All posts by Shannon Upton

Countercultural Christianity

And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary?

Matthew 5:47 (HCSB)

 

We all want to be out of the ordinary.  Jesus called us to be out of the ordinary, in the world but not of it. Interestingly, being countercultural has become very popular, sometimes in good ways, sometimes in not-so-good ways. Of course, if you’re acting counter-culturally with a heart for the Lord, it’s going to be very good.

I’ve heard from many readers who say the Organizing You books aren’t like any organizing books they’ve read before.  In fact, I like to think they’re counter-cultural…

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Organize Your Photos: Photos of Belongings

    …a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away.

Ecclesiastes 3:6

 

As we near the end of the Organizing Your Photos series, it’s time we talk about one of the best things about photos:

Photos can replace bulkier stuff.

Do you have souvenirs from vacations that you’re ready to let go? Take pictures and put them in a vacation album.

Do you have 20 t-shirts from high school that you can’t throw away? Take pictures—or get pictures of you in them—and make a little high school album. (Or, yes, you can make a quilt.)

Do you have several tubs full of your kids’ school projects, papers, and Mother’s Day art? Take pictures, or shrink the art on a copier, and make an album for each child.

Do you have boxes and boxes of belongings that use to belong to a beloved relative?  Take pictures of the items that have deep meaning for you or for them, then place the pictures in an album and write a few sentences about each picture.  Then bless others with those things by giving them away.

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Zero-Clutter Ways to Entertain Young Children

Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

 

If you’re a mom with young kids (or if you otherwise have young kids in your life), you know that they’re quickly bored with the new toys they receive for Christmas.  Rather than cluttering your home with new things for them to play with—and your spirit with frustration—try these zero-clutter ways to entertain young kids this winter.  Ideas like this help to teach kids to enjoy their current blessings instead of waiting for more… and you’d never guess that so many of the things around your house could be so much fun!

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Unexpected Organizing in the Kitchen

This fact may not be particularly unexpected, especially if you’ve read my books: I don’t like cooking.

So, I may not be the very best person to write about unexpected organizing in the kitchen. But, as always, I’ll show you what I do and challenge you to think about what you do. Perfection has never been the point of these posts, anyway. (Whew!) 

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Christian Time Blocking

The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Psalm 33:10-11

 

Do you ever feel like your plans are thwarted by interruptions?

Lately, organizers and time management experts have been touting “Time Blocking.” Time blocking is a scheduling technique with which you focus on one and only one project at a time.

A woman who’s time blocking might set aside two hours to work on a certain project. During that time she’ll refuse to read emails, answer texts, look at social media, or touch any other projects. It’s anti-multitasking (a concept I don’t espouse) and pro-batching (a concept I wholeheartedly embrace). Time blocking is supposed to increase your productivity by eliminating distractions (and obstructing new spiritual clutter!).

As a project-oriented person, I love the concept of time blocking! But would Jesus?

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Unexpected Organizing for Kids’ Crafts

Welcome back to the Unexpected Organizing Series!  Are you ready for some of the cutest organizing I’ve ever done? (At least, I think so.)

How I love my kids’ craft area! I don’t want their craft supplies to be shoved into tubs they can’t reach or open without my help.., I want them to be able to create, instantly!  I’d love to help you support your kids’ creativity and joy as well.  So, here goes…

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Organize Your Photos: Halloween Album

The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.

Proverbs 10:7

 

Welcome back to the Organizing Your Photos series, the Halloween edition!

So, Halloween is not my favorite holiday (as I wrote in this post about making Halloween about Jesus). I know that Christians have varied stances on Halloween, and I’m not trying to glamorize it. But I do believe the righteous can find joy, fun, and blessing in Halloween without stepping into wickedness.

And I do love seeing my kids all dressed up! I always take pictures. Since this is a holiday when I’m pretty much guaranteed to have at least one picture, Halloween makes for a perfect As-They-Grow album.

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Unexpected Organizing for Craft Supplies

Welcome to what just might be my favorite Unexpected Organizing post: Unexpected Organizing for crafting!

If you’ve read Organizing You (which is about time and project management), you know that I’m a big proponent of scheduling time for yourself—time to relax and work on projects that fill you with joy. I also firmly believe that taking a Sabbath Day of rest each week is a commandment, not a suggestion, from our Lord who loves us. (This post addresses that in a fun way.)

Over the years I’ve enjoyed my Sabbath and “project time” with many various crafts. I’ve cross-stitched and scrapbooked. I’ve knitted and crocheted. I’ve made homemade cards and gift tags. I’ve sewed and hot-glued. I’ve made gifts and home décor. And in general I’ve collected a lot of crafting supplies.

Craft supplies are tricky items to let go.

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How to Organize Your Books

Every word of God is flawless;
    He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Proverbs 30:5

“Whatever you read, read the Bible first. Beware of bad books: there are plenty in this day. Take heed what you read.”

-J.C.Ryle

 

 

I think books are wonderful.

At a recent speaking gig, I met a lovely pastor and fellow bibliophile. She and I chatted about books we love, books we want to read, and favorite authors. It quickly became clear that she owns far more books than I do. In fact, it sounded as though her books might be overwhelming her house…and her.

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Unexpected Organizing: Out the Door

Welcome back, Friends!  The previous Unexpected Organizing post was mainly about using kitchen organizers to streamline your getting-ready routine. Now I’m going to offer you ideas about using bedroom and office organizers in your mudroom (or just near your door) to help you leave your house!

As a mom of three, I know that getting everyone out the door can clutter a mom’s spirit.  The easier we make it on them, the easier we make it on ourselves.

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