Once you tidy, you have to put it away.

So many of you participated in the church’s Clean Out Challenge in mid-October. It was really awesome to see the 315 cars come filled with items to donate, electronics to recycle and documents to shred. Personally, my wife, Robin, and I had already made most of our clothing and material donations when we did our decluttering and tidying, but we did bring four full boxes of documents to shred. I was very thankful that the church provided this opportunity for us to eliminate unwanted and unneeded things in a responsible way.

Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to read my two other blogs about tidying up: “Tidying Up” and “Where Your Heart Is.” In my final blog post on this topic, I want to write about how we put things away and how we’re doing today.

But first, let’s look at Luke 16:13:

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

We live in a world saturated with stuff trying to take over our time and attention. Our belongings, social media, politics, the newest and greatest TV shows and movies and the latest Taylor Swift jam are all vying for our time, attention and money. It’s almost as if we have multiple masters.

I think any search for simplicity is helpful in this day and age when everything, literally everything, is at your fingertips.

Of course, it’s also important to say that we live in a world and society that requires stuff. In other words, it is very unlikely that any of us would start wearing a camel hair tunic, stop shaving (which would be nice) and start eating wild honey in the woods of Reston a la John the Baptist as you would almost certainly find yourself in an institution before long. Being obedient to God’s call today still requires us to live in the world.

So I think it’s a pretty good thing to seek a healthy relationship with the belongings that we own. Through this process of tidying, my wife and I were able to keep the things that enriched our lives and let go of the things that didn’t.

As I mentioned previously, here are Marie Kondo’s basic rules for tidying:

  1. Do all decluttering/tidying in one go.
  2. Start with clothes, then books and papers, then other items.
  3. Only keep things that “spark joy.”
  4. Keep items from the same category together.
  5. Store things vertically.

Robin and I were able to let go of nearly two carloads of stuff through this process. It was invigorating to see so much stuff leave our home. However, we were then tasked with the challenge of putting everything else away.

Using rules four and five, we tried our best to keep items of the same category together and store things vertically. We ended up having pretty amazing results, as we were able to maximize our storage space while at the same time alleviating some of the clutter that you find by having your stuff out and about in your home.

To give you an example, Marie Kondo suggests that all of your clothes fit in one place and that you fold them in such a way that you are able to see everything. It worked with pretty amazing results. For example, I used to keep shirts in two large plastic trays. Using Kondo’s method, I was able to fit all my shirts in a plastic tray half the size, as you can see in the photo at the top of this post.

I was also able to fit all of my pants, shorts and belts in one large plastic tray:


We found that if we put like-things together as she suggested, we were able to put more away using less space, which was awesome. The interesting thing that we discovered about this process is that everything has a designated place, and it is much easier now to tidy the home after a long week of work and other commitments.

While there are many ways to tidy, this was an excellent experience for us. I hope that you’ve enjoyed these posts as we very much benefited from sharing our experience.

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