I had a friend recently ask me how I keep an organized home with such a messy family. Organizing with a messy family is beyond frustrating, right?! I mean…
No one puts anything up (after what I just cleaned up today, seriously, they are all pigs! lol) and I’m an organized fiend. How do I maintain balance in my home? Sanity even! Although I’m far from perfect, these are the things that help me the most to have a tidy home…
7 Tips to Organizing with a Messy Family
Pick Your Battles
The first thing I would say is to chose your battles. Is it really THAT important your spouse put the cap back on the toothpaste (they make pumps you know. haha!) or that the dishes are done every single night? But when you find a can of molded food under someone’s bed, okay, now that’s a battle to fight for. Mold can lead to some serious health risks.
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I always like to think in terms of Jesus coming…
So, if Jesus came tomorrow, would it matter if the toothpaste cap wasn’t on or the toilet seat lid was up?
If I had one week to live would I really care if the dishes were done every night?
But, I would be concerned of the molded food, because my kids could get hurt. It could lead to asthma, allergies, and respiratory problems. So, that would be a battle I would chose, for their best interest. And that is really the point. When you are living for someone else with their needs ahead of your own, then all the little petty stuff doesn’t really matter, does it?
1) Teach them young
Teach them early the way that you want them to go. The quicker you start teaching them how to clean and why it’s so important, the easier it is when they get older.
My kids have been doing little things since they were two. I’d have them fold washrags or brings me dishes from the table. The earlier you start, the better! You may want to implement a cleaning chart and stickers to make it more fun!
2) Have clear consequences
If you don’t do this, this will happen. If you do what I ask, you will be rewarded. After all, as a Christian, does not the Lord do that with us? Chastise His children when we fall off the wagon and go our own way, bless us when we are in full obedience to Him. Today, I just got done cleaning my daughters room, uh yeah, thus the inspiration for this post :). Her room has been messy for a little while and I’ve asked her to clean it several times. She played, I think, more than cleaned because you still couldn’t see the floor, much less walk in there. It was so messy, you couldn’t tell the clean clothes from the dirty. I don’t know how she gets dressed every morning.
Maybe there’s some system to the madness and I’m immune to it. It took me an hour an a half to clean her room. Some of her toys ended up in the trash, and everything was sorted, and cleaned to my standard. When she got home I expected her to be really upset with me and she asked about a few specific toys, but after a little while in her room for homework, she came out and said “THANK YOU. Thank you for cleaning my room.” Now, some mom’s might really be offended by that. But I wasn’t.
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You see, I see it. That spark inside her that LIKES a clean room…and if cultivated, she will be a clean girl just like her momma. I told her that she was welcome. That I love her and I’m not trying to just be mean, but that God’s rules are that we clean up after ourselves. That we work hard, are not lazy or live like pigs. That the rules are for our good, and that since He put me in charge, it was my job to enforce HIS rules. She can argue with a lot of people, she can argue with me, but when it’s right there, black and white in Scripture, it’s hard to argue with the God who created it all. 🙂
3) If all else fails, do what my mother used to do
Take away toys. When MY room was messy as a child, my mom would go in my room while I was in school and clean it. The difference is that she took away EVERYTHING that was on the floor! I mean, everything. Clothes, toys, anything that was on the floor I had to EARN it back! You can easily start out small. They pick up after themselves when you ask, give them something back. If they are still not getting the hint, take away their better toys, the ones they love. Every child has SOMETHING they REALLY love. If they don’t have something they truly love, buy it for them with the purpose that you can train them.
For my daughter, that was an iPad. The reason she has one is because it’s really important to her. So, when she is in trouble, I can take it away and she gets the message loud and clear and it helps straighten up her behavior. You see, every child is different. Whereas my son responds better to spankings, my daughter with toys. You have to find what is important to them to get the message across that cleaning is important to God and to you. It’s as simple as that.
4) Slow and steady wins the race
They are not going to change overnight. It will take a long time, years. Be prepared to work with them in establishing new habits. Being a mom is not for sprinters. It’s a L-O-N-G race. Think 20k marathon. Consistent actions, consistent punishments/rewards will get you there….and prayer, lots of prayer for your children’s hearts. Because changing an action is easier…than changing a heart.
Regarding Your Husband/Spouse
My husband was probably the messiest person known to mankind, let me just say that upfront. He never cleans anything, never helps clean anything, never helps take care of the kids, it’s all me. You see, I came to Christ AFTER we were married. Some time after. And it was a constant daily struggle to maintain peace in our home because well…he’s on one side of eternity, and I’m on the other. And while God has given me such a love for him, I know that I personally cannot change him. It would have to be God.
So, not only did I live with a messy husband, but I had to endure the last several years since giving my life to God, a hostile situation where my husband deliberately makes a mess and does things to upset me and try to cause me to stumble in my walk with the Lord. With all that as a precursor…every marriage is different, and while you CAN encourage your spouse to be neater, you cannot try to control, manipulate, or change him. Changing him is for the Lord.
5) Think service
It’s a hard balance to be in, I get it. Trust me, I get it!! But, I also know that the Bible has a lot to say about our relationships with our spouses. Like putting them ahead of ourselves, doing things in this world as unto the Lord, and treating others how we want to be treated, how nagging is like a leaky faucet dripping and it’s better to live on the corner of a roof than to live with someone like that. Pretty strong words. But applied practically, you can expect to suffer for Christs’ name sake. You can expect to just clean up the mess, and know you’re doing it FOR and UNTO the Lord, NOT your husband. The rewards are in Heaven, my friend!
Related: How to Survive a Loveless Marriage and The Biggest Lesson I Learned In 14 Years of Marriage
6) Be in prayer
Constantly and consistently pray that God will mold, shape, and change his heart. If something is important to you, it should be important to your spouse, but like in my case, it was the exact opposite. As a Christian woman, although under the authority of someone wicked, God is my supreme court and He will only allow what is to my benefit. When it is not to my best interest, God will change the situation, and as an update to my story, He has.
7) It’s not over yet: sanctification
Focus on your pitfalls. Focusing on what you WANT: I want a clean home. I want my husband to help clean our home are your desires. Be sure that your desires line up with Scripture. No where in the Bible does it say that it is a man’s job to clean the home. In fact, just the opposite is true. Is is a woman’s job. And let me tell you, just in case you think a man’s job is easier than a woman’s, I can tell you from experience now, that it is MUCH harder! Simply put, focus on what the Lord has YOU to do, don’t focus on how someone else is not keeping YOUR standards. I say that in love, only because I was there myself. I was so focused on HIS failures, that I didn’t take a look at my own. When I stopped caring how he was sinning against the Lord, how he wasn’t a Christian, and started focusing on my own sin and how I could be a better wife, mother, Christian, and so forth, my life drastically changed!
8) Use printables
These 180+ organizational printables are sure to provide home organization tips to help you organize your whole life, AND your family. 🙂