#611 How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 1

#611 How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 1

611 – How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 1

Do you ever feel like you have to be the woman who does it all and are failing miserably? Join Kathi and her guest, Clutter Free Academy champion Tonya Kubo, as they discuss the concept of mental load and working that “third shift.” They’ll talk about:

  • Why lack of available brain bandwidth is not the same as laziness
  • The reason “I should” isn’t really helpful
  • Dividing household responsibilities without resorting to outdated stereotypes

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The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home

Homesteading [hohm-sted-ing]
noun
1. an act or instance of establishing a homestead.
2. the act of loving where you live so much that you actively ignore the fact that your house is trying to kill you on a regular basis.

For Kathi Lipp and her husband, Roger, buying a house in one of the most remote parts of Northern California was never part of the plan; many of life’s biggest, most rewarding adventures rarely are.

Kathi shares the hard-won wisdom she’s gained on her homestead journey to help you accomplish more at home, gain fresh perspective, and give yourself grace in the process. Here’s a handful of the lessons Kathi shares:

  • Prepare before the need arises
  • Everything is always in process, including us
  • Your best household solution is time and patience
  • You don’t have to do everything the hard way
  • Be open to new and better ways of doing things
  • A lot of small changes make a huge difference.
    Highly practical, humorous, and inspirational, The Accidental Homesteader will encourage you to live with more peace, joy, and contentment.

Order your copy of The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home here.

Links Mentioned:

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky

Sign up here for Kathi’s newsletter or here to receive her Clutter Free Basics Kit!

Clutter Free Resources:

How do you divide the responsibilities in your household? Share your answer in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

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Meet Our Guest 

 

Tonya Kubo

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

 

Tonya Kubo Picture
Transcript

Kathi (00:00)
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. And we’re here for deep discussions today, but it’ll be fun, it’ll be fun, but it’ll be deep. And there’s hardly anybody I like having deep discussions with more than Tonya Kubo because I love her brain. I love her brain. Tonya, welcome back to the podcast.

Tonya Kubo (00:26)
Thanks for having me, Kathi

Kathi (00:28)
Well, I’m I who else could I have had for this discussion but you because you and I talk about this a lot But you really I mean you in social media are what introduced me to the subject of mental load And so before we go any further well, i’ll just say this You I was teaching in our paid group Clutter Free for Life and I started to talk about mental load And I would say At least half the women in there

Tonya Kubo (00:32)
Ha ha

Mm-hmm.

Hahaha.

Kathi (00:58)
had never heard the term. Or had never, maybe they had heard the term, but they didn’t know exactly what it meant. And we had such a rich conversation. And I thought, okay, well, this is something I need to be talking about more. And I’m gonna confess after you do, you kind of define it for us, some of the ways that my thinking has shifted. So.

Tonya Kubo (01:03)
Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (01:26)
Some of this are going, some people are gonna think that this is a very, how do I wanna say it? Kind of, I don’t know, scary topic? I don’t think it is. I think it’s exciting.

Tonya Kubo (01:36)
Oh, I mean, the thing is, is people will make, I think our listeners are our listeners and they’re gonna take it exactly like we take it. However, people like to make this political. People like to make this gendered, right? They like to make this like, like they like to assign all sorts of nasty labels to this conversation, but it’s a, yeah, but it’s a genuine conversation about the…

Kathi (01:44)
Yeah.

Yeah.

Men hating things like that. Yeah

Tonya Kubo (02:06)
limited capacity of each individual human. That’s really what this is about.

Kathi (02:10)
Yeah. So what is mental load?

Tonya Kubo (02:15)
Yeah, so mental load. So I like to describe the brain as a computer because it’s easy and honestly it is one, right? And so, you know, mental load is all of the stuff that you are having to think about, consider, and whether it is conscious thought or subconscious thought, it is all of the, it’s all the programs, right? It’s the 100 browser tabs open.

Kathi (02:20)
Mm-hmm. Yes.

Tonya Kubo (02:44)
on your computer at any given time that not one of those browser tabs is any big deal. One’s going to Gmail, maybe one’s open to Google, maybe one’s open to your bank or something, right? Like each of those websites is just a simple website, it’s not a big deal, but a hundred of them open at the same time has reduced the speed at which your computer can operate. And usually a hundred browser tabs open means you can’t even run a Zoom call.

because there’s not enough available, RAM stands for rapid access memory. There is not enough accessible memory to run Zoom without closing those tabs. So for us as humans, it’s all that stuff that pulls at our concentration, our focus, our energy, that prevents us or at least creates a limitation around how intentional our decisions can be.

how thought out, whether we’re actually thinking about all the, like thinking through an idea or we’re just going, yeah, whatever, that sounds fine. In clutter free space, right? It’s, oh my gosh, I’m thinking about this, I’m gonna do that, and I’m going through my mail, and it’s going, I don’t even have time to process the words on the outside of this envelope to know if this is junk mail or something important, so guess what? I’m just gonna put it here for now.

Kathi (04:03)
Right.

Yes, Lotta here for now. I get it.

Tonya Kubo (04:09)
Right, and it piles up over time. And then I look at that pile and I go, gosh, I’m so lazy. But in the reality is there are so many decisions in that pile and I have to have some available brain space in order to make them in a thoughtful way that makes sense. So that’s mental load in a nutshell.

Kathi (04:16)
Yeah.

there a lot.

Yeah, so why this can be a gender discussion, I will use myself as an example. I remember growing up in the 80s and being told things like, your husband worked so hard. I got married in 1990. Your husband worked so hard. So it’s your job to make sure.

that when he gets home, he feels well taken care of, that you are not leaving a lot of things for him to do. Now, what didn’t pop up in that conversation was that I was also working. And, or, you know, before that I was home with the kids, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And that in the 80s and 90s, and I’m sure before then, and I’m sure after then, that…

Tonya Kubo (05:01)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (05:25)
the house was considered, you know, the home was run by women, but catered to men. And I think that’s where a lot of the angst with our discussion last week in Clutter Free for Life came, because there’s this real hold over kind of feeling that if we are good wives, if we are good Christians, then we, you know, the biggest compliment we can be given is I don’t know how she does it.

Tonya Kubo (05:32)
Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (05:54)
I don’t know how she does it. And she doesn’t do it. Or you know, it’s, so was that your experience growing up? Or you know, how did this discussion start to happen for you?

Tonya Kubo (05:54)
Mm-hmm.

Well, so for me, it’s a bit different, right? Because I grew up in a single parent household and not very many people that, not very many adults that I interacted with were married. My mom was a single mom who surrounded herself with other single moms. And there was a lot of community activity because they were all a bunch of single moms just trying to survive. So, but you know, so my, all of my understanding of

Kathi (06:25)
Oh, interesting.

Mm-hmm.

right.

Tonya Kubo (06:42)
married with children relationships came from television. So it was even more unrealistic than you can, because honestly like 1980 sitcoms, right? Dad’s an idiot, mom knows everything. And I don’t know how the house gets clean because it’s always clean, but nobody’s ever cleaning on the show.

Kathi (06:47)
Oh, interesting.

Yes!

Mm-hmm.

Alice it was Alice. Okay that I’m a little older than you Yes

Tonya Kubo (07:05)
It’s a little bit before, yeah. Right, but yes, oftentimes there was some kind of domestic help in the picture because it’s all wealthy families that we’re watching, right? Until Roseanne came out, there was no working class family on TV. So I had the same lack of realism in my life, but also when I came into adulthood and, you know,

Kathi (07:15)
Right.

Yes.

It’s so true. Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (07:34)
wanting to get married and all that stuff, I’m looking at how do I not have a failed marriage? How do I not do this? And I encounter all those books that were written in that time that you were coming up that talked about how I needed the house to be welcoming. I remember reading like older books about like, you can’t have, the kids shouldn’t cry. If you have to feed them candy before dad comes home, you should do that so that the kids aren’t crying because no man wants to come home after a hard day of work to crying kids.

Kathi (08:02)
Yes. The book I read said you should be sauteing onions as your husband comes home. It didn’t matter if you were cooking onions for a meal, you should just be sauteing them because it would make everything smell better.

Tonya Kubo (08:04)
And, you know, go ahead.

Mm-hmm.

Yeah.

Okay, what if he didn’t like- I’m just like, what if that poor man didn’t like onions or was allergic?

Kathi (08:21)
Hahahaha

Well, that’s true too, but you just wanted the impression that something was cooking, you know, get ready for it.

Tonya Kubo (08:30)
Yeah, no, I get it. So for me, it was this idea that women were supposed to do everything, were not allowed to complain, and if anything broke down in the household, it was on them. Now, because I grew up in a single home, a lot of that stuff didn’t make sense to me, and I just didn’t understand. Like I understood if your husband worked outside the home and you decided that…

working inside the home was your role. And when I say working inside the home, I mean being a wife and a mother is your role. That is your profession. Like that division of labor kind of made sense to me a little bit, right? But I never understood how if both people worked full time, right? Like how did the rest of it happen? And it was the 1980s when that, I think it was an article that came out called The Third Shift, where they started to talk about

Kathi (09:10)
Yeah.

Yes.

Tonya Kubo (09:28)
how women had to pull this third shift in the parenting and the caregiving responsibilities, but it still wasn’t quite thought about like it is now. So then you fast forward, see, I’m 46, but I’m kind of an old mom for where I live. I didn’t become a mom until my 30s. And I’m pretty much, most of my friends started having children in their late teens.

Kathi (09:38)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (09:54)
So, you know, their kids are all grown and out of the house. So they, I think most of them had the same concept as you. So I do think it’s fairly like, it’s relatively new. I think where mental load, I think you discovered it in the book, Fair Play, right? So you discovered it in the book, Fair Play, where I really found more people talking about it was when I started speaking on neurodiversity in marriage. Because, go ahead.

Kathi (10:09)
Yes. Yeah.

Okay, I want to I want to come back to that we need to take a quick break, but I want to come back to that and I think Uh, I think it’s going to be interesting to hear how that

Tonya Kubo (10:24)
Yeah. Oh, sure.

Kathi (10:34)
brought itself forward for you and how you were able to have those discussions in a really healthy way. So we’re gonna go and have a quick break, and come right back.

Okay, we’re back with Tonya Kubo. We’re talking about mental load. We’re gonna talk about neurodivergence and mental load. And how did you start to have those conversations with Brian? I think that’s really interesting.

Tonya Kubo (10:57)
Okay, well, so, you know, Brian was raised in a very non-traditional environment, like, because his mom, they lived out in the country, his mom drove quite a bit to go to work, and they lived on the farm where his dad worked. So his dad would come in and cook lunch for the kids. His dad, you know, cooked dinner oftentimes because he was done with work before Brian’s mom was. So…

Kathi (11:16)
Interesting, yeah.

Tonya Kubo (11:24)
there wasn’t really, like we definitely had our own expectations of what like a good wife was and a good mom was, but I, you know, I had much higher expectations of what that was. But one of the things that I discovered early on in our marriage is we go to couples groups and we fought the most coming home from a couples group than we ever fought any other time. And it’s because we’re going to couples groups and we’re studying a book on marriage, right? And

Kathi (11:29)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (11:52)
what a good wife does and what a good husband does. And I’m trying to do all those things and Brian is not happy with any of it. How dare he? And I remember one fight, one fight, I was just like, we’re like reading the book, right? And he’s like, and it was like, okay, when the wife does this, the husband feels this, right? Was the book. And you know, when the husband does this, the wife feels it. So he’s like, you do that. And I’m like, uh-huh. I’m like all proud of myself, right? Like he’s gonna see Kathi.

Kathi (11:55)
Yeah.

How dare he?

Oh, okay.

Yeah. Right.

Tonya Kubo (12:21)
how amazing his wife is. And he’s like, you do that. I’m like, uh-huh. He’s like, you do that. I’m like, uh-huh. And he’s like, I hate that. And I’m like, what? He’s like, wait. And he’s looking at the, like the guy feels column. And he’s like, wait, is that what you think? I think? And I’m like, well, that’s what the book says. That’s what all husbands like. And he’s like, no, I hate all of them. Make his plate.

Kathi (12:35)
Yeah.

Yeah. So give us an example. You do the, oh my gosh, okay, yes.

Tonya Kubo (12:51)
When a wife, so like the book didn’t say anything about cooking dinner, but it talked about how men really like acts of service. And one thing that you can do, a mistake that women make, a mistake that moms make specifically, because we love to beat up on moms. A mistake that moms make is mom will make the kids plates first, then make dad’s plate, and then make her plate. And what mom needs to do is make dad’s plate first. He is the head of the household.

Kathi (13:14)
Okay.

Tonya Kubo (13:21)
and then make dad’s plate, make her own plate because the kids need to see that mom and dad are more important than they are. And then you make the kids’ plates and then everybody sits down and eats. So I started making Brian’s plate. And it was just me, Brian and Lily at the time, right? So I’d make Brian’s plate, I’d make my plate, make Lily’s plate, not a big deal. Didn’t take extra time really. But Brian was always like, hmm. Like you could just see, I mean, you’ve met Brian.

Kathi (13:37)
Right.

Tonya Kubo (13:50)
like not a mad guy ever. Right. But I could just tell he would be like, thanks. So his thing. So he was, he hated me making his plate. Kathi like absolutely hated it made him feel like he was five years old. So he didn’t appreciate that. And I was like, but, but like, why? Like I am actually doing this because I love you. And then he’s like, because Tonya Hughes, I feel like you are deciding what I get to eat.

Kathi (13:53)
No, never.

Oh, interesting.

Tonya Kubo (14:17)
Like, who are you to say whether I get three pieces of broccoli or four? Who are you to say whether I get half of a chicken breast or a whole chicken breast? I’m an adult man. I can make my own plate.

Kathi (14:23)
Hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (14:31)
I was like, all right, say no more, go make your own plates, sir.

Kathi (14:32)
So, yeah, Brian, you’re not feeling how you’re supposed to feel. So you started to have these conversations about when you do this, it’s not the feeling you think it is. And I know Brian well enough to know he was very appreciative of a lot of things you were doing, but that he was expected to have a feeling that he didn’t have.

Tonya Kubo (14:43)
Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (15:02)
was probably very frustrating for him. Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (15:02)
Mm-hmm.

Oh, definitely, definitely. And then there were things like, things that were really important to me that he didn’t appreciate. He did not appreciate me soaking dried beans to cook beans from scratch. He did not appreciate me cooking every meal from scratch. Cause for Brian, he just wants to eat food. And if I bought McDonald’s every day, he’d be perfectly happy. That’s not everybody’s dynamic.

Kathi (15:26)
Yeah.

Right, it’s not. Uh, s- Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (15:32)
But we had other issues, right? Like, I mean, and so for us, I just wanna kind of fast track the story a little bit. So it’s not the Tonya show because it’s actually not the Tonya show. It’s the Kathi Lipp Clutter Free Academy show. But he was diagnosed with ADHD at 40. And by that time I stopped enrolling us in couples groups. We stopped trying to do all of that because it was clear that wasn’t working for us. And that felt…

Kathi (15:38)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. Hmph. Ha ha ha. It’s all good.

Mm-hmm.

Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (15:59)
Like we felt kind of fish out of water. Like we couldn’t really talk about what was working in our house because it was so different from other marriages of the people we knew. But then when he was 42, so I would have been in my late 30s by then, we ended up with couples counselor. And she looked at me one day and she said, do you think he has ADHD? And I said, yeah, but what does that have to do with what we’re talking about? She’s like, every complaint you have is tied there. And it was in that.

Kathi (16:05)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (16:26)
I can’t explain it, Kathi, but it was two things. One was when, like she gave us some resources and realizing the divorce rate in marriages where one partner has ADHD was astronomical. And like that was very sobering to me. So seeing that, and then also in just evaluating like what an ADHD brain needs.

Kathi (16:47)
Yeah.

Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (16:56)
It was completely opposite of those stereotypical gender roles. And so that gave me permission, because it did, it started with me, but it gave me permission to redefine our marriage and our entire household operation based on what worked for us and not based on what other people told us we were supposed to do.

Kathi (17:01)
Yeah.

Yeah.

Okay, I love this conversation so much. And some of you may be thinking, well, my spouse isn’t neurodivergent. So mine isn’t, you know, Roger says he’s probably on the spectrum somewhere. But, you know, never had a diagnosis. It’s, you know, he’s a pretty typical guy. But I remember when we got married, that

Tonya Kubo (17:47)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (17:48)
You know, I was all about we’re gonna do the typical We’re gonna do that. I want to be the best kind of wife. So i’m going to do the things in fact, I wrote up Yes By the way, I wrote a book on it And yes, which I stand Yes, exactly

Tonya Kubo (17:59)
A++ all the way, Kathi Lipp, A++.

Yes, you did. So we can all see what a perfect wife you are.

Hehehe

Kathi (18:12)
I stand by most of that advice, but you know what? If we’re not learning things after 10 years and not changing our mind, we’re not evolving as humans. But I will say this, that I can see why I was very frustrated in a lot of respects in my first marriage, because the expectation was that I was going to pull that third shift.

Tonya Kubo (18:19)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (18:39)
And where my first husband did help out, I think more than the average bear, it still was not equitable. And I felt like a failure all the time. I felt like a failure all the time, because I wasn’t doing what I assumed all these other women were doing. And that was so frustrating for me, because I’m like, I don’t know how to work more. I don’t know how to work harder. I don’t know what to do more.

Tonya Kubo (18:44)
Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (19:08)
And in our next episode, we’re going to talk about some of those things. But I want to talk about, you know, how do we have these conversations? And, you know, Roger and I have a classic example of, um, we were both trying to serve each other. So I was doing the dishes each night and he was cleaning up the kitchen. And, um, you know, I wanted credit for doing the dishes each night because that’s the worst job in the entire house. And I don’t know how we got into this conversation.

But he said, actually, I don’t mind doing the dishes. I hate cleaning up the kitchen. I’m like, what? I love cleaning up the kitchen. And so we made this swap. Now, here’s what I know. I’m saying that sentence, and there are a lot of women who are listening who are planning the meals, doing the inventory. Right. Cooking the meals.

Tonya Kubo (20:00)
I was like, who are getting no help in the kitchen whatsoever?

Kathi (20:06)
cleaning up from the meals, doing the dishes. And they can’t understand why their house doesn’t, isn’t running perfectly. And I have really changed my thinking. You know, you and I just did a series of one-on-one consultations with a lot of people and some other people did too, with Clutter Free Academy. And I finally had to get to the core of it with some of the people I was meeting with.

Tonya Kubo (20:09)
Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (20:34)
I’m like, you don’t have a clutter issue. This is a relationship issue or a division of responsibility.

Tonya Kubo (20:42)
Well, it’s also mental load. I mean, like, and I know we’re gonna get more about that, but one of the one-on-ones I had, you know, the person kept saying, well, I should this and I should that, and I have no excuse. And I had to stop them and just kind of say, it sounds like you’re really hard on yourself. And they were like, yeah. And I said, so you talk about yourself like this a lot. And they were like, yeah. And I’m like, and so if that was working for you, we wouldn’t be on this call, would we? And they were, they kind of stopped. And I was like, okay, so can we just try something different?

Kathi (20:45)
It’s exactly, yes.

Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (21:11)
and I had them walk me through and Kathi, like they walk me through what they do. And I’m like, I’m exhausted. Like it does not shock me that their house looks like, their house looks in a way that is not tolerable to them because I can tell you that the way my house would look if I was trying to do all that, that would probably break a health code or two, I’m sure. I’m sure it would break a health code or two.

Kathi (21:17)
Yeah.

Right.

Yeah. And most of us are trying to do all the things. And, cause we wanna be known as the, I don’t know how she gets it all done woman. But, but here’s the problem friends. If you don’t know how somebody’s getting it all done, they probably aren’t. So we’re gonna come back next week. And Tonya and I wanna give some, I wanna do two things. We wanna talk about, I believe you called it insourcing and outsourcing.

Tonya Kubo (21:38)
Right?

Mm-hmm.

Bye!

Kathi (22:03)
Correct? And I wanna talk about how do you have these conversations with the people you live with? Because I think that is what our group is most interested in hearing. And we’re gonna figure out how to start those conversations in a healthy and respectful way, but we’re gonna get it done, friends. Because I don’t want people I love living like this, working harder.

Tonya Kubo (22:03)
Mm-hmm. Yep.

Yeah.

Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (22:32)
and feeling more behind all the time. Tonya, thanks for having this conversation with me.

Tonya Kubo (22:32)
Mm-hmm.

Thanks for inviting me.

Kathi (22:38)
And friends, thank you for being here for this. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp Now, go create the clutter free life you were always designed to live.

 

#610 Why “I Work Better Under Pressure” Doesn’t Really Work

#610 Why “I Work Better Under Pressure” Doesn’t Really Work

610 – Why “I Work Better Under Pressure” Doesn’t Really Work

Have you ever said, “I work better under pressure.”

Is that true or is that procrastination as a trauma response?

In this continuation of last week’s episode, Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory dig into the process of procrastination and how it is hurting all of us. In addition to defining the procrastination responses of Freeze and Fawn, they discuss the difference between working under pressure and pre-deciding. Kathi and Cheri describe how they use the concept of pre-deciding to live a life that reflects their values instead of living a life of fear. That’s what they want for you too! Listen for the steps of pre-deciding as well as other ways to break the procrastination cycle, such as:

  • How to permit yourself to not finish a decluttering project
  • How to move the goalpost when it comes to decluttering
  • How to be a good steward of your most precious resource

Sign up here to be notified when the next episode is released.

Would you like to receive Kathi’s Clutter Free Academy newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here and receive the free download mentioned in this episode, The Four P Bullies at a Glance!

You Don’t Have to Try So Hard: Ditch Expectations and Live Your Own Best Life

With honesty and humor, Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory help you take a breather and find reassurance as you face the bullies of perfectionism, performancism, people-pleasing, and procrastination.

Self-assessments and personal stories guide you from panic to peace as you learn to:

  • Pick battles worthy of your time and energy
  • Embrace the freedom of a carefully considered “no”
  • Recognize your strengths and weaknesses in the quest for balance
  • Use authenticity as a weapon to battle bullies
  • Release yourself from the endless pressure of pleasing others

Ditch your feelings of inadequacy and finally came face-to-face with the bold, balanced woman God created you to be.

Order your copy here!

What’s your best tip for avoiding procrastination?

Share your answer in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • 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

Through Scripture and storytelling, Cheri Gregory delights in helping women draw closer to Jesus, the strength of every tender heart. She is the founder of the Sensitive and Strong Community Cafe: the place for the HSP Christian woman to find connection. With Kathi Lipp, she’s the co-author of You Don’t Have to Try So Hard, Overwhelmed, and An Abundant Place. Cheri speaks locally and internationally for women’s events and educational conferences.

You can connect with Cheri at CheriGregory.comSensitiveAndStrong.com, on Cheri’s Facebook Page, and on Instagram.

Transcript

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. And if you’re somebody who’s often said, I work better under pressure, my friend Cheri Gregory and I are here to blow up your world.

I’ve heard this a lot from people in clutter free. And here’s what I know, procrastination is hurting all of us and there are ways to deal with it. C

heri, welcome back to the program.

Cheri Gregory (01:01.482)
Hey Kathi thanks for having me back.

Kathi (01:03.646)
Okay, in between these recordings, you said, I could talk about frenzy as a trauma response. And I’m like, whoa, hold on. Wait, that’s a big statement. So do you consider procrastination a trauma response?

Cheri Gregory (01:15.351)
Hehehe

Cheri Gregory (01:25.202)
I think it often can be a trauma response because we’ve already been saying that it’s built on fear. Whether you want to call something a trauma response, a fear response, I mean, back in sixth grade we learned that fight and flight were the two major fear responses. So you can call it a trauma response, an anxiety response, whatever you stress response, whatever you want. But what’s interesting is in the last few years we’ve been hearing more about freeze and fawn.

Kathi (01:41.887)
Right.

Kathi (01:48.519)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (01:53.366)
freeze makes sense, you know, it’s just coming stock still. And then fawn, we recognize to be more the people pleasing response. And a lot of us women have been conditioned into that. But the two that are far less talked about are flock and frenzy. And I really identify with this whole idea of frenzy. Frenzy, as you can guess, it’s the kind of busy, go, go. And I, my natural personality loves being productive.

Kathi (02:20.982)
I know you love seeing yourself in videos.

Cheri Gregory (02:23.342)
and when I procrastinate and then suddenly have to do things under pressure, then I can end up getting that kind of, and you already said, let your cortisol levels go up, the adrenaline goes up, and for a short period of time that can actually feel kind of good. Now afterwards, we crash and we burn and it feels terrible.

Kathi (02:46.422)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (02:47.874)
But one of the things that actually God has been convicting me over the last couple of years is that one of the reasons I have been so rest resistant is because I am so accustomed to living in a frenzy state. And so rather than spacing things out, rather than having a schedule that I can actually handle.

I have a tendency to do that all or nothing where I crash and burn and I cancel everything and then of course I recover from whatever it was and I get bored and I start taking things on again, volunteering, accepting things with a short deadline and then I have to go and push myself again, busy, go, go. Whether or not those actions are in alignment with my values, whether or not those are, and I know we’re going to talk about pre-deciding.

Kathi (03:38.789)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (03:39.478)
I’ve been really working on catching myself because in our society, in our American society, productivity is like the gold standard. As long as you produced, you’re fine, right? And for those of us in the church, I mean, churches love a woman who will show up and get things done. Like they keep the church going. And so we’ve gotten a lot of kudos for being the kind of woman who can get things done under pressure.

Kathi (03:48.73)
Yeah. Right.

Cheri Gregory (04:09.234)
It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are living in alignment when our values, when we live that way. And then for me to realize, hang on a second, this is actually living in a constant fear response or trauma response. It doesn’t, it’s not good for me. The chemicals running through my body are hurting me. I don’t want to live this way anymore. So that’s, that’s where that comment came from.

Kathi (04:29.62)
Yes.

Kathi (04:33.562)
So much came up with that. First of all, women in the church, we were appreciated without being acknowledged, and we were assumed that we would just do all the unpaid labor. And it’s not just in the church, it’s in any space where women’s labor can be taken advantage of. In the schools of, yes.

Cheri Gregory (04:41.384)
Exactly.

Cheri Gregory (04:47.178)
Mm-hmm. Yep.

Cheri Gregory (04:58.698)
Yeah. And we get called lifesavers. We get called lifesavers. Oh, you’re such a lifesaver and we’re killing ourselves.

Kathi (05:05.474)
Yes. And so we’re, we’re set, we’re setting ourselves on fire to keep other people warm. And, yeah, no more, no more. So it feels like freeze and frenzy are both procrastination responses. One is where I’m scrubbing the tile to not write the devotional. And the, and the other is I’m watching friends episodes to not write.

Cheri Gregory (05:11.656)
Exactly.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (05:34.686)
the not right the devotional. Why do you think that those two are? How do they demonstrate themselves in different ways? I’m just I’m thinking I’ve been known to do both. Is it a guilt response? Like at least I’m doing something. You can’t be mad at me because at least I’m scrubbing the tile. Or is are we justifying to ourselves? What do you think that is, Cheri?

Cheri Gregory (05:58.135)
Hehehe

Cheri Gregory (06:02.89)
That does make a lot of sense. I’m like we’re substituting one activity. So at least I’m doing something I’m not you know sitting around doing nothing I also think that at least in from the way I experience procrastination Is there’s a period of time where it’s kind of that freeze where I’m like zoned out I’m not producing anything of any value and then the panic kicks in and once the panic kicks in Then is when I’m going to turn I’m going to pivot

Kathi (06:05.354)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (06:09.114)
Bye.

Cheri Gregory (06:28.778)
and dive into the actual thing and work on it like a maniac and either pull it off or crash and burn in the midst of trying.

Kathi (06:36.89)
Yeah, and I just want to reiterate to our listeners, you know, we’re saying this with a smile because we both recognize it in ourselves, but trauma response requires trauma. Something has happened that has, and you shouldn’t be like, okay, we’ll just push past that. We just want you to be able, the first part of recovering from trauma is recognizing what is going on. And so if,

Cheri Gregory (06:49.676)
Hmm.

Kathi (07:07.078)
If you know, I just read an article, Julia Louis Dreyfus, who was part of Seinfeld VP, said that she has been dealing with a trauma response for 40 years after her dad criticized her performance on Saturday Night Live. I mean, right? Right? And so some of these things are very, very deep. And maybe you’re not cleaning your room because it didn’t matter how hard you cleaned it.

Cheri Gregory (07:26.591)
Yeah.

Kathi (07:35.93)
when you were little, it was never good enough, or you cleaned your room and your sister was allowed to just come in and mess it up. I don’t know what the response is, but I mean, I don’t know what the reason is, but the response is real. So, yeah.

Cheri Gregory (07:46.35)
Hmm. Yeah. Well, and let’s go back. So now you’re giving me the answer to the scrubbing, the scrubbing. I know why we scrub. We scrub because it’s something we can control.

Kathi (07:55.154)
Yeah.

Kathi (07:59.167)
Uh, yeah. It’s so true, right?

Cheri Gregory (08:00.642)
Trauma responses are all about control. And so when we’re scrubbing the grout, we can whiten that grout, but we don’t know for sure if we can actually declutter our house. We don’t know if we sit down at a blank page, are the words gonna come, or will our brain have ceased functioning? But we can scrub that grout and we can feel like we at least, we could check that off our list.

Kathi (08:14.606)
Mm.

Cheri Gregory (08:24.21)
And these kinds of responses, they feel very familiar because they’re things that we’ve been doing for a long time. And so when we start to disrupt, when we start to interrupt and try to do something different, it’s gonna feel unfamiliar. And that’s one of the other things that I’ve really been having to learn and sit with is as I have, just again, to use the example, let’s imagine somebody in Clutterfree Academy who’s like, no, I can’t do just 15 minutes. It doesn’t feel right. It makes me miserable.

Kathi (08:30.95)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (08:54.214)
No, Kathi, you don’t understand. I can’t stop after 15 minutes. I have to do everything or I can do only do nothing. Please know you have my sympathy. And also the fact that it’s uncomfortable may simply be that it’s unfamiliar and it could take some time to get used to until you have permission.

Kathi (08:54.335)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (09:03.983)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (09:16.878)
to only do 15 minutes rather than you get into that room and don’t come out until you’ve cleaned it completely, young lady, to my standards. So changing, yes, changing these habits takes some time. And the other thing for me is realizing that not having the crash and burn afterwards, like, oh.

Kathi (09:25.838)
Right. The punishing aspect.

Kathi (09:38.51)
Yes, it’s so true. It’s so true. You know, when you talk about, I can’t do 15 minutes because it doesn’t, it’s not gonna be everything. I think that’s when you have to move the goalpost from decluttering the kitchen to decluttering the junk drawer or the utensil drawer. Because yes, I also don’t wanna stop in the middle of something. But there also is some beauty in stopping in the middle because it gives you a depth.

Cheri Gregory (09:52.138)
Hmm.

Cheri Gregory (09:56.746)
Yes.

Kathi (10:08.062)
define place to start next time. And that is a gift for me. Okay, we’re gonna take a quick break. We’re gonna come back and we’re gonna talk about working under pressure versus pre-deciding. And also discovering is Cheri, a big old hypocrite because she took on a very pressure-filled project this week, but I wanna talk about why you decided to do that and how you decided to do that. So we’re gonna take a quick break and come right back.

Cheri Gregory (10:10.306)
Very true.

Cheri Gregory (10:25.826)
Hehehe

Kathi (10:38.79)
Okay, we’re back with Cheri Gregory, and we are talking about why working better under pressure just doesn’t work. And, you know, for the people who feel familiar that like, I can’t do it unless I’m on a tight deadline, or I can’t do it unless the stakes are high, where would the, what is pre-deciding and how would that help in these circumstances?

Cheri Gregory (10:46.807)
Mm-mm.

Cheri Gregory (11:06.326)
You know, pre-deciding is the difference between living out of fear and living out of love. Because this was one of the core scriptures that we used in You Don’t Have to Try So Hard, is this whole idea that when we’re living out of fear, then we are going to, you know, I’ll speak for myself again, as I’ve been re-evaluating certain things in my life.

Kathi (11:13.197)
Ooh, okay.

Cheri Gregory (11:34.694)
when I’m living out of fear and I then look back, I’m like, oh, I violated half a dozen of my values during that time. And the thinking in my head is, well, but as long as, as long as, you know, as long as the house looks okay, it doesn’t matter that I snapped at my husband or I snapped at the chickens or whatever it is. But what if one of my core values is to treat people kindly, then I have violated a core value in service of a fear-based
temporary short-term goal that doesn’t actually have lasting value. Whereas, pre-deciding says, I’ve already made these decisions based around my values. I know who I am. I know what I stand for. I know what my values are. And so I am going to make decisions that reflect those values. And when I find myself out of alignment with my values, I’m going to pause and reevaluate.

and it is an entirely different way to live. It doesn’t have the same amount of adrenaline. And so if we have become adrenaline junkies and we’re used to only being motivated if we have those chemicals that indicate fear, that indicate that we’re going to be in huge trouble if we don’t get it done by a certain time. And again, it’s a matter then of kind of changing our habits so

Kathi (12:39.575)
Right?

Cheri Gregory (13:01.934)
quiet sense of satisfaction that you know you get to minute 16 of the decluttering and you’re like I’m going to stop now and I’m going to enjoy that quiet sense of satisfaction that I did what I said I was going to do. I said I was going to declutter for 15 minutes. I did what I said I’m going to do. I’m a person of integrity whether I did all or nothing is irrelevant whether my mother would approve my father. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even matter if Kathy Lipp would approve although Kathy Lipp would absolutely approve.

Kathi (13:09.503)
Doesn’t matter. Right. Absolutely.

Cheri Gregory (13:30.738)
if somebody stopped after 15 minutes, but it is slowly developing new habits that are not based on external standards but are based on the values that we know that God has placed within us because of how he created us and our personalities and gaining internal satisfaction because I said I was going to do this, I did it, and now I can stop. Now I can rest. Now I can.

continue to take other forms of good care of myself and stewarding my body, my home, whatever else.

Kathi (14:05.842)
You know, I talk about the four resources all the time, space, time, energy, and money. And what you’re talking about there is being a good steward of your most precious resource. Maybe it’s money. And you’re saying, you know, I need to declutter because I need to know what I have. And so I am going to declutter so I know what I have, so I’m not buying.

Cheri Gregory (14:20.748)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (14:32.574)
chicken when I already have chicken or something like that. But also, I’m not buying things under pressure all the time because just in case living. But maybe energy is your most precious resource. And you say, you know, I can’t afford to say I’m going to declutter my garage today because that’s just not what you’re able to do. Or maybe you’re working full time plus you’re caring for kids or parents.

Cheri Gregory (14:39.959)
Yes.

Kathi (15:01.606)
And you’re like, time is my most precious resource. And the 15 minutes protects your most precious resources. And that’s what I wanna be able to do. Okay, now, Cheri, you confessed to me as we were coming on here that you’re under some pressure this week. So talk about what’s going on, how you made the decision. But when I was talking to you, I don’t even know what the decision was, but you seem…

Cheri Gregory (15:08.339)
I love that. So true.

Kathi (15:31.494)
like you’re good with this particular decision to put yourself under a little pressure. So let’s talk about that.

Cheri Gregory (15:37.918)
Yeah, I got an email this last weekend from my graduate program and it was an opportunity to write a book review that will be published in the Journal of Applied Christian Leadership and the deadline is Friday. And in order for me to complete my program, I have to have an article published in a peer review journal. And so I’ve been wondering how to get this done.

Kathi (15:50.29)
Oh wow. Okay.

Cheri Gregory (16:02.35)
And right now my research is moving forward. My other things are moving forward. But in the back of my mind, I’ve been like, dang it, I’m going to get to the end of this. And then a year or three are going to go by before I figure out how to get this article done. And so what dropped into my lap basically over the weekend was an opportunity to just get it done, to check it off my list. And so I did. I jumped at it and I was like, you know what? I looked at my calendar first and I was like, I can rearrange some things.

Cheri Gregory (16:31.55)
I can move some things that are optional. And here’s the thing, in the previous episode, I think I confessed to you that in college, I once wrote a book review over a book that I never even read and I got an A plus on it. Like, I’m not real proud of that. I don’t wanna repeat it. And here’s the thing, it’s a book I’ve already read that I’m reviewing. Like, so I’m not gonna try to pull that stunt again. I read it last year, listened to the audio book, I’ve done some teachings out of it. But I will say it’s a skillset I feel good about.

Kathi (16:50.582)
Oh nice. Right.

Kathi (17:01.272)
Yeah

Cheri Gregory (17:01.51)
It is not something that’s going to kill me. In fact, if anything, four days, get it done, have it over with, not hanging over my head. It’s kind of exciting, but not in the frenzy sense. It’s like there’s this sense of anticipation. There’s a sense of, yeah, well, let’s bring it on. Bring it on. And go ahead.

Kathi (17:12.661)
Mm-hmm. Right. Mm-hmm.

Kathi (17:21.262)
Right. But let’s also talk about that you’ve set yourself up so you’re not living in that frenzy state all the time so that there was there was cushion to do this. That’s really exciting, Cheri.

Cheri Gregory (17:38.686)
Yeah, yeah, I literally just swap some things out on my calendar and so I had the time to do it and my evenings are still free and my you know, I’m not I’m not going to kill myself to do it. I’m absolutely not. So yes, I’m sort of a hypocrite, but not really.

Kathi (17:56.358)
No, you are, I declare you not a hypocrite because you have made good choices along the way. And here’s the thing, when we first start to live by pre-deciding, by saying, I’m not gonna take on things just because there’s an open spot on my calendar. I’m not going to wait and say, okay, for two days straight, I can do nothing but dot dot. What you’ve done is you said, I can say a good yes.

Cheri Gregory (18:20.145)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (18:25.914)
and turn down a bad yes, because there are lots of bad yeses out there. But you can give a good yes to something that not only serves somebody else, but also serves you. And it’s a win-win, right? You’re not resenting them from it. You’re not being angry that they asked at the last minute, this was an opportunity for you. So no hypocrisy whatsoever. It’s…

Cheri Gregory (18:37.87)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, absolutely.

Kathi (18:53.89)
And you know, I’m still building some of this into my life because It’s it’s a new habit for me And I say that because I’ve lived 56 years So I’ve only been practicing this maybe in any real way in the past 10 years So there’s a lot of ingrained in me that still wants to put things off and still wants to do but I

Cheri Gregory (19:05.976)
Hmm.

Kathi (19:19.226)
You know, this past encourage article was the first time I think I’ve ever turned it in a week in advance I’ve turned it in a day in advance Or a couple days in advance, but I just saw You know, there was going to be some things happening that week and I didn’t I wanted to be present for somebody I loved I didn’t want to have to be typing, you know and editing In the midst of all of that. So yay to us for making some good. Yeses happen by

Cheri Gregory (19:25.173)
I love it.
Kathi (19:47.422)
turning away some bad yeses that would have made somebody else comfortable for a minute but would have built resentment at least in me. I can resent people for things they didn’t force me to do. I can and friends this is why you know when we know that we’re going to be hosting people or things like that when you tell me that you’re starting to declutter a couple of

Cheri Gregory (19:49.48)
Absolutely.

Cheri Gregory (20:01.927)
Hehehehe

Kathi (20:16.342)
I’m like, that is somebody who is going to be present and available for their friends who are coming to visit. That it’s not going to be about impressing them, but the impression that they’re going to be left with is that I was cared for and loved. And that’s what I want for each of my clutter-free people. Cheri this was such a valuable little series, our micro series. Thank you so much for hanging out with me and all your wisdom and your hard work, one knowledge.

Cheri Gregory (20:44.906)
Well, thanks for having me, Kathy. It’s been fun.

Kathi (20:47.994)
And friends, we talked in the last episode about our download about the four bullies. If you’re part of our newsletter community, you’ll be able to receive that in our newsletter. We’re gonna make sure the download link is there for last week and this week. So you’re definitely going to wanna take advantage of that to really understand how you can start to be kinder and gentler to yourself. Friends, you’ve been listening to Clutterfree Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Go create the clutter-free life you were always designed to live.

#609 The Myth of Productivity Under Pressure

#609 The Myth of Productivity Under Pressure

609 – The Myth of Productivity Under Pressure

Do you find yourself putting off uncomfortable tasks?

Maybe you tell yourself that you work better under pressure…but does the work you produce under stress turn out better, or is it just done?

In this episode, Kathi and her three-time co-author Cheri Gregory discuss the “pressure paradox.” Listen in as they rethink the myth of productivity under pressure, as well as discussing:

  • Is procrastination based in fear?
  • Priming your brain for your project
  • How to avoid living in a state of constant triage

Sign up here to be notified when the next episode is released.

Would you like to receive Kathi’s Clutter Free Academy newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here and receive the free download mentioned in this episode, The Four P Bullies at a Glance!

You Don’t Have to Try So Hard: Ditch Expectations and Live Your Own Best Life

With honesty and humor, Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory help you take a breather and find reassurance as you face the bullies of perfectionism, performancism, people-pleasing, and procrastination.

Self-assessments and personal stories guide you from panic to peace as you learn to:

  • Pick battles worthy of your time and energy
  • Embrace the freedom of a carefully considered “no”
  • Recognize your strengths and weaknesses in the quest for balance
  • Use authenticity as a weapon to battle bullies
  • Release yourself from the endless pressure of pleasing others

Ditch your feelings of inadequacy and finally came face-to-face with the bold, balanced woman God created you to be.

Order your copy here!

What’s your best tip for avoiding procrastination?

Share your answer in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
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Meet Our Guest 

 

Cheri Gregory

Through Scripture and storytelling, Cheri Gregory delights in helping women draw closer to Jesus, the strength of every tender heart. She is the founder of the Sensitive and Strong Community Cafe: the place for the HSP Christian woman to find connection. With Kathi Lipp, she’s the co-author of You Don’t Have to Try So Hard, Overwhelmed, and An Abundant Place. Cheri speaks locally and internationally for women’s events and educational conferences.

You can connect with Cheri at CheriGregory.comSensitiveAndStrong.com, on Cheri’s Facebook Page, and on Instagram.

Transcript

Kathi (00:01.306)

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.

 

And if there is a correlation between any two habits, clutter and perhaps procrastination is one of them. Now, I grew up with a mom who told me all the time that she just worked better under pressure. And I took that on as my own mantra. And I have to say, that has not served me well. And I’m here to talk with a fellow procrastination

a consumer, no that’s not a good word, a fellow procrastination person. We’ll just call you a person that we have both figured out that procrastination has not served us well and we want to talk about, okay, how do we actually get out from the habit? You guys, it is my frequent co-author, one of my best buddies and fellow sufferer, it’s Cheri Gregory. Cheri, welcome back to the podcast.

Cheri Gregory (01:26.09)

Hey Kathi, thanks so much for having me.

Kathi (01:28.802)

I was recently telling somebody, you know, Tonya is my go-to when we want to talk about, okay, how do you declutter your kids’ tights? But when you want to figure out why you need to declutter your kids’ tights, I go to Cheri Gregory. So, because, yeah, because it’s deep work, right? These things that become memes or…

Cheri Gregory (01:42.655)

I love it. I will receive that fully.

Kathi (01:53.29)

topics of sitcoms when it comes to procrastination or clutter or perfectionism. There’s a lot underneath that. And they become these tropes because so many of us suffer with it. And it’s, it’s really interesting. When we were starting to write our book, You Don’t Have to Try So Hard. We were talking about different types of perfectionism and you really advocated for that procrastination needed to be one of the areas of perfectionism. Can you talk about that?

Cheri Gregory (02:30.502)

Yeah, it’s so funny because I know when I’ve spoken, I’ve literally heard women walking away going, I never thought of procrastination as a form of perfectionism. And really what procrastination ends up being for many of us is a avoidance of even getting started because

Kathi (02:41.252)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (02:51.098)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (02:52.134)

If we get started, then we’re committed and we’re all in. It’s that all or nothing thinking, whereas the perfectionist dives head into the all. The procrastinator is like, I’ll just go with nothing. I’ll do other stuff first. Of all of the forms of perfectionism, I think procrastination is the one that’s most socially acceptable. We can

Kathi (02:58.94)

Yeah.

Kathi (03:02.658)

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (03:14.73)

We can joke about it and people will tell stories at dinner parties about how they, you know, they put something off to the last minute and then they pulled it together magically and they got away with it. Like I was just, I was just remembering kind of fondly, um, years and years ago in college, I pulled off a book review of a book I didn’t even read and I got an A plus on it. Um, and I did it the day before, you know, like totally wrong lesson learned.

Kathi (03:18.062)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (03:38.602)

Oh my goodness.

Cheri Gregory (03:43.978)

And yeah, that’s a fun story. The stories I never tell are when I put things off and I died. I put things off and they were terrible. I put things off and let people down. Those aren’t funny. We don’t tell those stories at all.

Kathi (03:46.94)

Mm-hmm.

 

Kathi (03:51.431)

Right.

Kathi (03:59.891)

Now, it’s so interesting that you were able to get away with that. And that can reinforce our procrastination cycle. Well, I got away with it before, so I must do better when I know everything’s up against me. Everyone is expecting me to fail, but I can show them. And so…

Cheri Gregory (04:08.011)

Mmm.

Kathi (04:26.638)

It’s almost, it’s so many weird things. It’s like a martyr complex. I’m already so busy. I can’t believe somebody asked me to do this. And instead of me saying no, I said yes, because well, they were in a tough place, but I was already in a tough place. Why did I think that would be okay? And it also kind of feeds into…

Cheri Gregory (04:31.069)

Mm-hmm.

 

Cheri Gregory (04:41.378)

Hehehehe

Kathi (04:52.742)

our superhero complex that like if I just try hard enough I can make things happen but I think the things that we forget about is what does that cost us what does it cost our jobs that we already have our relationships that we have all of that so let’s really define what per what procrastination is you is the word

Cheri Gregory (04:54.571)

Who?

Kathi (05:19.806)

perfectionism in that or is what how would you define it?

Cheri Gregory (05:25.246)

May I read from our book? You Don’t Have to Try So Hard.

Kathi (05:28.523)

I think so because I cannot remember what we wrote, but I’m sure it was brilliant.

Cheri Gregory (05:34.022)

What it says here is, procrastination is the practice of doing what is less urgent but more fun before doing what is more urgent but less fun. And so it’s putting off the thing that has discomfort associated with it as long as possible and doing the things that don’t feel quite as bad or scary.

Kathi (05:41.716)

Oh, okay. Yeah.

Kathi (05:56.098)

Yes, okay, because here’s what I will say. The only time my grout gets scrubbed is when I have a book deadline. And…

Cheri Gregory (06:01.838)

Mm-hmm.

And I had to install grout because when we when I first started writing I lived in a house with no grout and so I couldn’t even do that so I had to install grout so I could then scrub it to avoid writing.

Kathi (06:09.874)

See, you couldn’t even.

Okay, now there is also a trope that is going around, and I think that this is really funny, of a woman, there’s a couple, and they’re getting ready to have a family birthday party or something like that. And so she’s running around, frosting the cupcakes, scrubbing the inside of the fridge, those kind of things. And today is the day he decides to blow all the leaves off the roof. And it’s…

 

Cheri Gregory (06:41.969)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (06:44.226)

It’s almost like I want credit for doing something, but I’m not going to do the thing that really needs to be done I i’m the queen. I am the queen of that. Okay, so So we tend to procrastinate because we don’t want the pain. I also think I tend to I can do painful things. I know I can But I tend to procrastinate because I don’t want to fail yet

Cheri Gregory (06:48.184)

Mm-hmm.

Mm-hm, absolutely.

Kathi (07:13.01)

Does that make sense? Okay.

Cheri Gregory (07:14.262)

Oh, it makes total sense. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s an avoidance of risk and that this is where there can be strategic procrastination. You know, when I was teaching in teaching as an English teacher, I noticed a huge difference between my students who wouldn’t even pay attention to the assignment. Like they wouldn’t read the assignment. Usually was an essay. They wouldn’t look at the rubric for how to be graded. They wouldn’t do any of that until the night before.

Kathi (07:19.111)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (07:25.503)

Mmm.

Kathi (07:39.743)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (07:42.75)

Like that is the, you know, that’s classic procrastination. Then I would have students who, as soon as I assigned it, they would read it, they would look at it, they would open a Word document on their computer, they would read the rubric, they had done a few ideas, and then they would put it off until later. Can I tell you, there was a world of difference, a world of difference between the end result those two different groups of students produced.

Kathi (07:46.771)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (08:05.264)

Hmm.

Cheri Gregory (08:10.054)

even though it seems like nobody was really doing too much of anything, but the second group they at least engaged in and started their the wheels turning and started getting their mind working on it. And you know what it’s like, you know, as you’re living life, let’s say, you know, you have a devotional coming up for (in)courage, right? If you at least are like, I think I’m going to do it on this verse, or I want to start with this story.

Kathi (08:33.161)

Yeah.

Kathi (08:37.453)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (08:39.098)

and your deadline isn’t for a little while, like as you’re living life, oh, this comes up and oh, this song lyric and this conversation with a friend, I will not say it writes itself. I know better than to ever use that phrase, but things come together that give you some momentum, even if it feels like you might still be procrastinating, whereas if you had never even started it, if you didn’t have the slightest idea.

Kathi (08:47.401)

Right.

It does not. Right.

Kathi (09:03.066)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (09:08.286)

At that point, it’s, I’m not going to say it’s hopeless, but there’s just so much less to work with.

Kathi (09:15.242)

We’re gonna take a quick break and we’re gonna come back. And then I wanna talk about the pressure paradox. Like why do people believe they work better under pressure and how this is killing, especially our clutter free people. We’ll take a quick break and we’ll be right back. Okay, I am back with Cheri Gregory and we are talking about the myth of productivity under pressure.

And you made an interesting observation that the people who at least loosened the ketchup bottle, maybe the ketchup wasn’t coming out, but they at least got the lid. It is so true. If I spend 15 minutes understanding the project, it does two things for me. You’re right. It gets the back of my brain working on the problem. I don’t even…

Cheri Gregory (09:54.862)

Hehehe

Kathi (10:13.974)

have to be sitting down with pen and paper or looking at my computer screen. It’s just things start to pop up that are helping me. And the other thing it does, because I think procrastination is a lot about fear. What if I find out that I can’t do this? What if I find out that I don’t have everything I need? And if I can just spend a few minutes looking at, okay what’s going to be required?

Cheri Gregory (10:28.777)

Absolutely.

Cheri Gregory (10:42.047)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (10:42.358)

Or if I can just spend a few minutes, like your example of writing a devotion, saying, okay, I need to have a verse, I need to have a story, I need to have a point, I need to have the semblance of an introduction. If I can, when I first get assigned that thing, if I can at least do a sentence on all four of those things, it has…

Cheri Gregory (11:08.991)

Yeah.

Kathi (11:10.894)

It has half written itself because my brain is able to work on it. And it gets me over the fear of it’s not going to be good enough. You know, I’ve written, I don’t know, 40 of those devotions for (in)courage. I’ve written a bunch of devotions for our book. But, you know, this will be the time that I can’t do it. This will be the time that I won’t have the story. This will be the time. And if I can just say, you know what?

Cheri Gregory (11:13.224)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (11:17.769)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (11:31.778)

Yeah.

Kathi (11:38.01)

I’m gonna trust myself that if I can get these four things, even if I start on it, because oftentimes, I’ll write down a story and a better story will happen or a better story will come to mind. And so it gets me over the fear.

Cheri Gregory (11:47.07)

Yes. Yep.

Kathi (12:14.062)

Okay, so Cheri, I wanna talk to you about the pressure paradox. And I wanna talk about the reasons why people think that they work better under pressure. So for me, it was a legacy from my mom. She’s still to this day, she will be 80 years old and she still believes that she works better under pressure. And I wonder where that comes from. I know for me,

Cheri Gregory (12:30.561)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (12:42.062)

I have learned that that’s not true. I get things done under pressure because I’m a people pleaser and I don’t want to disappoint people. But my work is not better, it’s just done. And I think there’s a big difference. Yeah, go ahead.

Cheri Gregory (12:47.171)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (12:58.346)

Yeah, well, and I used to, you know, I used to have students tell me that in class, they were like, I work better under pressure and I’d be and I’d count on like, no, you only work under pressure. That’s the only time you actually work is when you put yourself under the gun. And so often they hadn’t actually experimented with doing it any other way. You know, you were, you were talking earlier about, you know, at least getting going to finding find out what you didn’t have, you know, when I got in my office, a few months ago.

Kathi (13:07.814)

Yeah.

Kathi (13:16.417)

Mmm.

Cheri Gregory (13:26.066)

One of the things I needed to do was I had all these binders that have the place where you can put a spine insert and a cover into them. And I had over a third of my binders didn’t have that. So I needed to sit down, get on the computer, print them out, cut them, put them in. And I had blocked some time out to get it done. And then I thought, hang on a second, rather than sitting down and forcing myself to do it and possibly come up against, you know, abject failure.

Kathi (13:37.677)

Mmm.

Kathi (13:45.127)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (13:55.178)

Maybe I should spend that time just looking and seeing how many binders do I need to work with and do I have the materials I need. And it turns out I didn’t have a paper cutter. For some reason, I got rid of all my paper cutters and so I was like, oh, well, clearly I’m not going to use a scissors for this job. It turned out I had, well, I’m not going to tell you the number of binders I needed to do, but it was dozens of binders. I’m not going to sit and cut by hand.

Kathi (14:01.14)

Hmm.

Kathi (14:08.147)

Oh.

Kathi (14:15.241)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (14:19.55)

Yeah, right.

Cheri Gregory (14:21.33)

And so, you know, what I was able to do that day is I was able to shift in what I actually put on my schedule. I shifted it from, you know, finished binders to figure out what I need to do in order to finish binders. So I could still feel successful, right? And so I think part of the issue is we look at a task and we’re only focused on the end result, right? And the pressure of producing that end result

Kathi (14:38.081)

Ooh, yeah.

Kathi (14:46.922)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (14:50.058)

And when we can backtrack and go, okay, what is this process going to look like? Like assessing whether I have the materials. And then it ended up taking me a lot longer than I wanted it to just because it did. And so, you know, I broke it down into, okay, part one, part two, part three, part four to allow myself to feel successful with it. And I think part of it, I think part of procrastination is a

Kathi (14:54.18)

Yeah.

Kathi (15:00.266)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (15:15.738)

either a desire for things not to actually be as hard as they are or take as long as they do or require as many steps as they do or just a really, and I’m going to use a hard word, an immature belief that I am the exception to the rule. Everybody else might need to, you know, go through this kind of a process. Like everybody else might need to declutter for 15 minutes at a time.

Kathi (15:24.296)

Yeah.

Kathi (15:30.521)

Mm.

Kathi (15:36.726)

Right.

Cheri Gregory (15:46.17)

I alone am the kind of person who’s going to get it one and done, but just not today and probably not this week. And I know you have people talk to you and they’re like, yeah, I can’t do the 15 minutes. I’m too much of a perfectionist. It’s like, yeah, and you’re also a procrastinator, you know, or in the case of, you know, the writing we do. I mean, one of the things I told you that’s become so important for me, it’s actually been the thing that’s really broken my procrastination is realizing that I need to iterate.

Kathi (15:51.447)

Right.

Kathi (16:00.675)

Right. Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (16:13.03)

I need to keep circling back around, circling back around, circling back around. And the more often I can iterate, the more I can get started, get something down, hit a wall, walk away, leave it alone, not worry about it, not think about it, not stress over it because I’ve given myself enough time that I expect that this is going to be part of the process. And then, sure enough, in the shower, you know, right before I fall asleep, whatever it might be, conversation with you, whatever. Oh, another idea comes to me. And when I give myself enough time.

Kathi (16:28.756)

Yeah.

Kathi (16:34.151)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (16:37.723)

down.

Cheri Gregory (16:42.77)

When I give myself time and I have the assumption that I am a human being like everybody else and things are going to take me longer than I think they’re going to take more steps than I wish, you know, that whole fear that this will be the one time that I can’t pull it off or that I ain’t got nothing, you know, like I do my best and nothing shows up. As long as I give myself time to go through a good process. And really, to me, that’s what has helped break the procrastination cycle for me

Kathi (16:48.112)

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (16:58.724)

Yeah. Right.

Kathi (17:11.426)

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (17:11.99)

Um is i don’t enjoy the pressure of procrastination nearly as much as I enjoy a good process like okay maybe it took me two weeks but wow i slept every night of those two weeks yeah okay i can’t brag that i pulled it off without any effort. But it is done it’s done well and often there’s some wonderful discoveries along the way that would never have happened if it was.

Kathi (17:16.092)

Yeah.

Kathi (17:25.256)

Yeah.

Kathi (17:32.102)

Yes.

Cheri Gregory (17:40.202)

you know, the night before something was due. We don’t make good discoveries during that time.

Kathi (17:45.866)

We’re gonna talk about that in our next episode. We’re gonna talk about pressure versus pre-deciding. Because, yeah, there are two different things. But I’m gonna leave us with this thought today that came up while you were talking. Is that, you know, when we say we work better under pressure, what we’re saying is we are living in a constant state of triage.

Cheri Gregory (17:52.97)

Ooh, I love it.

Cheri Gregory (18:14.026)

Yes.

Kathi (18:14.898)

we are triaging the situation. I have to clean before my in-laws come over. So am I making good decisions during that time if it’s the night before? No, I am triaging, so it looks good to them, but then I have to clean up from that mess. And I never, it’s the idea of triage versus working towards health.

You know, if I am getting stuff out of my house, you know, sometimes we have to triage things because emergencies do come up. But if we live in a constant state of emergency, we are never gonna get to the place we want. And I will in fact say, if we do something under pressure like that, we are making the situation worse. We’re not just making.

ourselves, our cortisone levels go crazy. We’re not just for me snapping at my husband or snapping at the chickens, I never snap it loose. But I’m snapping at somebody. We’re not just doing that. We’re actually making the kitchen that I just quote unquote organized worse because I can’t find the things I need. And we want to get past that. So in our next episode, I wanna talk about

strategies going from I work better under pressure to I work better when I pre-decide and what that looks like. Cheri, this is so good. Thank you so much for doing this. And we actually have a download that we’re going to offer to our friends who are part of our newsletter community. Cheri, can you explain what that is?

Cheri Gregory (20:03.05)

Sure, it’s called The Four P Bullies at a Glance and it goes along with the book, the first book we co-authored, You Don’t Have to Try So Hard. And it’s just, it’s a one sheet that goes through perfectionism, people pleasing, performanceism and procrastination and kind of helps you understand the difference between them and helps you identify which bully might be beating you up at any given time.

Kathi (20:22.342)

And you don’t have to have the book to understand this. This is a really wonderful, simple guide that we will share with you. Cheri, thanks for being here today. And yeah, next week we’re gonna talk about, it’s our favorite word, pre-deciding, and how this can actually help you to not live under pressure all the time. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you’ve always wanted to live.

Cheri Gregory (20:27.021)

Yes.

Oh, thanks for having me. Can’t wait to come back next week.

 

#608 Should You Declutter When Life is Just too Much?

#608 Should You Declutter When Life is Just too Much?

608 – Should You Declutter When Life is Just too Much?

A life-changing event happens like a new job, a new baby, a change in health, or any number of circumstances. You find yourself struggling with what to do with items in your space and wondering if this is a typical response.

If you have ever felt like that, this episode has the encouragement and strategies you need.

Join Kathi Lipp and her co-host and Clutter-Free Champion Tonya Kubo as they deep dive into decluttering when life feels overwhelming. Tonya recently lost two family members in a short period. She discusses how she helped her extended family deal with sentimental items while acknowledging that everyone has a different timeline when it comes to sorting through these items. Kathi and Tonya give helpful insights into decluttering when life feels like it is just too much with thoughts such as:

  • Circumstances may change, but the clutter challenges are the same.
  • Permitting yourself time to just sit with the items is okay.
  • How the definition of clutter changes based on life transitions.

Sign up here to be notified when the next episode is released.

As Kathi mentioned in the episode, she has a free resource for you! Receive your Checklist for Decluttering When Moving or Downsizing by signing up for her newsletter here.

The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home

Homesteading [hohm-sted-ing]
noun
1. an act or instance of establishing a homestead.
2. the act of loving where you live so much that you actively ignore the fact that your house is trying to kill you on a regular basis.

For Kathi Lipp and her husband, Roger, buying a house in one of the most remote parts of Northern California was never part of the plan; many of life’s biggest, most rewarding adventures rarely are.

Kathi shares the hard-won wisdom she’s gained on her homestead journey to help you accomplish more at home, gain fresh perspective, and give yourself grace in the process. Here’s a handful of the lessons Kathi shares:

  • Prepare before the need arises
  • Everything is always in process, including us
  • Your best household solution is time and patience
  • You don’t have to do everything the hard way
  • Be open to new and better ways of doing things
  • A lot of small changes make a huge difference.
    Highly practical, humorous, and inspirational, The Accidental Homesteader will encourage you to live with more peace, joy, and contentment.

Order your copy of The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home here.

Favorite Links:

Sign up here for Kathi’s newsletter or here to receive her Clutter Free Basics Kit!

Clutter Free Resources:

 Has your definition of clutter ever had to change due to life circumstances?

Share your answer in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • 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 is the illustrious and fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter Free Academy Facebook group and the Clutter Free for Life membership program. A speaker and writer, Tonya makes her home in the heart of California with her husband, Brian, their two spirited daughters, and one very tolerant cat. Visit her at www.tonyakubo.com.

 

Tonya Kubo Picture
Transcript

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. And I am here with the co-captain of the Clutter-Free community. It is Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya.

Tonya Kubo (00:44.182)
Hey, Kathy.

Kathi (00:46.653)
And can we just say we have to give Tonya extra props because she’s been sick I don’t know for the last month and We’ve had to reschedule this a couple of times not just not just because you’ve been sick But we were about to hit record a couple of weeks ago and your power

Tonya Kubo (00:54.943)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (01:06.974)
Yes, my power went out twice that day.

Kathi (01:11.485)
Let’s be clear, when Kathy’s power goes out, we’re like, well, that’s just a Tuesday. But when Tonya’s power goes out, and you know what? I’m just gonna say something here real quick that maybe some, this might be of help to some people. Roger just got diagnosed with sleep apnea and he has to wear a CPAP. So yes, I am sleeping next to Darth Vader every single night now, but it’s really helping him. But because of that,

Tonya Kubo (01:16.404)
Right.

Kathi (01:39.797)
In the state of California, we’ve qualified for a program where we can get Tesla batteries on the side of our house absolutely free. Where the Tesla batteries absorb the power at the cheapest rate and then put out the power when we most need it. And to get these Tesla batteries is almost $2,700, no, $27,000, excuse me, $27,000. And there’s a California program where we get them for free now.

Tonya Kubo (01:58.358)
Wow.

Tonya Kubo (02:04.354)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (02:10.242)
That is amazing. I know a lot of people with CPAP, so that’s huge.

Kathi (02:10.433)
So, isn’t that?

Yeah Yeah, so I know a lot of our listeners are not in California But we also have a decent amount because you and I both live in California and a lot of people that we’ve spoken to and met So that has nothing to do with it. Well, maybe it has something to do with today’s Because here’s the thing that’s a life change for Roger and I have to tell you the first thing he did God bless him. He gets the CPAP machine. He goes I need to declutter my side of the bed because now

Tonya Kubo (02:43.232)
It’s big.

Kathi (02:43.489)
It’s not a huge apparatus, but it takes space, especially on his nightstand. So that’s something we need to consider.

Tonya Kubo (02:48.396)
Yeah.

No, that is true. That is true. Brian had a CPAP for a while and his was huge. I’m not gonna lie. His took up the entire surface of the nightstand.

Kathi (02:58.135)
Oh.

Kathi (03:02.501)
Oh dear. Yeah, that makes for an interesting bed partner, doesn’t it? Okay, but yeah, what we’re talking about today, let’s just dive right into it. Tonya, you spent a lot, we both did, we spent a lot of time talking to people in our paid group, Clutter Free for Life, about what their biggest challenges were, how we could help. In our paid program, we do a 15 minute free consultation with everybody who joins.

Tonya Kubo (03:07.698)
Yes it does.

Tonya Kubo (03:20.174)
Hmm.

Kathi (03:30.933)
so that they can ask us the questions that are just for their circumstance. What I came to find out, and I wonder if you did too, is when they said, this is really unique to me, it was never really unique to them. Because the circumstances may change, but the challenges are the same. That was my biggest takeaway.

Tonya Kubo (03:44.29)
That is true.

Tonya Kubo (03:49.502)
Right. Well, and I felt like for them, that was probably like, because I would always ask people at the end of our time, I would say, what was most helpful for you here? And every single one of them would be like, the fact that you knew what I was talking about, and the fact that you said that I’m not alone.

Kathi (03:59.845)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (04:04.92)
Yeah.

Right, right, absolutely. Yeah, it is huge. I would say you got this situation more than I did, but I did get it some, is that people felt like their clutter got so much worse during a big life change. And I was trying to think, did that happen to me? And I was like, yeah, it absolutely did. When Moose was diagnosed with cancer,

Tonya Kubo (04:09.535)
was huge.

Kathi (04:37.185)
I have to say for about six months, I cared very little about the state of my house. I cared very little about what was going on around me. Like guys, I’ve gotten better, but I spent so much time just hanging out with her because we didn’t know what her life expect, all that kind of stuff. But after about six months, I’m like, okay, I don’t want to continue to live like this. And fortunately, I have the tools in my back pocket to be able to say.

Tonya Kubo (04:53.771)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (05:07.317)
Okay, here’s how I recover from this. But have you been through something like that in your life, Tonya?

Tonya Kubo (05:14.806)
Definitely. I mean, I think raising children, like by itself, like even not under extreme circumstances, but every phase of life brings a huge transition that involves clutter in some way. And then of course, as you know, we lost my mom very early in our decluttering journey, but that had a big impact. For us, the most recent was losing Brian’s sister.

Kathi (05:18.735)
Mm.

Kathi (05:30.062)
Yeah.

Kathi (05:41.461)
Yeah, way too young.

Tonya Kubo (05:41.822)
And I’ll share a little bit about this only because it made, it really seemed to have a profound impact on the people I spoke to one-on-one. When we lost Brian’s sister, it was really interesting to see how grief or how coping with grief is different for each person. For her husband, they had sold their home when the pandemic started and they were building their dream home.

Kathi (06:01.198)
Mmm.

Tonya Kubo (06:09.05)
And then she was diagnosed not too long after. So they had this rental that was really wrapped up in her illness that they had been living in. It really was a sick home. And so her husband really threw himself into decluttering because he wanted out of that rental home. Like there was just all sorts of bad memories. But there was this other piece of him.

Tonya Kubo (06:37.206)
What I recognized is he was so worried that there was something that was special or precious to the family that he didn’t know about. Like he didn’t know why it was precious. He didn’t know why she was keeping it because quite honestly, nobody expected to lose her at the age of 44, right? So these are, like he knew she had bins and boxes and stuff in the garage, but he never thought to ask why.

Kathi (06:54.753)
course.

Kathi (07:02.753)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (07:02.806)
So he starts going through this stuff and he wants to give it to Brian’s mom. He wants to give it to us because he’s like, I don’t wanna be responsible for it, right? And it was really soon for Brian’s mom. Like in some ways, I mean, cause that was hard for her, right? Cause she’s just lost her daughter and now she’s being like given all this stuff. And so Brian and I had a conversation. I just said, look, if he calls you and says, hey, do you want this? Just say yes.

Kathi (07:13.387)
Right.

Kathi (07:17.763)
Mmm.

Kathi (07:31.897)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (07:32.998)
We have a decluttering system in place in our home. We have a garage. We can say yes to everything, and we can deal with it later. Because the family dynamics are such, nobody expects us to keep everything forever. So we’re good there. So I said, you just say yes. Our priority was to make the decision easy for him and to trust that we had the emotional bandwidth and the space and the maturity that we could take it from there.

Kathi (08:02.917)
What a gift to him. Even if he didn’t know, what a gift.

Tonya Kubo (08:09.042)
So, yes, and it did make life so much easier, but of course that means that we very quickly had a filled garage with all sorts of random stuff.

Kathi (08:17.302)
Right.

Right, right. Well, so let me ask you, yeah, let me ask you because a lot of people are dealing with the loss of a loved one and having to deal with their stuff. I did with my dad as well. And, you know, we went through a process where there was a first layer of like, okay, we can just donate this or trash it or whatever needs to happen.

Kathi (08:48.029)
And then there was a second layer of like, okay, does anybody in the family want this? And then the third layer of, um, we have to decide if this is the memory we want to keep of my dad. And so it was a three layer process for us, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everybody. What was it for you, Tonya? Or, or have you gone through the stuff yet?

Tonya Kubo (09:10.542)
Also, multi-layer process, yes, because a lot of it was Brian’s dad stuff. We did not realize how much of Brian’s dad stuff Megan had taken until Megan was gone and Jeremy was like, I know this was from your dad, but I don’t know much more. But like one was, it was like, oh, I have a bunch of your dad’s shirts.

Tonya Kubo (09:35.454)
and they were really special to Megan, but the boys didn’t know your dad, so the boys don’t really understand. And so I told Brian, yeah, we’ll take those. We can make a quilt out of them or something. Well, it turned out they weren’t work shirts, like Brian thought. They were racing jerseys. His dad used to race motocross. Motocross jerseys do not make good quilts, by the way, just so you know. It’s just not a good fabric, right? So Brian was like.

Kathi (09:58.996)
No they do not.

Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (10:04.566)
What do I do with this? And I said, well, for now, we let it sit in the garage. And I mean, it was like, I don’t know what you call this, but you know when you go to like Marshall’s and they have the clothing racks that are on wheels?

Kathi (10:15.121)
Yes, yes. Rolling racks. Okay.

Tonya Kubo (10:16.57)
I mean it was on those, yeah those rolling racks. It was like a whole rolling rack of shirts. So that’s still in my garage. Still don’t know what to do with it. But I also don’t feel like that’s a decision I have to make today. I have the available real estate, it’s fine. Now her classroom stuff, she was a teacher, Brian is a teacher. So her classroom stuff, it was very easy to process through all that.

Kathi (10:21.001)
Mm-hmm. Okay.

Kathi (10:30.262)
Right.

Yeah.

Kathi (10:38.902)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (10:44.106)
We said yes to all of it, then Brian went through and was like, oh, I could use this, and then we have teacher friends. So for us, that was the first layer. And of course, as you know, Kathy, the first layer is always the least emotionally connected layer.

Tonya Kubo (11:01.766)
Very easy to release classroom stuff, work stuff, right? But imagine how much space, I mean honestly that classroom stuff was taking up more space in my garage than those work shirts or than those racing jerseys are.

Kathi (11:06.274)
Yes.

Kathi (11:16.905)
Yeah, it makes so much sense. And you know, I think these big life transitions, it’s either we’re going to something new, or we’re letting go of something. And so we’re going to take a quick break, we’re going to come back. And I want to talk about what are some steps that we can do in these transitions, whether we’re going towards something. And even when you’re going towards something new, you have to let go. And I’ll talk a little bit about that.

But, excuse me. But we’re gonna take a quick break and come back to give some really practical steps of what you can do. So hang with us friends.

Okay, friends, we are back and we’re talking about what are the really practical steps when you’re going through a big life transition. This could be a marriage, it could be a death, it could be a birth, it could be kids leaving the house, it could be a divorce, it could be, there are a million different things that, job loss, new job, moving, if I didn’t say that before, and I think that was one of ours.

that was really tough. We had, we moved from San Jose to the mountains. Well, we had just redone the San Jose house. And can I tell you, it was gorgeous. It was exactly, it was everything I wanted it to be. But.

Tonya Kubo (12:40.159)
It was. I visited it. It was beautiful. That bathroom, Kathy. That upstairs bathroom.

Kathi (12:48.985)
It was phenomenal, right? It was phenomenal. Okay.

Tonya Kubo (12:50.746)
Yeah. I just need you to hear me tell you that it was beautiful. You did a great job.

Kathi (12:57.401)
Thank you so much, thank you. Every once in a while I go back and look at the Zillow pictures. I just loved it so much. And, but here’s the thing, I love my new house too, but two completely different styles. Both my style, this one is more rustic, cabernet, that kind of thing. The one in San Jose was more like teals and had a little bit of gold, which sounds weird, but it’s actually, it was gorgeous. And.

Tonya Kubo (13:07.853)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (13:26.029)
Uh, but I couldn’t really take the San Jose stuff to the summer sect. And so I have to tell you, it was a process of letting it go. A couple of things I did, which isn’t going to work for everybody, but some of that stuff that I had in San Jose, we, we also have some space at my mom’s house. So I decorated that space with some of the stuff, like the rugs and things like that, that I just loved.

We also have an RV that we put some of that stuff in. Our kids came and took some of the stuff that was really important to them. But I think the best thing that I did with that transition was just saying, we’re going into a new life and I don’t wanna be carrying this. So we put a few things on Freecycle or Facebook Marketplace.

Tonya Kubo (14:17.27)
Hmm

Kathi (14:23.009)
And we just did free because we had a short turnaround time to move. And this one young couple, they, they finally said, we’re just waiting for your ads to come up because we love everything and we have nothing. And so I just said, uh, okay, here’s the deal. I’m, I’m going to put a post-it note on everything in our house that we’re not taking and you can take it if you want.

There was not one post-it note left after all of that. They said, the woman, they had only been married for six weeks, they were sleeping on their floor. And we basically, in some ways, furnished their whole house. Because of course we had a bigger house than their one bedroom apartment. But there was a purpose.

Tonya Kubo (14:52.609)
Mm.

Tonya Kubo (15:01.455)
Oh.

Tonya Kubo (15:09.407)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (15:13.355)
Right.

Kathi (15:16.677)
And it wasn’t even decluttering, it was giving away huge massive things that were important to us. But I think most of us as cluttery people, if we knew the people things were going to, we would give them the shirt off our back and the racing jersey as well. So, you know, it is, when we know that it’s for a higher purpose.

Tonya Kubo (15:22.861)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (15:42.098)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (15:42.241)
So maybe the higher purpose is to lighten your load. Maybe the higher purpose is to help somebody else. What do you feel like were the lessons you’ve really learned and taken away through Megan’s death, through your father-in-law’s death and your mom’s death?

Tonya Kubo (15:59.642)
Yeah, so something you just said really resonated with me, which is clutter. You had said, you know, it’s not really decluttering. It was releasing things that just we loved, but we had no use for. And I think the big thing with these life transitions, and I think part of what makes them so hard, so emotionally difficult to journey through, is it redefines clutter for us.

Kathi (16:15.301)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (16:29.098)
Because see, typically we say clutter is something I don’t love, it’s something I don’t use, it’s something I wouldn’t buy again. And these life transitions introduce this new definition which is, this is something that I love and I would use, but for whatever reason, given the circumstances that we have, that’s not possible right now. And it doesn’t make sense.

Kathi (16:52.397)
Oh, Tonya, that’s so good.

Mm-hmm

Tonya Kubo (16:56.354)
to keep it because I don’t know when it’s going to be possible again. So going back to the one-on-one conversations that I had with some of our members, there were a lot of people I was talking to who either had some kind of major medical event. So maybe they had a child born with some very extreme medical needs. One of them had an injury or an illness that required, say, in-home health care.

Tonya Kubo (17:24.73)
anybody who’s listening who has had any experience with in-home health care knows that it’s like they bring a u-haul of medical equipment to your house right and it doesn’t matter little babies older adults it’s not always a hospital bed but sometimes the hospital bed and oxygen tanks and feeding tubes and all of these things and those things get added into this house that was already full even if it wasn’t cluttery it was full it was functional

Tonya Kubo (17:54.678)
You have this period, like you don’t want to get rid of your old life. Those things brought you joy, but there’s not room for that in the hospital bed. There’s not room for that in the ventilator or whatever else. And so something I saw my brother-in-law do that I didn’t, like I remember going, hmm, about it when he was doing it. Like they had just gotten a brand new bed and he called us up and he said, hey, by any chance, do you guys want a new bed? And we were like, and we had actually been looking for a new bed.

Kathi (18:04.29)
Right.

Tonya Kubo (18:22.89)
We’re like, yeah, like, do you want us to buy it off of you? He’s like, no. He goes, we’ve had it for three months. We love it. He goes, but I don’t, I would have to go up in size to the storage unit that we’re looking at getting in order to fit it. So that doesn’t make sense. He’s like, and I, they tell us Megan’s going to be better in 10 months, but I don’t know that she is. And when she is better, this bed may not be comfortable for her. So I think it just makes sense to get rid of it now. And I don’t think.

Kathi (18:23.214)
Oh wow.

Kathi (18:36.409)
Yeah.

Kathi (18:44.349)
Mmm.

Kathi (18:50.504)
Okay.

Tonya Kubo (18:53.11)
my cluttery heart would have had that kind of like logical thought process that Jeremy had. I mean, he was he’s so like wise. I don’t even think he knows how wise he is. But I thought, wow, that is really like that’s just wisdom right there to go, hey, it’s not that I expect to be here forever. But I know that when I’m not here, life is going to be so different that the stuff that’s working now may not work then.

Kathi (19:21.797)
As soon as you’re saying, I’m going to have to go up in size on the storage unit, it’s time to reconsider everything. Yeah, when we sold our house in San Jose, we said we are keeping this storage unit for a month. For a month. You know, because this is stuff we want to bring to the house, but we can’t bring it all at once. And we kept that promise. I was really, really proud of us.

Tonya Kubo (19:29.722)
Right.

Tonya Kubo (19:38.957)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (19:52.165)
turns into a year, turns into five years. But we need to make our lives lighter because we can make better decisions when our life is lighter. You know, you and I just had a circumstance this, like today, where you were supposed to come to my house, you can’t, so Roger and I are like, you know what? You know me, if I could, I would adopt every goat.

Tonya Kubo (20:00.27)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (20:21.729)
every dog, every cat, everything. But we have fewer chickens now because that’s just what happens to chickens sometimes. It’s the circle of life. And we have a dog and we’re like, you know what? Tonya can’t come here. We’re gonna go to Tonya. And it’s because we have lightened our life. And sometimes that’s through circumstances we would not have chosen.

Tonya Kubo (20:29.326)
because that’s the circle of life.

Kathi (20:50.189)
but we are intentionally keeping our lives lighter so that we can do the things we wanna do. And that’s something we wanna do. What do you think is the most important thing that somebody can take away from this conversation? Especially after seeing how wise Jeremy has been and how you don’t wanna repeat the sins of your mother and you have this different example. What would you want somebody to take away from this conversation?

Tonya Kubo (20:52.578)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (21:13.816)
Right.

Tonya Kubo (21:19.722)
Well, I think for me the biggest is that certain life transitions do warrant a new definition for what clutter is. What’s clutter today?

Kathi (21:32.073)
I think that’s so wise.

Tonya Kubo (21:35.814)
may not have been cluttered five years ago, and it may not be cluttered five years from now, but because you don’t know that, it makes sense and it is smart and it is wise to treat it like the clutter it is today.

Kathi (21:38.657)
Mmm.

Kathi (21:51.477)
It’s not that the thing is clutter, it’s that the item in the midst of today’s circumstances is clutter and something that you need to lighten your life. This has been such a great conversation, Tonya. Thank you so, so much.

I just think this is exactly what we need to hear. Because when we buy things, we’re like, oh my goodness. This is the most important thing. And I’ll always love it. I’ll always want it. And then job changes happen. And we live in a time now where if you need to furnish your house for free, you could pretty much do it. Because.

Tonya Kubo (22:47.566)
True.

Kathi (22:49.413)
It may not be with the stuff you want. And so we have to decide, do I love it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again right now? Right now, I think that that’s a great question to ask. And one of the things, guys, if you’re part of our newsletter community, we are going to be publishing this week a checklist for decluttering when moving or downsizing. And so,

Tonya Kubo (23:00.086)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (23:14.774)
Mmm.

Kathi (23:16.377)
We want you to, if we’re gonna put all the information so that you can become a part of our newsletter community so that you can have that resource for the next time you’re going through something, whether it’s moving or you just need to downsize, whatever that is, we’re gonna give you that checklist to help you make decisions in, because when you’re moving, you’re already having to make a thousand decisions, let this eliminate another thousand.

Tonya, thanks for being on today.

Tonya Kubo (23:46.85)
Thanks for having me.

Kathi (23:48.565)
And friends, thank you for being here. You’ve been listening to Clutter-Free Academy. I’m Cathy Lip. Now, go create the clutter-free life you were always intended to live.

#607 Super Practical Strategies for Decluttering

#607 Super Practical Strategies for Decluttering

607 – Super Practical Strategies for Decluttering

Are decluttering decisions breaking your brain? Are perfectionist tendencies keeping you from making progress? Tune in as Kathi and her guest, Clutter Free Academy cheerleader Tonya Kubo, discuss:

  • Overcoming the overwhelm
  • Making your minutes work for you

Sign up here to be notified when the next episode is released.

 

The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home

Homesteading [hohm-sted-ing]
noun
1. an act or instance of establishing a homestead.
2. the act of loving where you live so much that you actively ignore the fact that your house is trying to kill you on a regular basis.

For Kathi Lipp and her husband, Roger, buying a house in one of the most remote parts of Northern California was never part of the plan; many of life’s biggest, most rewarding adventures rarely are.

Kathi shares the hard-won wisdom she’s gained on her homestead journey to help you accomplish more at home, gain fresh perspective, and give yourself grace in the process. Here’s a handful of the lessons Kathi shares:

  • Prepare before the need arises
  • Everything is always in process, including us
  • Your best household solution is time and patience
  • You don’t have to do everything the hard way
  • Be open to new and better ways of doing things
  • A lot of small changes make a huge difference.
    Highly practical, humorous, and inspirational, The Accidental Homesteader will encourage you to live with more peace, joy, and contentment.

Order your copy of The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home here.

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 Do you shut down when making decluttering decisions? Share your answer in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

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Meet Our Guest 

 

Tonya Kubo

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

 

Tonya Kubo Picture
Transcript

Kathi (00:02.265)
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. And she is the Clutter Free cheerleader. She’s the co-captain of all things decluttering. It is Tonya Kubo. Hey Tonya.

Tonya Kubo (00:29.622)
Hey Kathi!

Kathi (00:31.325)
Okay, we sound really nice right now, but we’re here to boss you around. Okay. That we’re done with it. We, you know, every week we come to you with these loving suggested step. And by the way, we are still loving, but some of you just need to be bossed around sometimes and we’re not saying this. You guys are, you’re the ones who are telling us just tell me what to do. And my thought, I thought that’s what we were doing in the last eight years of podcasting, but that’s okay.

You know what sometimes you just need to To you know, yes It’s good to know the ideas why you should know your mental state and decluttering and you should know some of the emotional reasons, but you know what today we’re just gonna tell you how to declutter. So Tonya are you ever in a space where you’re just like just tell me what to do

Tonya Kubo (01:16.555)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (01:23.258)
Oh, frequently. I mean, that’s what decision fatigue does, right? It’s like, I don’t want to make any more choices. Just tell me what to do so I don’t have to decide and I’ll just go do it.

Kathi (01:24.775)
Okay.

Kathi (01:28.051)
Right.

Kathi (01:34.025)
Okay, so Tonya you have been doing a lot of one-on-one Consultation with people in our paid group Clutter Free for Life. Everybody who comes into that group gets a 15 minute consult. It’s amazing what we can get done in 15 minutes, isn’t it? Yeah, it really is mind-blowing but you said that there were a lot of people who were who were just struggling like

Tonya Kubo (01:50.803)
It is true.

Tonya Kubo (01:58.094)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (01:59.069)
They were struggling with the 15 minutes. They were struggling with the 15 minutes of decluttering I should say. They were struggling with their expectation. Like they felt like I’m a loser. I should be further than I am. Tell me tell me what your sense was from everybody

Tonya Kubo (02:16.814)
Well, in general, I think you’ve said this before, Kathi, right? So cluttery people tend to be perfectionists undercover. There is a 100% right way to do things and anything else is 100% wrong. And so people would say, like, well, I know what to do. I’ve been following Kathi for years. I’ve been listening to the podcast. I’ve been doing this. I bought the books. I just, I just don’t do it. Like, can you make me do it? And of course, the

Kathi (02:30.274)
Yes.

Tonya Kubo (02:45.23)
The beauty of a coaching call is we can ask some questions, we can dig in, and really when it comes down to it’s when there’s so many things you could do, it’s really, really hard to decide what you should do right now. And for many of us, by the time we’re done with the decision, we’re too tired to actually take any action.

Kathi (03:04.669)
It’s so true. It’s so true. It’s it’s almost like okay i’m gonna start a new job in an area that I don’t have a lot of success in And I’ve been given all these manuals now go. And it’s like yeah, but where do I start? Where do I start? So what, how would you talk to somebody who says my house should be done by now?

Tonya Kubo (03:22.838)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (03:35.71)
I should be clutter free. I’ve been listening to the podcast. I’ve been a part of the group. The first thing I’m gonna say is with all of these people, they’ve made such progress, but they only see how far they have to go.

Tonya Kubo (03:50.474)
Right. Well, I’ll say that, I’m also gonna tell you, some people live with mean people. Let’s just put it out there, okay? Some people live with mean people, and we’ll get to that, addressing that issue in a moment, because I have a solution for that. It’s not a perfect solution, by the way, but I have a solution for that. But, you know, it’s like, well, I coulda, woulda, shoulda, and it-

Kathi (03:52.658)
It’s.

Kathi (03:57.547)
Oh.

Kathi (04:04.)
Okay.

Ooh. Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (04:13.726)
In some cases, I’m like, yeah, but you haven’t, so let’s move from here. And people would dig in like, no, they wanted me to scold them, Kathi. And I’m like, okay, first of all, that’s just not who I am. But finally, there was one call where I said, okay, it sounds to me like you’re really hard on yourself. And they were like, yeah. And I said, okay, so has that been successful so far? Like, has it gotten your house cleaner? No. So maybe let’s try something different. So I will tell you the first, here is something that I have recognized, and so this is where I boss you around.

Kathi (04:43.946)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (04:44.002)
The first mistake that I see people make when they are overwhelmed is they look at the act of decluttering as this one big task. And what they don’t realize is yes, it is a big task, but that task has a lot of little parts to it. Well, Kathi, you’re naturally gifted at what we call microtasking. Like you can take a goal and you can break that down into 15 steps.

Kathi (05:01.334)
Right.

Kathi (05:10.59)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (05:10.906)
And it used to always break my brain. I was like, I don’t know how she does that. Cause like my brain doesn’t work that way, right? But what I realized is there’s actually two main aspects to decluttering that people don’t realize. There is the decision making around decluttering and then there’s the physical act. And so what I have encouraged our overwhelmed members to do is divide the task and don’t try to do both of them together. Which means the first thing you do is you go in,

Kathi (05:26.133)
Yes.

Tonya Kubo (05:39.394)
and you look at your space. Okay, like what you use to always say, what place bugs you the most? But you look at your space. Okay, this is the place that bothers me the most. Okay, so this is where I’m gonna get started. Okay, now I decide where should I get started here? And then you start all the things. Well, if I start here, then that causes this and da da, right? But do all of those mental gymnastics and then write yourself a task list. And I always recommend three steps because…

Kathi (05:45.136)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (06:07.69)
When you finish step one, you want to automatically know what step two is. You don’t want to have to stop and think about it. But 10 steps is overwhelming.

Kathi (06:13.597)
Right, right, good, yes.

Tonya Kubo (06:18.474)
So do the mental piece first, and then when it’s time to declutter, come back the next day, a week later, I don’t care, then you’re just taking through your steps.

Kathi (06:28.305)
Yeah, yeah, you’ve pre-decided what you’re going to do. Yes, and so the act of making the decision, that takes the most mental energy. And the rest is follow through, which I will tell you is hard for me and a lot of cluttery people. But if you’re trying to make the mental decision and do the follow through, it’s too much for most of us. It just is, it just is. So I think that that’s really, really brilliant.

Tonya Kubo (06:40.942)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (06:57.845)
Okay, we’re gonna take a quick break and then we’re gonna come back. And I wanna talk to you about how do we talk to ourselves if we feel like the 15 minutes is too much or not enough. So I’m gonna come back and we’ll talk about that in just a moment. Okay, we’re back with Tanya Kubo, leader of Clutterfree Academy. And I wanna talk to you about the 15 minutes a day. Because some people are like,

Tonya Kubo (07:13.76)
Good thing.

Tonya Kubo (07:24.91)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (07:27.165)
You know, I commit to doing the 15 minutes and when it’s time, I don’t do it or I can’t Kathi if you saw my house you would say you need 15 hours to even make a dent Like don’t try to play with me and say that 15 minutes is going to make a dent in this So what do you say to those people Tonya?

Tonya Kubo (07:49.51)
Well, I say, yes, and… Like yeah, I get it. I’ve lived in a house where 15 minutes isn’t going to do anything, right? But 15 minutes, four days in a row is an hour, right? And that’s what our whole program is based on, is that small doable steps add up to big results over time. The thing is, is when somebody comes to me and says…

Kathi (08:11.736)
Yes.

Tonya Kubo (08:16.37)
Okay, I get I’m supposed to do the 15 minutes, but I just can’t make it happen. I can’t do it. Whenever I drill down, the actual answer is always it’s because they don’t know what to do in the 15 minutes. That’s where the pre-deciding that we’ve already talked about comes into play. You have to make a decision before your 15-minute slot of what you’re going to do with your 15 minutes. You can’t just sit there and say, okay, so I set aside 10 o’clock this morning.

Kathi (08:28.717)
Mmm.

Kathi (08:33.366)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (08:45.31)
And then at 10.01 you’re like looking around going, well, I could do the dresser, I could do the closet. Oh, what about the kitchen cab, the spice cabinet? Because next thing you know, your 15 minute window is gone and you haven’t gotten started.

Kathi (08:50.164)
Right.

Kathi (09:00.033)
And so deciding beforehand what you’re going to do is key in all of this. Don’t waste your mental deciding energy on where and what you’re going to do. Know that going in and set that alarm for 15 minutes. And guys, if you’ve been around for any length of time, and we’ll find a link to one of our basics podcasts that says, this is what you do.

And guys, at the end of this, go check out the notes because we’re gonna also give you a link for our newsletter where you can receive our, it’s basically our clutter-free basics kit. This is how you help, this is how you make decisions, this is the process. We’re gonna give you all of that because we want you to be successful at this. So click on that newsletter and go from there. Okay, Tonya.

We just have one minute left. What is the encouragement that somebody who is feeling super, super stuck needs to hear right now?

Tonya Kubo (10:00.947)
Okay.

Tonya Kubo (10:10.122)
Okay, and this is also gonna come back to what happens when you live with mean people. It’s gonna be the same answer because we only have one minute. You have, well no, you have to lean into community and we have to stop expecting the people we live with to understand our cluttery hearts or our cluttery brains. Okay, maybe they really are jerks, I don’t know. I believe that most people we live with are not mean people, they just don’t get how our brains work.

Kathi (10:14.459)
Oh right, yes.

Kathi (10:19.16)
No, let’s hear about the mean people. That’s even more important.

Kathi (10:32.542)
Yes.

Kathi (10:38.758)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (10:40.146)
And that’s why we have the Clutter Free Academy Free Group, which by the way, if you join that group and you put your email address in, you also get to join the newsletter and get that Clutter Free Kit, just saying killing all the birds with just one single stone. But you’ve got to just find a place where people get you. And in Clutter Free Academy, there’s 15,000 people there who all joined because they thought they were the only person on the planet with a clutter problem.

Kathi (10:51.945)
All the birds with one stone.

Kathi (10:59.21)
Yeah.

Kathi (11:05.697)
right.

Tonya Kubo (11:06.57)
and they found out they had 14,999 friends just like them.

Kathi (11:12.281)
Tonya, I would say one of the things that I said to a lot of people in our 101s is we need to figure out is this a clutter issue or a relationship issue. And oftentimes it was a marriage issue. And

Tonya Kubo (11:26.885)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (11:30.539)
Yeah.

Kathi (11:33.673)
A lot of people feel stuck in their clutter because of their relationships. And you know what? We will come back and talk more about that at a later date because I think that is really key for a lot of people. Tonya, thanks for being here today.

Tonya Kubo (11:38.638)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (11:47.211)
Thanks for having me.

Kathi (11:49.021)
And 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’ve always wanted to live.

#606 The Container Principle

#606 The Container Principle

606 – The Container Principle

We all have stuff we want to keep, whether for daily use or for posterity. The question is, do we have room for it? How much is too much?

Don’t let your abundance take over your abode. Tune in to hear Kathi and Roger as they discuss:

  • How to contain t-shirts, tech goo, and other treasures
  • What qualifies as a container, anyway?

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The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home

Homesteading [hohm-sted-ing]
noun
1. an act or instance of establishing a homestead.
2. the act of loving where you live so much that you actively ignore the fact that your house is trying to kill you on a regular basis.

For Kathi Lipp and her husband, Roger, buying a house in one of the most remote parts of Northern California was never part of the plan; many of life’s biggest, most rewarding adventures rarely are.

Kathi shares the hard-won wisdom she’s gained on her homestead journey to help you accomplish more at home, gain fresh perspective, and give yourself grace in the process. Here’s a handful of the lessons Kathi shares:

  • Prepare before the need arises
  • Everything is always in process, including us
  • Your best household solution is time and patience
  • You don’t have to do everything the hard way
  • Be open to new and better ways of doing things
  • A lot of small changes make a huge difference.
    Highly practical, humorous, and inspirational, The Accidental Homesteader will encourage you to live with more peace, joy, and contentment.

Order your copy of The Accidental Homesteader: What I’ve Learned About Chickens, Compost, and Creating Home here.

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Do you limit how many containers you allow yourself to have? Why or why not? Share your answer in the comments.

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Meet Our Guest 

 

Roger Lipp

Roger is a productivity and quality engineer for a Fortune 50 company.

Roger helps teams reach their full productivity potential by teaching them the practical and simple steps to reach their goals. Roger and his wife, author Kathi Lipp, teach communicators how to share their message through social media and email marketing.

He and Kathi coauthored Happy Habits for Every Couple with Harvest House Publishers.

 

Transcript

Kathi (00:29.271)
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. And I am here with my Clutter-Free Partner in Crime. It is Roger Lipp. Hey, Rog.

Roger (00:44.101)
Hey, good to be here.

Kathi (00:46.363)
Okay, we are talking about one of my favorite ways of thinking about our stuff This is this is gonna be life-changing for some of you. Maybe others not so much, but for me life-changing and I yeah, I Thought when we moved from 1,400 square feet to this Monstrosity, I don’t know if it’s a monstrosity that implies it’s bad

this really large house that-

Storage would not be a problem anymore. That is not the case.

Roger (01:24.119)
The storage just became a different problem.

Kathi (01:26.455)
My goodness, right? Okay, so how do you view the storage problem in our house?

Roger (01:34.178)
Well, we’ve got a couple of different things. We have different things that we need to store, the big outside stuff that now needs a storage place. And we have a different use for the house because of retreats and things. So that creates a different storage challenge for us. And just the configuration of the storage, where is storage? That’s different here than it was in San Jose too. So we have to kind of think differently.

Kathi (01:41.868)
Yes.

Kathi (01:57.731)
Yeah.

Kathi (02:03.447)
Yeah, and you know, I think another factor for us, which it is for most people, but was not a problem in San Jose, is out of season storage. You know, our out of season storage in San Jose were a couple of sweaters and an umbrella. And here, we have, you know, snowblowers and heavy coats. And it’s just a different way of living. And I know most people,

Roger (02:13.858)
Hmm.

Roger (02:19.917)
What?

Kathi (02:33.007)
This was God’s gift to me to understand the clutter situations that we did not have in San Jose, where if it got to be 68 degrees, there was deep concern on the local weather channels. Like, how are we going to brace for the cold? Now, I will say there has been a lot of weather in San Jose this past week with all the rains and things like that.

For the most part, it’s very temperate. And so I wanna discuss how we’ve had to kind of figure out our new vibe for storage. And this is the container principle. And how this relates to clutter-free living is we are not storing more stuff than we have space for. Now, I will have to say, the people who lived here before us,

did not live here year round. So if it snowed 14 feet, they just didn’t stay here until the snow melted. That’s not really our option. We have to have ways of dealing with the snow and things like that. So the concept of the container principle is that we let the container dictate the quantity of items.

So let me give a very basic example. A t-shirt drawer. I have a lot of t-shirts. I wear a lot of t-shirts. You know, I’m not getting dressed up every day here on the mountain, so I have a lot of t-shirts. And I have one drawer for t-shirts. And I am not allowing myself to have more t-shirts than I have room in the drawer. And so that’s just the basic principle.

Roger (03:57.694)
Yeah.

Kathi (04:27.619)
that the container is the dictator of how much we have. So I have more t-shirts than I have, say, socks. You know, my t-shirts take up more room than my socks. And so I have a smaller space for my socks than I do for my t-shirts, but it’s the container that dictates it. And if I’ve got too much of something, I need to get rid of something. So, yeah.

Roger (04:55.234)
I love this principle because it just makes it so clear and so simple of, uh, do I have too much of something? Well, does it fit in the container? Uh,

Kathi (05:04.983)
Yes. Right. And if it doesn’t, then we keep the best and we get rid of the rest.

Roger (05:12.33)
That’s right. And the container size is up to you. It was a decision that you made. It’s not, so it’s not entirely dictated by the size of the container. You dictated the size of the container and now the size of the container dictates how much, how many t-shirts you have.

Kathi (05:18.032)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (05:24.291)
Right. Yes.

Kathi (05:30.559)
Right and is this a reasonable size container for my t-shirts? One really big drawer. Yes, it is but It would be very easy for me to keep four really big drawers of t-shirts Because I collect t-shirts. I don’t set out to collect them But you know, I think of a few t-shirts i’ve received recently we got t-shirts made for your 60th birthday when we went to Disneyland so we have those t-shirts we I have a t-shirt

for teaching at a writer’s conference called the Red Bud Writers Conference. Like those are just ones that I didn’t even purchase, they were just acquired. And so, and I wanna keep both of those, but the container says, well, Kathi, you can’t keep both of those and keep all the shirts you’ve had previously. So decisions must be made. And I mean, but here’s what I would do in the past is,

If I had too much of a thing, I would just buy another container. And that container had to be contained someplace. And that was usually as storage in the garage or, and there are things that it’s appropriate to store in the garage. But extra t-shirts is not one of them. We had this problem many years ago when we first combined households

in San Jose, because when we got married, we combined households. And I took a count, and I think I’m remembering correctly, we had 13 bookshelves.

Roger (07:06.946)
That’s a lot of bookshelves. And let me be clear. I think I may have added one bookshelf to that equation as we joined houses.

Kathi (07:08.367)
That’s too many bookshelves.

Kathi (07:13.712)
Hahaha

Kathi (07:18.403)
Yeah, I don’t think when we originally combined that we had 13, but this was back in the day where people were sending me books, you know, lots and lots of books. People still send me books, but it’s, publishers tend to send PDFs instead of the actual book these days. And so, uh, I just, instead of getting rid of books,

because these were my friends. These books were written by my friends and I’d be a terrible friend if I got rid of, it’s ridiculousness. But I just kept getting bookshelves and putting them in the kids’ room, in our bedroom. And when I put one in the, yeah, were you gonna say where I put, no, you go ahead. It’s.

Roger (08:00.099)
No, yeah, you go ahead. You can mess. We knew it was good.

Kathi (08:06.371)
I had one in the bathroom. And I said I was just gonna use it for like decorator stuff, but some magazine, yeah. Yes, so my deep confession is, I think it was either 12 or 13 bookshelves. It was ridiculous. And so that’s an example of the container meeting the clutter.

Roger (08:17.908)
It became a bookshelf.

Kathi (08:33.099)
instead of the container meeting the need. And so I wanna, yeah, go ahead.

Roger (08:36.194)
So I love the idea here that a container isn’t necessarily something with a lid. The container is the bookshelf, the garage, the attic, whatever you decide the container is. So when we’re talking about container, that’s kind of the idea here.

Kathi (08:42.592)
No.

Kathi (08:48.004)
Yes.

Kathi (08:52.675)
Yeah, and you know, I think that this really helps us in a couple of ways for decluttering. When I am too busy, I don’t declutter our pantry enough. And I just did it this morning. And every, oh, it did, I don’t know why. That was very weird. She’s like, what are you, she has seen me declutter the pantry before.

Roger (09:06.69)
kind of freaked Moose out. Yeah, she was very disturbed.

Roger (09:17.992)
Yes.

Kathi (09:19.311)
But here’s what I know happens. When you have a container that is too full and our pantry was too full, what happens is you don’t know what’s in there anymore and you just keep getting the same five or six items out and at the front surface because that’s the easiest and the rest of it doesn’t get used. And in a pantry, that’s really bad because food spoils. And so you need to be able to see what you have.

Roger (09:33.694)
of the front surface.

Kathi (09:49.475)
use what you have. It’s the same with like a t-shirt drawer. If I’ve got too many t-shirts, what ends up happening is I don’t put them away. Like I’ll just live out of a folded laundry basket, but it’s still a laundry basket because it’s too much effort because I have to shove down clothes or whatever. And so…

I really feel like the benefit is there is easier decision making because you don’t have as much stuff. You know where everything is. All my t-shirts go in this one drawer. They don’t go in seven drawers. They go in this one drawer. And it reduces clutter because if you say I’m only going to keep what properly fits in this container, then you’re making decisions to get rid of some of the stuff. You know, let’s all talk about the t-shirts that are on the bottom.

You know, that you got, I don’t know. It’s ridiculous, you guys. I had a beer t-shirt for a long time. I…

Roger (10:52.08)
I remember when you got that.

Kathi (10:53.731)
Yes, we were out to lunch at a, we were hosting a speakers retreat and we were in Arizona and our brand new waitress dumped an entire pitcher of water on me. And the manager came over and said, Hey, would you like a t-shirt? And this was a pub. And so it said, good people drink good beer. It’s like.

which is hilarious because yeah, I had a sip of beer one time like my latter year in college and I was like, well, that’s enough. But I forgot I was wearing this t-shirt when we went to go greet everybody at our Christian speaking conference. And lots of people have pictures with me saying, good people drink good beer at the leverage conference, which is great.

Roger (11:23.118)
because we don’t drink beer.

Kathi (11:45.911)
So like, why did I keep this t-shirt for so long? I needed it for an emergency. I’m not opposed to it. If you like a good beer, hey, more power to ya. But that is not my journey. So, no, we don’t anymore. I decluttered it. I made the hard decision. But those are the kinds of t-shirts that would go to the bottom. I’d never wear them. And so, or the t-shirt that has the scratchy tag or.

Roger (11:58.838)
Let us know we have a t-shirt for you.

Okay, all right.

Kathi (12:14.171)
the t-shirt that has the writing coming off of it. And we keep them because what we do is we justify their journey. We say, oh, well, I could wear that if I am painting, or I could wear that to bed. So we have all these conditions on it, but probably we’re just wearing the same thing 75 times.

Roger (12:35.126)
Now, it’s not just you. I have a container as well of stuff that kind of follows that same path. And it’s, oh, yeah, it’s the TechGoo box. This is a box. So you get that misplaced power adapter. And I don’t know what device it goes to. Do I throw it away? Well, what if I find a device that doesn’t have a power adapter? So it goes in the box.

Kathi (12:44.623)
Oh, do tell.

Kathi (12:48.109)
Oh yeah. Yeah.

Kathi (12:58.818)
Yeah.

Roger (13:04.406)
But we limit how many things we save by having a set size box for tech goo. And, and let me be clear, this is just miscellaneous tech goo. We have sound equipment and stuff that has tech that doesn’t go in that box. It has its own box, but the miscellaneous lost home tech goo box is a fixed size under a bed.

Kathi (13:04.722)
Oh

Kathi (13:14.063)
Yes.

Kathi (13:21.785)
Right.

Kathi (13:30.043)
We both have our clutter sins, guys. Okay, so let’s talk about how do you get rid of stuff out of the container. One of the things I’ve had to do, I have shelves for my shoes. Right now I have too many shoes. I just do.

And so what I’m doing is I am going through, I just threw away a pair of shoes that were falling apart, but they were comfortable, but they were falling apart. So it was time to get rid of them. And I need to probably get rid of three more pairs of shoes. And guys, we all make mistakes. We buy the shoes, they aren’t as comfortable as we thought, they don’t go with everything.

So what you’re doing is you’re keeping the things that you wear over and over and over again, and you’re getting rid of the things that are just taking up space on the shelf. So feel good knowing you have enough shoes that you can get rid of some. And I always try to remind myself, those shoes that are the least worn for me will be somebody else’s most worn shoes. When they…

take them to, we have a place called Snowline that we donate to. And so it’s really important to, because here’s what I know, it takes me longer to get ready, it takes me longer to clean my closet, it takes me longer to do everything when I have too much stuff, especially stuff that I’m not using. And we have all those little conditions on it. Well, you know, if somebody gets married on a beach, well, these would be the perfect shoes.

We don’t know people getting married on beaches these days. No, no. It’s time to let it go. Let it go. Okay. So Roger, with the container for your tech goo, here’s what I always worry about. Like with tech stuff. And I think I just came up with a solution. Is that, but what if I need, like what if this is the one cord?

Kathi (15:40.439)
And so I wonder if we put things in there and we say, we put it in a Ziploc bag and we say the date on this is June 1st, 2024. And if we haven’t pulled it out of there in a year, we can safely assume that we are not going to die. This is not a life-saving device for us. How does that feel to you?

Roger (15:58.958)
this. That’s not a bad idea. Yeah, yeah, it would it would create a lot of plastic bags. But I think it’s worth trying. Yeah. You know, yeah, yeah. And the same principle in your closet is, you know, you how you hang your clothes. And that’s how you know, but you can’t do that in a box of tech goo. So how do you simulate that? Yeah.

Kathi (16:05.125)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (16:09.067)
Okay, you could use a recycled bag. There we go. We’re just, become, you know.

Kathi (16:18.746)
Right.

Kathi (16:22.663)
No, yeah, but I think the and I think for the shoes what you could do is you could put a little Post-it note with the date on it and if I haven’t worn these shoes, you know You pull out the post-it note when you go to wear them and if you haven’t worn those shoes in a year out They go. All right uh I think also knowing that when you are resisting putting things away It is time to declutter that container

Roger (16:31.992)
Oh yeah.

Kathi (16:51.459)
So if I’m resisting putting t-shirts away because I have too many t-shirts in that drawer, it’s time to declutter in that drawer and pick the best and get rid of the rest. One of the things that I’ve learned is not to keep 10 different t-shirts for gardening or dyeing my hair. Or I’ve got one tank top and one t-shirt that I don’t care if they get hair dye on them.

I don’t care if they get dirt on them. I don’t care. These are the messy ones, and everything else I can get rid of. And then also to think about if I only have this much room in a container, when I get something new, I need to get rid of it. I’ve done that with my closet. I have a certain set number of hangers. And I’m not buying more hangers.

I never need to buy another hanger again in my life. I just need the hangers I have, and those will hold the clothes that I have, because I’ve never broken one of these hangers. They’re gonna last longer than me. Let’s just be clear on that. So if I’ve got too many clothes to hang on hangers, it’s time to start sorting through. Any ideas of this for you, Roger? Like, where would you start?

Like we’re in our house right now is it’s like it’s killing you. There’s too much stuff and we need to contain it.

Roger (18:22.67)
Ooh, the container of containers called the attic is a little challenging at the moment. Yeah. Yeah, it’s one of these attics that has a pull down ladder and I can go up there and kind of shove things around. It’s large. It’s a large space, but we run a business, so it’s business has a lot of stuff up there. I like Christmas, so there’s a lot of Christmas up there. There’s a lot of stuff.

Kathi (18:28.927)
Oh, yeah. It’s a little daunting. And you know what? Yeah.

Kathi (18:51.108)
And we have a we have a lot of out-of-season stuff We have a lot of out-of-season stuff that we need to keep up there Yeah And you know what we can only clean out our attic every once a while because you can’t do it when it’s too hot You can’t do it when it’s too cold so Yeah, I think of an area where We actually do a really good job with this is the kitchen maybe not so much in the

Roger (18:54.603)
Right.

Roger (19:05.71)
Right. It’s fall and spring.

Kathi (19:18.147)
The pantry, the pantry is kind of one of my downfalls. But with our utensils, our plates, we don’t have more stuff than we can contain in there. It feels like, it feels right-sized.

Roger (19:33.97)
Yeah, I think you’ve done a great job of curating what’s important to us. And even in the pantry, you’ve done that because I know we put in those pullout drawers in the pantry. Those are great, but they stop working when they’re over full. So…

Kathi (19:39.677)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (19:46.183)
Those are the best things ever. Oh, I love them. Yes, it’s so true. How do we know that? I don’t know. Yeah, so think about your clothing. Think about your kitchen. Think about books. How can we, how can you streamline, how can you get rid of things that maybe you’re not using, but other people would definitely love to use?

And so to, you know, the container for me for the closet, I mean, I could pack way more clothes into my closet, but I’m using the container as being the number of hangers, not just the entire room. So thinking about it in that way, figure out how you can contain what you need in each of those things. Now, one thing we’re gonna do is,

Many of you are a part of our newsletter. And what we want to be able to do in our newsletter is give you the resources from these podcasts. So we have a checklist of how do you use the container principle. And so you will get that automatically if you’re part of our newsletter. We have the link here in the bio, in the notes, so that you can go ahead and do that.

Okay, Roger, here’s to us containing everything that we love, use, and would buy again. Thanks so much for hanging out with me today.

Roger (21:17.71)
Thanks.

Roger (21:22.711)
Always fun, thank you.

Kathi (21:24.603)
And friends, thank you for hanging out with 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.