#403 Ready for Anything Week 2: Creating Your 3 Day Bug Out Bag and a 5 Minute Plan

#403 Ready for Anything Week 2: Creating Your 3 Day Bug Out Bag and a 5 Minute Plan

Kathi helps her friend and brand new prepper, Tonya Kubo, plan for any crisis. Kathi pulls wise advice from her new book, Ready For Anything: Preparing Your Heart and Home For Any Crisis Big or Small, to help Tonya and you prepare for any emergency that may come your way. Friend, we want you to be prepared, not scared.

Today you will learn:

  • The purpose of having a three day “bug out bag” and how to put it together.
  • What the “five minute plan” is and why you want to include your whole family in it.

Ready For Anything

Bad stuff happens all the time but this doesn’t mean we have to live in constant fear.

Ready for Anything: Preparing Your Heart and Home for Any Crisis Big or Small gives finite simple steps for being proactive rather than reactive—helping you prepare their mind, heart and home for any unfortunate circumstance. Full of stories and humor along with facts, tips and lists, Kathi offers a down-to-earth guide that will show you how to face the unexpected with confidence, relying on God’s strength and plan rather than giving in to fear and anxiety.

Her step-by-step plan is easy to implement and will help anyone become a better steward of their resources as well as be the neighbor who can help in a crisis rather than needing help themselves. Kathi’s goal is to equip you to be the front line of helpers in any crisis from a natural disaster to a friend’s job loss.

Pre-order your copy of Ready For Anything here.

Pre-Order Bonuses Include

   

  • A two-week meal plan, including shopping lists, freezer inventory and pantry inventory.
  • Five-day Homeschool Curriculum.
  • Our two-week course “Kickstart to Clutter Free.”
  • AND a curated set of sample chapters from the book, so that you can get started right now.

Links

Learn more about Ready For Anything and all of the fun pre-order bonuses!

Want to know what’s included in her bug out bag? Click here to download the list.

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

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. Tonya Kubo is the Online Engagement Director at the University of California Merced, as well as the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group.

Transcript

Read along with the Podcast!

 

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #403

 

Ready for Anything – Part TWO

 

<<intro music>>

 

Kathi – Well hey, friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. Here we are in the midst of our series, talking about how to be prepared for any crisis, big or small. We’re talking Ready for Anything and I am here with my new prepper friend, Tonya Kubo. Did we talk, in the last episode, about the care package you’re receiving?

 

Tonya – We did not.

 

Kathi – Well, I think you need to tell people about the care package. Somebody deeply loves you and this is what they’re sending you. 

 

Tonya – I don’t know if you want to call me The Baby Prepper or the Novice Prepper, but I have someone who loves me so much, that lives in a different state, and understands what’s going on in our world right now. I’ve been to a grocery store, when it opens, every single day this week, and cannot find toilet paper for sale; cannot get shampoo and conditioner. So, I am receiving, from what it looks like in the picture, about 12 rolls of toilet paper, two rolls of paper towels, a box of Kleenex, a box of dryer sheets and a box of laundry detergent.

 

Kathi – Ooh, that’s so good. So good. How grateful are you that there are people in the world? I call it philateliphobia. So, philatelic is postage stamps. There are a lot of people that are scared of going to the post office. That’s not their thing. Your friend does not have those restrictions in her area yet. She’s able to go.

 

Tonya – This is love.  She made this offer Monday night, and I was, “No. We’ll be fine.” Then, yesterday, she was, “Okay, be honest.” And I’m like, “Yes. I do need toilet paper, because apparently everyone in my town has lost their mind and I can’t find it.” Then she was like, “Since I’m mailing you something anyway, what else can I put in there?” And it truly is a gift. We talk about being ready for anything, and I know we’re going to talk about that in the episode, but this is not a reality that I ever would have imagined, even if I was the prepper of my dreams.

 

Kathi – Right! I wrote an entire book, where I don’t believe I mentioned a pandemic. That was not on my mind. Here’s the thing. The ideas in the book, the crux of the book, the theory of the book applies to any emergency. Each emergency is going to have a different ‘living it out’ situation. So, in the last episode, we talked about being prepped 3-2-3. So, the first 3 is Three Days, if you had to leave your house. The thing is, this is real life for me. We live in the mountains where, at any point, if we know there’s a snowstorm coming, we can either choose to hunker down for two weeks until the snow melts, hopefully. Right now, our generator is running like crazy. It costs us $100 a day to run our generator. Nobody’s living there, right now. So, it’s interesting, all these things we have to balance. You might have to leave your house because of a fire. You might have to leave your house because of a tornado. One of your kids might get sick, and immediately, you have to go meet them somewhere. There are million different reasons that you might have to leave your house for three days, one day, longer, but if you have a Three Day Bag to get out, you will be better prepared. So, I want to talk through what’s in that Three Day Bag, then I want to talk about another aspect of this called The Five Minute Plan. So, first of all, I want to talk about the Three Day Bag. So, this is really, “What do you need – REALLY – to live for three days away from your house?” So, certain things like water. A gallon a day per person. So, having that available. Food. Non-perishable and easy to prepare. So, I’m thinking food packets and things like that. Other things that should either be in your car, or readily available, so like a flashlight. A hand crank radio. People thought I was crazy for suggesting these thing until we got into what’s going on in the world right now. Now I seem a lot less crazy. My crazy factor has gone down, for some reason.

 

Tonya – My crazy factor has gone up. People used to think I was so practical. I don’t feel very practical right now, when somebody has to mail me toilet paper from out of state.

 

Kathi – Like we said. Who could have known? I have more toilet paper than your average bear, but let’s be clear: I haven’t bought toilet paper since this started. I think I bought one package, because we’re at my mom’s house and we’re not at home, but here’s the deal. I had plenty, because I had stocked up before. Now, when I tell people to stock up, I bet more people will listen to me. This is not to gloat or to brag, it’s so I can share. I want to be able to share with other people.

 

Tonya – I know, Kathi, we’re detailing what’s in the Three Day Bugout Bag, but I do feel like the words ‘stock up’ can be so relative. So, just in this context, when you say ‘Stock up on toilet paper.” What’s reasonable? Is it a roll/person/day or is it a roll/person/week?

 

Kathi – I would feel that, Roger and I are probably close to a roll or a roll and a half per week. To me, that feels reasonable. But you know what? Your needs may vary depending on diet, exercise, where you’re at, your age. Who knows?

 

Tonya – It was very eloquent, how you framed that.

 

Kathi – It’s interesting. I want people to be prepared. I want you to be prepared before the disaster hits, so you’re just doing a few little things to get you through, instead of having to buy from scratch. That’s so important.

 

Tonya – That’s so good.

 

Kathi – Okay, so we have this whole list that I want to share with you guys, about what you would need in your Bugout Bag. Here’s the principle behind it, guys. I want you to have one bag for every member of your family. So, that means, Roger and Kathi have four bags. We have Roger. We have Kathi. We have Ashley, the cat, and we have Moose the boxachi. So, that means we have food for each of them. We have a bow for each of them. Now, the Red Cross says you should have a gallon of water per human or animal. I agree, we should have a gallon of water per human, but my animals are not big. Moose can get lost very easily in our house. She’s barely ten pounds. So, we don’t quite need a gallon of water for her, every day, ‘cause she’s not going to be bathing or anything like that. So, figure that out and be smart. The thing is, you don’t know if you’re going to have to be away from your house for a day. Tonya, you and I know somebody that had to be evacuated and is going to be away from their house for six months. I can’t even imagine. They’re living internationally. So, thinking through your particular scenario and what would I need? So, we’re going to offer this list to each and every one of you. The other thing I would say is, I would love for you to have a bag where you put a list in the bag of items that you need to grab. So, these are things that you wouldn’t have set aside, like an emergency kit. Stuff like your passport, cash, your wallet, your cellphone and charger, maybe even your laptop and charger. Just a list that you’re not going to have to decide in the moment. You know my story from when our house was on fire. We were the people where, somebody was yelling, “Fire! Fire! Fire!” Roger and I were working from home. We run outside, barefoot, both of us, the only thing we have besides the clothes on our back is our dog Jake and my cell phone. We’re standing out there, on the grass, watching two doors down – ‘cause we live in townhouses, or we did until a week ago – and our neighbor’s townhouse is on fire. Our next door neighbor is getting the smoke and the water damage and all of that. It’s creeping over to our house. So, we get out, and we’re so grateful, but here was the problem. It was the first day of college, and we didn’t know Jeremy’s schedule, so I look at Roger, and was like, “Jeremy didn’t come home from school, did he?” He goes, “No, we would have heard him.” And just as he was saying “…heard him…” Roger ran back into the house and about 30-seconds later, here comes Roger running out of the house with Jeremy close behind him. Roger would like it noted, for posterity, that he ran into a burning building to get his child. Not even knowing if he was there. It’s pretty hard to get around the fact that we left our child in a burning building, but grabbed the dog. That’s not a good scenario, so now we know, if we’re leaving a burning building, check to see that all the humans are coming with us. We overestimate our ability to make decisions in an emergency. That’s why we want to be ready for anything. We want to be able to ask those kinds of things. So, Tonya, what’s the most likely scenario where you’d have to leave your house, do you think?

 

Tonya – I think, in our neighborhood that we live in, it would actually be a windstorm, knocking down trees. It’s an old neighborhood. Lots of trees close together. It’s actually happened, where trees just start toppling into each other and on to homes. So, of course, when I talk about the disaster preparedness of my brain is not the disaster preparedness of my reality, because I have been in that place of, “If we had to evacuate, it would be because our structure was in danger. Could we get to our car? Could we get off the street in time?” But that’s where we were last year. We had to spend a lot of money cutting back our trees because that happened in our neighborhood, and we woke up one morning to loud crashes. Some people had half a house.

 

Kathi – We had that happen, not just where we lived in San Jose, but also where I grew up. It was a disaster. For us, it’s fire. We live in the mountains and the forest, and it’s fire. So, we need to be ready for anything at any point. So, that’s one of the concepts. So, on the podcast page, we’re going to have the list of everything that should be in your Bugout Bag. I want you to start preparing this now. I know the book is coming out later, but I need my friends, I need my people to know what they need to have set aside, so they are not in a panic. So, I want to give you this list so everybody can have it.

 

Tonya – I think that’s beautiful, Kathi. The other thing is, here’s our new mantra, and I’m just going to declare it. “We’re going to be prepared, not scared.”

 

Kathi – Amen, sister.

 

Tonya – I think that, I know for a fact that there is a lot of hesitance against preparation, or against preparation conversations, ‘cause we don’t want to think about it. We don’t want to face how unprepared we are, but some of us are living that lack of preparation, not to name any names, but I think it starts with a ‘T’. I’ve read the book, and I love that it’s not shaming. You’ve been so kind to me through this whole thing. You would have mailed me toilet paper.

 

Kathi – I would have, yes.

 

Tonya – I think the idea of just having a bag. You know what I think, it’s no difference than raising kids and having a diaper bag. When you’ve got babies, I’m fairly certain there were times when I had five days’ worth of stuff, because we went through five days’ worth of stuff in one trip to the grocery store.

 

Kathi – Right! Absolutely. I get that. Here’s the thing. First of all, there’s no reason to shame anybody for not being on the same level of being prepared. Two years ago, I would not have been this prepared. Let’s just be super-clear. But here’s the other part of it: even if you’re 1% more prepared today than you were yesterday, that’s going to give you such an advantage in a crisis. That’s what I want for each person listening here. The other thing that goes along with getting out of the house really quickly, is this concept of The Five Minute Plan. Let me tell you what I mean by that. So, I want to know, in an emergency, in a crisis, in a disaster, what are you going to do for the first five minutes? So, the most likely crisis that any of us are going to confront, I think, is, someone in our family is going to lose their job. Let’s be clear. That’s not fun. It’s a scary time. I think I’ve told you, Tonya, I have a history of the major bread winner in our family, losing their job. My dad was chronically unemployed. My first husband lost his job a couple of times. I’ve got this very tender spot in my heart. Now, I am married to the most…

 

Tonya – Stable Steady Eddie.

 

Kathi – Exactly. He’s been at the same job for over thirty years. Who does that? In Silicon Valley, who does that? Still, we’ve had the discussion, if he comes home and has to tell me that he’s lost his job, what is our Five Minute Plan? So, we’ve got a three part Five Minute Plan. So the first thing we’re going to do is, we’re going to pray together. We want to get our hearts right. Number two: Roger is going to spend those first five minutes of starting the process of liquidating some of emergency funds for the next couple of months. So, how do we do that? Start gathering things up. Me? I’m going to start cancelling everything I can cancel. If it is not essential to our survival, it’s being cancelled. Here’s what I’m really going to encourage you guys to do. Think through what is your most likely scenario. Is it an earthquake? Is it job loss? Is it fire? Then say, “What is our Five Minute Plan?” Tonya, I really want to encourage you, who has two small kids, a couple of whom we can hear right now. Hey! This is live. This is podcasting. This is what we’re doing.

 

Tonya – This is real life right now.

 

Kathi – It’s life. We’re all cohabitating with our coworkers. So, I want you to think through, if there is a crisis in your house, not only what are Brian and Tonya’s first five minutes, but I want to hear what Lily and Abbie’s first five minutes are like. What can they do? Could Lily count up the change in the jug that you throw all the change into, so you know exactly how much that is? Could Abbie put on a show or music that everybody in the family likes so you can all calm down? Could Lily make a snack for everybody? Even if it’s just cheese and crackers. So, that there’s rations. Every kid needs a job. Everybody in the house needs a job in that circumstance.

 

Tonya – You know what I like about that, Kathi? Everybody gets a job. On one hand, it alleviates the pressure from our listener. I don’t know about anybody else, but I have a tendency to feel like it’s all on me. That can be so overwhelming that I don’t know what the next step is. So, first of all, it does that, but second, I do believe, and I’m seeing this first hand, when people have a job to do that’s all theirs, it really does help them manage the stress of the situation. So, in our house, for instance, one of the conversations that has occurred this week is, we have to get all of our laundry caught up. If all the laundry is caught up, we have a better sense of what we have for clothing. Do we have two pairs of pants that fit the five year old? Or does she have five pairs of pants that fit? So in a scenario you described, like job loss, the pantry and freezer inventory is huge. That’s one of the preorder bonus for Ready for Anything. Being able to have it all in one spot. Here’s what’s in my pantry. Here’s what’s in my freezer. Here’s the two week meal plan. Here are recipes that work with that. Being able to hand your ten year old or 13 year old a list and just say, “Hey, can you check off all the ingredients we have and circle what we don’t have?” Huge.

 

Kathi – And when you are purposeful and not panicking. I don’t want to guilt anyone for being panicky. We’ve got people in our lives right now, who are scared. They are just scared. I get it. I just get it. We’re not in that position, but we don’t have huge health compromises. We don’t have huge issues going on with us. We’ve got friends who do. I’m not saying be stoic for your kids, but pull together and see what progress you can make together. Giving your kids a plan gives you an opportunity to be able to say, “You know what? We’re moving forward. We’re moving forward together. It’s going to be okay.” So, Tonya, can you just mention those preorder bonuses again? Here’s what Zondervan has done. They have pulled up the release of the eBook by almost two months. The print book they could only do by two weeks, but we just wanted to be able to get this into everybody’s hands. We’re going to do more preorder bonuses than we’ve ever done in our life, for any book before. Can you tell people what those are? We want this book to practically be free for you. With the give aways, it is.

 

Tonya – We should get an address for Zondervan, ‘cause our listeners should all send Zondervan thank yous. ‘Cause we had this idea, but both of us didn’t think it was possible to pull up the publication date. The fact that they made it happen is just huge. People should know, we don’t always record all of our podcast episodes on the same day, so things do change. So, first and foremost, you are going to get everything we mentioned in the last episode and. So, we’ve already told people that they are going to get a two-week meal plan. Shopping lists. Freezer inventory. Pantry inventory. We also talked about the 5-day Homeschool Curriculum. That could just be five days of different activities for your family. It doesn’t have to be for the homeschooling mom. It really is applicable to anybody who has kids in their life. Honestly? I learned a thing or two. So, it could be cool if you don’t have kids in your life. But on top of that, I want to make sure I don’t forget, we’re offering everybody our two week eCourse Kickstart to Clutter Free. Here’s why this matters. Kathi, we don’t live in the same location, so you can’t throw anything at me, but I know that you would support this decision. We sell that, and it sells quite frequently. It sells for $49. It’s a combination of video and some instruction on just getting that daily habit of getting clutter free, but with so many people feeling cooped up in their houses right now and not sure what to do? I think it is almost a diversion. We could almost call it entertainment. So, here’s the other thing we’re doing. They’re going to preorder the book, Ready for Anything, and they are going to get all of this immediately. They don’t have to wait. We’re going to put all of that into your hands immediately. On top of that, already it’s over a $100 value, but on top of all that, we’re going to give you a curated set of sample chapters from the book, so that can get started right now. You don’t have to wait for the book to come out. You don’t have to wait to receive it. You’ve got what you need and you can just get moving.

 

Kathi – I love it so much. Here’s the other thing, too, guys. We want you to go to the podcast page, ‘cause we’re going to give you the download Bugout Bag Three Day Inventory. Most of this you’re going to be able to create with stuff you already have in your house. Go see. Our preorder bonuses are there and click the link to preorder the book. We want to give you all the things. We really do. Tonya, thanks so much for being on with me during this crazy time. Thanks to Lily and Abbie for being so cool while we’re doing it. We’re so grateful.

 

Tonya – They try.

 

Kathi – I know. They are just so done with Mom having to do work. Shouldn’t you be baking all the time?

 

Tonya – They want to bake and Abbie wants to play LOL Dolls.

 

Kathi – Oh, very cool. LOL Surprise Dolls. I’ve heard all about them.

 

Tonya – The one you sent them is their favorite right now.

 

Kathi – Shut up! Oh, I feel very cool and very popular. I didn’t even really know what I was sending, so I was like, “Okay, if this makes them happy, I’m going to do it!” 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.

 

 

<music>>

 

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

 

402 Ready for Anything Week 1: What is 3-2-3 and How do I Get Started?

402 Ready for Anything Week 1: What is 3-2-3 and How do I Get Started?

Friend and new prepper, Tonya Kubo and Kathi Lipp talk about her new book releasing soon, Ready For Anything, Preparing Your Heart and Home for Crisis Big and Small. There’s no shame in not being prepared. Kathi and Tonya are here to help you be prepared for any crisis, even a shortage at the grocery store.

Dear friend, don’t panic! Today you will learn what you need to do today to get prepared for the current circumstances.

How do you get started in the middle of the crisis? There’s still things we can do. Today you’ll learn the basics of being prepared, Kathi calls them the 3-2-3.

  • 3 day “bug out bag,” when crisis hits and you have to leave your home.
  • 2 weeks staying prepared with home, food, water, power.
  • 3 months of expenses, an emergency fund.

Ready For Anything

Pre-order Ready For Anything today here and take advantage of all the amazing pre-order bonuses!

Links

Learn more about Ready For Anything here.

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

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. Tonya Kubo is the Online Engagement Director at the University of California Merced, as well as the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group.

Transcript

#401 Comparison Caused Clutter in My Home with Wendy Pope

#401 Comparison Caused Clutter in My Home with Wendy Pope

Do you ever feel the sting of comparison? Today, you will hear how comparison gets us to a place of clutter.

And friend, you are not alone! Wendy Pope, the author of the brand-new book, “Hidden Potential: Revealing What God Can Do Through You” talks about how comparison caused clutter in her home. She shares her struggles with comparison and the other effects it had in her family.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How comparison can lead us to clutter.
  • What God says about who we are.
  • The way to true acceptance of who we are.

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.

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

Links and Mentions

Learn more about Clutter Free for Life.

Hidden Potential: Revealing What God Can Do Through You by Wendy Pope

Wendy Pope

Cheri Gregory

Book Giveaway!

We are giving two of Wendy’s book, “Hidden Potential: Revealing What God Can Do Through You.”

Tell us; how have you struggled with comparison now or in the past, and how has it contributed to your clutter. Leave your answer in the comments below to be eligible to win!

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest

Wendy Pope

Wendy Pope

I am Wendy Barnette Pope. In 1991, I married the man of my dreams, Scott. Together, with the Lord’s help, we are raising two amazing children.

I am a woman who loves home, work, and ministry however many times falls short of finding a happy balance. The Lord blessed me through the early years of motherhood to be at home with my children and then later called me into ministry. My life, as chaotic as it might get sometimes, is fulfillment of scripture. The Lord has truly blessed me far more than I could have dreamed or imagined. There are days I feel the need to pinch myself, not because I have material wealth or success as defined by the world but because God, the Creator of heaven and earth allows me to be an active part of His story. It is the passion of my life to live Christ out loud in everything I say and do. He is so good and so faithful to His creation that I simply must proclaim His greatness.

I am honored by your visit. I trust as you visit this site you will be encouraged in the Lord. I love being part of the sisterhood of Christ. Being sisters in Christ means that even though we may not know each other personally, our hearts are joined together. We can share our joys and trials with each other with an understanding that the other knows exactly how the other feels. Isn’t God cool to make us like this?

Please leave a comment to let me know of your visit, especially if I have met you at a conference I taught.

I pray you become passionately involved in God’s story. He has a role perfect for you.

Find out more about Wendy HERE. 

400 Gutting Your Office with Cheri Gregory Part 2

400 Gutting Your Office with Cheri Gregory Part 2

Kathi chats with Cheri Gregory, coauthor of Overwhelmed, and co-partner on every good caper, about how gutting your office space clears the way for your important work. Cheri shares her motivations and methods for clearing out the old and making way for the new.

In this episode, you’ll learn tips and tricks to create a clutter free office. Don’t panic, friend, we break it down in easy, actionable steps. You’ve got this!

  • The primary reason to dig in and get it done.
  • How to overcome the overwhelm when you are deciding what to keep and what to toss.
  • The process for removing or recycling.
  • A couple of handy tools to help keep you motivated.

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.

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

Links

Learn more about Clutter Free for Life.

Writing at the Red House

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Home Depot, hardboard for a flat writing surface.

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest

Cheri Gregory

Cheri Gregory

Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.” Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of You Don’t Have to Try So Hard and Overwhelmed. Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years, and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities. Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.

Transcript

Read along with the Podcast!

 

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #400

 

Gutting Your Office – Part Two

 

 

<<intro music>>

 

 

Kathi – Well, hey friends! Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. I’ve invited back to the program, Cheri Gregory, my coauthor of Overwhelmed, You Don’t Have to Try So Hard, just every good caper I’ve been a part of, Cheri has been a part of it. Cheri, we were talking last week, about your office. Your office was out of control.

 

Cheri – Totally.

 

Kathi – I’m not a big believer in closing the windows, locking the door, ‘We’re not emerging from this space until it’s spic and span’, but just recap for us, why you needed to gut your office.

 

Cheri – Well, I’m in the midst of a book that I’m on a hard deadline for, and I had several boxes, big stacks of research and notes and things I might be able to use for the book. One day I was just going to go through them, and it started taking longer and longer, and as I was doing that, I looked around and suddenly realized that I had massive amounts of stuff in the office that were equally unusable.  I was either going to spend the rest of the year going backwards in time to figure out what they were, and how I might use them, or I could get rid of the majority of it, and move forward and live my life. The office had got to the point where I had been using pop up tables to hold more and more stacks of stuff, and I wasn’t using my office. I was actually working on the couch. Can I just say that laying back on a couch is not productive place or position to get work done?

 

Kathi – The only time I could ever do that is if I’m just free writing or watching massive amounts of Netflix. Otherwise, not so much.

 

Cheri – So, it needed to be done. And let’s be clear. I don’t have small children at home. It was Christmas vacation and nobody was relying on me for carpooling, food, anything. It was the perfect window of opportunity, and it was a great way for me to end 2019. There was something very symbolic about getting rid of the leftovers of the decade, to be honest.

 

Kathi – Let’s be honest, though. Let me ask. Were you gutting your office to avoid working on this big project?

 

Cheri – There definitely was a percentage where that was true, and I had to be okay with that. I had been avoiding cleaning it to make it useable. I was like, “No! That’s playing office! No! That’s procrastination.” So, my motives were absolutely mixed, but I’ve been reading a great book, which I know you’ve read and recommended, and I didn’t get on the bandwagon early enough. It’s called Atomic Habits and he said, “Too often we try to start habits in high friction environments.” He’s talking about practicing Environment Design.

 

Kathi – Yes. I love that book.

 

Cheri – “We try to follow a strict diet while we’re out to dinner with friends. We try to write a book in a chaotic household.” I was like, “I’m trying to write a book in a chaotic office, and it’s not going to work.” So, what he ends up saying, here, is, “Whenever you organize a space for its intended purpose, you’re priming it to make the next action easy.”  You can see in the margin of my book, it says, “Do this in my office.”

 

Kathi – So, you’re optimizing the environment to make the next action easy. I love that. So, by the way, you get the stamp of approval for gutting your office from the Clutter Free Lady. Okay, now, I want to know, and my audience wants to know. How did you do it? How did you go in there and make the hard decisions? Was it getting rid of stuff? Or was it organizing it?

Cheri – First of all, there was a ton of it that had to go, but last week, I told you the weird obstacle that I figured out, as to why I used to carry all my stuff out to the kitchen table to work, is that the kitchen table has a flat surface to it. I do a lot of work on my computer, but I do a lot of jotting down, Post-It notes and stuff like that. Realizing that I had that five foot table with that textured surface, and it’s not a comfortable surface to write on. The writing I end up doing is hard to read and it just feels strange to me. So, I literally went to Staples to buy a brand new table with a flat surface. Turned out that all the tables they had had that squiggly surface. So, long story short, I ended up at Home Depot looking for, and finding lightweight, thin board with a very flat surface. It’s called hardboard. Not cardboard, but hardboard. It cost $12.99 which was way cheaper than the table I was going to buy. They cut it, I put it on the table, but of course, to put it on the table, I had to take everything off. So then, I only put back on the table, the very few things I needed, leaving myself a huge working space. Then, my goal was to get rid of the other pop up tables. So, you know, my system tends to be, with any kind of project, even if it’s planning Thanksgiving dinner, or whatever. It starts as a piece of paper. It becomes a clipboard. Then it becomes a binder. But the problem is, being a person that loves starting projects, I don’t always love finishing them. So, they might become a binder, or a series of binders, or a two inch binder. I’ve realized that I have to start, quarterly, going through everything and going, “Which projects here got started, but are just never going to get finished?” And now I need to undo the binder and get rid of the contents, or shift the contents. I made this big old binder with, I don’t know, 21 Lessons for an e-course, then realized, “Nah, I’m never going to do that.” So, I just took the things that were good and put them into my blogging binder. Well, that still got rid of a ton of stuff. It was a lot of elimination. There was so much paper, because my fear factor, when I’m doing a book, or any kind of project, where I’m waiting for the deadline to pass, I’m constantly printing out versions of it, so that if the entire world crashes, the internet crashes, I still have the last known printed pages. Well, once the book has been on the market? There’s no need to keep the drafts. So, I did a lot of recycling.

 

Kathi – Here’s what I’m beginning to realize, after working with you and Michele. You guys are probably much more tactile than I am. I always thought that I needed to see all the things, but really the question I have now is, “Is there any reason for this to be off my computer?” That’s what I have to do. I’m in a weird situation. I live in two different houses. Trying to cart stuff back and forth is just not going to work. So, sometimes there are things I have to have off my computer. I know that Michele uses a paper planner. What do you use?

 

Cheri – I use my Google Calendar.

 

Kathi – Yeah. Everything for me has to be in my laptop. It has to be backed up all the time. So, one of the questions you can ask yourself is, “What needs to live off my computer?” You may need to be the binder person, and that’s okay. Just know that. Just know what kind of person you are. Don’t go and create binders, because you want to have real projects. Okay, so let’s talk more. So, you started to create the environment you wanted. You go the tables out. How did you start making decisions about getting rid of stuff?

 

Cheri – Remind me what are the three questions about Clutter Free?

 

Kathi – Do I love it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again?

 

Cheri – Okay, so in this case, I had quite a few things I had printed out, free on the internet. “Surely I’ll need this when the time comes to do this.” Well, if I had loved it, I would have done something with it by now. I’m blowing an inch of dust off the tops of some of these things. Do I use it? Obviously no. Would I print this out again? Would I make this binder again, knowing what I now know? No.

 

Kathi – I think, oftentimes, when we’re going through stuff like that, if it sparks excitement for you? Like, “Oh! This is exactly what I need!” then you get to keep it.

 

Cheri – Most of it sparked dread. Like, “Oh, no! I haven’t got to that yet!” And at that point, it was like, “Yeah, and I’m not going to.” Thunk.

 

Kathi – Right. Okay. And see? Paying attention to our bodies. Paying attention to our emotions and what comes to the surface is really good.

 

Cheri – Here’s something else. I found a few of the things that I thought I was looking for, that I thought were going to be the magic thing that I need to make the current book work. I would find them and go, “Oh. It’s not doing for me what I was thinking it would.” And what that did, was it really gave me faith that, “I probably don’t need anything.” I’ve got a few writing coaches, Susy Flory and Ginny Yttrup, who have both told me, “Cheri, you have everything you need. Trust yourself.” I know that ‘trust yourself’ really means ‘Trust what God has already put in you.” Let’s be clear. I really don’t trust myself, but I was still trying to do that one last hunt for that one key thing that was somehow going to make all this easy. What it made me realize was, “No. I’ve got enough. I’ve got what I need and there is no magic other than doing the hard work, now.”

 

Kathi – It’s so interesting. So often, we’re looking for the new tool. The new idea. The new thing at Michael’s. The new thing from Costco to make life that much easier.

 

Cheri – The secret ingredient.

 

Kathi – Right. And we already have everything we need. Every once in a while, there’s something new that comes along and revolutionizes everything, thank you Instant Pot, but you gave away your Instant Pot.

 

Cheri – If you ask me if you should get an Instant Pot, I will say, “Only if you need a really big doorstop.”

 

Kathi – Okay, and I love my Instant Pot.

 

Cheri – Because you use it. I never use mine. Absolutely. Let’s be clear. I did find a few things that I was, like, “Oh, yeah. This could be kind of cool.” But I found nothing that was going to be that final puzzle piece. I think that’s what I was looking for. I was looking for that one missing puzzle piece. As if my book in progress is a finished puzzle that is missing just one piece. The other thing I know, and I can tell you this right now, because it’s now been more than a week, that is, once everything got into that dumpster and the recycling truck came and took it away? Talking to you right now? I can’t think of anything that was recycled. I think we are always afraid of the regrets. Or the regret of the one thing we could have used. Part of doing this is predeciding, “I will have no regrets.” And if I think of something, or I remember something, I will remind myself that clinging to that regret or memory is, once again, not trusting that God is in control of all of this, and will bring back. Sometimes, it’s “Will I remember what I need to remember?” Especially since I do have Alzheimer’s on both sides of my family. That has an extra panic level to the fear. It’s not just fear, it’s true panic. It’s another opportunity to trust that if there’s something I need to remember. Something that really needs to be said, or put in a book, or whatever, the Holy Spirit’s going to bring that back. It’s not all up to me.

 

Kathi – How did you actually get it out of the house? Did you have garbage bags? What was you process for actually getting it out?

 

Cheri – I used paper grocery bags, because those you can’t overfill. So much of what I was getting rid of was, in fact, paper that needed to go into our recycling bin. So, I would make it my goal to fill one up to the point where I could carry it without hurting myself, and then I took it out and put it in the recycling bin.

 

Kathi – Did you pile up a bunch of bags? Or, when a bag filled up, you took it out?

 

Cheri – Oh, one by one. Oh, yeah. For me, that was a reward. To take it out and hear it go ‘thunk!’, then slam the lid down.

 

Kathi – Yes! It’s a good feeling, isn’t it? It’s an amazing feeling. Okay, what did you do with the stuff like, the coffee mug? Or the things that, “Maybe I would use those.” Maybe there would be some value.

 

Cheri – I filled up the trunk and back of my car, and I drove to the Goodwill with some lovely things that I hope somebody else really enjoys.

 

Kathi – Okay. Did you have guilt about that? Did you have shame?

 

Cheri – No. I’ve done that so many times. The first time I did it, when we were early working together, that was much harder. Especially after all the disasters we’ve had in California; all the fires we’ve had. Knowing, for certain, that there are people in need, and when things sit in my office or house not being used, that’s not stewardship. So, I’m being a slave to that. It’s part of that shrine mentality. I just trust that somebody else is going to use it. And should I end up short a coffee mug? I’m pretty sure somebody’s going to give me another one someday.

 

Kathi – Well, you’re a teacher. It’s required, by law, to give you coffee mugs.

 

Cheri – Hopefully they’ll put Godiva chocolate in it, when they do.

 

Kathi – I love it.

 

Cheri – Or Ghirardelli. It has to begin with G.

 

Kathi – Okay. ‘Cause: Gregory. I love it. Okay, did you organize in the midst of decluttering? Or did you declutter and then organize?

 

Cheri – That’s a great question. What I was constantly looking for was, “What is my actual work flow?” That’s going to be different for everybody. That determined what was on that large five foot table of mine. I have a little thing that holds binders and I have a certain number. There are the projects that I’m currently working on. There was a Red House binder, ‘cause I’m here this week, then there’s an Overwhelmed Retreat binder, ‘cause after here, I’m going to be speaking at a women’s retreat. It’s on my calendar to dismantle those binders, and store the contents, when I get home. That’s the one thing I wasn’t doing, giving myself time every quarter to bring things to a real end. So, now, when I’m sitting at my table, I have this rolling cart that has all my office supplies I could possibly need. I’ve got a place for my computer. I’ve got it on a stand, so my neck is in a good position when I’m using it. I have a large amount of free working space, and then I’ve got those binders right there. Everything else is on bookshelves.

 

Kathi – One thing I’m going to ask you to do, I’m going to totally put you on the spot.

 

Cheri – I will take pictures.

 

Kathi – I’d love for you to take pictures, but I also want a content list of what’s in your rolling cart.

 

Cheri – Oh, sure! I can do that.

 

Kathi – I think that would be really interesting to say, “What do you actually need when you’re sitting there doing that.” So, there was mostly decluttering and some organizing. Sometimes you need to organize a little bit to make decisions.

 

Cheri – I would organize and let it sit there while I was doing some other decluttering, and then I’m like, “No. It’s not going to work that way.” I did go on Amazon and look for several things. I looked for a riser for my laptop. I’m like, “They want twenty five dollars for that?!” So, I’m literally using a Sterilite shoe box. That’s what I put it on. I’m not going to pay twenty five dollars! Now, if I use it this way for the next 3-6 months and it’s really working for me? Then I might consider investing in something a little more permanent and classy looking, but I could tell that was playing office. That was going to be trying to buy in order to become, and I’m like, “No. I can figure out a hack that’ll get me working on this book, rather than spending more money and discovering, “Ah, it’s not quite the right thing, but I don’t have the time to return it.”

 

Kathi – So, figuring out what you need for the interim and figuring out what you need to invest in. Those are the two different things. Cheri, this has been so good. How’s your office now?

 

Cheri – You know, it’s so empty looking. I forgot what a wonderful feeling that is. I forgot how much the creativity is able to flow when there’s more space. My life verse is Psalm 18:19 and the verse before it says, “He brought me out into a spacious place. He rescued me because he delighted in me.” One of the things that I forget, but keep coming back to is, “I am afraid of spacious places.” To me, they feel empty. I’m terrified of emptiness, so I cram and overfill. But spaciousness can also be so incredibly freeing. It means open. It means there’s room. It’s restful. So, when I look at it now, I think, “Oh my goodness. How did I cram so much stuff into it?” Now there’s so much more room to breathe and move and get done what needs to be done.

 

Kathi – I love it. Thank you for sharing your gutting experience. Guys, you know what? You may need to do this. You may need to hunker down for a day, a half a day, whatever it’s going to take, but do it because there’s a purpose there. Not just because the room is driving you crazy, but because you need it to function. Create the space that you need. Then, get right back on to the Clutter Free Program so that you can keep it up. Here’s what I know. When you gut, you say, “Oh, I worked so hard on that, I’m not going to have to touch it again for six months.” You’re going to get right back to where you were. Cheri, thank so much for being on Clutter Free Academy.

 

Cheri – Thanks so much for having me back.

 

Kathi – Friends, thank you for being here. You have been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.

 

 

<<music>>

 

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

 

#399 Gutting Your Office with Cheri Gregory Part 1

#399 Gutting Your Office with Cheri Gregory Part 1

Kathi chats with her friend and co-author for Overwhelmed and You Don’t Have to Try So Hard, Cheri Gregory. Today they venture into the office where the hidden shrines reside and keep us from progressing in our work.

Today you will learn:

  • About the items we keep that become the shrines that define us.
  • How to overcome the shame that traps those items in our office.
  • How to release the fear of letting go and claim the woman you are today.

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.

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

Links and Resources

Learn more about Clutter Free for Life.

Writing At The Red House

Overwhelmed

You Don’t Have to Try So Hard

Cure for the Perfect Life

Exhale

Sensitive & Strong

Michele Cushatt

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest

Cheri Gregory

Cheri Gregory

Speaker, Author

Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.” Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of You Don’t Have to Try So Hard and Overwhelmed. Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years, and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities. Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.

Transcript

Read along with the Podcast!

 

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #399

 

Gutting Your Office

 

 

<<intro music>>

 

Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. I am excited today, because we’re going to talk about something I normally don’t recommend, but there are certain circumstances, where people need to be given a pass. One of those people who got a pass is Cheri Gregory, my co-author for Overwhelmed, I was going to say Cure for the Perfect Life, which it was, but now it’s You Don’t Have to Try So Hard. My future coauthor for our Overwhelmed devotional, Cheri, welcome back to Clutter Free Academy.

 

Cheri – Thank you so much for having me.

 

Kathi – My original partner in crime when it came to all things business, writing, everything like that. You have been used as an example many times in Clutter Free.

 

Cheri – Example of what not to do.

 

Kathi – No!  I would love for you to tell our listeners a little bit about your clutter free journey. Even though you don’t come on here and talk about Clutter Free. Tonya is my main clutter person and all that, but you’ve had your own clutter free journey.

 

Cheri – Yeah. It’s so interesting, because I was raised by a perfectionistic mother, for whom everything looked perfect on the outside. If you walked into the house, it was pristine. The perfect table setting. Even at Thanksgiving and Christmas, we had little name cards to tell us where to sit. It was that formal. But, especially after she died a few years ago, and we started going through the house, everything behind closed doors was a disaster.

 

Kathi – I didn’t know that!

 

Cheri – Oh, yay! I don’t know if you have a name for this, but she was a hoarder.

 

Kathi – It’s Closet Clutterer.

 

Cheri – She was a closet clutterer, but the clothing situation was totally out of control.

 

Kathi – I did know about the clothing situation. Still tags on a lot of stuff.

 

Cheri – Oh my, goodness. More than you can possibly imagine. More than any human could have worn in lifetimes, but that’s not today’s topic.

 

Kathi – It is interesting. It really does go to prove that when we go into somebody else’s house, and we think it’s perfect. Here’s the thing: I’m the clutter free person, but there are a couple of closets right now. The thing is, those are working closets and I know why they look the way they do. I feel like every time, somebody’s going to come here and find out about my closet of shame. It’s a working closet. Closets aren’t meant to be beautiful, but it’s good to know that almost everybody, unless they are really, really clutter free (or obsessive compulsive), clutter is an issue for everybody.

 

Cheri – Well, and I wanted to be so different from my mother, and one of the ways that I told myself I would be different from her, was, “Okay, she’s super neat. I’ll just be super sloppy.” That’s easy!

 

Kathi – Can we just say ‘relaxed’? ‘Cause relaxed is such a nicer word than ‘sloppy’.

 

Cheri – It’s a nicer word, but I actually decided I’d be sloppy.

 

Kathi – Did you really?

 

Cheri – Oh, yeah. That guaranteed it to me. She was so neat and miserable, I thought that if I was sloppy, I’d be happy, but it turns out, it doesn’t work that way.

 

Kathi – It doesn’t work that way.

 

Cheri – Just because I was not just ‘not neat’, I was actually sloppy, it also didn’t mean I got what I wanted out of life. It also didn’t mean I wasn’t like her. I was just as compulsive, just in other areas. I was just as trapped. It wasn’t freedom to just be the opposite of her.

 

Kathi – Extremes are always a sign of bondage.

 

Cheri – Have you said that before?

 

Kathi – I have not said that before.

 

Cheri – Say it again.

 

Kathi – Extremes are almost always a sign of bondage.

 

Cheri – Oh my, word.

 

Kathi – Because we are trying to get away from an ideal. Cheri always picks up on the things I say.

 

Cheri – I’m over hear hyperventilating.  Do you have to have so much truth so early in the episode?

 

Kathi – I know how it is for me.

 

Cheri – It’s so true.

 

Kathi – It’s the same for food, clutter. When I’m becoming obsessive about labeling every little thing in a drawer, I’m like, “Okay, Kathi, what’s really going on here?” So, to understand that. Or, when something is completely out of control? Those extremes in our lives, we have to pay attention to.

 

Cheri – So, my office had got extremely unusable.

 

Kathi – That’s what we’re talking about today. As anybody who has read my books, or listened to my podcast, or been in Clutter Free Academy, you know I am the 15+5 girl. Fifteen minutes of decluttering. Five minutes to take care of it. I believe in doing that every single day. I do believe, in rare instances…. Okay, here’s my huge caveat. I think  most people think when they declutter, it’s time to rent the U-Haul, take days off of work, do it all over, go to Pottery Barn, buy all the new furniture, you need a total room makeover in order to be able to function in it. I believe that is a lie, straight from the pit of Hell. However, there are times that our lives get so out of control, or we’ve gone through something, maybe a death, maybe a huge project, maybe a divorce. I don’t know what it is, but there are times when we just need to gut it. I’ll be honest, Tonya leans more towards the ‘gut it’, than I do. She’s someone who rents a dumpster on a regular basis. Her community makes it very easy for her to do that. That is not my situation at all. We pay dearly for everything we throw away. So, you gutted an area of your house. So, explain where it was and why it was.

 

Cheri – Well, it didn’t start as a gutting. I have a project that I’m supposed to be working on that I’ve not been working on. It’s a book. I had boxes of notes and articles and ideas. You know, the little scraps of paper, the napkins, that kind of stuff. I was like, “I’ve got to go through those in order to start making more progress on this book I’m working on.” Which may or may not have been true, but I believed it at the time. I think there was a lot of truth to it. There’s always the question of, “Am I playing office, or am I actually making a difference that I need?”

 

Kathi – I’ve never heard this term, Playing Office before, but I identify so deeply with that. When I am creating containers for my Post It notes? That’s when you know I’m playing office.

 

Cheri – When I’m color coordinating my Post It notes in order, because I can’t work until they look like a rainbow? I’m playing office.

 

Kathi – And then you have to buy the colors that you’re missing?

 

Cheri – Let’s go to Staples! Oh, wait. Back on topic.

 

Kathi – Praise God my closest office store is an hour away.

 

Cheri – So, I started going through them. I’m not visual. That means, I don’t see how bad things have got until something shakes me up. So, I’m going through these boxes, and I look around me, and I realize that I had not done anything but throw things into my office for probably two or three years. Actually, probably, now that you mentioned death, it probably goes back to when my mom died.

 

Kathi – Right. Which was what year?

 

Cheri – Four years ago, now. So, I still had all the leftovers from writing Overwhelmed together. I had all the leftovers from writing Exhale with Amy. I had all the leftovers from writing Sensitive and Strong with Denise. I had legitimate leftover things, where I was like, “Oh! These could be blog posts.” Then there were things that didn’t go in those books that might be used for future books. You don’t want to throw all those good things out. Then I had binders from speaking engagements. I had a lot of things that were finished, but I hadn’t completed them. So all of those were waiting for me to just bring them to an end. When I looked around, I had literally set up multiple tables, because I’m a piler, not a filer. If I put something in a drawer, or a file folder, it doesn’t exist anymore, so I have to have things out in the open. I’m also a spreader outer. I have to see them for me to know they’re there. I literally had no free surfaces I could work on. I would have to move them off of one table in order to have a small amount of free space to work. Then, and this is the weird thing I discovered, I realized one of the reasons I wasn’t working in my office, and I didn’t see it as work space, is I have this five foot table. It’s plenty of workspace for me, but it’s one of these pop up tables from Staples. It has a textured surface to it, so if I’m using pencil and paper, or pen and paper, my writing goes all wiggly squiggly and it feels weird. We all know, you want a pen that feels good when you’re working with it. I was like, “Oh! I didn’t even know that was an obstacle to me.”

 

Kathi – For some of us, we can say, “Oh, well, I can’t write my book because the table goes wiggly squiggly.” But that’s not it. That’s not what was going on for you.  It was saying, “I don’t know why I don’t want to work in here.” And you start to discover. You know, it’s interesting. You talk about piles of research and things like that. Why not just throw them all out?

 

Cheri – Gasp! Where’s a paper bag?

 

Kathi – Right. So, why wouldn’t you just throw those all away?

 

Cheri – Well, let’s see if I can do this from memory. The big three from Clutter Free. Fear, guilt and shame. So, fear is…remind me?

Kathi – What if I need it some day?

 

Cheri – What if I need it some day?

Kathi – I was going to say, that’s probably the one that trips you up the most.

 

Cheri – That’s the biggest one. You know, on the strengths finder, my number one strength is input. So, I love gathering information. I love gathering stuff. This is why I did do the deep gutting this time. I don’t think I’ll have to do it again, because at this stage of my life, I realize I really don’t need it. I really won’t use it again, but these are things I’ve been accumulating for four, five, six years, thinking I would use them. When I was putting them in the bins, which is the easy thing to do. Should I keep it or not? It’s decision fatigue, right? So rather than throw it, I kept it, because that was the easier thing that I thought meant no regret. It was no regret in the moment, but when I was facing an office full of things that hadn’t been thrown away? I wasn’t kind to my future self when I did that.

 

Kathi – It’s so interesting. We’re here at Writing at The Red House. We’re at a writer’s retreat that Cheri’s teaching, and Michele Cushatt was teaching at. It was so interesting, we were having a discussion. Michele was talking about how she has her office set up. She has her dictionary right here, and her thesaurus right here. I started to have shame. I don’t keep a dictionary on my desk. I don’t keep a thesaurus on my desk. Ergo, I must not be a real writer. I must run out and get a dictionary and thesaurus. Then I realized, “Kathi, you have and use a dictionary and thesaurus. They’re on your computer.”

 

Cheri – You also have one of the most advanced vocabularies of anybody I know.

 

Kathi – You’re very, very sweet.

 

Cheri – It’s true.

 

Kathi – So, we keep these things around. If I was a real crafter, I would have this. If I was a real writer, I would have this. If I’m a good mom, I would have this. So we keep little shrines around to our better selves.

 

Cheri – Shrines! That’s what my entire office was. It was a shrine to the conferences I had attended. It was a shrine to the memorabilia from this era of my life, and surely some of it would it into a book. Really, listening to you, my belief was, “I have to keep this.” But I didn’t question why? When I finally had enough of it, I think this is one of the possible benefits of a deep gutting like this. What happened was, I started going through those bins, thinking I was just going to go through a few piles, and I got sick and tired of it all so fast. I was like, “This is dumb. I can’t.” Part of it was realizing, these are notes and research from several years ago. I’m not that woman anymore. I can either try to go back, try to remember why I took those notes, try to become the person I used to be, but really, I have enough time to go back or move forward. I can’t do both. So, the reason it became a wholesale gutting, I realized, “I have to move forward. I have to get rid of all of this.” It’s all got to go. I will never have time to go through it.

 

Kathi – Okay, so what did you do about the guilt, though? The guilt that says, “I spent so much money on this book, (these supplies, those conferences, the tape series or cd series, or whatever it is). I spent so much money on it, I need to keep it forever.”?

 

Cheri –I think the antidote for that kind of guilt is gratitude. Gratitude for what I learned. Gratitude for what I did get from it. If you go to a conference, the binder’s a shrine, right? How many times have I opened those binders? Probably never. But I’ve always said this with my mouth, “If I got one good idea. If I got one insight.” I’ve always said this as a teacher. I’ve said this as I’ve gone to writer’s conferences, when I would go to parenting conferences, sermons. One useable idea is worth the cost of admission. So, the gratitude that says, “Okay. I was there. It changed me in some way.” And part of that is trust. Trust that God used that and I don’t have to remember what it was. I don’t have to know what it was. I just have to trust and be grateful that the Holy Spirit is at work in my life.

 

Kathi – When we have shrines, we put our trust in the shrine instead of God.

 

Cheri – I don’t want you to say that again. No. Go ahead.

 

 

Kathi – That’s who I am. I’m putting my trust in, “I went to this conference, so now I can call myself a real writer.” instead of understanding “No, God has called me to be a writer.”

 

Cheri – So if you had a dictionary and a thesaurus, it would be a shrine.

 

Kathi – It would be a shrine. It would be. I would be looking for external validation that I am what I want to be. Okay, so, this whole shrines thing is opening up big things for me, guys. This may be a book. I don’t even know. My brain is going.

 

Cheri – And we were in the room where it happened.

 

Kathi – Wow. Okay, so let’s talk about shame.  Guilt is usually ‘so and so gave it to me’. “I’m a bad daughter if I give that mug that my mom gave me, away.” “I am a bad writer if I don’t read every book that somebody sends to me.”

Cheri – I’m a terrible friend if I don’t keep every book that Kathi Lipp has written on my bookshelves. Or, are we going there?

 

Kathi – By the way, guys. If I ever give you a book, or sell you a book, I always say, “No book report required.” I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me.

 

Cheri – I’m joking. I have all your books. If I give them away, it’s as a gift.

 

Kathi – I have all your books, too. It’s good. How do you deal with that guilt and shame of “If I don’t keep this, I don’t value the relationship.”?

 

Cheri – These days, I think the fact that we can digitize things is really helpful. As I was gutting my office, I found some beautiful things. I found a letter. The first thing I ever had published was a story I wrote about a horse. It was published in a little local newspaper. One of my dad’s friends, who was an executive at the local medical center, he hand wrote me this beautiful letter on University Medical Center stationery. He said that God gifts to sensitive, perceptive people. He used the word sensitive.

 

Kathi – Oh my, goodness!

 

Cheri – He said he was putting it in his Soli Deo Gloria file. To God Be the Glory file. He wrote me this when I was thirteen.

 

Kathi – Chills.

 

Cheri – I took a picture of it, and if people want to write you and tell me I’m horrible, they can, but I then recycled it. I don’t need the piece of paper to know that it happened and to receive it. I’m going to remember those words for the rest of my life. In the past, I would have been, “Oh no! I’m a horrible person.” But I found a whole stack of these kinds of things. It’s like, “No. I don’t need to keep the thing to be grateful or to have the relationship.” Now, if there are people in our lives who, when they visit us, they expect to see the thing on display like in Gilmore Girls? That’s what councilors are for.

 

Kathi – I think about that. It’s serving a shrine, again. It really is. When we put food at a shrine.

 

Cheri – It wasn’t a gift in that case.

 

Kathi – It’s an obligation.

 

Cheri – Yep.

 

Kathi – Yeah, so, if you receive something and it turns from gift into obligation, you need to reexamine that, and you probably need to have an honest conversation, at some point, with that person. Unless they’re your parent. Then, just drag it out, ‘cause that’s what you have to do. Okay, so I want to come back next week and talk about the nitty gritty. How you actually go rid of the stuff.

 

Cheri – We can go there.

 

Kathi – Okay friends. This has been great. Cheri, thank you so much. 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.

 

 

<<music>>

 

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

 

#398 Simple Meal Prep from Hope’s Table by Hope Helmuth

#398 Simple Meal Prep from Hope’s Table by Hope Helmuth

Do you love to cook, but getting dinner on the table every night can be overwhelming? Today Kathi dishes with Hope Helmuth, author of Hope’s Table: Everyday Recipes from a Mennonite Kitchen. Hope’s cookbook is filled with beautiful, simple and delicious recipes for everyday meals. Kathi and Hope scoop up their best kitchen tricks to keep you and your family happy at mealtime.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Tips and tricks for staying organized in the kitchen.
  • How to keep your kitchen clean and ready to cook anytime.
  • PLUS: How to clean your cast iron skillet quickly and easily.

Book Giveaway

For a chance to win Hope Helmuth’s book Hope’s Table: Everyday Recipes from a Mennonite Kitchen, answer the question, “what is your biggest challenge in the kitchen?” in the comments below.

 

 

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Two of Hope’s Favorite Recipes

HERB ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS AND POTATOES
Serves 4
An easy one-dish meal that is full of flavor and color. The chicken melts in your mouth.

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 sweet potato, cut into chunks
3 red potatoes, cut into chunks

Sauce
¼ cup butter
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/8–¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Lay chicken and vegetables in a greased large skillet or a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Make sauce: In a small saucepan, melt butter and add garlic, brown sugar, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, cayenne pepper, and parsley. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables. Toss well with hands to make sure sauce is coated evenly. Bake at 350°F for 1½ hours.

PUMPKIN BARS WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Makes 20 bars
This recipe from my grandma Shank is great for fall parties. Mom used to make these for our youth group parties, and she would top each square with a candy pumpkin.

1 cup oil
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese,
softened
¼ cup butter, softened
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash salt

In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer, mix together batter
ingredients in order listed. Pour batter into a greased and floured
10 x 15-inch baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 20–25 minutes.
Make icing: In a small bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together
cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla,
and salt. Beat until fluffy and smooth. Spread on cooled bars.

Meet Our Guest

Hope Helmuth

Hope Helmuth

Mennonite Cook, Mother, and Blogger

Hope Helmuth is a Mennonite cook, mother, and blogger who enjoys creating recipes, entertaining guests, gardening, graphic design, and photography. She, her husband, and two daughters live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where they own a toy store, Timeless Toys, and several other businesses. Connect with her at Homefulthings.com, on Instagram, and Facebook.

Transcript

#397: How to Stay Focused (When Everything is Trying to Distract You)

#397: How to Stay Focused (When Everything is Trying to Distract You)

Kathi is chatting with her co-author and partner in crime Cheri Gregory about an amazing new find that has helped her stay focused when she’s tempted to get distracted. If you need a tool to keep you on task, friend, you are in luck!  Focus Mate is an online system that pairs you up with an online work buddy.

Does this sound like something you’d love? Kathi and Cheri are going to tell you all about it.

Plus, if you love the idea of Focus Mate, Kathi has come up with a very special idea.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The magic of collaboration to get stuff done.
  • How to access your own online collaborator to help you declutter.
  • The perfect amount of time to stay focused on a project.

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.

Links

Learn more about Focus Mate.

Are you a writer? Would you love to take your writing to the next level? Check out the week-long retreats offered with Kathi and other experts at Writing at the Red House this year.

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help, and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest

Cheri Gregory

Cheri Gregory

Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.

Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.

Transcript

Read along with the podcast!

 

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #397

 

How to Stay Focused

 

 

<<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. Many of you know my coauthor, my partner in crime, Cheri Gregory. Cheri is here with us today. We’re recording from The Red House. Welcome back, Cheri.

 

Cheri – Thanks for having me.

 

Kathi – You started to talk about something, and I’m finding this fascinating. Of course, because I’m a writer, I was thinking, “Oh, I have to use this for writing.” And then I thought, when you said you used it for decluttering? I thought, “Okay. Game changer.” So, this is going to sound like an advertisement. By the way, we’re getting nothing for this.

 

Cheri – They have no idea we’re doing this.

 

Kathi – They have no idea we’re doing this. What is Focusmate?

 

Cheri – So, it is an online accountability collaborative venture. When I log on to the dashboard, I see different times of day. They’re listed by 50 minute increments. I can put myself down and say, “I want to have a Focusmate session, say, starting at 9 o’clock this morning. It’ll be a fifty minute session.” Now, if there’s already somebody’s little icon there, when I click on it, I can book with that person and we’re matched. If there’s nothing there, I put myself in, and the next person who wants to partner with somebody at 9 o’clock would be matched with me. This is worldwide, so at any point in time, there are multiple people. And it’s the computer doing the matching. I don’t know who these people are, most of the time. They don’t know who I am. It’s very organically and randomly done by the computer. The purpose is to get partnered with somebody who wants to have this work session. When the work session starts, I click on a little button. It takes me to a video room, kind of like Skype or Zoom. They come on screen. I come on screen. This is what I love about it. It’s very curated. There are very firm boundaries about what happens and doesn’t happen. We each say what we’re going to work on; what we’re going to focus on during that 50 minutes. We agree if we want microphone on, or if we want it on mute. Then we work and there’s a little chime at the end of 50 minutes. Then we check in with each other, and say how things went. Then we say, “Thank you so much for the working session.” And we say goodbye.

 

Kathi – Okay, I have so many questions. How did you get over feeling like, “I should be able to do this without another human being in Madagascar checking in on me.”?

 

Cheri – All the evidence suggesting I wasn’t getting things done.

 

Kathi – Okay, so tell me about that.

 

Cheri – The problem with my Google Calendar is, I can drag and drop a task anytime and anywhere I want. I can schedule it at any time and tell myself, “I’m going to do this from here.” And then I didn’t do it, so I dragged and dropped it somewhere else. One of the problems with being a reformed perfectionist is, I’ve swung so much to the other end. I give myself so much grace, it’s called license. So, instead of being so rigid with my schedule, I’m too loosey goosey and things weren’t getting done. Then, I read this book called Atomic Habits, and he talks about the importance of actually developing a plan and sticking to the plan. Of course, he also talks about accountability. I know myself to be a social learner. I know myself to be social. I’m a collaborative person. This isn’t collaborating. We’re not brainstorming together. We’re not talking to each other, which is very important. I get lonely. Who knew that knowing that there is one other person who’s kind of witnessing, they’re not staring at you or anything, but they know that you said you were going to do this thing, and then 50 minutes later, you check in, and you’re doing the same thing for them.

 

Kathi – Right. ‘Cause you’re both busy on your own task. Okay, I want to know, what are some of the people doing on Focusmate?

 

Cheri – Oh my goodness. This has been such a fun, unexpected part of it. One of the first people I worked with was a young guy over in, either England or Scotland. He was working on his doctoral dissertation. So, every day he was knocking out certain parts of it. I just happened to get matched with him every day for at least one session per day, and then, I knew he was going to revise it on a particular day, and I didn’t get matched with him. I was like, “Oh! I wonder how he’s doing.” So, I just messaged him and said, “Hey! I’m thinking about you today, while you’re revising your dissertation.” He sent me a little message back that said, “Thanks so much. It’s going well.” There was another gentleman who was looking for a job. He was going to spend the entire work session. That’s when I went, “Oh!” To me, that’s such a vulnerable thing to tell somebody else. That’s got to be a hard situation to be in. He was an older gentleman. It wasn’t like he was a kid who’s looking for his first job. I don’t know the circumstances. So, I’m still thinking about him. I’m praying for him, that he got a job. How cool, that he did what it took for him to have the discipline and the belief in himself to take the steps he needed to do that.

 

Kathi – I want you to talk about the mom.

 

Cheri – Oh, this was my favorite. It taught me something about myself. She started the session by saying her kids were there with her. She needed to do some reading for a class, then she was literally going to take the laptop, and she did, into the kitchen and cook dinner. At first, I was like, “Oh, that’s a little more noise than I’m comfortable with in the background.” Because she likes to keep the microphone on to hear my keys typing. I’m like, “You know, Cheri, you can turn the volume down on your side.” So, I didn’t hear so much. But, I thought, when I was a mom with small kids, what would I have given to have one other human being on the planet witnessing. Here she is. She’s in school. She’s being disciplined in front of her children. They’re learning by watching her do this. At one point, when she was in the kitchen, I typed, “Oh, it smells fabulous. What are we having?” You know? I wouldn’t want to partner with somebody like that eight hours a day, every day, but I’m committed to seeing where she is on the calendar, and making sure I work with her once a week, because I want to support what she’d doing. I feel like I’m becoming invested in the regulars that I see on the calendar.

 

Kathi – It’s a service. You’re serving people.

 

Cheri – They’re all around the world.

 

Kathi – You’re serving people without out actually taking time out of your day and actually getting more done. I love this concept.

 

Cheri – And, people around this world are doing amazing things. It has given me so much faith in humanity. They are buckling down and doing hard things. Some of the kids, and they are college kids, so to me they’re a kid. Sometimes they tell me, “I thought I’d get further. I was really frustrated with myself. Then I remembered.” So, they’re processing, in a very short, 15 second appropriate way. It’s kind of cool to be able to say, “Well good for you!” I’ve actually built a repertoire of things to say if it went well. Then I can cheer, “Good for you!” And if they struggled a little bit more, I can say, “At least you stuck it out. At least you did it. Your brain is going to keep processing it over the next few hours.”

 

Kathi – So tell me about when you used it to declutter.

 

Cheri – I was so surprised at the positive response I got from people.

 

Kathi – Really?

 

Cheri – Yes. Because, I’m still very new to Focusmate. I’ve only been using it for a month/month and half. It started out as just these piles I was going to go through, which I thought, “Well, certainly, that will be fine.” But then it became, “Well, I have to do the whole office.” So, I made sure my partner was okay with me doing that. They all said, “Yes.” Then, I moved the laptop so they could see. I tried not to be overly distracting. What ended up happening is, I was able to report back at the end. I would say, “This is the section of the office I’m hoping to do.” Or, “This is the set of binders I’m hoping to do.” The number of them who said I inspired them.

 

Kathi – Oh, my.

 

Cheri – Seeing my progress. And what was really funny is, there was one gentleman who, he and I worked together when I was starting to go through these piles. He was with me when I made that decision. I said, “This isn’t just piles, I have to do the whole office.” I won’t tell you how long it took me, but as I finished my office, he ended up being my partner, and I was able to take my computer and show him. He cheered for me and I was, like, “Yay!”

 

Kathi – It sounds like there are amazing people on there.

 

Cheri – They really are.

 

Kathi – It’s so interesting. Just yesterday, I was in one of my Facebook groups for clutter, one of the ones that I run, and this is the first time somebody’s done this. They set up their camera for fifteen minutes, to record them decluttering. Not live. She just did a video of it. She fast forwarded it, so fifteen minutes became a minute.

 

Cheri – How fun!

 

Kathi – It was so much fun. She has the two naughtiest cats in the world, who kept getting back on to the table.

 

Cheri – That would be hysterical.

 

Kathi – It was the best video I’ve seen in a long time. But, you know what? I would have to imagine somebody’s there with you. When you’re recording that, you’re going to be so vulnerable to put it up. You put it up and people are cheering for you. I’ve done clutter for a long time. That was the first time I’d ever seen it, and I was cheering for her. I was like, “Look at how fast you’re getting things done! That’s amazing. I love this concept. I think you know, when I was a young mom, what we would do is, I had three friends and we would switch off houses. Sometimes declutter, but mostly cleaning house. It was just good to have somebody else there to keep you on track, to keep you focused. There’s this social contract that if we say we’re going to do this for 15 minutes, and we’ve got cameras on? I love that it’s fifteen minutes. I mean, fifty minutes. Fifty. Because, you know, when I do coaching sessions, I do them for fifty minutes. I believe in humanitarian breaks. It doesn’t just have to be to go to the bathroom, it’s to get a glass of water. It’s to stretch. So, you have that ten minutes to kind of rest and recover. Then you can dive in to the next thing.

 

Cheri – Yeah. This is based on several scientific studies. They’ve done a really interesting combination of about five or six that have to do with accountability, that have to do with collaboration. There’s one woman, after her first one hundred session with Focusmate, she wrote an article titled, “I never have to work alone again.” For some diehard introverts, that would be the worst news ever, so this is not for them at all. I used to feel guilty, or needy. “Why do I need people?” ‘Cause that’s how God wired me.

 

Kathi – Right. And you know? It’s always great to go to a coffee shop and meet up with a friend and do the thing, but sometimes it’s very easy to meet up with a friend at a coffee shop and not get anything done.

 

Cheri – Yep.

 

Kathi – It can also, depending on where you live, and your situation in life, it can be expensive with little kids and things like that. Also? Just getting out of the house takes fifteen minutes, then another fifteen minutes. So, I love that this has no extra cost to it. Well, it does have a cost.

 

Cheri – Five dollars a month. Unlimited sessions.

 

Kathi – Five dollars a month.

 

Cheri – Now, you came up with a great idea the other day that I think you should share. I really think your Clutter Free people could this. They could do this inside the Clutter Free Facebook group. If they’re part of your Clutter Free for Life, your membership community, they could certainly do find partners for that there as well.

 

Kathi – I want to do Focusmates. That’s something I’m going to do. Because sometimes I don’t want to be connected to the person. I just want to get in, get out, do my thing. Please excuse the idea, but I just want it to be a one night stand.

 

Cheri – There you go. No strings attached.

 

Kathi – No strings attached. Exactly. Sorry, that’s a terrible metaphor, but it explains what I need to say. But here’s the other thing: Sometimes I do want to do it with a friend. I want to be cheered on. I want somebody who’s in my community to declutter with me. So, I’m just coming up with a new idea as we’re talking right now. The first idea is to get on with somebody else. Cheri and I are going to do this for writing, or whatever we need to accomplish, twice a week. We’re going to get on Zoom together and do this. What I think I’m going to do in Clutter Free Academy is, once a week, for fifteen minutes, just set up my camera and declutter, and say, “Hey guys! We’re all going to declutter for fifteen minutes. If you’re available, we would love you to declutter with us.”

 

Cheri – By Facebook Live?

 

Kathi – By Facebook Live.

 

Cheri – That’s brilliant.

 

Kathi – I think that would be super-fun.

 

Cheri – But you have to add it the idea that you came up with for us, ‘cause we’re going to do it for 45 minutes.

 

Kathi – We’re going to do it for 45 minutes, then we’re going to have 5 minutes of friend time. We’re going to earn that five minutes of friend time, because that’s our little reward. But it has to be five minutes and we have to hold to that. Otherwise, it doesn’t work. If we do 45 minutes of work, and an hour and 45 minutes of friend time, it kind of defeats the purpose. So, focusmate.com. Five dollars a month, which, I know for some people, they don’t have an extra penny, but for where I am in life right now, to have accountability for 50 minutes, several times a month? That works for me.

 

Cheri – I do it for finances. You know me. I do finances once a week. The other thing it’s really good for is realizing how long certain things take you.

 

Kathi – Oh, yeah.

 

Cheri – Because now that I’ve done it? I do finances on Thursday and I realized that one session isn’t enough. I book two. It’s making me more realistic about how much I can get done in any given day. It’s helping me gather data.

 

Kathi – Okay, so this is my last question for you. Have you ever got on and there have been a couple on the other side? ‘Cause I’m thinking that Roger and I need this for finances.

 

Cheri – No.

 

Kathi – Okay.

 

Cheri – No, I haven’t, but that’s something that you could do with other people.

 

Kathi – Yeah, I think that could be really interesting. Roger and I need high accountability in the whole finances thing. This has been amazing. Focusmate.com or we can get on Facebook, and we can say, “Hey! We’ve got two people. One is in California, one is in Florida. They need to do their fifteen minutes and they do it at 11:45 PST. Go.” To be able to do that, and say, “Hey. We’re going to be in each other’s space, but we’re cheering each other one.” I love it. Cheri, thanks so much.

 

Cheri – Oh, thanks for having me.

 

Kathi – And friends, thank you for being on Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.

 

 

<<music>>

 

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

 

 

 

#396: Clutter Free Kids – Secrets from a Preschool Director on How to Keep Kids Clutter Free and Organized

#396: Clutter Free Kids – Secrets from a Preschool Director on How to Keep Kids Clutter Free and Organized

Kathi is joined by early childhood educator (and bonus-daughter) Amanda Thivierge. How can you teach kids to be clutter-free? Well, Amanda shares her top three tips to fight clutter and get your kids in on it.

  • Clutter-free is a journey, and we don’t all come by it naturally.
  • Modeling for kids is key. (AND how to do that well.)
  • Get brutal and say goodbye to the stuff you will not use. (BYE-BYE DOILIES!)
  • and more…

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.

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

Also, if you want to get entered to win a copy of Clutter Free Home, give us your best clutter-free tips for kids in the comments below and someone will win Kathi’s new (HOT OFF THE PRESSES) book.

Links

Learn more about Clutter Free for Life.

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

 

*** DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES, PART TWO IS UNAVAILABLE AT THIS TIME. STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEK’S PODCAST. ***

Meet Our Guest

Amanda Thivierge

Amanda Thivierge

Preschool Director

Amanda is an early childhood educator and Preschool Director. Her expertise shines in this interview with her friend and step-mother, Kathi Lipp. 

Transcript

Read along with the podcast!

 

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #396

 

Clutter Free Kids – Part 1

 

 

<<intro music>>

 

Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. Today is a very special episode. It’s like an after school special, but in a much better way. I think I have actually known this guest longer than anybody else that has been on my podcast, and that includes Roger. I think we’ve been friends for over twenty five years, but I think we’ve been related for fifteen. So, this is my step-daughter, Amanda Thivierge. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy!

 

Amanda – Thank you so much for having me.

 

Kathi – And I’m not just having you because we’re related. I know you are doing this under a little bit of duress. Actually, she’s been very kind and said she would do anything, but you don’t spend a lot of time going on podcasts, right?

 

Amanda – No, this is my first.

 

Kathi – Yay! I’m so glad. Okay, so that will be super fun. Why I wanted to have Amanda on, and I’ve actually referred to Amanda in books about clutter free and getting organized. Amanda, tell everyone what your day job is.

 

Amanda – My day job is a pre-school director, so I’ve got lots of little kiddos, and I’ve got about thirty staff underneath me.

 

Kathi – I was just going to say. It’s not just the kiddos you have to organize. It’s the staff as well. It’s interesting because, I know that things don’t directly transfer from home to work to school, but there are some principles that work with most kids and most other adults you’re managing. So, that’s why I wanted to come on and bring you on here. We’re going to do this as a two part series. First, we’re going to talk about “How do you keep clutter out of the classroom?” I think some of these really apply to what you do at home. The next thing is “How to be organized.” Because they’re two entirely different things. Clutter is all the nonsense that gets in the way, and there’s clutter that just like, “Hey, when you’re cutting out construction paper, you create clutter.” You encourage that kind of clutter, right?

 

Amanda – Absolutely.

 

Kathi – Yes, ‘cause you love to see a lot of creativity. You love to see a lot of activity. You want your teachers doing projects with your kids.

 

Amanda – I want them having fun.

 

Kathi – Right! So, fun often means mess.

 

Amanda – Most times, yes.

 

Kathi – But the clutter we’re talking about, is the clutter that gets in the way of the fun. Like, when you can’t find the glue.

 

Amanda – When you can’t function in your own classroom, ‘cause there’s too much stuff in the way? That’s when you have a problem.

 

Kathi – Have you seen that, as a director? Or did you see it, as a teacher, with other teachers?

 

Amanda – I lived it as a teacher.

 

Kathi – Okay, good. I love the honesty. So this has been a journey for you.

 

Amanda – Absolutely.

 

Kathi – Okay. And by the way, full disclosure, as soon as Roger and I got married, and I moved in, Amanda moved out. So, I can’t really talk to the state of her room. I can’t tell you how messy she was as a teenager. I have heard some stories.

 

Amanda – Oh, there are plenty. Too many.

 

Kathi – Yes. So, to say that this has been a journey? That gives me a lot of hope and it gives my listeners a lot of hope. You were not born organized. You were not born color coding. You didn’t have to color code anything, ‘cause everything you owned was purple for a while.

 

Amanda – It still is. Let’s just be real.

 

Kathi – Yeah, that’s true. Okay, so I want to talk about some principles here that I think are going to be very helpful to all of the parents out there. Or, even if you are in an organization, and you’re managing people? I think a lot of these will actually transfer. So, you and I had a discussion about multipurpose rooms. So, I found this fascinating, because I think that modern home, there’s so many purposes to a living room, or even a dining room, a study, even bedrooms. You’re sitting here, in our bedroom at The Red House. It’s not just a bedroom, it’s also an office. It’s also a cat storage facility. We do a lot of things. We have storage in here for our business and stuff like that. You are specifically talking about when you go into a facility, like a school or a church or something, and there’s a multipurpose room. So, talk about some of the situations you’ve been in, and talk about how you’ve handled keeping those spaces clutter free.

 

Amanda – That was probably the most eye opening, in terms of being clutter free. I walked into these facilities, and they are set-up and tear-down for every session that they do. So, in the morning, the kids come in. You’re setting up, you’re putting out the cards, you’re putting out the carpets.

 

Kathi – Wow. You’re building a room.

 

Amanda – You’re building a room every single time, and you have to tear it down every single time. Drama class prepared me for this.

 

Kathi – Yes. You did a lot of set design, set building and stuff like that.

 

Amanda – Yeah, but it just amazed me that there was no clutter, because, where are you going to put it?

 

Kathi – Because other teachers are coming in and using that. Other programs, that kind of thing. So, how did you handle the storage of all your stuff?

 

Amanda – Well, you have to find things that work for you. So, in this situations, it was finding carts that can roll and hold all your stuff. Having organization, so labeling all your bins, and making sure that nothing goes in those bins that doesn’t belong in those bins. Then, just having things that really work in the space that you have.

 

Kathi – I love this, because I think about when we had three at home, when Roger and I got married, and our kitchen table was where we ate dinner, it was the homework center, and by the way, I worked there, too. Let me just tell you, when we were first married, that clutter free mentality had not really set in, so, it meant that every time we wanted to do something, it was like we had to renovate the entire house. I remember one time, oh, bless, bless, bless, I was working on a project that accidentally got swept up into Jeremy’s homework, and I did not know it. Let’s just say that Jeremy and I did not have the best relationship at this time. I thought he threw it away. Glad to know he was not that devious. No, no, he’s a sweet kid. By the way, we’re great, now, but at the time? Now, I was not putting my stuff away. This is something you talk about when you’re talking about your kids, is the very first step is, “If you’re taking something out, put it away.” As moms, we more naturally do this. As teachers we do it. But you have a couple of extra steps you do with kids. So, explain these steps.

 

Amanda – Yeah, so when you’re in a daycare facility, or a childcare facility, or anything, really, everything you do is modelling, right? So, as a teacher, I’m going to walk in and I’m going to model the behavior that I want the children to see and to follow. So, I’m going to tell them what I’m doing.

 

Kathi – Can I tell you, this was not my elementary school experience? I think the teachers thought we were 28 slaves that could do all the things. Now, I didn’t understand at the time, how hard they were working. I think that’s so interesting. So, how do you model that behavior? Just saying, “When you take something out, you put it away.”?

 

Amanda – Well, yeah, I definitely say that to the children, but I also show it to them. So, when I’m taking out a project, I say, “Okay, I’m going to take out the scissors. I’m going to take out the pencils, the glue.” Then, as the project is wrapping up, I say, “Okay, where does this stuff go? Oh, it goes back in the cabinet.” And I demonstrate it, and vocalize is to the children, so they’re hearing the positivity for cleaning up. Then, I recognize it, in terms of the space. I say, “Oh look! The table is now clean! Fantastic! We are now ready to eat a snack!”

 

Kathi – Well, I just did some work on this with a presentation I was doing for a group. We were talking about overwhelm. It was at a school in El Paso. UCLA did a giant research study about clutter in homes, and the correlation to moms being stressed, and kids being distracted. So, you know, I would think that in a classroom, you would see, the higher the mess level, the more distracted the kids are.

 

Amanda – Yes, and that goes for everything in the room. We often refer to the classroom as the third teacher in the classroom.

 

Kathi – Oh, I’ve never heard that before. That’s really cool. So, explain that.

 

Amanda – The third teacher is just another way of saying that the classroom is another environment where the children learn. So, what’s on the wall? They’re going to be learning from that. What’s on the floor? They’re going to be learning from that. What’s on the shelves? They’re going to be learning from that. So, you really have to make sure that everything is purposeful. You’re not just throwing up projects on the wall, just to have them there, because that’s when it gets cluttered. You’re not just putting toys on the shelves, just to have them there, because, again, that’s when it gets cluttered. Having that third teacher in the classroom can support the children’s growth and development.

 

Kathi – So, everything in the room is there intentionally.

 

Amanda – Well, it should be.

 

Kathi – It should be, yes. In the ideal classroom, everything is there intentionally, and nothing is there that will distract from their learning experience, or them being able to pay attention.  I’ll never forget. I don’t know if you’ll remember this. I know you knew my kids. You actually babysat my kids when they were really little. I don’t know if you remember how into trains Justin was?

 

Amanda – No, I don’t remember.

 

Kathi – That’s okay. He was in a preschool classroom where they had to take the train out of the classroom, because he was so obsessed with it.

 

Amanda – That’s where I’m like, “Okay if he’s obsessed with the train, let’s incorporate it in a different way.”

 

Kathi – Oh! Interesting.

 

Amanda – Yeah, so taking it out of the classroom doesn’t lessen the obsession, it actually creates more of a hype.

 

Kathi – Oh! Interesting.

 

Amanda – So, you have to incorporate it in different ways. So, if he’s obsessed with trains, then I would actually put train books in multiple areas. I would pull him into these other areas by putting trains in them.

 

Kathi – See? Why weren’t you his teacher? He got kicked out of that school. Can I just tell you that? He was out of there. Okay, so ONE – If you take something out, put it away, and model and vocalize when you’re doing that. Number two: talking about getting purposeful in the room. You said, if something no longer has a use, get it out. So, explain what you mean by that. Many of the teachers I know, they just want as many resources as they can possibly have.

 

Amanda – Well, yes. ‘Cause nobody has any funding, right? So, you just tend to take everything into the classroom, and you’re like, “I’ll use it at some point, and you’re never going to give me money again, so, I’m just going to keep it forever.”

 

Kathi – So, it’s kind of a hording mentality.

 

Amanda – It really is.

 

Kathi – Okay, we talked about this. The teachers and crafters and homeschoolers are the worst.

 

Amanda – I’m two out of three.

 

Kathi – I know you are. But you’ve got it under control, for the most part, that I can see.

 

Amanda – Yeah, either I hide it really well, or I’ve got some systems to keep me in check.

 

Kathi – I think you’ve got some systems, ‘cause I’ve been in your room as an adult. I’ve seen the things. So, how do you use criteria to say, “Okay, this is no longer being used.”? What do you feel like you should save? Is there anything you should save, or does it all have to go, and you go for the minimalist look?

 

Amanda – If it has multiple uses, I tend to save it. Even if it’s not being used at this particular moment. For instance, the Lincoln Logs. Half the time, those are never used in the classroom, right? Hardly ever. But, at the same time, if we can reintroduce them later in a special way, and the kids get the interest built up again, then that’s one thing. However, if you’ve got doilies in the classroom that the kids just never use, you don’t have a way of reinventing or repurposing it, (except for Valentine’s Day) get rid of it.

 

Kathi – Okay, so I heard you say something interesting with those Lincoln Logs. Somebody just asked me, “What toys do I get rid of?” Even though they’re about the have grandkids. I’m like, “Well, keep the classic toys. The toys that have been popular for over 50 years. Keep those. There’s a reason.” I think something is interesting that you said. To pull back using them and then reintroduce them. So, explain a little more about that.

 

Amanda – So, when you have a toy…we’ll just go with the Lincoln Logs, right? They are sitting on the shelf. The kids never interact with them, ever. You pull them out. They don’t even notice that they’re gone. All of a sudden, you put them back on the shelf, and you actually pull them out, and, as a teacher, you engage with the Lincoln Logs. You get the kids to come around and you make it a fun game, or some sort of adventure. That’s when the interest gets sparked again.

 

Kathi – Isn’t it interesting. There are so many YouTube videos. I’m sure there’s a whole channel about Lincoln Logs out there.

 

Amanda – I’m sure there is.

 

Kathi – Of ways we’ve never even thought of using them. I think that’s so interesting. Because, yeah, they become background noise. That’s what happens with our clutter. That may be your favorite doll, but you haven’t used it in six months, you haven’t played with it, because it’s just become part of the background. But to take it away, and put it back. Take it away at night, when no kids are there.

 

Amanda – Or you could take it away while they’re there and see if they even notice.

 

Kathi – That’s true. I think your third points may be my favorite. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about this. Okay, you’re laughing now. Don’t buy possible future projects. Explain.

 

Amanda – When I purchase items for the classroom, everything has a purpose. I’m not purchasing a…let’s use a doily, a packet of doilies that I can find at an artsy craftsy store.

 

Kathi – But what if it’s ten cents? What if it’s on clearance?

 

Amanda – I don’t care.

 

Kathi – That’s my girl! We’re not related by blood, but that’s my girl.

 

Amanda – I just don’t care, because what project am I going to use it for? If I had a specific idea in mind, that is so different. If I know I’m going to be using these doilies, we’re actually going to make a table runner out of them. The kids are going to paint them. It’s going to be so great. They’re going to have so much fun. That’s fine. If I don’t have a project in mind, and I say, “Oh! They’re on sale for ten cents!” I’m not actually saving myself money, I’m wasting ten cents, and I’m wasting that storage space that they’re going to sit in the back of my closet for the next two years.

 

Kathi – And you’ve actually wasted that ten cents, because you’re never going to use them. You’ll end up recycling them, or giving them away. There’s a package of doilies that, I promise you, have been passed through seven pairs of hands.

 

Amanda – I have no doubt about that. Every time I see doilies, I think, “Throw them away.”

 

Kathi – Here’s what I love. Sometimes I have stuff and I think, “Well, maybe Amanda could use this for her room.” Recently, I had spray paint, something else, I can’t remember, and ribbon. You were like, “I’ll take the spray paint and the other thing, but I don’t need the ribbon.”

 

Amanda – Cookies!

 

Kathi – Oh! Cookies! Everybody can always use cookies. I know. I was giving away cookies. Miracles abound. But, to have those three and say, “I already have an idea for this. I have an idea for this. I don’t need this.” I love it. So, I think it’s so important, when you’re talking to teachers, to not guilt them into taking stuff. Do people do that? I know, I’ve seen it with other parents, but…

 

Amanda – So, in a daycare setting, parents gifting items to us happens quite frequently, which is fantastic. Sometimes it’s great stuff. Other times it’s broken toys that they no longer want. I’m like, “This is not a dumping ground.”

 

Kathi – You’ve just given me a chore to go to the dump. And by the way, it costs money in California. So, let me just ask: As a teacher, what do you want? If they want to give you something. I already know one thing you want. You want Michael’s gift cards.

 

Amanda – Well, yes.

 

Kathi – Always.

 

Amanda – I would say, things that get used often. Markers never go to waste. I mean, they go to waste, but we can always use more markers. Paper. You can always use more paper. Stuff like that.

 

Kathi – Tissue boxes?

 

Amanda – Yeah. Honestly, the best thing to do with teachers, is to ask them for a list. You never know what they’re going to want in a classroom. Maybe they already have seven packs of markers that some director bought for them.

 

Kathi – Well, it was so interesting. We had two teachers teaching here at The Red House. They said that they had, pretty much, unlimited paper. They could use as much paper as they wanted. What they didn’t have was pencils. So, your dad was in San Jose. I’m like, “Go buy all the pencils! I can’t believe these schools are not giving these teachers pencils.” So, he brought home, like, 350 pencils. That probably is only going to last them for a month.

 

Amanda – I was going to say, “That sounds like it would be great…for a month.”

 

Kathi – Exactly. But, you know, for one month, two classrooms got the pencils they needed.

 

Amanda – They got all the pencils.

 

Kathi – So, this has been great. This is about keeping clutter out. So, we’re going to go over these one more time. If you take something out, put it away. Model that, and vocalize. Explain what you’re doing. Two: If it no longer has a use, get it out. This is toys, random things you bring in to the room, decorations. Don’t keep it just because you’ll need it someday.

 

Amanda – Oh, the decorations.

 

Kathi – The decorations. And you’re a big decorator, when it comes to rooms.

 

Amanda – I am. I am a huge decorator. However, I have learned to contain my decorations in to specific boxes. If it doesn’t fit, I don’t keep it.

 

Kathi – I think that works for home holidays, too. I want to get my Christmas decorations for the inside the house, down to two boxes.

 

Amanda – Oh, good luck.

 

Kathi – I think I can do it. I’m not responsible for your dad and the outside decorations. Your dad is the problem in this whole plan. Let’s be super clear.

 

Amanda – I have far too many boxes for outside decorations as well.

 

Kathi – Okay, she comes by it honestly. Number Three: Don’t buy possible future projects. Don’t keep stuff because you just might use it someday. This has been so good, Amanda. I so appreciate this. Okay, here’s what I’m going to do, guys. With my new book, The Clutter Free Home, a lot of these principles cross over, so I want you to give me your best clutter free tips for kids. We’re going to post them here on the podcast page. Two of you are going to win that book. So, we’re going to have Amanda come back next week. Today she talked about how to be clutter free in the classroom. We’re going to talk, next week, about how to be organized in the classroom. I’m super excited.

 

Amanda – And all my teachers will listen to that one.

 

Kathi – Oh, awesome. Okay. They get early childhood education credit for listening to that.

 

Amanda – Hooray!

 

Kathi – Hooray! I make no promises. That’s not legally binding. Amanda, thanks so much for being with me today.

 

Amanda – Absolutely! Thanks!

 

Kathi – I just have to say: You’re really good! This is awesome.

 

Amanda – Oh, great!

 

Kathi – You know, it’s always a gamble, bringing your kid on here, but you’ve done a great job. This is amazing.

 

Amanda – Glad I could help.

 

Kathi – 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.

 

<<music>>

 

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

#395: How to (Finally) Create Your Clutter Free Home Step #4 Do your Thing to Create the Room of Your Dreams

#395: How to (Finally) Create Your Clutter Free Home Step #4 Do your Thing to Create the Room of Your Dreams

Kathi concludes her four-part conversation about creating your Clutter-free home with style-expert KariAnne Wood. A few weeks ago, we learned about dedicating your space for its purpose. Then we focused on how to decide the way you want the room to feel. Last week we learned about the easy-to-do actionable steps it takes to cut the clutter.

In this episode, you’ll learn more about creating style in a room.

  • How to put zazz into any room.
  • Can your style change?
  • The role your home plays in interior design style.

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.

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

Links

Learn more about Clutter Free for Life.

Take your Style Guide Quiz

 

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Transcript

Meet Our Guest

KariAnne Wood

KariAnne Wood

DIY Style Expert

KariAnne Wood writes the blog, Thistlewood Farms, featuring hundreds of home decor projects and decorating tips. The blog was awarded the Country Living Decorating Blog of the Year, was named one of the Top 10 Decorating Blogs by Better Homes and Gardens, and was voted one of the best DIY blogs online. In addition to writing for Romantic Homes, KariAnne has authored five books, including her most recent release, But Where Do I Put the Couch. Find her website at https://thistlewoodfarms.com 

394 How to (Finally) Create Your Clutter Free Home Step #3 Declutter Your Space

394 How to (Finally) Create Your Clutter Free Home Step #3 Declutter Your Space

This week, Kathi continues her four-part conversation with Tonya Kubo, founder and fearless leader of the Clutter Free Academy Facebook Group about how to (finally) create the clutter-free home you’ve always wanted. A few weeks ago, we learned about dedicating your space for its purpose. Last week we focused on how to decide the way you want the room to feel.

In this episode, you’ll learn tips and tricks to create a clutter-free home. Don’t panic, friend, we break it down in easy, actionable steps. You’ve got this! 

  • How to effectively use a timer to time-box your way to clean. 
  • Why a strategy is paramount! No, you cannot pick the easiest room. 
  • What spaces in your home are basically a storage closet and what you can do about it. 

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.

Links

Learn more about Clutter Free for Life.

 

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

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. Tonya Kubo is the Online Engagement Director at the University of California Merced, as well as the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group.

Transcript

Read along with the podcast!

 

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #394

 

Clutter Free Home – Declutter

 

<<intro music>>

 

Kathi – Well, hey friends! Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. My name is Kathi Lipp. I’m the author of Clutter Free and here with me is the founder of Clutter Free Academy on Facebook, it is Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya!

 

Tonya – Hey, Kathi!

 

Kathi – I am so excited. We are in a series right now, because we are talking about my book that is coming out. It is The Clutter Free Home. I really do know the title of it. It’s coming out a week from today. 

 

Tonya – What?!

 

Kathi – I know. I’m super excited. So, we’ve got our launch team. If you haven’t gone over there, let’s make sure you’ve got all the information for that. Today, we’re talking about the third step in the book. It’s been really fun to test this out with our Clutter Free for Life. I call them Guinea Pigs, you called them Early Adopters. So they’ve been doing this for over a year and making such huge progress. It’s been super fun to watch. We want to talk about our decluttering system for The Clutter Free Home. 

 

Tonya – Sigh. It’s so fitting for Clutter Free Academy to talk about decluttering.

 

Kathi – Yes! Finally! We’ve talked about dedicating your space; really understanding what your space is about and how you’re using it. Decide. How do you want that space to feel/look/smell/all the things? Now, we’re going to declutter. The new decluttering system has two parts. It’s always had two parts, but we want to talk about daily decluttering and then deep decluttering. Daily decluttering? Fifteen minutes. Get ‘er done. 

 

Tonya – Yep!

 

Kathi – So, that’s the basis of everything we’ve ever done in Clutter Free. Would you talk through what you do in those fifteen minutes? ‘Cause you’ve been doing this for five years.

 

Tonya – Yeah, so I think the first thing I do is decide what I’m going to do. Because it’s fifteen minutes – I’ll use my bedroom as an example ‘cause I love to use my bedroom as an example – fifteen minutes is enough time to tackle one drawer in my dresser or my closet.

 

Kathi – One drawer in your closet. Or one area in your closet.

 

Tonya – What I was going to say is, if I have a very specific purpose in my closet. So, I’ll do a fifteen minute session and say, “I’m going to get rid of everything that is worn or I no longer love.”  Right? I’ll have my trash bag already there, and I’ll get everything situated to give away or to toss. I set my timer for fifteen minutes, and I just go through. It’s no mercy, because I’ve already pre-decided “This is what I’m doing. This is why I’m going to do it. This is how long I’m doing it.” Then, at the end of the fifteen minutes, I set another timer for 5 minutes, and it’s a mad dash to get those bags out to the car and get back in. Then, I’m done. I’m not the person who’s going to do the marathon. I’m not going to set my timer for another 15 minutes.

 

Kathi – ‘Cause we’ve done that before. 

 

Tonya – And it never ended well.

 

Kathi – No. It was always a bad thing. So, that’s our daily decluttering. But we, now, want to assign you a room. We want you to know that, when you’re doing your daily decluttering, there’s a schedule. So, we’re not just letting you go willy nilly, and you’re like, “I’ll do the laundry room, because that’s easy.” No no no. We’re going to assign you. Monday is your kitchen. I love this, because it starts out the week on a fresh note. So, for 15 minutes, I want you to get in there and declutter your kitchen. Make it all the things you want it to be. Tuesday is your living room. You’re getting in there. It’s just one shelf. One drawer. One something in your living room. Wednesday is your bedroom. This could be your bedroom or a kid’s bedroom or maybe a guest bedroom. How much time do you spend in your bedroom versus your girls’ bedroom?

 

Tonya – I spend more time in my bedroom. We only have a two bedroom house, so the bedrooms get a lot of use.  But more time in mine, because I need to sleep well. I don’t sleep well when I’m overwhelmed with stuff in my room.

 

Kathi – Yeah. If you’re afraid you’re going to trip and die in the middle of the night, it’s not a good way to live. It just isn’t. Okay, so you’re going to pick one bedroom. It’s not like you’re doing fifteen minutes in each bedroom. You’re just trying to declutter and get the stuff out of there. Okay, Thursday is bathrooms. So, it depends. Is it your master bathroom? Your half bathroom downstairs? The kids’ bathroom? Whatever it is. This is not cleaning time. This is decluttering time. This is getting stuff out of your space. Then, Friday is office area. Even if your office area is your kitchen. Wherever you do your office. Wherever you do your paperwork. That needs to be decluttered on the regular. In San Jose, our office area is, really, the third bedroom, where Roger works. I have an office too, but for our household, bills and mail and things like that, that’s the third bedroom. Here at The Red House, Roger has an office upstairs, but we have a closet that has all of our paperwork. All that kind of stuff. So, that’s where I spend my fifteen minutes. It’s just more detailed. It’s more detailed to do it in there. Okay, and Saturday is extra. So this could be your garage, your basement, your attic. If you have a storage unit, I would suggest you go over there and spend your fifteen minutes cleaning it out, doing what you need to do. Sundays you get off. Now, if your work schedule is such that Tuesday is your day of rest? Figure it out. You guys are all adults. You can figure this out. What’s going to work? Nobody’s going to come to your house and make sure you’re decluttering on Tuesday in the living room. 

 

Tonya – Right.

 

Kathi – We want you to be able to do all the things. So, that’s the first part. That’s the daily decluttering. Then, once a week, I want you to do a deep declutter. This is where you can get your hands dirty. We’re going to say sixty minutes. Here’s what I mean by that: You are going to deep declutter for 60 minutes. This is 60 minutes of getting stuff out of your house. I feel like once a week, I could do sixty minutes without analysis paralysis. 

 

Tonya – Right.

 

Kathi – ‘Cause you’re picking the spot in your house. My recommendation is: If your garage is driving you crazy, every week you do your sixty minutes in there, until you’re about 60% decluttered. Then, if you need to, move on to another space. Do it until you see a difference in there.

 

Tonya – Right. And can I dig into that a little tiny bit? I know that in Clutter Free for Life this has been a challenge. First of all, we’ve talked about realistic expectations before, people think “All I need is an hour and I’m supposed to get the whole room situated.” Then they get a little bit discourage when that doesn’t happen. I liked what you said, and I want to dig into that a little. You’re decluttering for an hour. That whole goal of that hour is to get stuff out. The goal is not to color code your drawers. The goal is not to sit there and match socks. The goal is to get the single socks into a bag and out of the house. The goal is to get, if you’re in my house, and you’ve got underwear from size four all the way to size eight. It’s to get the underwear out that the youngest one is not going to wear, because there’s nobody else.

 

Kathi – There’s nobody else coming along to claim that underwear.

 

Tonya – And I’m never going to fit in size four toddler underwear. That’s just not going to happen.

 

Kathi – Nope. It’s not going to happen. So, at some point, when you’ve got your place decluttered enough, you can start to do the organization that will help you out. But here’s what people do: They try to organize their clutter. They go in and say, “We’re going to go in and put a system in place in this closet.” But, here’s the thing. You’re organizing things that are junk. Anytime you try to organize junk, it just explodes on you.

 

Tonya – Can I share a personal example?

 

Kathi – Of course.

 

Tonya – Okay, so most of our listeners know that we moved into a house that was built in 1952. What I don’t think listeners know is that they sold us everything in the house. As somebody who grew up in a studio apartment with my kind of background, I didn’t really believe that the house was ours, for a while. It’s taken me awhile, right? So, I have not touched anything they left.

 

Kathi – What do you mean?

 

Tonya – So, we have two closets in the house. We have one in the bathroom and we have one in the hallway. So, if you open the hallway closet, the shelves are stuffed with their linens.

 

Kathi – Whoa.

 

Tonya – So, they left their curtains and their sheets and everything. I’ve never touched them. I haven’t even pulled them out and folded them to see if they would fit my bed. It’s been this shrine. So, I’ve been losing very precious space in my hallway, because I’m just like, “I just don’t believe they’re not going to come back and want their stuff.” Which, by the way, they don’t. I actually did ask. But as I’m sitting here, thinking, that would be the perfect use of an hour. I would get four shelves back.

 

Kathi – Yes. I’m going to hold you accountable for this.

 

Tonya – I wish our listeners could see your face. Kathi is very concerned for me, right now.

 

Kathi – Can I just tell you? The house is yours. 

 

Tonya – But, I think our listeners will appreciate the fact that there is a lot of ‘pinch ourselves’, right, in our decluttering journey? I just want to give hope to the listener who feels like they just can’t let stuff go. 

 

Kathi – Can I just tell you, no judgement? There’s no judgement.

 

Tonya – Oh, no. I don’t feel judgement. But, I laugh because I’ve been in this journey a long time. It wasn’t until you were talking about that just now. You were talking about the storage unit, and I was like, “That’s basically a storage unit inside my house.”

 

Kathi – It totally is.

 

Tonya – I open the cabinet and I go, “Yeah, no, I’m just going to close that.”

 

Kathi – So, here’s my question for you. This is one of the things I don’t think we talk enough about in Clutter Free Academy, but I think it would be super helpful. What is your vision for that closet? What could that become for you? 

 

Tonya – I want that to be, it sounds silly, but I want my paper towels and my cleaning stuff to go there, because it’s so centrally located for the home. I’ve thought, over time, “Oh, that’s where blankets should go. Oh, that’s where towels should go.” That’s not actually where I want those things. I don’t want to trip over the Costco package of paper towels that are left on the floor because I don’t have any other shelves that are tall enough. But I do in there. It’s just funny to me how, again, I’ve lived there over a year, and it’s never occurred to me. 

 

Kathi – But isn’t that how we are? We have shrines in our own house. 

 

Tonya – Right. We talked about this before, right? We let the house happen to us. I love that this is a way to take ownership.

 

Kathi – Okay, so in the next two months, could you declutter that closet?

 

Tonya – Well, I could probably do it in the next weekend. None of the stuff is mine. I can’t even imagine wanting to keep any of it because it doesn’t belong to me.

 

Kathi – It’s just a big old Goodwill run.

 

Tonya – Yeah. I really think so. How funny is this? I’m tickled by myself right now.

 

Kathi – Yeah! No! I totally get it, though. I really do. There are things, even in this Red House. We have a barn. Okay, that’s weird. We have a barn. But, I don’t know exactly what’s out there. 

 

Tonya – Right, ‘cause you’re in the same situation, where they sold a lot of the stuff to you.

 

Kathi – Yeah, it’s a very unusual circumstance. You’re like, “Should I keep this? I don’t even know what it’s for.” But, it’s like, “Is that the key for keeping the whole house together?” So, part of it is research to find out, “What is this doohickey?” I’ve gone through everything in our garage. I’ve touched everything in the garage. I know what’s in there. The barn is still a bit of a mystery to me. We will uncover these things together, Tonya. 

 

Tonya – That’s what I like about Clutter Free Academy, though, right? We do this together.

 

Kathi – Yes. Okay, so I’m super excited about this, guys. We want you to join the journey with us. So, if you have ordered a copy of the book, go ahead and preorder. That is super helpful to us as authors.

 

Tonya – Yes it is.

 

Kathi – But, also, I would love for you to be on this journey with us. We will be telling your more about that. So, Tonya, thanks for being here.

 

Tonya – Thanks for having me.

 

Kathi – And friend, thank you for being here. 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.

 

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