#605 Why Your Perfectionism is Keeping You Stuck in Clutter (and What You Can Do About it) Part 2

#605 Why Your Perfectionism is Keeping You Stuck in Clutter (and What You Can Do About it) Part 2

605 – Why Your Perfectionism is Keeping You Stuck in Clutter

(and What You Can Do About it) Part 2

When you bring a new item into your space, do you struggle with where to put it?

Have you ever uttered a sentence like this to yourself? “Why don’t I know where this goes?”

Kathi Lipp and three-time co-author, friend, and frequent co-host Cheri Gregory are here to help. In this episode, they finish a two-part conversation about the straight line between perfectionism and clutter. Cheri speaks from an HSP (highly sensitive person) perspective and someone who struggles with perfectionism. She gives us some real-life advice from her recent kitchen and office remodel. Listen in as Kathi and Cheri discuss the connection between perfectionism and clutter, as well as:

  • When is it time to let things go?
  • What is valuable enough for you to store?
  • What is anti-perfectionism and how to use it to make decisions

Cheri Gregory mentioned using anti-perfectionism before purchasing a new office chair. Here’s the picture she promised us!

Haven’t listened to episode 604 Why Your Perfectionism is Keeping You Stuck in Clutter (And What You Can do About it) Part 1? Click here.

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

Would you like to receive Kathi’s Clutter Free Academy Newsletter in your inbox? Get it free here!

An Abundant Place: Daily Retreats for the Woman Who Can’t Get Away

Are you overcommitted, overstressed, or just plain overwhelmed? These devotions will give you greater peace and perspective, and a plan for managing your busy life.

Have you reached the point where one more thing on your to-do list is one too many? Do you find yourself praying, “Lord, I don’t think I can handle any more stuff?”

Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory have been there. They want to encourage you, but even more important, they offer helpful solutions to make your everyday life easier. Get good advice on how to plan ahead, set boundaries with others and yourself, and be more intentional about self-care without the guilt.

Let Kathi and Cheri help you find a place of more joy and abundance, one devotion at a time.

Order your copy of An Abundant Place: Daily Retreats for the Woman Who Can’t Get Away here.

In this episode, Kathi and Cheri remind us that space is valuable and we don’t need to be storing things for other people, like our adult children.

Are there items in your space that you need to release to the people they belong to?

Share your answers in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

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

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest 

 

Cheri Gregory

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

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

Transcript

Kathi (19:50.183)
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 with my conversation with my co-author, HP, excuse me, HSP specialist, and my dear, dear friend, Cheri Gregory. Cheri, welcome back to Clutter Free Academy.

Cheri Gregory (20:13.858)
Hey, it is wonderful to be back, Kathi.

Kathi (20:16.851)
So it’s really interesting when we have psychological things to unpack in the clutter free community, I run to Cheri because she has thought about all of these things in very, no, you know, well, maybe you are, but your psychosis has worked well for me for years to help me unpack some things. And if you haven’t heard part one of our conversation, go back and listen to that. We’re talking about.

Cheri Gregory (20:29.006)
Because I’m psycho.

Cheri Gregory (20:37.259)
I’m out.

Kathi (20:43.703)
the link between perfectionism and clutter, because in my paid group, Clutter Free for Life, that was the topic that kept coming up for people over and over and over again. I think it’s really interesting when I’m first talking to people about clutter, like the, you know, oh, I have clutter in my house, and if we get into a conversation about it, the first layer is people talking about their circumstances.

Cheri Gregory (21:12.119)
Mm-hmm. Hmm.

Kathi (21:12.555)
Like I’ve got little kids or my husband doesn’t want to get rid of things or I came like it’s a lot of the External and maybe that’s not all external, you know, I mean and I’m not saying that’s not legitimate Holy cow. Is it legitimate? Especially if you have a partner who is not partnering If you have kids who their only job is to bring paint home papers from school like that is their full-time gig Yes

Cheri Gregory (21:28.503)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (21:42.351)
That is it. But I think that we start to address some of those things and we start to realize for some of us, me included, that the clutter issues go deeper. And I think, you know, perfectionism, that whole idea of until I have all the time to do it, I have none of the time to do it. Until I have all the space for my life, I have none of the space for my life.

Cheri Gregory (21:53.599)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (22:04.271)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (22:10.109)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (22:12.339)
I can cook, you know, 10 meals at a time. I can’t cook a grilled cheese sandwich. Like, I mean, these are the things that we tell ourselves. And I think we know.

Cheri Gregory (22:21.842)
Until everybody in the family cooperates with me, I can’t even attempt to do anything different than what’s currently happening.

Kathi (22:25.319)
Yes. Right. And please hear me. You guys have legitimate reasons to be frustrated. But I also know that I spent, personally, Kathi Lipp spent a lot of time focused on Roger’s minimal clutter, because I didn’t understand it, but I totally understood mine.

Cheri Gregory (22:53.006)
Mm-hmm. Hehehe.

Kathi (22:53.063)
Like I knew why I put that there for now and things like that. So, and Roger’s definitely the less cluttery person in this relationship, but I think we naturally do that. We look for the, the outside solvable thing. And then once we’ve solved a lot of those things, we can turn to the inside solvable things, because let’s be honest, the inside is a lot tougher oftentimes. And so.

Cheri Gregory (23:09.88)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (23:19.657)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (23:22.747)
Cheri, I want to ask you, you know, what are, first of all, what were some of the emotional steps? Because can I just make an observation and Cheri, if you want me to delete this from the podcast, I will be happy to, but well, no, I won’t be happy to, but I will.

Cheri Gregory (23:38.769)
Well, I’m now so very curious. Keep going.

Kathi (23:41.231)
Okay, so you and I have been doing online meetings for, I mean, over a decade, long over a decade. And whenever I’ve talked to you, there has been a screen behind you. I’m assuming, like most of us, you know, we had our Zoom screens and things like that, because there was real life going on behind you, and you didn’t want to distract people with that. Today, there’s no screen, and you and I haven’t been on Zoom in a while. I don’t know when this

Cheri Gregory (23:47.991)
Oh yeah.

Cheri Gregory (23:52.427)
Hahaha!

Kathi (24:11.639)
But there’s a real transformation in your space, is that correct?

Cheri Gregory (24:15.358)
Oh yeah, I get in my office again this month, but I did it very differently than I have in the past. And so it’s actually turning into a functional space.

Kathi (24:25.351)
Okay, I wanna know first of all, were there some mental and emotional differences in how you approached your clutter this time? I’m sorry, I didn’t tell you I was gonna ask you about any of this stuff, but I didn’t see your office until 20 minutes ago.

Cheri Gregory (24:34.402)
Hmm. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, no. Yeah, I can actually tell you the story about how it happens. So, you know that a couple of years ago, our landlord decided to do a renovation of our kitchen. And Jonathan and I took, well, we had to take everything out. And then they gutted it. So, yes, my son, Jonathan, he’s the hashtag mathematician in the kitchen. He’s an amazing cook and baker.

Kathi (24:46.738)
Yes!

Kathi (24:57.547)
Jonathan’s her son. Just so you guys know, yeah.

Cheri Gregory (25:04.414)
And so we did go through and declutter things because I’m like, I don’t want to store anything that we’re not actually gonna keep. And he was like, I don’t want to bring back into the new kitchen anything we’re not gonna keep. So we had a circumstance that helped us do that. But then when all the new cupboards and appliances and everything was in there, Jonathan had been thinking about how to put things back in the kitchen. He used what’s called design thinking. And don’t ask me what that is, because I actually don’t know.

Kathi (25:17.688)
anyhow.

Kathi (25:30.467)
Mm-hmm. Okay.

Cheri Gregory (25:32.722)
All I know is that the end result was he had a plan, a mental plan for where everything was gonna go and it was based on function, not form. It was based on function like this is a baking station and this is a cooking station and this is the cleanup station and this space will always be left clean and he threatened dire consequences to anybody who left things there. And it’s not a big kitchen. And so I wasn’t sure if his plan was gonna work, but not only…

Kathi (25:44.234)
Mmm.

Kathi (25:55.191)
Ha ha ha!

Cheri Gregory (26:02.338)
had we decluttered enough stuff that we were able to move everything in and it’s very like he the kids, both of my kids, Jonathan and Marie, they were adamant, no stacking frying pans on top of each other. So you have to kill yourself and want to swear in order to find the one that you want, like really lots of margin. And then we then Jonathan told me the most important thing. He said, once we get everything set up, then we live with it. We experiment. We see it all as a grand experiment.

Kathi (26:15.915)
Hmm, yeah.

Kathi (26:22.091)
Mmm.

Cheri Gregory (26:30.514)
And then we keep tweaking and we keep having conversations and anything that’s not working, we redo it until it works. And I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, Kathi, but our kitchen works flawlessly. Like there is when Anne Marie visits once or twice a year, she can find anything she wants because it makes sense where it is. And Daniel can find where to put it back. So when I gutted my office, I decided I wanted anything that wasn’t going to serve me in the year 2024 in it.

Kathi (26:33.023)
Yes.

Kathi (26:38.966)
Mm.

Kathi (26:43.816)
Oh my goodness.

Kathi (26:51.021)
Right.

Cheri Gregory (27:00.682)
and I have some projects I really need to finish in 2024. And so I got rid of a whole bunch of stuff. We can talk about how I made those decisions in a second if you want. But then I realized, okay, I’m not coming in here and trying to set up something pretty. In fact, if you look behind me, it’s kind of chaotic looking. It’s, I mean, it’s not gonna go on a, on any kind of a magazine cover.

Kathi (27:00.771)
Hmm.

Kathi (27:04.491)
Right.

Kathi (27:09.996)
Okay.

Kathi (27:22.607)
say it’s chaotic looking, I would say is definitely function over form. So you’re not, you weren’t trying to put curtains up so that you wouldn’t see the books or anything like that. You can see the books, but you could probably find the books too.

Cheri Gregory (27:28.371)
Yes.

Cheri Gregory (27:33.266)
Oh no. No no no.

Yes, and my books are not organized by here’s all the red books or turned around the other way. That’s not decorator friendly at all. But right now I have post-it notes so you can find I can find my books like I needed a particular book today and I reached and I was able to find it. So, so I got rid of everything that didn’t belong in 2024. And now I’m approaching it like a working kitchen. Only it’s my working office and I am

Kathi (27:42.677)
Right.

Kathi (27:46.165)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (27:49.708)
Yeah.

Kathi (27:58.295)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (28:02.859)
Mmm.

Cheri Gregory (28:05.286)
As let’s say I’m working on something and that I don’t know where to put it instead of shoving it somewhere. I pause and I ask myself why don’t I know where to put this? Why do I have the urge to set it here or shove it there? What part of my system isn’t working right now or have I not planned for? So that there is a process so that there is a workflow and I’ve given myself. Yeah.

Kathi (28:11.618)
Right?

Kathi (28:16.06)
Mmm.

Kathi (28:29.067)
What a great question though. Why don’t I know where to put this? What a great question. Holy cow. Yeah, that’s really good.

Cheri Gregory (28:36.298)
Yeah. And so I don’t know if you can see, but I’ll show you over here. On the floor is a 40 by 40 square of paper and I’ve got stuff stacked all over it to simulate the bulk of a chair I’m thinking of purchasing. Now, I have not bought a decent piece of furniture in so long. I don’t even know how to, but I have found a chair that I’m kind of in love with. But rather than rather than be perfectionistic, Kathi, rather than go get it and then have buyer’s remorse and then beat myself up because I can never make good decisions.

Kathi (28:45.769)
Okay?

Kathi (28:52.867)
Hahaha

Okay.

Yeah. Right.

Cheri Gregory (29:04.802)
And rather than be like, oh, forget it. It would just be a waste of money. I probably wouldn’t use it anyways. I’m experimenting by putting something that size and shape there. And I’ve been living with that for about a month to see, am I okay with that amount of bulk, with that amount of floor space being used up? Now, obviously I can’t sit on it and enjoy it, but I’m just trying to see, do I resent the loss of floor space? And so the thing that is anti-perfectionism about this is,

Kathi (29:04.888)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (29:10.465)
right?

Kathi (29:19.82)
Hmm.

Kathi (29:23.773)
Right. You’re right.

Kathi (29:29.027)
Mmm.

Cheri Gregory (29:32.818)
I’m experimenting. I’m like, there is no one right way to do this. It is, it’s very fluid and I’m expecting this to take several months. And then I expect that I’m gonna, you know, I’m gonna start finding little parts that don’t work or maybe something about a project changes and I’m gonna need to keep asking these questions along the way. So it has, it’s been transformational to think, because here’s the thing, in our kitchen,

Kathi (29:34.871)
Yeah.

Kathi (29:43.831)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (29:55.754)
So good.

Cheri Gregory (30:01.442)
One of the things I used to do in my office is I used to leave things out because I was just going to come back to it the next day. We don’t do that in our kitchen. Like Jonathan uses his pizza cutter every single day. He doesn’t leave it on the counter. We wash it and put it away in the drawer. When he needs it next, he pulls it out again, right? And so I’m taking that approach in my office now where it’s like, I really want to be able to just have it settled at the end of the day where everything goes back where I think its place is.

Kathi (30:07.004)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (30:13.899)
Right. Yes.

Right.

Kathi (30:27.127)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (30:30.314)
so the next day I can come in and keep using it. So something about that metaphor of a working kitchen that has been experimented with and just bringing that into my office, it’s really been transformational. And to have permission to not have to get it right and to not try to find some external system, like I don’t believe that you could tell me how to do this. I did no research. I didn’t buy anything, Kathi. I bought no folders. I didn’t go to Office Depot.

Kathi (30:55.807)
Right? Yes.

Cheri Gregory (30:59.53)
Like I bought nothing. In fact, all I’ve done is use what I already have and got rid of some things that were just taking up space. But what I believe is I have the knowledge I need to experiment, to practice, and to see what works and what doesn’t work, and to continue working with that.

Kathi (31:18.571)
There are so many things I love about that. Why don’t I know where this goes? So that is such a great question and I also think about a professional kitchen professional kitchens do not have Five wine openers because they’re a professional kitchen. They have one wine opener. They know where it is They don’t have to go down under other stuff to be able to find it they it’s simple the

Cheri Gregory (31:22.828)
Mmm.

Cheri Gregory (31:38.859)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (31:42.557)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (31:47.511)
The counters are clear. They have workspace because they understand the importance of workspace. You know, we have not an instant pot, an air fryer that we use almost every day, but it also gets put away every day. And it’s very light. Now I wouldn’t do that with like the stand mixer because man, that thing scares me. But that sits out on the counter. It gets used about once a week.

Cheri Gregory (31:50.943)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (32:00.846)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (32:06.216)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (32:13.673)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (32:17.527)
But I need counter space more than I need access. I mean, you know, more than I need it to be easy because, you know, the air fryer’s already making my life easier. And so I’m willing to go get it. I’m willing to go put it away, that whole thing. I love this idea and the, okay, but you made a promise and I’m going to follow up on that promise.

Cheri Gregory (32:22.467)
Hmm.

Cheri Gregory (32:26.142)
Yes.

Kathi (32:43.071)
that you said you would tell us how you made decisions about what you kept and what you gave away in your office. So I wanna hear what your decision-making process was there.

Cheri Gregory (32:49.61)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (32:53.922)
Well, it was helpful for me to have a vision of what I needed, which is I need this office to be useful for 2024. I mean, that really gave me a goal, like nothing in here clogging up that isn’t going to be used in this year. And so that means… Yeah, I am. And…

Kathi (33:09.975)
Because you’re doing big things this year. Can you mention a couple of the things you’re doing? I mean, just so people have an idea of how you’re using your office? Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (33:17.254)
Well, my goal is to finally finish my doctoral work and that’s the bookshelf back there and the bookshelf back there, which one of the reasons I haven’t finished it is because everything’s been piles and boxes. And so now I can literally, oh, and I bought myself a new office chair. I’ll send you the photo of my old one versus my new one. I mean, it’s embarrassing talking about, you know, again, so as perfectionists, we can’t start organizing unless we can do it all. And yet we will have a chair that’s 10 years old and looks like garbage.

Kathi (33:27.645)
Yeah, yeah.

Kathi (33:32.439)
Okay.

Cheri Gregory (33:45.57)
Make it make sense. It doesn’t make sense, right? So, but I in my nice new chair, I could roll over and I could pick anything off the shelf that I need at a moment’s notice. And I know exactly where everything is. And I, and it’s organized in a way that works for me. Like I didn’t hire someone to come in and do it. Not nothing wrong with that, but I need to know where my things are. So let’s see. What are some of the things I got rid of? Kathi, would you believe I finally dismantled the binders for the manuscript development team for overwhelmed?

Kathi (33:47.174)
Yeah, it doesn’t. That’s okay though.

Kathi (33:53.987)
Wow.

Kathi (33:58.781)
Mm.

Yeah, right. Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (34:15.954)
And for your listeners, Overwhelmed was released in 2017. And I was like, oh, but I loved doing this book with Kathi so much. And I just had to realize that nothing in those binders caused me to be connected to you in any way, shape or form. Like you didn’t know about the binders. You didn’t live inside the binders.

Kathi (34:16.263)
Okay, you guys.

Kathi (34:38.079)
I did not. I didn’t know that any part of me existed inside the binders. And by the way, we have the book. The book has been published. Yeah, so no, I think. But you know what? Here’s the thing that I have noticed. I don’t think that’s as silly as we think it is, because I have my own binder story. I was a sales rep before I knew you, Cheri. And we used to have to carry around.

Cheri Gregory (34:40.257)
No.

Cheri Gregory (34:44.012)
No.

Yeah, I know.

Cheri Gregory (35:05.313)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (35:08.171)
these giant portfolios of different, like here was my catalog for ANA Plus, and here was my catalog for Carolina Candles. And we had these giant leather binders that all those went into, and they were expensive and they were hard to come by. And so a lot of me was invested, and I kept, even though I was no longer a sales rep,

Cheri Gregory (35:17.454)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (35:21.71)
Hmm

Cheri Gregory (35:27.362)
oooo

Kathi (35:35.063)
They sales reps were not using those kind of binders anymore because everything was digital But because it was such an important part of my life at the time Those binders were hard to get and they were so valuable to me at that time in my life I had a very hard time getting rid of them that overwhelmed binder you had Represented so much work. It was such a big part of our lives

Cheri Gregory (35:40.573)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (35:53.558)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (35:57.484)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (36:00.797)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (36:03.899)
It was such, I mean, that’s one of the most important books I’ve ever written. I would say it’s in my top three. And yeah, I mean, it feels a little bit like throwing away somebody we love to get rid of something that was so important. So I understand it, but we also have to use our own, we have to tell ourselves, Kathi does not exist in the binders.

Cheri Gregory (36:08.67)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (36:20.382)
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Kathi (36:31.131)
The concepts do not exist in the binders my future with this book. Yeah. Okay, so that you got rid of it Right

Cheri Gregory (36:33.566)
Yep. Yeah. Well, and the amount of dust on top of the binders made it really clear that I wasn’t referencing anything in them, like whatever fear had caused me to hang on to it. You know, I spent a lot of the week that I really did the deep gutting, really being grateful, just opening things and going, oh, I loved this so much or oh, this was so important to me at this time.

Kathi (36:52.675)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (37:00.526)
And I am grateful for that. And it’s not staying in here because I have other things I need to do and I need the space. And if I leave it in here, I will not be able to do the things that I want to do. So this is probably the first time that I’ve decluttered with a clear vision for you need to be out of here because there’s other things that are more important. And so I was able to weigh and sometimes it’s I need.

Kathi (37:09.185)
right.

Kathi (37:18.912)
Yes.

Cheri Gregory (37:27.858)
empty space more than I need to hold on to this memory. I need peace more than I need to hold on to this security blanket of a binder or whatever else it might be. And you know, let’s also be clear that there were things belonging to Rafiki in my office and we said farewell. We’ve said farewell to Rafiki at age 16 right before Christmas and you know.

Kathi (37:31.583)
Yes.

Kathi (37:35.857)
Right.

Kathi (37:43.831)
Hmm, so explain about Rafiki. Yeah

Cheri Gregory (37:53.278)
Everybody handles these things differently. And for me, I decided I was not going to keep things around, not because I was gonna go into denial, but because the sooner I could put everything in the car and be ready to take it down to Southern California, anything that’s really easily usable is gonna go to Anne-Marie with her cat, Zaboumafou, and then other things like I still had bags of fluid and special medications, it’s all gonna go to somebody who does foster kitten stuff.

Kathi (37:56.534)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (38:23.022)
And so, you know, but there were some things like, you know, his glucose meter. And I’m like, but I’m the only one who knows how to use this. But but there’s nobody left to use it for. And so there’s no reason for me to hang on to it, even though it was such an important phase of my life. Hanging on to the glucose meter is not going to bring him back. And it’s not going to bring that phase of life back. And so, again, I could be extremely grateful.

Kathi (38:23.671)
That’s so great.

Kathi (38:30.976)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (38:34.636)
Right.

Kathi (38:42.837)
Yes.

Kathi (38:46.846)
Right.

Cheri Gregory (38:51.994)
as I released it and was like, yeah, I’m just that I think I ended up giving to the goodwill because you know, but like you said, it’s there’s a lot of emotional stuff and I gave myself the time. I mean, I’m not talking weeks and weeks and weeks or anything like that, but I was like, it’s going to take as long as it takes. And but again, you know, looking at those things going, does this belong in 2024? Is this going to help me with these projects that I know have to get done this year really helped me be like new.

Kathi (38:58.784)
Yeah.

Kathi (39:15.392)
Right.

Cheri Gregory (39:21.646)
It’s not going to.

Kathi (39:22.311)
Yeah, you know, I have to ask myself, will this item meet me in my future? And yeah, it’s, it’s an interesting way of saying it, right? Because it’s a part of my past. And I take a lot of pictures of things that I’m giving away because, oh my goodness, I loved that jacket and I felt great in it, but you know, some people hold onto their clothes for 40 years. I’m just not that person. It’s for a time in my life. You know, you and I are both speakers.

Cheri Gregory (39:28.762)
Ooh, ooh, so good. Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (39:39.19)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (39:48.005)
Mm-mm.

Kathi (39:52.615)
I buy a couple of outfits per speaker season, I wear it to death, and then it’s time to, if I really love it, I might keep it for another year or so, or maybe two. But for a lot of things, it’s time to let it go, because the jackets I’m wearing are very distinguishable from other things that I wear.

Cheri Gregory (39:58.2)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (40:09.964)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (40:19.666)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (40:19.871)
You know, it’s okay if you want to wear the same thing over and over again But I’m just a different kind of person and that’s not normally how I roll and that’s okay But also like oftentimes I’ll wear something so much. It’s like, okay I’m kind of sick of it and it’s not gonna meet me in my future I’m going to appreciate it for where it served me before but it’s not gonna meet me in my future and that I’ve had Craft things like that. I’ve had

Cheri Gregory (40:24.206)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (40:36.105)
Yeah.

Yeah.

Hmm

Kathi (40:47.627)
The ways I’ve cooked have changed, you know, all those kinds of things. This item’s not gonna meet me in my future. Any other, like one other piece of advice for, I love that you created space in your office and said space is valuable to me. Anything else, I mean, anything else that is new for you that helped you make these decisions.

Cheri Gregory (40:49.886)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (40:53.218)
So good.

Cheri Gregory (41:03.711)
Yes.

Cheri Gregory (41:11.234)
Um, I evicted everything that other people had said needed to be stored somewhere. And I’m like, if you want it to be stored somewhere, you can find a place for it, but it will not be my office. I do not feel a need to store anything, anything somewhere. I, my office is not somewhere anymore. And, uh, and, and part of that is because I need to be able to move. I need physical.

Kathi (41:19.456)
out.

Kathi (41:26.623)
Right.

Kathi (41:33.183)
Oooo

Cheri Gregory (41:40.034)
I need to be able to get to my windows to open the blinds. I need to be able to pop up a table and work on it because I’m a spreader outer and then put it back and I need a place to store it. And so I’m just being a lot kinder to my physical body and saying I need the amount of space that I need and I enjoy the spaciousness. So yeah.

Kathi (41:43.157)
Yeah.

Kathi (41:56.354)
Right?

Kathi (41:59.747)
parents of adult children, your house is not somewhere. And yeah, so I think oftentimes when our kids say, yeah, I don’t want that, we don’t quite believe them. We think, oh no, you’re gonna want your third grade, second place soccer trophy. Now, maybe they need a picture of it, but they don’t need the trophy. Yeah, and so your house, your office, your bedroom, your space is not somewhere.

Cheri Gregory (42:03.634)
No.

Cheri Gregory (42:19.23)
I’m sorry.

Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (42:29.283)
Hmm.

Kathi (42:29.687)
and other people get to decide what they’re going to keep and what they’re not going to keep. And I’m not going to be the keeper of memories for other people. My kids get to decide what’s important to them. I don’t get to decide for them what’s important for them. I think that’s really, really great. Cheri, so much good advice here. So many practical things. Is this about…

Cheri Gregory (42:39.406)
Amen.

Kathi (42:57.639)
embracing imperfection? Or is this, do you see it differently?

Cheri Gregory (43:04.514)
Hmm. I mean, that’s I mean as long as the person listening is okay with the word imperfection. I would say yes I mean like I mean another way of saying it would be you know, accepting that we’re human and You know, I know there’s the scripture be therefore perfect and I know some perfectionists get really stuck on that But really what that word means is be mature Keep growing keep growing up

Kathi (43:11.099)
Mm-hmm. Okay.

Kathi (43:17.187)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Kathi (43:28.491)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (43:31.01)
And you know, there are some areas in life where we want things to be perfect. Like when my dad had a quadruple bypass surgery, there was only one measure of success and that was perfection. I wanted that surgeon to do a perfect job and he did and I’m forever grateful. But it turns out that in other areas of our lives, there’s a much wider range and there is no one standard measure. And so.

Kathi (43:39.597)
Yeah.

Kathi (43:42.908)
Right.

Kathi (43:54.946)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (43:56.01)
You know, I think imperfection, yes, but I would also say things like curiosity and experimentation and iteration. I mean, for me, iteration has become a really big thing for me, realizing I’m going to need to keep trying and trying and trying and revising and revising and revising. And the goal isn’t necessarily perfection. The goal is, oh, this works better. Oh, this works better. And at some point I will iterate less because I will have.

Kathi (44:05.419)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (44:10.664)
Yes.

Kathi (44:18.836)
Yes.

Cheri Gregory (44:24.246)
found all those things that are part of my normal routine and they will all work better. So I think part of it is realizing that we keep trial and error, trial and error, trial and error. And so if that falls under the category of imperfection, then by all means, embracing imperfection.

Kathi (44:41.959)
You know, what I think you’ve really taught us here is to be a student, to be a student of self, to be a student of space, to be a student of how you function in the world. And, you know, I think so often we see somebody else’s system and we think that should work for me.

Cheri Gregory (44:47.811)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (44:57.911)
Mm hmm. Yup.

Cheri Gregory (45:05.328)
Hmm. Mm-mm.

Kathi (45:07.691)
but it just doesn’t because our houses are different, our habits are different. There are so many things that are different and you’ve really given us an opportunity to say, how I move in the world is okay and I need to change my environment to meet those needs. I love it. Cheri, this has been such a rich conversation. Thank you so, so much.

Cheri Gregory (45:12.174)
Hmm.

Cheri Gregory (45:32.043)
Oh, thanks for having me.

Kathi (45:34.291)
And friends, thank you for being here for these good and deep conversations. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Cathy Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.

#604 Why Your Perfectionism is Keeping You Stuck in Clutter (and What You Can Do About it) Part 1

#604 Why Your Perfectionism is Keeping You Stuck in Clutter (and What You Can Do About it) Part 1

604 – Why Your Perfectionism is Keeping You Stuck in Clutter

(and What You Can Do About it) Part 1

Do you hesitate to start a decluttering project because you feel like you don’t have the time or resources to finish it?

You might be struggling with an underlying cause of clutter which is perfectionism.

Kathi Lipp and three-time co-author and frequent co-host Cheri Gregory start a two-part conversation about the straight line between perfectionism and clutter. Cheri speaks from an HSP (highly sensitive person) perspective and someone who struggles with perfectionism. Listen in as Kathi and Cheri discuss the connection between perfectionism and clutter, as well as:

  • How to get away from all-or-nothing thinking
  • The myth of form over function
  • What procrastination might be telling you

 Sign up here to be notified when Why Your Perfectionism Is Keeping You Stuck in Clutter (and What You Can Do About it) Part 2 is released.

Would you like to receive Kathi’s Clutter Free Academy Newsletter in your in box? Get it free here!

An Abundant Place: Daily Retreats for the Woman Who Can’t Get Away

Are you overcommitted, overstressed, or just plain overwhelmed? These devotions will give you greater peace and perspective, and a plan for managing your busy life.

Have you reached the point where one more thing on your to-do list is one too many? Do you find yourself praying, “Lord, I don’t think I can handle any more stuff?”

Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory have been there. They want to encourage you, but even more important, they offer helpful solutions to make your everyday life easier. Get good advice on how to plan ahead, set boundaries with others and yourself, and be more intentional about self-care without the guilt.

Let Kathi and Cheri help you find a place of more joy and abundance, one devotion at a time.

Order your copy of An Abundant Place: Daily Retreats for the Woman Who Can’t Get Away here.

In this episode, Cheri asked us to spend 15 minutes reflecting on these questions:

When was a time you overdid it with perfectionism? Was it worth it in the long run? Did it serve you and your people?

Share your answers in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

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

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest 

 

Cheri Gregory

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

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

Transcript

Kathi (00:01.427)
Okay, this is Cheri Gregory, understanding the link between perfectionism and clutter. Five, four, three, two, one. Well, hey friends, welcome to Clutter-Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And if you have followed any of my writings, if you followed this podcast for any length of time, you already know my guest.

Her name is Cheri Gregory. She is a co-author with me on three books. I always wanna say two. I don’t know why. I don’t forget about the books, I know about them, but I feel like we’ve done some of our deepest work together. Cheri and I wrote Overwhelmed Together, You Don’t Have to Try So Hard, and An Abundant Place, our devotional together. She…

Cheri Gregory (00:38.137)
Hahahaha

Cheri Gregory (00:46.424)
Yeah.

Kathi (00:56.999)
I’m gonna let her describe a little bit of her work because her work has changed over the years. And I think she is doing what she most loves to do. She is my go-to person for HSP issues, which is highly sensitive people. And I just adore her. So Sherri, welcome back to the podcast.

Cheri Gregory (01:19.199)
I’m just going to take and receive all of that. Yeah, I mean, what I do these days is I hang around highly sensitive persons in Sensitive and Strong, my membership, the Sensitive and Strong Community Cafe. I just got done doing my master class, Growing Sensitive and Strong, and it was hilarious because the first night as we were introducing ourselves one by one, oh yes, I found out about you through Kathy Lipp.

Kathi (01:22.157)
Yes.

Cheri Gregory (01:42.682)
Oh, yes, I found out about you from Clutterfree Academy podcast. Oh, I found out about you from reading Kathy’s books. So my people are big Kathy Lip fans.

Kathi (01:46.28)
No.

Kathi (01:49.415)
Oh, that makes me… Well, I’m big fans of their people. I’ve told you many, many times. HSPs are my favorites. I just did a whirlwind tour of San Jose. I had exactly one day and everybody, I almost have the people I met, either they were on the ADHD spectrum, ADHD, yeah. Feels like I was missing a letter there. Or they were my sensitive…

my highly sensitive people. So just explain what HSP is. This is not what this podcast is about, but kind of will be touching on some issues. So what does HSP mean?

Cheri Gregory (02:28.547)
The easiest explanation is it basically means sensory processing sensitivity, which means we are more easily overwhelmed than the average bear, often by external sensory stimuli. And more recently, I have learned by interoception, which means the stimuli that our own bodies produce. And since you can’t get away from your own body, that can be especially overstimulating. But yeah, it was it was not.

an accident that I wrote a bit about being a highly sensitive person and overwhelmed because that is the number one thing that my highly sensitive people tell me they’re dealing with is just feeling overwhelmed all the time.

Kathi (03:03.863)
Yeah, it’s been so interesting to see your journey on this. And today we’re talking about something a little different, but definitely has some overlap. And that is the link between perfectionism and clutter. And the reason I wanted to bring you on, Cherry, and guys, if you hear little tippy-tappies, I’m just gonna be really honest with you. Moose feels good. She’s going through chemo again, and she feels good for about 90 minutes each day.

Cheri Gregory (03:18.602)
Yes.

Kathi (03:32.839)
And right now happens to be the 90 minutes while we’re doing a podcast. So you know what? We’re just gonna let it be and be okay with it. And if you’re a long time listener, you’re excited that she’s feeling good for these 90 minutes. And if you’re new, this is just how we roll. So you know what? Right now she kinda does. I will admit, I had Roger bring me dinner and bed.

Cheri Gregory (03:35.15)
Aww.

Cheri Gregory (03:49.734)
Miss Moose gets to do whatever she wants right now.

Kathi (03:58.915)
so that I could, that’s where she’s most comfortable when she’s feeling her worst. And so I’m not moved. I it’s like waking the baby. That’s not happening in our house. Yeah. So we did something really interesting in Clutter Free for Life, our paid program that has led us to this call. And what we did is we gave everybody who signed up for the Year of our Lord 2024 for the paid program

Cheri Gregory (03:59.679)
I’m gonna go.

Cheri Gregory (04:03.458)
Yeah. 100%.

Cheri Gregory (04:16.492)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (04:27.483)
a 15 minute coaching call with either me or one of the other coaches, Deanna, Grace, Lisa, or Tanya. And I think I’ve probably had about 30 calls and maybe three of them have not said, well, I struggled with perfectionism. And yeah, talk about, I always knew that there was a connection for a lot of people between perfectionism and clutter.

Cheri Gregory (04:31.576)
Nice.

Cheri Gregory (04:45.511)
Ooh!

Cheri Gregory (04:50.902)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (04:54.839)
But I don’t think I realized that the line was straight through as much as it is. And so, of course.

Cheri Gregory (05:00.37)
Yeah, yeah. Okay, so can I ask you a question? Okay, so first of all, kudos that you are obviously such a safe person for people to be confessing that because perfectionism is not something people regularly routinely confess. Like they’ll say, oh, I’m a procrastinator, ha ha, but perfectionism does not have any laugh track behind it. So I’m curious, did they give you examples of what they meant by being a perfectionist?

Kathi (05:11.002)
Oh, yeah.

Kathi (05:16.12)
Right. Yeah.

Kathi (05:22.974)
Right.

Cheri Gregory (05:29.342)
or struggling with perfectionism and clutter? What kind of things did they tell you went with that?

Kathi (05:34.723)
It’s the same sentence for everybody. I don’t start because I can’t get it all done.

Cheri Gregory (05:37.652)
Okay.

Cheri Gregory (05:41.411)
Oh, okay.

Kathi (05:42.739)
Yeah, it is what and I hear that all the time or people will say Kathy 15 minutes as you guys know When we’re talking about decluttering I tell people to declutter for 15 minutes because I feel like our the decider part of our brain Is really good for 15 minutes. Sometimes it’s really good for up to an hour But we’ve all had those days where it’s like i’m cleaning out the garage today And you know in the beginning

Cheri Gregory (05:46.781)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (05:51.431)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (05:59.323)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (06:09.565)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (06:12.315)
you’re getting so many decisions made and by the end you’re just rearranging clutter. So we had some, it’s almost always I don’t have enough time to do everything so I’m not going to do anything because you know in their brain why even get it started and I say you know you may not notice a ton after 15 minutes I bet you will but you may not notice a bunch after 15 minutes but

Cheri Gregory (06:16.099)
Oh, oh, absolutely.

Cheri Gregory (06:39.222)
Hmm.

Kathi (06:41.923)
After three days of 15 minutes, you are going to notice a difference. But it’s having to get started that I think is really frustrating for people.

Cheri Gregory (06:51.37)
Yeah, yeah. All right, so I am in the midst of reading a book on boundaries and I’ll send you the link to it later, but it says something really interesting at the beginning and here’s a sentence I’m gonna run by you. We can’t master something that’s a continual practice. And let me just adjust that for this conversation. We can’t be perfect at something that we’re always going to be exercising.

Kathi (06:56.888)
Mm. Okay.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (07:11.751)
Okay.

Mm.

Cheri Gregory (07:17.418)
And so what I’m hearing in people who don’t want to get started is they feel like there’s going to be a point when they are completely done. And so if you’re going to ever get to that point where everything is perfect, then you should wait until you have time to do the whole thing and then stand back, sing the hallelujah chorus and enjoy it always being that way. Right. But if we recognize that this is a.

Kathi (07:25.377)
Mmm.

Kathi (07:30.024)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (07:41.18)
Right. Okay.

Cheri Gregory (07:45.39)
practice, that this is an exercise, this is an ongoing part of our lives, then there is no destination. And that’s part of what we need to take away is the sense that there is a finish line or a done point. And I’m really sorry for those who are listening if that’s super discouraging, but it simply means that as long as you are doing and you know, I push back against the 15 minutes, you know, I’m an overachiever. I’m not.

Kathi (07:46.933)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (07:51.215)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (07:54.547)
Right.

Kathi (07:59.255)
Mm-hmm. Yes

Kathi (08:04.64)
No.

Kathi (08:11.667)
Yeah, right.

Cheri Gregory (08:13.57)
15 minutes, Kathy, I’m going to do 15 hours, you know? But the practice of doing those 15 minutes is a habit of self stewardship, of taking care of yourself by taking care of the things that belong to you. And like you said, those first few days, you might not notice an awful lot of change, although you know what?

Kathi (08:17.122)
I… Right. Yes.

Kathi (08:29.686)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (08:40.17)
I mean there was a time years ago when I injured my back I could only do five minutes at a time and then I had to be on the couch for 55. Let me tell you when I put those blinders on I was able to be pretty darn proud of those of the little bit of space I cleared in five minutes. What do you see, Cathy, what do you see in those who have overcome this sense of I can’t start because I can’t finish it all in the same fell swoop?

Kathi (08:44.77)
Right.

Mm-hmm.

Kathi (08:56.683)
Well, and…

Kathi (09:07.187)
Well, I don’t want to say that they don’t believe me, but I think they kind of don’t believe me. And it’s, you don’t know my circumstances, you don’t know my situation, you don’t know who I live with. And so one of the things I’ve been saying to people is our circumstances are different, but our challenges are remarkably the same.

Cheri Gregory (09:14.623)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (09:19.246)
Hmm

Cheri Gregory (09:23.606)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (09:36.638)
Yes. Ooh, so good.

Kathi (09:39.291)
Yeah, you know, you know, I love some alliteration. It’s the only way I remember anything. And that, you know, people don’t feel like they’re being helped, which I agree with. And also, it’s not that people, especially adults, in your family should be helping you. This should be a family task, but oftentimes it’s not. And when your mother-in-law comes over, she’s not looking at her son and saying, why haven’t you picked up the house?

Cheri Gregory (09:41.886)
Oh yeah.

Cheri Gregory (10:07.902)
Yeah.

Kathi (10:08.715)
You know, we just know that right and so a lot of people I don’t think You know trust the process because the only results they’ve ever seen have been when they’ve killed themselves To get it. We also Believe in form over function. We believe that if it looks pretty it’s gonna work and

Cheri Gregory (10:22.536)
Mm. Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (10:33.326)
Yeah.

Kathi (10:35.139)
I can get my room looking pretty really quickly, but you know, one of my big things is you can’t organize clutter, because as soon as you touch it again, it’s going to explode, implode, whatever it’s going to be. And so we have to look at the function of a space. And none of us really have a master plan of what

Cheri Gregory (10:38.26)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (10:41.42)
Yep.

Cheri Gregory (10:45.113)
Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (10:53.869)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (10:59.392)
Mm-mm.

Kathi (11:00.671)
We have to make good small decisions over and over and over again to get a space to feel good. And then finally, I think the last thing is we have been sold a bill of goods by these decluttering and organizing systems, magazines, books, that, you know, everybody, it’s clean for a second, it looks nice for a second, it looks organized for a second, and then somebody actually tries to use it. And they don’t take the after picture.

Cheri Gregory (11:05.5)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (11:15.85)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (11:27.826)
Yeah. Mm hmm. Yeah.

Kathi (11:31.239)
I think those are a lot of the problems. Yeah. Well, so here’s my next question for you, because I know that you have also, you know, you’ve had your struggles with clutter. You and I have talked about those extensively. What do you think some of the misconceptions about clutter and perfectionism are? Because I think, for me, I think the one that I hear,

Cheri Gregory (11:33.174)
Hmm, absolutely. That makes sense.

Cheri Gregory (11:43.414)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (11:46.897)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (11:57.671)
is my mom was a perfectionist and it didn’t look like anybody lived at our house. And that’s their perception. Well, and you had a perfectionistic mom and nobody looked, it didn’t look like anybody looked at your house as a child, right?

Cheri Gregory (12:04.332)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (12:08.107)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (12:12.33)
Oh no, I mean she literally had white couches and white carpet, but after she passed and we started opening the cupboards, oh my goodness Cathy, she was a hoarder.

Kathi (12:22.003)
Oh, oh, OK, I knew about the closet. I don’t think I knew about the cupboards.

Cheri Gregory (12:25.234)
Yeah. Oh, yeah, everything was absolutely packed to the gills. So it looked perfect. The outward facing looked perfect. But every anything that was behind closed doors was chaos. I was even shocked. But it was all about keeping up the appearances, not necessarily the utility. I mean, putting in white carpet and white couches right as we were producing grandbabies. Come on.

Kathi (12:33.335)
Yeah.

Kathi (12:39.777)
Okay. So.

Kathi (12:53.299)
Right. So I think most people think when they think about perfectionists, they think about a house like your mom or at least what appeared to be your mom’s house. You know, why everything is perfect as soon as you use something it gets put away that kind of thing. But you and I have both experienced the other end of perfectionism and clutter.

Cheri Gregory (12:58.647)
Mm.

Cheri Gregory (13:03.538)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (13:17.474)
Hmm.

Kathi (13:19.551)
You know, what, how has that, how has your idea about perfectionism and clutter changed over the years?

Cheri Gregory (13:27.658)
Well, one of the things that’s really closely connected to perfectionism is procrastination, right? And so one of the things that I have learned that’s been so important, the whole idea of doing 15 minutes at a time has been really important in terms of breaking me away from the all or nothing thinking.

Kathi (13:34.986)
Yeah.

Cheri Gregory (13:49.582)
is that when I used to do those, because you’ve heard me, I’ve called you up before and been like, oh, I’m gutting my office this week, I’m gutting my whatever this week, I’m always using the word gutting, right? But it’s that all or nothing thinking. And one of the things I finally had to realize is that actually my brain and body remembers the way I treat it. And so when I don’t keep it doable for a human brain and body, which is that 15 minute chunk,

Kathi (14:00.066)
Ha ha

Cheri Gregory (14:19.794)
then my body is going to avoid allowing me to do what injured it last time. Because when we do these hours long days long things that kill us like you said because they do they kill our brains they kill our emotions they kill our relationships they are they’re hard on our bodies um what kicks in after that for me is procrastination and I used to think oh I’m being lazy oh I just need to push harder I need to try harder and I finally realized no actually this form of procrastination

Kathi (14:28.034)
Yeah.

Kathi (14:40.369)
Yes.

Cheri Gregory (14:49.254)
is my body saying, no, we remember how you treated us the last time. We will not let you do to do that to us again. And so I’ve started actually, this is kind of a recent thing for me. I’ve started to actually trust my procrastination a little bit. I don’t mean massively, I just mean, oh, what are you trying to tell me? What memories are you holding on to that maybe I need to learn from? And recognizing that it has this incredibly self-preservation and protective purpose.

Kathi (14:53.019)
Yes, oh, so good. Yeah.

Kathi (15:04.363)
Mm-hmm. Right. Hmm.

Cheri Gregory (15:19.35)
And it’s helped me realize that some of those habits that can cause things to look good. And how many of us before family coming, before a holiday, before a major birthday party, you know, we’re like, okay, we’re all in, we’re going to do that perfectionistic rush of clean everything, spit, polish everything. Oh, by the way, let’s also hand make something and let’s paint something. And, you know, the home improvement kicks in. And then we are

Kathi (15:41.26)
Right.

Kathi (15:45.256)
Yes.

Cheri Gregory (15:47.306)
And for those of us who might be slightly older or have some, you know, have fibromyalgia, or for those of us who are HSPs and our brains and bodies are like, ah, you know, the fact that we used to be able to pull it off when we were 20, doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Doesn’t mean that it has served us well. In fact, you know, I would love to hear from your listeners, Kathy. I would love to challenge your listeners.

Kathi (15:52.575)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (16:03.219)
Yes.

No.

Kathi (16:12.983)
Mm-hmm.

Cheri Gregory (16:14.934)
to think about this and then to email you or to reach out to Facebook, whatever, okay? I would love for them to think back to a time that they did that, where at the moment they felt really super proud of themselves, right? Like there’s a high that comes from perfectionism, from pulling it all off, from doing the stash and dash. So everything has been thrown into the back room and everything looks so perfect and they pulled it all off.

Kathi (16:18.711)
Yeah.

Kathi (16:27.862)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (16:34.728)
Yes.

Cheri Gregory (16:40.63)
But I’d challenge them to really spend a reflective 10 or 15 minutes thinking about the longer term cost of that. That moment of pride, did it really serve them in the long term? Did it really serve the people that were coming to the house? Did it really serve everybody who lived there? And when I look back at myself, I’m like, wow, that was nuts. Everybody cooperated because I was such a maniac, but the price was way too high.

Kathi (16:48.162)
Yeah.

Kathi (17:08.171)
Right.

Well, and I just think about those events, which, oh my goodness, I was the queen of stash and dash. I still work hard before an event, for having a retreat at our house or having a party or something like that, but it doesn’t feel like a massive push for a temporary fix. It feels like we’re actually putting things away

Cheri Gregory (17:36.353)
Oooo

Kathi (17:40.831)
we’re doing the things that are important, which is really, it’s a big turn in my life. But I also think about how exhausted I was when people finally got there. How, and how I tried to pretend that it wasn’t, that I was just, oh, that this all came naturally. None of it came naturally. I was near death.

Cheri Gregory (17:42.318)
Peace.

Cheri Gregory (17:53.806)
Hmm. Yes.

Cheri Gregory (18:06.414)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (18:08.611)
And I wanted people to leave early because I was exhausted. It’s a whole thing. And when we come back, because what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna stop this conversation this week and we’re gonna come back next week. And I wanna talk about, I have some more questions. How do we actually break these habits? And I love what you said about paying attention to the procrastination.

Cheri Gregory (18:31.202)
Hmm

Kathi (18:36.923)
And as you were talking about, you know, getting ready for company coming over and things like that, all I could think about were the other two points in our book, performanceism and people pleasing. Like we’re trying to make sure that everybody in our family, you know, our moms know that they raised a good girl because their house, the house is clean. We’re trying to make everybody else feel comfortable. Yeah. All those kind of things. And

Cheri Gregory (18:46.85)
Yep.

Kathi (19:02.519)
how do we break some of those habits? Because no, I don’t want to invite people over to a pit. Let me be very clear. That’s really important to me. But how do we start to deal with the layers so the big push isn’t so big and that we can have, we can not just have people in our house comfortably, but live in our house comfortably. So we’re gonna come back next week. Cheri, this has been a great discussion already.

Cheri Gregory (19:25.337)
Mm, I love it.

Kathi (19:30.539)
but we’re gonna come back with some practical answers in the coming days. Friends, you’ve been listening to Clutter-Free Academy. I’m Cathy Lip. Now, go create the clutter-free life you were always intended to live.

#603 The Great Freezer Cleanout

#603 The Great Freezer Cleanout

603 – The Great Freezer Cleanout

When it’s time to make dinner, do you fall prey to the game of “Freezer Roulette?”

Do you find yourself pulling out a container of presumably edible, yet completely unidentifiable frozen food, wondering:

  • What is that?
  • How long has it been there?
  • Do I really want to eat that?

Join Kathi and Roger Lipp for tips and tricks to organize your freezer and save yourself time, money, and hassle.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you label your freezer contents? 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 

 

Roger Lipp

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

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

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

Transcript

Well, hey, friends. Welcome to Clutterfree 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 here with the person I’m fighting clutter with every single day. He is the super man. To my Wonder Woman. I think about the bracelets and reflecting all that clutter in our lives. It’s Roger Lipp.

It’s so good to be here. I’m glad I’m fighting clutter with you.

Yes. No, I’ve said this many times on the podcast. There’s a Taylor Swift song where the lyrics are. Wait, it’s me. Hi, I’m the problem. It’s me. I know. I’m the cluttery person.

We do have different clutter.

We have different kinds of clutter. Yes.

Different kinds of clutter. Yes. I know that. Either you or your kids have been here. If they’re empty drink container. Not even empty. Yes, empty drink containers, like a soda can or a fast food drink sitting next to the sink in the kitchen. I’ve never understood it.

I’ve just come to the place where these are people I love, and these are tokens of their love. You could also throw those away, but that’s okay. Apparently, that’s not your journey. It’s fine. And then my clutter is. Yeah. Anyway, we won’t discuss that. We don’t discuss that among polite company, except with thousands of podcast listeners every single week.

But we’re talking about something today that, wow, I don’t think we’ve ever talked about it on the podcast. And I don’t know if this has been an issue for other people, but it’s definitely been an issue for me as the chief cook. And I was going to say bottle washer. You’re the chief bottle washer. I’m the chief cook in our house. And that is freezer management, because, holy cow, it is hard. And let’s just start off by admitting that we have three freezers, and we.

Also have special circumstances.

We do have special circumstances. I would say if we lived in town, we would have two freezers. We would have the everyday getting stuff in and out freezer, and then we have the more long term freezer, the deep freeze.

That is, in fact, what we had in San Jose.

Yes. And we used it. But if you don’t stay on top of it, there are lots of benefits to having not just a regular freezer, but a long term freezer. When you’re buying meat, you can store more of that. We can sometimes get snowed in here, or whatever it is. And so it’s really important for us to have extra food on hand. We sometimes have. Just last month, we had 13 people here, and that all had to be managed and feeding that many people.

It’s good to have a freezer. It’s good to have an extra freezer. Most people don’t need three. We do. It’s fine. But I want to talk about, how do you manage the freezer? How do you clean it out? What do you do? So let’s talk about that. We came up with a system of how we manage our freezer, especially after some winters where we couldn’t get out and a fire where we couldn’t get in. There are barriers to it.

And what we’ve come up with for us, that works for us, is we build up our freezer stock in the fall, and we eat it down in the winter and spring. Do you want to explain why we do that?

Yeah. In the winter and spring, we could get trapped here because of snow. So it’s good to have extra food on hand. So that’s why we build that up for the winter and the fall. I’m sorry, spring. And in the summer, we want to do the opposite because we may have to evacuate. So we’ve kind of learned that there’s a natural rhythm up here that we need to abide by. And in the summer, we want that backstock to be low, and in the winter, we want it to be high.

Yes. Because we’re not probably going to have to evacuate for a long period of time in the winter. We may sometimes things happen, but that has not been our journey so far. So recently, we did a big freezer clean out, reorg, that whole thing, and we did it in the month of January 1, because it’s really cold up here, and you can keep things cold for a while while you’re cleaning things out. And so we learned a few things while we were doing that. You were kind enough to help me unload, and I think the very first smart thing you did is you put on your gloves. What kind of gloves do you have?

Yeah, well, gloves up here are kind of a way of life. I put on a glove to carry out the garbage.

But the glove that I like to use, it’s a good general purpose glove. I like the Milwaukee glove from Home Depot. It’s the red glove. It’s grippy, has just a little bit of insulation, so it kind of keeps my hand away from stuff and allowed me to deal with the freezer without getting cold, but I could still pick things up.

That’s the important thing. And we can throw those in the washer and they drip dry and they’re just great. So I thought wearing your gloves was a really good time. It was a great time to do it because the stuff is going to stay cold. You wear your gloves, and then one of the things that you did is you used laundry baskets and totes to carry everything into the kitchen so I could kind of see it and organize it.

We actually have some of those totes permanently in the freezer.

Yeah, we’re going to talk about that.

So I just picked those up and brought those in. But then there was a sorting process that you were doing in the kitchen, and I was bringing things in from the outside freezers through the laundry basket or whatever. Carrying mechanism.

Yeah, it’s nice to have two people, if you can. One just doing, let’s just say grunt work and the other doing the sorting and organizing and stuff like that. So, yeah, grab some extra laundry baskets so that you have a way to organize stuff. And then I’ll be showing on our show notes the kind of totes that we use that we keep permanently in our deep freeze. They’re almost like a basket. How do I want to say that? Like an organizing basket or. They kind of look like they could be garbage cans. They’re not.

I got them at Target, and some of them are kind of deep. The rest of them are a little, maybe they’re six inches deep. One of them is probably a foot deep. And I keep different categories in there. So one of them I keep bread in. I don’t want them to get too heavy because I need to be able to lift them. But we organize our food in that. But before you get to organizing, the first thing I think you need to do is throw away anything you wouldn’t be excited about eating.

This is anything that is, if it’s not labeled, do you know what it is? Because if you don’t know what it is, you’re not going to cook it, most likely. Or you can do what I did last week, there was something in there. I didn’t know what it was. It did have a date on it, so I felt good about. But I thought it, and I’m like, oh, that’s a pork roast. At first I thought it was a beef roast, but it was a pork roast. And so we cooked that up. But throw away anything you wouldn’t be excited about eating.

And that’s the what and the when. The date is important too.

Yes, the date is very important because we’ll talk at the end of this podcast about how long things should be in the freezer and when it’s just gone too much. The other reason you might want to throw something away is if it has a lot of freezer burn. If something was put in there and it’s just not looking appetizing anymore, it’s okay to throw things away and give yourself a fresh start. So the next step is, while everything is out, clean the inside of your freezer. Now, I’ve done this recently, we didn’t do it with this last decluttering of the freezer, but if you just take a little bucket of hot soapy water and then you do another bucket with some clean water, you’re dipping your towels in there. You’re not throwing that all in the freezer, but then finally your last towel is just a dry towel to dry it all out. You’re going to be golden. Now I will tell you, the thing I learned last time is have your washing machine emptied out before you do all this towel maintenance, because then it’s just easy to throw it all in there, wash it and you’re ready to go.

It’s not going to make you crazy doing this. So clean that out. And then the next thing I did, if you have a taller person, that is a good reason to say you need to be the one to wash out the freezer. Just a little hint there, since I have somebody taller in my life. Make a list. The next thing I want you to do is make a list. Make a list of everything in your freezer. I did it by categories.

I did fruits and vegetables, meats and seafoods, prepared meals, grains. So grains were like rice, potatoes, breads and then liquids. I made a list of everything we have in there, which is great because then you can start to meal plan from what’s in there. And if you know it’s in there, it’s easier to get yourself to dig to the bottom so that you can.

Yeah, because you’re not digging to find out if something is there. You’re going with a purpose.

Yes, it’s so true. You’re going in there because you’re like, okay, I know that there’s a roast in there, or I know that the brown rice is in there and you can do it that way. I think another thing that that list is valuable to have is in the deep freeze, it’s easy to forget what you have and what you don’t have. So making a list of things that you have too much of and you do not need to buy again. Let me just tell you, apparently I am addicted to frozen fruit and soup dumplings.

We’re good. What?

Yes. Like little wontons that you can throw in soups or you can throw them in the deep fryer stuff like, we’re set for a while. We’re good. In fact, we should have that for dinner tonight. Roger. Yeah, we’re going to be fine, so don’t worry if there’s an emergency.

We’re good on souped up links. Yes. And then I would say put things back in categories so they’re easy to find. Kind of have a bread section. Here’s the other thing. I would say have your bread section on top of your meat section. So put the meat lower down. And there’s a couple of reasons for this.

One, it’s not as heavy. Two, you want that meat towards the bottom because you’re going to get less freezer burn, the less air you have around it. So hopefully you’re using your bread pretty quickly because that can get freezer burned pretty quickly. But you want that towards the top. You want the lighter things towards the top. Maybe the prepared meals, that kind of stuff. But have some people buy a quarter of a cow and you want to have that packed down at the bottom. But you want to know what you have that’s really important.

So make sure things are labeled, pack them in tight. And then another thing that you and I have done is you’ve just done freezer roulette where you’ve grabbed things out. It’s like, okay, that’s what we’re going to make for dinner tomorrow.

I think we did that for some podcasts, didn’t we?

Yeah, we did it for TikTok. Yeah. But you can reverse engineer. You don’t have to create a menu plan and then go to the store and buy stuff. You can see what you have on hand. And reverse engineer. Like for us, we’re going to have wanton soup and we’re going to love it. It’s going to be great.

We’re going to love it. It’s our own little guy’s grocery game right here.

Right. So put things back by the category so it’s easy to find them. And we love guys grocery game. We think that’s very fun. Use the bins from Target or however you’re going to do it to be able to organize. I’m going to tell you, Roger, for some anniversary coming up. You know what I want? I want to replace our deep freeze with a standing freezer. Have you seen just.

Well, we used to have one. Right. I was just going to talk about the different configurations of freezers. And does that change your packing strategy? Because I know for the standing freezers, you can’t pack them too dense in certain areas. Otherwise you don’t get cooling, but yet you still want things to be accessible. I was just kind of wondering if there was a different strategy.

So the standing freezer we had before was kind of like a refrigerator. It just had shelves, but it was all freezer. The one I’m kind of interested in.

It’s an eight drawer freezer.

A drawer, like a filing cabinet?

For food. All right.

Right. And Costco has them for less than $400. And the reviews on them are excellent. So I have not done this, but.

I like the concept.

Yeah, I like the concept a lot. Yeah.

I can see putting a label on the outside of the drawer. Here’s my meats, here’s my breads. Here’s the stuff that Roger wants.

All the frozen pieces are here.

I know. Here’s the thing, guys. Our deep freeze is only five years old because we bought it when we moved in here. And these things last for 20 years. I don’t know that I’m going to last for 20 years. So I may just have to bite the bullet and say, this is what I want, because we can’t have four freezers.

Well, for the sake of providing a review to our valued listeners.

We might need to get that and let you know how it goes.

The connection that Roger and I just had on that, that made me love you, like, a percentage more. I didn’t think there was room for improvement, but that may have tapped us out at 100%. Okay, so I do use the bins from target. I will show those to you so I can lift things up easily and see what’s in our deep freezer. I think it’s really important. Don’t use round containers. Use rectangular containers, because with round, what you’re doing is you’re putting space around that food and you’re going to trap air in there, and that’s going to lead to freezer burn. And I don’t want that for you.

I think that that’s really important. Science guy. You would agree with that, right?

Well, I think the freezer, it’s the amount of air inside the container. So the thing that’s tripping me is with a round container, you’re just wasting all that space as well. Yes.

I think you’re wasting space on the outside, too, right?

That’s what I’m saying, yeah.

And that’s going to make your freezer work harder because of all that air.

We don’t want that. Yes. No, we don’t want that. Okay. So the other big hint I have for this is to break your packages down into usable packaging. Here’s what I mean by that. I just recently bought one of those Costco bags of giant chicken wings because we like to have chicken wings every once in a while in the air fryer. Love that for us.

But to drag that ten pound bag out every time, it doesn’t work for me. So right now, we’re on our last individual bag of chicken wings. So when I open up that big container, what I’m going to do is I’m going to pull out my food saver and we’re going to break that down into probably eight to ten packages. Individual packages of, like, eight wings. That’s usually what we’ll have when we’re doing chicken wings. And so we’ll have those eight to ten packages of wings, but we can just pull one out at a time, stick it in the refrigerator, let it defrost and be done with it. And I find that I’m much more likely to use my freezer food if it’s already packaged in usable packages. Does that make sense, what I’m saying, Roger?

Oh, 100%. I think there’s a lot of different food that we do that with because otherwise, when you open it, you’ve exposed the whole set of stuff to air, which is deadly to freezer stuff.

Freezer food. Yeah.

Right. So having those individual containers is really important, and that’s a great tip for folks like us. We cook for two primarily, so to proportion that food according to however many people you’re going to be cooking for. I think that really is smart.

And one of the things that I did, especially when we had a large family, but I still do to this day, is if we get, like, a bag of chicken breasts, I’ll just put two into a freezer, a little container, and I’ll put marinade on it. And so while it’s defrosting, it’s marinating, and we can just pop that into a saute pan into the oven. However, we’re going to do it with some vegetable that we’ve got a mixed container of. So things that you can do this with chicken parts, like large packages of pork chops, hamburger meat, there’s a million different ways you can do this.

Let me just pile one more thing on breaking that stuff up into the size that you want. Basically, you have to thaw it first, break it up into the stuff, and then refreeze what you didn’t use. And now, oh, my gosh. You’ve lost all that moisture by doing that up front. Makes a lot of sense.

And it’s easier to package into your refrigerator. It just is. You’re not pulling out these giant things. It’s a win win. If you’re able to use reusable containers, that’s a win for the environment, too. Keep at least half of your freezer full to avoid freezer burn. That’s a really important point. And, guys, just, again, label, label, label, label.

What I’ve done now is I’ve got a list of everything that’s in our fridge. When I pull something out, I’m marking it off so I know exactly what’s in there, at least for the most part. And then in the notes of this episode, we are going to put the government food safety website so you can see how long your stuff should be in cold storage. It’s really surprising some meats can be in there for up to two years. It’s not so much a safety thing. It’s usually a taste and a texture thing. Why? You have to get rid of things when you do. But you can keep things in a freezer for a surprisingly long time.

You don’t want to keep them in there too long because they do start to break. Also, I would be remiss if we had a freezer episode where we didn’t talk about, what if you have a power failure? Because Roger and I have lived this.

I knew you were going there.

You have to. Right. And here’s what I’ll say. If you have a power failure. One. You guys, if it’s longer than 24 hours, I would rather be safe than sorry because I’ve had food poisoning. Not by my cooking, by somebody else’s, and I wanted to die. So we’re not playing here, friends.

We are not playing. But ours was a three week power failure. Yeah. So if you have a substantial power failure, my number one tip is when you get power back, plug that freezer in and freeze everything. Because it’s so much more pleasant to clean out while it’s frozen. Because, yeah.

It doesn’t smell when it’s frozen. So that it is much easier to clean.

Yeah. I will say if we had to evacuate again, I would get a large tote and throw all our freezer food in there and just take it with, like, we can figure it out on the other end because it’s a nightmare to clean that. I almost just asked Roger to take the freezer to the dump, but nope, I froze it. Got. We took all that food to the dump. We got in there with hot, soapy water. We washed everything out a couple of times and we dried it. We saved the freezer.

It’s the freezer we use to this day, but, yeah, freeze it all again. Trust me, you don’t want to smell that unfrozen. I promise you. Anything I’ve missed, Roger?

No, I think that’s great. That was good.

Okay. This is a fun episode. We got a good energy on this episode, I think because we’re hungry. It’s lunchtime, and yes, we’re going to.

Go visit the freezer, find some of those noodles.

Yes, exactly. We’re going to make it happen, friends, thank you for listening. 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.

#602 How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 2

#602 How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 2

602 – How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 2

Have you ever had a loved one pass and had to navigate the delicate and nuanced situation of going through the items left behind?

Sweet friend, you are not alone.

Listen to How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 1 and then join Kathi Lipp and her guest Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young, author of the book Breathing Through the Grief, A Devotional Journal for Seasons of Loss. Nine years ago, Dorina and her young daughters lost their 40-year-old husband and father to cancer. Listen in as Kathi and Dorina continue their conversation about love, honor, and preserving the memories of loved ones who have passed. They cover topics such as:

  • Creative and honoring ways to use your loved one’s treasured belongings
  • How to permit yourself to grieve
  • Journaling to help with the processing of trauma

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young wanted all of you to have easy access to an article she wrote highlighting ideas she and Kathi did not have time to talk about. Check out 10 Creative Ways To Honor A Loved One’s Memory (And Clean Out The Garage) for this valuable information.

Interested in Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young’s newest book she and Kathi talked about in the past two episodes? Check out Breathing Through the Grief, A Devotional Journal for Seasons of Loss to take a closer look.

 Sign up here to be notified when the next Clutter Free Academy Podcast is released.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you had any victories in curating the treasures of a loved one and how it helped with the grief process?

Share your answers 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 

 

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young is an author, speaker, Bible teacher, and spoken word artist.

Her passion is helping people discover God’s glory in unexpected places and flourish in their God-given callings. She wants you to become a glory chaser with her, running after God’s glory rather than your own. This has made a world of difference in every facet of Dorina’s life.

Her happy place is near the ocean with her people or running on a trail in the mountains near her home. A foodie, Dorina loves trying new recipes and restaurants. Tears, laughter, and good food are always welcome at her table. Guests are invited to come as they are.

Connect with Dorina at www.DorinaGilmore.com, where you can sign up for her Glorygram letter. You can also find her as @DorinaGilmore
on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 
Transcript

Kathleen Lipp (00:00.926)
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 this is part two of just an amazing conversation with my friend, Dorina Gilmore Young. She talks about how after the death of her husband with three really little girls,

she went through the grieving process. And one of the parts of that grieving process was to sort through her husband’s belongings and how she was able to do that with love, honor, preserving memories for her girls, for herself, but also making sure that they could still live their lives in their home as her husband would have wanted them to.

So if you haven’t listened to part one, go back and listen to that and then join us here for part two of this amazing conversation about how to sort through a loved one’s belongings after they pass.

Kathi (18:25.45)
You know, what I love is that a lot of the things that you kept were not things that were gonna sit in a box in the garage. They are things that, you know, maybe the girls would want to wear those shirts, maybe not, but you could also say, you know, okay, you guys are in an age where this isn’t really interesting to you, so we can donate those things. Or, you know, we can, you know, I have…

I kept things from my grandma that I would use, like her recipe box, some Art Deco earrings, an apron that I don’t actually use, but it hangs in my kitchen because it just reminds me of her. And it may, but these are things that actually get used on a pretty regular basis. And so it’s…

It’s honoring to be able to use those things. It’s not disrespectful, even if they’re not being used in the way that you would expect. Your teenage girls wearing the sweaters and things like that. It’s a really beautiful thing. Let me ask you, I didn’t get clearance for this question. So if you don’t wanna answer it, we will cut it out, okay? So, but you’re remarried and you’re…

Obviously your husband knows about your first husband and have you incorporated any of Eric Lee’s stuff into your house and how does your husband feel about that? And did you have a discussion? Like how does that happen?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (20:08.591)
Yeah, that’s something that can be a little complicated and nuanced for people, depending on the situation. We have a unique situation because my husband, Sean, and we’ve been married for seven years. He was one of Eric Lee’s best friends and they were actually friends before I even met either of them. So Sean has been on his own grief journey of losing his friend in addition to entering our grief journey and losing a husband and dad.

Kathi (20:32.995)
Wow.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (20:38.685)
He has been so wonderful at just really incorporating Eric Lee into our lives. I remember Sean saying, even after our wedding day, you know, the only thing that is sad to me about this day is that Eric Lee was one of my best friends and it seemed strange that he wasn’t standing up in my wedding. And when he said that, I was like.

That’s so true. It’s strange. So in many ways, it’s a marriage that incorporates the three of us because Eric Lee was such an influence on Shawn. And we see that reflection even in our homes. So when you walk into my home, you will see that one of the main ways that I decorate is through photo canvases. We have photographs of our family all over our home.

Kathi (21:14.178)
Yeah.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (21:32.283)
We have a wall in our piano room where we have some of the family photos that Eric Lee was in. In fact, wearing that flannel shirt that I was talking about earlier. And then we have some of our newer family photos. We take a family photo every year. It’s something that’s really important to me and the girls. And you know, even some of the photos with my entire extended family that are part of it. And so Sean’s been so wonderful about that. And it’s probably the number one thing that people comment on

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (22:01.897)
I even have a little plaque that talks about like this is our story and the story is told through those photographs. The other thing is through books. So I’m sitting in my library right now. You can probably see all these shelves of books behind me and this is my office and I call it fondly my library because I always dreamed of having a library. But I do have shelves that include some of Eric Lee’s favorite books on them and his handwriting is in those books.

Kathi (22:13.216)
Yeah.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (22:31.537)
so my girls can come in here and they can look at those books anytime. I also happen to have some of Sean’s books in here because that made sense for some of the topics that we’re mutually passionate about for them to be in my office. And I think it’s just such a representation of our lives kind of coming together. He’s never been trying to push those things off. And I really deeply appreciate that. I know that’s probably not everyone’s story, but because Sean and Eric Lee

Kathi (22:43.495)
Right?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (23:01.637)
friends that makes sense for him too.

Kathi (23:04.566)
Yeah, oh wow. Okay, I don’t normally cry during these things, but you know, here we are. I wanna talk, I have one other question, but I wanna talk about your new book, Breathing Through Grief, a devotional journal for seasons of loss. Can you just tell me a little bit about that? Because I know that the people who are listening right now,

you know, are either coming out of a season of grief or, you know, an extended season of grief, they’re in the midst of it, or, you know, a lot of people in the coming months are going to lose somebody that they love deeply. Who is the book for and how is it used? Because it’s a journal, so how does that get used?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (23:58.615)
Thanks, Kathy. Yes. So this is a devotional journal, and it’s written for someone who is walking through grief and loss. And honestly, this is the book that I wish I had nine years ago. I was so hungry for stories about people who had gone through or were navigating the grief journey as I was a young widow. And I also was hungry for that orientation towards God

prayer. And so my journal includes 25 devotional stories, which are just stories out of my life, like some of the ones I’ve been telling you today. And it also includes reflection questions that ask the person who’s reading to reflect on their own grief journey. I didn’t want to just be telling my story. There’s so many books that actually do that and do that well. But I wanted to invite

Kathi (24:51.267)
You’re right.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (24:58.589)
why we chose to do it as a devotional journal because I’m kind of positioning myself as the author but as a guide and honestly the only way through grief is through and so I can’t do the work for the person but I can kind of guide them on that path and even make space for them to journal their own process and there’s even brain science that says that when we write down the things that

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (25:28.449)
the trauma and so I love that aspect of the book because it invites people to go on that journey for themselves as well.

Kathi (25:38.502)
Mm. I love that. And guys, we’ll have a link to that in the notes. I especially think, you know, maybe three or four months after somebody you love has lost somebody. This might be, you know, I’m thinking about a friend who lost her beautiful daughter. And, you know, I wouldn’t want to hand this to her at the memorial service. I’m not giving you homework. But there are different stages of processing and

You know once everybody’s gone home Once the meal stop there’s gonna be a lot of time and space that for deep grief and This could be a really powerful tool to help process that and honor the person that you love so much You know for my friends who are you know are sitting here, and they don’t know that they’re gonna lose somebody

in the coming months or year. I would love for you to just kind of reach through the microphone and give your best piece of advice as, and I know no piece of advice can encompass everything, but what’s the thing that you wish you knew when Eric Lee passed that somebody might be able to anchor in their mind right now as they come upon a season of grief?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (27:07.331)
You know, I think the most powerful thing that I always start with when I’m sharing with people about grief is that you have permission. You have permission to grieve. And that seems like such a basic thing to say, but it is amazing how much, especially if you are grieving a loss, how much expectation we feel, perceive, or actually receive from our communities, from our churches,

maybe your culture depending on your cultural background and what I have learned and what I recognize is that every grief journey is unique and so we need to give ourselves permission to grieve the way that feels natural for us and I learned this so profoundly even as a mom because I had girls at three different stages of development with three very distinct personalities not to

my mother-in-law who lost her only son, and a pretty wide circle of people who knew my husband well because he was a teacher and a coach and the director of a nonprofit. So I had layers upon layers of people around me who were grieving. At first, I kept trying to think of how can I care for others in their grief journey? How can I tend to others? Certainly, I needed to do that as a mom because I was dividing, I was kind of guiding my own children.

Kathi (28:29.912)
Yeah.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (28:37.395)
I want to just say to that person who is grieving that you have permission and to give yourself space for that. The timeline is not finite. The timeline does not look the same for everyone. So my journal, for example, some people might need that in week two. And like you said, others might not be ready for that for five, six, two years, three years down the line. And that’s okay.

Kathi (29:00.15)
Yeah.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (29:03.839)
If we kind of release ourselves from expectation and actually allow ourselves to enter into the grief and even lament, something powerful can happen on the healing journey. If we stuff it down or try to suppress our grief, it’s gonna come out sideways.

Kathi (29:18.987)
Yeah.

Kathi (29:22.43)
Yeah, and nobody wants that, especially the person who’s lost somebody. I grew up and one of the guys that I was dating when I was in high school lost his dad and he was Jewish and they had very specific ways of grieving in that family. And in that tradition, the Jewish tradition.

And I think that we as, or at least me, you know, who has, you know, I’m a mutt, I don’t, our family, our culture doesn’t have grief traditions. And so, you know, there was a freedom in coming up with those traditions with my dad, but there was also a burden. It would have been nice for somebody to tell me, this is what you do.

And we came up with ways to grieve, but I love that permission. And when I said, maybe wait three months to give the book, one of the things I always tell people when I’m giving them a book that I’m hoping will help them, I said, please know this is not homework. This is a resource. And so, if you don’t get to this for 10 years, I’m not gonna be checking on your homework.

I just want this here for you because I want you to feel supported.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (30:52.855)
I’m going to steal that line. I love how you say that. And that is again, permission for that person to grieve at their own pace in their own unique way.

Kathi (30:58.317)
Right.

Kathi (31:02.002)
Yeah, you know, the last thing I want to give you is a to do, but I want you to know that you are loved and supported. Doreena, this has been such a rich conversation. I so appreciate it. The book is Breathing Through Grief, a Devotional Journey for Seasons of Lost. We’ll have that link in the show notes and guys.

I’m just so grateful for this because we talk a lot about this in our large group, ClutterFree Academy that people have lost and they don’t know what to do with their stuff. And so guys, we will share this podcast in that group. And I would love for you if you’ve had some victories in being able to curate a loved one’s things with

honor and with grace. I know it’s a hard decision, but we want to help you through that. Okay, you guys. Doreena, thanks again.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (32:09.007)
Thank you, Kathy. It’s been good to be with you and I appreciate this conversation.

Kathi (32:14.39)
I appreciate it so much because we, like I said, we talk about this a lot. And friends, thank you for being here. I know these are harder conversations, but they’re so necessary because we’re all going to go through this at some point. And I want you to have the tools and the resources you need. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I am Cathy Lipp. And now go create the clutter free life you’ve always intended to live.

Kathi (32:43.762)
Okay, that may be a two-parter, because that was 30 minutes. I wasn’t expecting that, but that’s so great. Okay, let’s go. Let me go to the other one. You did a great job, I know.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (32:56.599)
I do have, I will mention that that, I think I might’ve even sent it to you, that article on creative ways to honor a loved one’s memory and clean out your garage, that is free on my website. And then it’s also printed in the journal. So that might be a way to kind of help people, you know, they don’t have to feel obligated to buy the book, but there’s lots of ideas there of how to do that stuff.

Kathi (33:10.554)
Oh, okay.

Oh, okay.

Kathi (33:23.93)
Okay, something went wrong with stopping. Okay, so I will, you know what? I will, I’ll go back and record a tag for that. I don’t, or you know what? Okay, whoever is editing this, if you can’t find the link to that article, please contact me and I, or yeah, ask Tiffany to contact me and we will do it. I’m trying to stop this recording and it’s not letting me.

so weird. Okay, I don’t want to lose the recording. So bizarre. Why is this is the weirdest day.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (34:02.687)
It says on my end it says 99% uploading. So it looks like it’s up. It looks like we’re still recording. I see the little red record thing in the top left corner, but it does also say uploading.

Kathi (34:06.938)
Okay, does it say that it stopped recording?

Kathi (34:15.89)
Okay, hang on one second. I just wanna do this without losing it. Give me a second.

Kathi (34:50.989)
It’s a very busy day for both of us. OK, so let’s see. I don’t know how to stop this. This is crazy. OK, I’m going to end session for all. And we’re just going to have to come back in. OK, so we’ll do our best.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (35:08.879)
Okay, no problem.

 

#601 How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 1

#601 How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 1

601 – How to Sort Through a Loved One’s Belongings After They’re Gone Part 1

The loss of a loved one is a complicated road to travel. There are many layers to the grief.

One of those layers is what to do with the belongings of that loved one once they are gone. In today’s episode, Kathi interviews the author of the book Breathing Through the Grief, A Devotional Journal for Seasons of Loss. Nine years ago, Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young and her young daughters lost their 40-year-old husband and father to cancer.

In this part 1 episode, Kathi and Dorina talk about this delicate subject as well as:

  • When and how to start the sorting process
  • How to avoid decision-making fatigue in the grief process
  • How to involve close family members

Dorina also shares ideas for ways to remember and honor your loved one.

Grab a copy of Breathing Through the Grief, A Devotional Journal for Seasons of Loss by Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young.

 Sign up here to be notified when part 2 of this conversation about grief and clutter is released.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you struggled with what to do with items left behind when a loved one has died? Do you have any creative solutions for those items?

Share your answers 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 

 

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young is an author, speaker, Bible teacher, and spoken word artist.

Her passion is helping people discover God’s glory in unexpected places and flourish in their God-given callings. She wants you to become a glory chaser with her, running after God’s glory rather than your own. This has made a world of difference in every facet of Dorina’s life.

Her happy place is near the ocean with her people or running on a trail in the mountains near her home. A foodie, Dorina loves trying new recipes and restaurants. Tears, laughter, and good food are always welcome at her table. Guests are invited to come as they are.

Connect with Dorina at www.DorinaGilmore.com, where you can sign up for her Glorygram letter. You can also find her as @DorinaGilmore
on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 
Transcript

Kathi (00:01.518)
Well, hey friends, welcome to Clutter-Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And if you haven’t heard the story, I finished my book, Clutter-Free, on the morning of September 5th.

And about an hour and a half later, my dad passed away in the same room. And my dad is the reason that I was on part of the reason I was on this clutter free journey, because he was a hoarder. And I a lot of the stuff that I tended to keep was because of my dad. And I have to tell you, the struggle for decluttering and the removal of some of his stuff during that time of grief is one of the more difficult things I’ve gone through as an adult. And I am not an expert on this. I am not an expert on grief. I am very fortunate that I’ve had very few encounters with grief in my life, but that means that there are a lot of things to come.

And I thought I would bring somebody who has done the deep dive, who has walked through the grief, because either you’re a novice or an expert. And I’m sad to say that my friend, Dorina, is an expert, but she is so gracious that she is coming to share with us. She has a new book called Breathing Through the Grief, a devotional journal for seasons of loss.

Guys, it’s Dorina Gilmore Young. She’s an author, she’s a Bible teacher, she’s a coach. She is a master of many things. And Dorinna, first of all, welcome to Clutterfree Academy.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (02:10.542)
Kathi, it is a gift to be here with you today. Thanks so much for the welcome.

Kathi (02:15.758)
Well, and you know, it’s, I’m very excited and grateful for this new book that you have. But the path there was a very difficult one. Can you just tell us, you know, briefly your story of grief in your life? And then we’re gonna get into some practical things that all of us can do when it comes to this, this weird tension between stuff and grief.

But tell us a little bit about your journey.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (02:47.215)
Yeah, thank you for the invitation. So I could tell many different facets of a grief journey that I’ve endured in my life, but probably the most prominent is nine years ago, my husband was diagnosed with stage four cancer. And at that time he was 40 years old. I was in my late 30s and we had three little kids. Our daughters were ages two, five and eight. And we received his diagnosis

May of 2014 and he went to heaven in September of that year So even though the days felt excruciatingly long for me as I watched him suffer and his body deteriorate It was quick. It was over the course of a summer for a lot of our friends And you know sometimes you kind of check out because people are traveling and doing different things during the summer and so for friends and family it was very shocking it was a swift battle with cancer and

Kathi (03:32.558)
Yeah, that’s…

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (03:47.089)
been a journey that has had a windy path as it always is. Grief is more like a tangled ball of yarn than it is a straight path, right? But I’m also so deeply grateful for the ways that God has been present with me on this journey.

Kathi (07:10.558)
that while Dorina has gone through something absolutely, you know, life changing, something that most of us in our 30s and 40s would never ever have to deal with, Dorina has a beautiful life. You’re remarried, you have three beautiful daughters, but there has to be this walking with joy and grief that you’ve gone through and continue to go through.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (07:41.359)
Definitely. And you know, I think I’m very passionate about normalizing this conversation about grief because all of us are constantly walking that line. It’s like kind of like a train track between grief and joy. Those do not come separately. They often coexist in a given day, in a given hour, in a given minute sometimes for all of us. And so when

Kathi (07:51.819)
Yeah.

Kathi (07:59.298)
Mm-mm.

Kathi (08:02.786)
Yeah.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (08:11.313)
with a recognition that God has brought great rejoicing and redemption in my life, but it also means I deal with triggers and the journey of grief daily, and that’s nine years out.

Kathi (08:25.066)
Yeah, okay, so let’s talk about triggers because I have to imagine the things in your life, the things that were your husband’s, the things that you shared, the things that are significant to your three daughters. How do you start to deal with some of those things? Because I know for my mom,

she wanted to get rid of a lot of stuff very quickly. With my dad being a hoarder, this finally gave her permission. That was not your story. You’re surrounded by all these things that bring back good memories, I have to imagine. But we also can’t continue to live with all of that the whole time. How did you start?

to detangle the, you know, I don’t want to call it decluttering, but maybe the curation, the collecting, the downsizing of some of those things. When did that start for you?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (09:33.263)
Yeah, that’s such a good question to reflect on because my husband was not a hoarder. So it is a different story. But at the same time, we lived in a home together where he actually had been a bachelor living for many years. And then we moved. We lived on the mission field in the country of Haiti. And so there are things that you sort of accumulate along the way. And then there are the treasures from someone’s life that you have to figure out when you’re the person kind of left.

Kathi (09:38.39)
No. Yeah.

Kathi (09:47.168)
Mmm.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (10:03.217)
behind, in my case I was the widow, where it’s like, okay, how can I measure right now what’s going to be important in the future and what are things that just need to be downsized and decluttered because we have to live our normal life and we can’t keep existing in the past. So I feel like I had to start going through that journey slowly. One of the things that expedited it is that I moved

Kathi (10:12.547)
hate.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (10:33.137)
home where my husband died to a new home with my daughters about a year after his passing. And so I’ve actually written about this a little bit on my website, my blog as well, but I had to decide, okay, what can I emotionally handle to declutter and what are some things that I need to just give myself permission to do at a later time. And one of my sweet friends was brilliant.

Kathi (10:52.014)
Mm-hmm.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (11:03.057)
of this process and she got a huge cardboard box and she wrote with a sharpie on the outside time capsule and it was just a thing where I had this box where I could put things into it that I could make a decision about at a later time.

Kathi (11:12.631)
Oof. Hmm.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (11:23.407)
And then there were the things where it was like, okay, I’m going to donate this, or I’m going to throw this away, or I’m going to get rid of this. But it’s so emotionally exhausting, especially on a grief journey. You get this kind of decision fatigue that happens pretty quickly. And so, you know, by the end of the first, I’ll call it sorting, I had 10 boxes remaining that were his things. And then the next time I moved, it was less, you know, and so I just kind of gave myself permission along.

Kathi (11:23.776)
Right.

Kathi (11:43.909)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (11:47.874)
Oh wow. Okay.

Mm-hmm.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (11:53.361)
the way. But still, even today it’s so interesting. It’s like I gave away so many of my husband’s clothes thinking those were probably not important. I saved some special flannel shirts that we made into pillows for my daughters and some special t-shirts and that kind of thing. But still, my daughters today, just because of the way style is and because they love thrifting,

Kathi (12:19.585)
Yeah.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (12:23.281)
all the things that I gave away of my husbands or something sort of in that genre. And I’m like, well, why didn’t I keep, you know, those sweatshirts that were from college that I didn’t think anyone would care about five years ago or seven years ago. And now my kids are looking for that very thing at the thrift store. So it’s really kind of a funny process.

Kathi (12:32.066)
Yeah.

Kathi (12:44.85)
Yeah, but you’re so right. We try to make those decisions about what’s going to be important in five or 10 years in the midst of grief. I love that you had levels. There were things that were obviously easy to give away or throw away. But, you know, there are some people who are stuck in the thought that if I do anything with their belongings.

It’s dishonoring. And we know that’s not true. In our head, we know that’s not true, but in our heart, that can be really, really tough. Did you encounter any of that and how did you help process that?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (13:33.263)
Yeah, I mean for sure it felt stressful. I had some anxiety over this because I knew that I wanted to honor my husband and I knew I had these little girls but I did not know what was going to be important to them in the future. And I think some of what helped me was brainstorming ways to remember and honor him but not necessarily keeping the physical item, if that makes sense.

Kathi (14:01.766)
Yeah. Dorina, what was his name?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (14:03.951)
Eric Lee. First name was Eric Lee. So good southern boy with two names in the first name.

Kathi (14:05.554)
Eric, okay, okay. Okay, oh, Eric Lee was his first name. I was like, I don’t see Lee in your last name because you have four names. And so, okay, Eric Lee. So you brainstormed how to honor and keep his memory alive without it being stuff. So tell me a little bit more about that.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (14:29.999)
Well, and honestly, I collected some of these ideas along the way from other friends and from books I read and blog posts. But one example would be like making a photo memory book. The photos are just so valuable. And so I really spent time with my girls kind of curating photos that we already had. And now we’re in the midst of like printed photos, which he had from his childhood versus digital photos. But then there were even things that we knew we didn’t want to keep, but we took photos of them, like little treasures of his so that we could still kind of have those in our memory. And so that would be my advice to people is like create a sort of best of album, whether that’s digital or something you want to print, you know, through Shutterfly or another service. But you can take photos of some things that maybe don’t have, you don’t have space for in your home but you can still remember like oh you know he won this medal for running when he was a young person or he had these special shoes or you know those types of things where it’s like okay that’s actually gonna sit in a box in my garage forever or I can take a photo of it and my kids can remember it as a treasured relic that represents their dad.

Kathi (15:47.821)
right.

Kathi (15:56.126)
I love that. Okay, so speaking of kids, were they involved in this process at all? They were pretty young when your husband passed, but you know, I’m just wondering, were there safe and comforting ways for them to be involved? Or did you pretty much have to do everything and

leave your kids out of the, not leave them out. That sounds like it came with a judgment, which it absolutely 100% did not. How old were your girls when you were going through all this?

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (16:31.759)
So when he died, they were two, five and eight. So yes, they were very young. Probably my oldest was the only one who could really kind of enter into some of that decision making with me.

Kathi (16:35.562)
Yeah, very young.

Kathi (16:43.624)
Yeah.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (16:44.111)
but I kind of chose certain things where I did want to include them. So I mentioned like the memory pillows. I had a friend who loves to sew and she offered to do this for us. And so I let each of the girls pick out one of his flannel shirts. And that was something special that it’s like, they got to have daddy’s shirt. And I mean, they’re teenagers now and they still have their daddy pillows as we like to call them. And, you know, one of them I can think of, it was a flannel shirt

Kathi (16:51.528)
Hmm.

Kathi (16:59.694)
It’s amazing.

Kathi (17:11.071)
amazing.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (17:14.065)
in the last family photo that we took for Christmas. And so every time I see that pillow, I think about that photo shoot. I think about the fun that we had with our friend who took our photos. I think about him wearing it. So there is such a layered kind of memory that is in this little pillow and I didn’t have to keep 25 shirts. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I should have, like I said, cause my kids are thrifting all this stuff right now.

Kathi (17:17.131)
Hmm.

Kathi (17:21.464)
Right.

Kathi (17:38.477)
Right.

Kathi (17:43.682)
Yeah.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (17:44.207)
at least we got four of his special shirts. And I actually did keep some of his other clothes in a box. And I’m so grateful that I did because my girls wear their dads sweaters and sweatshirts that we did keep now as teenagers, which you know, at two, five and eight, they really didn’t care about that. And it would have looked like a dress on them. But now they do. And so I think it’s like choosing sort of a small quantity of the actual stuff that you want to keep and then doing

Kathi (17:47.972)
Right.

Kathi (18:02.471)
Right. Yeah.

Kathi (18:12.078)
Mm-hmm.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young (18:14.161)
special that maybe this represents dad, like the pillow or the photo album where we can still kind of return to those things without filling up our garage.

Kathleen Lipp
Friends, I hope you’ve been getting as much of this conversation with Dorina as I have. Whether you’ve already gone through the process of sorting through a loved one’s belongings or it’s something that we are all going to have to do in the future, I hope that with her graciousness and her care and her love and her honoring, we can all find better ways to honor the memories of those we love while taking care of ourselves at the same time.

Please come back next week where we’re gonna finish this conversation with Dorina and she offers even more hope and more healing through this very difficult process. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Cathy Lipp. And now go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.

#600 Unpacking Money and Clutter: Exploring the Deep Connection Part 2 with Coach Stefania Mariaa

#600 Unpacking Money and Clutter: Exploring the Deep Connection Part 2 with Coach Stefania Mariaa

600 – Unpacking Money and Clutter: Exploring the Deep Connection Part 2 with Coach Stefania Mariaa

We all have a limited amount of our three greatest resources: time, energy, and money. Do you feel like you could be doing a better job making decisions about how to use those resources?

Welcome to the conversation, friend!

In Part 2 of Unpacking Money and Clutter: Exploring the Deep Connection, Kathi and Coach Stefania Mariaa continue the conversation about wanting to put every dollar, every bit of energy, and every bit of time into something that gives us a return. But what do those returns look like? Listen in as they talk about financial intimacy and other topics such as:

  • How to get out of shame cycles
  • How to change your mind set about mistakes.
  • How “spending by proxy” affects your financial health

Have you listened to 599 Unpacking Money and Clutter: Exploring the Deep Connection Part 1 with Coach Stefania Mariaa? Click here.

Find information about Coach Stefania Mariaa’s financial Master Class here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorites:

Learn more about Clutter Free for Life

Have you ever felt shame about past financial mistakes? How has listening to this episode helped reset your thinking on those feelings?

Share your answers 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 

 

Stefania Mariaa

Stefania Mariaa is a multidisciplinary coach guiding people back to their radiant and sovereign wealth without abandoning themselves for anything less.

Connect with Stefania Mariaa on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok @stefaniamariaa or @bank.membership, her website, or for her free teaching here.

Transcript

Kathi (00:04.398)
 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 guys, we are back for part two of this amazing conversation with Stefania Maria. On TikTok, you can find her at bank membership. We’re gonna have all the links.

down below so you can find out all about her. But last week, and if you haven’t listened to last week’s episode, go back, listen to that, and then come back here because you are going to want to have the first part of this conversation. And when we left off last week, we were talking about financial intimacy, and we defined it in the last episode. But I wanna, so how…

Can my listener give us a one, a two sentence recap of what financial intimacy is and how can my listeners discover that for themselves?

Stefania Mariaa (01:11.587)
Absolutely. So financial intimacy is the practice of getting honest and vulnerable about how you use your resources of time, money, and energy. And what that requires is actually going to look at the reality you’re living. So something as simple as like looking at your bank account, reviewing your bank statements. But beyond that, it’s not just enough to like see them objectively. It’s to ask yourself a question deeper.

What is this showing me about how I’m showing up in my life? What is the way that my calendar is structured, reflecting back to me, whether I’m respecting myself or disrespecting myself? And that continues on into money and it continues on into your energetic, like how full of vitality you are. What is this reflecting back to me?

Kathi (02:02.465)
Yeah.

And you guys, if you feel like, oh, this is weird. This is just weird. These are woohoo kind of things that we’re talking about here. Can I tell you why it’s weird? It’s because as a society, we don’t value people’s time, their energy, and that goes into money. And so we don’t value it, so we don’t talk about it. And here’s what I will say, that corporations,

marketing, all that. It is to their detriment that you look at these things because you will make wiser choices. Am I in the right ballpark, Stefania?

Stefania Mariaa (02:46.019)
Absolutely. And the greatest thing about this is that it’s not necessarily that like businesses will fail in the face of financial intimacy. That’s definitely not what I’m saying. But what I am saying is that even as a business owner, if everyone around you is practicing financial intimacy, you know that your clients are spending money with you because it’s an extension of their self-respect.

Kathi (02:47.596)
Okay.

Kathi (02:54.467)
No.

Kathi (03:00.738)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (03:09.162)
right. Yes. They are.

Stefania Mariaa (03:10.583)
Right? Like, doesn’t that feel so much better?

Kathi (03:14.514)
It’s an investment instead of an oops. And that’s what we want. We want you to be putting every dollar, every minute, every ounce of energy into the thing that’s going to give you the best return. And I’ve talked about this in our coaching this morning, and not a lot of people know this, that I went through a couple of bouts of situational depression. And you know,

Stefania Mariaa (03:31.213)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (03:43.034)
I have no problem with people watching TV. I have no problem with people being on TikTok. But I was doing that to avoid some other things in my life. And if I had understood this financial intimacy, I would have said, you know what? This is, you know, I have no problem with people watching TV, but instead of watching a Friends rerun for the 700 time, maybe I watch a movie that I always say I don’t have time for.

but I think would be really enriching to me or a documentary. And it’s okay to waste some time, some time, but when you’re doing it consistently, when you’re wasting your energy consistently, when you are wasting your money consistently, that’s something to look at. There’s something that’s not aligned in your life and you need to get to the bottom of that.

Stefania Mariaa (04:33.315)
Absolutely. And you know, I’m often like telling people, so I lead people through a process called the bank money audit. And it’s really, it’s quite an extensive process because it readjusts how people look at reviewing their bank statements, reviewing their credit card statements, because it does ask what version of you is showing up to waste your resources.

Kathi (04:40.248)
Right.

Kathi (04:43.502)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (04:57.142)
Yeah.

Stefania Mariaa (04:57.659)
Is it your younger child who’s looking to be held, like your inner young one? Is it your inner teen who’s rebelling or conforming against the world? Is it your, like whatever part is operating at that place? Because if it is, it means that you’re actually not present. Like you’re not taking care of all of those parts of yourself to ensure that they’re nourished. So now they have to go rogue with your life.

Kathi (05:01.238)
Mm-hmm.

Stefania Mariaa (05:22.707)
spend the entire weekend binging Netflix, even though you really wanted to go to the gym or really wanted to bake or really wanted to spend the morning with friends. It doesn’t really matter. You weren’t an active participant in your life. So these other parts came in to get their needs met in a really rogue way. It’s the best way to explain it.

Kathi (05:22.935)
Ha ha ha!

Kathi (05:42.13)
Yeah, and they’re not going to go away. By ignoring them, you need to address them. And so this is a great way of doing it. Okay, you talk about being wounded by your past financial mistakes. A lot of time clutter is also a result of being wounded. How do you talk people through this so that they can be free from that past that keeps rearing its ugly head?

Stefania Mariaa (06:10.935)
So part of, this is a little bit weird and woo to some, but what I will say is that shame is an addiction.

Kathi (06:20.182)
Yes, yeah, we talk about shame all the time in here. Yes

Stefania Mariaa (06:23.559)
Yeah, so when we have, let’s say, this embarrassing financial decision that we made, we spent too much money on XYZ, or even time wise, I spent too much time on TikTok, or I.

Kathi (06:28.894)
Mm-hmm.

Yeah. You guys, she said Zed because she’s Canadian. So I just to all my Canadian listeners, I just want the shout out. You noticed that other people may not have, but I know you love it when we have our Canadian friends on here. Please go ahead.

Stefania Mariaa (06:36.861)
Ew.

Stefania Mariaa (06:49.428)
I haven’t said a yet, so that’s great. But whenever we spend in excess of our resources, there’s usually this moment of embarrassment, like how could I do that? Oh my gosh, I’m bad. And it’s like this gasping for air. And the problem being is that if that becomes our familiar, if that is the thing that is the most frequent experience.

Kathi (06:51.736)
Hahaha!

Stefania Mariaa (07:15.191)
there’s a neuro groove that gets reinforced there. And even though it’s a negative experience, that neuro groove being reinforced means that we know what to expect from it. So we can feel the shame, we know how to move through the shame, we know how to bask in the shame, but we don’t know how to be unashamed for the past decisions we’ve made. And so if you find yourself in these cycles of like, I’m so humiliated.

Kathi (07:28.48)
Okay.

Kathi (07:36.238)
Mmm.

Okay.

Stefania Mariaa (07:43.415)
that I made that past decision, and I don’t wanna make another mistake like that. The first step is to one, and this is gonna sound a little callous, but like, get over yourself. That shame doesn’t pay. If anything, it actually locks up your energy so that you never move beyond it and that you sit in these looming mental kind of self-harming cycles, instead of being like, oh, I made that mistake. This is why I think it’s a mistake, not what others think is a mistake.

Kathi (07:52.687)
Mmm, right.

Kathi (08:01.632)
Yeah.

Kathi (08:06.976)
Right.

Mm-hmm. This is why I think this is. Yeah. Whatever makes sense. Right. What I think makes sense. Yeah.

Stefania Mariaa (08:13.239)
This is why I think it’s a mistake. And this is what I’ve learned from it. And this is how I’m gonna shift moving forward. I often say to people like, you know, student loan debt is like a huge thing that people feel ashamed by.

Kathi (08:21.781)
Yes.

Stefania Mariaa (08:29.271)
Right?

Kathi (08:29.828)
Guys, there is a huge industry out there to get you to have student loans. They have spent decades perfecting how to entice you into this. This is not something you should be ashamed of.

Stefania Mariaa (08:37.012)
Oh yeah.

Stefania Mariaa (08:45.155)
Absolutely not. And one of the things that I often teach people is like, well, one, you were a teenager when you made that decision. And even though that sucks, teenage you thought that adult you would be able to handle it.

Kathi (08:51.626)
Yes. I think we know that sucks. Mm-hmm.

Kathi (08:59.962)
Right, right, absolutely.

Stefania Mariaa (09:01.923)
Okay, so when you made that decision, you did the best you possibly could given the circumstances you were in. And I understand that as an adult, you have a lot of judgment for the teenage decision, but that’s where you need to get over yourself because they did the best they could.

Kathi (09:07.818)
Right. Yes.

Kathi (09:14.928)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (09:18.874)
Right, they were trying to take care of you. Yes.

Stefania Mariaa (09:21.675)
Yeah. And this extends beyond, like, you know, some people they’ll feel regret for a marriage that they entered into. Well, past you wasn’t from the same frame of reference. So all that shame and humiliation is really a self judgment rather than self honoring.

Kathi (09:28.278)
Yeah. Well, passed you. Right.

Yes.

Kathi (09:38.06)
Yes.

Stefania, I will tell you, I have come to the conclusion just within the past few months, that 25% of my decisions are mistakes. Now, it’s everything from the kind of canned sardines I bought, to my first marriage, to so many things I’ve done are mistakes. And I think that is entirely human.

So even though 25% of my decisions are mistakes, I’m learning from 100% of them. And I, and you know, like I would say probably in my late teens, early twenties, 75% of my decisions were mistakes. So my average is getting better. It’s just when we live our lives on such a razor thin margin that we can’t make mistakes without absolute disaster that we get into trouble.

Stefania Mariaa (10:16.579)
exactly.

Stefania Mariaa (10:38.071)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (10:39.338)
And so that’s why we have to understand that there are going to be mistakes.

Stefania Mariaa (10:43.523)
Absolutely, and I love that you bring this into the conversation around like, oh no, if I make a mistake, my life’s going to combust.

Kathi (10:50.653)
Right.

Stefania Mariaa (10:52.175)
So the way that I teach financial intimacy, there is like this deeply spiritual aspect of it. And I think most money teachers, if they have any sense, will also include the spiritual aspect of it. And so there’s this concept of, we’ll always reach points in our life where we’ll have to like totally surrender to reality. I’m of the mind that if money is this like do or die experience,

Kathi (10:58.422)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (11:03.669)
Yeah.

Stefania Mariaa (11:19.399)
It actually means that there were several instances prior to that moment that got ignored.

Kathi (11:25.782)
Mmm, yeah.

Stefania Mariaa (11:28.299)
It’s like, I need to leave my job and find a better job, but yet you stayed at that job for another eight months. And now you’re in a do or die. It’s, I need to take a look at my spending, but then you avoided your credit card statement for a year, and now you’re in this tremendous debt. It’s the magic people want around their money is actually in the work they’re avoiding.

Kathi (11:34.263)
Right.

Yeah.

Kathi (11:45.579)
Yeah.

Kathi (11:52.054)
Mm-hmm.

Stefania Mariaa (11:53.579)
Right? And so when we’re looking at this, like, I can’t afford to make a mistake. It’s like, actually now is when you need to make the mistake because you didn’t make them when you could afford it.

Kathi (12:00.896)
Yeah.

Right, and guys, it is painful to look at your current situation, but it is absolutely necessary because what it does is it says, oh, this is why I made this decision, this is why I did this. You know what, I’m gonna forgive myself for that, but I’m also not going to repeat that mistake by ignoring it, and that is a beautiful thing. Stefania.

Stefania Mariaa (12:11.427)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (12:29.822)
The reason I wanted this whole conversation is because you did a TikTok about spending by proxy. And I have never heard this before, but I have done this. I have done this a bunch of times. And I want you to explain what spending by proxy is, what it looks like in our lives, and how we can correct it. Go.

Stefania Mariaa (12:54.147)
Absolutely. So spending by proxy, said simply, is that when you spend like the people you are near to. So what this looks like, it starts again, it’s something that is very rooted in our teenage years because we’re surrounded by other friends. Now if those friends were also in financially turmoil experiences, we will mimic their spending for connection. If we had friends who are more financially better off than we were, we would have been

Kathi (13:09.55)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (13:16.63)
Right. Yes.

Stefania Mariaa (13:22.859)
we will still mimic their spending for connection. So spending by proxy is actually a way of using money to induce a sense of connection, even though it’s not the connection we really desire, but to mimic it so that we don’t feel so isolated in our personal experience. And so what this can look like is, when I was in startup world,

Kathi (13:26.201)
Uh-huh. Yes.

Kathi (13:38.359)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (13:44.779)
Yes.

Stefania Mariaa (13:51.059)
So to give you some background, I used to be a financial controller for an international startup. That meant I was going back and forth from San Francisco, from LA. I was rubbing elbows with some really upper echelon startup culture people. And there was this sense of, oh, I can just buy flights. Going back to last week’s episode where I was talking about this over-reliance on abundance. I’ll just buy flights. I’ll always get more money. I’ll always get another paycheck. I’ll just buy flights.

Kathi (13:55.356)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (14:08.056)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (14:14.479)
Right. Yeah.

Stefania Mariaa (14:20.427)
What this meant was that I was incurring quite a lot of spending around flying because the people I was surrounded by were able to freely do that. Meanwhile, I was actually not in a position to not question the price of these flights, right? And so kind of unconsciously, blindly would be paying for these things. And then as I started to deepen in my financial intimacy practice, I was like, oh, I was not actually like,

Kathi (14:24.898)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (14:30.259)
Yeah.

Kathi (14:36.566)
Right! Yes.

Stefania Mariaa (14:50.111)
Some of those flights were not true for me. It actually wasn’t respectful for me to be spending money on those flights. I could have bought something that was a little bit more aligned. But on the flip side, spending by proxy also showed up in my life when I moved back to rural BC during the pandemic. Cause I was like, I have property there. I can live there, renovate the cottage, even though there was no running water. You know, it was a real like real roughen it life.

Kathi (14:53.25)
Meh. Mm-hmm.

Kathi (15:00.672)
Yeah.

Kathi (15:10.09)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (15:17.562)
Wow. Yeah.

Stefania Mariaa (15:20.483)
But what I started to recognize was, oh, I’m starting to take on my parents’ financial belief systems again. I’m taking on my friends from high school, their financial perspectives, but they don’t live the same life I do. And to give you kind of a simple example of how I started to unwind this was, I was renovating my property, and the one thing I was really clear on that I deeply wanted was a cloth-foot bathtub.

Kathi (15:37.366)
right.

Kathi (15:50.966)
Oh, I understand that deeply, yes.

Stefania Mariaa (15:51.959)
I was like, yep. I was like, that’s all I want. And given that I didn’t have running water, it was like the epitome goal, right? Like, I can’t wait to have bath in my claw foot bathtub. And I remember having a conversation with a friend and their response was, do you know how expensive that is? Which I’m going to tell you, if you have that sentence in your vocabulary, I want you to get rid of it. Because…

Kathi (15:59.079)
Of course!

Yeah.

Kathi (16:18.91)
Yeah, yeah, it’s a judgment that doesn’t need to be there.

Stefania Mariaa (16:22.995)
Exactly. Now, in that moment when it came up, because it actually showed up several times. It came, like the guy at Home Depot said that to me. And like, all of these people were just, oh yeah, all of these people were just projecting onto me this expense. And I was like, wow, I have one of two options here. I can either A, cower and agree, which would then take on their belief system that there is some number that I’m supposed to obey when it comes to renovations on my home.

and what I’m going to be using my resources towards. Or I can actually have some backing for myself.

Kathi (16:51.701)
Yes.

Kathi (16:55.15)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (17:02.701)
Mm-hmm.

Stefania Mariaa (17:03.167)
It’s not expensive because it’s exactly what I want to spend my money on. Now I’ll be, I’ll give you some full disclosure here. The more you align yourself with reverent spending, right? Where your money is an extension of your self-respect. It will be deeply confronting to those who still use their money in disrespectful ways, because sometimes not spending money is the disrespectful thing.

Kathi (17:25.066)
Right. It’s-

Kathi (17:29.866)
Yes. Ugh, yes! It’s so true.

Stefania Mariaa (17:32.767)
Right. And so in spending by proxy, I could have totally cowered and been like, Oh, I have to save all my money. Even though self-employed, I make good money. I live very like, again, I didn’t have running water. I don’t have any vices. Like I live a very sober, clear life. I was like, wow, here are these people who are spending their money on like dirt bikes, like brand new dirt bikes. And those are a couple of grand that they only use in rural Northern BC, you know, a couple months out of the year.

Kathi (17:39.01)
Yeah.

Kathi (17:49.687)
Yeah.

Kathi (17:55.134)
Yeah. No.

Stefania Mariaa (18:01.799)
on the weekends. So let’s say 12 weekends. They’re spending a couple grand on 12 weekends. And I’m like, oh, but my bathtub that is only $1,600 that I will use every single day is too expensive.

Kathi (18:02.406)
Right. Yeah.

Stefania Mariaa (18:17.203)
I started to realize that this concept of like, that’s expensive was a way of trying to control other people’s experience of resources. So the practice, right? And it was like, the practice was like, wait a minute, I’m sovereign. I’m reverent. How I’m going to use my resources is up to no one else other than me because how I earn my resources is also generated by no one else other than me.

Kathi (18:26.841)
It is so true. Yeah.

Kathi (18:33.708)
Yes.

Right.

Kathi (18:41.343)
Yeah.

Kathi (18:47.662)
Stefania, it’s not about respecting money, it’s about respecting yourself and knowing what’s important to you, what is going to bring you joy, what is going to save you the time that you need or the energy you need. We all have to constantly balance all of these resources and nobody else can make those decisions for us. If you have a spouse or a partner, yes, you get to have those discussions.

Stefania Mariaa (18:54.147)
Exactly.

Kathi (19:17.11)
But you have to know what’s important to you because there are things that are incredibly important to my husband that are not important at all to me. But because I respect him and I care deeply for him, that’s where our money goes. And it’s vice versa. But if we never have the discussion, then we’re always choosing the lesser thing and fighting over the bigger thing.

Stefania Mariaa (19:33.955)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (19:45.662)
And that’s not how I want to live my life. Okay, we have like exactly one minute. Guys, in the last episode, we talked about the Entertein Money Masterclass. I’m going to put a link for that in here. Guys, just trust me, go do it. It’s a half hour of your time. It’s going to reveal some of the beliefs you have around money, some of the thought patterns, what other people have told you about money.

that you don’t need to believe anymore and how to get over that. And Stefania, I want them to follow you on TikTok because you give little tiny master classes every single time you get on there. People need to, we need to realign our neuro pathways about how we think about money. Stefania, thank you so much for being here today.

Stefania Mariaa (20:28.62)
I really do.

Stefania Mariaa (20:38.391)
Thank you so much for inviting me. I love having these conversations and as long as they land with the people that lands with, that’s all I’m here to do.

Kathi (20:45.518)
Yeah, exactly. And you guys, as you start to unpack your money, see how it’s connected to your clutter, because I guarantee you, I guarantee you, how you’re thinking about your money is how you’re thinking about your stuff. It comes out every single time that way. And guys, just remember, Jesus spoke more about our money and our stuff than anything else in the Bible. It is how we respect ourselves. It’s how we respect God. It’s how we respect each other.

Hey friends, thank you for joining us today. You’ve been listening to ClutterFree Academy. I’m Cathy Lib. And now go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.