Ep 52 | Meet the Mom of Four that Built a House of Joy Using YouTube | Cara Brookins

August 28th, 2018 · 42 mins 26 secs

About this Episode

Bestselling author Cara Brookins isn't afraid to think big. Learn how building a 3,500 square foot house with her four children using YouTube helped her change her life and help others reach their highest potential.

What’s standing between you and your biggest goal? What’s standing in the way of your highest potential and true success?

If you’ve let the barrier of lack of time, energy, motivation, or lack of skill stop from completing your tidying event or achieving any other major goal in life….this episode is for you.

Today’s Spark Joy guest is Cara Brookins. Not only does Cara live in a tidy 3,500 square foot house of joy that’s beautiful and intentionally designed..she built that house with her four children by hand over nine months using YouTube videos as her guide, overcoming many obstacles along the way. Her bestselling book Rise: How a House Built a Family launched her career as a keynote speaker and media personality. She now helps people understand that reaching your highest potential isn’t just about how hard you work, but about adjusting your mindset and strategy to take full advantage of the hours you’re putting in.

We want to hear from you! Tell us your burning tidying questions or share stories about how KonMari has impacted your life. Find us at www.sparkjoypodcast.com and click “Ask Spark Joy” to leave a question or comment for a chance to be featured on next week’s show.

While you’re there, sign-up to join our Spark Joy podcast community and get notified when each episode airs. You can also join the Spark Joy podcast community on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at the handle @sparkjoypodcast.

In this episode, you’ll enjoy:

  • The events that led Cara to come up with the audacious goal to build her own house in 2008 and her children's reaction to this idea
  • How YouTube tutorials married with Cara's DIY mindset solidified her plan to build her 3,500 square foot, two-story home
  • How Cara convinced a bank to secure a loan and a local builder to sell her supplies without a contractor license
  • The initial reaction Cara received from friends and family when they heard about her goal
  • How Cara balanced the build with a fulltime job as a computer programmer
  • The challenges that showed up and the family communication that thrived
  • How anticipating and considering the worst case scenario helped the Brookins family alleviate fear of the unknown
  • How Cara determined when it was time to call on building professionals during different phases of the build to complement her DIY efforts and ensure her family's safety onsite
  • The history of the name of Cara's home - Inkwell Manor
  • For a peek inside the Inkwell Manor, head over to Spark Joy Instagram Spark Joy Instagram
  • How Cara intentionally only kept things that she loved in her home and separated nostalgia from joy
  • The impact this entire experience had on Cara's four children
  • The transition of Cara's story into a feature film
  • How Cara's experience with domestic violence led her to be the voice for victims, keeping their safety as the primary concern
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−7233
  • The history of Cara's story going viral and her transition to pubic speaking as an extension of her passion for writing

Cara's favorite tidying tip: (DIY tip) Everyone needs a cordless drill that you keep in the house. (Tidying tip) Anytime you go in a room, leave it better than when you went in.

What sparks joy for Cara: Sharing a message in front of an audience and getting to listen to their stories

To connect with Cara visit www.carabrookins.com . You can also find her on Facebook or Twitter and check out her book, Rise: How a House Built a Family.


  • "Day after day, it felt impossible and there was no evidence that we would succeed."
  • "I had to show up every day motivated and determined and positive and certain we could complete it because I had to be that person for the kids."
  • "Any kind of fear of a new circumstance can become absolutely paralyzing."
  • "If you don't take a step forward, you'll stay there forever."
  • "...identify what is the worst case scenario of this thing I'm about to try and can I live with that. If the answer is yes than there is absolutely nothing to fear."
  • "Never hold onto something because it meant something to someone else."
  • "Failure at something [the children] try isn't attached to their own self worth."
  • "Look at yourself. Value yourself and your kids."
  • "Don't wait until it's the right moment, because it never will be...Start doing it now."
  • "Tidying has to come not just in your home, but in your mind."

You can find Karin Socci at The Serene Home
You can find Kristyn Ivey at For the Love of Tidy