Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Home Without Clutter

Library of Congress: A 1957 residence in Brookville, Long Island.

In my childhood home, I don't recall seeing piles of paperwork, junk mail, or even any bills. My mother kept things organized and out of our daily vision.  The living room, kitchen, and bedrooms were neat and relaxing. We would deep clean things on a weekly basis (dusting, washing floors, etc). We also had daily work to keep things looking neat. 

Sometimes I would see my father at the kitchen table with his checkbook and paperwork.  He would also have a cup of coffee, and some coffee cake when he was finished.  After that, we children had no idea where he kept his files, or even his bank papers. All those things were out of our sight. They had a place, but not sitting out in a pile of clutter. There was order.

In later years, as my parents lived here with us for 9 years, I was able to see more of how Mother kept the clutter away.  Every few months she would have the card table set up in her dining room. Here is where she would put stacks of papers, files, and old bills.  Over the next few days, as she had time, she would work on sorting and tossing whatever was no longer needed.  The card table was in an out - of - the way corner of the room, and did not take away from the beauty of the rest of their home.  Things were still kept neat while she continued to keep house around this little "project" of sorting out the old clutter. Mother worked slowly and walked with a cane, but after a couple of days, all was finished and the card table was put away.

This is what I have been working on, in my own home, the last few days.  Each day, I sort some files and papers and toss what is now clutter.  Yesterday, I even took three bags of unwanted books and movies to the library as a donation.  I want to clear out many more things to make room for only what is most important. 

It is a very slow work right now, as I have only recently recovered from a difficult illness. I get tired so easily.  But I love doing things that make my home look nice, even if I am only able to work a little each day.

I have a card table set up in one of the rooms, and will work on organizing those papers this coming week.  We are told we only need to save files and papers that go back 3 years.  Anything over that, in most cases, it is okay to discard.  I also have children's schoolwork in folders that I will always keep. There are cards and letters that are special and will be filed away. 

This necessary part of housekeeping - keeping the clutter away - is something that ought to happen on a daily basis to a small degree. Then, as the example of my mother, there will be times we need to spend a few days in deep clutter removal, to eliminate "things" that may have accumulated that we really don't need.

A Home without clutter can be such a peaceful place.  It is a nice goal that can be accomplished with just a little bit of daily effort.

Mrs. White

From The Archives -

Would You Like to Know? - The Secret to a Clean House.

Happy Days at Home - Confined to The Nursery.

Financial Troubles - Living in Reduced Circumstances.

- To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -



 "At Mother's House" by Mrs. White:


For Encouragement in Homemaking, order Mrs. White's book, from 2016, "At Mother's House: The Blessing of Being a Christian Housewife."

In this book, you will find essays, articles, and diary entries about life in a Christian home.

There are 40 entries which include:  "Poor and Pretty Living;" "A Home Without Clutter;" "The Money Packets;" "A Church Diet for the Family;" "Bringing Home Baby;" "The Children's Prayers;" "The Shabby Garden:" and "Just a Housewife."

Those who are seeking a peaceful home, with the Lord as the foundation, will find encouragement. (Paperback, 122 pages.)


MaineFarmMamma said...

Clutter is one of my biggest struggles! Thank you for this encouraging post ☺️ I will continue to work on organization daily

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

After I finish this note to you, dear Mrs. White, I'll be balancing the checkbook and paying bills. I have always kept the book on the desk, but I think I'll look for a spot to put it out of sight. I need to work on many things. Things that didn't seem to be clutter even recently suddenly feel cluttery to me.

Good news! My husband begins work on Monday. He's been unemployed since before Christmas. We just need to make it a few more weeks, then we'll have regular paychecks again. I know you understand how hard things can be. God has provided our needs. Thank you Jesus!

I'd love you to see the list of blessings I wrote.

You have been such an inspiration and an encouragement through the years. It's been twelve years since we had a regular paycheck that would meet our needs. You've helped me have courage to keep on keepin' on. May God bless you with health and provision.

Hugs to you!

With gratitude,
Mrs. Laura Lane
Harvest Lane Cottage

Deanna said...

Hello Mrs. White. Enjoyed reading this post especially as I am decluttering throughout the estate. Getting ready to go to the garage and load the trunks of our cars with items going away to thrift shops. After the cars are loaded we will make a trip over to a different town, unload and then do some necessary shopping. Will make it a HAPPY TRIP. My dear Husband is helping as I so need the help. We have a long ways to go before the house and garage are decluttered, but know it will be well worth the effort to downsize. I so enjoy reading your blog. In hopes that you are well, you are a dear blogging friend. Blessings, d

Elizabethd said...

Sometimes the habits of our parents come back and we find that they fit into our own lives so well.

Gwen said...

So glad to hear you're feeling a bit better, Mrs White :-)

Theresa said...

I have always heard you should keep things for 7 years. 3 would be so much better. I am going to google it and start shredding :).

A Woman that Fears the Lord said...

I'm sorry you haven't been feeling well! :( It is the challenge of this season of life to continue working (putter?) when our body is weaker. I oftentimes think that I don't have enough strength to do all that needs to be done. Yet, I am learning that God will assign the necessary strength for what He has ordained. Take care of yourself!

Lady Locust said...

Little by little, the clutter is going. Have been working on some elderly friends house since they passed. Good encouragement to get rid of the excess and non-essential. So comforting that others are facing the same pile of papers or box of what-nots. My papers are becoming increasingly more manageable. It's now the 'stuff' that needs to be sorted and edited again. Each time I do this, I keep less and less. Thank you for sharing such words of encouragement.

Unknown said...

Mrs. White, I so much enjoyed this post. The description of these homes of longer ago remind me of my own parent's home. I think usually most things are tucked away, but not where the kitchen table is concerned since it is bigger than we need for only my husband and me. I had sorting paper and too often I tuck the stacks away (except for the kitchen table), but then they are out of mind and when I start them the stack seems endless. Your tips here are excellent! Happy to be your neighbor at the Linkup at Mom's the Word today. Blessings to you! Pam

Unknown said...

Mrs. White,
Your post came at a very timely manner. Just this weekend I was feeling dissatisfied with my home. This rarely if ever happens because I love my home. I realized that what was really bothering me was the cluttered state of the living room and kitchen/dining area. Hubby and I are both in the middle of a couple of projects. Too many things were laying around and the visual discord was effecting my sense of peace. Slowly making headway clearing up the clutter.

Judy Zander said...

Keeping my desk area clear and organized has always been such a challenge for me! I named it "Mt. Avalanche". Enough said! Then something on Pinterest caught my eye, the "Sunday Basket" idea and it has worked so great for me! I would do the card table-thing, too, except with my 6' folding table! I would get it all cleared out & tidied then before you knew it, Mt. Avalanche was back! But with the Sunday Basket, I finally know HOW to handle stuff as it comes into the house! I have a basket for all the incoming mail, but my "Sunday Basket" is actually a drawer. Out. Of. Sight. Whew!! I love this system!! I never had a "system" before, which was my problem. Just thought I'd share- for other organizationally-challenged women. :)

Linda Shields said...

Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I am especially thankful because it led me to yours! I see that we have cery common interests based upon our love of homemaking. I look forward to many happy moments of reading more. PS I see that one of your favorite books was by Corrie Ten Boom. I was fortunate to visit her home in Haarlem, The Netherlands, in the 1990s. It is now a museum. Amazing to actually stand in the tiny "Hiding Place" room in her tiny upstairs bedroom. You can feel the presence of God in that house to this day.

Cheryl said...

I am so sorry to hear you have been so ill, bless your heart. I trust Jesus to make you completely well. I, too, love living in a clutter-free home. Sometimes, it is hard to keep up, but it is my goal to keep it that way. Thank you for the encouragement.

Unknown said...

I hope you make a full recovery soon! Clutter can be so stressful. I am not great at keeping up with it, but thanks to regular decluttering I keep it at a manageable level.

Lori said...

Removing the clutter is what I'm working on this week. Mostly a week of catching up on cleaning since being sick for month. My mom was always one to keep clutter hidden while I was growing up. I still don't know how she did it since it was cleaned during the day while I was at school. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursday.

Stephanie said...

My dear Mrs. White, such words of truth and wisdom. You are so right, a home without clutter can be such a peaceful place {{smiles}} Thank you for the sweet and gentle reminder.

Have a beautiufl week! Love and hugs!

Margaret @ Live Like No One Else said...

Great post. Clutter is something that I have issues with. I've been working on it for a while. I'm not sure why I parents were kind of minimalists actually. But you are so right...nothing feels as good as when the home is clean and clutter free.

Anonymous said...

You may not have time to read this or respond and thats ok....I just want you to know how I love your blog and when I see a new post I can't help but smile.I have found your blog about a year ago and still cant get enough. I wish I had every post you have wrote in a big book for me to read whenever and all the time! I love it so....I have every book that I know of and the Prentiss Study.Just know that if you never get another comment or sell a ARE making a difference!Especially,for us women who don't have Titus 2 in our lives! I feel like I could talk to you forever,sipping tea on my front porch,watching the children play in the yard...Until then I hope you have a wonderful,blessed day and I can't to read more from you!

Homemaker's Heart said...

Your memories are so helpful for how to approach papers. I have a 3 drawer file cabinet, but the bottom drawer is "office supplies". The top is the important things, and the second is our personal files and the kids treasured pictures from when they were young. I have been trying to approach the top drawer for weeks. Pulling out only a few files, then they get strewn about my husband's office and I end up putting them away because it can get unsightly. But there is no motivation to go at it again since it's all put away. Having a small table to work on and contain my "piles" is a great idea! Then I can put the small table in the living room to do a puzzle on this winter. Thank you!