This week, Kathi continues her four-part conversation with Tonya Kubo, founder and fearless leader of the Clutter Free Academy Facebook Group about how to (finally) create the clutter-free home you’ve always wanted. Last week, we learned about dedicating your space for its purpose. This week, Tonya and Kathi discussed how to decide the way you want the room to feel. Don’t skip this. It is an important step.
In this episode, you’ll learn how to use the question, “How do I want this room to feel and look?” in order to help you cultivate a clutter free home.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- You can use each of your senses to create a space you love
- Deciding puts you in control of your space, no matter what space you have
- The link between self-care and clutter-free
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.
Learn more about Clutter Free for Life.
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Clutter Free Academy Podcast #393
Clutter Free Home – Decide
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. My name is Kathi Lipp and I am here with the founder of Clutter Free Academy on Facebook, Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya!
Tonya – Hey Kathi!
Kathi – So, you and I are in the midst of a four-part discussion. We’re doing all the things.
Tonya – We’re digging in deep.
Kathi – That’s right. So, what we are talking about is, really, the system described in my new book. So, that’s called The Clutter Free Home: Making Room for Your Life. So, that’s coming out February 11th. Super super excited.
Tonya – SQUEE!!
Kathi – I know! I can’t wait. We’re going to have a group that’s going to go through it together, so we’ll tell you more about that in the comments. But, I want to talk about Step #2. We talked about Step #1, which is to dedicate your space, which sounds a little weird. It’s not like you do a ceremony or anything like that.
Tonya – Right. We’ve had, like, baby dedication for your space.
Kathi – No. There is no sage that needs to be burned.
Tonya – No smudge sticks.
Kathi – No, we’re all good, friends. Dedicating is just saying, “Hey, this space is dedicated for this in my life or my family’s life.” Get realistic. If you use your kitchen as a homework center, let’s just name it. Let’s create the space we need to create for this moment in our lives. In our house, now, we don’t have homework in the kitchen, or anything like that. We do have an office in our bedroom, so let’s get realistic around that. Do we need to have a better filing system up there? To pretend it doesn’t exist doesn’t really work. So, that was Dedicate, Step #1. We talked about, “Is there a verse you can put on the wall? Is there a saying?” What could you do to dedicate that space? Now, we’re going into Step #2. So, Step #2 is all about Deciding. Now that you’ve dedicated the space, I want you to decide how you want that room to feel, to look, all the things. So, this is what I want you to do. I want you to pick a room. Tonya, let’s do your kitchen. I’m going to do my kitchen.
Tonya – Good, ‘cause that’s what I was thinking about doing.
Kathi – Good. Excellent. We’re just like this. We’re of one mind. So, the question is: How do I want this room to feel, to look? Really, you can base this off the five senses. What do I want the sight of that to be? What do I want the sounds to be? Taste? That’s a legit question. Smell? Touch? Those are good questions to ask. Let’s talk about, “In my kitchen, the first thing I want is clean.”
Tonya – Yes!
Kathi – Yes!
Tonya – I was thinking, “Not sticky.”
Kathi – Yes. You’re in a different stage of life.
Tonya – I am in a different stage of life.
Kathi – But, you know, clean is one of the things. I want it to be comfortable. I want it to be creative. I love to get creative in the kitchen. All mine started with Cs. I wasn’t starting out that way, but when I got to three Cs, I just kept going.
Tonya – You just got to own it.
Kathi – Cozy and Connecting. Those are the things I want in my kitchen. How ‘bout you? And yours don’t have to start with Cs.
Tonya – Right. Well, and we talked in Part One about how I want a warm kitchen. I want people to want to hang out in my kitchen with me. Whether it’s my children, or people who visit, I don’t want people all in the living room. The way that our floor plan is, the living room is very removed. So, I want the kitchen to be inviting.
Kathi – Right. That is really important. To make sure your space is very inviting, and that people feel like they can just sit down and hang out. Okay, so do you have any other words that you want it to be? Clean? Inviting?
Tonya – Definitely clean. Inviting and warm and I wouldn’t mind, I like the idea of warmth as coziness, but I like the idea of a room that’s energetic.
Kathi – Yeah. And I think you can achieve that through different things. So, I want to talk about how to get to that place in your space.
Tonya – Oh, yay!
Kathi – I think it’s really about being intentional about the choices you make in there. And I’m not saying, “Go redesign it. Go to HGTV and get a makeover.” Things like that. But if I want a clean, cozy, comfortable, creative room, one of the things is sight. Let’s talk about sight. It’s not so much, for me, about having a perfectly decorated kitchen, although, for the first time in my life, I have a kitchen that’s decorated how I want it to be. We’ve remodeled and I’m loving it. But, even before all this, when I had the hunter green counter tops and things like that. There are things you can do to make it more of the kitchen you want it to be. So, for me, one of the big things is, if we’re going through the five senses, the sight is to have clear counter tops.
Tonya – Yes.
Kathi – Now, you have small counter tops, right?
Tonya – Oh my word, yes.
Kathi – Right. Okay. So, I don’t have exactly giant counter tops, but I have an average amount. So, to think about what you can do to get stuff off the counter tops. One of the thing we’ve done, we have a butcher block where we can store a lot of stuff. Those kinds of things make a big difference for us. How about you? What are the strategies you use to get stuff off your counters?
Tonya – One of the big things is having designated space in the cabinets for things that, in my old house, just lived on the counter all the time, like the toaster. The toaster is easy to take out and put back. The stand mixer is not, so the stand mixer, the coffee pot…
Kathi – I think it’s dangerous to take out and put back.
Tonya – It’s so heavy.
Kathi – It really is.
Tonya – So, those things have to live on the counter top. So, I also don’t have all my appliances in the same spot on the counter. I have three separate counter areas. So, each one gets one thing. My Instant Pot, if I’m going to use that, has to be on my kitchen table. That’s the only space for it. It’s just realizing that, if something is only used (we don’t use the toaster regularly) that totally can be out of sight. The other thing is, not letting dishes collect on the side of the sink. I don’t know about you, when you had family growing up, but for some reason, I’m the only person who hand washes things.
Kathi – Well, I hate to hand wash, so I understand this.
Tonya – As do I, which is why things pile up on the side of the sink. Brian is great about doing the dishes, but if it needs to be hand washed, it just slowly piles.
Kathi – Can I tell you, one of the biggest arguments in our marriage ever? Is this giant cutting board that Roger loves. It’s the size of a small car. It’s so huge. It has a well in it, so juices don’t run off. He loves this cutting board. He loves it, but he uses it to chop a chili pepper and it can’t go into our dishwasher, ergo it’s there for me. I’m like, “No. This is marriage ending. You need to understand. No. No. No. I can’t do this anymore.”
Tonya – We’re Californians. Yeah, no.
Kathi – Yeah, no. Exactly. So, yes. It’s processing those things. It’s having those routines to get them out. That is so important. Having storage space for the things you actually need, and then having a process for what has to be managed elsewhere. Okay, sound. Sound in your kitchen. We have an Alexa unit. When I’m in my kitchen by myself, I do an audiobook. Right now, I’m reading Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate. Listening to, let’s be clear. When it’s me and Roger, it’s usually James Taylor or Eagles, or something like that. But that’s the sound I like. The other thing I like, is having a dishwasher that doesn’t sound like it’s shaking the house down.
Tonya – One day. One day I’ll be there.
Kathi – Yeah, it’s just good to know, “One day, I will save up to get that thing.” Because, trust me, I had the window rattler for a long time.
Tonya – We have The List. Priorities shift, depending on season.
Kathi – Yeah, exactly. Okay, so Taste. Now, this may feel like a strange question, but one of the things for us is water, at The Red House, while pure…
Tonya – It’s so good.
Kathi – It’s so good, but we filter it twice, because, even though it’s pure – It’s well water. It’s very healthy. We’ve had it tested. It’s wonderful.
Tonya – It tastes purely like a well.
Kathi – It tastes like sucking a copper penny. So, we filter it and it tastes much less. I don’t taste anything. Roger does, but I think it’s all in his head. So, anything in Taste in your kitchen?
Tonya – Well, I live in the middle of a city, so my kitchen water tastes a lot like bleach, but for us, we always have a tea kettle on the stove. That’s something my girls like. Hot tea. Our favorite tea is chai. So, that is something that we do on a cold day. We will all be around the table with our hot chai tea, and I love the smell of that in the house.
Kathi – The smell is amazing. So, that goes the next thing we’re talking about is smell. So, for you, it’s chai tea. For me, I love the smell of lemon in the kitchen. So, I know some people cut real lemons and things like that. I don’t tend to do that, but I love Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena. So, they have the dish washing soap. They have the hand soap. They have the spray cleanser, so I love the smell of that. Also, I use a lot of lemons, so I put those down the garbage disposal. So, you can get that smell all the time. I also have a lemon candle that I burn in there, and that makes me super happy. For me, I like to have a smell for each room. In our bedroom, it’s lavender, ‘cause that promotes sleep. In some of our bathrooms, it’s citrus. I want to have a clean, crisp smell in there.
Tonya – Yes. I actually love citrus in the bathroom. In my kitchen, we love spicy smells. So, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg, chai tea, apple cider. We’re those people.
Kathi – We had apple cider here last night and that just made me so happy with the smell of it.
Tonya – My husband says that I like it to smell like Thanksgiving year round.
Kathi – Nothing wrong with that, my friend. Not a thing. You know, if I could have stove top stuffing every single day of my life? It would be a better world. It just would. Okay, finally Touch. This is huge for me. I’m going to shock a lot of people here.
Tonya – We’re going to talk about towels, aren’t we?
Kathi – Microfiber towels give me the heebie jeebies. That is just the worst feeling/touching thing in the entire world. So, I know, if someone gives me a gift of microfiber towels, I can get rid of them, instantly. I used to try to use them, because I thought it was the nice thing to do, and then I had a bad thought about the person every time I picked up the towel. I’m like, “That’s not the association I want.” How about for you? Touch, in the kitchen?
Tonya – Sponges. Urgh.
Kathi – So you don’t like sponges?
Tonya – No. No.
Kathi – You know what? They’re not good for the environment anyway.
Tonya – Right. Yeah. I just had a childhood of too many slimy sponges.
Kathi – Yeah. So, you don’t use them at all. So, I wash them in the dishwasher, then I microwave them.
Tonya – I used to do that, then I realized that as an adult, I don’t ever have to have them in my house.
Kathi – Apparently, one day, I thought the world sponge supply was going to run out.
Tonya – Oh, and you have fifty?
Kathi – Yes. It’s ridiculous. So, I’m using them up, but I probably won’t restock them. Like, every Airbnb guest gets a new sponge. ‘Cause I just think that’s the right thing to do.
Tonya – ‘Cause you’re a giver.
Kathi – I am a giver. That’s exactly it. So, it’s making intentional decisions about your space. How you want it to feel. How you want it to smell. It’s things like, we have a blanket at The Red House. I think it’s called a Sherpa blanket.
Tonya – I love that blanket.
Kathi – Our friend Kelly gave it to us as a housewarming gift. It’s super-floofy on one side and smooth on the other. It’s not smooth. I don’t really know how to describe it.
Tonya – I feel like I’m hugging a wild animal that’s not going to bite me.
Kathi – That’s not going to bite me. That’s very important here. So, I want to get a couple more of those, because as soon as somebody finds one of those, they just wrap themselves in it, and you’re instantly three times cozier than you were.
Tonya – So, can I say something really quick about Decide? So, what I love about this step is that it puts you in control of your space. The thing that I’ve seen happen, I’ve had it happen to me, especially when I was really overwhelmed by my clutter, is, I think that I’m stuck. I want my house to happen to me. So, it’s like, “Oh, they made this the kitchen, and they put the plugs there, so therefor, I have to do things this way.” This step has really opened my eyes that I’m a grown up. I get to choose, right? I can make any room do anything I want. So, the reason I want to mention this is, I know that some people live in smaller spaces. I grew up in a studio apartment until I went off to college at seventeen. I can imagine that I might go, “Well, you know, I can’t decide, because I only have one room.” But you can. You just have to make the choice, “I’m going to boss my room around. I’m not going to let my room boss me around.”
Kathi – Right. I want my bedroom to be comfortable. If that means I’m saving up for pillows that I wouldn’t normally? I spend a third of my life in bed. Okay, maybe a fourth. I want to be comfortable. It’s being intentional. Here’s the other beautiful thing. In the book, we have you go through the exercise to decide. What it does? It’s a nonsense repellant. You’re not going to Target, and buying the cheap candle, because “Oh, that could be cute in my living room.” Well, no. It doesn’t go in your living room. Stop buying it. Stop going to the dollar bin at Target. Don’t do that. You’re better than that. I understand. Here’s the thing. I have been the single mom who was four syllable broke. I was buh-roke. But here’s what I know. When you take care of yourself, you have less junk. You may not have all the nice things, but you don’t buy the junk. You get it out of your house. So, when I decide I only want citrus candles in this bathroom. That means I can get rid of the ten candles that people gave me as gifts that smell like baby powder. Right? Or like sand and sea? Nothing smells like sand and sea except for the beach, so don’t try.
Tonya – That’s how I feel about evergreen.
Kathi – I like some pine-y things, but evergreen is a no-go for me. It just doesn’t work.
Tonya – It smells like old man aftershave to me.
Kathi – That’s okay. That’s not what you want to smell in your house. I know some of us are keeping it just in case. Like, if I run out money, and can never buy a candle again. Can we just have the faith that you will buy the candle when you need it? That’s all I’m going to ask. We’re going to have the faith that we’re going to buy the candle when you need it. So, guys, this is Decide. So, we’ve gone through Dedicate Your Space. Decide how you want it to feel/look, now we’re going to get to decluttering. Our next episode, we’re doing it for real this time. So, you’re gonna want to come back. We have a whole system, friends. I’m so excited. We’ve been doing it in Clutter Free for Life.
Tonya – We have! So, our Clutter Free for Life members? Got the inside scoop.
Kathi – That’s right. You were basically my guinea pigs. In the nicest way possible.
Tonya – I prefer the term Early Adopters.
Kathi – Early Adopters. But now, we’re sharing it with the whole world. So, you guys will have to come back next week to hear all about our decluttering system. Tonya, thanks so much for being on Clutter Free Academy.
Tonya – Thanks for having me.
Kathi – Always. And friend, thank you for being here. I know that there are a ton of podcasts to listen to, and I love that you’re listening to this one. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items
Meet Our Guest
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.