#619 Decluttering Sentimental Items: Transforming Loved Items into Meaningful Displays

#619 Decluttering Sentimental Items: Transforming Loved Items into Meaningful Displays

619 – Decluttering Sentimental Items: Transforming Loved Items into Meaningful Displays

Welcome back, our sentimental decluttering friends!

In part 2 of the Clutter Free Academy series on decluttering sentimental items, Kathi Lipp and Tonya Kubo explore the art of curating and displaying emotional items in a meaningful way. Throughout the episode, they emphasize the importance of being intentional and selective in your curation process, ensuring that each displayed item truly reflects your heart and brings joy to your space. Listen in as they share insights and inspiration about sentimental items, such as:

  • How to transform your emotional clutter into beautiful, intentional keepsakes
  • How gallery walls, shadowboxes, and themed displays can be used to honor your loved one
  • How sharing the narratives behind sentimental items can enhance their value and significance.

With their insights and inspiration, you’ll be well-equipped to transform your sentimental clutter into beautiful, purposeful keepsakes. So, grab a tissue (just in case) and join us for this heartfelt conversation!

Did you miss Part 1 of this series? Here it is for you. #618 Decluttering Sentimental Items: A Step-by-Step Guide

Click here to be notified when the next episode of Clutter Free Academy is released.

Also, stay up to date and sign up here to receive our newsletter.

 

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:

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter and access a copy of the Decision Tree for Letting Go of Emotional Items that Kathi mentions in this episode.

Clutter Free Resources:

Can you share some of your favorite creative display ideas for sentimental items?

Share them 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

Kathi Lipp [00:00:08]:
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 are back for part two of. Yeah, I think that we are going to be referencing this podcast over and over and over again in our free group, in our paid group. And just as people are struggling to, they don’t know what to do with their sentimental items, whether they were passed on from a loved one or something from your childhood that you are just having a hard time. Like, do I keep it? The song should I stay or should I go? Keeps going through my brain. And we’ve got somebody here who’s going to help us decide. It’s Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya.

Tonya Kubo [00:00:54]:
Hey, Kathi.

Kathi Lipp [00:00:55]:
Well, I just want to dive back into this conversation that we are having about getting rid of sentimental items. So you also think that we need to talk about the space and lifestyle considerations.

Tonya Kubo [00:01:11]:
There are some things that are absolutely ginormous, and there are some things that aren’t ginormous, but they’re bigger than the space you have. And so I think you have to think about, you know, does this item align with my current lifestyle and my current space? And, you know, if the answer to that is yes, then by all means, find a suitable place for it or repurpose it. So I think of, I didn’t do this. I got rid of it. But remember, when I bought this house, it came with everything in it, which sounded like a deal, until I realized that really, it was just a bunch of stuff that I had to take to the dump.

Kathi Lipp [00:01:51]:
But one of the things, including the stove. Right, right.

Tonya Kubo [00:01:54]:
I’m gonna talk about the stove.

Kathi Lipp [00:01:56]:
You know, I’m gonna talk about the stove. The stove is what I can’t forget.

Tonya Kubo [00:01:59]:
Yes, right. 1949 Wedgewood gas stove. I mean, the thing restored would have been gorgeous. And the family had driven three states over which we live in California. It takes a very long time to get to another state. This isn’t like going from Massachusetts to a neighboring state. So they’d driven to another state. They’d paid several thousand dollars, but they had to rent a vehicle cause it weighed a ton.

Tonya Kubo [00:02:25]:
Four grown men were required in order to lift it out of here. But when they turned this house into a rental, they put it in the garage. Critters had taken up habitants in there, but they were really caught up in, like, no, we pretty much gave you a $4,000 gift here. Like, we covered your closing costs with this stove. And I’m like, yeah, and I’m just, like, looking at it. But eventually we kind of got to the point where, I mean, we knew that we were going to sell it. Once we saw how heavy it was. We’re like, we’re not going to be able to get that into the house.

Tonya Kubo [00:02:57]:
No, we’re gonna sell it. We tried for three years to sell it. Couldn’t find a buyer. Now, if I had deep sentimental attachment and some skill, which I don’t have, by the way, let’s just be clear there. I could have probably turned it into, like, a really cool, succulent planner, right. Because it had, like, all these cool compartment y things, right? I could have done something really cool with that. I could have repurposed it into some kind of storage unit, because, again, it had these neat little compartment y things. I could have made it like a decorative fixture, right? I could have put some kind of, like, plastic acrylic thing across the top and made it almost like a coffee bar.

Tonya Kubo [00:03:41]:
I coulda, woulda, shoulda Kathi done a lot of things with it if it meant that much to me. But just telling you all the things I could have done with it makes this, like, anxiety bubble up in my chest. That makes me so grateful that I posted on Facebook free, but you gotta pick it up.

Kathi Lipp [00:03:59]:
Yes. And which, by the way, yes. We had somebody deliver just our. Our fireplace, and it about killed the two guys who were doing it. And your stove was so much bigger. So, like, I can’t even imagine. Yeah. So it did not align with your lifestyle.

Tonya Kubo [00:04:20]:
It didn’t.

Kathi Lipp [00:04:21]:
And.

Tonya Kubo [00:04:21]:
But if it did, let’s just say I really was attached to it. Right? Like, I was the person who drove three states over to bring that into my house.

Kathi Lipp [00:04:28]:
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo [00:04:29]:
Then you know what I could have done? Like, I could have taken a picture of it, and now with AI, I could have uploaded that and had some warhol style, like, portrait made of it that I could have framed and put in my house.

Kathi Lipp [00:04:43]:
Right.

Tonya Kubo [00:04:43]:
There are ways to preserve the memory, the good feelings, without having to keep the thing if the thing is no longer practical for you.

Kathi Lipp [00:04:55]:
Yes. It’s so true. And, you know, I appreciate, like, we had a relative who put together a book of my mom’s family history, and I’m doing some genealogical research right now. And I’m so grateful, one, that I don’t have to keep all those pictures, and two, they’re available on ancestry.com. And, oh, my gosh. I mean, what a gift, right? So what are some other ways to. Okay, so AI could have taken a picture, some other ways that we could preserve things like that. You know, my dad’s paycheck is schlacked to a piece of wood, and it’s cute, and I love it, but I love the idea of taking pictures of things and putting that up in your house.

Kathi Lipp [00:05:46]:
I think that that’s a great way of doing it. I think one thing not to do is to say my kids have to take it. Cause I don’t want it, but my kids have to take it.

Tonya Kubo [00:05:59]:
Well, I think you can’t. Yeah. You can’t make anybody take it is my point. Because we see that with kids. We see that with siblings, right? I see that a lot in clutter free academy. Right? Like, I am the only one of my siblings who has a garage, who lives on property, and therefore, my siblings have all decided, I have to take this. And it’s like, you don’t have to have to do anything, actually.

Kathi Lipp [00:06:23]:
Right, right. No, I mean, we just had a discussion with Roger’s brother, who. He’s the oldest. He lived closest to everybody, and all the photos ended up with him. And he was feeling such tremendous guilt, and he said, I’m sorry, I have to give these to the other brother. We live on the other side of the country, and it’s like, no, there should be no guilt involved in this. You know, it’s. We can only do what we can do.

Kathi Lipp [00:06:51]:
And if it starts to weigh down your life, I’m hoping that your parent, your relative, your grandparent, that’s not the legacy they wanted to leave for you. Okay, so you’ve answered no to all these things. Like, no, it doesn’t fit my lifestyle. No, it’s not super sentimental, but I think my mom would be really upset if she found out I threw away this cookbook or. How do you get past that feeling?

Tonya Kubo [00:07:25]:
Well, that’s. I mean, that’s really hard, right?

Kathi Lipp [00:07:29]:
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo [00:07:30]:
Because. Well, you know. Cause first of all, it’s like, okay, so is mom alive or dead? Because people. I mean, and I’ve even been that way. Right? Like, I held onto a lot of stuff after my mom died because my mom would have a fit if I got rid of it. And, you know, there was a point where I was like, okay, how long am I gonna make decisions based on fear of my mother’s ghost haunting me? Right? And, I mean, I can laugh about that now because I’m talking about my relationship with my mom.

Kathi Lipp [00:07:57]:
Right.

Tonya Kubo [00:07:57]:
I would never laugh somebody else. But no, you know, if it’s no. All the way down and your concern is what other people will, think what you’re really saying is you’ve got a boundary problem. Right. And we’ve talked frequently in past episodes about how clutter is a boundary issue. But there’s a lot of, you know, boundary issues that we have in our relationships that manifest through stuff. And, like, all I can say is, I can acknowledge that it’s hard. I can also acknowledge that it’s not helpful for me to be like, we’ll just get rid of it.

Tonya Kubo [00:08:34]:
Right? I mean, your emotional connection with somebody is your emotional connection. But I do think there is a way of working through that. And part of that, I think, Kathi, is you have to separate the act of decluttering sometimes from the emotional thought. Work around the decluttering.

Kathi Lipp [00:08:55]:
Hey, Tonya. We’re going to take a quick break. We’re going to talk to our sponsors, and then we will come right back. Okay? We are back continuing our conversation with Tonya Kubo about sentimental and emotional items.

Tonya Kubo [00:09:10]:
When you’re holding the item in your hand, there’s a lot going on.

Kathi Lipp [00:09:15]:
Mm hmm.

Tonya Kubo [00:09:16]:
Right. Internally in your head. It’s exhausting. Sometimes what you have to do is you have to put that item down and come back to it another day. Or rather than coming back to it, just put that item down for now. Set a notification. I’m a big fan of 30 days from now. I’ll make that decision, but then actually schedule some time.

Tonya Kubo [00:09:35]:
Sit down, journal it, think through it, but, like, think through all the questions, and then, like, okay, so, like, if. If my mom were to find out that I got rid of this, and, like, would she actually say something? If we’re talking about my mother? Yes. Yes, my mother would have. Okay, if she said something like, what’s the best case scenario? What’s the worst case scenario? Like, walking through that. Because all those emotions are going to bubble up just as you’re thinking about these eventual cases. But you don’t need to also be holding the item in order to be working through that. That just adds more stress to the whole scenario. So separate yourself from the item.

Tonya Kubo [00:10:15]:
Go through the questions. Really think through, like, what’s the worst case scenarios? How bad can it be? Scale of one to four. How much can I tolerate these potential outcomes? And then once you make that decision, I’m going to give you a very unpopular opinion. Popular opinion would say, once you make the decision, go take care of it right now. I say, once you make the decision, close your notebook, whatever it is, take a deep breath, go reward yourself because you just did some hard, stinking work and come back to handling the item when you already scheduled yourself to handle the item, but you’ve done the hard work of the thinking?

Kathi Lipp [00:10:54]:
Yes. Okay. Yeah, I love that. It’s to process the emotion. And I think the thing I have to remind myself is my loved one is not in this item. I have a couple of things that, when I look at them, they make me happy, and we should only keep things around that make us happy when we look at them. And that another thing that I’ve had to do, a couple of, like, hard things I’ve had to do, is tell my kids, hey, you’ve got stuff here. If it’s sentimental to you, I need you to pick it up by this date.

Kathi Lipp [00:11:44]:
And if you can’t, if you choose not to, I’m okay getting rid of it. And that may seem really, really harsh, but it’s just not. If I can’t, I can’t be a caretaker for somebody else’s memories. Like, these things. These items mean nothing to me. And so we. That, and we had Jeremy at our house at 1145 one night going through stuff, and he picked out what he wanted, and he said, you can get rid of the rest. And that’s.

Kathi Lipp [00:12:17]:
That’s all we needed. The other thing that I’ve done before is saying, here is this item, extended family. If nobody wants it, I’m going to get rid of it by June 1. And because somehow, sometimes we are held by emotional blackmail by other members of our family, it’s not important enough for me to take, but you should keep it. And that is gaslighting. That is gaslighting in its finest form, to say you’re a bad person if you don’t do what I also refuse to do, and it’s just not true. If you can curate the things that are important to you, and only you can decide what’s important to you, don’t let other people decide what should be important to you, what feelings should be attached to things. It’s emotional blackmail, and we don’t do that around here.

Kathi Lipp [00:13:19]:
If we’re getting rid of clutter, we’re also getting rid of useless feelings.

Tonya Kubo [00:13:23]:
Exactly.

Kathi Lipp [00:13:24]:
And so to put a date on something and say, you know, and this happened with my mother in law’s stuff, my brother in law sent messages to Rogers and his stepfather’s family and said, hey, we’ve got this item. Does anybody want it? He didn’t hear back from anybody. And so three months later, he got rid of it. A year and a half later, somebody said, oh, I’d actually like that. He’s like, it’s gone. It’s gone. And here’s the thing. If it was really important, there’s a phrase going around, at least on TikTok.

Kathi Lipp [00:14:02]:
If he wanted to, he would. And what that means is, if they wanted that item, they would have acted on it. If they were. We can’t be healthy for other people, and so we have to have our own boundaries. And my brother in law felt guilty at first that he got rid of this item. I’m like, you gave them every chance in the world.

Tonya Kubo [00:14:25]:
Yeah.

Kathi Lipp [00:14:25]:
No, no, no. Yeah. We’re done. We live. We are deciding on our own health. Okay, Tonya, anything that you think we have not said that should be said on this subject?

Tonya Kubo [00:14:39]:
Yeah, I think so. I’m just gonna say three more things. Thing one, okay. Is. And this is the hardest part. So what I will say is, give yourself grace. You want to be as honest and objective as possible when you go through the decision tree. Okay.

Tonya Kubo [00:14:57]:
It’s hard. It’s going to feel hard. That’s okay. But, you know, be as honest as you can be. The other thing I will say is take breaks, which I already kind of talked about. Separating yourself from the item sometimes really is beneficial. And then this is the big one that I don’t feel like people like. Hear me when I say, but gosh darn it.

Tonya Kubo [00:15:18]:
Celebrate your successes along the way. Okay. Maybe you have a box of 25 things, and you were only able to part with five of the 25. Can we celebrate that rather than talk about how only five things?

Kathi Lipp [00:15:39]:
Yes, Tonya? I think as we heal, as we do the work, these items come in layers, and sometimes there’s obvious stuff. It’s like, oh, I never have to see this again. It’s fine. And then as we do the work, we become healthier and understand that our relationship is not in these items. We curate the things that were meaningful to us. We are not holding on to things because other people in our life say they should be important to us. And that decluttering that box may come. You may be able to declutter it the first day.

Kathi Lipp [00:16:24]:
It may take you years, and it’s okay. I will tell you this. When I finally take things out of the box and I get rid of six things, and then there’s this one thing. I’m like, you know what? I want that displayed in my house. I don’t want it to be in a box. I I want it to be someplace where I can see it every day and recall the good memories with this person I love. Or, you know, this animal like it. Part of my grieving and healing with Jake was putting that, you know, going and buying the candle.

Kathi Lipp [00:16:58]:
We do not have enough ritual in the United States of America around the death of loved ones. And I think sometimes creating that ritual, you know, finding the candle, and when somebody loses a pet, I send them candles that I think are going to be about the same size as their animal’s neck so that they can put the collar around it. Because there’s a ritual there that says, we honor this life that was so important to us, and that’s part of our grieving and that’s part of our sentimentality. And when I first looked at that after Jake died, I would cry every single time. And now it just brings a smile. And that’s what we want your house to do, is to bring you joy and to bring you peace as you look around. This was a deep conversation, Tonya, but I think it was a really good one. And I’m really grateful for you being here with me.

Tonya Kubo [00:17:55]:
Well, thank you for having me. This was a really. I hope this one is very helpful to our listeners.

Kathi Lipp [00:18:01]:
I hope so, too. And, friends, you have been here, and we’re so grateful that we can speak to you. 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.

#618 Decluttering Sentimental Items: A Step-by-Step Guide

#618 Decluttering Sentimental Items: A Step-by-Step Guide

618 – Decluttering Sentimental Items: A Step-by-Step Guide

Do you have a box (or two, or three) filled with sentimental items that you just can’t seem to let go of?

In this episode of Clutter Free Academy, Kathi Lipp, and Tonya Kubo tackle the challenge of decluttering sentimental items. They discuss the various categories of emotional clutter, from childhood memorabilia to inherited items, and share their personal experiences with letting go. Together, they offer a step-by-step decision-making process to help listeners navigate the emotional decluttering journey with confidence and clarity. Listen in as they how to ask questions and set limits on sentimental items in the decluttering process using:

  • Kathi’s “Five Item Rule” for curating sentimental objects, and
  • Tonya’s “Decision Tree” process for making decluttering choices

Click here to be notified when part 2 of this series, where Kathi and Tonya will dive even deeper into the art of curating and displaying sentimental items in a meaningful way, goes LIVE.

Also, stay up to date and sign up here to receive our newsletter.

 

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:

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter and access a copy of the Decision Tree for Letting Go of Emotional Items Kathi mentions in this episode.

Clutter Free Resources:

How do you personally navigate the emotional challenges of letting go?

Share 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

Kathi Lipp [00:00:08]:
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 today, I am back with my favorite clutter free co conspirator. It is Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya.

Tonya Kubo [00:00:26]:
Hey, Kathi.

Kathi Lipp [00:00:28]:
Uh, I I’m excited about today’s podcast, and also, I don’t know, I feel prejudged. Let me just put it that way. I already feel like this is where I’m failing. This is. You know, I think we all have different areas of clutter that we struggle with. And weirdly, I’m not a very sentimental person. I don’t have a lot of, like, things from my kids childhood, things like that. But when there is something and I struggle to get rid of it.

Kathi Lipp [00:01:05]:
And I know that when we were doing our interviews with members of our paid group clutter free for life, you found that the majority of people are just like me. We’re all just like each other, that we struggle. So I would love to hear from you what people’s struggles were with these emotional and sentimental items and kind of the things that. That brought up for people.

Tonya Kubo [00:01:31]:
Yeah, well, so the struggles are. I mean, they’re varied, right? Just because we all have the same. The same core challenge, how it. The symptoms of that challenge are not always similar. So the sentimental items, something we’ve talked about a lot, right, are just like the ghosts of our past lives. So that’s the childhood memorabilia, whether it’s our own childhood stuff or our children’s stuff from when they were babies and such. There is the stuff that we have inherited. Right?

Kathi Lipp [00:02:06]:
So the.

Tonya Kubo [00:02:07]:
The ghost of past lives is both like childhood, but it’s college, it’s former professions. It’s the empty nester who used to homeschool, but they don’t want to let go of the homeschool curriculum because maybe their grandchildren could use it.

Kathi Lipp [00:02:19]:
What is it about homeschool curriculum?

Tonya Kubo [00:02:23]:
It’s expensive. That’s what it is. Kathi, as a former homeschooling mom.

Kathi Lipp [00:02:29]:
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo [00:02:29]:
You know.

Kathi Lipp [00:02:30]:
Yep, you’re right.

Tonya Kubo [00:02:31]:
When I was homeschooling, we had, you know, in our state, we had a thing called public charter schools that would help offset some of the expenses. But if you were homeschooling in the eighties and nineties, you were on your own, and.

Kathi Lipp [00:02:46]:
Yeah, no, that’s true. Right.

Tonya Kubo [00:02:50]:
So there’s that.

Kathi Lipp [00:02:50]:
So that’s true. I remember that. Yeah. Because we, you and I have both dipped our toe into homeschooling. And even though I bought a lot of curriculum used. It was not cheap.

Tonya Kubo [00:03:02]:
No, no. I mean, I remember there was one curriculum that was touted as the best for working families, and it was like $2,000 a year.

Kathi Lipp [00:03:12]:
So you just think, holy cow, right?

Tonya Kubo [00:03:16]:
If that’s you, Kathi, wouldn’t you want to save that just in case the off chance is that, a, you had grandchildren and, b, those grandchildren would be homeschooled maybe one day, kind of.

Kathi Lipp [00:03:28]:
I would want to save it in case I got pregnant at 56, like.

Tonya Kubo [00:03:32]:
Yeah, exactly.

Kathi Lipp [00:03:34]:
And, Tonya, I have to tell you, I was talking with our friend Sherry Gregory recently, and I remember one of the things she had the hardest time decluttering was one of these programs that you got in the box. And, like, here was lesson number 42, and here’s lesson number 78. And I saw somebody post about that and say it was Pokemon for stay at home moms. Gotta catch them all. And just about died when I heard that. And I finally realized I was never going to get lesson number 37. Like, they were never going to put that out. They were just going to add more and add more because I kept buying.

Kathi Lipp [00:04:18]:
Yeah. It is such a pit of despair. Okay, so.

Tonya Kubo [00:04:23]:
So back to the point, right? So past lives, and then there’s the inherited stuff, which I think you see a lot more, you know, but we’ve seen that from the beginning with clutter Frey Academy, that inherited stuff is really tough.

Kathi Lipp [00:04:40]:
It’s really, really tough. And I think, yeah, past lives and future lives. Like, I bet someday, you know, like, I’m gonna keep my wedding dress because I bet my daughter’s gonna want to wear this. No, probably not. Unless your daughter has said, oh, I want to wear that, it’s probably not gonna happen. Right? Yeah. So I understand that there is a lot of angst around this, and so how do we get rid of this stuff? And I think one of the things, we know the challenges, but I have had to approach it with a very systematic approach to take some of the angst out of it. I am not.

Kathi Lipp [00:05:29]:
I lose all logical thought when it comes to some of these things. And I give myself one box for each kid where I don’t have to explain why I’m keeping it. It’s just. But I can’t keep ten boxes for each kid. I keep these boxes because right now the kids don’t want the stuff. And these are small boxes. We’re not talking huge things. But, like, my son, he’s not in his forever house.

Kathi Lipp [00:06:02]:
He lives with a bunch of roommates. And I have a ring from my grandfather. That he wants. He goes, but I don’t feel like I’m in a good position to hang on to. I’m like, I can hang on to it. And I’m also hanging on to his boo bonkie because I think everybody has a version of Boo Bonkie, which is his blue blanket that he couldn’t live without. And I don’t know that he ever cares about it. But, like, about once every couple of years, I go into that box and I’m like, oh, blue blankie.

Kathi Lipp [00:06:32]:
So you came up with some ideas about a decision tree, and I love this. It’s kind of an emotional sorting system for making these decisions. Right. So I’m going to take. And let’s talk about. We’re not going to talk about Boo Boinke, but we’re going to talk about. I’ve got an item right here, and I’ll take a picture of it to show everybody. My dad, his first paycheck at the library when, you know, he.

Kathi Lipp [00:07:07]:
I think he was probably 17 at the time. And my son’s been a librarian. Well, he’s worked at a library. He hasn’t been a librarian. That’s a very specific role.

Tonya Kubo [00:07:17]:
That’s a master’s degree right there.

Kathi Lipp [00:07:18]:
Yeah, exactly. Um, and we used to call him the guy Brarian. But we’re going to take this paycheck that I have sitting behind me that’s laminated and everything like that on a piece of wood. And I’m going to take it through. I want to take it through the decision tree process. So, um, let’s start with my dad’s paycheck. And you know what? We’re going to do that right after we take a quick break. We’re going to take a quick break.

Kathi Lipp [00:07:43]:
We’re going to listen to some sponsors who keep this podcast free, and then we’ll come right back. Okay, guys, I am back with Tonya Kubo, and we’re doing the emotional, sentimental item decision tree. So what is the first question that I am going to ask myself, Tonya?

Tonya Kubo [00:08:03]:
So for me, it is, how do I feel? Like when I’m holding this and I’m just holding something random because nobody listening can actually see what I’m holding. But when I hold this, what are the emotions that instantly bubble up? Am I feeling angst? Am I feeling hurt? Am I feeling happiness? Am I feeling joy? Like, that’s the first thing that I think needs to happen. You got to label that emotion. So how are you feeling about that paycheck, Kathi?

Kathi Lipp [00:08:34]:
It makes me happy. It just. It. You know, I’ll be honest. My dad and I didn’t have a super close relationship. He was definitely on the spectrum. Hard for him to connect engineer. But this makes me feel connected to him.

Tonya Kubo [00:08:52]:
Okay, so it makes you feel connected because that’s the. You know, the second question I would ask is, you know, why do you feel happy? So it makes you feel connected to him. He’s not here anymore. So the next question, like, absolutely doesn’t apply to this item, but it’s. But it will apply to some of our listeners items that they are evaluating, which is, you know, what is the frequency in which you use it? Like, how often are you using it?

Kathi Lipp [00:09:18]:
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo [00:09:19]:
And I’m gonna say, what’s the practicality of using it?

Kathi Lipp [00:09:23]:
Zero practicality, but it is displayed. So I feel like that’s a use. That’s. That’s a form of use for me, that it’s not just on a shelf that I’ve ignored. It’s like, no, it’s in a place that when I see it, it makes me happy.

Tonya Kubo [00:09:41]:
Well, what I would add for consideration, because that’s the other thing we know, is our listeners are great rule followers, but this decision tree is a wonderful framework for evaluating whether to keep or not keep your sentimental item. But there’s nuance to it. So, in this case, you’re not using it, but it’s displayed. It’s not taking up a ton of space. It’s a first paycheck.

Kathi Lipp [00:10:07]:
Right.

Tonya Kubo [00:10:08]:
Okay.

Kathi Lipp [00:10:08]:
Right.

Tonya Kubo [00:10:09]:
We’re not talking about a china hut chair.

Kathi Lipp [00:10:11]:
Yes, exactly.

Tonya Kubo [00:10:13]:
So I think that’s important to point out, too, we might feel a little differently if we’re talking about this gigantic china hutch that goes floor to ceiling.

Kathi Lipp [00:10:21]:
Right.

Tonya Kubo [00:10:21]:
But next, whether it’s a china hutch or it’s your dad’s first paycheck, the next question is, what’s the sentimental value associated with. Of that item? Is it because it’s attached to irreplaceable memories? Is it attached to an irreplaceable association?

Kathi Lipp [00:10:40]:
Yeah. Well, I have not kept a lot of my dad’s stuff because, you know, honestly, it wasn’t his. His rock collection. There were other people who were more connected to that. His cameras, other people more connected to that. But this one, I have very few things of his because I. I remember my dad, and I remember him with love and fondness. So I don’t need a lot of stuff around.

Kathi Lipp [00:11:09]:
But this paycheck, it’s not that it’s associated with a particular memory, but it’s associated with goodness. In my dad.

Tonya Kubo [00:11:18]:
Right. And for most of our folks who are evaluating sentimental stuff, they’re probably not looking at something that’s already displayed. They’re probably going through boxes in their garage, in a spare room, in a drawer. So what I would say if they had the same answer, though, right? Like, it’s associated with good memories. I feel good about this. I have very few things that have similar associations. Then I would say, okay, so let’s think of ways that you can preserve the memory if that item is not practical in your home. If the item is practical, then let’s talk about clever ways of displaying it.

Tonya Kubo [00:11:56]:
Like, how do we make it part of the actual intentional design of your home? And if the answer is no, like, it does not have any, you know, irreplaceable memories or associations, you know, it’s one of 22 of a similar item, then, you know, it’s. It’s time to make the hard, that hard decision about, do I really need to keep this? Do I need to keep this now?

Kathi Lipp [00:12:22]:
Yeah. So this is not part of the decision tree, but what I. A kind of rule that I’ve made for myself. Not a rule, a guideline is for somebody who is close to me. I. I can keep up to five of their items. So, you know, and obviously, if something happened to Roger, that would be blown out the water. But, you know, I’ve lost my dad in the past ten years.

Kathi Lipp [00:12:51]:
A year ago, I lost you and I lost our good friend Jen. And I have a couple of items around here that remind me of her. She sent me one time a towel that says fold in the cheese, which is from Schitt’s Creek. And it’s a little joke. And so I have a couple, but, you know, and that was a significant loss in my life. But five items is enough for anybody in my life. And I have people in my life that are very precious to me, but I haven’t lost them. And so things of my kids, that kind of things.

Kathi Lipp [00:13:32]:
Five is a good guideline for me. It doesn’t feel overstuffed, it doesn’t feel crazy, and it forces me to make decisions. So everybody has to have their own number, right?

Tonya Kubo [00:13:44]:
And what I was going to say is, I want to speak to the person right now who is like, five is not enough. Damn. I get five does not sound like very many. And, you know, you already said it’s an arbitrary number. It’s a number that works for you. It may not be the number that works for me. Maybe I need four, maybe I need eight. But the reason five is a good benchmark number is because we don’t just have one special person in our life.

Tonya Kubo [00:14:12]:
Right.

Kathi Lipp [00:14:12]:
Right.

Tonya Kubo [00:14:13]:
So you think about it. If you’re keeping five items from mom, five items from dad, five items from mom in law and dad in law, now we’ve got 20 different items that we’re having to find space for. So that’s why.

Kathi Lipp [00:14:28]:
And Tonya, let’s talk about our dog, too. Like, we’ve got all these grand. And then. Yeah. And then the things from your dog, like, it can get out of control.

Tonya Kubo [00:14:37]:
Right. So for some people, I just want to clarify that because I think for some people, they’re thinking like, five is so many because they have, you know, I don’t know, six sets of parents because of in laws and steps and all of that. And other people who might be an only child of only children is like, no, I need 20 because that just.

Kathi Lipp [00:14:56]:
Gives me 40 items. Right. So I think it’s good to have a number because then you say, am I keeping this just because I love the person, or am I keeping this because there’s significance to this item in that person?

Tonya Kubo [00:15:13]:
Right. Well, and you know me, like my latest thing that I’m all about, and I talk about this in Clutterfree Academy, and I’m talking about in clutter free for life, which is our private membership program, is I’m all about the freedom of constraints. It doesn’t matter what the number is when you set a limit, it’s clarifying because it either takes the place of one of the five items or it doesn’t.

Kathi Lipp [00:15:37]:
Right. Exactly. Exactly. And, you know, I think about the, I’ve done the, the five for our dog Jake, and one way I keep his sentimental, you know, I do this for some of our pets, is I have a picture in the house. So for pets, it’s the. The number is three. And so I keep their collar around a candle. So it’s around a can, a glass candle.

Kathi Lipp [00:16:07]:
And so I have that collar. I have a picture, and then I have an item that was important to them and that feels like enough. And by having more items, it doesn’t prove that I love Jake more. There’s no way I could have loved Jake more. But these are the things that are comforting to me. Tonya, this has been such a rich conversation, but we’re not even close to being done. Can I have you come back next week and we’re going to talk about how do you curate the emotional and sentimental items in your life? Are you willing to come back?

Tonya Kubo [00:16:40]:
Definitely. I would love to thank you, Kathi.

Kathi Lipp [00:16:42]:
Okay, friends, 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.

#617 Making Your House Work For You

#617 Making Your House Work For You

617 – Making Your House Work For You

Kathi sits down with Tenneil Register to explore practical ways to make your home work for you, not the other way around. In this episode, they discuss: 

  • Designing spaces around your natural habits and routines
  • Examples of functional home solutions (such as paperwork organization)
  • Why entryway, kitchen, and bedroom spaces are key areas in your home
  • The power of taking photos to evaluate your spaces with fresh eyes

Kathi and Tenneil will be sharing their 3 challenges spaces (Entry, Eat, Rest) pictures! Take the challenge and you can post your pics over at Kathi Lipp’s Clutter Free Academy group. We have the most amazing corner of friends who cheer each other on!

Sign up here to be notified when the next episode is released, or here to receive Kathi’s Clutter Free Kit!


Kathi’s shoes that guests love and it keeps her home clean at the same time.


Here’s a peek at Kathi’s kitchen now — head over to Kathi Lipp’s Clutter Free Academy group to find out what changes she would like to make (to love and use the space even more!)

 

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:

A House That Cleans Itself

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

Clutter Free Resources:

What key areas in your house would you like to focus on? 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 

 

Tenneil Register

Tenneil Register can be found creating, repurposing, decorating, gardening and welcoming guests to their reclaimed barn storefront. She and her husband, Cowboy, established rural roots for their blended family of 7 in their DIY ranch home in Iowa. Connect with her on Instagram for practical ideas to reclaim your home or visit R7Reclaimed.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 guys, one of our newer members of our team, but she’s got all the style, my friends. And she is, I love how she’s stylish and practical at the same time. You guys, it’s Tenille Register. Tenille, welcome back to the podcast.

Tenneil (00:27)
Thank you, I’m so happy to be here. And I love that you say stylish and practical because that is my goal. Yes, yeah, you nailed it.

Kathi (00:34)
That’s your intersection, huh? That makes me super happy, because that’s really, when we have these discussions, that’s really what comes through. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today, because I think it’s so interesting. Something you said, and I don’t know if I’m quoting you correctly, you can always say, no, Kathy, that’s not what I said. Let me tell you the right way to say it. But we just had the Abundant Home Conference.

which is a conference about, it’s for our clutter-free community, but it is, we did a lot of like clutter-free adjacent things. So we had Tanya talking about hoarding and we had Roger talking about beginning gardening and we had you talking about design in your home and function. And you said, I don’t work for my, this is what I remember, but again, please correct me.

I don’t work for my house, my house works for me. Did I just get the spirit of what you said or is that actually what you said?

Tenneil (01:42)
I don’t know for sure. I think, I bet it’s what I said. Here’s what I can tell you about the heart of that, Kathy, is I can vividly remember, I mean, I was probably 20 years old, I bet. I’ve always been one to buy houses, flip them, fix them up. Homes are important to me. And I remember standing in line at the Christian bookstore and they have $5 books that you can add onto your purchase. And one of these books is called A House That Cleans Itself.

Kathi (01:43)
Okay! Okay.

Okay, please.

Yeah.

Oh, I remember that! Yes, it was by Harvest House, yes!

Tenneil (02:15)
And I remember laughing and handing it to the cashier and saying, I’ll take a house that cleans itself for $5, sure. And that is what really framed from my very earliest days when I was really too young to even own a home for goodness sake, like my mindset about my house that I wanted it to work for me. So.

Kathi (02:22)
Yes, yes

Right?

Okay.

Tenneil (02:41)
Yeah, that’s where the spirit of it comes from.

Kathi (02:42)
Okay, so here’s a question. Do you remember something that you started doing differently because of that book?

Tenneil (02:50)
So the main takeaway from that book was I started taking snapshots of a space and thinking about what I really was using that space for.

Kathi (03:01)
Oh, interesting. Wow, and that book was before digital, I mean, at least camera phones, I would think.

Tenneil (03:09)
It was 100% like I had to develop the film from it. Okay. Right.

Kathi (03:13)
Oh my gosh, that’s a commitment, right? You had to go to the Walgreens and get those photos developed. That’s impressive. Okay, so what did you learn from taking pictures inside your house? This is fascinating to me.

Tenneil (03:21)
Yes!

Yeah, so you see your habits, right? Because this isn’t, I clean the room and then I take a picture of it. This is, you know, after three long work days, I take a picture of the entryway or I take a picture of the kitchen countertop. That’s when you start to discover, I opened the mail next to the kitchen sink, right? I leave my coffee cup near the front door regularly, right?

Kathi (03:34)
Mm-hmm.

Okay.

Ah, okay.

Right, right.

Tenneil (03:57)
where it might make more sense to have the mail by the front door and the coffee by the kitchen sink. But whatever your habit is, is your habit. And rather than trying to retrain yourself, you rework your space.

Kathi (04:02)
Yes.

Right.

Okay, so this is really interesting to me because you talk a lot about this. You’re not trying to change the people in your house. You’re trying to change the environment.

Tenneil (04:22)
Yes, like I think it’s an act of love where we accept the behaviors of ourself and those around us, and we find solutions that work for our natural behaviors.

Kathi (04:29)
Mm-hmm.

Okay, so tell me some things where you’ve seen that conflict between personal habits and home organization and what did you do because also we’re not saying kids leave your stuff everywhere. I don’t care if you eat, you know, in your bedroom and leave the dishes. I mean, that’s not what we’re saying, right? If that’s what we’re saying, I have to, we have to end the conversation now.

Tenneil (05:01)
Absolutely, it’s not what we’re saying. And in case my youngest who’s still at home is listening, it will never be okay for you to leave your empty dishes next to the couch. That’s a hot button. However, on the issue of snacks, one of the difficulties is our family room is on the lower level, our kitchen is on the upper level, the main level. And then you have this parade of snacks, right? Up and down, up and down. So…

Kathi (05:09)
Good good to know okay, okay?

Mm-hmm.

Okay. Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Right. Mm-hmm.

Tenneil (05:30)
when we had the time, the energy, the budget, we put in a snack bar just off of the family room.

Kathi (05:37)
Ah, so tell me about this snack bar. I’m gonna need a picture of this too.

Tenneil (05:43)
Okay, so it’s just got a kitchen sink and a microwave and in clear containers we have the cereal bars, the pop tarts, the popcorn, the things that you eat snacky that kind of make a mess, that don’t require like kitchen prep, and then it’s there for the easy taking and because they’re in clear containers I can kind of restock them and it’s on open shelving.

Kathi (05:47)
Mm-hmm.

Yeah.

Yeah.

Mm.

Tenneil (06:09)
So it helps me with the grocery shopping part of it and it helps them with, I’m not like getting out all of these boxes of things. I just select my snack. There’s a garbage can nearby. And it was almost like a trade-off. If I make it easy for you to get snacks, will you make it easy to clean up your snacks?

Kathi (06:17)
Right.

Right. You know, we did something very similar because we have retreats here in our house and Roger didn’t always want to be, you know, going down at 530 in the morning, you know, when women were downstairs and stuff like that. So up in our bedroom, actually in my office, we’ve put a coffee maker, some snacks and a microwave. And we don’t have a sink really, but we’re not doing heavy prep up here and

Tenneil (06:49)
Yes.

Kathi (06:54)
It is, and oh, and the other thing, the most important thing that we put up here was a little fridge. And so one, it has helped us drink more water because we’ve got cold water all the time. And it’s made such a difference in our lives to be drinking all of this water all the time. But I also have like my crystal light packets up here. And so it’s just made it so, yeah, there are less dishes coming upstairs. There’s a less.

Tenneil (07:01)
Oh.

Kathi (07:22)
There’s less everything. Because we think it’s just the kids, but then all the kids move out and you’re like, oh, it wasn’t just the kids. Darn.

Tenneil (07:29)
That’s my third coffee cup next to the nightstand.

Kathi (07:32)
Yes, it’s so true, right? Okay, so you and I have both made these adjustments in our house that say, okay, we recognize the behavior. We are not the people on TV who just eat at the kitchen table. In our house, we do very little eating at the kitchen table. I’m not gonna lie. Because that’s not what we wanna do, and we’re adults. We get to do what we want.

So what are some other adjustments that you have made that have made a big difference?

Tenneil (08:04)
think a lot of people are going to relate to this. We have an island and our entire life happens at the island. That’s where people eat, that’s where we fix food, that’s where we come and go and drop our keys and our sunglasses, and it’s also where all of the paperwork lands. So we have an office but we were never going to carry this paperwork from the island back to the office, file it, and then come back and finish our conversation. That wasn’t going to happen.

Kathi (08:10)
Mm-hmm. Yes. Right. Yeah.

It’s so true, right?

Mm-hmm.

Sure.

Yeah.

Tenneil (08:33)
And so a wall just adjacent to the island, we put clipboards on a nail for each person. And then that makes it very simple. Whatever the paper, whichever person the paperwork coordinates with, and we have one for pets too, I can just slap that paper on the clipboard.

Kathi (08:40)
Mm. Yeah.

Mm-hmm. Oh, nice. Oh, that’s really interesting. Okay, we wanna hear more of these ideas and of course we’re gonna need pictures. We’re gonna have to take a quick break and then we’re gonna come right back and we’re gonna get all the scoop from Tenille Register. We’ll be right back. Okay, friends, we are back with Tenille Register and we’re talking about how do you make your house work for you instead of you working for your house? I’m gonna ping pong back. I’m gonna tell you something that

I have done and that is I have invested in a really good floor mats. Like the door mats, like outside, we have door mats outside our house and inside our house in all the main doors. So you have ample room to get your shoes cleared off and where we live between the dirt, the garden,

The chickens you really want to have those Dormats there and the other thing we’ve done is we have indoor outdoor shoes by every exit and that has made a huge difference in our house and the other thing we’ve done which I will be happy to post a picture about is we have a rack of Probably I don’t know maybe 15 different pairs of slippers

in different sizes that get washed every time somebody wears them. But it keeps our floors so much cleaner. And people love these slippers, by the way. They they just adore them. And it’s really, really helped. So I will be sure to share a picture of that as well. Tenneil, what’s another example of you don’t work for your house. Your house works for you.

Tenneil (10:42)
So another example would be how we use our personal spaces. So in each bedroom, thinking about how do we get alone? This is a lot of people in a house. And so what are some things that you need, like your reading zone or your art zone if you’re into art or your gaming station? And I feel like when we invest in

Kathi (10:49)
Okay.

Mm-hmm. Yes, yes.

Mm-hmm.

Tenneil (11:12)
the person’s going to enjoy that personal space, then we free up more of our common space.

Kathi (11:15)
Mm-hmm.

Mmm, okay, okay. Yes, yes. So give me an example of something you’ve done.

Tenneil (11:28)
Okay, so an example would be a daughter who is really into music. And we have a piano and so all of that music stuff could end up in this music space. But I didn’t want all that stuff there, right? So what do you do? You get a music stand for the bedroom. You put a shelf on the wall for the instruments.

Kathi (11:37)
Yeah.

Right?

Okay.

Tenneil (11:55)
We have great hooks for guitar hangers for the guitars in the house. So that all of these things that could land on the floor that are super important to someone, right? You’re saying like, I love that you love music and I love that you want these instruments so much that here’s the space where you can hang it and use it and love it.

Kathi (11:58)
Yeah.

Right, right.

Yes, I think that’s really important too, because what you’re doing is you’re saying, I’m committing this space to you because I honor your passion and what you do. I have learned not to honor the passion until I see that it’s a long-lasting passion because I can’t tell you the number of things we invested in because it was good for the kids and ended up on, you know, Facebook free groups.

Tenneil (12:32)
Hahaha!

Kathi (12:44)
And so, yes, but I think you’re absolutely right. We did kind of the opposite thing when we first blended our family in that we took half our living room and put an L-shaped desk there, and we got each of the kids a computer. Because we wanted them to be using their computer in a common space. And this was before all the smartphones and things like that.

But everybody got their own chair. So we invested well and heavily. So it wasn’t happening like on the couch or in the dining room or something like that. They all had this space. And we could see what they were doing and it was good for them, yes.

Tenneil (13:23)
Yes.

I love the intentionality of both. What do we want for common space activities? What do we want for personal space activities?

Kathi (13:29)
Right?

Yes, it looked like we were running a call center. I’m not going to lie where everybody’s on their headphones and at their monitors. But, you know, at the time, that’s what we wanted to have for our family. So if somebody is struggling with no, I’m a slave to my home. That’s how I feel. I feel like I work from my home all the time. Where would you ask them to start investigating what they could change?

Tenneil (14:00)
So I would start with the pictures of where you walk into the house, a picture of wherever it is you eat, and a picture of wherever it is you try to rest.

Kathi (14:03)
Yeah.

So entryway, rest, and eat. Okay, why would you start in those places?

Tenneil (14:15)
Yeah.

Because I think those are the things we spend the most time doing at home. And they’re all transitional.

Kathi (14:24)
Okay.

What do you mean by transitional?

Tenneil (14:29)
At the entryway, we’re in and out, out and in and out, and we’re taking things with us. Where we eat, that’s something we do multiple times a day that requires things to go with it.

Kathi (14:35)
Okay.

Yeah. Got it, okay.

Tenneil (14:44)
And then similar with the personal space, you’re getting ready routine. And so it’s really about recognizing what are the routines that I want to support from this space because we’re really not talking about stuff, we’re talking about living. And this.

Kathi (14:54)
Okay.

Yeah, it’s so true. And recognizing, I think it’s so important, recognizing change in your house or change in yourself. Like, this is the first time in my life I’ve had long hair and that comes with a lot of ties and bands and scrunch, all the things and more hair product than I’ve ever used in my entire life. And for the longest time, I’m like, why is this bathroom no longer working for me?

Well, because things have changed. I now have long, I never had hair accoutrement before. I just never did. But now I do. And it’s like, okay, recognize that and set it up so that it’s actually easy to use. It’s so true, it’s so true. And to say, you know, but also to recognize when I’m over something.

Tenneil (15:42)
Right? You need a little dish for all those hair bands and clippies, don’t you?

Kathi (15:52)
Like, I’ll just be honest with you, right now guys, I am not cooking sourdough bread, I’m not baking it. There’s just not room in my life at the moment. Let me just put it this way, I haven’t made it a priority. So I’m not spending a lot of time doing that. So it’s okay for me to put all that stuff away. I don’t need it out. I can reevaluate my space and say, you know, we don’t eat like this anymore. Or we don’t eat like this now. That may be even a better phrase.

you know, if you have a whole bunch of like, cake mix, and you’re like, well, we just found that I’m gluten free, get rid of it, you know, give it to somebody who’s actually going to use it, not save it for the time where you’re magically ungluten free, you know, or whatever, what is the transition you need to recognize in your

Tenneil (16:41)
Yeah, and I think that’s where the like assessment comes in, right? Whether you’re visually taking a picture with your eyes, whether you’re journaling about the space, or you’re taking an actual photo, it’s sort of this assessment of how am I living in this space and what would I like to do differently.

Kathi (16:44)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Yeah.

Yeah, I love the assessment because I think we can become clutter blind sometimes. I know I can. To walking into a space and it’s like, I’m not really looking at it. You know, it looks okay. But, and I’m not saying to be harsh or judgmental. But, you know, I’m just noticing like right now, I’ve got a giant extension cord in my office. I’m thinking, how long has that been there? What?

What did I use that for? You know, and it’s like, okay, well, I probably used it for when I was filming something, but that could go away now. And taking a picture would be like, oh yeah, I could get rid of that, and it would make it feel better when I entered the space. So I love the idea of taking those three pictures. I think I’m gonna go do that. I’m a little scared to post them though, I’m not gonna lie. Okay. Okay, I’m gonna post the three picture. Yeah, okay.

Tenneil (17:49)
Oh, we want to see them.

Cause wouldn’t that be such a fun challenge, Kathy? If you post a picture of the space and you list five things you can get rid of, donate, put away, whatever, right? Like such a five minute exercise.

Kathi (17:58)
Yes.

Yeah.

Okay. Post the entryway, where you eat, and where you get ready or where you sleep. Okay.

Tenneil (18:15)
Yeah, like your personal space, you know, some people that’s in their bedroom, some people that’s in their bathroom.

Kathi (18:21)
Okay, okay, I’m gonna do it Okay, two of those three spaces don’t look too bad right now We won’t talk about the other one. Okay. Yay Okay, here’s the problem guys I know it we are recording this in the middle of March and I’ve got I still have my nativity up because I really like It and it’s just weird that in the middle of March. I still But you know what it’s fine, it’s fine. It’s

Tenneil (18:49)
You love Jesus a lot, Kathy.

Kathi (18:51)
I love Jesus a lot. I love baby Jesus even more. Oh, Tenille, this has been such a great conversation. Thank you so much for hanging out with me today.

Tenneil (19:02)
Oh, thanks for having me and enjoy assessing your spaces.

Kathi (19:07)
Yeah, are you gonna take the three pictures as well? I’ve just given you more, you know, I’m like, oh this podcast will just take 20 minutes And now I’ve given you homework. Don’t you love it?

Tenneil (19:10)
What?

100% I’m going to go take pictures of those spaces because I know they are all in disarray right now.

Kathi (19:23)
Okay friends, we’re gonna challenge you to go take those three pictures because I think it’s gonna help you really evaluate What you want to change and what you want to do differently? Okay, you’ve been listening to clutter free Academy I’m Kathy lip now go create the clutter free space you know Okay friends, you’ve been listening to clutter free Academy. I’m Kathy lip now go create the clutter free life. You’ve always wanted to live

 

#615 Breaking Free from Decorating “Rules”: Creating a Home You Love Part 2

#615 Breaking Free from Decorating “Rules”: Creating a Home You Love Part 2

615 – Breaking Free from Decorating “Rules”: Creating a Home You Love Part 2

Are you struggling with judgmental voices from your past that insist your home décor must be showroom perfect?

Shun the shamers in your head and learn how to break free of their nitpicky demands!

Join Kathi and bestselling author Myquillyn Smith, also known as “The Nester,” as they continue their discussion about Myquillyn’s new book, “House Rules: How to Decorate for Every Home, Style, and Budget.” They’ll delve into:

  • Why you don’t have to fill every empty space
  • Using the concepts of “house hushing” and “one sane space” to quiet your quarters
  • Getting past perfectionism to love your space your way

As Kathi says in today’s episode, “if you love your house enough, it doesn’t matter what other people think.” Tune in now to learn how to make this your motto!

Order a copy of Myquillyn Smith’s newest book House Rules here

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

Would you like to receive Kathi’s Clutter Free Kit in your inbox? Sign up here.

The Clutter-Free Home: Making Room for Your Life

When it comes to your home, peace is possible…

Longing for a place of peace from which you can love others well? The Clutter-Free Home is your room-by-room guide to decluttering, reclaiming, and celebrating every space of your home.

Let author Kathi Lipp (who once lived a life buried in clutter) walk you through each room of your house to create organizational zones that are not only functional and practical but create places of peace that reflect your personality. Kathi will help you tackle the four-step process of dedicate, decide, declutter and “do-your-thing” to reveal the home you’ve always dreamed of, and then transform it into a haven that reflects who you truly are meant to be.

If you’re also feeling overwhelmed by the care and upkeep of all the stuff under your feet or sense that your home is running you, instead of the other way around, come discover how to create a space that doesn’t have to be showroom perfect to be perfect for you and the people you love.

Order your copy here!

Favorite Links:

Myquillyn Smith’s website TheNester.com.

Myquillyn Smith on Instagram @thenester

Order Myquillyn’s newest book HOUSE RULES: How to Decorate for Every Home, Style, and Budget here

Take Myquillyn’s decorating quiz here

Where is your “one sane space?” 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 

Myquillyn Smith

MYQUILLYN SMITH, also known as “The Nester,” is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Welcome Home and Cozy Minimalist Home. For the past 17 years, she’s been encouraging women to embrace their space—imperfections and all—and make it their own. Her previous homes have been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Cottages & Bungalows. She recently purchased and redecorated a1905 Queen Anne Victorian home in Morganton, North Carolina, the inspiration for her new book House Rules. She’s never met a home she didn’t love.

Find her online at TheNester.com and on Instagram @thenester.

Transcript

Kathi (00:00.174)

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 guys, I just, yeah, if you heard last week, you know I’m gushing, I’m not gonna gush all this time, but it’s Myquillyn Smith. The book is House Rules. You guys, she is my favorite decorating guru.

And I know you shouldn’t have gurus. You shouldn’t because you gotta create your own style. But she has helped me figure out who I am and how to live in my house. And I want her to do the same for you. Plus, you guys, she gets people who maybe wanna keep too many things in their house. She is not, she’s not judgmental. She understands our people. Myquillyn welcome back to the podcast.

Myquillyn (00:57.51)

I’m so glad to be here. You are my people. I love it.

Kathi (01:01.722)

Yes, yes, we need to we have to have a lot of crossover in our communities. I’m 100% And guys if you haven’t listened to last week go back and listen to that that’ll give you a lot of context for this week But I uh, I may love this book as much as I loved your first book Again, it’s House Rules: How to Decorate for Every Home, Style, and Budget And the reason that I love your book so much is because well

This is called House Rules. You don’t have a lot of rules or you teach us how to break the rules that maybe, I don’t know if other people feel like this, that I’ve had some very judgmental voices, house decorating voices in my head from the past and maybe kind of kept myself a little trapped. Have you ever worked with anybody like that?

Myquillyn (01:55.125)

Yeah, I mean, I have myself, I have experienced that as well, thinking I am going to get shamed or I’m gonna get told off or someone comes in my house and says, we need to get those drapes hemmed and when are we going to do this, that and the other to finish the house? That’s the kind of, yeah, I’ve experienced that myself and had to pull up my big girl pants and say, this is it, this is what I’m choosing to do so that I can

Kathi (01:57.62)

Okay.

Myquillyn (02:24.897)

have the rest of my life be full and look the way I want it to look.

Kathi (02:29.822)

You know, I remember when we sold our last house, it was, I loved it, I loved it so much. But the one thing my husband and I just said, okay, you know what, it’s just not as important to us as it is to other people. And you guys are gonna, everybody’s gonna scream when they hear this. We had popcorn ceilings. And in California, they’re very expensive to get rid of. And it’s like

we had to make choices and people would come in and say, and what are we gonna do about those popcorn ceilings? I’m like, if that’s the first thing you notice in my beautiful home, then, you know, my decorating style is not for you. It just isn’t. And so I think it’s so interesting what some people fixate on when they’re in other people’s homes. And we think, oh, nobody’s gonna notice. And it’s just weird that some people do, isn’t it? That what…

What are we going to do about those drapes on the floor? I mean, we’re going to enjoy them and love them and see that they pool beautifully. Ha ha.

Myquillyn (03:34.362)

Feel free to do something with your own money and your time.

Kathi (03:40.198)

Yes, you have volunteered. Well, okay. So I think that if you love your house enough, it doesn’t matter what other people think. It really, really doesn’t. But you have to love it. You have to say, this is what I’m doing to make my house as loving and lovely as possible. I want to dig into your rules here, because we’ve already done seven and five, you can’t ruin something you already hate and resourcefulness is the ultimate resource. But let’s talk about

Okay, this is for my cluttery girls. Rule 11, luxury isn’t having more, it’s needing less. Talk to, okay, I’m not gonna say a word, just talk to us.

Myquillyn (04:21.693)

Okay, I was reluctant to learn this because all of my life I feel like luxury is having everything at your fingertips, no matter what you could possibly need. That is the very definition of luxury. So we moved into this house and it’s a 1905 Queen Anne Victorian. And I’m pointing out the master bedroom is like the largest master bedroom we’ve ever had. We’ve never had a big bedroom.

And when we moved here, we had a bed and like my nightstands were like this big because our last house, the room was this big. So they’re like, pip squeak. I mean, we had nothing. So our bed was in there. I purchased a little sofa from the previous owner. So I had a little sofa at the end of the bed. I ended up buying a pair of nightstands and I had a couple lamps. I put up drapes. There were shutters on the window.

And one day I walked up to the room, I had painted it a little darker, beautiful muddy blue, one of my personal neutrals. And I walked up to the room and it just felt just right. I couldn’t believe it because there was no gallery wall. There was no like 300 beautiful pillows. There wasn’t three layers of rugs. There wasn’t like layers of throws. It was like so simple. There was no vignette on both of the.

Like I nothing it was so quiet and I felt like rich I felt like I was staying in a high end hotel. It was like the lack of chaos and excess was luxurious. And I have heard that my whole life. But to experience it. I was like, Oh, I get that now I get like the almost the privilege of not having to fill up my space with all of this.

Kathi (05:48.612)

Oh.

Kathi (06:06.135)

Yeah.

Kathi (06:10.752)

Mmm.

Myquillyn (06:11.677)

just in case stuff was extremely peaceful and serene and welcoming and I love beautiful things I still have you know stuff in my home but that is one space in my house that I probably will continue to keep really sparse and it feels great.

Kathi (06:21.421)

Yes.

Kathi (06:32.234)

Okay, well, the conviction is here. I have, our bedroom is big. It’s the biggest bedroom we’ve ever owned. And I love our bed. I’ve got a Suzani print couch that is just, it’s everything I love. And then I have the gray chair. And the gray chair collects all the things and has no business being in there. But I had room.

And my cluttery brain says, but you have room for it. But it brings me no joy. Why do I still have it? Why did I need you to come on a podcast for me to say, okay, it’s time to get rid of it?

Myquillyn (07:11.349)

Because our default is that empty space is like incorrect and needs to be filled. Empty space is waiting to be, it’s unfinished, which is not true. We need margin in our lives, in our decor, in our schedule, in so many things, but like I’ve learned to, sometimes I can’t get it through my brain. Like actually I would enjoy having less in my family room. So I do a little practice, I call it house hushing, where I just tell myself, you know what?

Kathi (07:37.944)

Yes.

Myquillyn (07:39.605)

we’re gonna give it 24 hours. I’m gonna just take all my little cute tchotchkes and smalls and my clocks and my pillows and my plants. And I’m gonna take everything extraneous out, just have the furniture, and I just put it in another room like crazy in the dining room on the table for 24 hours. And it’s like zen and relaxing and without fail every time I choose out of my own free will.

Kathi (07:44.857)

Mm-hmm.

Myquillyn (08:04.981)

to not bring as much in. No one has to, I don’t have to like pick up everything and ask if I love it or if it brings me joy. I don’t have to like clear and make decision fatigue. I just experience the results first of like a quieted simple space. And then I can choose if I want to get rid of something. It’s like, to me, it’s backwards decluttering and it works.

Kathi (08:10.944)

Right?

Kathi (08:25.59)

Yes. It’s the creep. It’s the creep of life. Like, I love this little thing. I’m going to put it here. I love this little thing. I love this little thing, but I don’t love the 72 little things that end up in my kitchen in six months if I don’t do something about it. And I’m not talking about, you know, the bread tie. I’m talking about the little planter or, you know, the little thing that my friend gave me.

Myquillyn (08:41.761)

Yes.

Myquillyn (08:49.975)

Yes.

Kathi (08:53.214)

And it’s okay to enjoy things for a season and then release them. And I’ve also learned it’s okay to just have that thing that my friend gave me out in the fall. It’s not a fall decoration and I love it, but it doesn’t need to be out 365 days a year because I enjoy a quieter space. I really do. I love that. And if you live near me,

Myquillyn (08:57.762)

Yes.

Myquillyn (09:18.133)

Yep.

Kathi (09:22.23)

Check Freecycle for this really beautiful but unnecessary gray chair that needs to that needs to go Okay Again for my clutter free people you are in our brains friend rule a one sane space Talk about that

Myquillyn (09:40.693)

That came about when we were living in a fixer upper and every room was in chaos. We didn’t have a sink in the kitchen. We had like plastic sheets as walls, you know, a weird electrical thing. You could get electrocuted if you weren’t careful. And I just remember thinking, okay we got to have, we have to feel like a little bit normal. We can’t have every room be in chaos. So even with the plastic walls, I just got some paint and I painted over because it was like

Hunter green walls with the wallpaper. I pulled down the border real quick. Didn’t prep it perfectly, just thought, I gotta get something up and we’ll do it better in a few months. Threw a white paint on the wall, put a rug down, got our sectional in there, a couple pillows, a lamp, the television, the dog bed, like we can watch Andy Griffith, we can watch Survivor at night. A place for our family to feel relaxed and like.

sanity in the midst of living in a complete fixer upper. And even if you’re not in a fixer upper, if you’re, the relief of having one space that feels however you need it to feel, maybe it’s more minimal, maybe it’s more cozy at this stage in your life, while you do things in your other rooms is really powerful.

Kathi (10:57.986)

Not 20 minutes before we started these interviews, I was on a call with a nurse talking through her clutter situation. And she’s sneezing through the whole thing and is just sick and run down. And she goes, but I need to declutter, I need to declutter. And like, you cannot make any decisions right now. What I want you to do is just, where do you spend most of your time when you’re

as you’re recovering, she goes, in my living room. I said, I just need you to have a clear spot where your eye line isn’t seeing any clutter. And we can deal with this when you have more energy to make decisions and to do what you need to do, but you have to have a place to rest. And if your eyes are distracted by things, all these hanging chads, all these things that still need to be done.

You can never rest. Your brain is always flipping on, oh, it’s the hunter green paint. Oh, the dog’s bed isn’t in here because I don’t wanna get stuff on. You just have to have one place that you can open your eyes and rest. And this is, I love the name of it, One Sane Space. I’ve never thought of it. I always say you just have to have one place where you can escape, but Sane Space says,

No, I can rest and recover in this area. I love that so, so much. Okay, we’re going deeper into the rules, my friend. Number 98, make your own house rules. So explain this, and I wanna hear a few of yours, and I’ve got a couple of my own as well, because I have done this, but explain this concept.

Myquillyn (12:49.761)

Well, I give a book of 100 house rules and that’s one of them. I think that we should all come up with our own rules to live by. You know, about 10 years ago on Pinterest, it was a big thing. Everyone was making their own wooden sign with like house rules, you know, dogs on the sofa and whatever, no, whatever. It was like all fun things. I love that. Like that’s one of the reasons that I liked this name for the book because I think culturally it conjures up that memory of like the fun.

Kathi (12:53.292)

Right?

Kathi (13:04.212)

Yes.

Myquillyn (13:18.541)

house rules, the relaxed house rules. But one of my personal decorating house rules is that I like my life full of color, but I like my house full of neutrals. I am persnickety and I change my mind. In the spring, if I am furniture shopping, I will buy teal furniture and blue furniture. And in the summer, I want red and pink furniture. And in the fall, I want rusty colors and muddy. And in the winter, I want white. Like I have learned, I can tell when I buy a piece of furniture,

that’s a color based on this, because it was like the season, whatever season was, the color I’m craving. I cannot do that, because I can’t buy a new sofa every four months. So, I learned I am way too like finicky and wanting to change my colors. So I will get all of my base things neutral. And then if I want colored sheets, if I want colored pillows, if I want a colored sweater, I’ll put up books with colors and flowers with colors.

Kathi (13:51.788)

Oh, yeah.

Kathi (13:57.856)

Right.

Kathi (14:10.798)

Hmm

Myquillyn (14:15.585)

but I’m not gonna buy my main pieces in color because I wanna change my mind, I wanna change it up too much. That is not a rule for everyone. Someone else might have the opposite rule and they should. So that’s my example, what is yours?

Kathi (14:24.77)

Right.

Kathi (14:30.946)

So I’ve got a practical one and I have a fun one. So in our house, flooring needs to be functional, not fabulous. And I just needed to do it because, I mean, we live where there is a high chance that chicken poop will get in our house at one point or another. We’re just not precious about stuff. And we need stuff that is functional. And we can put the pretty stuff

at waist level or above. But yeah, the floors just have, and I would never have chosen the floors that we have downstairs, but they’re exactly the right floors. The previous owners knew what they were doing when if we needed to, we could take a hose to them. We don’t do that, but we could if we needed to. And then the other thing is, my style is things we love.

And that’s just, there is nothing in my house that I don’t love. I used to have things in my house that other people loved. Like we had, I bought a pillow one time for Christmas and in red letters it says Joy. And I was so sad to put it away after Christmas. I’m like, is Joy just reserved for December? And so now I have this Joy pillow out all year long.

And it makes me so happy all year long. And it’s like, we only have things in our house that we love. And if there’s something in our house that we don’t love, we have to question, you know, I don’t love our emergency kit. We have it in our house, but it’s not something I’m displaying. And so that’s our style is things we love. And it’s never going to fit into any genre, but I…

I wake up every day and I’m happy. So

Myquillyn (16:31.021)

That is perfect. The whole goal is for you to love your home. You have arrived. Like when we love our home, we use our home. So do not change any of that.

Kathi (16:34.71)

Yeah.

Kathi (16:39.34)

Yes.

Yeah, and I’m reluctant to leave, because the world is not suited for me in any way, shape, or form, but my house is. Okay, this one. You’re a genius, this is all I’m gonna say. Rule number 99, make a we did it list. This is genius, please expand upon what this concept is.

Myquillyn (16:50.605)

and I’ll see you next time.

Myquillyn (17:06.989)

Gosh, I think when it comes to home, we are so focused on all the stuff we have to do and all the undone decisions and all the ceiling fan that needs to be replaced and we haven’t gotten to the back porch yet and the flooring in there. If we can take a moment and take stock of all the things we have done, I do this at least every year and look back like everything in our house, we do it with our goals too, like what we did with our family, but.

Kathi (17:16.91)

Hehehehe

Myquillyn (17:34.561)

You and everything counts. If we made a chicken coop, if we replaced the faucet, if I’m like, and I dusted behind the sofa, write that down, you know, change the light fixture, whatever, it all counts. I think we would be shocked at what we accomplish in a year, in a month in our home. We need to give ourselves credit for all that we’ve done in caring for our home.

Kathi (17:59.246)

And do not discount making a chicken coop because let’s be clear the one we got was advertised as like a Michaels do-it-yourself project and it turned out to be a Home Depot expert pro project It I mean it is it is a fabulous chicken coop, but holy cow. Yes I think it’s we have such I do this with decorating I do this with God, but what have you done lately? What have you done lately like?

Myquillyn (18:12.301)

It’s true.

Kathi (18:28.074)

You know, yes, I have worked so hard on my house. I forget what it was like to move out of the upstairs of our house to put flooring down. You might as well burn the house down and start over again. It is so much work, but it’s done. And it’s done for the next hopefully 20 years. But it’s so easy to focus on, yeah, but the kitchen light fixture. Like I haven’t done the kitchen light fixture.

Myquillyn (18:43.894)

I’m dead.

Kathi (18:56.858)

And I love that you’re taking stock. And this is so true in our cluttery communities. We always talk about, we declutter and then it just gets to look like that again. But here’s the thing, once you get the stuff out of your house, you never ever have to deal with that book or piece of furniture or piece of clothing ever again for the rest of your life. You may have to deal on what you’re bringing into the house but look at what you’ve done.

And we’re so proud when our kids do something, we need to also recognize ourselves for the accomplishments we’re doing. Because let’s be honest, some of these projects are hard and they take big grownup decision making that is sometimes, and you’ve saved money to do things. And if you’ve brought in outside help, that doesn’t always go the way, and you have to negotiate with the people you live with. And so anytime you accomplish something, it is…

It is a win. And guys, if you are ready to, especially if you’ve done some decluttering, I really think one of the best things you can do for yourself, and I know I learned this term from you, after you’ve quieted your house, you can take a look around and say, is there something that I want to do? Because now that my house isn’t screaming clutter at me, it can reveal its personality. It can reveal who it is.

And guys, I’m just gonna really encourage you. Take a look at this book, House Rules, How to Decorate for Every Home, Style, and Budget. Myquillyn this is, I get so inspired when I spend time with you. Thank you so much for your time and your wisdom today.

Myquillyn (20:37.341)

Oh, Kathi, you are so dear. You could, you know all of this. You don’t even need me. Like you are beyond. So I just, so happy to know you and man, you are so wise.

Kathi (20:49.758)

Okay, even if that was true, here’s what you do. You help me be brave. You help me not get, I think so many of us who deal with clutter are such, we’re perfectionists in such hard ways. We don’t do anything until we know we can do it 100%. And you’ve given me permission to say, even if I think I can do it, I should try. I’m probably not gonna burn the house down. I probably am not going to have to repaint the whole room. And…

You know, maybe some $20 decisions are okay to take a flyer on. So I know a lot of what you teach, but you helped me be brave to enact it. And that’s what I want for everybody in my community. So thank you. Thank you, friend.

Myquillyn (21:36.749)

Oh, happy to be here. Thank you.

Kathi (21:39.69)

And friends, thank you for being here. You are the best part of us gathering each week. 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.

#613 5 Steps to Unstuff Your House

#613 5 Steps to Unstuff Your House

613 – 5 Steps to Unstuff Your House

Are you feeling trapped in a home overstuffed with, well, STUFF? You’re not alone! In the latest episode of Clutter Free Academy, Kathi teams up with Tenneil Register, an incredible mom who mastered the art of living clutter free – even in the tight quarters of a fixer-upper with a blended family of seven! Tune in for their tips on:

  • Making your house a home instead of a storage unit
  • Using things you love as creative storage solutions
  • Letting go of things that are no longer your vibe

In this episode, Tenneil mentions using repurposed items to decorate her space. Here are the promised photos!

And here’s Kathi’s favorite Suzani couch:

Sign up here to be notified when the next episode is released, or here to receive Kathi’s Clutter Free Kit!

 

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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Have you made creative storage solutions out of objects meant for something else, like Tenneil did? Share your answer in the comments.

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Meet Our Guest 

 

Tenneil Register

Tenneil Register can be found creating, repurposing, decorating, gardening and welcoming guests to their reclaimed barn storefront. She and her husband, Cowboy, established rural roots for their blended family of 7 in their DIY ranch home in Iowa. Connect with her on Instagram for practical ideas to reclaim your home or visit R7Reclaimed.com.

 

Tonya Kubo Picture
Transcript

Kathi (00:01.463)
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 guys, we love her. She may be newish to you, but she is going to become a regular over here at Clutter Free Academy. You guys.

It is my friend, Tenneil Register. Tenneil is a business owner. She has the cutest little store you’ve ever seen in your entire life. She runs an Airbnb. She’s had a blended family and is one of the coolest, most stylish people I know. Well, let me just call it, it’s country stylish, right? Okay, so welcome Tenneil. And when I say country stylish, I’m not saying, I’m not making that go down.

We were just talking about how Dollar General is, what’d you call it?

Tenneil (01:05.364)
is the rural girl’s Target

Kathi (01:07.455)
It’s so true, right? Like, you know you live out in the country when you’re like, oh, I could use that as decor. Like, it’s a different thing, right? And I mean, I just love it. And you have such an eye for that kind of stuff, which I do not. And so I love to see you decorating and stuff, but you had to get your house decluttered before you could make it all your own, didn’t you?

Tenneil (01:37.394)
I absolutely had a challenge of a lifetime when we bought our house after blending our family.

Kathi (01:43.851)
Okay, so I want to know the stats, like how many people, how many square feet, like how many his, how many yours, how many ours, you know, all that kind of stuff.

Tenneil (01:54.222)
Okay, so stats is five acres, 1800 square feet on an upper level. Yes, and then we have a basement, but it was unfinished.

Kathi (02:01.847)
I didn’t know it was that small

Kathi (02:07.64)
Oh my goodness. 18. Okay. Uh, how many people did you have?

Tenneil (02:12.13)
So I brought one to the table, he brought four. So there was five kids plus the two of us. So that made what we call our seven.

Kathi (02:14.359)
Right. Okay, oh.

Tenneil (02:23.28)
and

Kathi (02:23.351)
Okay, yeah, by the way, okay, so Roger and I did 1400 square feet, four kids, but one of them’s like, I’m out of here. Cause she was 18 and she didn’t wanna share a room with a 13 year old, which we totally got. But it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done when it comes to house and clutter and all the things.

Tenneil (02:45.802)
Yes, and we didn’t have all of them living with us full time, but there were times they were all here and we wanted everybody to have their own space. So in the house that we bought, it was a fixer upper, like there were no floors, just sub floors, and it had five bedrooms on that 1800 square feet. So you can imagine how small the kitchen-living room combo were to have five bedrooms in that 1800 square feet.

Kathi (02:49.956)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (02:54.917)
Right.

Kathi (03:01.384)
Oh no. Oh no!

Kathi (03:09.079)
Yeah, right.

Holy cow, that is a ton. I mean, that is just a ton of people in such a small space.

Tenneil (03:15.09)
So.

Tenneil (03:20.658)
and all of those people come with stuff. And when you’re new to a blended family, your own stuff is really important. I can remember such long arguments over what to pack in a suitcase so it wouldn’t be over the weight limit and so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with the amount of laundry and things to keep track of. When Jesse and I got married, I had one three-year-old kid that I was pretty OCD with.

Kathi (03:28.135)
It really is. It really is.

Kathi (03:48.545)
Yeah.

Tenneil (03:49.187)
So transferring this to a large group of people, whoa.

Kathi (03:52.567)
Yeah, yeah, it’s a lot. And for all of you out there listening, we all have that one seemingly insurmountable clutter challenge. Maybe a parent has passed away and you’re bringing all their stuff to your house, or you’re blending a family, or you have to downsize quickly because of a financial situation or a health situation, or…

you are taking, you know, several of my friends who are Gen X or in the boomer generation, their kids are coming home with, you know, their spouses and their kids. And so these are all huge, huge situations. So when your house gets stuffed like that, like it’s almost like yesterday, okay, Tenneil this is a terrible illustration, but I have to share it now.

We went to a place called, I think it’s called Bad Donuts. I can’t remember what it’s called. It’s something like that. And what they do is they give you a donut. Roger and I have been wanting to try it. Oh, it’s called Bad Bakers, that’s right. And we’ve been wanting to try it. So we got this donut and they give you, I’m not joking, a medical syringe filled with cream that you stuff into this donut and this donut like puffs up. So by the way, it’s one of the best donuts I’ve ever had in my life.

But that’s how your house can feel like during these circumstances, right? It’s a weird one, but yeah. Yes.

Tenneil (05:19.254)
that’s an excellent illustration because you love your donut and you love your home and then when you fill it with something it kind of feels overstuffed.

Kathi (05:29.767)
Yes, and that’s exactly what was happening yesterday. I love that. I didn’t even pull that out. But yes, I love the donut I love this cream filling. It was a chocolate cream filling. Oh my goodness. It was amazing But yes, it felt like too much. It was getting everywhere Like i’m not even joking. I took Moose in for her doctor’s appointment I get back in the car and i’ve got this streak of chocolate on my face. I was so embarrassed, but you know what? If I have to be embarrassed, let me be embarrassed by chocolate. So

I, we’ve come up with five steps to unstuff your house. So I want to go through this with you and let’s figure out how we can help people who are in these circumstances, um, get through it. So the first step that you and I talked about is acknowledge and accept. So tell me what that looked like for you when you and Jesse got married and your house felt out of control.

Tenneil (06:22.422)
Yeah, so I think one thing is acknowledging the clutter issue. It’s not a people issue. It’s not a family issue. It’s an issue with stuff that needs to be changed and can be changed. So this isn’t about changing like our relationship with people. This is about changing our relationship with stuff so we can improve our relationships with people.

Kathi (06:26.691)
Mm-hmm. Mm.

Right.

Kathi (06:35.062)
Right.

Kathi (06:41.731)
Oh, it’s so true. And I think you have to give people a vision for it. Like, we know that this stuff is causing anxiety in our house. And we want to change that for everybody. Because it feels like it’s the people who are it’s such a good point Tenneil it feels like it’s the people who are giving you anxiety when a lot of it could just be the abundance of stuff, because that really can raise anxiety.

Tenneil (07:10.09)
Yes. And what am I holding on to? Like, why is that stuff bothering me? So for example, shoes by the front door, right? Am I really upset that the people are here and they took their shoes off? No, that’s what I want them to do. I want them to come here and I want them to take their shoes off. What the real frustration was no place for the number of shoes because we had so little floor space we couldn’t afford to give any up.

Kathi (07:13.415)
Hmm. Yes. Yeah.

Kathi (07:20.398)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (07:25.952)
Right.

Kathi (07:35.979)
Yeah, you know, I don’t know if you know this story, but when Roger and I first got married, we had the shoes at the front door situation as well. And so I bought a bookshelf for people to put their shoes on. And I asked Roger to build it, and I asked him to put it behind the couch so that nobody would see it. And there was only one person in our house who ever used it. It was Roger. It wasn’t even me. It’s like, I’m not gonna go.

Tenneil (07:59.946)
Roger. I knew it.

Kathi (08:05.359)
So yes, to be able to say, and I think it’s important for us to say, this is temporary. Like we’re not gonna have teenagers forever. We’re not gonna have little kids forever. But right now we want them to take their shoes off because yeah, subfloors and things like that. I think that’s really important. So how did you set achievable goals in the whole idea of decluttering?

Tenneil (08:31.798)
Yeah, so I think with the achievable goals, we had to look and say, okay, what is it about this space and what can we do about it on no budget and without like really changing people’s behavior, right? And so on the shoe thing, right? It was deciding which of these things are the real problem. You know, is it the number of shoes? Is it where we’re keeping the shoes? So our first step was to…

Kathi (08:39.584)
Bre- Yes.

Kathi (08:44.517)
Yes.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (08:52.892)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (08:57.132)
Yeah.

Tenneil (09:00.534)
to recognize what we needed to get rid of. So I had always prided myself in having an entryway that was pretty. That when you walk in, people go, wow, okay, that needed to go, that was not a priority in that season of life.

Kathi (09:13.535)
Yeah, okay.

Kathi (09:18.975)
Right, you’re in survival mode at this point. Yeah.

Tenneil (09:22.526)
Yeah, and so, okay, how can we make this space work? So, all that decorative stuff was put out of the way and I chose pieces that were decorative that would do the job. So I found my favorite coat hanger. We actually made it from old architectural salvage trim and put big hooks on it, right? And this set limits, cause there’s seven hooks, seven people. You get one hook.

Kathi (09:26.631)
Mm-hmm. So what’d you do?

Kathi (09:33.243)
Yeah.

Kathi (09:44.919)
Oh my goodness. Uh-huh.

Kathi (09:51.532)
Ah, you get one hook, baby.

Tenneil (09:54.338)
I’m not going to complain how over-stepped your hook is, even though I would like to, but you just get your one hook. And then I found this old hardware bolt bin. So this thing is like probably seven feet tall. It’s as tall as our ceiling. And it’s like, I don’t know, I think it’s five or six rows wide. I think Jesse and I shared a row for a while and full of cubby holes.

Kathi (10:00.074)
Yeah.

Kathi (10:04.237)
Okay.

Kathi (10:08.34)
Oh my goodness.

Kathi (10:14.311)
Mm-hmm. Okay.

Mmm.

Tenneil (10:19.582)
And in those cubby holes, you can put your shoes, you can put your glove, you can put your baseball. I’m not gonna fight about what’s in the cubby hole as long as it’s not on the floor.

Kathi (10:27.243)
Right? Yes. It’s so true. It’s about agreeing on space, not arguing about stuff. And so this is your space. You can’t keep 10 pairs of shoes in there. It won’t fit. So you have to figure out, if you wear the same shoes every day, you’re golden, baby. But if you wanna change them out, you’re gonna have to put some things in your room, that kind of thing. Yeah, I love that.

Tenneil (10:43.351)
Right?

Tenneil (10:52.714)
Yeah, so we acknowledged what needed to happen. We sorted out what the space needed to be used for and came up with a function and a purpose for that, which led to good storage.

Kathi (10:56.443)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (11:07.019)
Yes, and I love that you know sometimes you have to do temporary things until you find what you love but You you found some things you love are those things still hanging in your house? Okay, i’m gonna need a picture of those because I want to see what we’re talking about here is that okay? Okay

Tenneil (11:18.102)
They are.

Tenneil (11:24.554)
Yeah, absolutely. And I will send you the picture that includes the shoes laying on the floor in front of the rack where they go, because we are still human, but it is so much easier to bend over and put them up in the shelf or to say something like, hey, you have till 5pm to get those up in the shelf. Now, I’ll tell you, I don’t know where this fits into our five steps. However, the key to implementing like this category and storage for the people when they were young.

Kathi (11:30.086)
Hehe

Kathi (11:33.879)
Of course.

Uh, I love it.

Right.

Kathi (11:52.631)
Yeah.

Tenneil (11:55.382)
was that I would say, okay, you have till the end of the day to use the systems we have in place. And then anybody who didn’t, I didn’t complain, I didn’t nag, I didn’t yell. I simply picked up all of the things and they went in a tub. And to get your things out of the tub, you would have to do a chore.

Kathi (12:00.27)
Right?

Kathi (12:14.303)
Nice I love that you had to ransomware it was ransomware it was an I Love it, okay guys. We’re gonna take a quick break. This is only step one of five So we’re gonna blast through those last five But we want to help you unstuff your house, and we’re gonna continue to do that when we come back

Tenneil (12:19.502)
Absolutely, it was highly effective for us.

Kathi (12:36.583)
Friends, we are here with Tenneil Register, who, she’s got the style, guys, she’s got the style. And we’ve already talked about our first step to unstuffing your house is to acknowledge and accept what the situation is. And I love what you said. It’s not that you want the people out of here for most of us. Okay, some people, at one point we did have to have a Come to Jesus meeting and say, you have to move out. You don’t live here anymore. But, but.

Tenneil (13:01.924)
Hahaha!

Kathi (13:05.431)
It’s the stuff and we need to figure that out as well. Okay, so let’s go to step number two, sort and categorize. So as you’re decluttering, we have our three bag, well, it’s really a five bag system. So put away, give away and put back. So put back is in the room that you’re already in, put away is, it’s other rooms, sorry, other rooms and then give away.

is what are you gonna donate? And then we have garbage and recycling. So is that what you did? Or how did you keep up on decluttering, especially during like a remodel and stuff? How did you do that?

Tenneil (13:51.726)
So definitely our categories were similar. Whenever we approached a space, I took the idea, what are we gonna keep? Because kids or all of us as humans, we have a hard time deciding what to get rid of. So we went into the space assuming we’re gonna get rid of everything other than what we’re gonna keep. Then once we had our keepers, we sorted out, okay, would you feel better about donating this, selling this or pitching it? And so that was really important.

Kathi (13:55.611)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (14:00.632)
Yeah.

Kathi (14:06.648)
right.

Kathi (14:11.216)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, so smart.

Kathi (14:18.124)
Mm-hmm. Right.

Tenneil (14:21.994)
Because we live in the Midwest and we experience all four seasons in such a significant way, seasonal sorts were critical. Because we literally change out all of our clothes, all of our gear for leaving the house, the sports equipment, like everything changes by the season.

Kathi (14:25.52)
Mm-hmm. Right.

Yes.

Kathi (14:33.227)
Right?

Kathi (14:38.875)
Tenneil I had no idea. I lived in the Bay Area, which is the most moderate temperatures, probably in the United States. Like rain was such a big deal, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. And then I moved to the mountain where, today, on this day of our Lord, we are bringing down our summer winter stuff.

because and it’s like it’s a huge deal. It’s a huge deal. And today is the day we’re putting away the snowshoes. And I mean, it is such a huge deal. So if you live in these other places, it really, you’re not just turning over your house, you’re turning over your wardrobe, your equipment, all of that stuff, right?

Tenneil (15:28.054)
Yes, and so each time you do that, it’s important to purge, purge, purge.

Kathi (15:32.599)
Yes, yes, yes. And I love, you know, we’re doing this right now. And when we come, I’m purging two different categories. I’m saying, okay, what have I not worn all winter? And then as I pull down my spring and my summer, just really recognizing in myself, do I still love this thing? And it’s okay to say no.

It’s okay to say, you know what, I bought that last year at Costco because I thought it was cute, but it’s not my vibe. And I would rather it go to somebody who will love it and use it instead of keeping it and just punishing myself every time I open up the closet. We’ve had to do that with equipment that, you know, we bought what we thought was the right thing, turns out it wasn’t. And let’s get into the hands of somebody who’s it is the right thing.

How does that work out for you?

Tenneil (16:30.902)
Yes, I love that we’re only keeping what we love, what we use. And for me, at the beginning of the podcast, we talked stats. Stats were super important in helping us manage stuff for so many people in one household. So for example, I learned it at first when we were packing for trips, that I would have to be very specific. I want you to pack three pairs of shorts, three pairs of shirts, two swimsuits, right? I would give them the numbers.

Kathi (16:37.295)
Yes.

Kathi (16:40.759)
Yes.

Kathi (16:45.878)
Right.

Kathi (16:49.919)
mm-hmm yes

Tenneil (16:58.998)
The same helped when we would purge. I want you to pick your five favorite dresses. I want you to pick, you know, your two best snow boots. And then helping them find a meaningful place to pass it on was the best part of helping them let it go. So whether that was like a younger niece or nephew who would be thrilled to have their Nike tennis shoes or whatever. And then also like we used our local…

Kathi (16:59.343)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (17:04.623)
Hmm, yeah.

Kathi (17:11.409)
Mm.

Kathi (17:20.876)
Yes.

Tenneil (17:28.554)
like food pantries also give out clothing closets. And my kids really had a deep understanding that somebody else would really love to get their nice things. And that helped as well.

Kathi (17:32.24)
Yes.

Kathi (17:39.935)
Mm-hmm, right. Oh, I love it. Okay, step number three. Instead of discussing this, because what I wanna talk about, what step number three is implementing storage solutions. Here’s what I would love to, Neal. We’re gonna get the pictures of your bolt bucket and your clothes hanger. And if you have a couple other pictures of storage solutions that you’ve used, because we could talk about it all day, but…

Literally, a picture is worth a thousand words here. Would you be willing to do that for us?

Tenneil (18:15.658)
I would love to share pictures of how I used decorative pieces that have rural vibes because that’s who I am to organize the things. And that made it fun for me too because I got to pick something creative to manage all the stuff. So I’d love to share photos of how we managed all the things over the years.

Kathi (18:20.695)
Yeah.

Kathi (18:31.648)
Yes.

Kathi (18:36.567)
I can’t wait and then we’ll have to come back on another podcast and discuss how you How you use those because I think that’s gonna be really interesting to people and how you came up with it. Okay step number four and For me, this is I had to admit That I am not a minimalist

I’m not a minimalist. I like stuff. I like things that suggest who I am. And I’m wondering, where do you put yourself in that category?

Tenneil (19:18.286)
Hmm. I would also say I’m not a minimalist. I like to change out my decor seasonally. I like to use decorative pieces to store things that are typically from like a family travel. So like I love to like antique and thrift. So if I find a box that I love that has the name of a place that we are traveling.

Kathi (19:26.139)
Hmm.

Kathi (19:38.158)
Okay.

Kathi (19:47.891)
oooo

Tenneil (19:48.902)
I want to bring that home and I want to use it. So the key for me is to find like a purposeful way to use it.

Kathi (19:51.595)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (19:56.191)
Oh, I love that so much. Yeah, and I think it’s okay to say we’re not minimalist. That’s not our aesthetic, but we don’t wanna be stuffed either. We wanna find that happy meeting of having, I love things that have a story, just like you. Sitting on my bed is a teddy bear. This is a teddy bear that my son got 35 years ago, but it still makes me smile every time I see it.

Tenneil (20:14.271)
Yes.

Kathi (20:26.239)
Uh, you know, I’ve got, I’ve got a couch that I remember like, you know, I, I love it because it’s beautiful, but also the memory of finding it and calling Roger and taking pictures and saying, you know, I never called him and I’m saying, by the way, I’m buying this, but that’s what I did. By the way, I’m buying this because this is my, you know, how people have their heart animal, like this is my ride or die. That was this couch.

And so I’ll make sure I take a picture of that couch so you guys can see that. I’ve shared it here before, but it’s called a Suzani print, which is a Middle Eastern print that I adore it. And it’s just who I am. So I love that you collect things that are from travels and things that are important to you and your history. I think that that’s amazing. I think about like the gift that was most meaningful to my mom.

Tenneil (20:55.231)
Mmm.

Kathi (21:25.179)
from my daughter was a Kansas City pillow. You know, it just had all these things from Kansas City on it and my mom loves it. I mean, she loves where she was born so much. Her cat’s name is Casey. So, you know, we love that. Okay, and then step, oh, go ahead, yeah, please.

Tenneil (21:41.282)
So I was thinking as you were talking, Kathi what if we could answer two questions? Why do I love this? How or where will I use it? And then it’s a keeper.

Kathi (21:48.691)
Okay.

Kathi (21:54.047)
Ooh, those are such good ques- yeah, that is such a good question. And before you bring it home to be able to answer those two questions, I think is a real, and you know, if you absolutely love it and you haven’t figured it out yet, okay, if you just know, like this Suzani couch, I did not know where I was going to put it, but like, oh, we’re making a space for that. Um, which is pretty funny to do with a whole couch, but it’s some place I love.

Tenneil (22:02.603)
Yes.

Tenneil (22:19.702)
Ha!

Kathi (22:21.115)
But yes, I think that that’s so important. And I think it’s really important to not bring things home to fill a space because it’s very easy to be like, oh, you know, I could really use X, Y. And I’ll admit, I have a couple of pieces of furniture that were fill a space furniture. And one of them I’m giving away this week. It’s an extra wide chair.

that I just I needed to fill a space downstairs and now I should have waited for something I love the good news is I have a friend where this is the perfect chair for her and what she needs so I love that but okay number five um I think in unstuffing your house there there’s a time element which is to set time aside

but also to not rush the process, especially when other humans and emotions are involved. And it sounds like that’s what you did, that you started the process, but you were not telling people, okay, you have to be able to fit everything into a suitcase and otherwise you can’t have it in the house. You were making space for the people.

Tenneil (23:42.006)
And you have to be willing for error to occur. The bolt then that worked for our shoes was not my first attempt at where to put our shoes. You know, like tried putting them in the closet, you know, tried putting them under a bench, tried saying you can, I did try to say, you can only have one pair of shoes out here by the door, the rest go to your room. That was fighting behaviors in humans that I was going to lose.

Kathi (23:46.215)
Mm-hmm. Okay.

Kathi (23:52.539)
Oh, really? Okay.

Yeah.

Kathi (24:02.149)
No.

Kathi (24:06.105)
Yeah.

Tenneil (24:09.11)
So you have to be willing to kind of make mistakes and learn from the process while you figure out which category of stuff should go here and what storage unit should we use to hold that stuff.

Kathi (24:17.732)
Yeah.

Kathi (24:23.871)
Yeah. So really what you were doing and I, it’s my favorite word in the world. You were curating. You really were taking your time. Curation does not happen in a day. It happens over a lifetime. And you were curating the space for your family.

Tenneil (24:42.778)
You know when we go into a space what makes us most comfortable whether it’s someone’s home, a hotel, an Airbnb, a restaurant is when we are guided through the process so simply that we never find ourselves asking where should I put this? What should I do next? And so how important that in your own home everyone who lives there feels comfortable knowing where should I put this and what should I do next?

Kathi (25:00.123)
Hmm, yeah.

Tenneil (25:11.138)
that that’s not disruptive to their feelings of home, especially in a blended family situation.

Kathi (25:11.384)
Yeah.

Kathi (25:19.332)
Mm, ah. Tenneil, I have loved this conversation. This has been amazing. And I’m gonna make sure that we have all of your socials on here. So if people wanna follow, because I just think your life, especially on Instagram, is so inspirational with what you’re doing and how you’re creating and curating things. I think people would love to follow you. Tenneil, thanks so much for being on Clutter Free Academy.

Tenneil (25:46.795)
Thanks for having me. I’ve enjoyed the conversation so much and I look forward to talking more

Kathi (25:49.183)
Yeah, it’s so fun and deep at the same time. And friends, thank you for listening to Clutter Free Academy, I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always designed to live.

 

#618 Decluttering Sentimental Items: A Step-by-Step Guide

#612 How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 2

612 – How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 2

Do you feel like you are the only person in your house who understands the amount of strategic planning it takes to do the grocery shopping?

You are not alone, my friend!

Join us for How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 2, as Tonya Kubo and Kathi Lipp explore the balance of insourcing and outsourcing daily tasks to manage burnout. Discover creative solutions for family involvement, the mental load battle, and how to negotiate for change without guilt. This episode offers insights into mental load management and gender roles, aimed at improving household dynamics. Kathi and Tonya offer helpful insights, such as:

  • How insourcing allows people to “scratch an itch” they have
  • How to make decisions based on resources
  • How to achieve collective household downtime

Did you miss How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 1? Listen here

Tonya and Kathi mention continuing this conversation. Here are the details! Live workshop: April 11 at 4 p.m. PST in the Clutter Free Academy Facebook Group (kathi.link/cfa)

Looking for the best way to communicate ideas and questions with the Clutter-Free Team? Send an email to support@kathilipp.com

Also, stay up to date and sign up here to receive our newsletter.

 

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! 

“The Help List” – Kathi’s social media post about her kids/guests helping at the holidays that went VIRAL! 

Continue this conversation with Kathi & Tonya at the live workshop: April 11 at 4 p.m. PST in the Clutter Free Academy Facebook Group (kathi.link/cfa)

Clutter Free Resources:

Tonya Kubo found creative ways to manage her mental load through “insourcing” and “outsourcing.” Share in the comments some personal experiences where these strategies have worked for you!

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

Kathi (00:00.398)
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 back for part two of my discussion of mental load with Tanya Kubo. And Tanya, I loved our first conversation. I wanna dive right into our second conversation. You and I lead Clutter-Free Academy and Clutter-Free for Life, and are on this podcast,

Tonya Kubo (00:27.463)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (00:30.362)
often giving people lots of ideas of how to declutter their house, how to do all the things. But I know that there are a lot of women out there, and I’m just going to say women, who are trying to do this all on their own. And they are not getting the help from their partner, from their kids, from anybody. And you know, a lot of our conversation is going to be around partners, but also, I had four kids, you’ve got two kids.

Tonya Kubo (00:44.871)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (01:01.495)
Those conversations need to happen as well. How do you explain mental load to your girls? How do you explain that it can’t all be up to you?

Tonya Kubo (01:13.827)
Yeah, well, I mean, mental load to the girls is simply all, you know, the level of difficulty it is to do a thing. You know, so we talk about like, you know, Lily rode horses, both girls have taken piano lessons. There’s a period in time where you have to think, in the case of piano, before you push each key, right? Is this the right key? Am I doing it with the right level of pressure? All of that stuff.

Kathi (01:25.792)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (01:38.731)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (01:43.627)
And then one day you’re just playing piano and you’re just worried about your chords and you can tell if it sounds right. Like that’s kind of the ultimate description of mental load. I use the computer analogy with them all the time because they’re younger, they get it. But I just tell them, there’s a lot going on in mama’s brain right now and I need some help. I need some help to offload it. But I also normalize when I know there’s a lot going on in their brains and I…

Kathi (01:59.456)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (02:05.964)
Yeah.

Kathi (02:10.622)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (02:12.148)
I offer for them to offload on me.

Kathi (02:15.346)
Yeah, I love that. And you know, it’s interesting. I used to feel very guilty for asking for help, asking for support when I enjoyed doing something that was hard. Like, you know, planning for our Christmas or planning for a big Thanksgiving. And I actually enjoy that, but it’s also a lot of work. And, you know.

Tonya Kubo (02:23.675)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (02:34.331)
Mm-hmm.

Yeah.

Kathi (02:40.338)
Last November, I wrote an article about the help list where I was asking family members to help my kids and stuff. And that thing blew up not because I’m a great writer, but because people are desperate for help.

Tonya Kubo (02:45.58)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (02:52.911)
Well, and people had strong opinions. I mean, can we unpack that? Cause that right there was, I think, one of the best case studies in the topic that we’re discussing, not so much even the mental load topic, right? But you had everything from people going, can I see your list? Because they didn’t even know what was appropriate to ask for help with, right? Like, because the idea of asking for help was so foreign. And then there were the people…

Kathi (02:58.187)
Sure.

Kathi (03:04.34)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (03:12.706)
Yeah.

Kathi (03:18.334)
Right.

Tonya Kubo (03:22.535)
that were like, well, remind me never to accept an invitation to your house if I have to do chores while I get there. Right. And we’re like, huh, okay. I mean, if that’s what you read, that’s like if that’s what you read into it, fine. But right. But you know, it’s like that person who wrote that lives with somebody who’s probably doing all the stuff.

Kathi (03:28.488)
Right.

Kathi (03:31.95)
Huh, interesting take. Yeah.

Kathi (03:43.846)
Yes, exactly. Right? Yeah, it was very bizarre. And I said, you know, I have my adult children, the people I gave birth to, go in and check our bathroom to make sure it’s clean. They’re like, how filthy is your bathroom that you need somebody to go in and check it? I’m like, you know, towels get dingy after a little while. toilet paper needs to be replaced. Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (03:52.165)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (03:55.845)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (04:06.823)
And it’s like that’s…

That’s like not even the point. The point is if somebody else is in charge of checking the bathroom every hour, you don’t have to, you don’t have to be thinking, oh gosh, like is the toilet paper out? Do I need to refill the soap? Is the, is the hand towel still hanging up there or did one of the kids like walk off with it? Right? It’s just like, oh, well somebody else has got that. They’ll tell me if there’s a problem, if they need my help. I mean that, that right there is the definition of mental load. It’s the fact that you are trying to base to Turkey.

Kathi (04:12.404)
Yes.

Kathi (04:17.373)
Right.

Kathi (04:32.918)
Yeah.

Kathi (04:36.629)
Yes.

Tonya Kubo (04:38.703)
while wondering when the last time the toilet paper roll was changed.

Kathi (04:41.814)
Yeah, it’s exactly it. So let’s talk about the difference between insourcing and outsourcing because I think this is really interesting how you describe it. And on that list, I had insourcing and outsourcing. And yeah, so let’s talk about what you mean by that.

Tonya Kubo (04:55.276)
Okay.

Tonya Kubo (04:58.739)
Yeah, so, you know, because I was a working professional for, you know, my entire married life and also as a mother, I got used to and I worked at a university. So we outsource certain tasks and then, you know, we would insource tasks, which meant you found somebody to do the thing. And even if it wasn’t part of their natural job responsibilities. So when I started looking at, so like my personal come to Jesus meeting with myself and with Brian was

when I realized that I would get home on a Friday night, like the house was sideways all week long, I would get home on a Friday night and I would not actually sit down until I collapsed into bed on Sunday and I would go to work on Monday’s limping because I was so sore from being on my feet the whole weekend. And so I started thinking like, okay, if I can’t do it all, who can? Right? And there was a period of time when I couldn’t, like I couldn’t afford to hire help.

Kathi (05:45.783)
guess.

Tonya Kubo (05:56.911)
So I just started getting really creative. And so the insourcing is who lives inside, who can I delegate this to that lives inside my home? And the outsourcing is who can I delegate this to that lives outside my home? Now what’s on my insourcing list may be different than yours based on, there are certain things, for instance, Brian would not be comfortable having somebody come inside our house and do. So even if there were people that offered that service for money,

Kathi (06:14.722)
Sure.

Kathi (06:21.291)
Okay.

Tonya Kubo (06:25.399)
He would not be okay with anybody outside of our home doing that, right? Brian does not want anybody else doing his laundry. Brian does his own laundry. Right. Yeah, I mean Brian does the laundry in the house because that’s he has a thing.

Kathi (06:32.051)
Mm-hmm. I’m right there with Brian. It is not comfortable for me.

Kathi (06:39.567)
No, I was gonna say, I think Brian gets to be uncomfortable with people doing his laundry because Brian does the laundry. Yes.

Tonya Kubo (06:45.875)
Right, and Lily, like Brian, Lily does her own laundry. She doesn’t want anybody else touching her stuff. Okay, that’s fine, right? So that’s an example of insourcing, because note, the laundry gets done and I don’t do it. That’s what I needed to happen, right? So the grocery shopping, for instance, Brian loves to buy things. He is, he’s a buyer. So we always talk about in Colorful Academy, you’re a buyer or a keeper, he’s the buyer. He loves it. And what I found out,

Kathi (06:57.09)
Right. Beautiful. Love it. Yeah.

Kathi (07:06.486)
Yep. Yes.

Tonya Kubo (07:12.851)
I loved a grocery shop too actually, like that’s fun for me. But what I found is that if he wasn’t in charge of grocery shopping, if I did that piece, then he would take out that buying impulse in other ways.

Kathi (07:15.198)
Mm-hmm, right.

Kathi (07:26.447)
Ooh, good observation.

Tonya Kubo (07:28.259)
So having him go grocery shopping allows him to fulfill that urge to buy without blowing our budget. But you know what Brian hates doing, Kathi? He hates meal planning. Well, he hates meal planning. He hates thinking about what to eat. He just wants the food to magically appear. Like if it could just like, yeah, that’s what he wants. So when I was in grad school,

Kathi (07:34.182)
Yeah, scratches that itch. Yes. Oh, that makes a lot of sense. Right. Making a list. I just, yes. Yeah, okay. Yeah. Right. Yeah, cause that’s how that works. Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (07:55.331)
was when we started to outsource more. So I had somebody who would make meals for us once a week. Right, because I just told them, I was like, I don’t even have time to eat in a restaurant. So eating in a restaurant is not an option. But I can have, and they would drive the meals to us. They delivered the meals to us before Uber eats. And then that’s when we had a housekeeper. We only had a housekeeper for the time I was in grad school. And I would just tell them, like, for me it was,

Kathi (08:03.552)
Mmm, yeah.

Kathi (08:09.896)
Yeah.

Kathi (08:14.806)
Beautiful nice

Tonya Kubo (08:24.975)
wiped out, I’m exhausted, I can’t do all this, and guess what? You deserve to rest too.

Kathi (08:29.918)
Mm-hmm. Yes, isn’t that the goal? Isn’t that the goal is that it’s not that we just we want to give mom a break. We want to get no we want everybody To have time downtime. We want everybody to have time where they don’t feel the pressure of things going on we want everybody to have some delight and not feel guilty for wanting to pursue a hobby

Tonya Kubo (08:31.599)
So that’s kind of my difference. Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (08:38.98)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (08:43.397)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (08:58.703)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (08:58.77)
or not feel guilty. And this is where I like to bring in our discussion about space, time, energy, and money. You know, what are your resources? Because during grad school, I’m guessing you didn’t have a lot of extra money, but you had even less time.

Tonya Kubo (09:05.03)
Yes.

Tonya Kubo (09:12.731)
Well, so it’s like yes and no, right? Because grad school comes with loans, right? And so, I mean, there was, that was the thing as we got into the second year of grad school, I didn’t actually need a loan to cover my expenses for schooling, right? And so, but I went to Brian and I was like, okay, we don’t need a loan to cover the school expenses, but if I take out the loan.

Kathi (09:17.066)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (09:21.912)
Mm, okay, yeah.

Kathi (09:32.14)
Ah, okay. Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (09:42.403)
that can cover some childcare support so that you can actually sleep in on a Saturday morning. That’s something he enjoys doing and somebody else can watch the girls. And that could help us so that we’re not eating McDonald’s three nights a week. And so that was a conscious decision we made as a couple. And I will tell you right now, Kathi, I pay that student loan payment every month with great gratitude in my heart because I don’t think I would have gotten through grad school because I was working full-time. But for me,

Kathi (09:49.705)
Yeah.

Kathi (09:55.534)
Right.

Kathi (10:03.946)
Yeah.

Kathi (10:08.291)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (10:11.439)
You know, there was also the kind of help that we hired, right? So it was like college kids. So I wasn’t paying like an in-home nanny expense. Right. But that time versus money thing, that was it was really hard for me to say, OK, I’m at a place where the time is so precious and if I have a free hour, I want to spend it reading to my children. I don’t want to spend it tidying up my kitchen.

Kathi (10:18.582)
bright. Yeah.

Kathi (10:34.146)
Yeah.

Kathi (10:37.834)
Absolutely. Yeah, we’ve had to make decisions around here as a couple. You know, it’s very inconvenient for us to go places. Like I have no choice. We are not running out to dinner. Like that’s not happening. If it’s going to happen, it’s usually it’s nine. Well, no, it’s 19 times out of 20 that I am cooking the meal, you know, and that’s okay. But that also means that

Tonya Kubo (10:47.281)
Mm-hmm.

Nope.

Tonya Kubo (11:00.777)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (11:07.226)
I’m not trying to work five days a week. I just can’t. Where we’ve chosen to live, I cannot do that. But we save money in other ways. And so those are decisions we’ve had to make as a couple. And, but both Roger and I want time to pursue things we love. You know, for Roger, he’s doing lights for a concert this weekend. And if I was saying, no, you need to be home.

Tonya Kubo (11:10.184)
Mm-hmm. Yep.

Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (11:21.659)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (11:35.626)
because X, Y, and Z, that doesn’t make sense. And so what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna come back in just a few minutes, we’re gonna listen to a couple of commercials, and then when we come back, I wanna talk about how do you start these discussions? Because it can be really hard to go from zero to 100. You know, like I’ve been, you know, shouldering the extra load, the mental load, the.

Tonya Kubo (11:48.972)
Oh, okay.

Tonya Kubo (11:53.429)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (12:01.394)
And I wanna give a couple examples of mental load so people can understand what we’re talking about, but then how do you have the discussions so that you can make changes in how you actually execute things around the house? We’ll be right back. Okay, we’re back with Tanya Kubo and we are talking about mental load. I wanted to give an example of what we’re talking about like for mental load. So, and I’m gonna use one of my kids as an example in that…

Tonya Kubo (12:22.727)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (12:31.326)
you know, my son went through a very belligerent stage where he, I said, you know, he says, mom, there’s no almond milk. And I’m like, well, I’ve told you to put that on the list, because I don’t drink almond milk. I don’t know what and he’s like, can’t you just figure it out? He said this to me, a whole human, fairly and he has repented for him for his sins.

Tonya Kubo (12:53.463)
And he’s still alive? I was like, and he’s still alive?

Kathi (13:00.566)
But I was like, dude, I’m the one who has to make the list. Go to, you know, drive myself to the store, go shopping, make sure that things are within budget. Purchase those things, bring those things home, and then put them away. All I’m asking you to do is put it on the list. But that was too much for him.

And you know what? I think there are a lot of partnerships out there like that. Like, yes, yes. And, good.

Tonya Kubo (13:31.307)
Oh yeah. I mean, like with Brian, well, I was just gonna say like how I explained it to Brian is what I recognized, I said that he does the grocery shopping. So I do the meal planning, I make the list, I send them to the store. Well, there was a time when I was trying to keep us, I think it was like a low buy a month or something, I was trying to keep us to a very tight budget. So what I realized, I couldn’t understand why, but he took twice as much time if I was like, okay, and don’t spend more than $100.

Kathi (14:00.383)
Mmm.

Tonya Kubo (14:00.927)
and he would come home in a foul mood. And what I, after a discussion, he was like, look, Tonya, give me a list. You tell me to stick to the list, I can do that. He goes, but when you give me a list and you send me to the store and you say it can’t go over a hundred dollars, then every item I go to buy, I have to go, okay, well, do I buy the three pound bag of apples or do I buy the individual apples? Do I buy the green apples or do I buy the red apples?

Kathi (14:03.571)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (14:23.854)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (14:26.691)
Like I’m having to do all these mental calculations and he’s telling me this and I’m like, yeah. That’s how you go to the grocery store.

Kathi (14:31.826)
Yeah, right. Yes, I we all want to do the fun parts of a job. I love the picking out the apples when there’s no budget. I love you know, I love like what pre-made meal are we going to get today? But when there’s a budget, we don’t get to do that. And, you know, I have to I have to figure out like when we go to town, it’s not just going and buying the food, it’s making the list.

Tonya Kubo (14:43.492)
Yeah!

Tonya Kubo (14:51.003)
No!

Kathi (15:00.942)
combining it with foods that we already have here. You know, what’s about to expire, so we need to eat that up for like, we do not give humans enough credit, just in the simple act of feeding ourselves how hard that is.

Tonya Kubo (15:14.083)
Well, and Kathi, you mention a lot that you live rurally, but what you leave out, and I think it’s important for those listening who don’t live rurally, but not only everything you just said, but see, you can’t afford to make a mistake in writing your grocery list or inventorying your pantry, because when you get to the store and you come home, it’s for many families who live as rural as you do.

Kathi (15:30.273)
No.

Tonya Kubo (15:41.995)
It’s a one to two times a month visit into town. It’s not a weekly visit. And so it’s like, okay, well, if I forget something, I’m living without it for a whole stinkin’ month.

Kathi (15:45.471)
Yes.

Kathi (15:51.874)
Right. Yeah, because I’m not paying and I’m not exaggerating here, $15 in gas to go get the thing. Yeah. And, you know, I also have to be prepared the day before. I have to make sure that the blue ice is frozen because I can’t be carrying that stuff around in my car. I have to make sure that we have the ice pack there. If I’m going to take something to the dry cleaners to get mended or something like that, that has their…

Tonya Kubo (15:58.528)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (16:08.611)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (16:20.158)
is so much that goes into it. And I don’t know that Roger really understood that. Now, I will also be fair, I don’t understand the mental load that he is under in different areas around our house. But I do know that whereas his is more special occasion, mine is every day. Like it’s every day feeding the people, yeah.

Tonya Kubo (16:41.575)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (16:44.935)
Well, it’s just difference. And I think it’s fair to say, I mean, read any, like, read what? Like, women are like spaghetti, men are like waffles, like any of those couples Bible study books. And they’ll all tell you that men’s brains compartmentalize one thing at a time, and women’s brains see connections everywhere. So that is why, as we’re making the grocery list, we can think about like, oh, good golly, next Thursday is the Valentine’s Day party or the Easter party.

Kathi (17:05.004)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (17:14.743)
and we’re going to have to have cupcakes and little Jimmy’s allergic to fruit. So he needs a special cupcake. Right? Like Brian would have that thought the morning of the school party. Oh, did we get the special cupcake? Not because he’s a bad person, not because he doesn’t love our kids any more than I do, it’s simply because for him there’s two time zones. There’s now, there’s not now. Next Thursday is not now.

Kathi (17:21.74)
Yeah.

Kathi (17:25.098)
Right, absolutely.

Kathi (17:29.474)
No.

Kathi (17:38.558)
Yeah, yeah. Yes, exactly. Okay, so how do we have these discussions in a respectful way, but also in a way that impacts change? It was really interesting when we were having this conversation with Clutterfree for Life. We were talking about, is it easier for your partner to be at home or away on a trip?

And I, you know, it’s such a clarifying question. My life is harder when Roger is gone because I’m letting the chickens out. I’m, all those kinds of things. My life, Roger’s life is harder when I am gone because I’m cooking the meals and everything. I think for most households in America, it can be set, I’m not saying all, it’s not all men. I get this guys, please.

Tonya Kubo (18:13.903)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (18:18.617)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (18:35.751)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (18:37.866)
But it’s easier when our husband is traveling than when he’s home. But it’s not easier when mom is traveling than when they’re home. And I just, I think, at least I would say that’s true for people my age. And so, and I know there’s some change coming up, but it’s not as fast as we’d like it.

Tonya Kubo (18:55.344)
Yeah!

Tonya Kubo (19:02.067)
depends. I mean, I remember when I was traveling with mops and a lot of the women had never left home before. And I mean, their phones were getting like blown up all the time, right? Like, where’s this and what about this and what about that? And what I noticed the difference is the women who got all the calls and the women who didn’t, where the women who didn’t get the calls were the women who were like, look, as long as

Kathi (19:09.707)
Right.

blowing up. No.

Tonya Kubo (19:28.375)
all the kids that I left alive are still alive when I get home, it’s good. Then the dads felt free to solve the problems, right? And some of those moms went home and like the sink was disgusting and all the laundry was dirty and their kids ate McDonald’s all week. But the other moms who were like, they had like a plan or they didn’t have a contingency plan for when they were gone, it was like that.

Kathi (19:37.866)
Right.

Tonya Kubo (19:56.675)
So I think how, you know, the real question is like, how do you start the conversation in a respectful way? I don’t recommend doing what I do. Don’t throw a temper tantrum. I threw an adult-sized temper tantrum, several times actually, before I realized that rather than coming at the conversation from I do all this, I’m losing my marbles over here, I, and you never, and da, was to simply, when I made that recognition that I was tired and exhausted.

and I wanted a break and guess what? It wasn’t that I deserved a break and he didn’t, it was that I was envious of the breaks, of the rest I thought he was getting. And so I approached it simply from, I don’t want you to do more than you already do, but I need to do less. So how do we make that happen?

Kathi (20:37.783)
Yeah. Yep.

Kathi (20:47.742)
Right, and here’s what I’ll say about your mops example. I would be okay coming home to that sink full of dirty dishes if when I got home, we were both working on it together. But if I’m going away and getting punished because I’m going away, no bueno. And so I feel like one of the most important sentences

Tonya Kubo (20:53.38)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (21:01.845)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (21:05.226)
Mm-hmm.

Yeah.

Kathi (21:15.854)
to be able to start this conversation is, okay, this is how we’ve lived before, but this can’t work for me anymore. And I like what you said. I don’t want you to necessarily work harder, but I need to rest more. So how are we gonna get to that? And I really love the book, Fair Play, because it enumerates what actually takes

has to happen in order for things to happen. Like going to a birthday party is not just going to the birthday party. It’s, do you have something clean to, I’m talking if you’re taking your kids going to a birthday party. Do you have clean clothes to wear that are appropriate for the activity? What is the activity? Who’s going to be the adult in charge? Do I trust that adult? Do we have a birthday present for this child that we’re going to? Does that need to be wrapped?

Tonya Kubo (21:46.311)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (21:58.052)
Yeah!

Kathi (22:15.702)
Are there other things that we need, if my child has allergies, how do I communicate that with, I mean, it can be a 20 item list. And I know that there are some parents who would say, you’re making this more complicated than it needs to be. No, actually, we’re not. No.

Tonya Kubo (22:23.748)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (22:27.079)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (22:36.111)
No, it’s just you do it on autopilot. So the problem with mental load where people misunderstand and it’s just like my grocery shopping example. When Brian’s like, Tony, I have to do all this. I’m like, yeah, we call that grocery shopping. Because for me, that’s one task. It’s all lumped into grocery shopping. For most people, it’s like, well, you’re just going to a birthday party. But if you want somebody to help you, you can’t just assume they know all that. You have to list out every aspect of preparing for the birthday party.

Kathi (22:42.446)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Kathi (22:47.798)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (22:55.286)
Yeah, no.

Kathi (23:08.25)
Yeah, and so we need partners is what it is. And they don’t have to take over everything, but they may have to take over some things that they have not had to take over before. And to be able to say, like I said, I don’t need you to work more, I just can’t be working as much as I am. And so that either means that you’re going to have to take on, learn some of these things, take on the load.

Tonya Kubo (23:12.553)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (23:28.226)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (23:35.774)
or we’re going to have to get some help. And both of those are great options. But if you are stressed, if you’re not falling asleep at night, if you are feeling resentment, I’m guessing it’s mental load friends. So to have the conversation to say, this is how we’ve lived up until now, and I cannot continue that way anymore.

Tonya Kubo (23:38.509)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (23:42.567)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (23:55.429)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (24:03.454)
I would love for us to come to a solution together. You know, Roger got asked to change something about the lighting at church. Somebody was upset because the lights were in their eyes in the congregation. And so the person in charge said, Roger, we can’t have lights in the audience anymore. And Roger was really frustrated because he said, I understand that we need to solve this problem.

Tonya Kubo (24:16.838)
Mm.

Tonya Kubo (24:32.007)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (24:32.31)
but you came to me with a verdict and didn’t ask for help with the solution. And there are lots of ways we can approach this. I’m a lighting expert, we can figure this out. And so to have the conversation and say, not saying you have to come up with everything yourself when you’re having this conversation, but here’s the end result that I need. I don’t need you to unload the dishwasher.

Tonya Kubo (24:43.931)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (25:01.586)
I need to not have to unload the dishwasher every single time. And there’s a lot of ways that can be accomplished.

Tonya Kubo (25:06.307)
Well, you know what? Yeah, I mean, what you’re really bringing up reminds me of, I think what ends up happening is we jump to a solution, like there is only one way to solve this without getting really clear or accurately communicating the problem. So, I know a lot of couples, it’s like I kill myself cleaning the house, the house,

Kathi (25:18.78)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (25:26.987)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (25:36.031)
is in complete disarray or I hire a housekeeper. Those are the only three options they see. When if they approached it with, I actually only am able to tidy up one hour once a week. And one hour a week is not enough with six kids and this and this and this. What else can we do?

Kathi (25:43.957)
Yes.

Kathi (25:57.448)
Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (26:01.807)
Then you open the conversation to other people going, well, maybe Ike do an hour one day a week. And Ike, I mean, that’s what we do all the time here in this house is, you know, clutter free is 15 minutes a day. Everybody has their own 15 minutes a day to do. And guess what? The house gets an hour of attention. Not always in the places I would put my attention, but guess what? It’s not me. So it’s great.

Kathi (26:18.359)
Yeah.

Kathi (26:24.887)
Right?

Yes, it’s fine, yes. Tanya, we wanna be able to continue this conversation and we are going to do that over in our Facebook group, Clutter Free Academy, Kathi Lipp’s Clutter Free Academy. We’re gonna put some dates and times down in the show notes. We would love for you to be able to join us and we’d love to hear your ideas too because we don’t have all the answers. We have a lot of questions, we don’t have all the answers.

Tonya Kubo (26:35.576)
Yes, we are.

Tonya Kubo (26:43.413)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (26:48.366)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (26:55.335)
I was gonna say, here’s what I would love, is I would love people’s thought, like if you’re listening right now and you’re like, oh my gosh, I have questions, I have thoughts, I want them, email them to us. We will give you the best email address to reach us at here in the show notes, but email us and we will use that to formulate the agenda and actually really talk about not just how to start the conversation, but what are some good tactical approaches?

Kathi (27:04.51)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Kathi (27:24.638)
Yeah, because we want to solve this. We don’t want to just complain. We want to solve this. And we want to make life better for everybody in our house. Tanya, thanks for being with me today.

Tonya Kubo (27:33.961)
Thanks for having me and being willing to have this conversation. This is a tough one.

Kathi (27:36.966)
Yeah, we are going to keep having this conversation too, because we need to. Friends, you have, you’ve been the most important part of this conversation and we want to hear your thoughts. You’ve been listening to Clutterfree Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always wanted to live.