#549 Should You try to Be Clutter Free in A Crisis (And How)?

#549 Should You try to Be Clutter Free in A Crisis (And How)?

549: Should You Try to Be Clutter Free in A Crisis (And How)?

Have you ever found yourself in a crisis? Sometimes we know a crisis is coming and other times, it takes us by surprise. Decluttering might not take top priority during a crisis but decluttering can help us feel that we can handle the crisis so much better. In this episode Kathi and her partner in decluttering and chicken wrangling Roger Lipp discuss their latest adventures homesteading through the latest California “bomb storms” and how decluttering can significantly impact the way you feel during a crisis.
Listen in and discover:

  • How to plan in advance for a crisis
  • Three tips to staying decluttered during a crisis
  • The saying, “Madder than a wet hen” is a real thing!

 

Ready for Anything: Preparing Your Heart and Home for Any Crisis Big or Small

There are those who’ve prepared, and those who wish they had. Let Ready for Anything be your go-to guide for facing any unexpected crisis with confidence.

Bad stuff happens all the time – big stuff like hurricanes, wildfires, or national emergencies, and smaller-scale yet no less devastating disasters like a sudden health scare, job loss, or a computer crash. But this doesn’t mean we have to live in constant fear.

Whether you’re in the midst of difficulty right now or being proactive rather than reactive, Ready for Anything gives finite simple steps for preparing your mind, your heart, and your home for any unfortunate circumstance. Full of stories and humor along with facts, tips, and lists, Kathi offers a down-to-earth guide that will show you how to face the unexpected with confidence, relying on God’s strength and plan rather than giving in to our fear and anxiety. Her step-by-step plan is easy to implement and will help any Christian be a better steward of their resources, as well as the neighbor who helps in a crisis rather than needing help themselves.

For anyone who falls somewhere between “I’ll just trust God” and stocking a 10-year supply of canned pinto beans in the pantry, Ready for Anything will show you:

  • How to prep your pantry for two weeks of meals, plus recipes available in the audiobook companion PDF download
  • Essential tips for creating an emergency kit and stocking your supplies
  • Practical strategies for taking stock of your financials and building an emergency fund
  • How to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare and parent your kids in any crisis
  • How to create a five-minute plan and why you need it
  • Indispensable tips for safeguarding your physical and digital valuable
  • And so much more!

Order your copy of  Ready for Anything: Preparing Your Heart and Home for Any Crisis Big or Small  here.

 

 

Sponsor Highlight: Get affordable, private therapy with BetterHelp anytime, anywhere.

Special offer for our Clutter Free community – get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/clutterfree (code clutterfree will automatically be applied).

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

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

#546 All the Tools You Need to Start Your Clutter Free Journey Today

#546 All the Tools You Need to Start Your Clutter Free Journey Today

546: All the Tools You Need to Start Your Clutter Free Journey Today

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution to start decluttering but then thought, “Where do I start?” You are not alone! Kathi and friend, author, and social media guru Tonya Kubo are with us today discussing tips and tools for decreasing stress and increasing peace though living a clutter-free life, as well as a very unexpected and surprising career Tonya had in the past! Listen and discover:

  • The three types of clutter
  • Products to help you organize your time
  • How using totes can help you in your clutter free journey

 

 

Join Clutter Free for Life Today!

 

What if you were able to create a life where you not only got rid of the clutter in each room of your house but were able to stay on top of it?

What if you learned to organize in a way that made sense to you so that once you decluttered, you could find the things that were important enough to keep?

What if you could live in a house that was at peace?

You’ve been thinking about how this will be the year to finally declutter your house and create the home you’ve always dreamed of. One that is filled with peace instead of stuff.

Is the idea of changing your home something you’d like to start working on? Because, right now, I have a plan that will show you how: Clutter Free For Life

 

Links Mentioned:

Learn more about Clutter Free for Life.

Tonya Kubo

Dyson Vaccum

Dual Trash Can 

Timer 

3 Tote System: Green, Purple, & Orange or 3 Different Colors 

Tote Options We Love:

Tote bag 

Collapsable Tote

Waterproof Tote

Utility Tote

 

 

Sponsor Highlight: Get affordable, private therapy with BetterHelp anytime, anywhere.

Special offer for our Clutter Free community – get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/clutterfree (code clutterfree will automatically be applied).

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest 

 

Tonya Kubo

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

Transcript

#530 How to Declutter Your Tech Pt 2

#530 How to Declutter Your Tech Pt 2

530: How to Declutter Your Tech

Part 2

Last week, Kathi and Roger Lipp started this discussion managing your technology and how to get rid of old computers. This week, the pair is back to help us continue decluttering our old tech. Are you intimidated by the prospect of getting rid of old technology? Do you have old VHS videos and cassette tapes of memories that you want to keep? Listen in as the duo give great advice on what to do with old tech including

  • DVD players
  • Cameras
  • Remotes

And as an added bonus in keeping your tech organized, Kathi and Roger also have some great suggestions for keeping your cords tidy.

The Clutter Free Home: Making Room for Your Life

 

When it comes to your home, peace is possible…

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

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

ORDER THE CLUTTER-FREE HOME

 

Sponsor Highlight: Get affordable, private therapy with BetterHelp anytime, anywhere.

Special offer for our Clutter Free community – get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/clutterfree (code clutterfree will automatically be applied).

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

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

#405 Ready for Anything Week 4: 3 Months of Expenses (and How to Actually Save Up…)

#405 Ready for Anything Week 4: 3 Months of Expenses (and How to Actually Save Up…)

This week Kathi and her partner in crime and leader of the Clutter Free Academy Facebook Group, Tonya Kubo, are back in part four of this Ready for Anything series. Join in the discussion as they help us prepare our hearts for any crisis big or small by giving us three important goals and some creative ways to meet them. It’s a whole new world right now so let’s talk about how we can think ahead and take care of our future self. Let’s build up our resource library and get some “Grandma skills,” because we need those right now.

This episode will help you to:

  • Be prepared for anything
  • Discover creative ways to save money
  • Learn ways to help make emergency situations not be so stressful

 

Ready For Anything

Bad stuff happens all the time but this doesn’t mean we have to live in constant fear.

Ready for Anything: Preparing Your Heart and Home for Any Crisis Big or Small gives finite simple steps for being proactive rather than reactive—helping you prepare their mind, heart and home for any unfortunate circumstance. Full of stories and humor along with facts, tips and lists, Kathi offers a down-to-earth guide that will show you how to face the unexpected with confidence, relying on God’s strength and plan rather than giving in to fear and anxiety.

Her step-by-step plan is easy to implement and will help anyone become a better steward of their resources as well as be the neighbor who can help in a crisis rather than needing help themselves. Kathi’s goal is to equip you to be the front line of helpers in any crisis from a natural disaster to a friend’s job loss.

Pre-order your copy of Ready For Anything here.

Pre-Order Bonuses Include

    

  • A two-week meal plan, including shopping lists, freezer inventory and pantry inventory.
  • Five-day Homeschool Curriculum.
  • Our two-week course “Kickstart to Clutter Free.”
  • AND a curated set of sample chapters from the book, so that you can get started right now.

Links

Learn more about Ready For Anything and all of the fun pre-order bonuses!

Want to know what’s included in her bug out bag? Click here to download the list.

Check out Dave Ramsey financial information here https://www.daveramsey.com/

 

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

Subscribe on iTunes or subscribe to our newsletter now.

Meet Our Guest

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo

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.

Transcript

Read along with the Podcast!

 Clutter Free Academy Podcast # 405

 Ready for Anything – Expenses

<<intro music>>

 

Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our heart is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. I am here with my friend, my partner in crime. It’s Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya.

 

Tonya – Hey, Kathi!

 

Kathi – Okay, we are on Week Four of Ready for Anything: Preparing Your Heart and Home for Any Crisis, Big or Small. No, I do not have fortune telling gifts. If you hear kids in the background, it’s because this is real life.

 

Tonya – Thank you! I’m like, “Don’t talk!”

 

Kathi – You may hear a cat meow or a dog bark. This is just the world we live in now. Okay, can I just tell you, I have a friend whose husband went up to go to the bathroom and their kid, their three year old, I’ve heard a couple of situations like this, but I thought this was pretty funny, their three year old decided to get on the conference call with all of daddy’s friends, and entertain them. Yes. I’ve heard many stories. Pretty funny. This is just the new reality. I think we’re all going to be a lot more chill when this is done. Hey, we just have to do things a new way. Who thought Anderson Cooper would be broadcasting from his house? It’s just a whole new world, isn’t it friends? It’s interesting. We are in a time of crisis, obviously, here in the world. Not just in the United States. All over the world. We talk about 3-2-3 in Ready for Anything. I want you to be prepared 3-2-3. So, 3: If you had to leave your house for three days, would you have the medication? The clothes? Whatever you need? That’s your Bugout Bag. Then, 2: Two weeks of food, water, power. If you had to shelter in place like we’re having to do now, would you have everything you need? Finally, 3: Three months of basic expenses for you and your household. I think the last one is the one that freaks people out the most, even though it’s supposed to be what we’re doing. I want to talk about that today. I know we’re talking in a very tender time, right now. It was interesting. We had somebody stay in our AirBnB and they only stayed one day instead of two. Normally, you don’t give refunds for stuff like that, but I know that everybody is in tough circumstances, so we sent them a refund. They said, “This is awesome, because almost half the people who were staying at that AirBnB that weekend, just before this happened, either they or their husbands have lost their jobs.” So, it’s that kind of time. We are trying to keep payroll going for our small business. All of us who employ people with their side hustle, or this is their main hustle, but they’re also taking care of kids and stuff? It’s a tough time. So, I want to be sensitive to this, but I also want to speak in truth that this is a goal that we want to accomplish; to have a bit of a cushion when an emergency comes. I also want to say this loud and clear. If this was not your circumstance when all this hit, please do not feel ashamed. Do not feel bad. You are in a circumstance that most people are. That’s just the reality of it. We just want to help you for the next crisis, or the next thing that’s coming along. So, the first thing I want to do, when we talk about Ready for Anything, I give you two small goals. They may not feel small, depending on where you’re at, but they are two very achievable goals during normal times. That is, one: buy a water jug. We always need more water than we think we’re going to. Two: Save up one hundred one dollar bills. The reason I want you to have cash is, in case you have to pay someone that’s delivering something. Cash is often king. Also, it’s good to have money in a checking account or savings account, something that has a debit card attached to it, so you can pay for deliveries, you can pay for those kinds of things, but cash is also very important too. So, some of the ways we have done our hundred dollars? One, we didn’t eat out for a month. So, we took some of that money. Remember Throwback Thursday, when you could go out to dinner? That’s what we’re talking about here. Also, we had a change jar that we were saving up for a trip. We thought, “You know what? We need an emergency fund more than we need a trip right now.” So, that’s what we did. What are some of the things you have done to be able to put aside one hundred dollar bills, Tonya?

 

Tonya – For us, it’s Starbucks, right? ‘Cause two adults who work outside the home can en masse a whole lot of Starbucks if that’s what they do. We’ve done a whole month of not eating out at all. We’ve got a family of four, so that’s easily a hundred dollars, if not two hundred dollars. The other thing we have managed to do, is really just looked at true needs versus wants. So, things that have been very easy for us, at certain times, to do, is just running to the store for that one thing isn’t really that big a deal. It’s the twenty two things that I find along the way to find my just one thing?

 

Kathi – Ain’t it the truth? Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. For the longest time, we had Roger’s shirts laundered. I wanted him to look well-pressed when he went to work, not like someone who just rolled out of bed. Well, when times were just a little bit leaner, it was me ironing the shirts, which, by the way, I hate. But, I found a way to make it fun. I told myself, “I can watch any stupid TV I want, as long as I’m ironing a shirt.” I won’t even tell you what I watched. I don’t want to be embarrassed that way, but it’s things like that. What do I have at home that I can use instead of going to the store for the things I want? So, we would have what we called The Fat of the Land weeks, where we would just eat what was in the fridge and what was in the pantry, and just use all that up. So, I think that’s really good for your first hundred dollars. Your second goal is to save up a thousand dollars. A thousand dollars starts to open up all sorts of possibilities. This isn’t just for disasters. It’s for, when the dishwasher goes out. I use that example in the book, because when the dishwasher goes out, there’s a couple of things you can do. One, you can do dishes by hand for a while. That’s another thing I hate doing. Can we just say, I basically hate housework? But I do it. But, if you don’t have the money, you can hold off for a while. You can start to save up for the money. Or, if you have a thousand dollars, what you can do is a combination of these things. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to wash dishes by hand, but we’re also not going to go out to dinner. So, I can start saving up money so we can put it outside, so we can start to replenish that emergency fund, so as we order the dishwasher and we’re able to use that. So, thinking through these things, here’s something I like to remind myself and other people, “We’re more resilient than we think. We are more clever than we think. We are more resourceful than we think. We can do these things.” Then, the third goal, again guys, please hear me, I know this is not realistic for a lot of people right now. It’s just not. But, at some point your life is going to get back to normal, the money is going to start coming back in, because you’re going to be working hard. Here’s a beautiful thing: I want you to think about what you would need for three months of drastically reduced expenses. Here’s where I love how Ready for Anything interweaves everything: your Bugout Bag. You’ve got three days of food in your Bugout Bag. That, plus, if you’ve got two weeks of food at your house, that is 17 days where you can eat from home, and you don’t have to spend anything at the grocery store. So, I like to think about it that way. That’s almost three weeks of food that you don’t have to budget for in your drastically reduced expenses. I also want you to think about, “Hey! Is there a way to delay the mortgage during those first three months?” Is there something you can do? I know there’s a lot of programs going on right now that are mortgage or rent relief right now. So, if you’ve lost your job, it’s time to be checking in to those kinds of things. Also, do you have Netflix right now? Can I just tell you? Netflix is a sanity saver, and it’s not very expensive, but if one of us lost our job, that’s one of the first things I’d be looking at. It’s things like that. It’s the Starbucks fund. It’s the time to start realizing that I am more resourceful than I think I am. I can do hard things. We are going to get through this. So, Tonya, I’d love to hear some things that you’ve done. I know you’ve told me some things you’ve done in the short term, but you’ve done things in the long term, too, to be able reduce expenses, or increase your income.

 

Tonya – Lily, who’s now ten, was three weeks old when Brian lost his job. He got that pink slip the same day I signed final termination notice of my career, because I was going to be a stay at home mom. So we lived this life several years ago. We were not ready. Not only did we not have savings, we were so over our heads in debt. We had no concept of needs vs wants back then. So, having lived through that, having survived that has taught us so much. So, one thing for me, and this is not going to apply to all of our listeners now, but my emergency fund is an online only bank account. There is no ATM machine attached to that account. It’s not easy to get that money, because it’s not supposed to be.

 

Kathi – Right! You have to hide it from yourself.

 

Tonya – At the beginning, you know what our huge win was? The day that registration renewal came in the mail for our cars and we had that money. We had the money.

 

Kathi – You had the money. That’s amazing.

 

Tonya – It was an old, paid off car. It was a $183, but we had never had that much extra in one paycheck at one time before, but we had that because of our emergency fund. Our emergency fund stared off with, “Do we have $100 in cash in a sock drawer?” to “Do we have $500 in this account?” And for years, $500 was as high as we could go. So, long term, that money that goes into that bank account used to be, I was watching that bank balance all the time because this was coming out, that was coming out, but pretty soon, it’s like, “Oh, we probably have that in our emergency fund and can handle that.” Our dishwasher went out a month ago. We were able to cover it. You know?

 

Kathi – It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

 

Tonya – It is. Now is a situation, we’re very fortunate that Brian’s income isn’t affected by what’s going on, but let me tell you, I know exactly where I’d cut, and when I’d cut it. What I realized before is, I waited too long to make cuts.

 

Kathi – I totally get it.

 

Tonya – Stuck my head in the sand and said, “It’s all going to be fine. God will provide.”

 

Kathi – Well, you talked about your low financial point. Let me tell you mine, which didn’t involve anybody getting fired or having a baby or any of that stuff. It was just my own plain stupidity. So, I worked at Nordstrom and there were a pair of boots. They were an expensive pair of boots. I think they were $300. Right? What was I thinking? But I got a 20% discount!

 

Tonya – That’s what you were thinking!

 

Kathi – That was $60 off! I was so excited to come home and show my mom. While I was home that night, the person I bought my car from came and repossessed it, because I hadn’t been making payments. That’s as stupid as a human being can get. Right? So, yeah.

 

Tonya – At the same time, back then, I was getting my hair colored. Hindsight being 20/20, is that the choice I would have made?

 

Kathi – Right. I know. I know.

 

Tonya – Probably not.

 

Kathi – Look at where we’ve got in life. I cut Roger’s hair yesterday.

 

Tonya – I stopped coloring my hair two years ago. I don’t miss it one bit.

 

Kathi – It looks amazing. If I could stop coloring and it would look like yours, I would do it in a heartbeat. What we’re trying to say here, guys is, there are ways to make this so it’s not so stressful on you. I don’t want anybody to feel ashamed. I don’t want anybody to feel “Shoulda Woulda Coulda”. You know what? We’re all starting from day one. We’re at Quarantine Day 8 right now. We’re recording these in advance. There’s no shame. It’s just “What are we going to do from here?” That’s what I want for you guys. I think of those cans of tomatoes as money in the bank for me. It’s money I don’t have to spend on other things. That’s what I want for each and every one of you. So, I want you to get your 100 $1 bills. If that means you’re taking an extra three dollars out when you go to the grocery store and sticking it someplace? Then it’s there when you need it. Your second goal is a thousand dollars. So, major repairs, car repairs, things like that, you have. Even if you don’t have all the money for it? You have a head start on it. Your third goal is three months of drastically reduced expenses. So, I would look at that as, probably, what your normal expenses are, cut in half. So, what would you be able to live on, and get really smart? I’m going to tell you about two resources I love. Not everybody is a huge Dave Ramsey fan, but I think what he says makes sense, especially for those of us that are struggling. So, I look to his principles. The other thing that I love, there’s a book that I love. It was published in the 80s and 90s, but I love the principles of it. It’s called The Tightwad Gazette. It’s by Amy Dacyczyn and I just dug my copy out, and I’m going to be reading over it. It’s got all these Grandma Skills in it, and that’s what we need right now. We need the Grandma Skills. So, what is it that you need right now? I think this is really doable. Tonya, I’d like you to share some of the resources that we have for our listeners, to help them with some of these hard things, especially if they preorder the book.

 

Tonya – We are building up our resource library as fast as we possibly can. Right now, if you preorder Ready for Anything, and that’s if you preorder the eBook or you preorder the print addition. I know everybody has their preferences. It was just supposed to be a two week meal plan, but it’s really become a mini cookbook for Cooking in a Crisis. The idea is, lost job, whatever is happening, you have a two week go-to plan. It’s right there for you. Also, worksheets for your freezer, pantry and fridge inventory. You make smarter purchasing choices when you know what you have on hand. Then, we have some shopping lists. We have a 5-day, initially, it was a homeschool curriculum for emergency preparedness, but now it’s an all-family curriculum for emergency preparedness. So, 30 minutes a day over 5 days and you can just tackle some of the big projects that we have in the book, as a whole family. I think this is huge. When it’s a family affair, it’s so much less overwhelming. Then, our two-week eCourse Kickstart to Clutter Free. I think that one’s good, ‘cause something that I have realized is, I actually feel more at ease when I have less clutter, also, if I have something to do. I think that thing is to feel less helpless. I’m home, I have all this time on my hands, and I don’t know what to do with it. So, what I love about our two week eCourse, Kickstart to Clutter Free, and that retails for $49, it’s just a very quick, twenty minute project every single day. So, you’ve got something you can do. If you do it as a whole family, it’s another way to fill the time.

 

Kathi – It was interesting. I was meeting with a MOPS group today, after they watched all the stuff for Clutter Free Home. They were doing the curriculum that you and I created. We were talking about the UCL study that says, when there’s clutter, women are the most stressed out. It doesn’t affect the cortisol levels of men, but it does affect the cortisol levels of women. We need to really understand that clutter really does affect our stress. Especially since we’re indoors so much right now. We need to be on top of that. I love that we’ve been able to say, “We would love to be able to give this book away for free, but we’re just going to give you so much free stuff, so it’s going to seem like it’s free.” Which I love.

 

Tonya – More than anything, we’re just trying to be a resource.

 

Kathi – We want to be a resource – a sane resource in a lot of frightening stuff. That’s what we want to be for you guys. Tonya, thank you for giving up these four weeks to be with us. I so appreciate it.

 

Tonya – Thanks for having me. It’s been very helpful to dig through this. I really enjoyed it.

 

Kathi – I’m so glad. Friends, thank you for joining 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.

 

<<music>>

 

*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items

 

 

 

#397: How to Stay Focused (When Everything is Trying to Distract You)

#397: How to Stay Focused (When Everything is Trying to Distract You)

Kathi is chatting with her co-author and partner in crime Cheri Gregory about an amazing new find that has helped her stay focused when she’s tempted to get distracted. If you need a tool to keep you on task, friend, you are in luck!  Focus Mate is an online system that pairs you up with an online work buddy.

Does this sound like something you’d love? Kathi and Cheri are going to tell you all about it.

Plus, if you love the idea of Focus Mate, Kathi has come up with a very special idea.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The magic of collaboration to get stuff done.
  • How to access your own online collaborator to help you declutter.
  • The perfect amount of time to stay focused on a project.

Clutter-Free Home

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

In The Clutter-Free Home, you’ll walk through each room of your house to create organizational zones that are not only functional and practical but create places of peace that reflect your personality.  Kathi will help you tackle the four-step process to reveal the home you’ve always dreamed of, and then transform it into a haven that reflects who you truly are meant to be.

Pre-order your copy of The Clutter-Free Home on Amazon today.

Links

Learn more about Focus Mate.

Are you a writer? Would you love to take your writing to the next level? Check out the week-long retreats offered with Kathi and other experts at Writing at the Red House this year.

We would love to stay connected.

To share your thoughts:

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

Cheri Gregory

Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.

Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.

Transcript

Read along with the podcast!

 

Clutter Free Academy Podcast #397

 

How to Stay Focused

 

 

<<intro music>>

 

 

Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live everyday with less clutter and more life. Many of you know my coauthor, my partner in crime, Cheri Gregory. Cheri is here with us today. We’re recording from The Red House. Welcome back, Cheri.

 

Cheri – Thanks for having me.

 

Kathi – You started to talk about something, and I’m finding this fascinating. Of course, because I’m a writer, I was thinking, “Oh, I have to use this for writing.” And then I thought, when you said you used it for decluttering? I thought, “Okay. Game changer.” So, this is going to sound like an advertisement. By the way, we’re getting nothing for this.

 

Cheri – They have no idea we’re doing this.

 

Kathi – They have no idea we’re doing this. What is Focusmate?

 

Cheri – So, it is an online accountability collaborative venture. When I log on to the dashboard, I see different times of day. They’re listed by 50 minute increments. I can put myself down and say, “I want to have a Focusmate session, say, starting at 9 o’clock this morning. It’ll be a fifty minute session.” Now, if there’s already somebody’s little icon there, when I click on it, I can book with that person and we’re matched. If there’s nothing there, I put myself in, and the next person who wants to partner with somebody at 9 o’clock would be matched with me. This is worldwide, so at any point in time, there are multiple people. And it’s the computer doing the matching. I don’t know who these people are, most of the time. They don’t know who I am. It’s very organically and randomly done by the computer. The purpose is to get partnered with somebody who wants to have this work session. When the work session starts, I click on a little button. It takes me to a video room, kind of like Skype or Zoom. They come on screen. I come on screen. This is what I love about it. It’s very curated. There are very firm boundaries about what happens and doesn’t happen. We each say what we’re going to work on; what we’re going to focus on during that 50 minutes. We agree if we want microphone on, or if we want it on mute. Then we work and there’s a little chime at the end of 50 minutes. Then we check in with each other, and say how things went. Then we say, “Thank you so much for the working session.” And we say goodbye.

 

Kathi – Okay, I have so many questions. How did you get over feeling like, “I should be able to do this without another human being in Madagascar checking in on me.”?

 

Cheri – All the evidence suggesting I wasn’t getting things done.

 

Kathi – Okay, so tell me about that.

 

Cheri – The problem with my Google Calendar is, I can drag and drop a task anytime and anywhere I want. I can schedule it at any time and tell myself, “I’m going to do this from here.” And then I didn’t do it, so I dragged and dropped it somewhere else. One of the problems with being a reformed perfectionist is, I’ve swung so much to the other end. I give myself so much grace, it’s called license. So, instead of being so rigid with my schedule, I’m too loosey goosey and things weren’t getting done. Then, I read this book called Atomic Habits, and he talks about the importance of actually developing a plan and sticking to the plan. Of course, he also talks about accountability. I know myself to be a social learner. I know myself to be social. I’m a collaborative person. This isn’t collaborating. We’re not brainstorming together. We’re not talking to each other, which is very important. I get lonely. Who knew that knowing that there is one other person who’s kind of witnessing, they’re not staring at you or anything, but they know that you said you were going to do this thing, and then 50 minutes later, you check in, and you’re doing the same thing for them.

 

Kathi – Right. ‘Cause you’re both busy on your own task. Okay, I want to know, what are some of the people doing on Focusmate?

 

Cheri – Oh my goodness. This has been such a fun, unexpected part of it. One of the first people I worked with was a young guy over in, either England or Scotland. He was working on his doctoral dissertation. So, every day he was knocking out certain parts of it. I just happened to get matched with him every day for at least one session per day, and then, I knew he was going to revise it on a particular day, and I didn’t get matched with him. I was like, “Oh! I wonder how he’s doing.” So, I just messaged him and said, “Hey! I’m thinking about you today, while you’re revising your dissertation.” He sent me a little message back that said, “Thanks so much. It’s going well.” There was another gentleman who was looking for a job. He was going to spend the entire work session. That’s when I went, “Oh!” To me, that’s such a vulnerable thing to tell somebody else. That’s got to be a hard situation to be in. He was an older gentleman. It wasn’t like he was a kid who’s looking for his first job. I don’t know the circumstances. So, I’m still thinking about him. I’m praying for him, that he got a job. How cool, that he did what it took for him to have the discipline and the belief in himself to take the steps he needed to do that.

 

Kathi – I want you to talk about the mom.

 

Cheri – Oh, this was my favorite. It taught me something about myself. She started the session by saying her kids were there with her. She needed to do some reading for a class, then she was literally going to take the laptop, and she did, into the kitchen and cook dinner. At first, I was like, “Oh, that’s a little more noise than I’m comfortable with in the background.” Because she likes to keep the microphone on to hear my keys typing. I’m like, “You know, Cheri, you can turn the volume down on your side.” So, I didn’t hear so much. But, I thought, when I was a mom with small kids, what would I have given to have one other human being on the planet witnessing. Here she is. She’s in school. She’s being disciplined in front of her children. They’re learning by watching her do this. At one point, when she was in the kitchen, I typed, “Oh, it smells fabulous. What are we having?” You know? I wouldn’t want to partner with somebody like that eight hours a day, every day, but I’m committed to seeing where she is on the calendar, and making sure I work with her once a week, because I want to support what she’d doing. I feel like I’m becoming invested in the regulars that I see on the calendar.

 

Kathi – It’s a service. You’re serving people.

 

Cheri – They’re all around the world.

 

Kathi – You’re serving people without out actually taking time out of your day and actually getting more done. I love this concept.

 

Cheri – And, people around this world are doing amazing things. It has given me so much faith in humanity. They are buckling down and doing hard things. Some of the kids, and they are college kids, so to me they’re a kid. Sometimes they tell me, “I thought I’d get further. I was really frustrated with myself. Then I remembered.” So, they’re processing, in a very short, 15 second appropriate way. It’s kind of cool to be able to say, “Well good for you!” I’ve actually built a repertoire of things to say if it went well. Then I can cheer, “Good for you!” And if they struggled a little bit more, I can say, “At least you stuck it out. At least you did it. Your brain is going to keep processing it over the next few hours.”

 

Kathi – So tell me about when you used it to declutter.

 

Cheri – I was so surprised at the positive response I got from people.

 

Kathi – Really?

 

Cheri – Yes. Because, I’m still very new to Focusmate. I’ve only been using it for a month/month and half. It started out as just these piles I was going to go through, which I thought, “Well, certainly, that will be fine.” But then it became, “Well, I have to do the whole office.” So, I made sure my partner was okay with me doing that. They all said, “Yes.” Then, I moved the laptop so they could see. I tried not to be overly distracting. What ended up happening is, I was able to report back at the end. I would say, “This is the section of the office I’m hoping to do.” Or, “This is the set of binders I’m hoping to do.” The number of them who said I inspired them.

 

Kathi – Oh, my.

 

Cheri – Seeing my progress. And what was really funny is, there was one gentleman who, he and I worked together when I was starting to go through these piles. He was with me when I made that decision. I said, “This isn’t just piles, I have to do the whole office.” I won’t tell you how long it took me, but as I finished my office, he ended up being my partner, and I was able to take my computer and show him. He cheered for me and I was, like, “Yay!”

 

Kathi – It sounds like there are amazing people on there.

 

Cheri – They really are.

 

Kathi – It’s so interesting. Just yesterday, I was in one of my Facebook groups for clutter, one of the ones that I run, and this is the first time somebody’s done this. They set up their camera for fifteen minutes, to record them decluttering. Not live. She just did a video of it. She fast forwarded it, so fifteen minutes became a minute.

 

Cheri – How fun!

 

Kathi – It was so much fun. She has the two naughtiest cats in the world, who kept getting back on to the table.

 

Cheri – That would be hysterical.

 

Kathi – It was the best video I’ve seen in a long time. But, you know what? I would have to imagine somebody’s there with you. When you’re recording that, you’re going to be so vulnerable to put it up. You put it up and people are cheering for you. I’ve done clutter for a long time. That was the first time I’d ever seen it, and I was cheering for her. I was like, “Look at how fast you’re getting things done! That’s amazing. I love this concept. I think you know, when I was a young mom, what we would do is, I had three friends and we would switch off houses. Sometimes declutter, but mostly cleaning house. It was just good to have somebody else there to keep you on track, to keep you focused. There’s this social contract that if we say we’re going to do this for 15 minutes, and we’ve got cameras on? I love that it’s fifteen minutes. I mean, fifty minutes. Fifty. Because, you know, when I do coaching sessions, I do them for fifty minutes. I believe in humanitarian breaks. It doesn’t just have to be to go to the bathroom, it’s to get a glass of water. It’s to stretch. So, you have that ten minutes to kind of rest and recover. Then you can dive in to the next thing.

 

Cheri – Yeah. This is based on several scientific studies. They’ve done a really interesting combination of about five or six that have to do with accountability, that have to do with collaboration. There’s one woman, after her first one hundred session with Focusmate, she wrote an article titled, “I never have to work alone again.” For some diehard introverts, that would be the worst news ever, so this is not for them at all. I used to feel guilty, or needy. “Why do I need people?” ‘Cause that’s how God wired me.

 

Kathi – Right. And you know? It’s always great to go to a coffee shop and meet up with a friend and do the thing, but sometimes it’s very easy to meet up with a friend at a coffee shop and not get anything done.

 

Cheri – Yep.

 

Kathi – It can also, depending on where you live, and your situation in life, it can be expensive with little kids and things like that. Also? Just getting out of the house takes fifteen minutes, then another fifteen minutes. So, I love that this has no extra cost to it. Well, it does have a cost.

 

Cheri – Five dollars a month. Unlimited sessions.

 

Kathi – Five dollars a month.

 

Cheri – Now, you came up with a great idea the other day that I think you should share. I really think your Clutter Free people could this. They could do this inside the Clutter Free Facebook group. If they’re part of your Clutter Free for Life, your membership community, they could certainly do find partners for that there as well.

 

Kathi – I want to do Focusmates. That’s something I’m going to do. Because sometimes I don’t want to be connected to the person. I just want to get in, get out, do my thing. Please excuse the idea, but I just want it to be a one night stand.

 

Cheri – There you go. No strings attached.

 

Kathi – No strings attached. Exactly. Sorry, that’s a terrible metaphor, but it explains what I need to say. But here’s the other thing: Sometimes I do want to do it with a friend. I want to be cheered on. I want somebody who’s in my community to declutter with me. So, I’m just coming up with a new idea as we’re talking right now. The first idea is to get on with somebody else. Cheri and I are going to do this for writing, or whatever we need to accomplish, twice a week. We’re going to get on Zoom together and do this. What I think I’m going to do in Clutter Free Academy is, once a week, for fifteen minutes, just set up my camera and declutter, and say, “Hey guys! We’re all going to declutter for fifteen minutes. If you’re available, we would love you to declutter with us.”

 

Cheri – By Facebook Live?

 

Kathi – By Facebook Live.

 

Cheri – That’s brilliant.

 

Kathi – I think that would be super-fun.

 

Cheri – But you have to add it the idea that you came up with for us, ‘cause we’re going to do it for 45 minutes.

 

Kathi – We’re going to do it for 45 minutes, then we’re going to have 5 minutes of friend time. We’re going to earn that five minutes of friend time, because that’s our little reward. But it has to be five minutes and we have to hold to that. Otherwise, it doesn’t work. If we do 45 minutes of work, and an hour and 45 minutes of friend time, it kind of defeats the purpose. So, focusmate.com. Five dollars a month, which, I know for some people, they don’t have an extra penny, but for where I am in life right now, to have accountability for 50 minutes, several times a month? That works for me.

 

Cheri – I do it for finances. You know me. I do finances once a week. The other thing it’s really good for is realizing how long certain things take you.

 

Kathi – Oh, yeah.

 

Cheri – Because now that I’ve done it? I do finances on Thursday and I realized that one session isn’t enough. I book two. It’s making me more realistic about how much I can get done in any given day. It’s helping me gather data.

 

Kathi – Okay, so this is my last question for you. Have you ever got on and there have been a couple on the other side? ‘Cause I’m thinking that Roger and I need this for finances.

 

Cheri – No.

 

Kathi – Okay.

 

Cheri – No, I haven’t, but that’s something that you could do with other people.

 

Kathi – Yeah, I think that could be really interesting. Roger and I need high accountability in the whole finances thing. This has been amazing. Focusmate.com or we can get on Facebook, and we can say, “Hey! We’ve got two people. One is in California, one is in Florida. They need to do their fifteen minutes and they do it at 11:45 PST. Go.” To be able to do that, and say, “Hey. We’re going to be in each other’s space, but we’re cheering each other one.” I love it. Cheri, thanks so much.

 

Cheri – Oh, thanks for having me.

 

Kathi – And friends, thank you for being on Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.

 

 

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*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items

 

 

 

Kids, their Stuff, and How to Handle all of that Clutter

Kids, their Stuff, and How to Handle all of that Clutter

One of the most frequent questions we get at Clutter Free Academy is “What about my kids’ clutter?”

Conflict over clutter can damage any relationship over time, but it’s especially crucial to navigate this issue carefully with your kids, because what you teach them right now will impact their lifestyles as adults.

As parents, we want to empower our children to have the life skills they need to succeed. Here are four ways we can help our children learn how to live a clutter-free life.

Schedule short decluttering times.

Time-boxing makes decluttering bearable for anyone, young or old. As adults, we’re more likely to focus better if we only have to do it for 15 minutes. Depending on your kids’ age, set a timer and make a game of it. For example, challenge your 5-year-old to clean out one drawer in 5 minutes.

Here at Clutter Free Academy, we don’t expect anyone to spend hours at a time decluttering, much less a child. Decluttering works best in small, manageable sessions.

By the way, we need to differentiate between cleaning and decluttering. Cleaning means putting things away, mopping, vacuuming, and dusting. Decluttering means getting rid of stuff you don’t use, love, or would buy again. Both are important, but in this post, we’re focusing on decluttering.

Teach by example.

It’s been said that in raising kids, more is caught than taught. They tend to learn more from what we do than what we say.

They aren’t born knowing how to declutter. The best way to teach them is to work side-by-side with them to show them the same decluttering systems we’ve learned as adults. Make sure they have the tools they need—3 boxes, 2 bags—so that they have a system in place to declutter. Go through the steps one by one: what to give away, what to throw away, and what to put away. Any trash or recycle goes into the bags.

Have a fun celebration when you empty the contents of the boxes and bags into their rightful places. (It doesn’t have to be a big deal—a sticker, a high five, or a “Yay! You did it!” works great.

Focus on one tiny space at a time.

Trying to declutter a large space is even more overwhelming for kids than it is for adults. Choose the smallest area possible and set the timer. Even better, let them choose which area is the most problematic for them. If they already see the value of decluttering, then you’ve won half the battle.

Divide up the closet into small sections, sort one drawer at a time, go through one toy box at a time. Decluttering is a gradual process. Their space didn’t get cluttery in a day, but a consistent habit of setting a timer to declutter a small space will result in big changes.

Help them maintain their space.

To help keep things organized and tidy, teach your child routines; set times during the day when they put away toys, backpacks, clothes, and anything else out of place. Even five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening will work wonders.

To help with motivation, make a timed game out of it, for fun. They’ll be motivated even more by getting consistent rewards each week for working through their routines. Before they know it, picking up their things becomes a habit.

Lifelong Connections

When it comes to clutter, our relationship with our kids is so important. When we come alongside them and give them the tools and skills they need to create a clutter-free home, we free them up to be who God made them to be.

Parent-child dynamics are already challenging enough, especially between mothers and daughters. Reducing clutter conflict can go a long way to improve the relationship.

In their book, Mended, Blythe Daniel and Helen McIntosh talk about how to rebuild, restore, and reconcile the connections between mothers and daughters. One of their chapters deals with generational patterns and how hard they are to break. It takes intentionality and determination to change long-term habits and break learned clutter cycles.

                    

Giveaway!

The generous people over at Harvest House want to give some of our readers Daniel’s and McIntosh’s Mended. 5 people will win a copy and 1 grand prize winner will receive:

-1 Copy of Mended

-Assorted Note Cards

-Distressed Wood Frame

-Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

Enter to win by commenting below. What sorts of rewards motivate your kids the most? Which of these tips do you plan on implementing first?