September 19, 2022

I’ve recently discovered KC Davis: counselor, author, and mother of two. In her book, “How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing”, Davis outlines her shame-free, compassionate attempt to home care. As a working mom, I immediately identified with her and appreciated the content she had to offer. As we continue through the sermon series, “Living to Learn, Learning to Live”, I’m hoping that her systems resonate with some of you all, too.

One of Davis’ strategies that I find myself using most often in my own home is her “5 Things” tidying method. Have you ever looked at a cluttered room and felt paralyzed by not knowing where to begin? Enter the 5 Things method. Davis says that in any given space, there are only five different things: trash, dishes, laundry, things that have a place, and things that don’t have a place.

I like to start with the first three categories: trash, dishes, and laundry. When thinking of trash, it’s important to include not only what we’d normally think of as garbage, such as a banana peel, but to also dig a little deeper and take your tidying time as an opportunity to get rid of things that can no longer be used by yourself or anyone else anymore – junk mail, broken toys, etc.  Next, resist the urge to actually do your dishes and laundry, and for now simply move the dishes to the sink and the laundry to the hamper. We don’t want to get distracted or lose momentum!

From here, we’re left with things that already have a designated place—go ahead and put these away– and things that do not. For things that do not have a place, I like to gather them into a basket so that they’re out of the way and the space is functional. Audit your remaining time and energy to see how much more you can get done, and then perhaps revisit dishes, laundry and organizing your things that don’t have a place.

Davis emphasizes that in a world that pressures us to keep Pinterest-perfect houses, we need to remember that care tasks such as tidying are functional, not moral. My hope in sharing this is that each of you can be a little gentler with yourselves and aim to start small by finding a system that works for you.

Morgan Jones, Associate Director of Meals on Wheels OKC