From Messed to Blessed
A - Getting all made up to appear on the show Lifestyle Magazine to talk about The House That Cleans Itself!
The episode was pre-taped but will air this Thursday, Dec. 5th, at 10:30am Pacific Time (which of course means 11:30 am MT, 12:30 pm CT, or 1:30 pm ET) on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).
You may also be able to view it on alternate stations and times, depending on your location, as well as via webcast, satellite, radio, or your mobile device. Use these links, below, to find out how and where you can watch:
• Locate your local TBN station in the US
• Locate your TBN station outside of the US
• Locate alternate stations and times for the show
• Watch via webcast
• Watch via satellite
• Listen on the radio here or here
• Watch the show on your mobile device with the TBN Mobile App (available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile)
I sure hope you have time to tune in. It was a lot of fun doing the show, the hosts were great, and we all had a lot of laughs. Hopefully, if you watch, you'll find yourself laughing along as well--even as you're learning more about how to have a House that Cleans Itself.
Then I ran the random number generator, which picked 4, 9, 2, 8, 10. That means the winners are:
I'm so glad to see folks entering my free book giveaway. Keep those comments coming, because you can still enter for a few more days. See my last post, Enter to Win a Free Book from Mindy, for details.
Anyway, I just wanted to pop in to celebrate the fun of this new release. This is my 21st book, but that amazing feeling of holding it in my own hand for the first time never gets old. :)
Thanks for being a part of it!
Why the break? It's kind of a long story (which I'll probably share on here in the near future), but the bottom line is that in April of 2011 I suffered a brain injury and had to eliminate all but the most necessary computer tasks from my schedule. Now, more than a year and a half later, I'm still suffering from some lingering side effects of the injury, including daily headaches, but I am able to spend a bit more time on the computer than before. I've been wanting to take up blogging again, and now that the revised and updated version of The House That Cleans Itself has just been released, I thought it was the perfect time to jump back in with both feet.
To kick things off, I've decided to give away some books. One week from today, on February 1st, five entries will be chosen at random using a number generator. Winners can choose to receive ONE of the following:
Here's all you need to do to enter:
1. Answer one of the following questions in a comment to this blog:
2. Be sure to include your email address with your post.
3. One entry per person. Your comment must be posted by 11:59 pm on January 31st, 2013.
4. Winners will be notified via email and can then supply a mailing address for us to send the book.
I do hope you'll enter--and that you'll help spread the word that I'm back and posting again. I've got so many great ideas to share, and I bet you do too. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon!
Mindy Starns Clark
In a recent comment to this blog, a reader posed a question that I thought might be of interest here. Following is her question and my answer. Please feel free to chime in via comments to this post if you have any other suggestions I didn't think of. Also, please feel free to post your own household cleaning questions for me to address in future blog entries as well. Thanks!
Q - Charity said:
I have hidden a small garbage can in our entry so that we can immediately purge any incoming things from making it into the rest of the house. It is an old metal milk box that used to sit outside on the porch for the milk man to fill each week. I absolutely love the way it looks and the way it conceals the garbage but it is scratching the wall..bad. I have tried putting sticky felt on the part that scratches but it doesn't seem to help. Any suggestions?
A - Mindy said:
Hi Charity, great question. I have a similar issue with a clothes-drying rack in my laundry room. My solution is to paint the wall the exact same gray color as the scratches that the rack makes. (No kidding, I actually held paint samples up to the scratches till I found the closest match!) I haven't painted it yet, but I've purchased the paint and hope to get around to it soon. I'll be sure to post about how it goes once I do. I doubt the scratches will disappear completely but at least they should be less noticeable.
Any chance you could do that in your entryway?
If not, I wonder if it might help to paint the metal box the color of the wall (or at least the part of the box that makes the scratches.) Hmmm, not sure if that would do any good or not, but it's worth a thought. Or perhaps there's a varnish that could be used on the box to seal in the surface and eliminate some of the discoloration that the scratches are making? You might ask someone at a local home repair store about this approach.
How about hanging a tapestry or curtain or other fabric item on the wall behind the can? I'm surprised the felt idea didn't work, maybe you just need to try that again but use thicker/better/different colored felt this time.
Finally, if it were me and none of the above solved the problem, I would consider buying a small, square seat cushion or similar and hot-gluing it to the back of the box. (Unless the box is a valuable antique or something.) That way, the only thing hitting the wall would be the padded fabric.If you don't want to hurt the box, maybe you could just affix the cushion to the wall directly behind it instead.
Anyway, these solutions are just off the top of my head, but they might get you thinking in the right direction. Thanks again for asking, and best wishes on your own House That Cleans Itself!
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend Stephen Bly for a video I was making about Christian Fiction. Later, when I was editing the footage, I couldn't get over what a "presence" he had on the screen. I figured if he ever got tired of writing, he could certainly pursue a career in television!
In the end, I used two different clips of Stephen, one to open my film and one to close it. Today when I heard about his passing, I dug up those clips and spliced them together to create the above short video in his memory. (Please excuse the shoddy camera work; the filming was quick and off the cuff, using available lighting, no tripod, and an old Super 8 camera.)
Stephen Bly was an incredible writer, a Christlike individual, and a wonderful husband to Janet. I only knew him from various professional functions, but every time I spotted his cowboy hat in the crowd, I couldn't help but smile. I know many others felt the same. He was so sweet, so funny, and such a joy to be with.
Please pray for Stephen's widow, the lovely and gracious Janet, and his entire family. I know they are grieving and rejoicing at the same time. Please also consider joining with his many friends and fans in buying a copy of his newest release, Throw the Devil off the Train, from the BLY BOOKS website or wherever books are sold. Let's s honor Stephen's talents by celebrating his books, his long and fruitful life, and, most importantly, his deep and abiding faith.
So long, Stephen Bly. No doubt, God allows cowboy hats in heaven, which means the angels are the ones spotting you in the crowd and smiling now! :)
Mindy Starns Clark
I’ll start with one of my favorites, a real clever lady and an icon in the industry:
Julie Morgenstern. Julie is an organizing and time management expert -- not to mention a New York Times bestselling author. She has spent the last 20 years helping individuals and companies get organized and function smoothly.
The first book of Julie’s I ever ran across was Organizing from the Inside Out.
The advice in that book is quite unique and really resonated with my housekeeping-challenged brain. If you’d like to enhance your House That Cleans Itself approach to housekeeping with some helpful supplementary material, I strongly recommend you give this book a read.
I also once ran across a DVD of Julie’s at the library, called Time Management from the Inside Out.
I took it home and watched it and really loved what she had to say there as well. Time management is an ongoing challenge for me, so while this wasn’t exactly a final solution for my struggles with time, it did lead me to ask myself some good questions and help me to re-focus my priorities.
OTHER BOOKS BY JULIE MORGENSTERN
Other books Julie has written (which I haven’t read yet but that also look interesting) include:
In this book, Julie explains how to use her four-step process SHED: Separate treasures, Heave the rest, Embrace identity from within, and Drive yourself forward. This looks like a good book for all of us who have emotional connections to our stuff but want to overcome the clutter piles once and for all!
This one is for all of us working women (and men) who want to take control of our fast-paced workdays, but keep a balance between work and life. Julie gives innovative, easy-to-implement tips about improving performance and efficiency on the job. Not checking email in the morning (or at least for the first hour of work) is just the start. She also covers the dangers of multi-tasking, how to trust yourself and your skills, how to refuel by doing what you really love, and much more.
I always thought it would be wonderful to co-write a book with one of my daughters, and that’s just what Julie and her daughter Jessi have done in this teenage-version of Organizing from the Inside Out. Rather than messy homes and offices, this book focuses on messy bedrooms, backpacks, and cluttered social calendars. If your middle- or high-schooler needs practical advice about getting organized or managing their space and time, this sounds like the book for them. Jessi makes the process fun by adding her own comments and experiences. I should have picked this book up for my girls when they were teenagers!
And there you have it, recommended reading for the housekeeping impaired.
Come back next time to learn about another author, one who spells messy
as “Messie” for a reason!
and here's the after:
(What, you thought I was kidding when I said my home used to be a disaster?!) I've since reorganized and gotten different furniture, etc, but it's still fun to see these pics and realize how far I've come. Here's hoping you can do the same.
..lose the keys to the rental car, making you both late to an important function? If so, then you need to establish a better ZONE for those keys, or perhaps allow the other person to take charge of them whenever they're not in use. ...realize that sand was getting in your bed(s)? If so, then you need to come up with a solution for sandals, beach wear, beach toys, etc., that better limits the sand to a balcony or bathroom. ...misplace important receipts among all of the other papers that accrued? If so, then you need to establish a RECEIPT ZONE that's separate from your PAPERS ZONE so that it won't happen again.and so on. However you deal with past problems, doing so promptly and with grace can insure that such issues are less likely to crop up again. Remember that travel can be stressful on everyone! Even the smoothest of trips can involve hassle, delays, waiting in lines, unfamiliar bathrooms, different mattress types, etc, causing temporary irritation or discomfort. If keeping your things a little neater than usual will help to ease the stress for others, then by all means give it your best try! And if you're a neatnik traveling with someone who's housekeeping impaired, remember that messy tendencies often go hand in hand with other things that you love about this person--especially on a trip--such as their spontaneity, sense of humor, or generosity. Show them some grace whenever possible. And who knows? By the end of the trip perhaps one or two of your neater habits just might have rubbed off on them!
Here's more from my recent interview with blogger Kristina Seleshanko, who has been implementing the HTCI system in her home and blogging about it online at Proverbs 31 Woman.
Kristina:A lot of magazines and books discussing home organization provide costly examples of how to change our homes. Does it have to be expensive to set up an organized home? What are some examples of inexpensive ways to organize problem areas?
Mindy: Over the years, I’ve spent a personal fortune on organizational items that proved useless in the end. Somehow, I think I feel better about a problem if I throw money at it!
It is true that sometimes, yes, money needs to be spent, even in a House That Cleans Itself. The broken window blinds that hang crooked and give a messy feel to the whole room need to go. The moldy grout that has resisted every product you’ve thrown at it needs to be replaced.
But more often than not, achieving a House That Cleans Itself costs nothing at all. For example, consider the Sight Zone principle. In the book, I explain that every room in your home has at least one “Sight Zone”—that area you see first when you stand in the doorway and look inside. (A room with multiple doorways will have multiple Sight Zones.) I suggest that you evaluate the Sight Zone for every room in your house. Next, for each of those rooms, decide which elements tend to stay neater and cleaner and which tend to get messier. (For example, you might be pretty good about making the bed but pretty bad about letting your dresser top get cluttered.)
Then—here’s the key—rearrange the furniture in each room so that the part that tends to stay neater is the part that sits in the Sight Zone, while the part that tends to get messy sits in that area of the room you may not see at first.
Using the above example, you would arrange your bedroom so that the bed sits across from the doorway in plain sight, but the dresser rests against the wall beside the door, maybe even with a plant or a curtain on the near side that blocks it from full view of the door. How on earth does this give you a cleaner house? It’s a mental thing, which has physical repercussions. Allow me to explain.
Before implementing this principal, every time you walked into that room, your eyes landed on the messy dresser and your first thought was “This room is a mess.” Even if you came further into the room and saw that the bed was made, your brain said, “Look at that, I tried to do something neat to this messy room.”
Now consider the impact after implementing the Sight Zone principle. If every time you walk into that room you spot the neatly-made bed, your first thought is, “This room is neat and clean.” Then when your eyes finally catch sight of the messier part you think, “Oh look, there’s a messy spot in this clean room.”
Do you see the difference? In the first example, not only does the house feel messier, but if this happens in room after room, the mess can seem so overwhelming and hopeless that you don’t even try to clean. In the second example, not only does the house feel cleaner, but by allowing you to see the mess as an isolated issue you are more likely to jump in and clean it up as well.
Household experts and those who are naturally gifted at housekeeping would probably call this concept crazy. They would instead lecture you about that messy dresser, sell you a bunch of containers, and tell you to try harder.
Not me! I already know the cold, hard truth: If you are housekeeping impaired, lectures won’t change your behavior, containers create a whole new kind of clutter, and no matter how hard you try, you’re never going to change simply through sheer force of will.
That’s what makes the House That Cleans Itself system so different. That’s why it works, even when nothing else has ever worked before.
As for traveling clean...
In a previous post, I talked about having an ELECTRONICS ZONE in your hotel room. Depending on the number of available electrical outlets and how they're placed, you may have to split this zone into two or more areas. For example you might have to keep your computer and related equipment on the desk, your cameras near the plug by the window, and your phone charger in the plug nearest the bed.
Though necessary, this can be risky because it's easy to miss seeing one or two chargers when you are packing to leave! To be safe, you should always follow this handy "reminder" tip so that no charger is ever left behind again.
As you are first unpacking, think in terms of something you are absolutely going to need on the day you leave, but preferably not until then. For example is there a pair of shoes or some article of clothing you know you won't be wearing until you're ready to go home? If not, maybe use an empty suitcase, an airline ticket, or something else necessary for when you leave but not needed during your stay.
Whatever item(s) you choose, integrate it significantly into your less noticeable ELECTRONICS ZONE(S). Thus, for example, when you plug in your phone charger, wrap the cord around your shoe. If you know for a fact that those are the shoes you'll be putting on when you're ready to leave, then there's no way you can miss spotting your phone charger as well. Or, run the cord for your camera charger through the handle of the empty suitcase. When you grab that suitcase to pack it, you'll see the camera charger and grab it too.
Why does your reminder item have to be something you're not going to be using during your trip? Simple: Because if you are housekeeping impaired, I can almost guarantee that you won't "re-rig" your reminder if you have to disassemble it for use. The first time you grab that shoe because you want to wear it during your stay is likely the last time the shoe and the phone charger will ever be in such close proximity again, at least while on this trip. If you are by nature a sloppy person, you're never going to remember to set up this reminder once you're finished with the item and take it back off.
If you're traveling light and don't have anything that you won't be using during your stay, then at the very least wrap something unexpected around the handle of a suitcase--such as a long wad of toilet paper--to serve as a vivid reminder of your chargers. When you are packing to go, you'll see the funky handle, wonder "What on earth?" for just a moment, and then that will jog your memory to grab your chargers.
The naturally neat might read the above and simply shake their heads or roll their eyes. But if you are housekeeping impaired, chances are you're nodding right now and going, "Good idea. I totally get it."
Isn't it great that God has filled the earth with both kinds of people? Come back soon to hear what I have to say about clean travel when your trip includes others.