Accept entropy as a part of life.

posted in: homemaking, podcast 9

Organize your attitude #15

Do you, dear reader, know entropy?

We all experience it in every aspect of life. It is the muscles that weaken when not exercised, the dust that accumulates on the shelves, the clutter that seems to spawn in every corner.

#078: Life is full of entropy

Entropy is real. Entropy is part of the current natural order. The dictionary defines it as, “a gradual decline into disorder.”

That’s real life.

Gardens grow weeds.

If we want to handle life well, we have to align our mindset and our actions with that reality.

Organization will always be ongoing.

Organization is not a once-and-done sort of thing. Especially when there are growing children and changing responsibilities, stuff of all sorts is always being generated and needing to be dealt with.

  • Cleaning is ongoing: Dirt materializes. Cleaning everything once, no matter how thoroughly, is never cleaning it for all time. Do you have time and energy built in to clean the inevitable effects of entropy?
  • Organizing is ongoing: Stuff accumulates. Putting things in their right place will need to be done regularly, even daily. New things will come in that require us to find new homes for them, possibly rearranging once again. Do you keep space in your routines for tidying and reordering?
  • Planning is ongoing: Things happen. Time marches ever forward. Each day, each week, each interval requires us to plan ahead so we can meet the happenings of life with calm preparedness. Do you set aside time to plan each day, week, interval, and year?
  • Attitude is ongoing: Attitudes matter. There is never a time when we can just coast – that will tend toward disorder, even when it comes to our mindset and attitude. Gratitude and cheerfulness must become a daily habit.
  • Relationships are ongoing: People change. What is the point of the housework and the planning except fostering the lives of and relationships with our children and others? We need to continually be investing directly in our people’s lives, not just by cooking and cleaning for them, but by talking to them and loving on them. Never underestimate the power of simply smiling when they enter the room.

Maintenance and upkeep is a fact of life.

Everything – everything – tends toward disorder if left untouched and unmanaged. If we accept that and build in times for maintenance and upkeep of our homes, our systems, and our family, we’ll find more fulfillment and satisfaction in the work we do.

Entropy is a fact of life. If you've been discouraged with the continual upkeep required, know that it is not you or your system; the problem is entropy.
If you’ve been discouraged with the continual upkeep required, just know that the problem is not necessarily you or your system; the problem is entropy and it’s just a fact of life.

9 Responses

  1. Jessica
    | Reply

    Mystie, I hosted a workshop today on summer planning and our small group discussed just this very idea. We determined that this is the benefit of having routines – when you know when something will be cleaned up again, it’s not so stressful when it becomes a mess. We did spend a little time lamenting that floors don’t stay mopped, laundry doesn’t stay neatly in drawers, and kids don’t stay fed. I guess that’s the difference between parenting and housekeeping and simply “playing house.” ;)

  2. Valerie Niemeyer
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing the Wisdom, Mystie! This is helpfully articulated…entropy happens….constantly. Resistance is futile!! :) I like Ann Voskamp’s phrase: “Choose your hard: Discipline or Disappointment.”

    A friend of mine has a plaque her grandma had above her sink, which states: “Thank God for dirty dishes; they have a tale to tell. While other folks go hungry, we are eating well. With home and health and happiness, we shouldn’t want to fuss, for by this stack of evidence, God’s very good to us.” I was staring at the dirt on my kitchen floor that I’d recently swept last week, and God gave me the grace to breathe/think, “Okay, this is good…there if LIFE in my house, children, children who have shoes, children who can walk, children who have a garden to dig and can dig it, and so this dirt is on the floor and I’m THANKFUL for it.” Most of our God-ordained work is the result of having the blessings of family, food, clothing, shelter….thanks be to God for our work, and may He help us to embrace it with devotion, but also reduce/eliminate the vain work that results from inordinate desires. “Virtue is its own reward, and brings with it the truest and highest pleasure; but if we cultivate it only for pleasure’s sake, we are selfish, not religious, and will never gain the pleasure, because we can never have the virtue.” ~ Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman He also said, “Growth is the only evidence of life.” I’m grateful for the way you’re helping me cultivate more patience, Mystie, by being satisfied with GROWTH and rejecting the self-defeating all-or-none perfectionistic approach to “success”. “If you die trying, you die winning.” (Roger Federer) PERSEVERE.

    A plaque I bought this year for my kitchen reads, “Lord, help me to endure my blessings.” We humans are all works in progress, and between my own and all my children’s “unfinishedness”, there are definitely crosses to endure, which are lighter when “taken up” rather than feeling victimized and frustrated by them. Your reminders of the importance of gratitude, cheerfulness and smiles are so true and helpful. God bless you, Mystie…I admire you much.

    • Lois
      | Reply

      Valerie, your comments on this post were very uplifting and beneficial to me. I am currently watching my two toddler granddaughters three days a week, who also live with me. (Their parents are saving money for a house.) I had forgotten just how tedious little ones can be after having an empty nest for a while. I’m pretty patient, but I definitely needed to organize my attitude. So happy I found this site, these articles – and – your reply. I’m going to post this poem in my kitchen as well:)

      • Valerie
        | Reply

        Thank you, Lois. I’m glad that thinking through this “aloud” here helped someone besides me! :) God bless you as you assist your daughter and her family by your sacrifices. Having to “parent” as a “grandparent” is definitely a sacrifice. I’ve thought many times, “Parents embody God’s justice. Grandparents embody His mercy.” Obviously, both have to embody both, but your being a caregiver to the extent you are requires more of you, the sacrifice of the simpler delights of simply delighting in your Grandchildren. I’m sure your children are most grateful to you, and your grandchildren most adoring of you, even as you struggle to provide for all their constant needs while you delight in them. :)

        • lois
          | Reply

          Valerie, I often think of your comment here about parenting is God’s justice and grand parenting is God’s mercy – and I’m having to do both. That’s been such a great thing to keep in mind. I would love to stay in contact with you if possible. My email is loisdicicco – at – Thanks for you wisdom.

  3. […] If you’ve been discouraged with the continual upkeep required, just know that the problem is not necessarily you or your system; the problem is entropy and it’s just a fact of life. Mystie, Simplified Organization  […]

  4. […] and systems and none of them seemed to stick. Turns out, I was missing the key ingredient: an acceptance of entropy and my relationship with it – that is, my attitude about my life and the way God made the […]

  5. […] Entropy is real, and it’s not an enemy to conquer. It’s a reality to expect, take into account, and work with. Our plans don’t beat it; our plans take it into account. […]

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