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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite Links:

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Clutter Free Resources:

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

Share your answer in the comments.

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

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

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Meet Our Guest 

 

Tonya Kubo

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

 

Tonya Kubo Picture
Transcript

Well, hey friends, welcome to Clutter-Free Academy where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And I am here with the co-captain of the Clutter-Free community. It is Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya.

Tonya Kubo (00:44.182)
Hey, Kathy.

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

Tonya Kubo (00:54.943)
Yeah.

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

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

Tonya Kubo (01:16.404)
Right.

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

Tonya Kubo (01:58.358)
Wow.

Tonya Kubo (02:04.354)
Yeah.

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

Kathi (02:10.433)
So, isn’t that?

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

Tonya Kubo (02:43.232)
It’s big.

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

Tonya Kubo (02:48.396)
Yeah.

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

Kathi (02:58.135)
Oh.

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

Tonya Kubo (03:07.698)
Yes it does.

Tonya Kubo (03:20.174)
Hmm.

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

Tonya Kubo (03:44.29)
That is true.

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

Kathi (03:59.845)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (04:04.92)
Yeah.

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

Tonya Kubo (04:09.535)
was huge.

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

Tonya Kubo (04:53.771)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

Kathi (05:18.735)
Mm.

Kathi (05:30.062)
Yeah.

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

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

Kathi (06:01.198)
Mmm.

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

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

Kathi (06:54.753)
course.

Kathi (07:02.753)
Yeah.

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

Kathi (07:13.387)
Right.

Kathi (07:17.763)
Mmm.

Kathi (07:31.897)
Yeah.

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

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

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

Kathi (08:17.302)
Right.

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

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

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

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

Kathi (09:58.996)
No they do not.

Mm-hmm.

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

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

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

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

Kathi (10:30.262)
Right.

Yeah.

Kathi (10:38.902)
Yeah.

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

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

Kathi (11:06.274)
Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tonya Kubo (13:07.853)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

Tonya Kubo (14:17.27)
Hmm

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

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

Tonya Kubo (14:52.609)
Mm.

Tonya Kubo (15:01.455)
Oh.

Tonya Kubo (15:09.407)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (15:13.355)
Right.

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

Tonya Kubo (15:22.861)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (15:42.098)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

Kathi (16:15.301)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

Mm-hmm

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

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

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

Kathi (18:04.29)
Right.

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

Kathi (18:23.214)
Oh wow.

Kathi (18:36.409)
Yeah.

Kathi (18:44.349)
Mmm.

Kathi (18:50.504)
Okay.

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

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

Tonya Kubo (19:29.722)
Right.

Tonya Kubo (19:38.957)
Mm-hmm.

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

Tonya Kubo (20:00.27)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

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

Tonya Kubo (20:52.578)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (21:13.816)
Right.

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

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

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

Kathi (21:38.657)
Mmm.

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

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

Tonya Kubo (22:47.566)
True.

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

Tonya Kubo (23:00.086)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (23:14.774)
Mmm.

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

Tonya, thanks for being on today.

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

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

#607 Super Practical Strategies for Decluttering

#607 Super Practical Strategies for Decluttering

607 – Super Practical Strategies for Decluttering

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

  • Overcoming the overwhelm
  • Making your minutes work for you

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meet Our Guest 

 

Tonya Kubo

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

 

Tonya Kubo Picture
Transcript

Kathi (00:02.265)
Well, hey friends, welcome to Clutter-Free Academy where our goal is to help you take small doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And she is the Clutter Free cheerleader. She’s the co-captain of all things decluttering. It is Tonya Kubo. Hey Tonya.

Tonya Kubo (00:29.622)
Hey Kathi!

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

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

Tonya Kubo (01:16.555)
Mm-hmm.

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

Kathi (01:24.775)
Okay.

Kathi (01:28.051)
Right.

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

Tonya Kubo (01:50.803)
It is true.

Tonya Kubo (01:58.094)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

Kathi (02:30.274)
Yes.

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

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

Tonya Kubo (03:22.838)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

Kathi (03:52.658)
It’s.

Kathi (03:57.547)
Oh.

Kathi (04:04.)
Okay.

Ooh. Mm-hmm.

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

Kathi (04:43.946)
Mm-hmm.

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

Kathi (05:01.334)
Right.

Kathi (05:10.59)
Mm-hmm.

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

Kathi (05:26.133)
Yes.

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

Kathi (05:45.136)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

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

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

Tonya Kubo (06:40.942)
Mm-hmm.

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

Tonya Kubo (07:13.76)
Good thing.

Tonya Kubo (07:24.91)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

Kathi (08:11.736)
Yes.

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

Kathi (08:28.717)
Mmm.

Kathi (08:33.366)
Mm-hmm.

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

Kathi (08:50.164)
Right.

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

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

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

Tonya Kubo (10:00.947)
Okay.

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

Kathi (10:14.459)
Oh right, yes.

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

Kathi (10:32.542)
Yes.

Kathi (10:38.758)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

Kathi (10:59.21)
Yeah.

Kathi (11:05.697)
right.

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

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

Tonya Kubo (11:26.885)
Mm-hmm.

Tonya Kubo (11:30.539)
Yeah.

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

Tonya Kubo (11:38.638)
Mm-hmm.

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

Kathi (11:49.021)
And friends, thank you for being here. You have been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you’ve always wanted to live.

#606 The Container Principle

#606 The Container Principle

606 – The Container Principle

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

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

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

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.

Favorite Links:

Clutter Free Resources:

Do you limit how many containers you allow yourself to have? Why or why not? 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

Kathi (00:29.271)
Well, hey friends, welcome to Clutter-Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And I am here with my Clutter-Free Partner in Crime. It is Roger Lipp. Hey, Rog.

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

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

this really large house that-

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

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

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

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

Kathi (01:41.868)
Yes.

Kathi (01:57.731)
Yeah.

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

Roger (02:13.858)
Hmm.

Roger (02:19.917)
What?

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

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

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

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

Roger (03:57.694)
Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Kathi (05:18.032)
Mm-hmm.

Kathi (05:24.291)
Right. Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathi (07:13.712)
Hahaha

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

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

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

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

Roger (08:17.908)
It became a bookshelf.

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

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

Kathi (08:42.592)
No.

Kathi (08:48.004)
Yes.

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

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

Roger (09:17.992)
Yes.

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

Roger (09:33.694)
of the front surface.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, all right.

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

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

Kathi (12:44.623)
Oh, do tell.

Kathi (12:48.109)
Oh yeah. Yeah.

Kathi (12:58.818)
Yeah.

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

Kathi (13:04.722)
Oh

Kathi (13:14.063)
Yes.

Kathi (13:21.785)
Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathi (16:05.125)
Mm-hmm.

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

Kathi (16:18.746)
Right.

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

Roger (16:31.992)
Oh yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roger (18:54.603)
Right.

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

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

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

Kathi (19:39.677)
Mm-hmm.

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

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

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

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

Roger (21:17.71)
Thanks.

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

Kathi (21:24.603)
And friends, thank you for hanging out with us. You’ve been listening to Clutter-Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter-free life you were always intended to live.

 

#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.