Do you long for a cozy home that feels like your happy place? This week, Kathi chats with Liz Marie Galvan, designer and author of the best-selling book, Cozy White Cottage: 100 Ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home. Kathi and Liz discuss how to begin creating the cozy, beautiful home you’ve always wanted.
In this episode, you’ll learn the connection between decluttering and creating a home you love. You’ll also hear how:
- Decluttering allows the “cute” and “cozy” to shine in your home
- You can appreciate decor ideas, yet leave them at the store
- To get a better sense of your personal style
If you want to learn more about cultivating a home you love, you can order a copy of Liz’s book Cozy White Cottage on Amazon.
Let us know in the comments what is one thing in your home that you love, use, and would buy again because it is totally “you”? Bonus points for including a picture!
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Clutter Free Academy Podcast #385
Kathi – Hey, friends! Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is help you take small, doable steps to help you live every day with less clutter and more life. Today we are landing squarely in the More Life category. I know you. You want to have a beautiful house. Clutter can get in the way, but you know what? Even when you’re in the midst of decluttering, you can start leaning in to the house you want to have. Today we have got the guest who is going to help you do this. This is Liz Marie Galvan and she is a brand new friend. She is the author of a number one bestseller in interior design. Congratulations Liz! This is awesome. Cozy White Cottage: 100 ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home. Liz, welcome to Clutter Free Academy. I should ask, is it Liz? Or Liz Marie?
Liz – It’s either one. I always know if someone knows me from the blog, they call me Liz Marie, but we’re friends now, so you can call me Liz.
Kathi – Liz! I love it. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy. I’m so excited for this interview with you, because I look at the cover of your book, and I think, “I could be friends with her.” It has everything I love. It’s amazing.
Liz – Thank you!
Kathi – So, you and I talked a little bit before we got on, and I know my audience. They want to have that cozy feeling. They long for that in their heart. So, they’ll buy the things, they’ll do the things, but often times people who deal with clutter don’t love the feeling of being at home. I love that that is what your goal is in this book: The feeling of being home. Why is that so important to you?
Liz – Honestly, we have been through a lot, my husband and I. We have gone through deployments. He was in the military. We’ve gone through a really long infertility journey. We’ve lost nine babies.
Kathi – Oh, Liz!
Liz – Yeah, we’ve been through a lot of things, and through that, I realized that having a cozy home, somewhere to come at the end of the day, or when we’re going through something hard, or something good, is so important to your mental health. Just to have that security around you. Going through all that I learned that, and that’s why I wanted to write the book and share that.
Kathi – One key thing you said there, you’ve been through a lot of tough things, but you also said, “And when life is going well.” This summer, I had so many good things happen in my life. So, it was time to finally take a break and I didn’t want to leave my house. I’m like, “Why am I so strung out?” There were so many good things that happened in a row, I didn’t take any time to rest. I had to double down at home.
Liz – Yes. I think for us, too. We have a son now, Copeland, and just knowing we have a home that, hopefully, he longs to come to at the end of the day, and that he’s comfortable in, wants to come home and share about his day. It’s just really important, even in the good times.
Kathi – I would love a couple of inside tips right now. I want to know a couple of easy ways. I know, with being from a past of clutter, it was so easy to get overwhelmed so quickly, so I want to know what are your easiest and favorite ways to improve your home and the feelings you have when you come in there. I need simple. Just boss me around. Go for it, Liz.
Liz – I love that. A big chapter in our book is about decluttering. I love being on this podcast and I love your passion for that as well. Honestly, the first step to making any space cozy is the decluttering, which in the book we talk about reusing items, but a major part of it is reducing items. Getting rid of things that we don’t love or find useful. I talk about, maybe we don’t have a huge budget to redo our homes right now, but reducing some of our items can add to our budget. By selling on Facebook Marketplace and getting rid of them to family and friends and things like that. When we’re starting with a blank slate, it’s so much easier to make your space cozy, rather than try to make it cozy around all the clutter. So we hit on that a lot in the book.
Kathi – The word ‘cute’ is contained in the word ‘clutter’. You can find all those letters and it’s so true. I think what happens is, we’re at the store, we find something we love, we bring it home, but instead of showcasing it, it just adds to the pile. So the ‘cute’ gets absorbed into the ‘clutter’. One of the things I’ve discovered is, when I scale back, I often don’t want to put a lot back into the room. I love the blank walls. I love the space that it has. I love that you hit on two of our principles. If you love it, and you use it, it gets to stay. The third one is, would you buy it again? I love that you hit on two out of three there. Here’s my question: How do you use the things you already have? How do you develop and eye to know what to keep and what to get rid of?
Liz – In our home, it took me a long time to develop that. I feel like I was keeping things around because I thought they were cute. I really had to assess. If I was shoving it in a cupboard or a closet, or if I wasn’t getting joy from it or actually using it in a room, or if I found myself moving the items from room to room, but it never felt right? I was just, “It’s time to get rid of this.” That’s become a really good habit for me now. I find myself going into stores where I used to think I needed to get all the cute things, because if I left it there, I wouldn’t have the cute thing.Now it’s like, “Where am I going to put that?”, “How am I going to use that?” and really just fine tuning those skills over time. It takes time but it does come natural once you start doing that.
Kathi – I think there’s something really interesting that I’ve never thought about until you were just talking about it. You used to go into store and want to buy all the things. People don’t know, we’re on video right now, and you have corn husks behind you in this cute galvanized bucket. It’s adorable. Here’s the thing. I love that, but I also know that doesn’t fit with my life. So, can I just appreciate it in Liz’s house and not have to bring all the things home?
Liz – Yes. You fine tune that skill as well. I think, in this world of social media, where we’re scrolling and people are saying, “Swipe up! Swipe up to buy these items.” I think we need to fine tune these skills even more. Things are more in our face now. I completely agree with you on that.
Kathi – The thing that makes me crazy are these surprise boxes. They just send you a bunch of random stuff. They have them for homes now, and it’s like, “Now you have to incorporate this rando stuff.” No no no! That’s letting somebody else decide what your tastes should be. You should be able to walk into a house and say, “Oh, I know this is Liz’s house.” Or “I know this is Tonya’s house.” I love that. Okay, how do we start to develop and understand our own style? I think that’s a big question for a lot of people. Because we love all the things, but we have to understand what our style is.
Liz – Yes. I think it’s because I’m in this world of home décor every day, so I appreciate all different styles. I think, really digging deep into yourself and asking yourself what you love in your home. I love color in people’s homes. I love that. But in our own home, I just found myself, shoving those items away that were brightly colored. I like my eyes and my mind to be at ease with neutrals when we’re home. Both my husband and I enjoy that, so I really had to dig deep and realize what was bringing me joy. It wasn’t the bright green pillow, though I loved it in Tonya’s house, I didn’t need to enjoy it in our home. I think that just really being honest with yourself. I think that’s something that’s really hard to do sometimes. We love it, but why do we love that? Asking yourself these, not hard questions, but being honest with yourself can be hard.
Kathi – I think they can be hard questions for a lot of us, especially for those of us who tend towards clutter, because we look for our identity in items sometimes. I think that’s a good and a bad thing. A home is an expression of who we are and when we know ourselves better, we can say, “No, I appreciate that in Liz’s home, and I can look at it there.” I’m guessing you wouldn’t have my fabulous purple chair in your home.
Liz – I wouldn’t, but I love it in your home. I was just thinking that.
Kathi – I’m looking at your grey pumpkin and I’m like, “That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” That is so much of it, is to not want it, but still be able to appreciate it. It’s a curated sense of style. We talk about curation all the time here. Liz, I love this. I’m in love with your book. What’s your dog’s name? The cover model?
Liz – Well, she actually just said her name. That is hilarious. That’s so funny. That’s Miss Winnifred, aka Winnie.
Kathi – She was born to be a star, wasn’t she?
Liz – She really was, yes. Born for it.
Kathi – You guys, the book is Cozy White Cottage: 100 Ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home. Liz, we are giving away two copies of this book on the podcast, and two copies on Facebook. Here is the question I want our listeners to answer. Here’s the thing, I’m going to give you two ways to enter. If you put a picture of this: What is the thing in your home that most defines you; that you love; that you use; that you would buy again, because it’s totally you? I’m going to put up a picture of my purple chair with the turquoise pillow, because that is about as Kathi as a piece of furniture could get. I’m going to ask you this, Liz. What is the thing in your home that makes you feel like the most you? If you wouldn’t mind, I’d love for you to send us a picture of it.
Liz – Yes, totally. When you said your chairs, I’m thinking of the most ‘me’ thing in our home, is that all our furniture is slip covered in drop-cloths, which is so funny. I think a big, cozy, slip-covered chair with a big, over-sized pillow on it is probably the most me.
Kathi – That’s what screams, “Liz!” I love it. I love it even more, because as you have your son and he grows up and does the things that sons do, you can just take that puppy off, bleach it and put it back on. It’s a beautiful thing.
Liz – Yes, I was just in our front living room, sitting on our slip-covered sofa with a friend, and it’s just kind of gross today. It’s muddy here. There are puppy prints all over it, but it doesn’t stress me out because I can clean it. That’s why I love it.
Kathi – It doesn’t just fit your style, it fits your life. Which is a beautiful thing.
Liz – Yes. We live on a very muddy farm, so it definitely fits our life.
Kathi – I love it. Liz, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Cozy White Cottage: 100 Ways to Love the Feeling of Being Home. Thank you so much for being on Clutter Free Academy.
Liz – Of course. Thank you for having me.
Kathi – And friends, thank you for listening. You’re the most important part of this podcast, and I’m so grateful you joined us today. 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.
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items
Meet Our Guest
Liz Marie Galvan
Liz Marie Galvan is a blogger, interior designer, former military wife, and co-owner of the vintage home décor boutique The Found Cottage. She is passionate about sharing her life, interests, and interior design ideas on her blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest pages daily. Liz and her veteran husband, Jose, live on an 1800s farmhouse in Michigan with their son, Copeland Beau, as well as dogs, cats, sheep, and rams.
Find design inspiration and DIY ideas at LizMarieBlog.com.