Our twenty-first century culture is one of extremes when discussing home management strategies. At one extreme are those who hoard while at the other are those who strip their home of all but the most basic of necessities. A Christian homemaker, faced with these extremes, is compelled by Scripture to look at the purpose of her home regardless of her marital status or season of life.
Many women looking for a theme verse for managing their homes would instinctively gravitate to Proverbs 31:27 and its description of the godly woman as “looking well to the ways of her household.” Others might select Titus 2:3-5, focusing on the character and responsibilities a woman should practice so that God’s Word is not discredited. First Corinthians 14:40 may also be a logical choice with Paul’s words that “all things should be done decently and in order.”
Though each of these verses motivates a woman to create a well-managed home, the passage that drives my household management is John 14:1-4. The tender scene described in that passage occurs in the Upper Room as Jesus is preparing His disciples for the devastating events that would soon occur. Fast-forwarding beyond the impending events, He comforts the disciples by sharing that He will soon leave them in order to prepare a place for them in heaven.
Jesus also promised to prepare a place for you and me. When He takes us to heaven, we will not find “under construction” signs and caution tape everywhere. Jesus will have everything ready, and we will enter to a home that is fully furnished and welcoming beyond what we can imagine.
However, since my heavenly Father still has work for me to accomplish on earth, I am motivated to make my home a bit of heaven on earth. The model Jesus used to prepare a heavenly home for His family is the one I have adopted as my prototype and blueprint. Just as I will not find an “under construction” sign and caution tape when I arrive in heaven, I should enter my earthly home seeing a reflection of that heavenly order and peacefulness rather than worldly chaos and disorder. Its arrangement should literally draw others to its warming hearth and is a midpoint between hoarding and minimizing. I coined a term to describe this midpoint—minimalist-hoarder.
If you want your home to be a welcoming environment, you will attempt daily to make those who enter its doors feel welcome. What visual images suggest welcome? First and foremost, someone’s arrival should be joyfully anticipated. Whatever your season of life, the biblical mandate calls for you to prepare your heart and home to welcome family and guests. You prepare your heart by meditating on God’s Word and thinking His thoughts (Phil 4:8-9). You prepare your home to be clean and comfortable so those who abide within will joyfully anticipate returning to this prepared place. Orderliness will give to those who live there a sense of peace and emotional well-being, thus my choice to be a minimalist-hoarder home manager.
A smooth-running home needs daily care. The words clean and neat have different definitions for each family. The most important point is for everyone in the family to feel that home is a protected place, a healthy environment, and a setting that enables the extension of biblical hospitality to others. A “Smart Home Care Plan” enables you to achieve such an environment.
Steps leading to a Smart Home Care Plan include:
Analyze your needs and set cleaning goals.
Set priorities. Rank the home care tasks from most to least important.
Number the cleaning tasks with the order in which they need to be done.
Develop a Smart Home Care Plan for each room and then itemize the steps for each task. A part of preparing the plan is to answer some important questions:
How often does the specific task need to be done?
When will it be done (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally)?
Who will do it?
How much time will it take?
What supplies, tools, or other materials are needed to do the task?
What do I need to purge from this room?
Make a Smart Home Care Plan Weekly Schedule. Assign the cleaning tasks to certain days of the week.
Allow for flexibility.
Consider rotating the tasks periodically.
Whenever possible use the room-by-room method of cleaning, which is usually more effective than completing random tasks.
Include larger seasonal cleaning tasks in the schedule.
Evaluate your Smart Home Care Schedule to make sure you are working smart. The plan should simplify your cleaning tasks and contribute to an orderly home. Remember, if you are not managing your home it is managing you.
In this day of "minimalism," are you seeking to balance hoarding with stripping your home of reminders of your heritage? Kelsey’s Korner offers timely insight into identifying the characteristics of a minimalist-hoarder.
Close your eyes. Picture your grandmother’s home, taking special notice of her decorations. Maybe memories of doilies, china cabinets, and heirloom quilts are coming to mind. Perhaps you can smell her cedar hope chest, passed down through several generations. Now picture the everyday millennial home. Not a single china cabinet in sight. Instead you’ll notice that all the items are current with the latest trends. The room is peppered with neutral colors and a simple, functional feel. When comparing the home of a millennial with those just a few generations before, it becomes evident that a dramatic shift has occurred not just in decorating trends, but on the value people ascribe to material items. While older generations typically emphasize heirlooms and take comfort in collecting material goods, younger generations characteristically emphasize the aesthetics and practicality of their items and take comfort in the simplicity of minimalism.
This shift is due to many factors, such as growing up in different economic climates, the emphasis media places on aesthetics, the growing individualistic mindset, and the search for simplicity among the increasing technological and economic demands. One of the largest factors, however, and the factor I will discuss in this section of the blog, is the minimalist movement. Very simply put, minimalism can be defined as “simple living.” Minimalism can range from the extreme “tiny home,” bare-basics type of living to the more liberal and far more mainstream version of the term: the Marie Kondo organized lifestyle.
Originally from Japan, Marie has published four books on organizing and is the creator of the “KonMari Method of Tidying Up.” Her books, especially The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, created a wave throughout the United States as her methods became mainstream. Her central goal, as stated in the Netflix series “Tidying Up,” is to “spark joy in the world through tidying.” On the Netflix show, Marie begins her process of tidying up by quietly sitting on the floor and “praying” thanksgiving to the home she is about to tidy—a method inspired by the Shinto religion. Next, she has the homeowners place all their clothing in the center of the room for a visual demonstration of the magnitude of their material processions. Once the shock has dissipated, she instructs the owners to hold each item and decide if the article “sparks joy” for them. If so, they keep the item, if not, she instructs them to thank the article for its use and place it in the “give away” pile. This process is repeated throughout the home, organizing the “spark joy” items as they go.
I see from a millennial, Christian perspective, positive as well as several negative aspects of the KonMari method. Believers are command to have “no other Gods” (Ex. 20:3) besides our Lord, yet many Christians are experts at idolizing material possessions. Older generations have often sought worth, comfort, and power through the quantity of their possessions. The minimalistic shift, however, may not be any better. If before we were idolizing a multitude of material goods, the focus is now on idolizing the few goods that “spark joy.” The heart is the same—we are still looking to our possessions to give us ultimate fulfillment. Marie worships her belongings, even offering thanksgiving to them, convinced that what we own is what ultimately brings us joy. Despite its appearances, Christians in the minimalist movement may still be worshiping their possessions.
So, where is the balance? Here are 4 tips to help eliminate the idol of minimalistic materialism:
Recognize the place material goods hold for us. We cannot allow our hearts to “worship and serve the creature rather than the creator” (Rom. 1:25). Instead, remember that we are merely stewards of our possessions—they ultimately belong to God.
Simplify by getting rid of excess. Marie got one thing right—we own way too much! We should be careful not to collect an excess of “things” (c.f. Eccl. 2:1-11).
Keep some items that are heirlooms. Not just the ones that fit with your “rustic” theme (although it’s convenient when that happens!) but the ones that will preserve your family’s legacy.
Refocus your heart. Our joy, worth, and sense of comfort/protection must come from God, not what we own. Also, we must give thanksgiving for our possessions to God, not to the possessions themselves.
Psalm 119:91b reminds us that “all things are [God’s] servants.” Instead of keeping items that simply “spark joy,” as believers we have the opportunity to use our belongings for God’s glory and service. So, as you organize, decorate, and buy—whatever you do—do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God’s Word states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Therefore, I may boldly say, once I seek salvation I can be assured of the full care and provision of my heavenly Father.
Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home!