More God, less stress and clutter | The Practical Disciple

More God, less stress and clutter

A friend mentioned to me the other day that her resolution for 2009 is to get organized.  Spiritually there is a lot to be said for organization.  When our physical lives are in disarray, it’s hard to keep our spiritual life in order.  Clutter and disorder is stressful.  It will fatigue you and fatigue has huge ramifications on your spiritual life.  (see these posts: Focus, Fatigue and Prayer, More on Fatigue, and Limiting Distractions–Clutter)


In the Beginning there was chaos.  The home was without order and moods were dark…
I want to introduce you to a system that we adopted in our home a couple of years ago that will greatly reduce disorder in your home.  My wife and I are co-pastors with two children.  We found ourselves constantly struggling to keep our home clean and orderly.  We even tried getting a cleaning a woman to come in every other week.  This typically resulted in us frantically scrambling to pick up the house enough so that she could clean. She would clean and  our house would be immaculate…for about 48 to 72 hour.  Inevitably though, we would descend into a pit of chaos.  Then we would start the whole cycle of scramble, clean, and descend all over again.

Then dad spoke and there was the deck…
One day I asked my son, Matthew, to do several chores.  I had a hunch that if he wrote a list it would help him stay focused and he would get everything done.  It worked.  So, that set me to thinking.  I made a list of everything that had to be done in our home on a regular basis, broken down into simple task.  Things like:  wipe bathroom counters, vacuum den rug, strip and remake bed, bleach kitchen sink, etc.  You get the idea.  I then took a deck of fluorescent index cards and wrote one task on each card.  There were 72 cards.

The deck was used and the deck was good…
I figured that if all four of us randomly picked 3 cards each day then within 6 days we would complete every thing that need to be done to clean our home.  Every day we shuffled the deck and drew three cards.  The difference it made in our home was utterly amazing and it made a difference in us.  Here are just part of the benefits:


  1. Reduced Stress from not worrying when we would “get it all done”
  2. No more marathon sessions of cleaning
  3. Kid’s learned how to do everything (and I mean everything) to care for a home
  4. No scrambling to tidy before unexpected company
  5. No more apologies of, “excuse the mess”
  6. Money saved


If you want to see my deck and hear a little more about specifically how we did this watch my 5 minute video clip below.


Lastly, here are some specially cards you need to know about in my deck. 
  • Get the Day Off--draw this and everyone else draws an extra card and you take the day off.  You can’t draw this again until everyone has had a day off.
  • Wild Card, Find Something that Needs to be Done and Do It!–I put several of these in the deck to teach my children identify tasks that need to be done and take the initiative to do it.
  • Help Someone with a Harder Day than You--I wanted my kid’s to learn to pitch in.
  • Pick a Partner and Make Every one’s Bed, Help with Laundry, Help with Dinner–these three cards gave us opportunities to work collectively on tasks they would eventually do on their own.
  • 10 Minute Tidy--I had several of these cards in the deck to help hold clutter at bay.  This greatly reduce shoes, book bags, papers, junk mail, and more from just laying around
  • And more on the video


Periodically, I might add things to the deck that need to be done, but not on a weekly basis.  If something happens and we need to pump up the volume on cleaning.  We all pick a few extra cards and call it a day.  It is really nice to just do your three things and then let go of thinking about the house.  The key is consistency.  


The concept is highly adaptable.  Even if you are single or have really young kid’s I think you will find an adapted version very helpful.  If you have any questions or want suggestions on how to create your own deck then drop me an email at  


Blessings to you as you get organized, from The Practical Disciple.  Enjoy the video.


p.s.  This the PD’s debut in-house (like literally in my house) video.  Let me know how you enjoy it.


p.p.s.  If you want to see a list of exactly what is in my family chore deck, then be sure and read the related post,  Additional Thoughts on the Deck.



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  • Hi, John!

    This is brilliant! I plan to start creating my family’s card deck right away. I’m already thinking on how I can apply this to other areas, such as helping with tasks for the church. This is wonderful! Thanks so much.

    Cheryl Allison,
    ARPC #9

    Cheryl 13 years ago

  • My deep pleasure. If you have questions, drop me a note. I have been doing this for about a year and a half now and it works. The biggest key is just consistently picking your 2 or 3 cards and doing them. It then all sorts itself out over time. Peace and order to you and your household.

    John Arnold 13 years ago

  • What a great idea. I wish I had seen it years ago. You are a very creative guy John. I think there is a money making opportunity here. ;0)

    Laurie 13 years ago

  • […] to be thankful  for all that God gave me.  This experience often comes to mind for me as I do my chore cards.  More frequently now I am finding that those mundane tasks are becoming times of thanks and […]

    How do I take a mundane chore and dedicate it to Christ? | The Practical Disciple 12 years ago

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