7 Great Posts to Help You Clean and Declutter Your Home



I’m going to be on the radio today with Jennifer Fulwiler talking about decluttering and I decided to gather some of my most popular articles from Houzz.

Decluttering can such a source of stress/worry/despair for so many. And yet, if your home isn’t in the exact condition you want—so that’s most of us—getting rid of superfluous stuff is the best place to begin. It can be hard to get started, but it becomes easier and easier as you get going. When we get rid of the things we don’t love and need, keeping the house clean becomes so much simpler. Remember, the process is secondary to your commitment to it. Don’t get hung up on exactly the right way to declutter. Give yourself time and grace, and what can’t you do?

A Fine Mess: How to Have a Clean-Enough Home Over Summer Break

7 Tips to Get With a Minimalist Mentality

4 Obstacles to Decluttering and How to Beat Them

Declutter — Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Three Magic Words for a Clean Home and a Better Life

Get Organized: Are You a Filer or a Piler?

Got a Disastrously Messy Area? Try Triage

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Christmas 2015


Christmas Eve 2015

It’s that sweet time between Christmas and New Year’s. Games and books are stacked on the table, with piles of candy beside them.  There are bags at the base of the staircase needing to be carried upstairs. All the candles have burned low and the votives need refreshing. It’s bare under the tree except for a light covering of needles, but the lights and ornaments still sparkle and shine.

So much of life is spent between, in the middle, but this time is good, and probably my favorite. When I was a child it meant a houseful of relatives and fun every single day. Now that I’m an adult I enjoy this time even more, if only because the work of Christmas is over and, even if Paul and I are working, the days are slower and relaxed.

I last wrote here two years ago, a couple months after our accident when I was just figuring out I had a concussion. Turns out Eden did too, although it took even longer to get her diagnosed. Both were determined to be “mild.” At first that diagnosis irritated me because I felt so incredibly messed up. With time, I realized a brain injury is like many terrible things: just to have one is awful, and it could have been so much worse. We spent the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 busy with speech and physical therapy, and haggling with insurance. Again.

During my hiatus, if you came here to check on me and worried over or prayed for my family, thank you so much.  We are doing well and I’m grateful to be excited for the new year.  In 2016 I’ll be writing here weekly, as well as at Houzz.com on a monthly basis. Last year I took a break from all other writing while I worked on a bigger project which I’m excited to tell you about soon.

I hope you have a safe and Happy New Year!









Three Clues Your Vacation Has Gone Terribly Awry

1. This is your view for the better part of what should have been Day One:

2.  That evening you’re home again and what should have been Day Two, you have these posted on your fridge:

3. Your van is in an impound in Canada and looks like this:

 and this:

Short story: we had an accident early Saturday morning outside London, Ontario on our way out east and spent the day in the E.R. Christopher and Lydia were bruised and shaken; Eden got stitches in her forehead and hand—it’s driving her crazy they didn’t tell her how many because it was A LOT—Paul’s left forearm is hamburger—it scraped along the high way when we were on our side before the van flipped over entirely and came to a stop—and his legs have some impressive cuts.

I have a sprained ankle, a torn up elbow and, according to the doctor, my days as a forehead model are over. Of course I have a couple natural remedies up my sleeve, so we’ll see about that.

The crash itself was so incredibly terrible and then we were all separated in the E.R. I’ve never had all my children in a medical emergency. Being in one of my own, and not able to be there for any of them was beyond horrible. But they were all amazing, as any of you who know them can imagine. Lydia was discharged first and she tracked down Eden, never leaving her side until Paul was discharged. Their nurses came to meet me to, in their words, “gush” about how wonderful they were.

Christopher lost his processor in the accident so he went quiet. When he saw the van at the impound he began to weep, “I just can’t believe we survived,” he said.

None of us could. Mainly we’re thankful. “I’m just so grateful,” Eden said to Paul as he tucked her in last night, “I’m just so glad we’re all here and alive.”

I’ll be honest, I also feel a little sheepish. I don’t want to be those people who run after chaos and though I know this was an accident, still. When the house was burning I thought, “You have GOT to be kidding me.” because we had already been through so much. Sitting by the side of the 402 with a pillow clasped to my forehead to staunch the blood I couldn’t believe we were in this jam, but I was in too much pain to analyze it.

Later, at the impound, as Paul and I quickly and easily sorted through what could be salvaged and what should be trashed because—you know—we’re experienced, I told him “We have GOT to stop doing this.” And he agreed, so there’s that.

Do you know how hard it is to photograph two black dogs? I’m happy to say I don’t let the challenge stop me.  I’m on a mission to make the world a better place and with every picture of my dogs online, I know I’m reaching my goal.

Yesterday Jack and Oliver hit the big time in an article I wrote for Houzz called, “So You’re Thinking about Getting a Dog.” We’ve invited readers to add pictures of their own beloved dogs. It’s a love fest.

Come join the fun.


A New Kind of Minimalism

I’m delighted to announce I’ve become a regular contributor to the design website, Houzz.com. Houzz was my number one resource while we were rebuilding. 

I’m working on a series about minimalism and decluttering, which will amuse long time readers who know how hard home keeping has been for me. My definition of minimalism is having what you love, but not a bit more than what you can maintain. If you haven’t read my first post yet, I’d love for you to check it out below:  

Years ago, when my children were little and our home was awash in toys, laundry and papers—to name the top three categories of stuff I found overwhelming— from time to time, when I was feeling exhausted and entirely beleaguered, I would imagine our house burning down. I really only wanted to lose the laundry room, the playroom, a closet or two and several cupboards, but I knew with fire you can’t be so choosy and I found the idea of a cleanly wiped slate intoxicating.

Of course I was imagining the absolute best house fire, where all the mess was (poof!) gone and insurance immediately handed us a big, fat check to start over soberly and responsibly, without Legos and stuffed animals…. 

To read the rest, please check out my article on Houzz.com.

As always, thank you.