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

 

 

 

Seize the Moment (Be a Hummingbird)

A few weeks ago I initiated  The Morning Joy Challenge. I hope many of you have chosen to seize the moment, and have begun to experience a fresh perspective with the rise of the sun. (Please feel free to leave comments below about your journey with that!)  Just what does the dawn of the day hold for each of us? We need to begin well, of course, but we also need to move on into the day well if we are going to truly be joy journeying.

Frantic Pace

I’ll just come right out with a confession: Mornings aside, I’ve lived too much of my life at a frantic pace, in body and in mind. (Have you ever watched a hamster run around his cage? Across the back, into the tunnel, out of the tunnel, on the wheel, in the food dish, over his brother, back on the wheel…).

I’ve been a lot like him. I’ve been a hamster.

And living life at a frantic pace has not been good for my soul. It has not been beneficial to my marriage, or my kids, or my friendships, or my vocation. And let’s not even talk about my housekeeping. (Incidentally, I’ve discovered a correlation between the state of my mind and the state of my house. Sometimes it’s actually the clutter around me that suddenly notifies me of my pace. It pays to be observant of these things, my friends.)

 

 

But I love to work and to be productive and efficient and good at what I do. So is it wrong for me to stack up on responsibilities and move deftly through them all the time? Well, no. And yes. It comes down in part to motivation. Does my pace of life honestly reflect a joyous engagement with the Lord and the imprint I can leave on this world? If so – awesome! I should keep it up. This world needs energetic and passionate people tirelessly bringing His Kingdom to bear in homes, in the marketplace, and in neighborhoods. I believe God has placed within me a desire to do good things with excellence, and it’s important to lean into God-given wiring. Continue reading “Seize the Moment (Be a Hummingbird)”

The Morning Joy Challenge: What Will You Choose?

The Morning Joy Challenge
Morning Joy Challenge
Morning Joy Challenge

The pink sun starts to draw itself above the black horizon as the familiar tones of my alarm clock ease me into wakefulness. By now, it has learned to be polite. It’s blurry, I’m pretty sure it’s too soon, but morning’s here nonetheless. A new day stretches out in front of me with a morning joy challenge in it. Even before I reach my toes to meet the rug, I have a choice to make about how I’ll enter the day: I can growl, I can bury my face for just. one. more. minute. Or I can choose differently.

I really want to CHOOSE JOY.

Let’s face it, mornings often arouse the bear in us. A litany of reasons to start the day under a cloud of tension and negativity often exist: a looming deadline, echoes of a previous day’s argument, nervousness about an upcoming appointment, the realization that it is time to begin the tired routine of dragging children out of bed…again. We often don’t begin our days with the perspective we wish we did. But the reality is that our mornings set the tone for the entire day. 

So, is morning joy simply a decision we can make? Maybe. But most of us need a few reminders and a little help in order to discover it.  I wonder just what might happen in the long run if more of us set our sights on pursuing true, and abiding joy.  Continue reading “The Morning Joy Challenge: What Will You Choose?”

A New Year’s Resolution Worth Fighting For: Will You?

A New Year’s Resolution
Worth Fighting For 

New Year's Resolution

“Auld Lang Syne” and midnight kisses echo in the air long after the streamers and the confetti decorate the floor. Cheeks still hurt from laughter and celebration memories dance loudly in our heads as the page turns decisively into the New Year.  It is New Year’s Resolution time. This year is going to be the best yet. 2017 is going to be the year that everything falls into place, that we make the strides forward that we need to make, and that we finally land on the New Year’s resolution that we don’t fail to keep.

How many other years have begun this exact same way?

And yet gym memberships have been forgotten, pounds didn’t melt, and credit card debt still continued to mount. Is it possible for us to enter even the latter weeks of January without feelings of regret about already-broken resolutions and dashed hopes? I believe there is. And it may be that much of it has to do with leaning into the grace and strength of God to pursue resolutions that match His heart for us. Many of the things we resolve to do–and then don’t do–are things that may actually fall into place for us as we (instead) resolve to discover more of Him. Continue reading “A New Year’s Resolution Worth Fighting For: Will You?”