Clear out your spiritual clutter as you organize your home!
Christian speaker, blogger, and author Shannon Upton is back to help you build your house with Jesus as the perfect cornerstone. Through her conversational style, fun anecdotes, and step-by-step guides, you’ll learn how to establish the perfect amount of structure for you and your family. You’ll find concrete ideas with a strong foundation in scripture, giving you the tools you need to joyfully tackle your belongings, routines, and family.
Available wherever Christian books are sold.
Shannon, please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Christian speaker, blogger, and the author of two Organizing You books. I help people use a little organization to clear out their spiritual clutter so they can enjoy their homes and families, and grow closer to God.
I’m also a wife and mother of three with a passion for living life with intention. I was a high school teacher; now I educate my brothers and sisters in Christ through writing, speaking, and blogging. I love to help people clear out the clutter in their schedules, homes, and spirits!
Will you tell us about your book series, Organizing You?
The Organizing You books aren’t your typical organizing books! Instead, they’re deeply meaningful looks at the clutter than matters most- the clutter in your spirit. My first book, Organizing You, is about time, chore, and project management, helping you really relax and enjoy the work God’s given you. My second book, Building Your House, is about clearing out the distractions and frustrations that come from your actual home, and the people in it! I’m also releasing a series of handbooks based on my four most popular talks. My sincere prayer is that by the end of each book, you’ll be filled with peace, enjoying your family, and growing closer to Jesus each day!
What is spiritual clutter?
It’s those anxieties, worries, and fears that clutter up your mind and heart. The things that make you think “I’ve got to remember to…” or worse, “Whoops, I should have…” or “That’s driving me crazy!” These things distract you from your family and distance you from God—but they don’t have to! Just a little organization—getting just organized enough for you—can really help!
How did you come up with ideas for this book?
When my second child was born, I developed a postpartum anxiety disorder and lived with it for four years before the Lord in His mercy healed me. During that time I recognized how much a calm, orderly household helped me to cope with that kind of stress. And as I opened up to other women, they would tell me about their own struggles with anxiety- worries that they weren’t the moms and wives and daughters of God that they should be. The Lord used that time to teach me how to take my thoughts and feelings captive for Jesus Christ, and that’s something I want to share with other Christian women!
How can we discover our spiritual clutter?
If you spend just a few days really listening, you’ll hear it loud and clear. It will be those thoughts that tell you to procrastinate or avoid something distasteful. The worry that a certain area of your life is getting out of control. Those things you really want to remember but keep forgetting to do. A part of your house that’s just driving you bonkers. Or a part of your day that’s in a bad routine! And those negative, getting-down-on-yourself thoughts.
Once we discover our spiritual clutter, how can we begin to clear it out?
The first thing to do is to start writing it down, all of it, every negative thought! Then take a look at it and decide: is this really something you want to do something about? If it is, get it into your organizational systems and set project time to get it done! That’s what 90% of the Organizing You books are all about. If it’s not something that requires action, if it’s useless or hurtful thinking, then surrender it to God. That’s what I really learned to do during that time of deep anxiety.
How organized is “organized enough”?
Everyone is going to have a different level of organization that feels comfortable to them. When it comes to home organization and actual clutter, I recommend that you stay just organized enough to satisfy the most structured person in your family, whether that’s more organized spouse, a child who does better with structure, or you! For personal organization like time and chore management, again I recommend the bare minimum that helps you to feel that “together” feeling. That’s why my systems are so flexible and I challenge you to make them unique.
How can our belongings give us spiritual clutter?
Physical clutter in our homes can really clutter up our spirits! Every pile, every overcrowded space is another item on our mental to-do list. It can affect your relationships with your family members if different people in your home have different tolerance to messes. It can even affect our relationships with our friends, because when our stuff gets out of control, we start to worry about what other people might think of us and stop having people over to our homes. Even if your house isn’t that bad, the clutter and mess, the drawers and cupboards and closets hiding chaos, and the stuff that’s hard to find and harder to put away can just bug you!
What does the Bible say about our stuff?
Just as the Bible cautions us about loving money too much, I think it cautions us about loving our stuff too much. You may want to check out Mark 10 and the story of the Rich Young Ruler; his heart was too wrapped up in his riches to follow Christ. We want to make sure that we’re not deriving our sense of security and contentment from the stuff we have, but rather from the God we serve. We want to be sure we’re holding our things loosely and holding onto God tightly!
You’re an organizer, do you think we should really maximize our space to hold as much as we can? Or do you believe in minimalism?
Actually, neither! This is contrary to a lot of organizational advice, but I believe you should not fill your space to capacity, nor should you force yourself to get rid of things you might need or love. My challenge is to fill your closets and cupboards and other storage spaces to about 80-90% capacity. Give yourself some room to breathe, so your things will be easy to find and very accessible. In order to do that, you may have to get rid of some of your stuff- and it will be a relief!
How do we go about getting rid of those things?
I would recommend that you approach one small space at a time, and weed out the things that you don’t need or love. If you don’t need it or love it, you usually know-you don’t use it any more, it’s broken or out of style, you haven’t touched it in years, you never really liked it in the first place-so let it go! If you have the space, it’s OK to keep something you don’t need or love, just as long as you’re deciding to keep it rather than resisting the urge to let it go!
What if just thinking about organizing overwhelms you?
Then you’ve been spending too much time on Pinterest! We can all get hung up on perfectionism and “getting organized” like it’s a place you can arrive at if you work really hard—but that’s not true. Real organization is all about being functional, having your stuff be neatly contained and easily accessible. Making your stuff work for you instead of the other way around! You just need to take the first step and keep going.
What’s your go-to Bible verse about stuff?
You know, I love the story of the rich young ruler, and I love the verse in Isaiah where God says, “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” But my favorite is a psalm. Whenever I start getting the I-wants or clinging too tightly to my belongings, I pray over Psalm 16:5&6: “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
That just reminds me of my blessings. The Lord has assigned me my portion and the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. We are so blessed, aren’t we? I’d love for my readers to embrace a spirit of contentment … to be so content that they can let things go and enjoy their blessings!
What if we’re not organized enough to read your organizing book?
That is a problem with my target audience- busy, harried people often feel too busy to read! Both Organizing You books are written in a conversational style and are really easy to read, so you should be able to make a goal of one chapter a day and knock out a book in ten days. But also, I’ve written free six-week group Bible study curriculums so you can take the Organizing You journey with friends. They can help keep you accountable, share ideas with you, laugh with you, and get even deeper in to prayer and The Word with you.
What do you want your readers to learn?
I’d love for my sisters in Christ to learn that you don’t have to be a “super-organized” mom to be a great one- that they have to find a level of organization that’s right for their family. I want them to experience the peaceful feeling that comes with knowing that they’ve prayerfully chosen what to do with their time, and that God will direct their steps from there. I want them to enjoy their husbands and kids and households, and do their “mommy” work for the Lord with grateful hearts! Most of all, I want them to know how much God loves them, values the work they do, and wants them to grow closer to Him every day.
SHANNON UPTON wants to help you clear out your spiritual clutter and make room for joy! Shannon believes that the Lord allowed her to struggle with clinical anxiety, and then healed her of it, for His purpose. She wants to help you clear out your spiritual clutter so you can fully enjoy your family and grow closer to the Lord.
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