A lot has happened since we last met. I don’t have time to write it all down, but I do have some things I’d like to share with you. I want you to know how my relationship with Christ has helped me ‘leave Cramalot’ a little more each week. Please take the time to read my experiences and journey, as well as tips for the minimalist who loves, works with or lives close to a ‘crammer’. Just scroll down past our logo to find my story.
Please visit us any time @ nookandcrannyservices.com.
I believe that a clean and organized home is one factor that leads to a peaceful home. When you know that every item has a place and that you can find it right where it should be, it brings a sense of security. That may sound strange to some people, but I look at it this way…the world can be a crazy place where you have no control of the chaos, constant activity and dis-order. Our homes should be a place of solace, comfort, order, and security. Knowing that you don’t have to hunt for hours to, maybe, locate something you need helps you feel ‘put together’, settled and prepared for most anything that comes up within your home or office. I don’t mean people should live in a museum where nothing can be touched or enjoyed. The pathway that leads to a reasonable balance, between never knowing where anything is and using the Dewey Decimal System to catalog everything from your spices to your socks, is one we strive to stay on. We have a passion to help guide others toward that same path.
We have 5 biological children (18 down to 2) still at home and our two, ‘from the heart’, children are out on their own. We love to spend time with our family so there is always something going on here. It’s definitely never a dull moment. All that to say I understand full well the tendency to hold on to things. I have used all the common ‘arguments’ attempting to justify having so much stuff. Greg is a minimalist…I am most definitely not. I love to paint, sew, attempt to play the guitar and sing my favorite songs about the Lord, and educate myself in counseling, mentoring, mediation and non-violent communication. Needless to say, all of those interests can equal a ton of things to go along with them. Those items and all the rest of our pasts excess led me to name our home, ‘Cramalot.’ I have made great strides in my goal to ‘leave Cramalot’ behind. However, I am still learning how to let go of more and more…so, please know that I don’t claim perfection. I know the stress and pain caused by having so much to do and feeling completely overwhelmed. I had times of feeling like I couldn’t even begin the process of purging things because it just seemed like no matter what I did, it wouldn’t make a significant difference. I would walk down to the heart of ‘Cramalot’, in our home it’s the Garage, and try to figure out the right place to start getting something ‘big’ accomplished. Sadly, within seconds, I often felt a sinking feeling in my gut and a wave of despair would crash down on me. In defeat, I would slink away, promising that I would, “get to it soon…just not today.”
The Word of the Lord says that where our hearts are, that is where our treasures are also. In other words, our heart’s desires, misdirected or rightfully tuned in to what really matters, direct our actions, where and how we spend our money, and with what and whom we spend the precious 86,400 seconds we have to manage each day. I had spent too long managing my piles and looking for things. Too many hours had been spent stressing over the to-do list and what needed to be left out in order to tackle the mountain of stuff we had.
I wanted to live in complete freedom, just like Christ promised I could if I just let everything be under His Kingship. I bet you’re wondering what changed, how I finally conquered one of the Goliaths in my life. I carry my own 5 stones to help in my struggle against ‘Cramalot’. My first and biggest stone to throw at my doubt and fear is prayer. I ask God to help me let go and not be overwhelmed; to remember that I am not in this alone.
My second shot toward the target of my, “stinkin’ thinkin’,” comes from Phillippians 4:13. “I can do all things, through Christ Who gives me strength.” It’s not ‘some things’, or ‘only what comes naturally or easily to me’; it’s “ALL things.” Therefore, I can do what needs to be done and don’t need to let ‘the list’ intimidate me into inaction.
The third stone I use to clobber the lies is a line from the only book about clutter/organizing I ever took the time to read (on Audible, of course, and only partially at that). Andrew Mellen says in, “Unstuff Your Life”, that a helpful thing to accept as truth is, “I am not my stuff and my stuff is not me.” This really helped me to see that my worth and identity do not equal what is or isn’t in my home or office…even though the world wants us to believe this lie. The commercial media, whether through print, radio, TV or internet, wants us to believe that we have to fit in this little box, look a certain way and own just the right things to be ‘okay’ or ‘good enough’. This simply isn’t true. If you research, you will find that some of the most respected men and women throughout history have had or came from very little compared to our modern culture’s indulgent, impulsive, ‘the boys with the most toys wins,’ mentality.
The fourth piece of ammunition in my arsenal is a line I use with myself and my children quite often. It’s the old addage, “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” It is just a reminder that each step, no matter how small, brings me a step closer to the goal.
My final piece of ammunition is to visualize life after the work. This is a huge thing for me. I take a trip in my mind and try to connect with the feeling of peace, security, and happiness the changes will bring. I focus on the freedom I will have to spend time in a better way. Also, thinking on the money I will save by not having to purchase things I already have, but can’t find. This helps me to motivate me into actually carrying out the plans I made.
For those of you who struggle with this, you know that its’ not a one time, overnight change that lasts forever. To help friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors understand, most people who deal with chaos in any area of their life, be it hoarding, over-scheduling themselves, living in clutter and ‘organized piles’, being late to every appointment, constantly trying to locate items, etc, are living out of a broken place and/or a lack of training. More times than not, there is at least one wound in their soul that dictates their action or inaction toward living an ordered and organized existence. This change is a marathon, not a 50 yard dash. They will need gentle correcting if they start to veer off course. One great thing is to help them visualize life in order. If they have achieved making one area of their home or office organized, take them to it and ask them how it makes them feel. If it’s a positive thing, direct them to imagine every area being like this and how great it would be to feel this way about their whole living/work space. If it’s a negative feeling, you must work through this before urging them to move forward. They may feel confused, overwhelmed, sad, angry or bitter about the change they see there. There must be a heart change before there can be any further space/lifestyle changes. The greatest tool in making changes in people, is to connect with their heart. We must understand where they are coming from and why they make the choices they do. If we don’t take the time to do this, we will be viewed as a bully or dictator if we force the change(s) we feel need to be made. Or, we just drop it, letting it continue and risk their well-being, the future of the relationship, and/or our becoming bitter about the situation.
We use sure fire techniques to help each client purge and organize their home or office. Honoring our clients is one of our utmost goals. Whether we are cleaning for them, making repairs in their home or office or helping them organize, we want them to feel that they received services worth the hard earned money they spent. We truly believe in our motto. “In everything you do, work hard, as for the Lord,” isn’t just a verse on our ad; it’s our goal in life. The greatest command ever given is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind. Jesus also said that it was just as important to love our neighbors as ourselves. We work for our clients in a way we would want someone to work for us.
I still war against an all or nothing outlook on life. I am more and more successful in each battle as time goes on and use the tools I’ve collected. This way of thinking was developed throughout my childhood and I’m still walking the road to recovery. This ‘all or nothing’ mindset can also be known as, ‘perfectionism’. If I have it all done and looking great, it’s good and therefore, I’m good. If I forget something or neglect to fulfill a promise or intended action, then it’s hard for me to see any of the good I did and I find myself only focusing on what didn’t get accomplished…how I ‘failed’. When it comes to my mind that I’m ‘going down that dark road again,’ I remind myself that it just takes a step at a time to reach any summit, no matter how high; and that any step toward it is a good thing.
The world also wants us to believe that to be great, we have to, ‘be it all’, and ‘do it all’. This is not true. The opinions of ‘men’ are just that, opinions. One day, you’re the hero and the next, you’re the goat. One person will praise you and your accomplishments and another will tell you, “it’s not good enough.” The reality is, you were made and are loved by the Creator of the universe. Whether you do/don’t own this or that, He loves you just the same.
As far as the techniques we use to help clients have a super clean, show ready home, those are our trade secrets. We have been blessed to find ways of bringing items back to life after months, or even years of neglect.
It is a passion of mine to help people. I knew it when I was 13. I want to help people find freedom. Ultimately that comes from a close and personal relationship with Christ Jesus. He paid the price for our sins and became the ‘bridge’ between our sinful selves and The Holy God of the universe. All we have to do is believe Jesus is God and that He came down to this fallen world to die upon a cross for us. Sacrifices would no longer be needed to make things right between us and God. Jesus was the final and ultimate sacrifice. He didn’t stay dead though, He is risen and alive. He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort us, guide us and convict us in love when we fall or jump into sins. We do need to be serious about walking with the Lord daily and growing in knowledge of Him and His ways. We can’t just say some lines and expect God to adopt us as His and bring us into eternity with Him after our earthly death. He tell us in the Bible to, “take up your cross daily and follow after me,” That can be hard…impossible on our own. But, if we truly believe and repent of our sins, He promises to give us the strength to do everything He wants us to. Examine your heart; have you truly died to your old ways? Have you made Jesus not only your Savior, but your King? Do you attempt to live according to His ways? Do you even know what all this means…I didn’t for years. Get a Bible and read for yourself, meet with someone who really walks what they talk, ask a reliable pastor for answers to your questions. Just remember, there will ‘always’ be tension between your human mind and your belief. We can not understand all the ways of God. Thank Him, we can not know all He knows and do all He does. If He fit in our tiny little boxes, He wouldn’t be the great, all powerful, merciful, gracious God He is. He wants that none should perish and spend eternity in Hell. He wants all to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. If you have questions, or need someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out via our email. email@example.com Thank you for reading and have a very blessed day, I know I will.