Taking Back The House


Drat, this video will only embed with autoplay so now that it’s not at the top of the blog, I’m adding it as a link. Watch the video here, it’s fun, it’s worth it.

Just like that episode of The Middle, most of us need to take back the house.  But not necessarily from the kids.

Most of us need to take back the house from our twisted idea of what we think a house should be.  We need to take back the house from the trap of perfection.  We need to take back the house from the expectations of well-meaning people have put on our house for what they think it should be.

What do you need to take back your house from?


  1. great video clip!

  2. First of all – the Middle is my favorite! And you’re right – we put too much pressure on ourselves for everything to be perfect but I have been doing it for so long that I get stressed and cant relax when things arent just right. I have, however, let go of the kids rooms so they dont always feel like I am nagging. I have been working on taking my house back from Christmas madness. Trying to keep gift giving more simple and heart felt, supporting local small businesses with my purchases, and simplifying decorating/entertaining expectatins too. Its been a slow process but I will take another step this year. Focusing on family, traditions and not stuff feels so much better deep down.

    • Oh I like that!!

    • Good for you Angela, we did that about 4 years ago and it was a HUGE improvement for our family. At first it meant changing how we celebrated with our family, visiting after xmas and setting real limits on gifts, budget and expectations. It also meant using some of the time we used to spend on craziness to do things for other people. We sort of traded our previous extravagant activities for calmer service and sharing events. We make a lot more gifts now and start earlier so we are not rushed with hectic errands.

  3. OK, I love how this post has literally come at a time when THIS EXACT THING IS HAPPENING FOR ME IN MY HOME! I’m trying to harness that spirit in the video right now…seriously sitting here this morning, right this very minute. And I’m not laughing at all about it. It’s hard.

    I LOVE that you put it into a different perspective for me (so I can get the “I wanna’s” out of my head and heart). Looking at the space objectively with the heart of our daily living and all the wonderful people (and furry critters) sharing this space 24/7 (we home school and my hubby is retired!) is where I’m at. Who’s in charge of this place anyhow? I have no immediate answers as of yet. I wanna be in charge. But there IT is…..wanna wanna wanna…..sounds like a whining fool. I’ve been her. But she’ll be kicked to curb this morning after my coffee. How to make this house a home for EVERYONE, including our friends who visit, but most immediate ALL THE CREATIVE FORCES THAT SHAKE AND STIR THIS PLACE EVERY SINGLE DAY! Sounds daunting to me. I think I’ll begin with cleaning out a drawer and making it all pretty.

    Thank you!!!!

  4. Oh, my gosh, I laughed so hard at this this morning that I think I woke my husband up. “The Middle” is one of my favorite shows. Take back the house! (And the TV…ha.)

  5. “The Giving Tree” …so sad to me. It’s about finding a balance. It’s about taking too much from one resource until it can’t give anything more to anyone. Just take a look at Haiti from a satellite. All the trees are gone, but the Dominican Republic next door on the same island is green and lush. What a huge difference these environments provide for the people living in them. Am I abusing the real purpose of my rooms by making storage more a priority than living????

  6. So I’m pretty sure I need to start watching The Middle.

    And tonight we’re having some friends over and although I’ve been buddies with the mom/kids for quite awhile the dad hasn’t really been here much at all. So I started stressing over all my halfway finished projects, crazy whatnot around the house (like our “hillbilly trampoline” in the playroom – the old crib mattress), and my marginal cooking abilities. Really?! I hardly think the man is going to notice, let alone care. I’m taking back the house tonight baby.

  7. Oh it doesn’t play in the UK. Such a pity!

  8. I recently moved my kitchen table into my living room. I live in a double wide. There is no dining room and we have a small kitchen. For five years I have been cramped in the kitchen because you aren’t supposed to eat in the living room. We have no plans of moving because we would rather live simply and have less debt. But there is no reason to be crowded in one room when there is a more logical arrangement. Now I can comfortably sip tea in the morning and we can share dinner at night with a view of the sun setting over the mountains at my table in front of my favorite window in our home – in the living room! Gasp! ;) I even found a chandelier for $5 at Good Will, spray painted it and hung it over the table. My only regret? I should have done it five years ago!

  9. I realize this post isn’t just about taking the house back from your kids, but it made me think of this mom: http://strikingmom.blogspot.ca/2012/10/hello-world.html

    6 day mom strike. Incredible.

  10. LOL! “Your dad and I aren’t stumps….not anymore.”

    When I took back the house it was by to rename “the living room” (stuff and nonsense) to “The Happy Room”. I asked myself, what would make it a happy room? We’re still working on that…but answering that question from both a function and aesthetics perspective has definitely made it happier.


  11. Between you and Life{in}Grace, I should be a new person by November. :) As an introvert, I feel that my house is more my fortress of solitude and inviting people in kind of freaks me out. But l have felt convicted that I need to be more hospitable. And then that is where all the “but my house is a mess! If they see how messy my house is, they’ll know I’m a mess.” So after rereading a bunch of your posts about IDHTBPTBB posts, I started looking at what were my real issues and started shifting my paradigms. So, ALL of that to say, I hosted a small fellowship and my husband and I worked hard to get the common living spaces presentable. And in the midst I realized that it wasn’t absolute perfection I was seeking in this, it was getting rid of the superfluous. I started asking, what makes me feel comfortable in someone else’s house? It wasn’t being super neat. It wasn’t an absence of toys or papers or mail. It wasn’t that it’s perfectly decorated. I realized I enjoyed going into homes that were clean and neat, yes, but mostly because of the people in the houses. I barely even noticed the “decorating” in there because I was too busy having a good time, eating, talking, playing games, and being treated like one of the family. So in the end, the fellowship went great and my house wasn’t perfect, but I prayed that I would treat the guests like family. A bunch of formalness just makes everyone feel like they in a job interview. And the best hostesses always put me to work, making me feel, again, a part of it. I’m learning! I’m learning!

  12. After I washed my old curtains, I found out they shunk and were now too short for my family room windows (by 4.5″!!!). New curtains were just too expensive for the length I needed, and I loved my old curtains. So I cut a panel in half, added a fun print to the bottom of both pieces, and then layered them over some Ikea lace sheers and the regular blinds.

    Then I spent a whole day scouring the internet to make sure that at least someone in the deco world did the same layers. Nope, not a one. So I spent the rest of the evening hating my new window treatments because they weren’t like everyone else’s.

    No more! I really do love them.

  13. Yes… I realized I needed to take back my Master bedroom when I cleaned it and most of the random books & stuff on the floor belonged to…. My sweet kids… Took it back… Added a table for a desk for me, a chair for each of us, bookcases, etc… Not perfect but soooooo much better!!!! ( the kids still hang out in there but they have to clear all their stuff out when they go :)

  14. Hopped over from my Reader, only to discover that the video is not available to me in Jamaica. Oh boy….

    I have read your blog for so long that I think I have this bit under control, but I’ll chew on the question a bit to see if there’s any more ‘taking back’ that needs to be done. :)

  15. I have given up on perfection this year as well. After almost an entire year of decluttering I’m finally getting down to what I love and nothing else! My family is perplexed, by father especially is confused. I used to jump into action at the mere suggestion that my yard was not BHG ready. Now he mentions something that’s not up to his standard and is confused when it’s not been remedied when he returns the next time.

    I am not perfect, my house is not perfect. Knowing and accepting both IS perfect…I can finallly relax in my home!

  16. Is there any way you could turn off the autoplay? It’s very disruptive. Thanks!

    • like I said in the first line of the post, it’s the only way to embed it for this one, so sorry, once you leave this post it won’t play anymore if that helps?

  17. hahahahaha, I didn’t read your “Quick! Turn down the volume!!” in time. I almost peed my pants when I walked over to the sink at 6am after clicking on your post and people started talking really loud, IN THE KITCHEN WITH ME!!! I thought someone was going to kill me, but that’s just because I was Dateline too much! :)

  18. I need to take back my house from all the STUFF I have put in it! Going to start in the kitchen cabinet where the dishes live. Remove excess and see it what I use and don’t use if I can actually access it to use it.

  19. We need to stop comparing our homes to magazines, too. That is NO good! Those photos are staged and not real life. http://homemakersdaily.com/9-ways-magazines-make-you-hate-your-house/

    • Yes, I agree, most of us commit magazine abuse.

      But it’s not the magazine’s fault, they are there to inspire us, the photos are of real homes on their best day, they have a valuable purpose to motivate and encourage and inspire.

      Just like I wouldn’t compare the way I look today with my 2 day old hair and flannel shirt to my neighbor’s wedding portrait, I don’t compare my every day loved on, lived in house to the times it’s in a magazine. But I can’t say I never have. You are so right, Patty, we do need to stop comparing.

      There have different purposes, magazine photos and every day homes, both are good and have their place.


  20. LOL!!!! LOVE this. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with The Giving Tree because I’ve always wondered why it let itself go all the way down to a STUMP! :) Too, too funny.

    You have truly helped me so much in the realm of letting go of perfection in my home. Thank you so much for always encouraging all of us to “just do it!”

  21. LOL! love this clip…so true, so true.
    seriously, i agree with taking back your house. as i’ve entered the interior design world i see so many homeowners caught up in rigid, frustrating, perfection that we “think” our home has to be instead of something that is calm, relaxing and “our” taste. our taste, not our mother’s, sister’s, neighbor’s, church friend, or out of a magazine. this idea has been so freeing to me and has allowed me to venture out into unseen territory, ie: out of my comfort zone. actually it has been a LOT of fun. thanks for the chuckle and for the re-inforcement of being ourselves in our homes.

  22. For me I need to take back my house from the toys relatives think my kids need. Already things are arriving for Christmas. They still haven’t even played with all the toys from last Christmas. Sigh, they mean well.

    But in better news, I just checked On Demand and The Middle is there. Yay!

  23. That is my very favorite episode of The Middle ever! Sadly, I don’t get to watch it much because we’re at church on Wed. nights and we don’t have TiVo or Hulu Plus or anything. But I saw that episode and related to is so much. That is one of the best, most relateable, shows on TV. Thanks for another laugh!

  24. That clip is hilarious! And the thought is so true…I know I have expectations for what my house is “supposed to be,” and some of them just aren’t ME. Deep down, I know I don’t want my mom’s house or my mother-in-law’s house, but sometimes the way I approach what I keep in my house and what it looks like the same way.

  25. I was getting all excited about watching this thinking it would help me get motivated to ‘fix’ my messy apartment. When I clicked it said it wasn’t available here in Australia. I saw some other posts where they couldn’t see it either. I wonder why!

  26. Lowering my head in shame as I whisper, “The Middle is my family.” I have so much work to do… Love you blog.

  27. I can’t hank you enough for this 31 days series. The other day I had a defining moment – a friend was coming over and the house was all clean, except I hadn’t finished folding the laundry. I threw it on my bed and shut the door. And then a few minutes later, after thinking about the definition I’d made for my home, and how I want people to be okay being imperfect here, I went back and opened the door. I don’t think she ever even when down the hallway and saw it, but knowing the door was open totally changed my attitude from “please don’t notice my mess,” to “welcome to my home; we do laundry here.”
    So again, thank you.

  28. Axl quoting The Giving Tree just made.my.year.

    You Rock.

  29. the video is not playing outside of the USA so I am missing on most of this stage. could you sum up what it is about as your comments after it don’t really shed light on it? thank you

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