How to Clean Up All Your Clutter and Garbage

I had a gigantic pile of stuff on the couch in my office earlier this week. Where did it come from? I unloaded all the stuff in my office into one place. I emptied every drawer, cabinet, cubby hole, closet, and shelf (except for all my books)! I was following the advice of David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Allen claims that being a productive person means being an organized person. One important step to being organized is to collect and process all the clutter and loose ends in your life.

The collection step is just as I've stated, just dump everything you've got into one place. Don't organize anything yet (unless you already know it is trash), just collect into one location. Then you enter process mode. Allen provides a processing workflow diagram to help you decide what you are going to do with each item. His diagram is especially suited for ideas, paper, and tasks. But even objects need to be trashed or organized and placed in an effective location.

Of course, even after you have collected and processed all your loose ends, if you do not have an effective system for processing all future "stuff"  (and work it!), you will end up right back where you started. I recommend you read the book to find out how to do it.

Organizing Chores for the Kids

Six kids (and two adults) can wreck a house in very little time. So we make the kids clean it up! We believe that kids are supposed to do chores just because they are part of our home (not for an allowance). It teaches them to take care of their own stuff, care about their environments, and learn to serve and be a part of a family and community. In addition, you just can't have a bunch of kids and expect (and thus train) them to all just be consumers in your house. Everyone pitches in. But we have found that teaching and managing six kids in doing chores is almost as hard as cleaning the house ourselves. Overtime, though, we have developed a pretty good system for dividing the chores among the kids. This weekend we found ourselves seeing a need to reevaluate and reorganize what we were doing because it wasn't working as well as we need it to. Then Dana remembered that she bought a set of books from Steven and Teri Maxwell that included a book on how to organize your children's chores, Managers of Their Chores: A Practical Guide to Children's Chores. So I read it over the weekend; It is outstanding!

There are several chapters on the biblical basis, the current benefits, and the future benefits of chores for children. I was impressed with the way they placed something as tedious as chores in the context of loving and depending on God. So we are going to try out their suggested method of managing and organizing our kid's chores. I was especially pleased to find that they have a website,, with digital material, forums, and other resources. There is even an online service called ChoreWare that helps you organize and print your own personalized version of the system. Although we haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend the book. The online service is easy to use and highly adaptable to each family's needs. We'll let you know how it goes!