My family and I live in an odd house. Built at the height of the housing market, it’s one of a handful of tall, skinny model homes that sit at the corner of what was supposed to be bustling subdivision. Not only poorly timed, but also poorly planned. It was the heyday of California’s “McMansion craze” and our three-bedroom model is 1,300 square-feet.

It didn’t take long for its flaws to show. Like a dollhouse, it was built for looks, not for living. It’s a two-story home with no downstairs bathroom or bedroom. Our oldest daughter was 18 months old when we moved in here. Upstairs bathrooms are not conducive to toilet-training a toddler. I have the carpet stains to prove it. There is no entryway. The front door opens to the dining room/kitchen/living room. The only boundary is a low wall that encloses the kitchen. There is no place to hide anything because there is no place to put anything. The kitchen cabinets are so small that our plates don’t fit. We eat on salad plates while the dinner plates collect dust in the garage. Portion control by necessity. Upstairs, we have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry closet and a dual cabinet. Space is at a premium.

Purple velvet coach with "clutter free in '15" written above it.

I’ve taken Kathi Lipp’s challenge to be clutter free in 2015.

Until recently, I shared my husband’s opinion that the house is the problem when it comes to its constant state of chaos. Then I started reading “Clutter Free” by Kathi Lipp, and I had an “a-ha moment.” This home is giant lesson in contentment.

I love a fresh start. I am giddy when starting something new. In the last 20 years, I’ve lived in almost 15 different homes. As much as I hate the process of moving, I love starting over. My husband, on the other hand, loves space. And he likes to fill his space with lots of stuff.

We both suffer from discontent. I have moved so much that I never feel rooted. I have never taken the time to make this house into a home. Our space is so cramped that he feels there is no point trying to make it work.

Kathi offers four tips to becoming content with the home you already have:

  • Realize the power of clearing the clutter
  • Look at how you’re using your home
  • Have only things that have earned the right to be there
  • Remember why you moved there in the first place

It’s not that we don’t have enough house; we have too much stuff. I believe that once we conquer our clutter here, I will have the fresh start I’m craving and he’ll have enough room to breathe.

This is the second in a four-part series on learning to love my living space utilizing strategies and concepts from Kathi Lipp’s “Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space” (Harvest House 2015). Want to join me? Text FINALLY to 33444 and sign up for Kathi’s Clutter Free emails to get free resources to start your journey.

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