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A Place for Everything, and Everything in its Place

I’m a big fan of decluttering shows on HGTV. I pick up decluttering hints and organizing tips. Churches have special clutter problems. It often begins when we are downsizing or moving. We look at a chipboard desk and think, “It still has some use; the congregation would be GLAD for it. I’ll just drop it off at church.” Uh-oh! Now it is the church’s “problem.”

This was the story of an ugly paint-blotched file cabinet, once was used by the church youth group of ten years ago. It sat. And sat. Stuff got piled in it, on it. We were so used to its being in the same spot that we almost overlooked it at our recent rummage sale. But we remembered it, and put it in the sale. We reclaimed 3 sq. ft of floor space!

The Property Team is rapidly emptying the once-cluttered storage room for a new use. Gone is all long-term storage. With that in mind, could I suggest that before you or I donate any item from home to church:

1) First we ask Pastor and the Property Team if there is a need for it. If there is no need, we donate elsewhere or discard it. From now on, the only time to drop items at church are during rummage sale week. If it’s not a rummage sale week, and we must get rid of the item right away, we should donate it to the Christian Sharing Center, Goodwill, Amvets, or a neighbor. This will allow us to use all church space to God’s glory for current activities.

2) Our cast-off furniture is generally not a good fit in style or construction for commercial (church) use. My cast off furniture may seem like ugly clutter to you. Better that I donate it elsewhere than park it at church. Even if it IS my dear Aunt Martha’s buffet.

3) Our church’s rooms are small and all are multipurpose. Most have no closets and only minimal cabinet storage. Except for current church needs or annual events like the Nativity play, items from once-and-done events can no longer be stored at church. Store them at home. No room at home? See decluttering and organizing help below.

4) Less is more. Especially at church. When we store less, our church becomes spacious and inviting. A cluttered facility looks older and worn, which leads visitors to assume our congregation and our worship is also outdated and irrelevant.

5) Emptier rooms allow us to appreciate our church’s architecture, its beauty and orderliness. Try googling photos of Shaker building interiors to see a visual religious expression of the phrase, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” The Shakers even hung their chairs on the WALL to make the floors easy to mop. A marvelous lesson in good stewardship.

6) An organized, decluttered facility is easier to maintain and quicker to clean. This means less dust, fewer allergens and germs, and lower cleaning costs.  


Need help with organizing or decluttering? Look for these church library books in Section 81.  They can help you with spring cleaning, decluttering, downsizing, reorganizing your spaces after a teen leaves home, or if you plan to sell your home. But we hope you aren’t moving out of town!! I have read them all, and they’ve helped me a lot. Give them a try!

  1.  It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life With Less Stuff. Walsh, Peter
  2. Organizing Plain and Simple. Smallin, Donna
  3. Organizing From the Inside Out: The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life. Morgenstern, Julie
  4. The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized. Ehman, Karen
  5. Easy to Make Organizers. Stauffer, Jean

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