Doing the Dishes and Getting The Clutter Out Changes Lives Leave a comment

Hello Dana!

This email has been with in my mind for over a year (TPAD)… I decided today I had to finally send it!

I am so very thankful for you, for your podcast, audiobooks, and the fact that you are a believer. It’s all so refreshing and helpful. I have listened to everything at least twice ( some, more!)

Let tell you my story.

I grew up with a ” type A” mom…meaning there was never a stack of folded ( or unfolded…or dirty) laundry anywhere in the house, dishes were washed as they were used. The floor was mopped twice or more a week, and fitted sheets were folded in a Martha Stewart approved manner. And I never cleaned my own room…I was a slob living with a perfect housekeeper.

Though I suspected there was something different between me and my mom, I never knew what it was until college. Bring on the demerits. I was a true slob. I didn’t see messes, I liked avoiding messes, and I loved treasures.
Fast forward. My husband and I had been married 4 years and were expecting our fourth baby. We recently moved from a 3000 square foot house to an 800 square foot house due to job changes and things were bad. He came from a hoarder home and had his own struggles but together…it seemed hopeless.

One whole room of this already cramped house was storage…floor to ceiling, wall to wall storage. Every time I turned around the dishes had taken over my kitchen. Laundry regularly molded in the basket or washing machine, and the master bedroom had piles and boxes containing who knows what…I had attempted cloth diapers, but let’s just say that wasn’t happening in my current state of overwhelm.

 Then…the scary news. We were moving ( our sixth move in four years) to a new house, new ministry, new job.

 Oh, and it was a parsonage. As in, the perfect house next to a church owned by the church. As in, everyone looked in windows. As in, the ladies were spending months cleaning and perfecting it. As in, people feel free to walk through the door at any time with little or no notice. ( Now, just to clarify, my people actually don’t do any of the nosy things listed here, but in my pre-move imagination, they totally would).

I was terrified. It was both my dream house and my worst nightmare. How could I, the world’s worst housekeeper and biggest collector of things, live in a parsonage?!?!

We were due to move after the baby’s birth in May and I found you in January.  Those five months changed our whole life. I kid you not when I say I decluttered at least 30 boxes and large trash bags to Goodwill and even more to the trash can using your simple, non-emotional steps.

I finally realized that doing the dishes (without a dishwasher at the time) was not optional…obvious to normal people but a real breakthough for me! Suddenly my kitchen had counter space and cooking was fun again.

And my husband was so inspired he has kicked his hoarding tendencies completely. And I didn’t even have to say anything to him!!

It was amazing how freeing the feeling of getting clutter out was. And even better, when I cleaned, things actually looked clean afterwards. Rather than still looking like a heap when it was done.

We have been living in our parsonage for almost a year and a half now. Several times church folks have arrived at the door unannounced, and not one time have I had to be ashamed . Now it isn’t perfect, but we have kids so no one expects it to be. But it isn’t a heap, it isn’t a disaster.

I’m so thankful for your help.

These past four days are what motivated me to finally write you this email.

My kids got sick…all four of them…And I’m pregnant…and my husband got sick too…and…we survived.

I didn’t have to clean vomit off of piles of clutter.

I only got slightly behind in laundry.

I picked up trash.

I used quiet moments to do quick 5 minute pick ups.

And today, the first day of not sickness…my house isn’t overwhelming. I was able to do a normal level of work and it was back to its pre-sickness state.

This would never have been possible without your mentoring. In the past, I’ve had to call my mother after times of sickness because I didn’t even know what to do. Now I can be the mom. And my whole family gets the benefit.

Thanks Dana.

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