Dear Lois, How do I decide who (and what) is allowed in my home?


After a year and a half of this global pandemic, I am finally starting to work with clients in their homes again, and I’m realizing that I am not the same person I was before COVID-19 hit. I now have different values regarding what a home is and how it operates.

An embroidery I have hanging in my house says, “Home is where the heart is. Peace is where the home is.” I think about this often now and have developed a sharper edge when it comes to evaluating what keeps us from feeling peace in our own homes, what needs to be examined and what should possibly be removed or rethought.

I was recently hired by someone to help with the clutter and flow of their home.

Upon entering, I felt how fun, colorful and loving this family was, despite the mess. Yes, there was clutter and dirt, but the “bones” of this home were good. I could tell that it was their love that had gotten them through the hard times of quarantine and now they just needed a little help getting their house under control.

“We can have spotless homes filled with beautiful, expensive things but without heart. I’d rather have a messy home with love than a loveless home that’s clean.”

The cooperation and open-mindedness that this client had toward their house and their desire for it to be a better place was half of the battle won. What mattered most was not visible; they just needed some help decluttering and going through forgotten boxes.

Clutter and habits are a lot easier to address when we are coming from a place of loving-kindness. It is one thing to be fed up with the amount of work that it takes to have a happy home, it’s another thing to let the home truly reflect who you are on the inside. We can have spotless homes filled with beautiful, expensive things but without heart.  I’d rather have a messy home with love than a loveless home that’s clean.

We can’t hold it all, though. We have to be realistic about our approach and evaluate our decisions, big and small.

As I emerge from the worst of the pandemic, I find that there are not enough hours in the day to check off everything on the to-do list. I grew accustomed to a slower pace of life and took the year of quarantine to rebuild and cleanse my home after accepting that there is nothing wrong with asking an abusive partner to leave. This means that I am juggling far more than I used to, but in reality the load was never 50-50. There has been a lot of emotional unpacking and healing involved that takes energy as well.

bathroom with "home is where the heart is peace is where the hope is"
Illustration by Lois Volta.

My home and life have changed so significantly, it is undeniable that I have changed too. Amidst the busy day, there might still be sadness and loss, but there is no doubt that I am experiencing a peace in my home that I never have experienced before, and it’s absolutely lovely.

As I move forward with this new lease on life, it makes it far easier to evaluate what and who comes into my home. When we are tired of living in mess, dysfunction and dirt, it can be worth considering if those you surround yourself with are part of the problem.

I recently had friends over for dinner. Although it appeared that not much had changed in my life, my views on friendship have shifted so drastically after quarantine that I found myself becoming agitated and frustrated at the content and quality of our evening.

I realized that the people in my home had no idea who I was anymore and we had no point of relation like we did before the pandemic. Too much had happened and I didn’t want to ignore that. Never in my life had I asked people to leave my home until this great moment. Never had I seen people get up and leave so quickly with a snide remark: “I hope you can find peace.”

The truth is, I felt peace the moment they left.

Was it wrong to ask them to leave, or would have it been more wrong to grin and pretend like nothing was upsetting me?

I think I made the right choice and I’m proud that I did the hard and uncomfortable thing. Home is sacred and I want to keep it that way.

When we open our homes to our past patterns and relationships, we must be careful and discerning. Use your newfound awareness to let only peace enter and stay in your heart and home. We can elevate to a new standard of behaviors and boundaries when we step into this new way of being.

So next time when you look at your mess and dirt, remember to ask yourself: “Does my home have good bones?”

Lois Volta is a home life consultant, artist and founder of The Volta Way. Send questions to info@thevoltaway.com.

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Latest from #146 July 2021