Get motivated to declutter YOUR home with this declutter before and after story.
Heather Prong started 2017 completely overwhelmed and knew she needed to simplify her life. She struggled with depression and felt like the walls were closing in on her. When she sat down to relax, she was filled with anxiety because all of the stuff around her. She saw a Facebook ad for the Clutter Free Lenten Bible study and ordered the book. Little did she know what was in store!
In the beginning Heather faithfully read and learned some strategies. Knowing she was not alone in the struggle against Clutter was a relief, and some of the shame and guilt slowly faded.
The turning point came on a March morning when she thought she didn’t have a lot of time to declutter before leaving for work, but decided to do something.
She started with the front room where she sat to watch TV.
“I thought I’d just straighten the speaker and chair sitting right in front of me. It felt so good, so I kept going each day choosing small sections — a table, a shelf, a drawer — something I could compete in a small amount of time.”
Friends, this is what small wins look like! Can I get an “Amen!”?
A Strong Why Helps Clutter Go Bye-Bye
About a month into decluttering, when Heather had seen some success and had a bit of momentum, she and her husband got a call from family members who were moving back to the United States. They needed a place to live for a few months. She says, “I knew my ‘why’ and was able to pick up the pace so we could help out our family.” In Clutter Free, Kathi talks about the importance of connecting to your “why,” the dream or goal that motivates you to get rid of clutter.
Heather started in February, and by June she and her husband had cleared a ton of clutter out of the house and built a room in the basement for family to move in. That’s incredible progress, and a huge change from where she started. You can do this, friends!
Heather said, “We were also able to donate at least fifty boxes of things we weren’t using to some of our favorite charities, and honestly, I haven’t missed anything.”
Heather took a lot of before pictures to remind herself of how far she’d come, but this photo of her chair and speaker represents the moment she was able to overcome that feeling of too much stuff, and start the magic of consistent, small decluttering.
Declutter Before and After
She says the process wasn’t always easy, “but I kept my love of helping others front and center to keep myself motivated and loved the encouragement from the Clutter Free Academy Facebook group.”
Heather has come a long way from where she began her journey to getting Clutter Free. She feels so grateful to have found Kathi and the Clutter Free Academy group, which celebrates her ongoing progress. “This year, I’m so much more relaxed and am enjoying some hobbies that I didn’t have as much time for when I was feeling so overwhelmed by stuff!”
What are you missing out on because Clutter is overwhelming you?
Have you ever started to declutter and just quit halfway through the job because you didn’t know what to do next?
If you have experienced these feelings in the past (or are right now!) you won’t want to miss today’s interview with Angela Cody-Rouget, better known as Major Mom of Major Organizer. She is the expert on the professional way to declutter someone’s home.
And Major Mom is going to give us the secrets to decluttering any space:
In this info-filled interview, you will learn how to:
• make the most of your decluttering time
• understand when you need to call in a professional
• stop feeling the guilt about all that stuff
I’m thrilled to have Major Mom on the show – so buckle up those kiddos, grab your phone and let’s dive in.
Want a free ebook for how to keep your car clean and organized even with kiddos crayons, nugget crumbs, and toy cars? Download your free Kid Friendly Car Organizing ebook from Major Mom here.
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Meet Our Guest
Angela Cody-Rouget is the founder and owner of Major Organizers™, a residential organizing company. She has been building the Major Organizers brand (formerly Major Mom) since November of 2006 and currently has a team of 22 employees in Arizona and Colorado. She was featured on the military episode of Shark Tank on February 5, 2016. Angela spent 14 years dedicated to serving her country in the US Air Force as a satellite commander and missileer. She attained the rank of Major and her husband nicknamed her Major Mom after their first child was born. After her son was born in 2005, she resigned her commission to be a better wife and mother to her two children.
Angela earned a BA in Speech Communication at Indiana University and an MBA from University of Colorado. Angela is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and Faithful Organizers, and has served as the President of the Board of Directors for both organizations. She volunteers her time to her veteran community and church on a regular basis.
She is currently in the process of franchising her brand in order to create more jobs and opportunities for veterans and military spouses. She has one franchise location in Columbus, OH. Like most women, she sometimes feels torn between kids and career and the balancing act is difficult, but she’s thankful for a husband who is supportive. She also has kids that cheer her on because they believe in her. Angela was born to create order out of chaos. She is on a mission to raise up an army of Liberators so she can restore order to the world, one household at a time!
Learn how to stop arguing about clutter and enjoy a stronger marriage.
My grandmother’s Norman Rockwell figurine is permanently placed on top of the piano. My father-in-law’s collection of watches will always fill a corner of Rob’s dresser drawer, dead batteries and all. We both hold on to keepsakes the other doesn’t value or understand.
Over our 25 years of cleaning, organizing, and shuffling possessions from one address to another, we’ve had our share of conflict. We don’t always see eye to eye on what to keep or purge from our house.
As we face this inevitable conflict, it can be positive or negative. On the up side, we can choose to value each other over our stuff. We can practice problem-solving as a team. We can open the door to sharing ideas and knowing one another better. And we can be challenged to be our best selves—listening, working, and putting each other first.
Yet conflict can also bring out the worst in our nature, stirring up anger and driving us apart. We’re not just fighting about material things, we’re fighting for our identity and sense of “home.” Before we can solve any dispute about what to save or throw, we have to eliminate the “clutter” keeping us from coming together.
How to Stop Arguing About Clutter
Here are five tips to clear the way to agreement and unity.
Kill the bunny.
When we start to tackle conflict, it’s tempting for the discussion to rabbit-trail into other issues and complaints, but it’s important to keep the main thing the main thing. Focus on the one keep-or-throw question at hand instead of trying to reinvent your entire relationship dynamic or five-year financial plan.
You might think your husband’s grade-school clay sculpture is stupid, but he’s not stupid. Your wife’s affection for vintage salt shakers does not compete for her affection for you. Keep insults, sarcasm, and criticism out of your conversation. Avoid remarks you know will push your partner’s buttons. It’s impossible to resolve a thing when you’re too mad or hurt to see straight. Attack the problem instead of each other.
Keep the past in the past. Dragging old mistakes and tensions into the now will push you farther apart. It will feed discouragement, stealing hope for tomorrow. Declare confidence in your relationship by pressing on to work it out. Cast a vision for a peaceful space you both can enjoy together. Give yourselves the gift of change you can look forward to.
Clear the decks.
Dedicate time to talk through your differences. Give yourselves the benefits of privacy, quiet, and energy. Don’t fight about sex in bed after midnight, argue over parenting while your little darlings can hear you in the next room, or wrangle out your budget in front of the car dealer. Don’t start sorting and cleaning when your garage sale starts in two hours! If your conversation becomes heated, show respect by taking time to step away and cool off. Do what’s needed to finish the hard work of resolving your issue.
Count the cost.
Is it more valuable to win the debate or win your loved one’s heart? Let go of your need to have the last word. Be willing to listen, compromise, and honor each other’s perspective. If you walk away feeling one of you lost and the other won, you both lost.
One of the greatest benefits of resolved conflict is the intimacy it can bring. You can celebrate your tenacious marriage. You experience a fresh sense of unity. You hold hope for the future, knowing you’re strong enough to overcome any battle. Let God use your conflict to deepen your love and commitment today so you can stop arguing about clutter.
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” (Philippians 2:1-2 NLT)
Win one of these beautiful gifts from Growing Home Together!
To Enter to Win:
Leave a comment below telling us one of your “prized” possessions that you’ve had trouble decluttering.
-One entry per household. A comment on THIS post only constitutes an entry.
-Prize includes one of the three items pictured above from Growing Home Together..
-Contest ends July 26, 2018.
-3 winners will be randomly selected from the comments on THIS post using third party software and will be notified by email.
-Prizes will be shipped by Growing Home Together.
Thank you to Growing Home Together for sponsoring this giveaway. Please see our disclosure policy for any questions.
Joanna Teigen and her husband Rob have celebrated 25 years of marriage and are loving life with five awesome kids, plus a beautiful daughter-in-law. They share an addiction to coffee, bookstores, and Christmas music. They’re a neat-freak married to a mess, an explorer to a homebody, and an introvert to a ‘people person.’ But they do agree that their vows are for always, children are a gift, and prayer is powerful. Over the years Rob and Joanna have lived in five states as they made their way to West Michigan. They look forward to meeting you at www.growinghometogether.com, supporting your pursuit of God and the hearts of your loved ones. They can’t wait to grow together with you.
Do you wait until your home resembles a frat house after a two-night kegger to actually get the gumption up to clean? It’s time to take some delight in getting your space clean.
We all want a clean house, but so much of the time cleaning is the least enjoyable activity on our to-do list. It’s time for that to change. From changing our attitude about cleaning to changing our cleaning products, it’s time to make cleaning something you will actually enjoy (or at least not dread.)
Why You Should Listen
In this jam-packed podcast, Tonya and Kathi discuss:
• how to use your five senses to actually enjoy cleaning
• how to partner with the people you live with to keep your house clean
• how to change your thinking about cleaning to make it a Clutter Free experience
And now – here is the offer that I talked about on the podcast – I love that just as we were talking about loving cleaning – this AMAZING offer comes along:
I’m thrilled to get to offer you, my favorite Clutter Free people, exclusive access to these amazing Mrs. Meyer’s kits through Grove Collaborative. (Do you know about my all out obsession with Lemon Verbena? I can’t even stand how awesome this all is!)
Here’s what new Grove Collaborative Customers get with their first $20 purchase:
• Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap
• Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap
• Mrs. Meyer’s hand lotion
• Grove enamel cleaning caddy (isn’t that the cutest thing ever?)
Click here to learn more & get your free Mrs. Meyer’s kit.
In order to get your free kit, simply order $20 worth of household items from Grove (and they really are less expensive than going into the grocery store.)
When you click over to Grove, you’ll be asked a few questions and your cart will auto-fill with $20 worth of product as a suggestion. But of course – you pick what you want. You’re the boss baby…
Try out different scents if you’d like – I use Lemon Verbena (did I mention that I’m obsessed?) but then, I like to mix things up in our bathrooms and laundry area (Honeysuckle is a personal favorite.)
Not only do you get three Mrs. Meyer’s full size products in the scent of your choice, the super-cute cleaning caddy, and free shipping, you’ll also get a trial of Grove’s VIP membership. That means for 60 days you’ll get free shipping on all your orders no matter how often, super fun little gifts, exclusive sales and personal service. I love grove.co and I know you will fall in love with them too.
And if you are already a Grove customer, you still get freebies (WHAT?!).
Existing Customer Offer
Free Grove walnut scrubber sponges will be added to your next shipment when you click here.
Other Links for Mentioned Products in this Episode:
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Meet Our Guest
Tonya Kubo is the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group. She and her husband, Brian, are raising two spirited girls in the agricultural heart of California. She writes about fighting the demons of comparison, clutter and compulsion on www.tonyakubo.com.
My friend Sarah (not her real name,) is out there. “There” being the dating world. And after hearing about her adventures out there, it makes me doubly grateful for my husband Roger.
Because while Roger is one of the good guys, there are a whole lot of bad guys.
A whole lot.
Like the guys who told her, “Oh, I thought maybe you’d lose some weight since you took your profile picture.”
A whole lot of bad guys…
But as she was telling me some of the worst points about the guys she and her friends have dated, it started to feel oh so familiar.
“He’s never around when I need him.”
“He’s lazy. He just sits around. I never get to do what I want to do.”
Since writing my book Clutter Free, I’ve heard every complaint about clutter, but for the first time, I started to see the correlation between the things that women say about bad relationships and the clutter that is ruining their lives.
“I can never find anything when I need it.”
“I would be able to get so much more accomplished if I didn’t have to deal with so much clutter.”
And when we start to see our clutter in the light of a bad relationship – the need to break up with it becomes oh, so much clearer.
Clutter, wants to make sure you know that you’re not good enough for anything better.
That boyfriend discouraged you from going for your degree or getting a better job. “You don’t have enough time for me – what makes you think you’ll have time for that.” He kept you from dreaming about the better life you could have and wanted you to settle. Clutter does the same thing. It convinces you – YOU! – you bright, intelligent, passionate woman, that you can’t handle your life and that you should just settle.
Just like a bad boyfriend, your clutter is constantly jealous.
Clutter doesn’t want you going out – it wants you stuck at home, tending to it. Clutter is lazy, and wants you to do all the work.
Clutter is a liar.
Clutter calls you lazy even though your coworkers always tell you what a hard worker you are. Clutter tells you that you will never change. Clutter says you’re not creative, not smart, not passionate. Clutter lies to you every chance it gets.
Your friends and family hate it.
My mom hated my first boyfriend. Hated him. I spent less time with my family and my school friends, and started to change my personality to accommodate him. Clutter makes the same demands – isolating you and making you bend to its will.
So how do you break up with clutter?
Here are a couple places to start:
Get as far away as possible.
It’s so easy to revisit your clutter- putting it in a box to look at later. Putting it in the garage so it’s out of site, until you can turn around in the garage… Make a clean break from your clutter. Don’t just put the donations in the back of your car, drive straight to the donation station and dump that clutter (anything that would be useful to someone else, but is no longer taking care of you, that is.)
Refuse to let clutter come through the door.
The best place to stop clutter is in the store- don’t buy it in the first place. Know your clutter weakness areas – the Dollar Store, the office supply aisle at Target, thrift stores, antique malls – and make a plan with exactly what you’re coming home with.
Get some accountability.
Have you ever told a friend, “Ask me every day if I’ve called him!” Well it’s the same with clutter. Have a friend ask you what you brought home that day- or better yet – what you got rid of! Challenge each other to get rid of 100 things (and no fair checking out each other’s stash to see what you may want to bring home.) Get rid of it, once and for all and celebrate each other’s success!
I would love to hear your story of how you’ve broken up with some of your clutter- give us specifics – we need some hope from those of you who are living free!
Break up with Clutter in just 14 days! Get Kathi’s Kickstart to Clutter Free eCourse today and kick that clutter to the curb sister!
Why Kickstart to Clutter Free?
Find peace in your home
Feel comfortable inviting people to your home again
I have one job in this post – to convince you that creating your daily routine is possible.
Even if habits are not your thing.
Even if you are not a morning person.
Trust me. This is possible.
We’ve all tried to create habits that would make us be more efficient, keep our homes clean and clutter free, and would get us out the door in the morning and into bed at a reasonable time.
Here is the first thing I want you to know: I am the least “routine” person you’ve ever met. My approach to each day was fresh and new (read random and chaotic). So, if I can do this, your daily routine is totally within reach.
The second thing I need you to know: I have never been a morning person. My mom, when signing me up for kindergarten, told the teacher if I didn’t get into the “Late Birds” group, we would have to change schools. There would be no “Early Bird” class for little Kathi. She didn’t want to physically drag me out of bed every morning.
But as an adult, I realized that if I want to get stuff done in life, I need to get up before the rest of the world. (Or at least my kids.)
I really believe having a morning routine is one of the most powerful ways to not just change your day, but change your life, because we give ourselves more permission to go deeper in the morning than we do at any other time.
Having a morning routine means deciding in advance what you’re going to do, so you can spend your mental energy focusing on what’s really important for the day.
How to Create a Daily Routine for Mornings
Here are six steps to creating your morning daily routine.
Make a list of everything you do in the mornings.
Go into detail, and leave nothing out, no matter how small. Here’s an idea of some things you’ll want to include:
• Brushing teeth
• Making breakfast
• Finding car keys
• Getting kids ready
• Quiet time
• Making coffee
• Putting on makeup
• Getting dressed
• Eating breakfast
• Packing your computer bag
• Making lunches
Evaluate your list.
The next morning, if you remember things that aren’t on the list, write them down. I want you to get an accurate reflection of what you can accomplish and see where the stress is in the morning.
Are you a morning person? Awesome! Load up your mornings, but load it up with the most important stuff.
Are you a night owl? Do everything you can to prep the night before so you can get the rest you need. I will do a whole other blog post on having an evening routine, but the bottom line is…PREP, PREP, PREP.
If it’s not working, brainstorm ways to make it work. Maybe you need a longer prep list the night before, or you might even need to plan earlier in the week. Making a big pot of oats to heat up in the microwave or putting together your outfits for the week can make your mornings go more smoothly. I’m a big fan of a prep and plan day to set you up for success for the rest of the week.
Set Up a Staging Area
This is everything when you are trying to get out the door each morning. Staging is the act of having everything ready to go when you are. Putting everything by the door will save you tons of time and stress. You could even place a chair or table there for that purpose.
Items to place in your staging area:
School or work projects
Travel mug or water bottle
You can even have a list of the things you need to take in that area so you are sure not to forget a thing.
Complete Tasks By Location
This is one of those tiny tricks that will absolutely save your mornings.
As much as I need to get in the steps on my Fitbit, I was all over my house as I was getting ready in the morning. Going up and down the stairs a dozen times was taking up a huge chunk of my morning.
So now, I break up my morning by location.
When creating your daily routine, I want you to think about what rooms you use in the morning (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, upstairs, downstairs, etc.) and figure out all the things that need to be done in that room.
Have quiet time
I’m a “go downstairs first thing” kinda girl, so I get all my kitchen stuff done, move to my bedroom, and then, if I’m leaving the house, move to the front door and prep to leave.
Time yourself to see how long things actually take.
We are time optimists.
We think it takes five minutes to put on makeup, but it really takes ten. Time yourself so you know where you can save time, and where to schedule more. You’ll have a realistic idea about how long your morning routine takes and reduce your stress level getting out the door.
Print out your list so it’s easy to follow.
Put it up in the kitchen, your bathroom, the bedroom, or wherever you’ll see it. Practice, practice, practice.
When I did this, I learned more efficient ways to get my list done faster. Since I normally eat oatmeal for breakfast, I got to where I could unload the dishwasher in the 3 minutes and 33 seconds it takes to cook in the microwave.
The first couple of weeks are discovery. After that, it’s execution.
Adjust as you go.
By sheer accident, I discovered that my oatmeal turns out just as good if I only cook it for 3 minutes, so I had to think of new strategies to unload the dishwasher 33 seconds faster.
Sometimes you’ll have to change your routine as circumstances change, like for a new job or school schedule. Keep adjusting your routine so that it continues to work for you.
One of the best things that will come out of this is you’ll continually be thinking about how to save time and make your daily routines more efficient. Here are some of my favorite tricks:
For the dishwasher, I learned that loading things in groups (plates, drinking glasses, knives, etc.) saves me time in unloading.
Set up your coffee the night before. I want to hug myself when I come downstairs and smell coffee.
I leave my walking shoes by the front door so when it’s time to exercise, I don’t need to go upstairs to get them.
I leave my computer charging downstairs so it’s ready to go in the morning (and fully charged.)
I make lunches the night before, and have bought these great salad containers so we can prep the night before (or even two nights before. They are that good.)
I have a hook in my bedroom where I hang the next day’s outfit.
I sleep in a cute pair of leggings, a tank top, and a sports bra, so I’m ready for exercise the next morning.
One More Tip
By the way, there’s one other thing that can keep us from a happy morning: Clutter! (You knew I had to go there on a Clutter Free Academy blog post.)
If you haven’t already joined our growing community on Facebook, click below to find an encouraging, shame-free place where you’ll get the support you need to get the clutter out of your house.