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Getting to Know Mom

Stories from the Garage

I spent half of October working on big out-of-town projects. First was a return visit to my client with Parkinson’s. She’s moved to assisted living, and I’m helping to clear out her former home. Disabilities make it difficult for her to participate in the work in a meaningful way, but we continue to include her in decision-making—even when the decisions are largely symbolic—to help her cope with the transition to a new living space.

Mom's garage
Mom’s garage a month later—still clutter-free enough to park the car inside!

The second project was my mother’s garage. She’s in great health and still fully engaged in her life. But she hasn’t been able to park the car in the garage since she moved to North Carolina 10 years ago, so I went to help dig it out.

She stalled by any means possible—we had to shop, mulch the backyard, and clean her closet—but eventually she surrendered and we got to work. For three days, we sorted through boxes that belonged to her mother and files that had never made it into the house. We discarded broken furniture and old paint, repackaged Christmas decorations, and sorted a huge pile of books.

It was hard for Mom, but she participated all the way. At one point she quietly said, “This process really makes you face your own mortality.” She found herself clearing away old parts of her life, and it gave her pause. But I was glad to listen as she identified photos of herself as a child and pictures of my grandparents as young adults …[Read more]

Houston Clutter Coaching May 2010 Meetup

Thursday, May 27, 2010
7:00–8:30 p.m.

Gayle Goddard facilitates the monthly meeting of the Houston Clutter Coaching Meetup Group.

At the May meetup, we’ll follow up on the project we introduced in April: The Garage Is Also a Place to Park Your Car. Come tell the group about your progress and we’ll share hints about how to keep rolling.

Bedroom
Your bedroom can be a sanctuary.

We’ll also introduce our focus for June: Refuge or Rat’s Nest?: The Master Bedroom. You spend a third of your life there, so wouldn’t it be great if your bedroom were a place of sanctuary? We’ll talk about what needs to be in your inner sanctum and what doesn’t, and we’ll discuss how to craft a floor plan that fits your lifestyle.

[See the Program Notes for this meetup.]

As usual, we’ll also open the floor to your questions, success stories, and tales of trouble spots. And don’t forget the drawing for a door prize or two! (You must be present to win.)

Please note our new location this month:

Henshaw House (Nature Discovery Center)
Russ Pitman Park
7112 Newcastle St.
Bellaire, TX 77401
713-667-6550
…[Read more]

Houston Clutter Coaching April 2010 Meetup

Thursday, April 29, 2010
7:00–8:30 p.m.

Gayle Goddard facilitates the monthly meeting of the Houston Clutter Coaching Meetup Group.

At the April meetup, we’ll follow up on the project we introduced in March: “The Home Office: Productive Workspace or No Man’s Land?” Come tell the group about your progress and we’ll share hints about how to keep rolling.

Messy garage
The garage is also a place to park your car.

We’ll also introduce our focus for May: “The Garage Is Also a Place to Park Your Car.” We’re heading into prime garage sale season, so now is the time to move the junk out and the car in and give yourself a bonus of some vacation cash. We’ll talk about how garages become the storage space of last refuge and graveyard of deferred decisions—and what you can do to change that.

As usual, we’ll also open the floor to your questions, success stories, and tales of trouble spots. And don’t forget the drawing for a door prize or two! (You must be present to win.)

SPECIAL NOTE: Our April meeting will be on the FIFTH Thursday of April instead of our regularly scheduled fourth Thursday.

Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
(Carriage House)
5300 Caroline
Houston, TX 77030
832-393-2600
…[Read more]