SEATTLE -- Kim, who does not want her last name known, used to call it a "dirty secret." Now, the mother of two talks openly about the clutter inside her home.
"It impacts all parts of your life when it gets a little bit out of hand," said Kim. "It is just a really big weight on your shoulders."
Just the sight of clutter overwhelms Kim, and recently, she decided she needed to call in help. She found Kammie Lisenby's company, Seattle Organizing Experts.
"I see this everyday. It is nothing new to me," said Lisenby.
Kim told Lisenby it's not just about cleaning her house, her family needs to make room.
"The really big thing is my parents are going to be moving in with us. They have been really hit hard with the recession," said Kim.
Inside Kim's home, her two kids have lots of toys. She also wants to get her office, garage and the second floor in order before her parents move into the house.
A new book, "Life at Home in the 21st Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors," looked at several issues facing families, including clutter. The book is a result of a decade-long research project where 32 middle class, dual-income families in Los Angeles participated. Researchers affiliated with UCLA's Center for Everyday Lives of Families along with professional anthropologists and archeologists analyzed home video diaries, photos and extensive interviews.
When it comes to clutter, researchers found it was a crushing problem in some households. Among the families studied, only 25 percent of garages could be used to park cars because people were parking their stuff in that space instead.
At Kim's house, the cleaning effort started in the entryway with Lisenby's help. Kim is determined to downsize and get rid of the clutter burden, one box at a time.
"Life at Home in the 21st Century" was published earlier this month.