If you’ve ever decluttered only to have stuff creep back in, this episode is for you! This week, Kathi begins her four-part conversation with Tonya Kubo, founder and fearless leader of the Clutter Free Academy Facebook Group, about how to create a clutter-free home. Kathi and Tonya chat about the power of dedicating each space in your home because you don’t want to live in a house by accident; you want each room to have and serve its purpose.

In this episode, you’ll learn how a little planning goes a long way to creating a clutter-free home. You’ll also learn how to:

  • Reshape each room into what you actually use it for, not what it “should” be for
  • Use anchoring objects as reminders of a room’s purpose
  • Shift from “just surviving” to living with intention in your home


Clutter Free Home

Are you longing for a place of peace from which you can love others well? The Clutter-Free Home: Making Room for Your Life is your room-by-room guide to decluttering, reclaiming, and celebrating every space of your home.

In The Clutter-Free Home, you’ll walk through each room of your house to create organizational zones that are not only functional and practical but create places of peace that reflect your personality.  Kathi will help you tackle the four-step process to reveal the home you’ve always dreamed of, and then transform it into a haven that reflects who you truly are meant to be.

Pre-order your copy of The Clutter-Free Home on Amazon today.

For the Clutter Free Home Book Club, head over to the Clutter Free Academy Facebook Group and join the conversation!

If you want a great leftover tri-tip recipe, check out these ideas.

"People who love to eat are always the best people." Julia Child

That house was a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or storytelling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness. JRR Tolkien

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Clutter Free Academy Podcast #392

Clutter Free Home – Dedicate

<<intro music>>

Kathi – Well, hey friends! Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live everyday with less clutter and more life. With me today is the founder of Clutter Free Academy on Facebook, it’s Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya!

Tonya – Hey Kathi!

Kathi – I’m so excited!

Tonya – Me too!

Kathi – In twenty days, my new book, The Clutter Free Home will be hitting shelves. I am so excited about this book. If you feel loving, you can pre-order it. We’ll have a link in there. We’re going to be talking, for the next four weeks, about the principles contained in Clutter Free Home. I feel like, and I don’t want to overstate things, but I feel like this book changes everything.

Tonya – You know what, I may or may not have read some of it already, and I would agree with that. I am also excited, because, how long has it been since Clutter Free came out?

Kathi – Five years.

Tonya – Five years, and though the principles are timeless, how much has changed in five years?

Kathi – And that’s the thing. That first book was a lot of principles, which is great. We need that. You need it to build a firm foundation. But every day, first of all, people say, “Would you just come to my house?” and I’m like, “No, I won’t come to your house to declutter.”

Tonya – Then they want you to move in.

Kathi – Yeah, they want me to move in. And I’m like, “That’s awkward.”

Tonya – Roger said “no”.

Kathi – But, also, people would say, “If someone would just tell me what to do.” Okay, you wanted to be bossed around. Here we go!

Tonya – Whoo hoo!

Kathi – Now, I know that people are going to think that I’m just going to tell them to just get in and get rid of all their stuff. It is absolutely not what I’m asking you to do. I’m actually asking you to take a moment before you go on all the crazy decluttering, and I want you to come up with a strategy. I’m so excited about this strategy. We’re going to talk, over the next four weeks. Yes, you need to declutter. Yes, we’re going to talk about how do you declutter each room, and we’re going to talk about each room in your house and what it needs. But I want you to do a little planning first. Now, if you want to declutter while you’re planning? Nobody’s going to stop you.

Tonya – Nope. We’re good with that.

Kathi – I understand. We wanna get the things done. But, I want you to have a plan, so here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to take you through the four steps. I know you know these four steps, but I want to talk about them with our listeners, so they can get on this journey. Yeah, you can get rid of everything, but if you don’t have a plan going forward, the clutter is just going to creep back in. So, the first thing we’re going to talk about is this idea of dedicating each room in your house. This is a room by room guide. The actual name is, “The Clutter Free Home: Making Room for Your Life” It’s a room by room guide for making sure that everything in your house has a purpose and a plan. Whether that purpose is just to make you joyful? That’s enough of a reason to keep things in your house, but also, so you can move forward in what you’re doing. So, the first thing we’re going to talk about is Dedicate. What I want to talk to you about Dedicate is, your room is dying for a purpose. Your room wants a purpose. It wants to be able to serve you. I know I’m sounding very airy-fairy and all that kind of stuff, but here’s the thing, it wants to have a purpose. It was designed to have a purpose. Remember, when they were making these houses, my house was built in the 70s. Do you know when your house was built?

Tonya – 1952.

Kathi – Okay. So, in 1952, people ate dinner in the dining room, or the kitchen, whatever that is. They watched TV in the living room. They slept in the bedroom, and whatever they do in the bathroom, they continued to do. But that’s not how we live anymore. The kitchen is also the homework area. The bedroom is also the office. All of that kind of stuff. So, we have to get realistic. In the magazines, on Pinterest, online, you see a kitchen, and it’s set up like you’re a professional cook in there.

Tonya – Right.

Kathi – Yeah, but when my kids were growing up, that was also the homework center. So, was our living room. By the way, everything was the homework center. In my kitchen, I was running my business out of the kitchen. I think it is really important that we actually understand what each room is used for. So, I want us to think through our kitchens, right now.

Tonya – Okay.

Kathi – I want you to think about the top five things that room is used for. Now, for me, I’m just going to tell you this is my little list. I want you to be thinking of your list, Tonya. Okay, so we cook in there. We eat in there, sometimes. Connecting. So, when we have people over, we like to sit around the table and connect. Working. I do a lot of my work in there. That kitchen table is oftentimes my office when I’m there. And storing food. Those are the five things that we do in the kitchen. How about you? What are the things that your kitchen, you actually use it for?

Tonya – Yeah, we do that stuff. But yeah, because we live in a two bedroom, one bath.

Kathi – With four people.

Tonya – So that kitchen table is homework center. It’s where we pay our bills. It’s where I work my business. It’s where my husband plans his IEPs for his students. We store food. We do our meal planning. That kitchen table does everything.

Kathi – It’s everything in your house. I think that’s where we have to get realistic. We say we want our kitchen to just be a kitchen, but then, we have no place to put the bills that we’re paying. We have no place to put our work. So, I think it’s really important to say, “This is what we actually use this room for.” Now, when my kids were growing up, that was homework center, that was all the things. It’s not anymore. So, your room gets to change as your life changes, which is really good. Almost every room in your house, it’s going to be a multi-purpose room. Especially our kitchen, it’s the heart of our home. It’s for cooking and creating and connecting and your words don’t need to be in alliteration, but, you know, you get bonus points. You start to reshape the room into what you want it to be, not what you feel like other people say it should be.

Tonya – Oooh, that’s good.

Kathi – Yeah. So, one of the things I do, I put a list of what we’ve said that room is for. So, if I’m starting to do art projects in that room on a regular basis, I’m like, “That’s not what this room is for. I have other spaces in my house I can do that kind of stuff.” To say, “I need this room to function for what I’ve said.” It’s all about reshaping that. I also want to shape the heart of that room. What I mean by that is, to have things in the room to remind me who’s there, and who I am serving. So, one of the signs I’m getting made, and I’ll put a picture up on the podcast, is for our kitchen. It’s a quote by Julia Child. “People who love to eat are always the best people.” If you’re one of these people that’s like, “I’d love to come over for dinner, but I’m going to bring my own food.” I understand. I respect that. I love to connect over food. I love to connect over Roger’s barbecue, or us making artichoke dip.

Tonya – In case you’re wondering, I like to connect over Roger’s barbecue, too.  FYI.

Kathi – Yes! We had it last night. We did street tacos with tri-tip.

Tonya – Yes, for people outside of California, just “beef”. It’s delicious.

Kathi – It was so good. Then, this morning, you turned that into eggs and vegetables.

Tonya – A little scramble. You have not lived until you’ve had tri-tip and eggs.

Kathi – It was one of my favorite breakfasts ever.

Tonya – We connected over Roger’s barbecue.

Kathi – We did. We love Roger’s barbecue. You know, I’ve done this for other rooms in my house, as well. Like, in my living room, here at The Red House, we have a sign. It’s a quote by JRR Tolkien that he used in one of his books about the hobbits. It says, “That house was a perfect house. Whether you like food, or sleep, or storytelling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.” If I could ever say what I want our house to be. We love food. We love sleep. You will never have a better night’s sleep than you will at The Red House. Storytelling. We’re all writers here, who are writing our books. Singing. We sit around the campfire. Roger plays his guitar and we sing John Denver and it’s just magical. Or just sitting and thinking best. It’s a place of quiet contemplation. That’s the word I was looking for.

Tonya – Quiet contemplation?

Kathi – Yes. That was my five dollar word for the day. To say, “These words set the mood for my room. That’s what I want.” So, do you have any anchoring things in your house?

Tonya – In my kitchen, and it’s not just a floor plan thing, because a lot of times the kitchen is the heart of your home ‘cause of the floor plan. I want my kitchen to be warm. I want my children to want to hang out in the kitchen, while I do all the things you have to do in kitchens. So, I really want warmth in my kitchen because I want my children to want to hang out there. This is so important to me. I have to wash dishes. I have to plan meals and I have to cook. You know? I don’t want them in another room, I want that kitchen to be inviting to them. I could put a desk in the living room. I could put a desk in their bedrooms, but I want to do homework there.

Kathi – I love that. So, whatever the purpose for that room, you have to know the purpose. If you don’t know the purpose, think about it and write it down somewhere. Even if you put it on a little Post It Note on the inside of a cabinet. It’s going to set the mood for it. I’ve got a sign in our house in San Jose that says “Sit long. Talk much.” That’s what I want for my kitchen. I want people to gather and be comfortable there. So, this is the first of four sets that I ask you to go through. Really setting the intention for your house, because it makes all the difference. Instead of, “We’re just surviving.”

Tonya – Right! And so many times, in Clutter Free Academy, people come in and they talk about that there’s not any place for their stuff, and it’s because there’s not any intention behind each room.

Kathi – Right. So, it sounds very high-falutin, but it’s kind of fun to go through your house and set the intention for each room. Ask your kids, “What do you want this room to represent?” So, Abby may not. She may be a little young for this, but Lily could definitely set a plan for her room. Say, “I want to feel energized here.” Or “I want to feel cozy here.” So, here’s what I want, eventually. As you start to clear out the clutter, you start to reshape the heart of that room. So, if cozy is a code word for Lily, are the right blankets in there? What’s the texture she wants? We’re going to talk about that more next time, but to say, “You don’t want to live in a house by accident.”

Tonya – Exactly.

Kathi – You want the rooms to be on purpose. Well guys, this is just the first step. The next four weeks, we’re going to be talking about how you create a clutter free home, and setting the intention. In the show notes, you’ll have a link, so you can pre-order Clutter Free Home: Making Room for Your Life. Guys, we’ll be going through this book together, and we’ll be giving you more details about that. So, go look in our show notes and see how you can sign up for our book club, that we will be doing all together. I cannot wait.

Tonya – Oh my gosh. It’s going to be fun!

Kathi – Your house is going to see a difference. I promise you. Tonya, thanks so much for being on Clutter Free Academy.

Tonya – Thanks for having me.

Kathi – And, friends, thank you for joining us. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.


*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items



Meet Our Guest

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo is the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter Free Academy Facebook group. A speaker and writer, Tonya makes her home in the heart of California with her husband, Brian, their two spirited daughters and one very tolerant cat. Visit her at www.tonyakubo.com or  www.GreatMoms.org

Clutter Free Academy Team

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