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New nonprofit aims to help people find 'power in their living space'

News-Gazette - 1/21/2024

Jan. 21—RANTOUL — For people who are elderly, disabled, mentally ill or impoverished, clutter can build up fast. Liza Moore wants to help.

That's why she started Design Interior Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated not only to cleaning, but also helping people build better relationships with their stuff.

"The end result is meant to bring the clients peace — hence the name — to where they can be their authentic selves, be productive and thinking in new ways," Moore said. "A lot of people don't understand what disorder does to your thinking process."

Moore doesn't claim to be an expert in mental health, but her recently completed bachelor's degree in psychology from Southern New Hampshire University has been a "piece of the puzzle" in building her skills.

She has a bachelor's and master's in business as well, but the corporate world ended up not being for her.

"They expected that I would never be ill. They expected that I would never make a mistake. They expected that I would never have a bad day or be grieving for a loss," Moore said. "My work ethic was instilled when I was knee high to a grasshopper. Getting me to work is not difficult, it's the why."

Moore decided that she wanted to build something for herself rather than dealing with poor treatment to support a corporation's bottom line.

Money is one thing, but "I believe the good Lord provides for me, so I don't get out of bed for a paycheck," Moore said.

In 2017, when she lived in Wisconsin, she started Inner Pieces Cleaning Service, an early version of Design Interior Peace that was far more focused on the actual cleaning.

Moore started to realize that there was more to it than just tidying up: hoarding or extremely messy living spaces were a symptom of other things going on in peoples' lives.

After a few years, she moved back to Illinois to be closer to family; Moore has lived in several Illinois cities, but she joined her mother who now lives in Rantoul.

For a while, the cleaning agency seemed like it was out the window.

Between a car accident, the pandemic and moving to a new place, Moore didn't see how she could keep the project going.

That was until she visited a neighbor and thought he could make use of her skills.

"The business resurrected itself," Moore said. "The next thing I know, I've got word-of-mouth appointments from people who have heard what I'm doing and would like my help."

Those "puzzle pieces" from her experience and degrees fell into place: her accounting and business knowledge help her keep everything organized and her psychology knowledge gives her a boost in helping folks with mental-health issues.

Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques are a big part of how Moore feels her work is successful — by changing thought patterns to help change behaviors.

"If you're thinking all the time, 'Well, I'm just a slob,' then that's going to be your environment," Moore said.

Another important facet of what she does is instilling practical cleanliness advice in her clients, because people she works with often weren't taught that growing up or haven't heard such advice in a long time.

For example, Moore helps them find a "home" for each item to be stored in.

In removing clutter, she helps clients prioritize items by making sure they have a purpose, whether it be practical, aesthetic or sentimental.

"If this thing meets all these categories, and this thing over here only maybe meets one, what's the better use of your space? Probably the thing that's functional and pleasing to look at and came from your great-grandson on your 90th birthday, right? Then that's the thing to keep," Moore said.

It isn't always easy; Moore said she's had clients be abusive and resistant to her help because they're dealing with their own mental-health struggles or have other things going on in their lives.

She'll work with clients for months at a time, working toward goals to get them in a place where they don't need her any more.

Moore said she sticks with it because seeing their improvement is so rewarding.

"I really want people to know that there's power in their living space," Moore said. "If they're not feeling empowered, it can be uncovered. Asking for help is OK; we all need help sometimes."


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