One Little Corner – A Gentle Approach to Conquering Clutter

There are times when we need to just dig in and conquer the clutter. That’s where I was the other day when I tackled my desk.

 Kids' tea sets strewn about

My friend, Kristi, left a comment on that post, and here’s what she said:

“*sigh*  A semi went through the middle of my house.  Then shifted in to reverse and  went back through again. “

I get this! Life gets busy. Our homes fall into disorder. Things in life feel like they’re falling apart. It can feel overwhelming. At times like that, it’s hard to even know where to begin. Digging in and conquering won’t work. We need a gentler approach. We need to be able to do a little and breath a little until we get our bearings again.

 Messy Parlor Table

I was reminded of a song by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Jon Troast. It begins,

“When you feel helpless, your life’s a mess
You’re so tired, but you can’t rest
When you’ve gone crazy, you’ve lost control
Your feet can’t find the floor”

Been there? Me, too! The song is “One Little Corner”, and the chorus of Jon’s song says this,

“Just find one little corner, put it in order
Stay there ‘til you feel like you’re alright
Then look out to the others, soon you’ll discover
The peaceful little corners of your life”

I’m not sure that Jon meant for his song to be applied in quite this way, but I think it’s wonderful advice.

Put just one smallish area to rights. Pick an area that you’ll enjoy because, once it is in order, you should hang out there for awhile, enjoying the space, enjoying the peace of the space, enjoying the lack of disorder. Just rest. Pray. Praise! Rest in the Lord.

 Kids' Tea Sets
Once you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying that first little ordered space, look around yourself and find the next little area you’d like to work on. Then enjoy it for awhile, too.

Personally, I’d find motivation in enjoying that first little tidy corner and would be re-energized for tackling the next little area. And the amount of time I’d need to take until I’d “feel alright”? That would vary based on the day, the space and what was going on in the rest of my life. It might be twenty minutes or it might be days. How ever long it takes, give yourself enough time, and extend yourself enough grace, to remember that it’s not all about how clean your house is.

If you’ve been a reader for long, you know that I encourage you to keep your homes in decent order, but it’s really more important that we know where we are in our relationship with the Lord and our relationship with our husband and our relationships with our kids.

 In the Word

Too much disorder in our homes can cause all of those relationships to falter; but spending too much time and investing too much emotion in keeping a clean, neat, well ordered home can cause those same relationships to be destroyed. An orderly home is important. Your walk with the Lord and your relationship with your  husband and your children (and all three in that order) are of far more importance.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
(Matt. 6:33 NASB)

When I look over my blog archives, I feel that I’ve spent way too much time telling you to keep your homes well ordered and how to do that. I’ve not spent nearly enough time telling you that there are more important things in life and that your relationship with the Lord is the most important thing.  Seek Him first, the rest will surely follow.

Seek the Lord first and always. Love your husbands. Love your children. Then, and only then, look well to the ways of your household.



(You can hear all of Jon Troast’s wonderful One Little Corner on his website. Click here. One Little Corner is song #7. Give it a listen!)

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6 comments to One Little Corner – A Gentle Approach to Conquering Clutter

  • Carol

    What a wonderful post!!!

  • I’ve been reading that little $2.99 e-book from BrocanteHome and one of the things she talks about over and over is the need to shine our creativity on the canvas of a clean and clutter free house (while at the same time knowing it will never be perfect).

    I wanted to get to the garage to clean and declutter this week but it has been way to hot. It will have to wait until Monday when we start to get a few days break in the heat.

    Instead, I took everything off my dining room table and gave it to good sudsy wash and when dry, rubbed in lemon oil. It looks wonderful, don’t know why it took me so long to do it when it totally makes everything around it look better. The dining table is the one area of the house (except for the garage) that collects clutter, too.

  • Susan G.

    The one little corner could be analogous to a well maintained yard in the ‘broken window’ community. It becomes contagious and brings up the neighborhood. Great reminder about priorities!