Resources for the Chaotic, Cluttered, and Overwhelmed

Homeschooling tends to create its own significant amount of clutter between all the books, teaching materials and educational extras. Plus, homeschooling means you will wind up juggling other tasks such as cleaning, laundry, errands, etc. How do you homeschool without becoming chaotic, cluttered, and overwhelmed? These resources will help.

What is a Family and Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer. These two books are on my “must read” list and are probably the books you want to start with because they present such an inspiring vision of what family is and can be. Sometimes life seems overwhelming simply because we’ve lost touch with the importance of what we are doing. Homeschooling our kids is no small feat. It is a choice that can have eternal implications. In these two books, Edith Schaeffer paints a picture of what we are really creating when we take the time and care to create a home.

Margin by Dr. Richard Swenson. Picture living a life where you didn’t feel overextended. You had the time you needed to spend on things that were important to you; the emotional reserves to develop deep, meaningful relationships; the financial reserves to spend on what would enhance your life and your relationships; and the physical health to be able to do what you love to do. Defining margin as the space that exists between people and their personal limits, Swenson tells us how we’ve squeezed that space out of our lives so that most of us live chronically overextended lives wishing for more time, more energy, more money, and deeper relationships. This book is one of the best books we’ve ever read and it clearly explains how we let margin slip out of our lives, what it does to us as people to live without it, and how we can regain it.

The Overload Syndrome by Dr. Richard Swenson. This book is written like a “prescription” for overloaded lives. Through humor and a great deal of common sense, Swenson shows how you can carve out margin in four key areas of your life: emotional, physical, time and financial. By becoming Goal-Focused and God-Focused, you can unplug and eliminate a large portion of the stress in your life. This book can truly change your life if you follow its “prescriptions” for moving from a life of overload to a life like God intended it to be.

The 80/20 PrincipleLiving the 80/20 Way, and The 80/20 Individual by Richard Koch. Each of these books approaches the 80/20 Principle from a slightly different slant, but all three of them teach you ways to narrow down the 20% of people, interests, and activities that lead to 80% of the kind of life we want. I highly, highly recommend these books!

The Path of Least Resistance and Your Life as Art by Robert Fritz. Robert’s work is about recognizing what really matters to you, and then creating your life based on that. So in a way, he teaches you to nourish and equip your deepest desires and highest aspirations so that you live a life centered around those. You are a creator, whether you acknowledge it or not. You create your relationships, your attitudes, your surroundings, your career, and yes, music and paintings and inventions and sculptures and books. So why not create the life you really care about? These books are about looking at your own life as a work of art that you create based on what really matters to you.

The three books below take an organizational approach to clutter-overwhelm and are packed with tips and hints for tackling clutter and disorganization. Each takes a slightly different approach but each has provided me with indispensible help in curing my packratness and disorganization:

Product DetailsGetting Things Done by David Allen.

Getting Organized by Stephanie Winston

Simply Organized by Emilie Barnes

I don’t care what your budget, buy these two books from Jeff Campbell: Clutter Control and Speed Cleaning. Why buy them? Because if you’re like me, you probably already thought you know how to clean but couldn’t stand to. Campbell explains that the main reason you can’t stand to clean is because you’re using all the wrong methods and the wrong products. Quite frankly, my mother never showed me how to clean a house and I can safely say — since my mother won’t be reading this — that my mother knew zip about the right way to clean a house. First, get rid of your clutter using Clutter Control. But once it’s gone, you’ll want to clean. And Speed Cleaning gives you the quick, easy system to use to do it.

If you are a hard-core clutterer and have tried the more traditional approaches, the two books below are for you:

Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise by Pam Young and Peggy Jones. These two sisters share the system of organizing household chores that they created to make managing a home less time consuming and more efficient. This recently updated handbook explains how to reduce chaos and clutter and achieve organisation in the home.

The New Messies Manual: The Procrastinator's Guide to Good HousekeepingThe New Messies’ Manual: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Good Housekeeping by Sandra Felton. This is for the person with a serious case of messiness and disorganization. Many people are not messy, but just disorganized, so books like Getting Things Done or Getting Organized are just what they need. But if you find yourself facing “chronic messiness” and battling depression and shame over it, this is the book for you.

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