594 – What I Learned About Clutter in 2023 that Will Change My Relationship with Stuff in 2024: Part 2

Do you struggle with trusting yourself when it comes to living clutter-free?

Kathi Lipp and her cohost Tonya Kubo are here for you! In part 2 of “What I Learned About Clutter in 2023 that Will Change My Relationship with Stuff in 2024,” Kathi and Tonya give us tips #2 and #3 to know and trust yourself regarding your clutter-free journey.

Listen in and learn:

  • The importance of community
  • Kathi and Tonya’s personal challenges with clutter
  • Kathi’s solution to the problem that plagues so many of us!

Kathi mentions the virtual Abundant Home Conference that is a BONUS when you sign up for Clutter-Free for Life. You’ll find that information here.

Want to know tip #1 from Part 1 of today’s episode? Click here.

Be sure to sign up here and be notified when the next episode is released.



Join Clutter Free for Life Today! 

What if you were able to create a life where you not only got rid of the clutter in each room of your house but were able to stay on top of it?

What if you learned to organize in a way that made sense to you so that once you decluttered, you could find the things that were important enough to keep?

What if you could live in a house that was at peace?

You’ve been thinking about how this will be the year to finally declutter your house and create the home you’ve always dreamed of. One that is filled with peace instead of stuff.

Is the idea of changing your home something you’d like to start working on? Because, right now, I have a plan that will show you how: Clutter Free for Life

The Clutter Free for Life annual membership is on sale right now for $118 (regular price is $299 or $24.99 per month) from Nov. 28 to Dec. 8. It returns to its regular price on Dec. 9, so join today!

Do you have a wrapping paper solution? Share your answer in the comments!

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Meet Our Guest 


Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo is the illustrious and fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter Free Academy Facebook group and the Clutter Free for Life membership program. 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.


(time stamps reflect the recording being one recording edited into two pieces)
Kathi (14:50.978)
Okay, number two, the second thing I’ve learned, and I feel like you’ve been the main instructor to me on this, but I see it coming through in my own life. This is gonna be a mantra in Clutterfree forever, is trust your creativity. Okay, Tanya, I’ll share how it changed.

Tonya Kubo (15:09.708)
Ha ha

Kathi (15:17.507)
my thinking but I want to hear from you first because I really heard this from you.

Tonya Kubo (15:18.261)

Tonya Kubo (15:23.896)
It’s like…

We’re so afraid. So you have said before, clutter oftentimes is closeted perfectionism, right? We’re so afraid of doing things wrong, right? And so what ends up happening, and I’m just gonna speak from my own perspective, because growing up with a hoarder for a mom, it took a while, but at some point in my mid-20s, I realized I did not have a picture.

Kathi (15:34.41)
Yes, 100%.

Kathi (15:40.33)

Tonya Kubo (15:53.724)
of what like a normal house looked like and how that normal house looked normal, like day in day out, right? And so you’re, you know, I’m doing what everybody does. I’m subscribing to Martha Stewart magazine and real simple. And that was back in the days before Pinterest. But you know, once Pinterest came along, I’ve got the Pinterest boards and I’m constantly trying to make every space I live in look like these pictures when I don’t live in a space that looks like those pictures. I’ve lived in two houses now that don’t

Kathi (15:58.99)
Mm-hmm, right.

Kathi (16:17.514)
Yeah. No.

Tonya Kubo (16:22.252)
have like two closets in the whole house. And so the idea of trusting your own creativity came from when I hired a professional organizer at a real, to me, a very outrageous rate. And she came in and she was like, I can’t do anything, you don’t have storage. And so the whole appointment was spent with her and an Ikea catalog going through all the storage solutions I needed. And that was the first time I thought, oh.

Kathi (16:25.09)

Tonya Kubo (16:51.132)
It’s not me, it’s the space. And then I need to think about how I use this space, how I want to use this space. And you know what, how I use spaces, Kathy, doesn’t look like any Pinterest board I’ve ever seen. But it works for me. So that’s where I came up with the whole, like, okay, I just have to trust my own creativity. And if somebody else has a more creative solution, I am here for it, but I’m not gonna try to live my life according to magazines anymore.

Kathi (16:52.714)
Right. Yeah.

Kathi (16:57.838)

Kathi (17:05.514)
No, no, yes.

Kathi (17:11.84)

Kathi (17:15.789)

Kathi (17:20.042)
Well, let me tell you how it has changed me is I don’t need to keep all the stuff I’m keeping just in case. I don’t know if this is a problem for anybody else or it’s just me, wrapping paper. Why is wrapping paper

Tonya Kubo (17:21.99)

Tonya Kubo (17:41.916)
No, that is a problem for everybody. Okay, I’m sure there’s like 200 people on the planet it’s not a problem for. But wrapping paper in the US, it’s a thing.

Kathi (17:49.044)
Yeah, okay.

It’s a real thing. And finally, I was like, okay, I feel dumb because I’ve had some of this wrapping paper for 10 years. What is going on? What is my damage? And then I get, that’s the Christmas wrapping paper and then it comes time to wrap a birthday present and I have no wrapping paper, none, none whatsoever. So like one of the things I have done now is I buy red and cream checked paper.

and that if it’s your birthday, you get red and cream checked paper. If it’s Christmas, if it’s Valentine’s, if it’s 4th of July, that is the paper you’re getting. And so I, but I was always afraid of using up the rest of my Christmas paper. And it’s like, no, Cathy, there’s an endless supply of Christmas paper that you will never be without. But also, if I needed to wrap something, I…

I could wrap it in a piece of fabric. I could hide it in a closet with a big bow on it. Like there are a thousand ways to give a gift. I don’t need to have, you know, there are people who have gift wrapping rooms. I don’t give that many gifts. I think I’m a generous person, but no, I do not give that many gifts. And right, right?

Tonya Kubo (18:52.322)

Tonya Kubo (19:09.27)

Tonya Kubo (19:15.592)
I don’t have that many rooms in my house.

Kathi (19:19.942)
And so, but I trust my own creativity. I don’t need to have every ingredient under the sun because I don’t have to make that kind of risotto. I can trust my creativity. If I’m making asparagus risotto and I don’t have asparagus, broccoli will work. Like I trust myself to figure these things out. I don’t need to have a hundred different options that I am.

Tonya Kubo (19:39.096)

Kathi (19:48.746)
I’m a wise, creative, thinking person. And if I can’t think of another solution, you know what I can do? I can Google another solution. You know, I don’t have buttermilk. Well, I can pour some vinegar into real milk and we’re gonna be fine. Like I can trust myself that I can come, I can solve the issue at hand. And I don’t have to keep everything everywhere all the time.

And I think that that’s pretty genius. Okay, and this is number three. I have to know my challenges so I can adapt. This is kind of like your Ikea thing. The Ikea catalog. You didn’t realize the challenge that was before you was not that Tanya’s stupid, not that Tanya can’t figure it out, not that Tanya isn’t brilliant, it’s that Tanya has no storage.

Tonya Kubo (20:19.677)

Tonya Kubo (20:42.324)
I’m sorry.

Tonya Kubo (20:48.938)
Well, I really thought I was lazy, right? Like, and now organizers like, I don’t know how you’re so lazy, you’re not going to make storage. Like, that doesn’t even make sense.

Kathi (20:50.926)
Right? Yeah.

Kathi (20:56.99)
Yeah, right? So knowing that challenge, you know, right now, I’m going through a little back challenge. And it’s like, OK, you know what? So I’m going to have a really hard time bending over to grab things right now. Well, you know what? I just ordered like a, I did, like an octatigerian. And you know what? There are 80-year-olds who are way more limber than I am.

Tonya Kubo (21:16.845)
You ordered to grab her! You ordered to grab her!

Kathi (21:25.782)
But I ordered a grabber! Because…

Tonya Kubo (21:28.524)
I was gonna order one last year when I had surgery. And if I’d known I wasn’t gonna be able to sit up for two weeks, I totally would have done that. Yeah.

Kathi (21:31.719)

Kathi (21:37.01)
Yeah, right. You know what? There will and as a vertically well, no, I’m not vertically challenged I am 5’6 and the national average for women is 5’5 But our homes are not built for the average height neither are women’s pants But that’s another rant that we will talk about another day Yeah, yes But you know what? There are sometimes things I need on the top shelf and right now i’m using extra long tongs

Tonya Kubo (21:56.824)
253, I get it, I get it.

Kathi (22:06.502)
Maybe I could upgrade just a little bit from there. Excuse me. Dude, I have the combo. I have the step stool and the extra long tongs. Like I’ve got it all over. Like to get into my bathtub, I’ve got a step stool. Okay, so recently we went on vacation with some friends, Susie and Robert, and they have a giant truck.

Tonya Kubo (22:06.787)

Tonya Kubo (22:11.42)
I use a step stool. Always have a step stool. I should just carry it with me, because I’m always…

Kathi (22:35.49)
And it’s, yes. So I had to carry around my little step stool all through, every time we stopped at Yosemite so that I could get out. And Moose is looking at like, come on, mom, let’s go. It’s just the stupidest thing, it really was. Okay, but know your challenges. So besides the lack of space, what would you say?

Tonya Kubo (22:35.776)
They do. I’ve seen that truck.

Tonya Kubo (22:41.211)

Tonya Kubo (22:47.032)
Ha ha ha!

Kathi (23:03.922)
I’ll tell you one of my challenges and I want to hear another one of yours, but one of mine Well, this is one we share we both had hoarders as parents And so, you know we had to we had to relearn what that looked like I will also say one of my challenges and I want to hear yours is That I am not very visual, you know There’s that test that’s been going around on social media when you close your eyes. Yeah, I can’t picture anything

Tonya Kubo (23:29.384)
Yeah, fail.

Kathi (23:33.618)
You know, one is like, I can imagine the whole scene and five is it’s all darkness. And I’m a, it’s all darkness girl. And so I really think that I cannot visualize what a space is going to look like. And that’s a challenge for me. So I have to ask my more talented friends. And I just wish I was hipper, but that’s not it. What do you feel like one of your challenges is?

Tonya Kubo (23:38.962)

Tonya Kubo (23:46.988)

Tonya Kubo (23:51.518)


Tonya Kubo (23:57.532)
Okay, so this is straight up child of a hoarder is I so I call it living small and I love the fact that I’m married to a man who I was able to explain it to him and he gets it. I there’s rooms I won’t go into for months or like if I go into the garage I will genuinely not see anything in the garage with the washer and dryer because that’s what I went in there for and then one day I go out there and where’d all this stuff come from Kathy lip.

Kathi (24:00.372)

Kathi (24:26.338)

Tonya Kubo (24:26.756)
Why is it like this? And I’m losing my marbles. It had been there the whole time. I just didn’t see it. So like the other day, I go to open a window. I have a window by my bed, but it’s on the opposite side that I sleep on. And up until about, say the bottom of the mattress is just this big pile of clothes and toys. Abby had been over there. She like plays over there. Well, I never go over there. I had no idea.

Kathi (24:38.636)

Kathi (24:55.096)

Tonya Kubo (24:57.868)
right? And Brian is just like, that has been a slow building pile for about three months now, Tonya. But it’s like it may as well be the end of the earth, Kathy. I just never go on the opposite side of the bed. And so it’s one of those things that I’ve been working on in 2023 is visiting every part of my- my house is small people, my house is two bedrooms, but making sure I visit every part of my house like at least every other day.

Kathi (25:08.471)

Kathi (25:18.839)

Kathi (25:26.398)
Yeah, this is not Wadsworth mansion, guys. This is.

Tonya Kubo (25:29.093)
No it’s not! The other side of the bed is like, you know, I never have to go there. Bray, it’s like, why do you think I like jump from the bottom of the bed? I’m like, I don’t know, I just thought that’s how you like to get in bed.

Kathi (25:46.158)
Oh my goodness. Okay, you’re killing me. You’re killing me. Okay.

Tonya Kubo (25:49.408)
So I just want to point out, I am not just the leader of Clutterfree Academy, I am still a card carrying member.

Kathi (25:56.734)
Yes, but you know what, but isn’t your life better than it was before? Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (26:00.304)
Oh, it’s so much better. Well, you know what? It’s so much better because I’m not alone. I mean, I tell people that all the time when they join Calligraphy Academy because they’re like, you know, I am the only person who blah, blah. And like, no, you’re not. We got like 14,999 other people here just like you who thought they were the only person. I thought I was the only person for years. And yeah. And so I love our community because they remind me how far I’ve come, but they also remind me how far I have to go.

Kathi (26:18.09)
Right. Yeah.

Kathi (26:29.898)
Yes. Now earlier you mentioned that in Clutter Free for Life, which is our paid program, we get a little bit deeper, a little bit more intentional, there’s a little bit more accountability. What really is the difference between Clutter Free Academy, which is our free program, and Clutter Free for Life?

Tonya Kubo (26:36.553)

Tonya Kubo (26:51.588)
You know, Clutterfree Academy is come one, come all, right? You can be any stage of clutter. You can be on the hoarding spectrum, whatever. You say you have a clutter problem, we believe you. That’s fine. And you can focus on your clutter. You can not focus on your clutter. That’s fine too. In Clutterfree Academy, so that is for, you know, I always say it, I built, you built it too, but you know, I’ve always taken ownership over it. I’m like, I built the program I desperately needed.

Kathi (27:17.037)


Tonya Kubo (27:20.86)
Um, which is there’s not just a lot more accountability, but we’re pretty blunt about it. We get that life happens, but this is a program for people who are ready for clutter to be a today battle and not a someday battle. And I don’t say like, like we don’t kick somebody out because they broke their leg and can’t move around for six months. And we just had a member who isn’t allowed to put any weight on her leg. Right. That’s not what I mean, but it’s not a place where.

Kathi (27:34.925)

Tonya Kubo (27:48.204)
people aren’t actively pursuing a different relationship with their stuff. So that’s the first thing. So everybody in there is just as committed to you are. They’re just as focused on progress over perfection. There’s no armchair experts who want to tell everybody else how to live. I mean, we don’t really have that in Clutterfree Academy either, but… And there’s tools. I’m very protective of my cluttery people. You cannot be mean to my people.

Kathi (28:07.018)
We may, but we squash them down and kick them out.

Kathi (28:15.976)
Yes, you are

Tonya Kubo (28:18.624)
But in Clutterfree for life, you know, I get, I get it. I get that you wake up every day overwhelmed and feeling like you have lost before you ever started the race. And so we have a calendar that gives you a focus for every single day. We have tracking sheets for those who like to keep track. You know, one thing that came up in Clutterfree Academy recently, cause we shared one of the members only tracking sheets in there. People were like, oh my gosh, that’s so overwhelming. I don’t wanna count stuff. It’s like, if it doesn’t work for you, that’s fine.

Kathi (28:29.015)

Tonya Kubo (28:48.576)
But in Clutter Free for Life, we’ve developed these resources that kind of work with every sort of brain type. There’s the people that like to check boxes. There’s the people that don’t want to check boxes. There’s the people who need to be told, this is what you’re doing today. There’s the people who want more freedom. We’ve got something for all of them. And then the other thing that I feel like, so there’s two things, because I’m not a checklisty person. The two things that I think are most valuable is, first and foremost, it’s the community. It’s the other people.

Kathi (29:10.342)

Kathi (29:17.806)

Tonya Kubo (29:18.016)
rolling up their sleeves, doing the same thing you’re doing in a different house, in a different town, in a different state, sometimes a different country at the same time. There is so much community. Like, I mean, it’s like we have men and women, so I don’t wanna say it’s a sisterhood or a brotherhood, but it’s a fraternal organization of cluttering people is what it is.

Kathi (29:25.119)

Kathi (29:38.142)
Right. Yes.

Tonya Kubo (29:40.72)
And then we have the coaching and see, and that’s where we go deep. Every week we do a coaching session and it’s not the kind of coaching that some people, it’s not like a Facebook Live. We do Facebook Lives a lot in Clutterfree Academy, but we actually all get together on Zoom. We see each other’s faces. We’re in our real life spaces. Some people don’t put their camera on because they’re not comfortable with people knowing how they live. That’s fine, we don’t judge them. But that’s where we talk about like, how do you apply what we’re trying to do here?

Kathi (29:58.99)
Mm-hmm, which is fine.


Tonya Kubo (30:10.504)
in clutter-free academy to the daily ups and downs of life. How do you have a clutter-free home when you have a medically fragile child and that child has more medical equipment than you have space in any room in your house? What does that look like? What does it look like when your water heater blows up and everything that was in your basement now needs to be moved somewhere else? Those are the kinds of problems we solve and they seem silly to some people, but they’re real.

Kathi (30:23.263)


Kathi (30:29.285)

Kathi (30:33.037)

Tonya Kubo (30:39.676)
and they’re deep and I love the fact that it’s a small enough group that we can serve at that level.

Kathi (30:41.07)

Kathi (30:46.49)
Yes. And so, you know, guys in clutter free for life, there is coaching every single week, you can take advantage of it, or you can do it when you need it. There is accountability. And there are people to cheer you on when you’re making progress and to help you up when you’ve fallen down because that happens too. But in clutter free for life, people are making a real difference, not just in their homes, but in their lives. And it’s incredibly cool to see.

Tonya Kubo (31:12.536)

Kathi (31:15.782)
A year membership, well, year membership normally is, it’s normally month to month. The rest of the year it’s month to month, right? Oh, oh that’s right. Okay, so yes, but yes, I got a little confused there, but it’s going on sale. So Tanya, can you give us the deal on that?

Tonya Kubo (31:23.616)
Well, you can buy it, no, you can buy it annually for $299 a year.

Tonya Kubo (31:30.749)
Or $24.99 a month.

Tonya Kubo (31:39.943)
Yes. So from November 28th until December, I’m looking at my calendar right now, December 8th, so November 28th to December 8th, you can get the annual plan for $118. So that is $118 a year. The price.

of the membership when you enroll is the price that you were grandfathered in forever. So it will automatically renew every year at one 18 a year. It’s less than 10 bucks a month. And and I always because I like I’ll be honest, there’s no membership I’ve ever joined Kathy that I have done 11 out of 12 months. Right. So I love the fact that at under $10 a month, you get hurt, something happens and you need to take a few months off. You don’t feel like all is lost.

And we’re so nice. Like you just come back in and you say, hey, I’m restarting. And we’re like, okay, how can we help? Where can we jump in? Let’s do it. And you’ve got a great team there. You know, you’re coaching in person, like in person by Zoom twice a month. We’ve got Deanna, we’ve got Grace, you’ve got me. We’ve got like a whole off Facebook platform. It’s just an incredible time.

Kathi (32:48.45)
Yeah, it really is. And so guys, oh, and we have one other little fun bonus that if you wanna join us.

Tonya Kubo (32:56.504)
Oh yes, why do I always forget that? In March, so you join now, but in March, you get to go to the Abundant Home Conference for free. That is a virtual half-day conference. So about every hour on the hour, give or take, we have a new session that starts and we’re talking about gardening, we’re talking about home, we’re talking about like all sorts of things because the problem…

Kathi (33:01.28)

Kathi (33:07.991)

Kathi (33:15.007)

Tonya Kubo (33:25.212)
that we discovered early on, right, Kathy, is everybody wants to delay living until their house looks a certain way. And so the Abundant Home Conference is really about appreciating and loving the space you live in during the journey.

Kathi (33:30.698)
Yeah. Right. And.

Kathi (33:40.534)
Yeah, we’re not about that life. We’re not waiting to live until you can eat off our floors. And who wants to eat off of floors anyway, guys? So yeah, not me. So here’s the deal, guys. The link is in the show notes. And you just click over there. You’ll get it for 118. There’s a 30 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee. And guys, it’s…

Tonya Kubo (33:43.208)

Kathi (34:10.438)
it’s changing lives. So we’re really going to encourage you to jump over there. Tanya, thanks so much for hanging out with me.

Tonya Kubo (34:17.085)
Thanks for having me and I’ll say one more thing, my contact information is also going to be in the show notes and if you have questions about the program, if you’re not sure if it’s for you, if you’re worried about anything, just drop me a line, I’d be happy to talk to you.

Kathi (34:30.07)
I love that. You know what, guys, I highly recommend. Talking to Tanya is awesome. So yeah, go and ask her any of the questions. Tanya, thanks so much for being here today.

Tonya Kubo (34:40.876)
Thanks for having me.


Clutter Free Academy Team

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