Is it cleaned like Grandma would do it? link-up

I was talking to a sweet friend this week-end about her parents living with her (temporarily). One of the things she mentioned is that it has really helped her children. Her parents are from a different era – one where diligence and hard work were honored and expected. And her mom is a tremendously organized person. So, when her children clean, she asks them if the cleaning is done to what Grandma would do.

Washing Pictures, Images and Photos

courtesy of photobucket: nursesnaturally


As many of you know, Olga Organized is NOT my name. We tend to be a Pile Family. We have school stuff in piles (because we use it every day as we school year round), we have clothes in piles, we have books in piles. Part of it is that there are 9 pack rats in my family, part of it is that we have no closets, part of it is that no one wants to go to our cellar to store things! *shudder*

But organization is something that is always hard for me. I LOVE an organized home (as my friend and I were discussing, it is very peaceful), but it is hard for me to get us from Point A to Point Q (we live a long way from Organized Alley). And most of my children are as deficient in this as I am. The problem is they don’t really care. BUT since I do, this is going to be our goal for this summer. I will be better training the younger ones (mostly boys) to do an EXCELLENT job with cleaning!

This week we’ll be working on the Boys’ Room: declutter, clean, simplify and organize.

They have grown out of a lot of things in their room. They just don’t have the heart to admit it and to let go of it. I, on the other hand, can be RUTHLESS! If I could get 1 dresser that was large enough, we could get rid of the tiny one we have (plus the Yaffa blocks, which Elizabeth wants for her photography stuff), we’d have room enough for their clothes. The fact that they have the only working closet in the house will open that up for the girls to share.

I would love to hear your encouragement for cleaning and organizing so I can help my children “clean like Grandma would like it”.

Linking to:
A Handful of Heart, The Better Mom, Sharing In His Beauty, Monday Musings, Domestically Divine, Time Warp Wife, Gratituesday, Encouraging One Another, Women Living Well, Winsome Wednesday, Raising Homemakers, Wise Woman Builds Her House, Marital Oneness

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  1. I can’t function in a cluttered or unorganized house. The good from that is that our house stays tidy and my kids are learning to prefer it that way, too. The down side is that sometimes I put cleaning higher on my list of priorities that things of greater importance. Praying the Lord helps me find balance!

    • Kasey, I definitely function better in an organized home – I had a much better handle on things when we lived in a 500 sq ft apartment and the children were all little!

      I’ve never been able to keep things tidy throughout the day when there were 8 children either doing school or projects all throughout the living areas of the house. I usually say, “If you want tidy, come just before we go to bed or right after we get up. Otherwise, you find us living.” ;D

      Balance for BOTH of us would be great!! Thanks for linking up, dear!

  2. I think I need a grandma living in my house =) Unlike Kasey (above^), I am just slowly learning to prioritize cleaning more.

    • πŸ˜€ Amy, I hear you!! I’m fine with the cleaning…it is the ORGANIZING that I’m a mess with! We have our daily chores and once a month we take a different room to deep clean, but when we put the piles back instead of decluttering them, it never LOOKS clean! :O

      Thanks for coming by this morning!

  3. I’m pretty organized and most of the rooms in my house are too, EXCEPT my children’s rooms. Apparently, the organizational gene skips a generation! LOL!!! I keep working on them but it’s slow going and I fear they will be out of the house before it sinks in. πŸ™‚

    • Well, Terri…my mom was a thrower, my dad was a hoarder. I’m not sure WHAT I am but my children are definitely all hoarders!! I think I have the heart of a thrower but for so many years we had nothing and we held on to things “just in case”…I think I need to shed that mentality! ;D

  4. We are in the process of moving, so I’m really in the get rid of stuff mode!! God has put it on my heart to simplify our lives and one way He wants me to do this is to live with less.
    When I (or my kids) start drifting from this plan, I just think of this scripture,

    Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

    Our devotion to God can be hindered by the things of this world. Get rid of what you can do without and don’t need. All that stuff just clutters up our lives and our hearts.

    I recently read a great book on this topic, Living with Less So Your Family Has More by Jill Savage. It discusses the material things, but also heart issues! Great book.

    And I just love this blog about simplifying – Simply Living….. For Him; not sure if you’ve heard of it, but it’s been a great resource for me!

    Sorry, I would link you to the book and blog, but I don’t know how to make a link in the comments section. πŸ™ You can just google them though and they should come right up.

    I pray that the Lord guides your heart in this matter and He show you what is excess in your life.

    * We are Pile People too! And it drives me nuts!

    • Sarah, you are so right. I’ll go check that blog out. I do have to be careful, though, in that my husband is an Information Keeper — so I have to work within honoring his desires and managing my home well. Balance, balance, balance. But I’m ALWAYS up for learning more!

      Thanks for linking up today and praying your move is smooth!

  5. Great post Kate. My grandmothers were almost “super human” to me and are the reason I cook from scratch, sew, knit, crochet, garden, preserve food and sooo many other things. My poor mom on the other hand, failed home economics twice and I grew up in a home where nothing was ever thrown out, where you waded through piles, and where there were often things in the fridge and freezer that were unidentifiable πŸ™‚ Once I had a family of my own I found myself also making piles and a “pack rat” but somehow still obsessed with keeping my tiny house full of kids and animals “tidy”. I was always “on task” not wanting to be my mother. The truth is that we all functioned better in a certain amount of order because if things got overly cluttered we didn’t function as well and everything just felt like chaos and was very distracting. But on the down side of that I have to say looking back is that one of my greatest regrets is realizing how much time my children spent looking at the back of my head because I wouldn’t sit down til this or that was done. Eventually I found “balance”. Crazy thing is all that stuff I saved and just couldn’t part with? We got hit with flooding one year and 5 truck loads went to the dump. Other than some pictures I never missed any of it. The things I made the kids hold on to? Now that they are all traveling and living abroad in full time ministry they have told me to get rid of it. They are all “minimalists” and hold the things of this life with a very loose hand, unlike their mother. When I visit Cam and Laurie and take Laurie “thrifting” and we come home with a bag of stuff and she shows Cam, the first thing he asks her is “so what are you going to get rid of?” because the rule is if something new comes in then something else has to go out! She doesn’t need five pairs of shoes because once they are in Africa full time they will not be able to take it all, they won’t have room for it, and it would be wrong to have so much “stuff” when the people they people they will be living among don’t even have shoes half the time. Even with two little ones in the house, Cam working and school 12 hrs a day, Laurie taking a class, teaching 2 classes, and being a mom with a home, their home is always in good order because of the absence of “stuff”. Even Owen only gets a few books and toys in his room at a time. The rest are in a tote in the attic and switched out every so often. So it would appear that after my grandmothers it skipped two generations to now my children. Me? I’m learning from my children. I still make piles but they are smaller now and I am still working my way through years of “stuff”. Living in this little mini home a month at a time for Joes work and being just fine and not even missing my house other than a good hot soak in the tub has made me realize how ridiculous I am and how wise my children are. Praying you all find your “balance”….

    • Trudee…how GREAT to hear from you, sweetie!!! And you are one of the hardest workers I know. When the children were little, they each had a Treasure Box. They could fill it with whatever they wanted so long as the lid closed. When it overflowed, they had to choose what to get rid of so they could keep something new because the BOX HAD TO CLOSE!

      I’m not a nick-nack person (you can tell by my lack of decorating skill) but the thing that we cannot seem to get rid of is BOOKS!! They are everywhere.

      But our ruthless decluttering in the boys’ room started really great last night! We tossed a huge bag of stuff and have another large bag to giveaway. And we are only 1/2 way done!!

      Miss you, my dear friend!

  6. Lol,guess what? Guess what still fills the shelves that cover the wall of one room, two shelves in another room, three drawers of dressers, and several totes in my basement and storage? Yep……BOOKS! Four of our five boys are big readers. They have taken many of their books to a used book store that buys them and gives them credit so that they can buy others they need for pleasure or school either one. Canaan and Zach both have kindles and are slowly moving their collection of favorites to that. They do have their favorite old books though that they will never part with. My boys also had “treasure boxes”. I still have them. My dislike of dusting has kept me from collecting nick-nacks but I can’t figure out how keep others from buying them for me….ugh! And then I feel the need to display them so as to not offend anyone, sigh…….Will be praying for “purging power” for all of you. It is no easy task. I do best when I am just crazy disgusted with it all and then hit it really hard and only give myself 3 seconds on an item. If I think about it too much I will give myself 15 reasons why I should hold on to it. And then I make sure I take it to Leydig Center or whatever right away so I can’t go dig back through it. But I admit that I went and bought an item back once. It was something my niece had given me and I had forgotten where it came from til after the fact LOL. I’ll let you know if I get hit with a brainstorm/solution to your book problem. Miss you too Darlin woman!

    • LOL! Oh you crack me up!

  7. My grandma would scrub her kitchen chairs every Saturday with a scrub brush!! While I admired many of her housekeeping skills, I will say she never had a lot of time to just hang out with her kids, playing board games or drawing or going outside to explore creation. And she didn’t homeschool either! So I figure maybe I don’t scrub my kitchen chairs weekly, I do spend a lot of time with my children so we’re even πŸ™‚ Works for me!

    • Wow…that is housekeeping! And I’m with you…I’d rather not have scrubbed chairs and have the time to spend time with my children. When they leave I can scrub…of course, when they leave I won’t NEED to scrub!! HAHA!!

      Thanks for your fun comment, Stephanie!

      • But then there will be grandchildren!! See, no time to clean! πŸ™‚

        • You got THAT right!! πŸ˜€ Balance, balance, balance. (hee hee)

  8. Hi Kate – I consider myself organized but you would not say so from the state of my cupboards. hmmm, time to start getting organized again. As to my children, they are terrible. They seem to love clutter and its a case of spot the carpet, win a car!!! Solution, I close their bedroom doors until I can cope with it πŸ™‚ God bless

    • Oh Tracy, I hear you! Our sons’ bedroom used to have VERY THICK shag carpeting (it actually had 3 layers of carpeting on top of one another before we ripped it all up, but that’s another story) and I cannot tell you how many legos and small pieces of toys were LOST in the carpet!! But with a bare wooden floor it is much easier to find all the tiny pieces.

      Our de-cluttering in their room is going very well! Still looking for a different dresser to help things along. Thanks for visiting, Tracy!

  9. Kate, I’ve been trying to clean and declutter my own house (and there’s only one of me!) so I was talking to a friend about the reasons behind my clutter, and what it would do for me to clean up. This is one of her responses, and it started me THINKING about why I behave as if I do not deserve a clean home to live in. I realize that if I am behaving that way, then maybe I don’t like myself as much as I think I do. And if I don’t like myself, maybe I don’t know myself all that well, because if I did I would surely like what I saw (after all, other people do!). I am not suggesting that self-esteem issues are to blame, of course, just that it’s a line of thinking I hadn’t yet connected to house keeping. Anyway, here is her post, I hope it helps you and your children like it helped me!

    “Let me just say this. What I’m hearing over and over again is not so much an issue with being a clutter bug, it’s an issue of finding a level of self-love. But please don’t be alarmed–the vast majority of people are dealing with this very same issue. It’s why I do what I do. If I could wave a magic wand and just let people see themselves as they truly are, the way others see them, they would be filled with the knowledge that they are worthy of love. Truly. You get to be loved simply because you are here. You don’t have to do anything special, you don’t even have to have a clean house or be a talented artist or even bathe every day….but you will find that when you begin to love yourself, you start doing these things because you are worth it.

    My backyard is a literal mess. It bugs me. Looking at the amount of work it will take to clean it up is totally overwhelming. So I can keep letting it go and keep avoiding doing the work. But I DESERVE a backyard that I like, one in which I can grow flowers and herbs and just create the space I love. I deserve that. I deserve to have a house that is clean. I deserve clean clothes without wrinkles. I deserve fresh water and fresh food. I deserve it, not because I’ve earned it or done something superheroic or because I’ve given enough of myself to others…..I deserve it because I am here and I am me and because those are the things that I want in my life.

    You deserve to have a space around you that reflects how you treasure yourself.

    But here’s the tricky thing about feeling worthy. It begins with self-love. We spend so much time looking outside of ourselves for love–that special partner that will “make us feel complete.” But…the journey of love is one that begins inside, not outside. It begins with knowing that you are human AND you are sacred. You have spirit inside you, energy, that is part of this world and part of something greater. Some people follow a particular god or goddess or being and have no trouble worshipping them as being super awesome…and they need to realize that part of this creator-energy is INSIDE OF THEMSELVES! No, I’m not going off on a religious rant or trying to convert anyone. What I’m trying to explain is that each of us is a pretty amazing person just because we are here. We have something sacred inside us. I call it spirit, others call it soul, others call it the ability to create…it’s an energy that we have inside that allows us to make art and sing and have children and learn new things…it truly is super awesome. So honor it. Honor that part of you that is you, that sets you apart from everyone else in the world, and that also connects you with everyone else in the world.

    And then treat yourself as if you were sacred. Even if you don’t believe it yet, act as if it were true. So if I’m sacred, if I have creator energy inside me, do I want to be surrounded by a mess? Do I want to keep investing this energy into stuff that is laying around me? Do I want to stay online and continue to avoid making a space that I will love? I say this with the truest compassion: Whatever you choose is OK. Seriously. You can choose to continue living your life in a messy environment and that is totally OK, it is truly your choice. I hope that you make the choice that reflects how you want to feel about yourself and your life. And I hope that choice comes from a place of love, of honor, of knowing you are worth caring for…simply because you are here. “

    • Wow, Jennie, that is a “mouth-full”. πŸ˜€ While I think that, for some, clutter could be coming out of a lack of self-respect, I don’t always (or even often) think that is the case.

      I think there is a real balance going on in our lives: a balance about what becomes our god/idol. For some, a spotless home can become an idol in our lives. For others, fun can be the idol. And for others, believing “I deserve” things can become an idol. Our balance comes when we 1) surrender our lives to the heart, mind and will of God 2) honor HIM in the ordering of our world/life 3) remember what the truly IMPORTANT things are and make sure we do not sacrifice them for the URGENT things that pop up and demand our attention.

      I would not say “I deserve a clean house/yard”…in fact, I’m coming from a place in my life where I realize that before God I deserve nothing. I would say, “how am I honoring and glorifying God in my life and my home and my yard?” Some days, my giving Him glory comes in the clutter around me while I help one of my children work through some issues in their life or help train them in conflict resolution. Some days, my glorifying Him comes in the order I bring from the chaos. Some days it is through my joyful willingness to set aside my own plans to minister to the heart of a sister in need.

      I most certainly do NOT have the balance fully worked out in my life. πŸ˜€ But, like a juggler, I have come to know which balls I’ve let fall to the floor while I keep the other ones spinning in air. Occasionally I will drop a different ball and reach down and pick one up that’s been there awhile to get it rotating again. I can’t keep them all juggling at the same time, but I CAN be fully aware of what is set aside and prayerfully learn when to pick it up and deal with it.

      I do want to address the comments of your friend on “creator-energy inside of us.” I’m not fully understanding her views, but I want to clearly reiterate this. Yes, all humanity is created in the image of God, but we all have fallen from His grace. It is only when we come to a saving faith in Jesus, that we are born spiritually and TRULY become sacred/holy/set apart for God. Our worth and our value comes, not from self-love, but from the God who redeems us, calls us by name and draws us to Himself to be saved by grace through Jesus.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and this very personal story. I’m so glad that your friend loves you so much.

      • Well, my friend obviously comes from a different theological standpoint. I suppose I should have explained what I came away with. See, previously my desire to keep my home in order stemmed from my desire to keep it clean for my husband and children — I don’t even HAVE a husband or children yet. What I realized from my friend is that God blessed me with a home of my own and with a body to live in, and shouldn’t I take care of what He has blessed me with? I feel that it would be ungrateful of me to mis-treat my home by keeping it cluttered when He loves me so much and has blessed me with it. So it’s less a self-love for me and more a recognition of His love for me. I believe He is happy when we take care of ourselves (of course as long as we don’t go overboard and put that before serving Him or others). I’ve been praying about it, and I truly believe the lesson He wants me to learn from this is that I matter to Him, and that I need to learn better how to see myself through His eyes. πŸ˜€ In conclusion, for me at least, a clean home is so much more than a clean home.

        • Ahhh, yes I see and I completely agree with you!! It IS honoring to Him to care for the things He has blessed us with. And you ABSOLUTELY DO matter to Him. I love how He uses everyday, mundane things in our lives to teach us and to grow us to be more like Jesus — even cleaning a home!

          Thanks so much for clarifying this for me. I am so grateful for your sharing this! Have a blessed day!

  10. Blessings to you tonight! I just discovered your blog and agree that WE are a pile family too!

    Have a great week!


    • Hi Sarah!! Welcome and hope you come by often for a visit and a chat!

  11. Kate…I was raised in a clean and clutter free home. My mom was a good example to me growing up and I have chosen to do so in my own home. Now even though I keep house that way, clutter free and organized, only one of our three children has followed suit. Our other two have required constant pushing to do better, especially when it came to their rooms. My husband would tell me…”close their doors and don’t look at it. It’ll be better for you.” LOL! One thing we did, and still do, is remind our children is that God gave us all we have so we need to show our thankfulness by taking real good care of it all. That means cleaning well, putting things back in their spots, and making every effort not to let things get away from you. That has helped much. Thank you for sharing at What Joy Is Mine.

    • Thanks, Naomi, and that is so true. My problem is I don’t always find the place for some of our stuff in the first place! πŸ˜€ We are working on it!! Thanks so much for sharing your story. It is very helpful and encouraging!

  12. I enjoy organizing, but the task of keeping the house organized with 3 little one,not a easy task πŸ™‚

    • LOL! You are right on that one! But I’m so excited that it is ALL by His power!!

  13. Hi ladies. There is a difference between clean & organized. I know many people that clean freaks but, lack organizational skills. I know people that can organize but, are not concerned with clean places. I’m a veteran of the Army,so I learned about cleaning! My husband is,well,, was an organizational freak a zooid. I found a happy balance over time!

    • Tammi, you are so right. Freak-a-zoid…I love it!! At least between you and your husband your home sounds like you really have clean and orderly going strong! Thanks for coming by and for your comment!

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