they are ill, or just to encourage them. If they have e-mail access, send them homework reminders, encouraging verses, or birthday wishes with snail mail assignments to absent students, or to all of them. Written reminders will assist parents as well as youth.