I love this email from Amy. I experienced something very similar to what she did when I started getting the clutter out of my house.
I wanted to send you a quick thank you note for the impact your books have had on my life. We are a family of five living in a small, inner-city home. I’ve felt overwhelmed for the last few years wondering why I could never stay on top of life and why my pleas to my family to “help” were always insufficient. They couldn’t help because they didn’t know my intricate systems for cleaning, donating, selling and putting away. As a result I have really resented my home. We purchased it five years ago after renting it for three and I often asked myself “Why on earth did you even buy this house? It’s too small!” With adding another family member, pets and a pandemic-induced influx of STUFF, it had gotten completely out of hand.
However, since decluttering —really decluttering —and establishing good systems for housecleaning, not only am I loving my home but I’m reminded why we wanted THIS house and not many of the other ones that were larger and less expensive. I was reminded this home meant my husband had a short commute so we see him more. I was reminded I wanted less square footage to keep clean. I wanted less things and natural boundaries to contain them. I wanted our home to be a place where we ate and slept and did math at the kitchen table but otherwise we were out doing things—building community, taking classes, hiking, etc. I wanted a home I knew we could easily pay for and could sell should our job situation change.
The plan had never been to be home and cleaning it all day! My little home purchase was to give us freedom and instead I had turned it into an overstuffed, overcluttered space that took all my time to maintain. I’d lost the vision of what exactly it was meant to be and what it could be again.
So I sincerely thank you for helping me to love my home again and for recalibrating and realigning my vision. I don’t just have a cleaner and better-maintained home, I have a love for it and its purpose again.
Do you have my books? My newest one, Organizing for the Rest of Us, is the short and sweet collection of all my best strategies.
We combined households with my mother-in-law, who is suffering from dementia. We all get along really well and are so grateful we are spending this time with her, but my husband and I found ourselves resenting the amount of cleaning we were doing. Unlie in our old home, it just never seemed to stay clean.
We finally discussed it with her to the best of her abilities and gave ourselves permission to clean out her 50 -years-worth of items she is no longer using, and we’re gradually seeing the home my husband truly loved growing up in. We only wish we had done this while Mom could still remember the stories behind some of these items. (Note to the sentimental: If you are counting on stuff to preserve your memories, for the most part it *does not*.)
We have a cartoon of the house from the movie “Up” on our electronic inspiration board. We are lightening the load so that our little balloon house can float to the next stage of our lives together!
I found your channel as we needed a new strategy for decluttering while caregiving. The old method of taking everything out simply doesn’t work when at any moment you have to drop everything; plus, moving things causes confusion for her. Your method is perfect for “cleaning in front of someone with dementia” – no more causing feelings of overwhelm, no more tears, and we make progress and only progress!
My only modification is when arranging ‘her’ regularly used things, I ask “what is the first place she would look for this NOW (as opposed to the place my husband and I would think of, or that she may once have thought of.) It requires some observational detective work on our part, but it is worth it.
Ohh this is beautiful! Dana, please highlight this message in its own post 🤗
The Joyful Quilter says
What a great story! Thanks for sharing, Dana.
Sharen Teesdale says
I agree. Granted, we got this house because we needed one and it was affordable, so I was under no illusions that it would be House Beautiful. But I can walk in the door now and be greeted with clear floors and surfaces, and a sense of calm. Better yet, I can keep it that way in just a little time each day. I’ve even been able to decorate! I am 62, and this old dog has definitely learned new tricks! Thank you!
Wow! Just this morning I was thanking the Lord for my home and expressing that I love it! It hasn’t always been that way but as Amy said decluttering and putting cleaning systems in place I truly feel at peace. Dana’s books, podcasts & videos have been life changing. Being apart of Take Your House Back has also been further therapy to keep ne on track. Not perfect but totally better!! Thank you Dana!
This is a beautiful letter! I am so happy for Amy and her family.