Focus on the Family Broadcast

Organizing the Chaos in Your Home

Organizing the Chaos in Your Home

Kristi Clover, mother of 5, shares quick and simple tips to bring joy into your home by getting more organized. From clearing the clutter to choosing your top priorities, you’ll learn some techniques to make housework easy and fun for the whole family!
Original Air Date: April 12, 2024

Man #1: Clutter is something that I absolutely hate. It drives me up the wall.

Woman #1: It depends on where the clutter is. If it’s around my sink, leave it. If it’s in the living room, clean it.

Man #2: Sometimes it drives me nuts. You know, every drawer is a junk drawer, and no closet has any kind of organization or purpose.

Woman #2: Life happens, and so clutter happens.

John Fuller: How do you feel about clutter? Today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly, we’ll be tackling that topic and offer some ways that you and your family can bring order into your home. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: So, the question is, John, are you a neat freak?

John: Am I a neat freak?

Jim: Right.

John: Um, I think I used to aspire to be one, but life has kind of made it impossible. So, now I’m a piles freak.

Jim: Ah.

John: I have lots of piles.

Jim: You’re that kinda-

John: I, I kind of dump it in my home office. Even at my office here. But, nah. I’m not a neat freak, no.

Jim: I always, you know, I, I tend to favor neatness.

John: Yes.

Jim: But I don’t know if I’m a freak. I guess I’d have to ask Jean, do you think I’m a neat freak? Probably when it comes to the garage, but, uh, I’m looking forward to today’s discussion, ’cause I think it’ll help define, uh, my attitude toward neatness. I think people that are overly neat can be compulsive.

John: Yes.

Jim: So, what is, what is enough? I mean, when is, when is neatness enough?

John: When is neatening-

Jim: And, uh, we’re gonna talk about that today. There’s so much guilt, especially for moms with busy schedules that have a lot going on. Uh, what is enough? How clean does my house have to be? And, uh, we wanna talk about just the whole management of, uh, the household, and I, uh, what I love is the sense, at least in our house, and Jean does a great job with this, is just shalom.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: There’s a great deal of peace in our house, and I think that’s the goal. How do you get to that, where you can actually relax and settle in with the Lord and look forward to being together as a family without all these to-dos?

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So today, we’re gonna cover that. And I hope, if you’re in that spot, like, I have fought this my entire life.

John: Hmm.

Jim: This one’s for you.

John: Yeah. And Kristi Clover is going to help us figure this out. Uh, Kristi is an author, and her book is called M.O.M.–Master Organizer of Mayhem: Simple Solutions to Organize Chaos and Bring More Joy Into Your Home. And we have copies of that book here at the ministry. Check it out on

Jim: Uh, John, you said she’s gonna help us unpack it. I think she’s gonna help us pack it.

John: Ah, there you go.

Jim: That’s what an organizer will do.

John: That’s probably the right thing, yes.

Jim: How to pack this place up. Kristi, welcome back. It’s good to have you.

Kristi Clover: Thank you. Such a joy to be back. I appreciate it.

Jim: You got that million dollar smile.

Kristi: Well, thank you.

Jim: How much did that cost your mom and dad?

Kristi: Oh, nothing.

Jim: No braces?

Kristi: Oh, actually. Well, it didn’t cost them anything.

Jim: Oh.

Kristi: I have had braces since, not a kid.

Jim: Well, that was a smart move on mom and dad’s part.

Kristi: I had braces in my 40s.

Jim: Right?

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: That was good.

John: Fair enough.

Jim: Well, it paid off.

Kristi: Thank you.

Jim: But, uh, it’s so good to have you back. Let’s go there. You’re a blogger, so you hear from many, many, uh, stressed out people.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Probably mostly M.O.Ms.

Kristi: Mostly moms.

Jim: And, uh, tell us what you’re hearing and their frustrations, just generally.

Kristi: Mostly, everyone’s just overwhelmed. They’re overwhelmed by the busyness. They’re overwhelmed by the chaos of stuff, and just overwhelmed by life in general. I think it’s really easy to play, especially with social media these days. We start playing the comparison game, and so that’s what I think kinda gets stuck in people’s brain. But what I see is that people are having a hard time distinguishing their identity in Christ versus their identity, you know, in what people perceive. So, your home environment, your motherhood, and all of those things. But, yeah. So we can, I’m sure, unpack all of that as we go. But, yeah. Really, it is busyness and, you know, clutter.

Jim: Let me ask you this, because we always have that perception that it’s far worse right now than it ever was before. Do you think women, I mean, think about it. 50 years ago, 100 years ago. Were women stressed out? They were doing a lot then. I mean-

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … going outside and scrubbing laundry?

Kristi: Oh, goodness. I know.

Jim: I mean, think of the, the load. And cooking from scratch everything.

Kristi: Oh, yeah.

Jim: ‘Cause there wasn’t a Costco. Right?

Kristi: There was not a Costco. We have been going through the Little House on the Prairie books.

Jim: Yeah.

John: Mm-hmm.

Kristi: And Farmer Boy in particular. Like, the whole time I’m reading it with the kids, I’m like, oh my word, thank you Lord that I live in this world and that I have a washing machine and I have an, a real oven, and I have a refrigerator. And I can go to an appliance store and actually buy something, you know, if I need it.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: So.

Jim: And I know men can do these things, too, so it’s not a gender thing.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: I get it. But you know, a lot of it does fall on mom, typically.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But, in that regard, it, it’s interesting, ’cause it comes down to more attitude, then. Right?

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: ‘Cause our circumstances, they may change, but what’s our attitude about these things?

Kristi: Well, the attitude changes, I think, overall. I think a lot of times, I think what our attitude needs to be is kind of going back to why are we doing this? And that helps us with our attitude, because we become over-, otherwise we’re overwhelmed.

Jim: Right.

Kristi: And we’re stressed out. And what’s interesting is that you have, you know, procrastination, and getting to organizing things is often a symptom of stress. You know, busyness in our schedules, because we’re trying to put up with like, some perception or some, you know, feeling that we have to do something, some expectation we’re trying to meet. Um, so our attitude, I feel like we need to go back to, what is Christ calling us and our attitude to be? And, so I try to pause and really take a deep breath and think, you know, when I’m approaching my home, when I’m approaching how I’m mothering, I want my attitude to be tied to Christ.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: And I want that to be an attitude of love and joy and peace, and then kind of start right there. Um, but oftentimes, that gets a little skewed, and that’s easy to do, too.

Jim: Yeah, I know. Uh, you and I both were raised by single parent moms.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: We share that background, and you know, it had its difficulties, but obviously, uh, we were able to overcome that.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Probably, from my perspective, because of the Lord.

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: So listeners know exactly where that’s coming from. What were, were the takeaways for you watching your mom as a single mom do the things that needed to be done around the house, and how did that impact you?

Kristi: Yeah. What was, what I thought was great is we kind of approached things as a team. And so, we would just tackle things. So, wh-, what I loved is that, you know, things needed to get done on a Saturday, then we just like, conquered them together. And we were usually side-by-side doing things, which was really special-

Jim: Yeah, wow.

Kristi: … for us, is to have that time together, and that was the weird part for me when I got married, actually, because it was so different. Like, my husband didn’t grow up in that environment. His mom took care of everything ’cause she was a stay-at-home mom. And so, she did a lot. And so I’m like, hey, we’re, we’re folding laundry, don’t you want to come and do it with me? And he’s like, no, not really.

Jim: He’d be a big help.

Kristi: It would be such a good help. But, yeah. No, it’s just, and it’s so different, and I think it probably, you know, changed the way that I approached mothering as well, is that I want my kids to be on the team. I wanted to teach them skills, ’cause when, you know, I launched and was in college, I lived in Australia for a year on my own, and I was fully capable of doing all of the things, and I do see that a lot of times when you have, you know, moms do a lot for their kids. And so, that’s one of my encouragements in the book, is to train your children to help out. You don’t have to take all of the burden on yourself. And maybe that is an influence of having a single mom.

Jim: You said you faked your way through being an organized person, in, and when you got married, I think it kind of illuminated.

Kristi: It illuminated.

Jim: So what, what, h-, h-, how did you fake your way?

Kristi: Oh. Um, I the, have now, I now term it as organized clutter. But if there were things that were out, I would just put them in a bin, and if it has a label on it, then it’s not clutter, right? So, my, my mess would go into a bin with a label. And now, I do realize that it’s just delayed clutter. It, it just, it’s still clutter. It’s just put away and tucked away.

Jim: Behind a door.

Kristi: Behind a door, in a garage.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: The garages. Yeah.

Jim: Not a garage.

Kristi: The garage.

John: Yeah, about the garage.

Kristi: Yeah. Yeah, about-

Jim: Okay.

John: About that neat freak thing, you know.

Kristi: Oh, gosh. I know.

Jim: That’s my, that’s my neat freak problem.

Kristi: Yeah, but you’re zoned neatly.

Jim: People just throw stuff out there.

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: It’s terrible.

Kristi: I know. I know. I know. We do.

Jim: This is not your dump.

Kristi: I know.

Jim: Maybe I do.

Kristi: But for some of us, it is.

Jim: I, maybe I do have a problem. Okay, you talk about homemaking ADD. I like that.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: What does that look like?

Kristi: Oh. So, for me, that looks like, if I’m gonna start a project, I’ll start it downstairs, and I’ve learned this about myself, ’cause I’ve gotten myself in some really sticky situations, that I’ll start a project and something in that project will require something from upstairs.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kristi: So, I go upstairs to go and try to grab whatever it is that I need, only to figure out that there is another project right there. So I’ll start that project.

Jim: Okay.

Kristi: And so then, I am easily distracted by what needs to get done. And so, it’s not until I need a project, something from downstairs, that I realize, I’ve got three projects happening all at once.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Putting dimension to that, like three projects at one time.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: How long does it take to get project one done that we-, you were distracted from? Is it hours or days or weeks or months?

Kristi: That’s a good question. It all depends on how you approach it. And so, I approach things differently now, ’cause now I’m very much like, when people are like, my whole house is a mess, where do I start? And so, I really try to encourage people, pick one thing. Pick one thing and break it down. Can that one project, like, a garage. You’re not gonna tackle a garage, you know, in one day, typically.

Jim: So, a shelf.

Kristi: So, maybe it’s a shelf. Maybe it’s a bin. Maybe it’s a drawer.

Jim: I’m getting excited right here.

Kristi: Or maybe it’s a section. Oh, aren’t you? I know. I know. I actually love it. When people, I’ll, I’ll visit a friend and she’ll be like, can you help me over here? I’m like, yes, please. I would love to do that. But, yeah. So, picking one project and kind of breaking it down to just smaller bites. That’s gonna make it more doable, ’cause you, what you want to do is have that little like, euphoric moment of, I did it.

Jim: Yeah. ‘Cause that-

Kristi: And then that helps to bleed into other areas.

Jim: Yeah. And it get, keeps you going. It gives you the feel, okay, I did this, I could do that.

Kristi: Absolutely. Yes.

Jim: Now, in your book, M.O.M.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Master Organizer of Mayhem, you laid out 10 simple rules for home organization, and we’re, we’re gonna cover a few of ’em, but people need to get the book.

John: Mm-hmm.

Kristi: Absolutely.

Jim: We don’t have time enough to cover ’em all. But one in there is glean and tweak technique.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: What is that?

Kristi: Well, that’s what I kind of learned, just ’cause when I started approaching home organization, I was trying to follow all the rules. I was trying to do what, you know, like, the Martha Stewarts of the world were doing, and what my friends who grew up in organized homes were doing, and what I found-

Jim: That’s exhausting.

Kristi: Oh, yeah. No, it did not work well.

Jim: Yeah, no way.

Kristi: And what I found is that there’s techniques that work, but they’re, you also have to tweak a technique, because you know what? God created all of us to be unique. He created our families to be unique. He created our children, and we all have different dynamics within our home as well. And so, you have to take that into account.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: And then, as soon as you get in, and I, I feel like I always do a, a little warning, ’cause as soon as you get your groove on and as soon as things are running smoothly, a season changes, or something happens, and I don’t mean like, seasonal. I just mean, you know, like, a new baby is welcomed, or you know.

Jim: Things change.

Kristi: You’ve got a kid in a different, you know, in different situation. And so, things do change.

Jim: Let me, let me ask you in that regard, because that’s a really important point that I hadn’t thought about. We, we tend to be creatures of habit.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: We read or hear something like this program, and then we get the book and we think we gotta do it exactly like this, almost like a herd mentality.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: But the ability to spin it into your own thing so it’s functional and it works is better.

Kristi: Oh, yeah.

Jim: ‘Cause usually, you’re not gonna succeed at the way somebody does it their way, right?

Kristi: Uh-uh.

Jim: So, how to bring it in and make it functional for you. That’s a great challenge.

Kristi: Yeah. It is, and, and it’s interesting, ’cause I try to explain that in the book. Like, please take this as just like, this is yet another example of how to attempt to get things done. So I try to encourage people. Try this. If it doesn’t work, don’t feel like a failure. And I think that is the key, is so often, we try to follow these rules-

Jim: Right.

Kristi: … and then we feel like a failure.

Jim: Right.

Kristi: And then it’s like, we, you know, and then it just kinda tumbles down from there, and then we’re overwhelmed and we never start. And so, we have to just know that, I just need to tweak this.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: And then, glean from other people and tweak it to make it work.

Jim: That’s one of the 10. We’ll cover a couple more.

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: You, you mentioned in the book, uh, that you bought this nice property, and it was so wonderful that you were in your heart thinking, oh, this’ll be a great place for a wedding, and-

Kristi: Oh, yes.

Jim: … and then you had a friend ask you, could, could we do a wedding at your house, to which you said yes. The only thing is, you were about ready to have a life change.

Kristi: Yeah. We were, had a life change.

Jim: So, to, like, just ratchet our stress up and let us enter into that moment of your life.

Kristi: Oh, it was so good. Well, we were, I just remember when we were first walking our, our, our property, of thinking, oh, we could do so many things here. And, and we have been able to do a lot there. But at that particular time, I was like, I dreamed of having a wedding in the backyard.

Jim: Now, paint the picture of what it looks like, just for our mind’s eye.

Kristi: So, our backyard is beautiful. It’s kind of terraced, and so we have this big grass area, which is where we’ve had two weddings there now. Um.

Jim: So the temporary gazebo goes in, and-

Kristi: Well, the, well, they have a little fun little archway.

Jim: Oh.

Kristi: And you can put the tables in and the chairs.

Jim: Perfect.

Kristi: Um, and then we have a little like, garden fountain area, so we have lots of fun little nook and cranny kinda areas that make for a great wedding, and that’s what I was thinking. And so when our friends approached us, I was like, this is my dream come true. And my husband was, ’cause they were very set on a date, so they were very set. And at that point, I kinda did the, I’m very set on a date, because I was very pregnant. And, but, I was like, but I’m organized. I can do this. I can pull this off. I just ne-

Jim: Did your husband not try to talk you out of this?

Kristi: He did. This ended up being the greatest I told you so moment in our marriage, I believe.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: So, he kept going, oh, Kristi, I don’t think so. And I’m like, no, I can do this. I can do this.

Jim: Well, husbands can only push that so far.

Kristi: Yeah. It, ’cause I was hormonal. I was a very hormonal pregnant woman.

Jim: I wasn’t gonna say that. Were you gonna say that?

John: No, I-

Kristi: No, you wouldn’t. I will say it for you. I was self-aware.

Jim: No. And so, you’re moving along, and then when did this aha become reality?

Kristi: I, yeah. So, I went into labor two weeks early. I went into labor on my birthday, and that was-

Jim: On your birthday.

Kristi: On my birthday.

Jim: On the wedding, almost the wedding day.

Kristi: Six days before the wedding. Six days. So, I had a newborn, um, at this wedding, and it was not what we had planned. I, and I learned that there is such a thing as over-planning. There’s such a thing as over-committing, and this was a great example of over-committing. And it really pointed out to me that I needed to remember my priorities. So, I needed to go back to, okay. My family, my growing child, is a priority. My health is a priority. ‘Cause I’m sure that some of the stress that was happening, of making everything come together, was probably part of what put me into-

Jim: You think?

Kristi: It, yeah. Just a little. Just a little bit.

Jim: No, that’s so amazing. And, and so, yeah. You were really involved with the wedding, right? Not just the property, like, okay, do whatever you wanna do, I’ll be back tomorrow night ’cause I’m gonna rest all day.

Kristi: They did a pretty good job of doing things, but you know, like their we’ll do everything kinda did turn into, oh, and by the way, can you do this? And so, my husband was the champion of that one.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Kristi: ‘Cause, and everything that was on my shoulders went to his shoulders once the baby was born, so.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: Yeah. And that was baby number four, so I really should have known better.

Jim: Now, that’s a great story.

Kristi: So.

Jim: I appreciate that. It, that, uh.

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: Honesty. ‘Cause I mean, all the husbands are going, what?

Kristi: Yeah. They’re gonna be like, listen to this part, dear. Lis-

Jim: And all the wives are going, I can’t believe it. So, that’s all good. But, h-, how can we best determine what our family’s priorities should be? I think you’ve honed it for yourself. How have you applied that to the rest of the family, and how did they buy in?

Kristi: How did they buy in? That’s a good question. Well, we really prayed about it. Both Steve and I prayed about like, what are our priorities? What sh-, does that look like? And so, we try to make sure we check in with each other a lot. But when it comes to my home, and since the wedding was at our home, that’s really what it came down to, is I want my home to be a place, like you had said at one point, of shalom. I want, uh, my home to be a place of peace. It, home really is important, ’cause we live in a crazy world, and so, we need to have a place where we can take a deep breath. And-

Jim: Children, I think, love that.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: They don’t know how to express it, but children thrive in that kind of an environment.

Kristi: Yeah. They really do. They really do. And so, I think that’s when, I think when you feel tension as parents, we can tell when there’s tension. Kids are acting up, and it’s, can be for a v-, a variety of things. But I’ve found that it’s oftentimes the busyness that we’re allowing into our schedule. And so, that’s been a big thing for us, is we’ve really twe-, we always look at our calendar. We try to, you know, figure out like, what needs to be on our calendar right now. And so, we pray over that, and we talk to the kids about it.

So, an example is Awana, is a wonderful ministry that’s all about Bible memorization. But for us in this season, it was falling on a bad night. We already had another ministry happening that night. And so, we could just had it, we prayed about it, we talked to our kids about it, and I just make sure that Bible memory is a priority in the rest of our schedule, in the rest of our day, which is easier since we do homeschool, but it, just, you’ve gotta pay attention to, there are good things in good season, but you need to save your yes for what’s best.

Jim: Yeah. That’s really, really good. And wise.

John: Well, Kristi Clover is our guest today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. And, uh, her book is fantastic. It’s called M.O.M.–Master Organizer of Mayhem: Simple Solutions to Organize Chaos and Bring More Joy Into Your Home. Um, get a copy from us here at the ministry. The details are at

Jim: Uh, decluttering is a big issue. I think your point in the book is clear the clutter.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I always hear clear the gutter. Jump up on the, uh, ladder.

Kristi: Get that ladder. Yeah.

Jim: I actually took care of that and put one of those screens over it.

John: Oh.

Jim: So, I, I don’t have to get up there anymore. When Trent left, I was like, uh-oh, what am I gonna do?

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: But, uh, clear the clutter. Uh, how do we go about doing that? And I think your grandmother had a good insight for you. I love that. What did grandma have to say?

Kristi: Oh. Well, it was more, uh, what she left behind. So, my grandma had been very organized. She introduced me to my first labeler. And so, she had been very organized. I had a love for labeling early in my life.

Jim: The punch label? The punch letter?

Kristi: The punch one.

Jim: Boom, boom.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: Yeah, we had those.

Kristi: Oh. It wa-, they were everywhere. And I still find them on the few things that I have of hers, like little labels on the bottom.

Jim: Pens.

Kristi: Um.

Jim: Pencils.

Kristi: Oh. Oh. All the things. But the problem was is later in her life, she became a hoarder. So, an organized-

Jim: Oh, wow. One for the other.

Kristi: … hoarder, but like, we’re talking like, you open a closet and she could fit more in the closet than any other human could because she was organized, and hoarding. So, when she passed, it left quite, you know.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: Q-, quite a burden on the family.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: And so, I remember that when she was, her cancer had come back and my uncle had called to tell me, like, you know, just so you know, it’s worse than, than you think it is. And I thought he was talking about the cancer, and he wasn’t. He was talking about the state of her home.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kristi: And so, when I got there, it was, um, it was really sad. It was sad to see just how much she had accumulated. And then, um, so we went and we visited and had a great time, but it was after she passed that I came out to help my uncle kind of try to get the house ready to sell that, I mean, we had to, I knew the guest room had a bed. Let’s just put it like that. And so, we had to di-, it took us a day to get to the bed.

Jim: Oh, my.

Kristi: Um, to try to get a pathway-

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: … to uncover the bed. So, what I’ve learned is that clutter really, it’s a symptom of a lot of things. So, clutter is a symptom. It’s a symptom of stress, of overwhelm. For her, it was her health. Um, and she just kept putting things away. Um, but it can be busyness in our life. It, a lot of things we already talked about.

Um, but what, one of the things that it’s kind of tweaked how I view things, and that is, what are the items I’m choosing to have in my home? And you know, is it something that I think my kids or, uh, like, do I need it? Do I use it for right now? And if I’m putting it away or storing it, is it something my kids are actually gonna need? So, sometimes we don’t think about the burden that we’re actually, it’s almost a generational thing, where now we’re passing this on to someone else.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: But, it’s really helped me to identify things a little differently.

Jim: Well, and it, that’s not an uncommon thing. Uh, hoarding.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, I hear, uh, about it often. There’s shows on TV about it.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: But I think people, why, we struggle to let go of stuff.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Which is an indication of other things going on, like you said.

Kristi: Oh, yeah.

Jim: Emotions and those kinds of things. Y-, you speak to the idea of having a plan.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I don’t think I’m a real planner, ’cause that tends to go, uh-oh. Doesn’t leave me enough exit doors. I like exit doors, you know, when it comes to planning, ’cause something other than the plan might get better.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: And if we don’t have the ability to say, ah, I got a better plan. Um, so getting locked into plan kinda tends to stress me out a little bit. But speak to the need to have a plan, and then work that plan in order to kinda reduce stress and chaos. And I think it related, in the book you talked about when your first son was born. That’s a life-changer.

Kristi: Oh, yeah.

Jim: Uh, ’cause time is different. You don’t have all the time in the world to worry about the house and those things. But what was that connection? What were your aha’s when your first child was born?

Kristi: So, when my first child was born, I kinda went into overdrive. And, so I’m like, oh, look. I need, I need to plan a lot, ’cause I am now responsible for keeping someone alive. And so, like, an example is we went to Canada, and it was a trip that his, his company had planned, and we were not gonna miss that, and he was all of two months old. But he had his first cold. And so, I did what every normal mother would do, new mother. Um, I packed everything you could possibly think of. But I even brought a humidifier, and this is like 2002.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: So this is when I could bring all of those things onto the plane, and you know, like I didn’t get stopped at security. But I brought everything. And we have this picture of my son, in like little teeny tiny baby Grant, on top of this mountain of stuff.

Jim: Of stuff.

Kristi: Because, you know, you’ve got the little airplane carrier.

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Kristi: You know, like the little pushcart? And, so we put everything on there. I mean, for this little teeny tiny person, we had so much stuff. So, that is actually an example of over-planning. Um, but what we need to get to a point of doing is kind of figuring out if when you have a basic game plan. And you, I, what I’ve learned is be flexible, because since he was two months old, I’ve learned that you do, just, life will throw things at you. And so, if it’s a priority, then I need to have backup plans. So I kinda say like, plan for whatch-, what do you really want to prioritize? Like, mornings are a great example of this. Um, and so, in the morning, I try to prep for the day ahead. I try to like, put things out that I’ll need for the next day.

Jim: Hit, hit some of those, ’cause I thought that was a great list, actually.

Kristi: Yeah, so-

Jim: The, the stressed out mom in the morning.

Kristi: Oh, stressed out mom in the morning. So, here’s my thing. This is, my, my mom-tra. Instead of a little mantra, it’s my mom-tra. I try to think of how can I bless myself tomorrow, my tomorrow self, by doing something tonight?

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: So like, doing those dishes that are in the sink. And we actually have chore systems for those types of things to get the family to team up, but if, when I had tiny children, it’s not like I could ask my two-year-old, come on, let’s do the pots and pans.

Jim: Wash this pot. You didn’t do a very good job.

Kristi: Right. So, for me in the morning, one of my priorities is my quiet time. So, I have a basket that I keep all of my, my Bible, my Bible study, pens, paper. I keep that out, and so that’s something that if, you know, I, it, my husband’s needing some time or on a phone call, then I can just pick that up and go in another room. You know, when we had kids that were in school, I’d put their backpacks out. I’d grab their homework, all of those little things. You could get even nitty-gritty if you have a crazy, so if we’re leaving for an early flight, I will actually plan out what we’re having for breakfast, have that all laid out, um, and have clothes put out. So, it just depends on the situation.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: ‘Cause you could get neat freak-ish and you can a little maniacal, and start kind of over-planning and doing everything. But you have to allow some grace.

Jim: It surprised me in the book that you mentioned that you are bent or struggle with laziness.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: That just doesn’t seem to fit. So, let’s speak to-

Kristi: Oh, I’m an oxymoron.

Jim: … all the mo-, all the moms that go, now we’re talking.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: Okay. That’s me.

Kristi: Oh. Well, if given the choice, I would much rather sit on the couch and watch a show, or do like, nothing. I mean, that, that feels really good. I mean, it’s the whole inertia thing, right? A body, you know, in motion stays in motion.

Jim: Yeah, recovery.

Kristi: But I would rather just stay.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: And just chill. And so, it’s getting into motion. But, yeah. I struggled with laziness.

Jim: How do you break out of that? Because of course, you’re going, I don’t even want to admit that.

Kristi: Oh, yeah.

Jim: ‘Cause laziness, for the Christian, you’re going, uh, uh, that’s not a good attribute.

Kristi: Oh, yeah. For me, it was honestly, it was just having that conversation, like, what do I want to be known for? What do, uh, you know, how do I want to set an example for my children? And so, I just really have, it’s a choice, honestly. You have to make the choice that I’m, I’m gonna have to go do something. And so, I play games with myself and try to kind of encourage myself to go out and, and do different things. So, if I have a project to get done, then I’ll do the project, and then I’m allowed to do X, Y, Z.

And so, behind everything out there, to find your motivation to do anything, you have to understand your why, and that’s important. So, if you kinda go back to that. Like, you know, why do you want to take care of the home? You know, why is your home important? You know, so, everything that’s good in life takes a little bit of effort.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: And so, you have to kinda choose like, again, how do you want to be defined and things. But when I’m looking at things, I try to, so, the way my brain works is that if it’s not simple, it’s not getting done. And I would much rather sit out. And often, procrastination is a symptom of stress. Oftentimes, we are lazy or we are procrastinating because there’s something we don’t want to get to.

And so, that’s where I try to kind of identify like, what in my life is causing me to want to, to be lazy? Like, am I avoiding something? Am I too busy? You know, am, you know, there’s, there’s so many things. Or, do we have too much fun planned? ‘Cause that is, that’s a reality, too. Sometimes we just have too many fun things going on. Um, but there’s also seasons for that, and giving yourself grace.

Jim: The, the capstone for me is this attitude. It’s, you know, not expecting it to be one-and-done.

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: If you have that expectation, you’re gonna be miserable.

Kristi: Oh, yeah.

Jim: Because it’s gonna ke-, keep coming back, and you know.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: If it’s the laundry or the dishes or whatever it is, distributing that amongst the kids and dad is a good thing, to the extent that they, they can do it.

Kristi: They can help out.

Jim: Jean was great. She had the boys doing laundry at 10. They, they went all through junior high and high school doing their own laundry.

Kristi: That’s fabulous.

Jim: Then she got dad doing it. I don’t know how I got talked into that, but that’s a big help.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, uh, you know, there’s just things you can do. But I really, I think there’s so many sour, w-, wives and moms because, yeah, they think, w-, I did this already. Why is it happening again?

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: Just know your expectation and what’s gonna happen. But Kristi, this has been so good.

Kristi: Oh, good.

Jim: I love it. You know, I, whenever I roll into something like this, like organization, I’m always going, mm-hmm, okay, we’ll see what the audience has to say. I hope this has connected with you, and, uh, you know, maybe you’re in a great place, but it’s your sister who needs a little help. This might be a gentle way of getting a resource. One of the big things here is just doing ministry. You know, you can go to the big, uh, direct mail places. I won’t name names, but you can hit a button and get a book and put profit into the shareholders of that company. But if you can get the resource from Focus, if you buy Kristi’s book, M.O.M.–Master Organizer of Mayhem from Focus, all the proceeds go right back into ministry, helping families, and that’s a great way to do it. If you can do that monthly, even five or 10 dollars a month, uh, John and I support Focus this way. Um, it’s a great help to the budget. A one-time gift, uh, we’ll also send you a copy of the book as our way of saying thank you for being either a monthly sustainer or a one-time giver. We love it. Just get in touch with us and John has those details.

John: Mm-hmm. Yeah. It’s very easy. Uh, just stop by or call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Well, plan to join us again tomorrow as we’ll hear how one Christian family dealt with an unplanned pregnancy.


Lindsay Pepin Ophus: My dad’s pounding his fists on the table. Who did this? When did this happen? How did this happen? Playing 20 questions. And I’m sitting there, watching myself slowly destroy the most important people in my entire life.

John: On behalf of the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.


Today's Guests

M.O.M.--Master Organizer of Mayhem: Simple Solutions to Organize Chaos and Bring More Joy into Your Home

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