Middle of November Already?

Yes, it is November! Where has the year gone? It has flown by so quickly. Soon the time will be here to reflect on the past months; to celebrate the blessings God has provided and strive to correct the things that have disappointed Him. I hope to find the former a longer list.

Since school has begun, I have been keeping busy. I substitute in our school district and have been helping the mother of a friend sort through 40 years of life in her former home. She moved out of the house a few years ago and is ready to move on. It is not an easy process to purge one's life. She must decide what she needs and what she wants and what must be passed on to others. I do not envy her position, but in order to peacefully move on to the next phase of her life, it must be done.

I continue to be amazed how "things" seem to accumulate. We must train ourselves to prevent things from piling up and becoming clutter. It is easy to toss mail or the children's school papers on the counter and think, "I will go through those later." Later doesn't always come as soon as it should and bills are left unpaid, permission slips left unsigned and the stack gets higher. Instead, plant the seed of action in your brain. 5 minutes is all that is needed to quickly go through the mail and separate the important from the junk; to see what papers need to go back to school with your signature and which go on the refirgerator. As those things enter your home, just take those few minutes to take care of them. Soon it will become a habit and you won't have days of mail and papers waiting for you to sort through. A good thing to help you along is to set up a space on your desk or near where you pay bills or whatever space you designate as your "office." Use that space to place your bills and other important papers with separate categorized slots. If you aren't sure how to get an office space set up, I'll be glad to come to your home and create one with you.

Magazines and catalogs have a way of amassing. Ones you read, ones you intend to read or browse through and ones you are not sure why they are still showing up in your mailbox. Take the time to review those glossies. Decide which you read regularly or purchase items from. Cancel subscriptions to magazines that seem to just pile up and never get read. Register with a mail preference service to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. Or call the company sending you the catalogs to have your name removed from their mailing list. Here is the Federal Trade Commission's web-site to start that process. It includes information on telemarketing and e-mail as well. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt063.shtm

If your household is like mine, books fill shelves in your home. As my daughters have gotten older, I have encouraged regular trips to the library. Rather than buy every book that interests them (and myself), books that can be checked out and returned are a great way to go. It saves space and money! We still buy books, but not as many as we did when they were much younger. Children's books take up less space than the thicker young adult and adult books. Every once in a while, we purge the bookshelves and donate books to the library for their annual sale.

Taking the time to reduce the amount of "stuff" around your house will keep the clutter down and relieve you from the stress that inevitably crops up when surveying your domain. Not seeing piles of papers on your counters, desk or coffee table creates a great feeling. Knowing you don't have to battle a clutter monster, zapping your time and energy, is so rewarding. Don't you feel your tense muscles relaxing already?