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Simple Ways to Organize Your Home and Family

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Simple Ways to Organize Your Home and Family

Kristi Clover offers moms encouragement as she shares practical guidance for finding joy through home organization and efficiency in a discussion based on her book M.O.M.: Master Organizer of Mayhem.
Original Air Date: October 5, 2020

Today's Guests

Episode Summary

Kristi Clover offers moms encouragement as she shares practical guidance for finding joy through home organization and efficiency in a discussion based on her book M.O.M.: Master Organizer of Mayhem.
Original Air Date: October 5, 2020

Episode Transcript


Ashlyn Clover: “I’m really good at ballet. I like to dance. And I like to cook. And I like to organize.”

End of Teaser

John Fuller: (Laughter) I wonder if you caught the last part of that. There’s an eight-year-old saying she likes to organize, and that is not something you hear every day. Well, today on Focus on the Family, we’re going to talk to that little girl’s mom to get some tips for getting kids motivated to get involved in your home organization. And your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Hey, keeping a house tidy and organized is perhaps one of the great challenges of all of us today, especially when you have young kids. I mean, that – that becomes a real challenge. It’s almost like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos. (Laughter) You know, it just doesn’t work. Today, we want to offer parents some help for establishing a chore system. Doesn’t that sound good?

John: It does sound very good.

Jim: A chore system. Very sophisticated. And that’s how to get kids involved in house cleaning and tackling common issues like laundry and storage. (Laughter)

Jim: And maybe even in the kitchen. Maybe we’ll tackle that one along the way. Well, we have Kristi Clover with us today. She’s a home organization expert and a mom of five kids ranging from preschool to young adult. And, of course, one of those children we heard earlier. She’s eight. Kristi is also an author and her book is called Mom – M.O.M: Master Organizer of Mayhem – Simple Solutions to Organized Chaos and Bring More Joy into Your Home. And we’ll encourage you to get a copy of that at

Jim: Kristi, first time here at Focus. Welcome.

Kristi Clover: Thank you so much.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: It was just a joy to be here.

Jim: Well, it’s good to have here. So, that little girl – I mean how much money? Come on, just fess up.

Kristi: I know, right?

Jim: What did you pay her?

Kristi: I just slipped a little…


Jim: Here’s $100, kid.

Kristi: …Cookies. No, I mean, that’s not her economy. Her economy is cookies.


John: (Unintelligible).

Jim: Okay. Okay. Cookie – cookie economy. I like that. She’s my kinda little girl.

Kristi: That’s right.

Jim: That’s fun. You’ve raised a daughter who loves to organize. I don’t think that was always the case, though.

Kristi: No.

Jim: How do you do it? How did you really without money and cookies?

Kristi: I know. You know, honestly, I think it’s a lot of prayer.

Jim: (Laughter) That’s good.

Kristi: But she is hysterical, because she does know that she is truly one of the messiest ones in the house. She’s the one that like if she’s walking and she’s done with something, she’ll just set it down. She does not care what – I mean, we’ll find things everywhere. And one day we were in our homeschool room and I was working with one of my, um, sons and she came running and she goes, “Mommy! Come and look at my room.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: I was like, “Uh, okay.” And so, I went in and she’s like, “I organized it.” And I was waiting to like see things like stuffed under the bed, stuffed under a chair, stuffed in drawers. And she really did, you know, look and see what had happened. You know, like she – she had looked at the room and put things where they’re supposed to be. And so, I asked, I’m like, “Well, what in the world did you do? What made the difference to you?” And she told me, “Well, I did what you said. I – I looked at the room and I thought about what I wanted it to look like.” And so, it’s something about that like clicked with her that morning and she has just been this little person who loves organizing now.

John: Wow.

Jim: And so, this was at eight, right?

Kristi: This was at eight.

Jim: Yeah. So, we had that same epiphany with our oldest, but he was like 18.


Jim: So, something you did a little differently. In fact, we have a clip. I want to go ahead and play it right here.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: Of your daughter. Let’s listen.

Ashlyn Clover: I took everything out and then I thought in my mind what it was gonna look like. So then, like, let’s say, dolls. If you have dolls, you wanna put – stack them up together neatly, but Legos you don’t want to just stuff in there – oh, ones that are made. The ones that are made you want to set neatly into the box.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: How cute is that.

John: I loved the part about her, kind of, envisioning what it was going to look like.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: Yeah. That’s all the good stuff, right?

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: But the reality is, it always wasn’t that way.

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: Not just with your daughter, but with you.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: I mean, you had a point in your – in your life where you thought it was all falling apart and it was kind of the – the D Day of home organizing.

Kristi: Oh, yeah.

Jim: So, what happened?

Kristi: Oh, my goodness. Well, my story from that standpoint – you know, you kind of like try to keep on top of things then kids come into your life. And so, we kinda had – when people say everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, that was where we were at. My husband – we’d gotten transferred to San Diego – which I know, poor me.


Kristi: But we got transferred down there…

Jim: Best weather in the world.

Kristi: I know.


Kristi: And my husband had – was covering two territories at the time. And so, he was traveling like crazy. So, he was just gone. So, we had stress in our marriage. We both, between the two of us, had three surgeries that were completely unexpected. The house we were moving into was just not getting finished. It was like a new build, but was semi…

Jim: I’m already feeling this. It’s transporting me.

Kristi: Oh! It was crazy! Just crazy. And we were just not getting the work done. And so, this one morning, I apparently was so stressed out that my body had a little reaction and so, I’m trying to nurse my son and just nothing’s happening. And so, I called the contractor and was like, “All right, I’ve tried to be a really nice Christian and be encouraging and patient and kind…”

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: “…And if you do not get people over here within, you know, like the next hour, I’m going to lose it. I am just going to lose it.” And I go, “Do you hear that? That’s my son crying. I am so stressed out, my milk will not let down.”


Jim: “Okay, lady, we’re on our way.”

Kristi: I know! I hung up and I like drove out the door and I’m sobbing. And the hardest part was when I came home – because I was so embarrassed – and I came home and he’s like, “I am so sorry. We’ve got our team here. What else can we do?” And he’s like, “And how’s your milk?”


Jim: Wow.

Kristi: I was like, “Oh, I really did say that.” (Laughter)

Jim: I bet he’s never had a call quite like that one.

Kristi: I am sure he hasn’t.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: I am sure he hasn’t.

Jim: But it’s a great tip for other moms.


Kristi: Right. Don’t let the stress get that bad. (Laughter)

Jim: Contract help to the house.

Jim: Wow. Okay. One of – one of the things that you mentioned in the book, uh, is this homemaking ADD.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: So, my wife, Jean, totally connected with that. Define it, though.

Kristi: Oh, my goodness. Well, that is when you just are constantly distracted. So, my in-laws took my kids for a weekend and I was like, “Sweet, we’re going to tackle the house.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: So, I start a project downstairs.

Jim: Everybody’s dream job.

Kristi: Oh, I was like, “No, kids. I’m do – what I’m doing.” So, I went downstairs, and I started a project and then, of course, I needed something for the project upstairs. I go upstairs and I realized, “Oh, look, I could get this done.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: So, I suddenly had like multiple projects all over the house happening at once.

Jim: Right.

Kristi: So, that’s really what homemaking ADD is. As well as just the normal mom thing, which you’ve got kids who are, you know, interrupting, moving things, picking things up and just life interrupts you. So, it’s really hard in homemaking to stay focused, but that’s what I really try to help people to figure out ways to do that and to, kind of, stay focused, pick one thing and tackle that one project.

Jim: Uh, you’ve developed a strategy called the master list.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: Now, you know, sometimes I’m, kind of, going, “Oh, no. There’s more – more to dos here.” But what is the master list and how is it effective?

Kristi: So, the master list is what I encourage people to do. Because when we walk around our house – I always have people say, “I’ve got too many projects. Too many things to get done.” So, what I encourage them to do is take this master list. You basically put a room and, you know, at that – you label the room and you walk through the room and you’re literally looking for either things that do need to get done or things that are driving you absolutely crazy. And there’s something magical that happens when you write down things that need to get done on a list. It actually takes the stress away, um…

Jim: Huh.

Kristi: …Because you realize, “Okay…”

Jim: You don’t have to keep thinking about it.

Kristi: Right. I now know that this is something I need to get done and it’s on this list that I’m going to tackle one project at a time. That…

Jim: Give me an example. Let’s go through something that you did.

Kristi: Oh! So, yeah…

Jim: This list.

Kristi: …So, one big thing for me is always the garage. I don’t care how…

Jim: (Laughter) I love you!

Kristi: Oh. I will clean that thing…

Jim: (Laughter) You’re my kind of person.

Kristi: Oh, yeah. I mean, I will clean that thing and it’s beautiful. And then all the sudden, it’s not.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: And – you know, and that’s – it’s definitely a collecting area. And so, that’s when I just – for that one, you need a bigger chunk of time. That’s not a small project.

Jim: I know. That’s like a weekend thing.

Kristi: It is. It is.

Jim: So, okay, let’s say you have the kitchen on the list.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: And you have, uh, your bedroom and, you know, the bathrooms.

Kristi: Okay.

Jim: So, just walk us through that. How do you say, “Okay, this is going to be first” and why is it first?

Kristi: Uh, well, what I do is I kind of – I encourage people to, kind of, categorize it. So, you look at each room and you might circle the things that drive you craziest in each room and then you want to go through, and I have an ABC system. So…

Jim: Oh, I see. So, first of all, you got bathroom and then you’ve got drawers.

Kristi: Oh, I would…

Jim: Clean out the drawers.

Kristi: Well, you could go that far.

Jim: Okay.

Kristi: And really, I’m just trying to tackle like what’s wrong. So, when our bathroom – I noticed – my – my problem area is my bathroom sink often. So, what I realized is that I needed a system for this. And so, I basically went through and that’s when I did reorganize the drawers because it wasn’t working. And so, I needed a way to easily put things in the drawers in a nice, neat place. And, um – so that’s – that’s what I did for that particular problem.

Jim: Right.

Kristi: But as far as with the master list and picking, I mean, we all kind of know what’s bugging us the most.

Jim: Closets.

Kristi: Closets are a big one. There can be drawers. You’re hitting on all the things, huh?

Jim: That’s ’cause we live it day to day. (Laughter)

Kristi: I know, right? Right.

Jim: We are normal, disorganized people.

Kristi: I know and we all struggle. And so, I like to encourage people just give themselves grace. So, pick that one thing. And so, wooden – with the ABC is I – you know, what absolutely do you need to get done? Because there’s sometimes when, you know, something might be driving you crazy, but it can wait. And so…

Jim: Well, this is, you know, this is really serious marriage advice. So…

Kristi: (Laughter).

Jim: Okay, so I’m the owner of the garage. That’s my thing.

Kristi: Okay.

Jim: And, uh, you know, I’ll clean it up. I’ll spend eight, 10 hours getting it back to where I like it. And over the course of a month, it goes right back to the disarray that I cleaned up. But Jean was very good because I would come home, walk through the garage, and go, “What has happened to my garage?” And so, the first thing I would say coming through the garage door into the house would be, “Have you looked at the garage?”

Kristi: Mmm.

Jim: And she schooled me to say – “You know, when you’re coming home, why don’t you say, ‘Hi’?”


Jim: Not – not the introduction of how bad the garage looks.

Kristi: I know.

Jim: And for – you know, but seriously, you know, she was taking it very personally because I was probably jabbing…

John: Yeah.

Jim: …Her very personally. Like, you’re not respecting my space.

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: And so, I mean, seriously, how do we manage that conversation in our marriage when you’re not respecting my space that I’ve spent a lot of time cleaning up?

Kristi: Yeah, well, as I mentioned, my husband’s been traveling. Um, he’s traveled for 20 – 21 years of our marriage. And when he would come home, I put all the stress on myself to like make the house perfect. And I – there is – I mean, I don’t – I haven’t looked at all the research, but there is this element of as a wife and a mom, like the state of my house really does tie in to how I’m feeling I’m doing. So…

Jim: Your self-esteem.

Kristi: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: And so, when I am like – feel – and this is how it feels – is sometimes I feel attacked. Like, “Oh, you know, we need to get on top of this.” And it’s like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I have been doing a good enough job.”

John: Yeah.

Kristi: And then I start feeling like a failure and my husband’s always so sweet because he’s like, “I – I didn’t say that.” (Laughter) But that’s how I interpret it.

Jim: Right

Kristi: Um, so what I learned one time as my husband had been gone and I just, you know, had been one of those weeks. I had two little boys running around the house and it was just – think dishes were out. Things are crazy. And I – he came home, and I literally greeted him in tears like, “I’m sorry. I failed.”

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: And “This house is a mess.”

Jim: Oh, no.

Kristi: And I just – I felt so guilty. And he’s like, “What are you talking about?” And that’s when he said something I had never even expected. And he goes, “Really counters and just knowing we have a game plan for dinner, that’s all that matters to me.” And I realized in that moment that we needed to be communicating better.

Jim: (Laughter) Yeah.

Kristi: So, if like garages are your thing, then maybe that’s something that either you or she or both of you together, you know, have some ground rules there. So, if that’s like your thing…

Jim: Oh, I just accepted it as the thorn in my side.


Jim: That’s it.

Kristi: Well, you did pick a really tough room…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: …Because that’s a room where you’re moving things from the house you don’t really need that needs to go in there.

Jim: But the bottom line – I really do want to make sure people are listening – couples, is back off.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: I mean, don’t – don’t use it as a weapon against your spouse in either direction, right?

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: I’m sure a lot of wives feel that way. You know, the husband might feel good about his clean garage, but when he comes in and starts critiquing the dirty kitchen…

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: …Just be wise about it. Communicate about it. I want to spend a little bit of time on the parenting side of this. You say that if a child is old enough to walk, they are old enough to have chores. Wow. Really?

Kristi: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim: Okay, give me the short list for a two-year-old.

Kristi: Oh, absolutely. And I should say, chore training at that point.

Jim: Okay. Okay.

John: Good clarification.

Kristi: So, when they’re two, their first job is helping to put away the silver in the silverware drawer. And so, like, when they come out of the dishwasher and I’m literally holding the legs so they’re not falling off the counter.

Jim:  Wait one second. I need a disclaimer.

Kristi: Yes?

Jim: Knives should not be touched by children under two.

Kristi: No, no, no. Absolutely.

Jim: Okay, go ahead.

Kristi: Absolutely. So, I clear all the sharp objects out. And then…

Jim: Okay, good. I just wanted to make sure we’re getting that.

Kristi: …You know, so I’m handing them forks and spoons and, you know, the table knives.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: And so, they’re learning. And that’s kind of a matching thing, too. So, they’re matching. So, see, homeschool right there.

Jim: Have they put their mouth on it before they put it in the drawer?

Kristi: Yeah. And it goes right back to the dishwasher.

Jim: Okay, good. (Laughter) Just a quick question.

Kristi: Oh, yeah. Or they’ll like, you know, do something where they drop it. Like, we’ll put that away.

Jim: Well, that’s good. Now, you – you speak to that chore system.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: Uh, again, some organization around that. What does that look like? The chore system.

Kristi: So, it can be all different things ’cause everybody’s different. So, you’ve got sometimes where everyone in the house is, you know, a hot mess and then you’ve got times when everybody’s a neat freak and you’ve got a combination of everything in between. And that goes for the kids, too. So, just like that, you’ve got to find a system that works for you. So, I go through several different systems that have worked for us in the past. Our favorite and what we use is, kind of, this big chore board. In fact, I laugh because I have this really pretty chalkboard that when I normally for the beginning of a school year, we go through, we reassign things. But during covid season, I got a big old whiteboard…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: …And because we didn’t have housecleaner, so it changed up…

Jim: You can update it every day.

Kristi: Uh, we could. And I thought it was gonna be temporary. And then it kept happening.

Jim: Yes.

Kristi: Covid just kept happening.

Jim: Yes, exactly.

Kristi: So, it has not made it to the chalkboard yet. But you go through and I – you just assigned different tasks. And so, sometimes, like with my youngest who’s seven, she’ll be a buddy because she’s learning a chore.

Jim: Okay. So, you call her buddy.

Kristi: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Well, I don’t call her that to her face.

Jim: Yes. Okay.

Kristi: My – my older son knows she’s – that she’s his buddy, but, you know, so she’ll do the bathroom counter and the sink and then he’ll kind of get the spots that get missed.

Jim: Make sure it gets done properly.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: That’s great for the older child, too.

Kristi: Is it – because it tells…

Jim: Management skills. (Laughter)

Kristi: Management skills, but also when you teach something, you learn it better.

Jim: Right. Right.

Kristi: And so, you really become a master of that thing when you’re teaching it to someone else. And I do think because, like, Ashlyn’s the one that we listen to the audio of, she’s the oldest daughter, so even though she’s number four in the lineup, she is older than her sister. So, she’s become that example. And so, she’s really taken ownership of a lot of things. In fact, when we had the chore board, she’s like, “Oh, I’ll do this and that.” And she was like all over everything. And it lasted for, you know, like the first week or so. And then she was like, “This is a lot.” And I’m like, “I told you it was – it was a lot. Let us help you.”

Jim: But that’s a good experience, too.

John: Yeah.

Kristi: Yeah.

John: And this – this is Focus on the Family, a really practical conversation about organization. Our guest is Kristi Clover and her book is called M.O.M.: – mom – Master Organizer of Mayhem and we’ve got copies of that here. We also have that, uh – that master list template that Kristi mentioned. We’re going to have that online for you as well. It’s all at the website

Jim: In addition, you have three tips that kids need to stay organized. ‘Kay, Moms are getting pen and paper right now, right now.

Kristi: Right now. That’s right.

Jim: Or maybe we can just post these at the website…

Kristi: Sure.

Jim: …So you don’t have to write it down in case you’re driving. But what are those three tips?

Kristi: Well, number one is decluttering. And what’s actually – I mean, there are times when I declutter without kids around and I use a black trash bag so they’re not going, “But that’s my trinket from…” You know, whatever.

Jim: Yes. That’s my that Lego in the carpet. (Laughter)

Kristi: That right. That I stepped on. (Laugher)

Jim: I hate those things.

Kristi: Oh, my goodness, they’re dangerous. But so to declutter and one of – what I think is good when you’re helping kids to learn to declutter is that you want them to realize, am I really playing with it? So, does it have value? Um, but also is, you know – does it – is it totally broken and not worth saving? Should I just toss it? Or can I bless someone else with this? And so, that’s been what’s really neat, is that we’ve been blessed with hand-me-downs through the years, and so getting to have them start thinking like, “This is a toy I don’t play with. I should give this to someone else.” And then we also have…

Jim: Oh, that’s good. So, you help your child think that.

Kristi: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Jim: Yeah, that’s good.

Kristi: And so, whether I’m dropping it off at a donation center or sometimes they’ll save things for a garage sale, that doesn’t always happen, to be honest. Um, and so, you know, maybe they’ll think about selling things, especially if it’s an item that may be worth something more than they’re going to be, you know, thinking about selling that.

Jim: That is great. You know, one of the things Jean did so well and I just give her so many kudos for this, the boys started doing laundry pretty young, like 10, 11.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: And they’ve kept it up. You know, Jean just said, “Hey, if you want clean clothes clean ’em yourself.” And, uh, she really stuck to it. And it’s probably one of those great stories because they are good at doing laundry and they do their own laundry and they have been for years. You did something similar.

Kristi: Oh, yeah.

Jim: How did you get them to do it?

Kristi: To do the laundry? Well, with laundry, um, I always encourage them – so, I’m big on doing a load of laundry, like my own laundry, their own laundry once a week, because you want your – your loads to be small. And so, the smaller the load, the easier it is to actually get it out and fold it and put it away. It’s when you are trying to do these massive loads or lots of loads in one day that it gets overwhelming. So, with the kids, I just – I trained them to do it all on cold and I don’t buy a lot of white clothes. (Laughter) And so, I, kind of…

Jim: Ah, there’s a wise person right there.

Kristi: Yeah, I know. And the white clothes they have, they know to not wash it with everything else. They’ll put it to the side. Like, they’ll put it usually in our laundry basket because we do separate our clothes.


Kristi: You know, we just start young. And so, I have them helping me. So, when they’re really little, they’re the helpers that are moving it from the washer over to the dryer and then helping me bring it out and go through all the different things. So…

John: So, what age do you say, “There – you’ve got it. It’s yours. You do it.”

Kristi: It’s really child dependent…

John: Sure.

Kristi: …But usually around five, because…


John: Wow.

Kristi: I know.

Jim: We’re late to the game.

John: That’s younger than us.

Kristi: Okay…

Jim: I was happy. “Hey, look at all the bleach I’m putting in, Mom.”


Kristi: Oh, yeah. No, five, it’s supervised.

Jim: Yes.

Kristi: Um, and they usually need some help with the folding elements…

John: Yeah.

Kristi: …Like parts of it. But that’s one of my other tips for kids. So, number one would be decluttering, but number two is having the right tools. And so, with the right tools, they’ll – you know, they have more fun with it. So, the tool for laundry that we use, we found this thing, it’s called the flip-fold.

Jim: Flip-fold.

Kristi: Flip-fold and it’s what…

Jim: Was that online or where you’d get it?

Kristi: Yes!

Jim: Okay.

Kristi: You can find it on Amazon, whatever – wherever.

Jim: And it’s what stores use to put their shirts, right?

Kristi: It’s what stores use.

Jim: That’s great.

Kristi: And it’s so fun. I mean, they literally get excited. The day I brought it home, they’re like, “What else can we fold?” They were taking everything off the hangers to fold them. It was hysterical, but it’s still fun. It’s – I thought it was a novelty.

Jim: Okay, something’s wrong. I mean, you’re acting like I act about Haagen Dazs.

John: (Laughter).

Kristi: I know!

Jim: So, how could you be so excited about folding clothes?

John: Folding clothes.

Kristi: You need to get yourself a flip-fold. I should have brought one with me.

Jim: Okay, I’m going to look. Oh, yeah.

Kristi: It’s so fun ’cause it’s like the flip…


Kristi: It’s perfect! And so, they get excited because you could do it and it’s perfect. And…

John: I have a college – I had a college roommate that could’ve used one of those.

Jim: (Laughter).

Kristi: Oh, yeah.

John: His idea of doing laundry was after it comes out of the washer, it goes into the basket and it just air dries…

Kristi: Oh, goodness.

John: …In a wrinkled mess. It was bad.

Kristi: That would be really bad.

Jim: Is this a friend of yours or is this you?

John: It was a friend in college.


Jim: Right.

John: Haven’t seen him for years.

Kristi: Right, friend.

Jim: I know that.

John: Yeah. Could he use one of those fold things.

Jim: Yeah, when it comes to kitchen organization – let’s get back there. You say using labels has been a lifesaver for you.

Kristi: Oh, yes.

Jim: Now don’t tell me your labeling the soup area.

Kristi: Not always.

Jim: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

Kristi: So, I do canned goods.

Jim: Okay. So, you just put – what you seriously to use that punch label thing to say, “Canned Goods”?

Kristi: Not a punch label. It’s a little, digital fancy one now. But…

Jim: And you tape it?

John: Wow.

Kristi: I stick ‘em on – okay, so the caveat here…

Jim: Are you OCD by chance?

Kristi: A little.


Jim: Okay. Now it’s coming together.

John: Not everybody has to do that.

Kristi: A little bit in some areas.

Jim: This is actually an intervention.

Kristi: I know, right. Right. Hold me here.


Jim: Okay, so your labeling now the shelves. Is that right?

Kristi: Yes. But I need to do a big caveat here.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: So, we’re a family of seven, we have five kids.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Kristi: We had another family come and live with us – what ended up being six months. They had five kids. And so, we had 10 kids.

Jim: That’s camp.

Kristi: Oh, it was. We joked. It was like family camp every single day. I mean, it was so fun. But when I would go to the refrigerator, there’d be three apple sauces and like two or three, you know, peanut butters. And so, that was when – I don’t always recommend it – but when people aren’t figuring out where things are, you’re wasting food.

Jim: Oh, that’s true.

Kristi: So, from even a budget standpoint, it makes sense to label things. So, my kids know that if it’s not on this shelf, yes, please do a quick little glance to see if somebody put it somewhere else. But that was the day I started doing our refrigerator. So, I started labeling things in the refrigerator and even just mild labeling in the pantry because I really needed people to know where things were because we were going through food. And, I mean, when you’re paying for that much food, you really need to take it – you know, take a step back.

John: Yeah, well, it’s the same with what happens – I mean, I’m the oldest of four. My mom, early on, and I think you did this, too – or do this. My mom had us, kind of, choose a glass for the day.

Kristi: Yep.

Jim: (Laughter).

John: And there was this – there was a place that I put my glass for the day and nobody else had that same place. You’ve got something similar?

Kristi: Absolutely. Well, when we had this other family with us it’s like…

Jim: That’s disgusting.

Kristi: No!

Jim: What if you put milk in it? Then you’re going to drink water out of it?

John: Well, then you obviously get a new one.

Kristi: You’ve got to rinse it. Right. Right.

Jim: My goodness, you guys. Come on.

John: It’s a water glass.

Jim: Ease up on your glass consumption.

Kristi: Right. (Laughter)

John: But if you’ve got 10 kids, they’re going to go through like 50 glasses in a day, right?

Jim: Okay. Okay.

Kristi:  And then it’s like, “Was mine a little to the left or the right?” I mean, then you have glasses everywhere. So, we had a spot on the counter and I just got mason jars and I got these really cute, colorful – it’s called washi tape. It’s just this colorful tape. And everybody decorated their own thing, put their name on it, and then suddenly we knew whose water glass was whose. It was super simple, and it kept it just organized.

John: But speak to Jim’s concern here because there is a balance, right, Kristi?

Kristi: Okay. Oh, absolutely.

John: I mean, because if you grew up in a militant home about, “Hey! That’s the wrong place!” You’re going to have kids who are kind of nervous.

Kristi: Oh, yeah. (Laughter) And, you know, if you – if you are having many things – I mean, again, it just depends on the dynamic of your family. So, you don’t have to do that, Jim.

Jim: Okay. Whew.

Kristi: You can…

Jim: Breathing again.

Kristi: …Use your own glasses. But if…

John: You can do it in the garage.

Jim: I’m going to use two glasses a day.

John: (Laughter).

Kristi: That’s right.  But I mean, think about it…

Jim: One for milk, one for water.

Kristi: (Laughter) I know. But think about it, though. If you have a glass of milk and you set your glass down. Then you have glass of water and you set that glass down and you decide, “I want some juice. I want some soda.” Then you have four glasses and you’re one person. So, then multiply that by all the people in the house. You end up with a ton of…

Jim: You know, what’s the problem?


Kristi: Okay. You just – okay, so next time we have…

Jim: And then you load them into the dishwasher.

Kristi: Right!

Jim: No, it’s – it’s a good point.

Kristi: 10 times a day. (Laughter)

Jim: It’s a really good – I’m kind of teasing you.

Kristi: (Laughter).

Jim: We – we mentioned this, but I do at the end here – I do want to come back and address this once again for those that may have joined us a little later in the conversation. There was a study that found that almost 90% of women feel like the cleanliness of their home reflects their success as a wife or mom. And I know Jean has felt that way. That’s why if I burst through the door and make a comment about the garage, it’s not the best way to start my reconnection in the late afternoon when I get home. But – but speak to that woman and then those husbands that may not be understanding what they’re doing to disconnect from their spouses.

Kristi: Absolutely.

Jim: How does a wife and a mom learn not to take that personally?

Kristi: Yeah, you have to disconnect. I mean, there’s definitely – you have to realize that my worth is in Christ. I mean, my worth is not in how clean my house is. But you also – I think it’s an area that we don’t think to discuss with our spouse. We just, kind of – everybody’s doing their thing and, “Okay. Can you help with that?” And you just, kind of, get stressed and busy. So, it’s a good time to actually slow down, pray together and even just pray. Like, I always encourage people, pray for vision for your room. Well, why not pray for a vision for your home and do that with your spouse? And then, you know, divide, and conquer and figure that out. But you have to give yourself grace. And I really want encourage husbands and wives to give each other grace, too…

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: …Because it’s just – it’s too much and it’s a lot to manage.

Jim: Well, and I love the fact you’re using the word guilt because, I mean, spiritually speaking, that’s the whole ballgame.

Kristi: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: I mean, guilt of our behavior. Guilt of our thoughts. Guilt of – and Jesus has come to set us free from that guilt…

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: …And maybe even in this area – that is a bit winsome. I mean, these are funny things. We’ve had a great time talking about it, but not to be too serious about this stuff.

Kristi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: This is not eternal. In fact, you experienced, I think, a fire down in the San Diego area, which put all of this into perspective. What happened?

Kristi: Yeah, when we were – we had two little boys and I was pregnant with our third. And the fire was coming right up our back canyon. And so, we were told to evacuate. It was like 2:00 a.m. We got the call.

Jim: Wow.

Kristi: “You must evacuate.” And we had, kind of, known. So, I had, you know, taken some time to, kind of, think through, “What should I grab?” But you grab what – what’s most important to you. And for us, that was, you know, our children. You know, Steve and I grabbed ourselves. (Laughter) But ,I mean, that’s when you’re – you’re grabbing your important documents and even photos.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: That was the one of the big things that made the list. And our dog and dog food. I remember, I was proud of myself for remembering dog food.

Jim: Yes.

Kristi: And we left. And I will never forget that moment because we got to the hotel and we’re checking in. I mean, everything – you’re watching the news. And it was like they were going to have three days of strong wind. This is the direction it’s going. And our house was like in the middle of all of it.

Jim: Yeah.

Kristi: And so, that’s what’s really wild about when you are truly decluttering your home, or just trying to organize your home, is you’re trying to free yourself from a lot of the stuff you just don’t need. And you can think about that both from a spiritual standpoint and, you know, your house standpoint.

Jim: Yeah. And that’s the beauty of it. I mean, these are metaphors. This one, you know, is living out how your home looks…

Kristi: Yeah.

Jim: …And how you feel about it. Very much it would be rooted in your temperament, your personality, all those things. But, Kristi, you’ve done a fantastic job with M.O.M.: Master Organizer of Mayhem. I think Jean really love that title, by the way.

Kristi: Thank you.

Jim: But what, uh – what a great read and what a great tool to help people get better organized when it comes to their home. So, thank you for that. Thanks for being with us. And listen, we want to get this tool into your hand. Make a gift to Focus for any amount and we will send it as our way of saying thank you.

John: Yeah. Donate on a monthly basis or make a one-time gift and we’ll be happy to send a copy of this great book by Kristi Clover, M.O.M.: Master Organizer of Mayhem as our thank you gift for joining the support team. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or online we’re at

Jim: Now, Kristi, just at the end here, I’m going to make a commitment.

Kristi: Yes.

Jim: I will not complain about the garage to Jean anymore.

Kristi: I love it.

Jim: Just – that’s the impact of what you have done here on this broadcast. So, thank you.

Kristi: Aw. Oh, absolutely. And you’re welcome, Jean.


Jim: Thank you for being with us.

Kristi: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. This is fun.

John: Well, it really has been great. And I know a lot of women, in particular, have benefitted from what you’ve shared today. And be sure to join us next time on this broadcast as we hear from Patsy Clairmont. It’s going to be encouragement for you in difficult times.


Mrs. Patsy Clairmont: Never underestimate the ability of our Savior to see you. He cares for you and about you and He has not forgotten you.

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