"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:3-5
First of all, I want to apologize for going AWOL from this blog for such a long time. Life has been busy, and lots of stress has deterred inspiration and the motivation to write. But, here I am, back again with a post that I hope will be a blessing to you. You can also find it at No Sidebar by clicking HERE. Thank you for your patience and faithfulness to follow this blog. The posts may be sporadic, but each one of them comes from the heart.
Secondly, I want to be fully transparent concerning my weight loss endeavors, since I shared about it here before. I wish I could say they have been a success, but after all this time, that is just not the case. I was faithful to my commitment to intermittent fasting from July through December of 2020, only to find that I had lost just a few pounds at the end of that process. I am not giving up. I am still trying hard every, single day, and I look forward to the day I can post a victory announcement that I have finally reached my weight loss goal. Until then, I press on.
Now, for that latest post.
Sometimes, it is hard to see the benefits of a life change until you have actually lived that life for a while. Then, you can look back and assess the differences with pristine, hindsight clarity.
In our nearly 33 years of marriage, it has always been my heart’s desire to make sure our home is a welcoming, comforting place – a haven for my hard-working husband to come home to and a safe and clean environment for our son to grow up in. It is my life’s work, mission, and calling to be the best keeper at home I can possibly be, and I find a lot of fulfillment and joy in the daily minutiae and work required to make that happen. To be honest, mundane “chores” are some of my favorite things to do and standing over a soapy sink full of dishes is one of my ideal places to meditate and pray. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of productive thinking standing in front of our kitchen sink, and I seldom use our dishwasher because doing that would rob me of something I find extremely fulfilling.
Today, as I straightened our room and made our bed, it occurred to me how much simpler it is to live out my life’s dream of keeping a clean, organized, ready-for-company house than it was five years ago. Then, we were living in a mortgaged 4-bedroom, 3 bath house; every closet, drawer, shelf, and cupboard was pretty much filled to overflowing; and excess was oozing out of every nook and cranny of our home. Now, we live in a rented 2-bedroom, 2 bath townhouse, have eliminated about 90% of our physical possessions, and there isn’t much in our home that we don’t love and use on a regular basis. Comparing cleaning efforts now with then presents a stark and welcoming contrast.
Here are some of the ways minimalism has made cleaning simpler for me.
1. Having less stuff, in and of itself, obviously reduces the amount of effort and energy required to keep things clean. Less furniture means less dusting, less clothing and linens equals less laundry, etc.
2. Owning less means we require a smaller living space. Less square footage equates to less sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and overall cleaning.
3. Less time spent cleaning means more time with my family, more time to help our son study for college exams, more time to devote to outreach endeavors, and more time doing the things we love and enjoy. For example, having two bathrooms instead of three reduces my weekly deep cleaning time by about an hour. That is an hour I can invest in the online Bible studies I so enjoy, in working on a blog post, or in editing and finishing my upcoming book.
4. Along the way, I have learned to stop buying multiple one-purpose cleaning products and to replace them with basic homemade, all-purpose cleansers. Continual bombardment of consumerism-driven advertisers and marketing campaigns have convinced us we can only use each product for one specific purpose, i.e.., we have to buy a separate cleanser for toilets, sinks, showers, stovetops, countertops, and floors. The truth is a homemade glass cleaner solution of water, peroxide, alcohol, dishwashing liquid, and vinegar works great for windows, mirrors, and interim touch-ups, and a homemade multi-purpose cleaning solution of equal parts dishwashing liquid and vinegar covers deep cleaning and most of the rest. A dab of body wash or shampoo is perfect for wiping down shower stalls, takes less than a minute of time, and reduces soap scum build-up. A combination of elbow grease and an inexpensive pumice stone is the best solution for stubborn toilet bowl stains, tough stovetop jobs, baked-on oven build-up, and many other cleaning challenges. Such a time saver and so incredibly simple! Learning and implementing these acquired lessons has immeasurably simplified cleaning our home and consistently saves us a lot of money.
5. There is no cleaning intimidation or deterrent in an uncluttered space. Think of it this way - since countertops and tabletops are already kept clear and empty, you don’t have to tackle a pile of disorder and chaos before you can wipe them down and dust. Since floors are clutter-free, you don’t have to deal with piles of paper, toys, and other random untidiness before you can sweep, mop, or vacuum. I will never forget how much I used to dread stepping into our oversized garage and having to navigate through and around the maze of boxes, crates, and piles of stuff to get to the outside door. Seeing the mess was not only a glaring, guilt-inducing reminder of what needed to be done, it also presented an unwanted reality check as to how overwhelmingly monumental the task was going to be. Excess accumulation creates added layers of necessary steps to achieve cleanliness and discourages ever beginning the process in the first place.
6. In our particular situation, we found it was entirely doable to reduce family vehicles to just one. Having one family car that we all share and learning to keep that one car free of clutter reduces the amount of time and energy needed to keep it comfortable and clean.
Whether living in our beloved, long-term, pre-minimalism home or in a post-minimalism rented home with no emotional ties attached, it is and has always been my goal and desire to keep things clean. Minimalism just makes that job a whole lot easier.
Oh I can't tell you how delighted I am to see you back again! I love all your tips and tricks and the resulting freedom and light load you carry.ReplyDelete
Your words are a breath of fresh air this morning, friend ... and a great ol' nudge of inspiration! Bless you.
Dear Linda! Your kind words were such a blessing to me this morning! I am so grateful for your support, encouragement, and friendship on this journey. May the Lord richly bless you, sweet friend!Delete
Hey, It's me, Jodi. Good to read your blog again. I am on the minimalist journey right now...maybe not as extreme as some but definitely getting rid of a lot of needless stuff. Thank you for the inspiration.ReplyDelete
Hi, Jodi! So good to hear from you again! Thank you for your kind words. I am so thankful you found inspiration here.Delete
I am so glad to see you posting back here again also, dear Cheryl! We have been praying for the time that God would prompt us for our next downsizing, and it looks like it is upon us now. So, we will be changing from a 3 bedroom home down to one room shared at our daughter's home. I never kept much clutter, but there are so many things that we will no longer need, and the task of packing seems daunting. But I am so glad to know that reading your book last year was preparation for now: HE sets the pace, and HE will give the strength to obey His call in our lives. Love and blessings for you dear sister!!ReplyDelete
Thank you, dear friend, for your kind words! I wish I was close by to help you with your huge transition. It can be so daunting, indeed. It blesses me so much to know that our book helped to prepare your heart for this season of life. I am thinking of you and praying for you and send much love to you today.Delete
Hey Cheryl, I'm sorry I'm so slow in responding to this encouraging message. Every time I read one of your posts, it makes me want to get up and clear off a table top, empty out a drawer or remove more clothing from my closet. You are such an inspiration to so many of us. And, I know, through what you'd shared with us, over the years, it's God's will for us to be less bogged down with clutter and more ready & able to do His will. May God continue to bless you as you continue to follow Him.ReplyDelete
Oh, Donna! Your comment was such a dear blessing to me today! Thank you ever so much for your encouragement and support on this journey. I trust God will richly bless you for the kindness you have shown to me.Delete
Hi Sweet Friend! I love how you mentioned doing dishes is where you meditate and pray. There is something so soothing about having my hands in the warm to hot sudsy water and looking out my back window at the birds coming to my bird feeders and looking out to the fields beyond our yard. Observing nature through my kitchen window gives me pause to reflect on God's creation. Unfortunately, I am not able to wash dishes often because even though our countertops are high, they aren't high enough for my 5' 9" frame and so it ends up bothering my back. But I can definitely relate to your love for doing the dishes. :-)ReplyDelete
I am a minimalist decorator by nature and I so agree that the list nick nacky things, the less there is to clean and dust.
I never tried using homemade cleaners, but I am intrigued by what you shared!
You certainly do write from the heart dear friend, and your posts are always an encouragement and blessings. :-)
Sending you much love,
Yes! Isn't it so soothing to do dishes? I am sorry to hear it is hard for you to do them due to your height. I can't imagine being denied that precious time each day. I know people think I am crazy, but I do not like a dishwasher, for this very reason. I can't begin to say how many times the Lord has come and absolutely spoken to me over a sink full of dishes and in so many other places of chores and daily cleaning. If you would like my recipes for the two homemade cleaning products I make, let me know, and I will email them to you. I got your sweet email and will answer you as soon as I can. Thank you for your kind words, and I am sending much love back to you today!Delete
Cheryl, it is so good to see you back here. I wish I could just get to all my emails. Thank you for sharing your journey and how you have fine tuned your chores because you got rid of the stuff. I know that feels so freeing. You continue to be an inspiration my friend!ReplyDelete
Thankk you so much, Pam. It was really wonderful to write here again. I hope to do more, as I am able and have time. Yes, it sure has been very freeing to be rid of so much clutter and have so much less to clean and maintain. It is truly wonderful! Thank you so much for your kind words, sweet friend. God bless you!Delete
Thank you for your thought provoking blog. This does make me want to get rid of more. Everything you say about having less makes sense, I just forget to think logically.ReplyDelete
I am so grateful for your kind comment, Dianaht! It blesses me beyond words to now that our blog makes you want to get rid of more. May the Lord bless you on your journey!Delete
Cheryl, I am new to your blog, but wanted to share something with you regarding weight loss. Many years ago I discovered, quite by accident, that my particular metabolism worked better with regular feeding. At one time, I was 30 lbs over my best weight, after a recent baby and hysterectomy. I began a new job way out of town with no nearby shopping for lunch, and made a habit of keeping a bag of fruit, mostly apples, in my bottom drawer and munching on them during the day. About 6 weeks later, while looking for a dress for a formal gathering, I realized that I had dropped back down to my normal weight.. without even trying. 30 lbs gone! And I didn't even realize what was happening.ReplyDelete
Everytime I have strayed from the regime of breakfast with regular snacks in the day and a small healthy meal at night, I have put on weight again. I've tried all sorts of things, including, recently, intermittent fasting, to no avail . But a few weeks ago, again began to eat a regular light breakfast and fruit in the day, and voila, I lost 15 pounds in 3 weeks.
I would encourage you to try this simple method, sincem you mayhave a similar metabolism to me
In any case, I do wish you well and good health and happy slimming.
Thank you for reaching out, Alice! I so appreciate your suggestions and that you took the time to explain it all to me. It sounds like a wonderful plan and not so difficult to follow, either. God bless you, and thank you again!Delete