Back to Basics: Clutter Free Book Club Launches June 18

Back to Basics: Clutter Free Book Club Launches June 18

It’s been three years since Clutter Free came out and took the clutter/organizing world by storm with its quick and easy steps to simplifying your space. When the book was written, we had no idea it would change the course of our ministry by changing thousands of lives. Yet here we are.

Today, that book has evolved into an entire community. Clutter Free Academy is a live workshop, ecourse, blog, podcast and Facebook group. In just a year, that Facebook group has grown to more than 5,000 members. Every day, people post pictures of their transformations. We see bedrooms go from junk rooms to sanctuaries, and we hear stories of how Clutter Free living has freed women from anxiety, lifted spirits and improved relationships.

It’s awe-inspiring, and more is yet to come.

This month, we’re launching the Clutter Free Book Club in our Facebook Group. Going from June 18 to July 13, this brief book club takes members through the book that started it all: Clutter Free. We’ll spend about an hour each Monday at 5 p.m. discussing segments of the book in the group on Facebook Live. The first session will be an orientation of sorts with the first reading assignment. After that, our group discussions will involve the assigned readings and how they apply to our daily lives.

This group is perfect for anyone who is new to Clutter Free and wants to learn the foundational principles upon which the Clutter Free Academy is built. It’s also great for the longtime Clutter Free fan who wants a refresher in the company of others to share similar challenges and successes.

To participate, all you need to do is be a member of the group and own a copy of the book. If you need the book, you can order via Amazon or you can purchase a signed copy from the Kathi Lipp store and receive a free bookmark with the three questions we use to determine whether stuff earns its space in our homes: Do I love it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again?  The bookmark comes in handy when you need a reminder. You’ll need to order the book this week if you want to receive it before the book club begins.

Whether it’s your first time or your fifth, we look forward to taking this journey together to become Clutter Free in our homes, our hearts and our minds. Join the Facebook group today and introduce yourself. We can’t wait to meet you.

 

Spring Fling Day #6: Organize the Laundry Room

Spring Fling Day #6: Organize the Laundry Room

organize the laundry room

Day six of the Spring Fling and it’s time to come clean … and organize the laundry room.

It is my pit of shame. Oh friends. I can’t even believe I am showing you the before picture…

laundry room

It Gets Better in the Laundry Room

Yes, my laundry area gets CRAZY, but the good news is that I know it will not be an all day project to get it back to functional. This is a picture of what my laundry area looks like after 30 minutes.

laundry room

When you know it will only take 30 minutes to get back to functioning, it’s easier to not put it off for months on end.

Instructions:

  • Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
  • Clear off one surface at a time – first the washer, then the dryer so you have a clear space to work off.
  • Condense boxes. Have a place for single socks (we all have them).

Don’t let outgrown/old/nobody wants them clothes linger in the laundry area. This is valuable real estate friend. Make it as functional as possible.

Bonus:

Once you clear the space, put something inspirational up there. I’m going to print off a sign with this quote by Fred Rogers:

I believe that appreciation is a holy thing – that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something sacred.”

I mean, won’t that make cleaning socks for those we love a holy act of service?

laundry room

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Chp. 21: When Are We Going to Get There?

Chp. 21: When Are We Going to Get There?

The Project

I’m usually in the car for at least three hours a day and that’s only if I don’t have any appointments for myself or the kids or a playdate to attend. I try to keep things simple but sometimes we’re just in the car for a long time and there’s nothing I can do about it. In Kathi Lipp’s book, “The Mom Project,” she talks about using time in the car as an opportunity to bond with your kids. Since this is something I had already been doing, I was intrigued to read about her ideas on listening to audio books together. It’s not something I’d ever done with my kids. Sounds simple enough, I thought. So I took Kathi’s list of suggestions on where to begin and I headed to the library.

The Plan

Since my kids already love going to the library, I knew this part of the experiment was going to be easy. It was going to be picking out what we listened to as a family that was going to be the hard part. My children are 9, 6, and 4 so finding something they would all agree on and enjoy had me stumped.

Results

My plan was to take all three kids to the library but well, life happened, and before I knew it, the oldest was too tired and the youngest was having a tantrum so I took my middle child, Hannah. I told her we were headed to the library which got her super excited. We had some books to return so it was perfect timing. Hannah ran inside and assumed her usual position at the audio booth where she started playing Toca Boca. I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Come on honey, we’re going to take a look at some audio books.”

“Huh? What are those?” She asked.

“Well, they’re books but they’re on a CD so I can just pop them into my CD player in the car kind of like I do when I play movies for you guys. Instead of a movie coming on though, you’ll just hear words through the speaker.”

I could tell Hannah was confused. I walked us over to the librarian’s desk and told her what we were looking for. She pointed us in the right direction and I looked at my list from the “Mom Project” on some suggestions Kathi gave on what good books were out there for the entire family. Laura Ingalls Wilder was mentioned in her book as “one of the best little kids books” so that’s what I picked out. She described the “Little House” series being “simple enough for little kids to understand but rich enough in detail that it would hold the attention of older kids and adults.”

When we got back in the car, I popped in the CD and right when I was beginning to tell Hannah what we were going to listen to, she quickly went, “Shhh! Mom, I want to hear this.” Well, then. I guess that settles that. This audio book thing was going to be my new best friend. I didn’t hear a peep from her the entire 20 minute ride home. When we got back in the car the next morning to head to school, I heard Hannah say to her brother, “Dylan, mom got this cool thing from the library and it’s a story.”

I quickly turned on the car and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s CD started talking to us. The entire car was quiet. Our drive to school is less than five minutes and I almost felt guilty having to turn off the CD to tell the kids to have a good day and I’d see them after school. “Can we listen to this when you pick us up?” Dylan asked. I giggled. “Sure, honey. I’ll make sure I have it playing when I pick you up.”

What I Learned

I’ve always felt a pang of guilt for not having children who devour books like other children do. My kids would much rather make a craft than read a book. What I learned from doing this experiment with them, was that reading books isn’t the only way to get them more immersed in literature. Sometimes thinking outside the box and finding new ways to get them interested in reading is just what a kids need. I have a feeling audio books in the car might be our new thing.

Extra Tips

If you’re not familiar with the content in an audio book, you might get some recommendations from the librarian about what’s age appropriate for your kids. For example, in the Laura Ingalls Wilder CD I rented, there was a part in the story about a dog passing away. I wished I had thought to ask someone about this before playing it for my kids. Since my son is extra sensitive to animals, it came as a surprise to all of us when we were listening. Luckily, I was able to see my son’s face in the rearview mirror and I was able to debrief with him for a minute about what he’d just heard.

Kathi talks about turning the CD off to have a discussion with your kids if there’s something they don’t understand. This was a great moment for me to do just that. My recommendation would be to make sure what your kids are hearing is something you are prepared to talk about with them. Had I known about this piece in the book, I may have fast forwarded through that part.

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This post was written by parenting journalist Meagan Ruffing, mom to three children, one with special needs. Meagan’s passion is to reach other moms who are overwhelmed and to help them find more control in their lives. For a free set of “Overwhelmed to In Control” worksheets, visit www.meaganruffing.com.

 

Choosing to Be Intentional About What Parts of Being A Mom We Choose to Embrace

Choosing to Be Intentional About What Parts of Being A Mom We Choose to Embrace

I made a promise to my daughter the day she was born.

As I gazed into my baby girl’s eyes for the very first time, I silently assured her:

I’m going to meet your every need.

In that sacred moment, it felt right to make such a vow. She was so tiny, and I was overwhelmed by a protective instinct so strong, I felt like a combination of Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk.

But if I could go back twenty-seven years and whisper a few words to my new mom self, here’s what I’d say:

No you won’t.

You won’t even come close.

Trying Hard

We went home from the hospital the day after Annemarie was born, and oh, how I tried to honor my promise: I’m going to meet your every need.

When she was bored, I tried to be Fun Mom.

When she was sad, I tried to be Nurturing Mom.

When she broke things, I tried to be Fix-It-Fast Mom.

When she couldn’t find things, I tried to be Organized Mom.

If she needed it, I tried hard to be it.

I did a wonderful job of meeting her every need.

But then she turned two days old, and everything went haywire.

Feeling Overwhelmed

The second day after we got home from the hospital, Annemarie was fussy. I fed her. I burped her. I changed her.

Nothing worked.

I tried singing to her, but that only seemed to make her cry harder.

Finally, exhausted, I handed her over to my mother, expecting (and secretly hoping) that there would be no change.

But the transformation was both instantaneous and dramatic.

Not only did Annemarie stop crying, but as her Nana began to sing, she started to smile.

“It’s just gas,” I said, stunned and a little hurt that my child had calmed right down with someone other than me.

Now, I would love to tell you that this was the moment I recognized that my promise I’m going to meet your every need was unrealistic, foolish, and impossible to fulfill.

Unfortunately, I took it as a challenge.

And I determined to try all the harder to be the one to meet my daughter’s every need.

For the next quarter-of-a-century, I muddled through motherhood, constantly overwhelmed by self-inflicted feelings of colossal failure.

Comparing Myself

Flash forward 25 years to Annemarie’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Solo Exhibition. She’s drawn large portraits of the twenty key people in her life, each one titled with a single word that defines their connection to her.

I quickly scan the gallery walls for my portrait so I can see what label she gave me. But before I can find mine, I see Aunt Karen’s:

Nurturer

It takes all my willpower not to run to the restroom and burst into tears.

I didn’t get Nurturer.

Which means I didn’t meet my daughter’s need for nurturing.

I tried, by golly, I tried.

But I didn’t even come close.

I’m just not made out of nurturing stuff.

I’m made out of …

I find my portrait and read my label.

… evidently, I’m made out of Writer stuff.

Whatever that even means.

Clearly, Aunt Karen succeeded where I failed.

Gaining Perspective

But what if that’s okay?

The unexpected thought crashes my pity party.

What if she didn’t need me to meet her every need?

I look at my daughter, laughing with guests who are here for her grand opening. She’s all grown up into someone I am so proud to know, let alone share genes with.

What if she just needed me to be me?

I look at the titles of the other portraits:

MentorPhilosopherListenerChallenger …

And suddenly, I am overwhelmed with gratitude toward Aunt Karen and and all the other people who have poured into to my daughter’s life, meeting needs that I never could.

The truth begins to settle into my heart:

She really didn’t need me to meet her every need.

Accepting the Truth

So if you’re a mom who feels like she’s constantly falling short? letting her kids down? never even coming close to meeting all their needs?

Lean in close, and let me whisper this truth to you:

That’s okay.

They don’t need you to meet their every need.

They just need you to be you.

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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.

 

 

 

Chapter 10: Get the Conversation Started

Chapter 10: Get the Conversation Started

Welcome to The Mom Project. For the next few weeks, we’ll be launching my book The Mom Project by hosting several mom friends who have tried it out for themselves. They read the book, completed a project from the book with their kids, and wrote all about it. And these are real moms. Busy moms. Unsure-of-themselves moms. Single moms. Special needs moms. Working moms. Stay-at-home moms. They do the hard working of mommyhood every day, and have found fun ways to connect with their kids in the simple activities found in The Mom Project. Read on to hear their experience:

The Project:

Making a connection with my three kids who are ages 11 and twins who are 9, is a challenging enterprise. Life with three kids close in age will always be a challenging task. I desire connection with them but homework, errands and the minutiae of a day always seems to corrode time. I pick them up from school and then all of a sudden it is time for pjs and brushing teeth. Dinner is a gamble. Who is done with the day already? Who is grumpy because they don’t like what is on their plate? Who is annoyed at their sibling who is sitting where they wanted to sit. Connection at dinner is a miracle akin to the parting of the red sea… okay maybe not to that level but I mean when it happens I am giddy. The Mom Project suggests thinking beyond dinner and encourages thinking outside of the box I typically try to operate in. I’ve been reminded through the Mom Project that well-intentioned isn’t the same as intentional. Maybe this is obvious to most but I think this is a game-changer for me. Intentional connection requires a bit more than me saying, “How was your day?” and “Don’t forget to eat your veggies!”.

The Plan:

Here’s my reality. The best time to connect with my kids is at bedtime. They always want me to lay down with them and chat or just cuddle. The stress of the day is mostly over and their defenses come down. This is, of course, the time when I am the most ‘done’. It is 8 pm and I am ready to tap out. However, I want to connect when they already want to connect by intentionally creating space for this to occur. My plan is to spend time once a week in each child’s room and just sit and be – maybe we will have a snack, cuddle or just have a tickle fight. Just 15 minutes one-on-one with each child is what I am looking for.

Results:

They love it. And so do I. Connection is honestly what I love most about being a mom (it is certainly not the homework time) and so I started looking forward to my time with each child. Some evenings I could sit with all three kids for just a few minutes each and even that short time was a welcome few moments of connection. Bedtime may take longer, but I also come downstairs from tucking them in with a full heart.

What I learned:

Some nights are better than others to try and do this and so I need to be flexible. I did this project while my husband was out of town and it will be great for us to take turns taking a few extra moments one-on-one with the kids. The most necessary component of this is a willing heart ready to sit and just be, because you can’t rush and you have to be present. I have to be less concerned about what I have to do next and what is still waiting for me to take care of.

Extra Tips: Some days one of my children will need me more than another. When I sense that a particular child needs me I can take extra time to connect with them at bedtime. Also, with a little planning ahead I can include a favorite snack or look up knock-knock jokes ahead of time to share.

Ready for your chance to win a copy of The Mom Project? To be entered into the drawing, just comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win. *Only US readers are eligible to receive the free book.

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Bethany Howard lives in Tucker, GA with her husband, three kids, dog and cat. She enjoys words, her children’s laughter and any dinner she doesn’t make. She’s recently developed a passion for dark chocolate covered almonds. She doesn’t aim for perfection because that is unattainable so you just might be comfortable visiting www.bethanyhoward.com where Bethany wades through the ups and downs of life to discover kindling for joy and growth. Click here for a free download on being the best mom you can be for your kids (it’s not what you think it is) and to subscribe to Bethany’s blog.

How To Get Unstuck When You’re Paralyzed By Mind Clutter

How To Get Unstuck When You’re Paralyzed By Mind Clutter

You are precious and honored in my sight, and… I love you. (Isaiah 43:4, NIV)

All it takes is an instant for me to forget my royal identity and start labeling myself with lies. Like the time I froze up over a spatula while hosting a baby shower. I’d opened the doors of our tiny rental house, keenly aware of the four-foot scrape on the linoleum floor, and other dings and dents left by previous tenants. The pressure of playing hostess to a bunch of southern belles who knew how to act at a baby shower (way better than I did) was stifling. That’s when it happened. Someone asked for my cake server. Knowing I didn’t have one in the wedding-gift stash, I rummaged around in the junk drawer for an alternative. When I finally produced a semi-melted, black plastic spatula, I saw what looked like disdain as the other ladies scrutinized it.

And that’s when I froze. My spirit crushed as I accessed my most painful memories of being bullied in junior high school. In an instant, I was that sixth grade girl, fearful, weak, a nobody. I harshly labeled myself:

“You don’t fit in.”

You can’t do anything right.

“You’re unacceptable.”

How God Sees Me

Elijah knew his unique identity in the Lord. But he also knew labels. A prophet of God, he had a special message. One filled with heart for God’s people. And yet, King Ahab, with all his royal clout, labeled Elijah in 1 Kings 18:17: “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” Ouch.

I love how Elijah dealt with this, and the general dejection of running for his life:

  1. He took care of business – divine business. Read the story of Elijah praying for fire down from heaven in 1 Kings 18:21-39. It’s awesome.
  2. He got alone and took his heart to God. “I have had enough, LORD.” (1 Kings 19:4)

And what did God do? He provided for his needs. He fed him bread for the journey ahead.

So what can I learn from Elijah, who was human, just like I am? (James 5:17)

  • When I feel unloved, I take my hurts to God. He holds my hand and collects my tears in a bottle. (Isaiah 42:6, Psalm 56:8)
  • When I feel like nobody, I remember that I am precious and honored in God’s sight. (Isaiah 43:4)
  • When I feel like I don’t fit in, I remember He has not rejected me. (Isaiah 41:9, 10)

Friend, take your hurts to God. He’ll give you bread, sustenance, for the journey.

One Small Step

What lies are your inner bullies telling you? Are you listening to and affirming them?

Prayerfully write down who you are in God. Post on your bathroom mirror, your phone background, and above your kitchen sink. Let these beautiful truths sink in as they become louder than the mind clutter bullies.

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Kelli Pavlovec draws from her experience as a work from home mom to help smart moms get unstuck and find their best self at www.twohourmom.com. For a free worksheet on 7 Ways to Pursue Your Life Dreams, Even While You’re a Mom, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Match Your Stuff To the Size of Your Plate

How To Match Your Stuff To the Size of Your Plate

 

It’s March 27, 2017

Due to an emergency, Kathi is unable to do her scheduled Facebook LIVE with the Clutter Free Bible Study group and asks if I’ll fill in.

“If you don’t have any areas of clutter struggle any more, ” she says as only the Queen of Positivity can, “maybe you can tell them about your past challenges.”

“Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something!” I assure her, glancing guiltily around my office.

During the Facebook LIVE, I show everyone my greatest clutter struggle: the many ways I preserve my ideas.

  • A shelf lined with 2 inch binders labeled “Blog Post Ideas #1” … “Blog Post Ideas #2” … “Blog Post Ideas #3″…
  • File boxes full of hanging file-folders stuffed with notes from in-process book proposals and retreat messages.
  • Stacks of printed drafts (I live in terror of losing digital data, so I hav a printing compulsion) from the months when Kathi and I were writing Overwhelmed: 1st draft, 2nd draft, 10th draft.
  • Notebooks from the various writing and speaking conferences I’d been to, dating back before 2010.

“They’re all so beautifully organized and labeled, Cheri!” someone comments.

“Aren’t they?” I agree.

“Which is exactly what has allowed me to justify keeping all this stuff. After all, if it’s color-coded, labeled, and organized in binders, certainly it’s not clutter…right?!?”

My sarcasm evokes laughter, and then we all fall silent in communal conviction.

Just because our stuff looks good does not mean we should keep it.

What Size is Your Plate?

In Overwhelmed, Kathi describes each person’s individual capacity in terms of “the size of your plate.”

Most women have dinner plates—an average capacity for activity and productivity.

A few have turkey platters and can accomplish 2-3 times as much as most people.

I, on the other hand, have a small plate. As a highly sensitive person, I am extra easily overwhelmed.

“Does all this stuff in my office match up with a small plate person?” I ask the Clutter Free Bible Study group members.

No way, they all agree.

All the binders and boxes and stacks match someone with a turkey platter.

A hard truth hits me, smack dab in the middle of Facebook LIVE:

Hanging onto so much stuff is a form of greed stemming from distrust.

Protecting my precious ideas is me saying, “God, I don’t trust you to remind me of what’s important.”

And ultimately, hoarding my ideas is my way of trying to stretch my plate.

I never wanted a small plate. I’ve always wanted a turkey platter. So I’ve surrounded myself with “evidence” that “proves” my preferred truth.

It’s my way of saying, “Look! I have all this! If I have so much, I must have a really big plate!”

Bottom line: I’m keeping an office full of stuff so that I can prove God wrong.

<gulp>

Learning to Trust God

After the Facebook LIVE I look around my office with new eyes.

I’ve worked so hard to protect all my precious ideas, but I have far too many to use.

I need to trust God to choose.

I need to believe that God will help me remember the ideas I need when the time comes. Or trust that He’ll give me something new.

Either way, it’s time to quit pretending I have a bigger plate than I do.

I need to accept the size of my plate and let most of this stuff go.

My stuff needs to match the truth about who God created me to be.

__________________________

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 the upcoming 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.

 

 

 

 

Eps. #294 How to Keep Comparison from Conquering Who You Are

Eps. #294 How to Keep Comparison from Conquering Who You Are

It all started in the garden with Eve…doubt and comparison crept in with the question, “Did God really say….?”

We see it in the Bible with the story of Rachel and Leah too. They didn’t need social media to allow comparison to grow a wedge between them. We need to decide who’s truth we are going to align our lives with, ours or God’s?

Join Kathi and Nicki Koziarz as they talk about comparison and how we have the false perception that to do something great for the kingdom of God, we need to go viral, live big or have thousands of followers. Nicki urges us to see how what God is doing in each of us is so special and unique, that we can’t dare to put a classification on what He’s doing in our lives.

Book Giveaway

Meet Our Guest

Nicki Koziarz

Nicki Koziarz

Nicki Koziarz is a wife and mom to three girls plus a handful of barnyard babies. They live just outside of Charlotte, NC. She is an inspirational author, Bible teacher, and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Nicki leads from her own brokenness that somehow God is making meaningful. www.nickikoziarz.com