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Mama Messy's story

I have been married for almost 30 years and I can honestly say that in the beginning, I had things under control. But as the children came and the size of the homes we lived in kept getting smaller and smaller, the problems began. I was committed to being a stay-at-home mother of my 4 children, and my husband struggled to provide the things we needed. I became a thrift shopper and accepted donations of clothing and things from anyone generous enough to give me their hand-me-downs. I wanted my family to have everything we needed, even if we couldn't buy them new. As a result, I couldn't pass up a good deal, ever. I also couldn't part with anything: toys, books, household items. Who knows when that would be needed next? All the children's things were hand-me-downs, after all - and there might be more children later, so why throw anything out?

Then I became an information glutton. I started volunteering everywhere: I was a scout leader for both boys and girls, a Red Cross volunteer, a La Leche League leader and very active in my church. I started a service club for my children to learn to give to others. I wanted to have every possible idea, hint, craft plan, recipe right at my finger tips - all gazillion of them! I wasn't working, but I was seldom a "stay-at-home" mother. It was all noble causes. The stuff grew and grew, the children grew, the messes grew, and my time kept shrinking. Soon we had CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). I learned that from the Side-tracked Home Executive sisters! I, too, began to read every book on organization and de-cluttering. I found lots of excuses for why my house looked the way it did, but no answers.

Then, a life-altering change happened: I had to go to work full time. Continuing to volunteer almost as much, shuttling my four children to sports, scouts, church, music, theatre activities, AND working a full time job proved to be the total undoing of my house-keeping ability. I haven't allowed anyone except fellow squalor survivors in my home for about 8 years! My parents and in-laws are only allowed to come to the door, no further! My children haven't had friends over for at least 10 years.

If not for a very tolerant, loving husband, I fear that my life would have been unbearable. I am always trying to overcome the problems in my house, but I finally just gave up nagging my children and killing myself, trying to move mountains in the little bit of time I have to spend at home. I have a bad back since before I was married and most of the other parts are wearing out now, too. I fear that I have cursed all four of my children to be hopeless clutter-bugs as well and I just don't know how to break out. Hopefully, as I continue to read your stores and learn of your successes, my motivation to conquer this will be renewed and I will break free.

Always trying,

Mama Messy