Clear Clutter: How I Order My World With the Ten Second Tidy Principle

Confession: Sometimes I find myself in a zone where I don’t even notice clutter. Don’t get me wrong, I like order. But when I’m in a creative mode, there is a part of me that seems able to simply ignore it.

Sometimes.

HoweverI have made a discovery that continual clutter ends up rubbing me the wrong way. And I don’t prefer to be irritated. I’m much more likely to notice the  joy that lies within each day when my world around me is, well, organized. I am disciplining myself to see organizational tasks as an opportunity to practice gratitude.

 

I am thankful to God for all He has entrusted to me, and I desire to care for it well. Click To Tweet

 

Now, I’m not recommending obsessive organization here. After all, the pendulum can swing widely, my friends, and obsessive organizing can steal joy just as much as clutter can. But Scripture seems to contrast disorder against peace (1 Cor. 14:33), so it makes sense to me that a chaotic world lacks joy.

The regular, diligent clearing away of un-necessary, or broken, or dirty things in our physical realms is wise, and leads to a pleasant and ordered life with wide open spaces. And developing this habit in the physical realms of home and office may also help to lead us toward regular, diligent clearing away of unwanted internal things. 

How I Order My World

 

The Ten Second Tidy Principle

There was a short season when my youngest was a wee one that Loonette the clown, and her doll, Molly, graced our TV screen. It was all childlike, enthusiastic glory. Her “Big Comfy Couch” tunes continue to rattle around in my brain sometimes; ear worms, shall we say. Although I never developed an affinity for this colorful character, I can say that one of her lessons was helpful with my young children, and continues to help me today: The Ten Second Tidy.  (Now, if we actually tidy up the way that Loonette does, practically stuffing everything we pick up behind or under the couch cushions, I daresay we haven’t really tidied at all – we’ve simply relocated our mess. There are spiritual depths to this physical lesson!)

 Clear Clutter for a Joyful Outlook.

Can de-cluttering actually impact our  joy? Many of us sit for long periods of time each day, required to focus on certain projects at length. In fact, recent global studies indicate that people sit on average 7.7 hours per day, with some sitting as many as 15 hours daily! First of all, this sedentary lifestyle is not only hazardous to our physical health, but it can compromise our emotional health and hinder our productivity. So, whether we are stay-at-home parents or business execs, homeschooling teachers or public school guidance counselors, I believe we all can benefit greatly (emotionally, and in productivity) from planning for periodic de-cluttering of our surroundings and our minds throughout our days.

Not only will it refresh our minds to accomplish regular small tasks of organization, getting up and moving about can re-ignite our thought processes and creativity. Finally, I believe the actual, disciplined removal of clutter can benefit both our short- and long-term health.

 

The disciplined removal of clutter can benefit both our short- and long-term health. Click To Tweet

 

Below are four sets of 10-second breaks, each intended as springboards to help us to find small, regular windows throughout our days to take “organizational” breaks for our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. 

Ten 10-second mental health breaks

  • Close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths
  • Read Matthew 11:28-30  
  • Write down 3 things for which you are thankful – keep a journal nearby!
  • Look out the window and pray for the first person you see
  • Look for a co-worker to encourage
  • Grab a drink of ice water
  • Thank God that He is Living Water
  • Text an encouraging message to someone you love
  • Pray for God to be evident in this next hour of work
  • Especially helpful: Sing the Doxology

 

Ten 10-second in-your-chair breaks (Office)

  • Open your Junk Drawer and discard 5 un-necessary items
  • Sharpen 3 pencils
  • Color-code your pens
  • Draw a picture of something that makes you smile
  • File three completed files
  • Dust your desk
  • Clean your computer screen
  • Discard un-necessary papers from your desk
  • Set goals for the next hour
  • Finally, check off completed goals from earlier in the day.

 

Clear Your Clutter Checklist

 

Ten 10-second out-of-chair breaks (Office)

  • Stand, stretch, and do 10 jumping jacks
  • Go for a walk: take your paper to the recycling bin
  • Re-arrange two pieces of furniture
  • Dust a set of shelves
  • Clean a mirror or window
  • Straighten your books
  • Eliminate 3 things from your “to-do” files
  • Go up, and then down 2 flights of stairs
  • Return an item you borrowed from a co-worker
  • Lastly, do 20 wall push-ups

 

Ten 10-second work-at-home breaks

  • Take a walk around the perimeter of your house or apartment building.
  • Fold throw blankets and straighten throw cushions
  • Dust the living room surfaces
  • Straighten up entryway shoes
  • Write an encouraging note and stick it to the refrigerator
  • Throw away any un-necessary refrigerator notes
  • Eliminate 5 things from your junk drawer
  • Walk through your home and pray for the people/activities in each room
  • Open the windows to bring in some fresh air
  • Very helpful: Inhale a focus & energy essential oil blend. Try these from Pure Joy! 


My favorite focus & energy blend

Clear Your Cluttered Mind Focus & Energy Blend

Clutter in our homes, offices, and minds can steal our joy. Click To Tweet

Bonus: Check out another favorite essential oil blend – my Joy Blend!

Proactively setting aside brief moments throughout our days to de-clutter will have long-term benefits on our physical and emotional health. These short, regular breaks can help pattern lives of gratitude for the things we’ve been given, and can inspire greater clarity of mind. Even today, we can begin to implement 10-Second Tidy principles into our work or home lives. I pray that as we do, our outlook will be of peace and not disorder. And in that peace, may we find  joy.

How do you clear clutter in your home, office or mind? Comment below!

Elizabeth Joy

 

 

 

12 Family Traditions for Holidays or Regular Days

No matter what shape or form they take, or how they came to be, families are special. I believe they are a primary place where God intends for us to experience His  joy in our lives. In a culture where there are so many breakdowns to the family unit, having Family Traditions is one helpful way to foster unity, create special memories and build legacy.

Sometimes traditions begin on purpose, and sometimes they grow almost by happenstance. Some are tied to holidays, and some to the regular days, to create interest or to instil values. The traditions we have created in our family have been a source of joy for us as our crew has grown and changed. 

12 Family Traditions for Holidays or Regular Days

I’ve collected together 12 Family Traditions for Holidays or Regular Days that I hope you find inspiring for your family. You can use these ideas just as they are, or perhaps your family will put its own spin on some of them. Share in the comments below if you try out any of these ideas!

Birthday Pancakes

Birthday PancakesMy husband and I both had the flu on the day our first son celebrated his first birthday. Though we needed to postpone his birthday gathering by a day or two, we still wanted to acknowledge the milestone on the actual day, though we didn’t have the energy to do very much.

A few things were certain: the baby didn’t know it was his birthday, he wasn’t sick, and he still needed to eat! In true super-dad form, my husband Scott took one for the team and went to make breakfast. He wanted to make something special, and relatively new for our little guy, and decided upon pancakes. Long before ‘pancake art’ was even a thing, Scott made one pancake in the simple shape of a “1”, which he then served the baby, snapping a picture to keep for posterity. That was about the extent of the celebrations for that day.

When the next birthday rolled around, Scott remembered the previous year and poured a “2” with his pancake batter. Voilà, the first of our Family Traditions was born! As crazy as it seems, just this week, our oldest son will receive his 18th birthday pancake from his dad! In addition, we have served 28 others, between our second son and our daughter. It has become an enjoyable thing for each of them to look forward to on their big day. And, by virtue of our pictures heading out on the internet, we have seen the Birthday Pancake tradition spread from family to family over the years.

*If you have adopted the tradition of making birthday pancakes somewhere along the way, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

Tea Parties

Sometimes Family Traditions might be carried out in smaller groups (like Mother/Daughter, or Father/Son traditions). One tradition my daughter and  I  maintained with good regularity for many years was having Tea Parties.

 

When Grace was very small, I got the book Just Mom and Me Having Tea: A Fun Bible Study for Mothers and Daughters. It suited her perfectly, and gave us activities, craft ideas and launchpads for spiritual conversations while we had our tea parties. Our menu varied (rarely including tea!), and moved location almost every time (sometimes the dining room, other times a picnic on her bedroom floor). These times together were special, helping us to bond tightly. As she grew, our topics of conversation changed, and our activities modified to fit her stage of life, but our enjoyment of intentional time together never wanes.

 

Mother Daughter Tea Parties Continue reading “12 Family Traditions for Holidays or Regular Days”

The Lost River: An @JoyLetLoose Guest Post @AnnesleyWriters


Happy Friday! Today I want to share with you about The Lost River. I have the privilege of writing occasionally for Annesley Writers Forum, a group of Christian women tackling beautiful, difficult, and encouraging themes of life. When I first discovered this collective, I was immediately impacted by each author’s vulnerability and passionate pursuit of the Lord. It was an honor to be invited to write with these ladies.

The Lost River

Annesley’s January theme is simply “Time”. This is something I am learning about immensely in this season of my life. If I value and honor time, it will be an important contributor to my journey toward joy. On Wednesday my article The Lost River went live. This article describes an area the Lord has been highlighting in my life over the last few months. I invite you to take a trip over to Annesley and to read The Lost River. And, since you are heading there, you might as well grab a cup of coffee and a comfy chair. There are so many beautiful writers that you will want to scroll and get acquainted with each of them.

Your hearts will be blessed.

The Lost River

 

Elizabeth Joy

3 Morning Prayers, and Why I Commit to Pray Them

abiding joy ebook

 

UPDATE: (July 21, 2017) Because of the excellent response I’ve had on this post, I’ve decided to continue to write more prayers. Many of you are hungry to learn to pray. I recently launched a new eBook, Abiding Joy (30 Prayers from Joy Let Loose) that you can grab right here!

 


3 Morning Prayers and Why I Commit to Pray Them

Sometimes I need to be reminded to pray. As I start the morning, and move into all the day holds, it is easy to forget I’m not in it alone, that I don’t have to do it all by myself. So I wrote some morning prayers to help.

 It’s also easy to underestimate the possibility of participating fully in life on this earth, and finding the joy within it all. Because prayer is a lifeline, a direct line to the Author of the universe, and the One who is intimately acquainted with our hearts. These encounters with God remind us Who God is, and who He’s forming each of us to be. And morning prayers help us to head into the day, remembering that there is always more happening than what we can see, and it is a trust-fall into the sure arms of a strong God.

 

Prayer is a trust fall into the sure arms of a strong God. Click To Tweet

 

It is important to learn to pray – it doesn’t exactly come naturally. That Jesus taught His disciples to pray is a good indicator that it might be a learned thing. His model of prayer in Matthew 6 is an awesome springboard to learn some important elements of connecting with God. Studying and praying the prayers of others (ancient or modern) and planning or writing out our own words can help us to learn to pray with depth and richness, rather than just stumbling over repetitive clichés. And the more we practice our prayers, infusing them with the truth of Scripture, the more easily we will pray meaningful, spontaneous prayers as life events occur. So we won’t feel lost for words, wondering what to say, but instead we will find joy in the communication.

I’ve written three morning prayers that I plan to use each day, as part of my  Morning Joy Challenge. And there are several reasons I want to incorporate these into my life as I begin each day:

1) They are reminders of the three Persons of the Trinity, each with His own role in their union, and in my life. This will help me not to only focus my attention on one part of the Godhead, and will help to increase my perspective of God. 

2) They will help to weave Scriptural themes into my prayers.

3) They will build my confidence in God’s active involvement in my day to day life because He has placed His Spirit within me.

So, on our journey toward joy, I invite you to join me by incorporating these morning prayers into your routine. 

Continue reading “3 Morning Prayers, and Why I Commit to Pray Them”

Unexpected Joy: Thoughtful Surprises That Bring Joy

Sometimes joy is unexpected. I don’t know about your doorstep, but ours was host to a frenzy of brown packages throughout the month of December. Gifts came to us by way of the nice delivery man, always punctual, though laden with Christmas surprises, as we ordered things online and family sent goodies our way. Packages are exciting to me: I love to give and, if I’m honest, I love to receive them too. Gifts are especially meaningful when it is apparent the giver has spent time considering exactly who the recipient is; what they love, what brings them enjoyment, what makes them tick. Christmas morning is just so much fun!

Unexpected Joy


By January, the doorstep and mailbox had become understandably quiet – the massive gift giving season had ended. It was time to enjoy all that we had given and received. But lo and behold, last week two surprise packages arrived. Both were gifts for me. And both were from my awesome husband.  Continue reading “Unexpected Joy: Thoughtful Surprises That Bring Joy”