#376: Three Decisions to Make Today to Have the Best Christmas Ever

#376: Three Decisions to Make Today to Have the Best Christmas Ever

Ready or not, Christmas is on its way! The holidays come every year and yet we always seem caught off guard by their arrival. What if we could make some important decisions today to make our lives easier in December? What if we could plan ahead and have the best Christmas ever this year?

This week, Kathi and Tonya Kubo, fearless leader of the Clutter Free Academy Facebook Group, discuss three decisions you can make today to have the best Christmas ever. Their insights will help you move from dreading the holidays to actually enjoying them.

In this episode, you’ll learn how taking care of your future self by making decisions early will help you to have the best Christmas ever. You’ll also learn how to:

  • Get started on your Christmas cards today
  • Arrange your calendar early to include all the things (even Christmas cheer!)
  • Avoid the January sticker shock from your holiday spending

Get a handle on the holidays by ordering your own gorgeous copy of The Christmas Project Planner. Click here to order on Amazon.

If you’re looking for more ideas, support, and awesome .gifs, join the Christmas Project Planner Facebook Group.

 

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 for Clutter Free Academy Podcast #376

Read along with the podcast!

Clutter Free Academy Podcast # 376

Three Decisions to Make Today to Have the Best Christmas Ever.

<<intro music>>

Kathi – Well, hey friends! Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, do-able steps to live every day with less clutter and more life.  We are back with the Christmas Countdown. Things are happening, friends. Christmas is coming, like it or not. I hope you like it.

Tonya – Like it or not, December 25th comes every year.

Kathi – It really does. You were talking about how people say, “Did Christmas just sneak up on you this year?” and you’re like, “No. I knew that Christmas was on December 25th.” 

Tonya – I just keep forgetting the days are ticking by. 

Kathi – You have to do something about it. Yeah, that’s a little frustrating. Well, here’s what I want us to do. I want us to make some decisions early, and these decisions can help you manage your Christmas in a better way. So, I am here with Tonya Kubo, who is our fearless leader, over at Clutter Free Academy on Facebook. If you have not joined Clutter Free Academy on Facebook, you didn’t listen to our last episode, because we pretty much shamed you into doing it. Here’s the thing: We love to talk about taking care of your future self. So, Tonya, why don’t you explain to people what taking care of your future self is.

Tonya – Well, it’s understanding that the later version of yourself never has more time, or more energy for anything. So, why not just do something right now that makes later a little bit easier? 

Kathi – That’s all we want you to do. Yes, you’re doing it for your family. Yes, you’re doing it for your friends, but really? It’s okay to do it for yourself, to be a more peaceful version of who you are. So, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to pre-decide a few things, to decide if you’re doing them this year. If you’re not, mark it off and go with God, and don’t worry about it anymore, but, we want you to decide on a few things that are going to make the rest of your season so much easier. So, Number One: Are You Going to Do Christmas Cards? So, Tonya, are you going to do Christmas cards?

Tonya – I’m doing Christmas cards.

Kathi – You are?! 

Tonya – I am!

Kathi – Okay, tell me about it. First of all, I’m so proud of you for making that decision months in advance. 

Tonya – Especially since, the first time we recorded this episode, I was like, “Ah! I don’t know!” Pressure!

Kathi – Okay, so what made you decide that this is the year?

Tonya – Well, part of it is because I have a plan. I have a plan. I understand that it’s not such a big thing. There are just about little ten steps to get me from here to Christmas cards in the mail. And I can do those steps. I’ve realized that I have to buy stamps. I know how to buy stamps. And I can buy stamps at any time. I don’t have to buy stamps three days before Christmas.

Kathi – Right! You can order them online. 

Tonya – Right! I can buy stamps. I’ve decided I want a picture. I don’t have to have a picture. I have a friend who just buys her cards from the Dollar Store and hand writes every card. That’s not who I am. But I can get a picture, and we happen to have a long-time sitter. She’s been with us since Abby was born, and she’s really handy with a camera and a camera phone. So, I’m just going to have her take our picture. I already asked her. I said, “Do you think you could just snap a picture of us?” and she’s like, “Sure! Not a problem!” So, I’ve got that down. I just need to pick a date.

Kathi – Beautiful! I’m so proud of you! The Lipps, who haven’t sent Christmas cards for a few years, have also decided that this is the year. 

Tonya – Do we get to see Moo?

Kathi – Moo will be a part of it. So, if you guys don’t know, we have a new baby puggle. Her name is Moose, but we call her Moo, little Moo, Moo-Moo, Moose-on-the-Loose. She has many, many names. So, we are going to take a picture with her, probably at The Red House, but you know what? If it just happens to be just our two faces and little Moo?  Now, we cannot get Moo and Ashley the Cat in the same photograph, because, right now, everybody loves Moo, except for one. 

Tonya – Yeah, but you never know. Christmas miracles, they can happen at any time.

Kathi – Wouldn’t that be nice? I had little pictures of them snuggling together, and right now, I’m just praying they don’t kill each other. We’re working on it.  We’re working on training Moose, so she’s a little bit chill-er – let’s put it that way – and doesn’t bark quite as much. So, anyway, we look at sending Christmas cards as if it should be easy, and it actually is easy. It does require a lot of steps, though, and so, having the addresses. That’s the part that always kills me. Trying to get all those addresses together. So, that’s my first step. That’s the step that I need to do in advance. Print off those labels. I’m not your calligraphy kind of gal. I just want to print off the labels and be done with it. We can have a mass production. The other thing that I am doing? I am putting on my calendar, a night to invite people over to do their Christmas cards. 

Tonya – How fun!

Kathi – Right? If you lived closer, I’d invite you over. Sadly, you are several hours away.

Tonya – I don’t know. I might come over anyway.

Kathi – You might come over. I love it. 

Tonya – It depends on what we’re eating. Is there cheese? If there’s cheese involved, I might go.

Kathi – There will be cheese. There is always cheese. So, we’ll put on the Christmas music, and we’ll just go for it. It gives me a target for when I need the cards back in order to do all the things. I’m super-excited about it. So, let’s talk to the person who’s not going to do Christmas cards. You just saved yourself twelve hours.

Tonya – I was going to say, we just gave them a day and a half!

Kathi – I don’t send Christmas cards every year. We’ll send them this year, because we have a new, cute little face in the house, and I love to share the Moose-love, but we probably won’t send them next year, and that’s okay.  Nothing inside of me says, “I need to send them every year.”  Especially, when you have kids that are older, they change so slowly at that point. Now, when they’re little, and you have a new baby, yeah, do the cards. Of course, I’m saying that to new moms. You know what? Just put a picture of your kid up on the Interwebs. That’s all you need to do. So, if you’re not going to do Christmas cards, you get a free pass. That’s amazing. Good for you. But, if you’re going to do Christmas cards, start doing those little steps into motion. Get the picture taken, if you’re going to do that. Gather your addresses. Create an Excel spread sheet. Order the stamps. Are you doing it on Shutterfly? Figure all that out, and do it early. Number Two: Decide On Your Calendar. So, in The Christmas Project Planner, we have your December calendar and your November Calendar, and I want you to put in there, on little Post-It Notes, what nights or days you are going to be busy, so that you cannot worry about that. For somebody like me, it’s not that big of a deal, because Roger is going to be busy with church and everything like that, because he’s on the production team, but I don’t have little kids in the house. I’m not going to a million winter carnival/festival/thing-a-majigs. But you have Abby and Lily. You need to get those things on there early. So, tell me what your November and December looks like.

Tonya – Well, you know, they’re crazy. They always are. But I think one thing that I have realized this year that I don’t think I realized last year, is I don’t have to be a slave to other people’s communication schedules. I have the power to contact the school, contact the teachers and say, “Hey, when is the Christmas Program? When is this? When are conferences?” I don’t have to sit here and say, “Oh, well, I know my kids are going to have a Christmas Program, but the teacher hasn’t informed me yet.” No! They have to reserve the auditorium at some point, so I am totally capable of finding out when that reservation is. 

Kathi – Nice. I like that a lot. I really, really do. So, get your calendar together. Decide when you’re going to do things. Then decide when you’re going to put in the Christmas cheer. I said, I’m going to have a night where I’m inviting people over to work on their Christmas cards, or if they’re crafters, they can bring those kinds of things. Whatever they want to do. I’m inviting them over and we can do this all together. I’m also going to have a night when I get to The Red House, of wreath-making. We have thirty two acres of trees that are waiting to be turned into wreaths.  

Tonya – I don’t even know how that happens, but I look forward to hearing your story.

Kathi – I’m super-excited. I’ve got the ring. I’ve already ordered the supplies I need. I cannot wait. So, put in times of intentional joy and rest on your calendar. That’s what I want for you. I want you to have some days where you’re going to go do something fun. Both your family and my family have a tradition, where we load up the car, we drive through Starbucks, we get hot chocolates or the coffees or whatever, and we go look at Christmas lights.

Tonya – I love it, because I don’t actually put up Christmas lights. I can look at other peoples.

Kathi – Roger does. It’s not my thing, but it’s his thing. I love that we both do that. You get to go and appreciate somebody else’s work without having to do any of your own. Then, finally, I want you to Decide on Your Budget. One of the things that was really helpful for me last year was, I just shoved all the receipts into my Christmas book, so I could kind of see what I spent last year. Every family has some unusual expenses. I know you have some unusual expenses because of your husband’s job.

Tonya – Yes. My husband is a special education teacher at a low income school, so he spends a fair amount of money on his students, but also, his co-workers actually like each other and get together. A lot. 

Kathi – That’s amazing. Since we talked about it, it makes me think, we had a couple of teachers at the last Red House Writer’s Retreat. We were talking about what is covered by the school district and what isn’t. What was so interesting was: paper was covered, pencils are not. So, Roger was working in San Jose, and I had him go buy three hundred pencils to just give to them, so they could have them in their classrooms. I think, as parents, could we give the teachers twenty dollars and say, “Hey, I know you’ve got some expenses coming up this Christmas season.” Unless it’s one of those bah-humbug teachers. But Brian’s not one of those.

Tonya – You know what’s beautiful? Going back – and this is not sponsored by Amazon at all – but gift cards. I have the teacher’s email addresses, and Amazon gift cards. 

Kathi – It’s a beautiful thing. People were so gracious to us when we had evacuees at The Red House. People sent us games for the kids. They sent us books for the kids. Then they sent us Amazon gift cards, and it made such a difference in all the things we were doing. Finally, just knowing what your budget is, so you’re not surprised in January. If you’re going to buy all the things in December and complain about it in January, how is that honoring anybody? How is that honoring your family? How is that honoring your spouse? How is that honoring you? How is that honoring God? So, make these decisions early. If this all feels overwhelming to you, I’m going to have Tonya tell you a little bit about The Christmas Project Planner Facebook group, because we would love you to be a part of that. 

Tonya – Yes! First of all, it’s not like The Christmas Project Planner Facebook group lives twelve months out of the year. We’re just here for a short period of time and we’re going to have a lot of fun. Right now, there’s a lot of people in there that cannot get enough of Christmas, but as we get closer to Christmas, there are going to be people in there who are just desperate to survive Christmas. The great thing about The Christmas Project Planner group is, we’re in there and we’re just focused on practicality. Somebody posted in there the other day that they were raised by somebody who did Christmas like a pro, but didn’t really pass on how to do Christmas like a pro, so it’s been a big mystery to them. They are just in there, like, “How do you get through, day by day.” It’s beautiful because The Christmas Project Planner is twenty-one super-simple steps to get you from here to actually loving Christmas.

Kathi – Right. First of all, this book is beautiful. They’ve done such an amazing job. It’s really gorgeous. So, if this is something you want to do with a friend, if you gave them this book as a gift, it would be a gorgeous gift. If you order one, order two, and you can talk other people into doing this. I promise you. We would love for you to join the group. We would love for you to be a part of it. It’s not too late. We can help you simplify the Christmas that you want to have. Tonya, thank you so much for being on Clutter Free Academy. 

Tonya – Thank you for having me.

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

<<music>>

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

 

Meet Our Guest

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo

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

#375: A Christmas Plan For Those Who Are Overwhelmed By Christmas

#375: A Christmas Plan For Those Who Are Overwhelmed By Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner! Do you have a Christmas plan in place or are you overwhelmed thinking about it already? Have no fear! In this episode, Kathi and Tonya Kubo, illustrious leader of the Clutter Free Academy Facebook Group, will help you create a Christmas plan to have your most joyful, meaningful, merry holiday season yet.

Kathi and Tonya will give you a glimpse into some of their favorite Christmas traditions and others that didn’t work for them. Their experiences will help you discover:

  • Three things that can make Christmas feel overwhelming and how to address them.
  • Important questions to ask when crafting a Christmas plan.
  • How to share the giving season and get others involved in your Christmas plan.

Kathi and Tonya are right. You really can get anything on Amazon! Most importantly, you can pre-order your copy of The Christmas Project Planner and get your Christmas plan rolling today.

Join the Christmas planning fun in the Christmas Project Planner Facebook Group.

If you’re interested in trying raclette, click here to learn more.

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.

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #375 Transcript

<<music>>

Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, do-able steps to live everyday with less clutter and more life. All I want to say right now is, “JINGLE BELLS! JINGLE BELLS! JINGLE ALL THE WAY!!” Am I killing you, Tonya? I’m talking to my guest, Tonya Kubo, who is the fearless leader over at Clutter Free Academy, the Facebook group.  If you’re not a part of that, go join it. If you’re not a part of that, what are we even doing? What are we even doing here?

Tonya – I don’t even know. Where are you? If you’re not there, where are you?

Kathi – Do you not love love? Do you not love support? Do you not love the kindest corner of the internet? I mean, what are we even doing? Well, Tonya, the reason I said I’m killing you, is because you are a self-admitted Grinch. I wouldn’t call you a Grinch. I know you call yourself a Grinch, but can we just say – and, by the way, we’re rerecording this because Kathi may have had a couple of technical difficulties the last time we recorded this – and we didn’t talk about this then, but I want to talk about it now. You maybe didn’t have the easiest growing up. 

Tonya – No, I didn’t have the easiest growing up. I would agree with you. I view Grinches as people who want to ruin Christmas for other people, but I think I’m happy for you to have the most amazing Christmas ever, I just don’t need to be a part of it. 

Kathi – My theory is: If you want to be miserable, you go right ahead. And you’re saying: If you want to be happy, you go right ahead. Here’s the thing: because you have kids, and because I love your kids, I want them to have some semblance of a Christmas that they will look back on fondly, with lots of love. I do feel like I need to get you up to a Christmas level every year, because you help me with The Christmas Challenge. Every year, you get a little more Christmas-y. 

Tonya – That is true. I will say, last year, as we were preparing for The Christmas Project Planner to come out, even Brian commented that I was the most Christmas-y he had ever known me to be. 

Kathi – Here’s the thing. I think you have mental issues when it comes to matching outfits. 

Tonya – I definitely have mental issues when it comes to matching outfits! Oh, my gosh!

Kathi – I think that there is some childhood trauma there. Every time I talk about, “What is your problem with Christmas?” matching outfits comes up. 

Tonya – Okay, so you know that I have a MOPS background, and our annual fundraiser at our local MOPS group is what they call Santa House. One of our members lives in an old mansion. She does it all out for Christmas. We have Santa there. For one price, you can take your Christmas picture, Christmas craft, some hot cocoa, some cookies. You get your picture print that day, and you go out the door. So, for years, I see that parade of families that walk in, and the whole family is done up in these coordinating outfits. I have to tell you, the first year, I was like, “These are thoughts that have never crossed my mind.” The idea that we all might own outfits that coordinate is not a Kubo family tradition. Second, the idea that you would all wear those coordinating outfits on this one day, like you would pre-plan that? Mind-blowing! 

Kathi – Can I just tell you, my husband loves me deeply and would do almost anything for me, but the thought of asking him to get into a coordinating outfit? It never even occurred to me. We did do, because he loves his daughter deeply, and she wanted to go to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Hallowe’en Party, and she wanted to go as Joy from UP!. Not UP! Excuse me. Inside Out. I get the two confused because they almost had an Up themed wedding. So, Roger went as Anger and I went as Disgust. 

Tonya – Yes! And Lily was very impressed with your Disgust. 

Kathi – I loved my Disgust. This has nothing to do with Christmas, but let me just say this: As a mom who raised kids in the ’90s and the aughts, the double zeros, pulling together a costume in 2019 is an order of magnitude easier than it was when my kids were little. You can get anything on Amazon. 

Tonya – Right?! The perfect wig and all the things.

Kathi – Right! I got everything on Amazon. It was amazing. Okay, sorry. The struggle is real. Okay, but we’re talking about Christmas and I believe that so many people are overwhelmed by Christmas for three reasons. Let me just go over them really quickly. Loneliness, and I’ll explain what I mean by that, A Lack of a Plan, and Others’ Expectations. So, let’s go into these. You and I have talked about this and you agree with these three.

Tonya – Oh, totally.

Kathi – Okay, so, Loneliness.  I believe that overwhelm often stems from the feeling “I’m in this all by myself.” Feeling alone in something. So, when I say Loneliness, it’s not that you don’t have friends. That’s not what we’re talking about. It’s feeling like it’s all up to you and you don’t have the help.  I think, I’m switching these around, because I think that stems from Number Three: Others’ Expectations. People feel like, “Well, everybody who’s a good mom has matching outfits”, “Everybody who’s a good mom xyz.” To not process those expectations, and just accept them? Here’s the thing that we need to understand: Expectations don’t affect us until with accept the expectations. There were lots of things people did for Christmas that I couldn’t have cared less about. We never dressed anybody in matching outfits. That was not our thing. We never went caroling. We had a group of friends who did that, and I’m like, “That sounds terrible. I don’t want to do that.” There are some people who love that, though. You have to figure out what works for you, in your situation, and you, in your family. What are some of the things that bring you joy when it comes to Christmas, Tonya?

Tonya – Peppermint Mochas and Gingerbread Lattes. 

Kathi – Yes! Those are good things. Very, very good things. Some people get angry that they only come out seasonally. I love that they only come out seasonally. 

Tonya – Well, you actually can get the Peppermint Mocha all year ’round.

Kathi – This is true, because Roger does it every day. The Gingerbread Lattes and things like that, though? Even the Pumpkin Spiced Latte? That’s a treat. 

Tonya – Right, and I think there is this thing, going back to your point about Amazon. You can get anything, at any time, pretty much, nowadays, right? So, it’s easy to feel like nothing is special, but the one thing I do like about Christmas, and the holiday season, is that it is an opportunity to make things special.

Kathi – That goes into our point of Number Two: Have a Plan. All of these tie in together. The loneliness, feeling like you have to do it all by yourself, others’ expectations. One of the things I feel is very important, whoever the stakeholders are in your Christmas, for you, that would be Brian and your two girls. For me, it is my husband, my adult kids, my adult step-kids, my mom, and to a certain extent, my brother and his family. So, if we want to have the Christmas we want to have, I’m going to put in as much effort, probably more, than most people in my family, but I’m not going to put in all the effort. Here’s what I’ve come to understand: I kill myself to make a great Christmas, but it’s not the Christmas that other people wanted, and then I’m disappointed with people’s reaction. That’s ridiculous. I stopped that around ten years ago. That’s not what’s happening anymore. So, to sit down and say, “What do we want this Christmas to look like?” And really get specific. I remember one time, I made at least fifteen dishes on the table, for Christmas dinner, and people weren’t eating anything. I couldn’t figure it out, and I was really frustrated. I came to find out all my kids care about were the appetizers. They don’t care about the turkey. They don’t care about any of that stuff. So say, “Could we do a Christmas where it’s just appetizers and dessert?” Can I just tell you? That was our favourite Christmas ever. We’ve done other things like that. Last year we did raclette. Everybody had a great time and it was super-easy. If you don’t know, it’s a Swedish fondue. You can look it up, or, we’ll put a link in the show notes. 

Tonya – You need to put a link in the show notes, ’cause I think that’s what my husband wants for Christmas.  I’m just saying.

Kathi – It’s super-super fun. We’ve one pizza fondue, we’ve done raclette. Get the stakeholders into it, so it’s not all up to you, so you’re not alone. You can have a plan. You can have this meeting early on. So, what would your girls say is important to them for Christmas?

Tonya – So, it’s funny that you bring that up. You’re right, going back to the plan. You have to ask. I remember, what was it, three years ago that you introduced me to this idea of asking? I asked Brian, and I thought Brian would talk about, ’cause guys are really about food, right? Dinner. All Brian cares about is for Christmas, which has been transcended to my daughters, candy for breakfast. 

Kathi – So, you do one morning of candy for breakfast on Christmas?

Tonya – Christmas morning. So, I was spending all this time planning the perfect Christmas breakfast, “‘Cause you know, it’s a sugar high, and so I want them to have protein and the overnight casserole and the whatever.” Brian just wants to be able to eat candy for breakfast. He wants to eat nothing but candy until lunchtime. That is Christmas to him.

Kathi – Okay, that sounds horrific, but if it makes them happy.

Tonya – So, then, all I have to worry about is having the Christmas breakfast that I want to have. 

Kathi – Right. So, what do you eat instead of candy? Or do you eat the candy?

Tonya – No, I eat quiche. Quiche makes me happy.

Kathi – Quiche. Okay, you and I, carbs. Yes please. So, I love that. You’ve figured out what everybody else’s expectations or desires are, and you have a plan. 

Tonya – Right. It’s funny, because Abby will ask to eat a lollipop, last Saturday, and I just look at her and say, “Is it Christmas?” and she’ll say, “No.” “When do we eat candy for breakfast?” She knows she gets candy for breakfast on Christmas and on Easter and that’s it.

Kathi – That’s so cute. I love that. It makes it so super-special to them. It’s something they’ll remember. It’s something they’ll probably do with their own kids.  So, what we’re going to do to not be overwhelmed this Christmas? We’re going to understand other people’s expectations, and we’re going to accept or reject what works for us and our family. It doesn’t matter what the other mom at school is doing and what her expectations are. The only expectations that matter are those of your kids, your family, your friends, the ones that are celebrating with you. So, we’re going to do that. Then we’re going to have a plan. We’re going to have a plan on how to execute the Christmas that you want. Here’s what happens. When you are hustling to meet everybody’s expectations, the things that are important to you get shoved out. I’ll never forget the year that I felt I was too busy, getting ready for Christmas, to go to church. How screwed up are my priorities that I’m not going to church to celebrate the baby Jesus, but I’ll make sure that the cheese rolls are on point?

Tonya – But I do that!

Kathi – We all do it!

Tonya – I would be totally happy just wearing plain clothes, going to church and coming home. But it’s like, “Oh no. There’s no time for that.” ’cause I’m decking the halls. 

Kathi – Right! And if you’re going do matching clothes? Make them matching pajamas. Make sure it’s comfy. Then, we’re going to ask other people to participate. There is something, a matriarchal complex, I’m not really sure what it is, where we feel like we want to put on the Christmas feast all by ourselves. Can I tell you? Dinner is better when you assign it to other people. 

Tonya – We were raised by women who didn’t ask for help. That is my belief. We were raised by women who didn’t ask for help. We’re surrounded by friends we don’t see ask for help and therefore we assume asking for help is a bad thing.

Kathi – Asking for help means that other people get to give in the giving celebration and that’s what we want.  Okay guys, if this all sounds like, “Well, that’s all great, but I don’t think I can pull it off.” We have a whole group dedicated to pulling this off. We can make this the best Christmas ever for you. The one where you get to celebrate how you want, in the ways that you want. We want to make that happen for you, so we have a group, and I’m going to put in there, it’s The Christmas Project Planner Group. We want you to be a part of it, because we want this Christmas to be different from any other Christmas. Tonya’s in there leading it. You guys are having so much fun.

Tonya – We are! It’s kind of like Christmas exploded. Even I’m having a blast, because I totally feed off other people’s enthusiasm, and I had no idea that Facebook had such a library of hilarious Christmas .gifs.

Kathi – The .gifs are the best.

Tonya – Come for the gifs, I’m telling you. 

Kathi – Come for the gifs. Not the GIFTS. I love it. I’m going to put links in the show notes to buy the book. This is a book you’ll be able to use for the rest of your life. You can photocopy it. You can use Post-It notes, you can put all the lists in there. This will become your, I don’t want to say Christmas Bible, because we have a real Bible about Christmas, so it’s a little blasphemous. This is your Christmas Command Central. 

Tonya – I like that.

Kathi – You’ll be able to use it every year and it will be amazing. Okay, guys. Tonya, thanks so much. Thanks for being so open about your Christmas-y, Grinch-y tendencies.

Tonya – Thanks for loving me through it.

Kathi – I do. I do, friend. I hear ya. And guys, thank you for being here. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter-free Christmas you were always intended to celebrate.

<<music>>

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

Meet Our Guest

Tonya Kubo is the 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

How to Say “Good Morning!” (And Actually Mean It)

How to Say “Good Morning!” (And Actually Mean It)

Wouldn’t it be great if every morning could be like Saturday? We’d spend our mornings on the couch in fuzzy slippers with a steaming mug of coffee, reading something we enjoy. No alarm clocks or schedules—just an easy, breezy start to the day with no stress.

But, alas, other days of the week require us to suit up and use our God-given gifts and talents, so there’s no time for cozying up. Those are the days we face the race against the clock to get out the door. Or in my case, get behind my desk and fire up my laptop.

And can I just tell you that I’ve had my share of crazy mornings? Like the time we really needed to be somewhere on time, and after a long, panicked search for my keys, they were found in the pantry. (I mean, what in the actual world?)

Mornings are not always good.

But there is a way to make them better. When we establish a morning routine, we set ourselves up to have a smooth morning. We can be at our best for our people for the rest of the day. Having a daily plan can make the difference between frantic, mad dashes out the door and a calm, semi-peaceful morning.

Sorry, I can’t promise 100% peace. For example, I can’t help you keep your teenage daughters from fighting over the bathroom or toddler boys from launching toys over the back of the couch. But knowing where your purse and keys are as you leave the house? That’s sanity, right there.

There are 3 elements of a good morning routine:

It’s written and posted.
You want to write all of the steps down and post them somewhere you’ll see them in the morning. If it takes a cup of coffee (or three) to get your brain functioning in the morning, you’ll be able to refer to it without having to remember which step is next.

It’s realistic.
To develop a morning routine, you’ll want to perform each of the steps to see how long they actually take. For us optimists, this is the hardest part. We want to believe we can apply our makeup and dry our hair in 15 minutes, but for most of us, this is unrealistic. When you’ve determined how long your routine takes, you’ll know what time to set your alarm clock.

It’s flexible.
You want to leave some margin time, for when the unexpected happens. We all hope the 3-yr-old doesn’t dump cereal on the floor, but that’s like hoping it won’t get hot and humid in the South in July. (Parenting hack: never pour more than you’re willing to clean up.)

 

What do you put on your morning routine list?

Short answer: everything you do in the morning. Also, everything you need to do in the morning, but you don’t have time because you haven’t planned for it.

Start a load of laundry.
Maybe “laundry day” is the highlight of your week (if you’re really, really weird), but if you’re like most people, having piles of clothes to wash, dry, fold and put away can suck the life out of you. Not to mention the panicked feeling if there’s nothing to wear when laundry day is preempted by an urgent interruption. You’ll want to make sure your evening routine includes finishing the load, so you don’t have to re-wash it 4 times. (More on the evening routine next month.)

Unload the Dishwasher.
The key to making an unpleasant task palatable is to make a game of doing it as quickly as possible. Can you beat yesterday’s time? When you invest a few minutes in the morning, it makes your whole day (and evening routine) much easier. It enables you to load dirty dishes immediately throughout the day, rather than piling them in the sink. Not only does it save time doing the dishes later, but a clean kitchen gives you a psychological boost. An empty sink just feels better.

Groom and dress yourself.
We’ve all had that dream where we showed up to work or school in our pajamas, but there’s a pretty good chance you won’t skip this step. Nevertheless, include it in your written plan for two reasons: 1) You’ll factor in the time with the rest of the list and 2) It will be an easy item to check off.

Water the garden.
For those who have a garden, this step is likely seasonal. Watering in the morning before the soil gets too hot will help conserve water and keep your plants healthy. I like to pull the weeds out each day too, before it becomes a big job. It’s easier to pull them when the soil is wet too.

Connect with God.
This is the one we’re so tempted to skip if we are rushing around. But it’s the step we also need the most if we’re rushing around. Even a few minutes of prayer can focus our thoughts and attitudes on what’s truly important for the day.

If you’re a parent or grandparent, sometimes it’s hard to know how to pray for your kids. Sally Burke and Cyndie Claypool De Neve have written a book called Raise Them Up: Praying God’s Word Over Your Kids. Sally and Cyndie understand the spiritual benefits of praying scripture over your kids. They say, “You may not realize this, but every atom is held together by an invisible force that scientists call gluon. If you split an atom, you get atomic power. And yet God’s Word is much more explosive and powerful than that.”


Giveaway Time!


Thanks to our fabulous friends over at Harvest House, we are able to give a few of you a free copy of Raise Them Up!

And one Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • Copy of Raise Them Right
  • Felt Letter Board
  • Ladder Toss Game

Leave a comment below to be entered to win. What are you putting on your morning routine list for summer?

*Giveaway for US residents only.

#367: How to Live Small for Your Biggest and Best Life

#367: How to Live Small for Your Biggest and Best Life

Kathi interviews mother of four Ashley Auerbach, our new favorite adventurer on the podcast this week. Ashley and her husband made the decision to move out of a house and into an RV and travel. Talk about the adventure of a lifetime! Ashley discusses how God led them to live small while giving them the most unexpected time of their life.

In this episode you will hear:

  • Inspiration to live small in God’s big plan for you
  • How following His lead can be the most intense and amazing journey you’ll ever want to have
  • Ideas on how to create a curated life within your 3000 or 300 square feet.

This fun video shows the small living lifestyle and we thought you guys would be interested in seeing it. Enjoy!

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

Ashley Auerbach

Ashley Auerbach

The Auerbachs are a family of 6, who sold everything to live tiny, simple lives to find adventure.

Follow their adventures on Instagram @instagram.com/auerbach_adventures/.

#366 The DIY Style Finder: Discover Your Unique Style & Decorate it Yourself Part 2

#366 The DIY Style Finder: Discover Your Unique Style & Decorate it Yourself Part 2

We’re back with KariAnne Wood in part 2 of our conversation on finding and cultivating your own unique decorating style. We lead off with Kathi’s “boring” bedroom and transitional decorating ideas. KariAnne literally gives us an easy and awesome tip we can use right off the bat! So fun.

KariAnne and Kathi’s conversation gives us permission to:

  • Have our own style without pressure to be Joanna Gaines (although we love and adore her!)
  • Decorate without spending a ton of money
  • Use the things we have around the house to make our home the place we love

PLUS, Kathi gives KariAnne a pop quiz where she asks what is one simple thing each style of decorator can do to make something pop and feel new in your house today! We had so much fun in our time with KariAnne. You will too!

Kathi’s “boring” bedroom:

All these amazing ideas are talked about in KariAnne’s newest book, The DIY Style Finder: Discover Your Unique Style and Decorate It Yourself so check it out as well.

Make sure to sign up for KariAnne’s blog, Thistlewood Farms, here.

Giveaway

And as a special treat we are giving away a book! Just enter what you think your decorating style is in the comments below and we will be drawing one lucky entry.

Or if you would like to purchase this book now you can order it on AMAZON now.

 

 

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

KariAnne Wood

KariAnne Wood

KariAnne Wood, writes the decorating and lifestyle blog Thistlewood Farms from her project-filled historic home in Dallas, Texas. She recently followed God’s call and jumped back “home” with her family from the middle of the country to the busy Dallas Metroplex where she lives with her husband and four children.

If you wander down the tree-lined streets of KariAnne’s beloved hometown, McKinney, you might find her painting mismatched chairs, listening to Christmas carols no matter the season, singing Scripture, or walking hand in hand with her knight-in-shining-armor husband to a Friday night football game. She loves sweet tea with lime, thunderstorms, good books, milk glass, and yard sales, and she is an imperfect DIYer saved by grace.

If you would like to learn more about KariAnne check out her award winning website and blog Thistlewood Farms.

#365 The DIY Style Finder: Discover Your Unique Style and Decorate It Yourself Part 1

#365 The DIY Style Finder: Discover Your Unique Style and Decorate It Yourself Part 1

In this episode Kathi chats with guest and long time friend, KariAnne Wood about the fun and freedom in cultivating your own decorating style.

In her latest release, The DIY Style Finder: Discover Your Unique Style and Decorate It Yourself , KariAnne encourages listeners with some simple DIY mantras:

  • Don’t give up on your dreams.
  • Learn from your mistakes.
  • Embrace your imperfections.
  • Release any stifling rules that limit your creativity.

Through the book’s easy style quiz, readers can identify their personal décor tastes. These include the Traditional, Farmhouse, Transitional, Contemporary and Coastal styles. If you feel stuck, when it comes to style, it’s worth mentioning that clutter often stifles creativity.

Make sure to sign up for KariAnne’s blog, Thistlewood Farms, here.

Giveaway: And as a special treat we are giving away a book! Just enter what you think your decorating style is in the comments below and we will be drawing two lucky entries.

Or if you would like to purchase this book now you can order it on AMAZON now.

Just for fun: In this episode Kathi also mentions taking the Enneagram test. Click here to find out more.

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

KariAnne Wood

KariAnne Wood

 KariAnne Wood, writes the decorating and lifestyle blog Thistlewood Farms from her project-filled historic home in Dallas, Texas. She recently followed God’s call and jumped back “home” with her family from the middle of the country to the busy Dallas Metroplex where she lives with her husband and four children.

If you wander down the tree-lined streets of KariAnne’s beloved hometown, McKinney, you might find her painting mismatched chairs, listening to Christmas carols no matter the season, singing Scripture, or walking hand in hand with her knight-in-shining-armor husband to a Friday night football game. She loves sweet tea with lime, thunderstorms, good books, milk glass, and yard sales, and she is an imperfect DIYer saved by grace.

If you would like to learn more about KariAnne check out her award winning website and blog Thistlewood Farms.

#364 July 9 How to Take Control When Life is Full of Change – a Conversation with Jen Babakhan

#364 July 9 How to Take Control When Life is Full of Change – a Conversation with Jen Babakhan

Join Kathi as she talks with special guest, Jen Babakhan, whose book Detoured is a huge blessing to women who are juggling the transition many working moms face. In this episode Jen will share how she made it through this very difficult time in her life and gives others encouragement along the way. Plus she shares simple tips to help moms emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, as they navigate motherhood.

Listen in to learn these things:

  • Acknowledge this is a difficult decision and give yourself grace.
  • Understand that our value is more than our career.
  • Find a new community of moms.

To make getting DETOURED a little more exciting we are partnering with Harvest House and offering a super fun grand prize which includes an adorable lunch tote and ice-packs, as well as a picnic blanket and Jen’s book. Learning to take time to unwind is a huge step in finding balance in this life transition. Sign up here to be entered into our giveaway!

If you would like to go ahead and order a copy for yourself or perhaps another mom you know is struggling in this of transition, click here and get ready to be inspired.  

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 now.

Meet Our Guest

Jen Babakhan

Jen Babakhan

With a degree in public relations and a background in marketing and education, Jen Babakhan left her career to take on motherhood. Her writing has appeared in Reader’s Digest, and has been featured in MSN, Yahoo, and AOL. She lives in California with her husband and two young boys. You can also connect with her at JenBabakhan.com

 

#363 Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty and Peace by Christie Purifoy

#363 Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty and Peace by Christie Purifoy

On today’s episode, Kathi is joined by Christie Purifoy, to share thoughtful and encouraging insights from her new book Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty and Peace.

When we care for places, we are caring for the people who live in those places.

In this episode we will be talking about :

  •  What it means to be a placemaker
  • Creating sacred places in our everyday surroundings
  •  The difference between placemaking and hospitality

Thanks for listening!

 We are giving away 2 books~

To be entered just share in the comment section below,  “What do you do to recognize God in your space?”

Or if you would like to order the book now just use this easy AMAZON link! 

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 now.

Meet Our Guest

Christie Purifoy

Christie Purifoy

 Christie Purifoy earned a PhD in English Literature at the University of Chicago before trading the classroom for an old farmhouse, a garden, and a writing desk. She is the author of Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons and lives with her husband and four children at Maplehurst, a Victorian farmhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Her lyrical reflections can be found at christiepurifoy.com.

#362 Organization vs. Decluttering – What’s the Difference and How Do You Do Both

#362 Organization vs. Decluttering – What’s the Difference and How Do You Do Both

Have you ever tried organizing clutter? Let’s be honest..it is never going to happen because it is not sustainable.

Today Kathi Lipp and frequent guest Tonya Kubo talk about the reality of getting organized not just for a season, but getting organized for life.

Tonya shares with Kathi on how hiring a professional organizer helped her realize two valuable lessons.  “One, I had been asking the wrong questions and two, I was trying to solve the wrong problems.”

What does it look to pare down so that you can store and organize everything you have?

Check out these easy strategies to get you started.

  • Minimize before you organize.
  • Get rid of stuff before you start to organize.
  • You have to learn to organize yourself and develop a system for the stuff you need.

Thanks so much Tonya for joining us today and helping our listeners live the clutter free life they were meant to live.

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 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.GreatMoms.org.

#361 – How to Create a Decluttered Mind with Laurie Kehler

#361 – How to Create a Decluttered Mind with Laurie Kehler

Have you ever considered that clutter can extend the boundary of our home, it can also fill up our minds? If so, you will enjoy today’s interview with author and adventure enthusiast, Laurie Kehler.

In her newly released book, This Outside Life, Laurie shares with us the value, emotionally as well as physically, of getting outside.

Laurie shares with us some valuable insights such as:

  • Why being like a chipmunk creates a “Sense of Lack” that ends up filling our minds, our lives, and even our closets with things we think we might need in the future, but in reality is holding us back from living the peace filled life we crave.
  • How to create sanctuary right outside your own front door.
  • What research studies are finding about the need to spend at least 20 – 30 minutes out of the house or office.

I am thrilled to have Laurie on today’s show-so lace up those walking shoes and let’s jump in.

Thanks for Listening!

Enter to Win!

 

Want to be entered to win the Harvest House Giveaway? Click here to find out how to easily be entered in the giveaway!

Giveaway Items:
Grand Prize Winner = Copy of This Outside Life, Sling Backpack, compact binoculars, reusable water bottle
5 Runner Ups will win a copy of This Outside Life

Or purchase a copy of the book here.

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 now.

Meet Our Guest

Laurie Kehler

Laurie Kehler

Laurie Kehler is a speaker, host of the podcast, “This Outside Life”, and the author of 4 books. Her latest book is This Outside Life: Finding God in the Heart of Nature. Through storytelling, practical application, and reflective questions, Laurie invites you outside on a journey of discovery and delight. To connect with Laurie and get the free downloadables designed just for our Clutter-Free Community, check out http://www.lauriekehler.com/clutterfree.