Family Resolutions: Sally and David

Family Resolutions: Sally and David
This year, make family first your New Year's resolution.

"I would describe our house as a land mine — you have to really watch where you're stepping," says Sally, mother of three.

Sally maneuvers around the clutter in search of the remote control and then the ringing phone. "We have lots of clutter on the kitchen counters and we have dishes, but they haven't made it to the cabinets," she explains. "There are clothes that I have folded, but they'll probably just stay there until they get used. We don't have a system to do laundry. I couldn't find a bra this morning. Papers come all the time, but things will get neglected because we'll lose bills. That proves to be a big problem in the marriage."

Her husband, David, points out that their 5-year-old daughter is embarrassed to have friends over at the house, and says he wants things to change. "I've always felt that since she's home most of the time, the majority of it is her problem," he admits.

Ironically, Sally organizes people's homes for a living! "I'm a professional organizer and I love to organize. For some reason there is something keeping me from doing it for myself," says Sally. "I go to someone's house and it's a project and I can finish it, but with my own house, I feel like I can't do it alone."
Even Sally's car is filled with clutter. "My car is pretty disgusting," she admits. "I'll go to unload the groceries and I'll miss a couple of bags and sometimes weeks later I'll come across it and it's not like it was when I bought it!"

She adds, "Being a mother comes first before the house. I can always come and clean it up. But it's getting in the way now because I want my kids to be able to enjoy play dates with friends. I'm hoping Dr. Phil can help us learn how to manage our time where we can get it cleaned up and keep it like that. That is our New Year's Resolution. Help us, Dr. Phil!"
Sally says it gets worse with each child they have, but Dr. Phil disagrees. "No. This is beyond that," he says. "A lot of people have three children, five children, seven children, and their house doesn't look like a bomb went off in it. The first time we called you to respond to your letter to the show, you didn't answer because you couldn't find the phone!"

"That is true and it happens every day," says Sally.

"Well that's not an accident. What's your payoff for this? ... Was your mother like this?" asks Dr. Phil.

"No. There's something with me," admits Sally.

"So this isn't a legacy. This originated with you."

"I believe so," she says. Then Sally realizes where it may have started. "It might've been me rebelling against the extreme of them keeping things so clean."

"Boy, you're getting even. I mean there were diapers stuck to the couch!"
"You said over 10 times in your letter, in your interview, 'I just can't get started. If I could just find a place to get started then I could do this.' What's the problem with getting started?" Dr. Phil asks Sally.

"I think I run away from the house. I don't ever want to be there," she says.

"Do you realize that this is not an accident? You have the skill and ability. Something is blocking you from doing that," Dr. Phil tells her. "You said you are rebelling against the perfection that you grew up with. It's like, 'I did all the cleaning I ever wanted to do so I'm just going to like do whatever I want.'"

"I do believe that, yes," says Sally.

"But now your children are living in this. Have you ever lost one of the children?" Dr. Phil jokes. "You don't want them growing up like this ... Didn't you say that your friend's kid refused to get in the car?"

"Oh yeah, he started crying," says Sally. "She told him to hold his nose and get in. Hold his breath."

"Yeah, see, that's not good," says Dr. Phil, who has a surprise for Sally and David. The minute they got on a plane to come to the show, Lowe's Home Improvement started working on their home.A shocked Sally and David look on as they see what's been going on at their house.

"I'm Katherine with Creative Ideas and I'm looking around here and we've got our work cut out for us. Good lord! I'm really glad we ordered the plastic gloves."

The team begins cleaning Sally and David's home. "There is a dirty diaper on the couch," observes one woman.


They create a designated kids' room with all their toys organized in drawers, redo the master bedroom, add storage throughout the house as well as a flat-screen computer, work area and a laundry bin in every room. "Keep it clean!" the Lowe's team implores.
"We're at a great starting point and I'm so excited. I have to keep it clean now — no excuses," says Sally.

"Here's the deal," Dr. Phil tells them. "I'm going to make random unscheduled visits with a camera crew to your house. And you just heard her say, 'You've got to keep it clean.' You know why? Because everything that went in, if we come in there and it's a pigsty, it all comes out," he warns.

"It's a deal," says Sally.