#612 How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 2

#612 How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 2

612 – How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 2

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

You are not alone, my friend!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned:

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky

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

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

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

Clutter Free Resources:

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

Let’s stay connected

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
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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

Kathi (00:00.398)
Well, hey friends, welcome to Clutter-Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And I am back for part two of my discussion of mental load with Tanya Kubo. And Tanya, I loved our first conversation. I wanna dive right into our second conversation. You and I lead Clutter-Free Academy and Clutter-Free for Life, and are on this podcast,

Tonya Kubo (00:27.463)

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

Tonya Kubo (00:44.871)

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

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

Kathi (01:25.792)

Kathi (01:38.731)

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

Kathi (01:59.456)

Kathi (02:05.964)

Kathi (02:10.622)

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

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

Tonya Kubo (02:23.675)

Tonya Kubo (02:34.331)


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

Tonya Kubo (02:45.58)

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

Kathi (02:58.187)

Kathi (03:04.34)

Kathi (03:12.706)

Kathi (03:18.334)

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

Kathi (03:28.488)

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

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

Tonya Kubo (03:52.165)

Tonya Kubo (03:55.845)

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

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

Kathi (04:12.404)

Kathi (04:17.373)

Kathi (04:32.918)

Kathi (04:36.629)

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

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

Tonya Kubo (04:55.276)

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

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

Kathi (05:45.783)

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

Kathi (06:14.722)

Kathi (06:21.291)

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

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

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

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

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

Kathi (07:06.486)
Yep. Yes.

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

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

Kathi (07:26.447)
Ooh, good observation.

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

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

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

Kathi (08:03.552)
Mmm, yeah.

Kathi (08:09.896)

Kathi (08:14.806)
Beautiful nice

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

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

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

Tonya Kubo (08:38.98)

Tonya Kubo (08:43.397)

Tonya Kubo (08:58.703)

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

Tonya Kubo (09:05.03)

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

Kathi (09:17.066)

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

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

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

Kathi (09:49.705)

Kathi (09:55.534)

Kathi (10:03.946)

Kathi (10:08.291)

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

Kathi (10:18.582)
bright. Yeah.

Kathi (10:34.146)

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

Tonya Kubo (10:47.281)


Tonya Kubo (11:00.777)

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

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


Tonya Kubo (11:21.659)

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

Tonya Kubo (11:48.972)
Oh, okay.

Tonya Kubo (11:53.429)

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

Tonya Kubo (12:22.727)

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

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

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

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

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

Kathi (14:00.383)

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

Kathi (14:03.571)

Kathi (14:23.854)

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

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

Tonya Kubo (14:43.492)

Tonya Kubo (14:51.003)

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

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

Kathi (15:30.273)

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

Kathi (15:45.471)

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

Tonya Kubo (15:58.528)

Tonya Kubo (16:08.611)

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

Tonya Kubo (16:41.575)

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

Kathi (17:05.004)

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

Kathi (17:21.74)

Kathi (17:25.098)
Right, absolutely.

Kathi (17:29.474)

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

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

Tonya Kubo (18:13.903)

Tonya Kubo (18:18.617)

Tonya Kubo (18:35.751)

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

Tonya Kubo (18:55.344)

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

Kathi (19:09.707)

blowing up. No.

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

Kathi (19:37.866)

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

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

Kathi (20:37.783)
Yeah. Yep.

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

Tonya Kubo (20:53.38)

Tonya Kubo (21:01.845)

Tonya Kubo (21:05.226)


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

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

Tonya Kubo (21:46.311)

Tonya Kubo (21:58.052)

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

Tonya Kubo (22:23.748)

Tonya Kubo (22:27.079)

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

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

Kathi (22:47.798)

Kathi (22:55.286)
Yeah, no.

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

Tonya Kubo (23:12.553)

Tonya Kubo (23:28.226)

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

Tonya Kubo (23:38.509)

Tonya Kubo (23:42.567)

Tonya Kubo (23:55.429)

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

Tonya Kubo (24:16.838)

Tonya Kubo (24:32.007)

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

Tonya Kubo (24:43.931)

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

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

Kathi (25:18.78)

Kathi (25:26.987)

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

Kathi (25:43.957)

Kathi (25:57.448)

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

Kathi (26:18.359)

Kathi (26:24.887)

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

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

Tonya Kubo (26:43.413)

Tonya Kubo (26:48.366)

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

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

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

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

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



#611 How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 1

#611 How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 1

611 – How to Deal with the Mental Load Part 1

Do you ever feel like you have to be the woman who does it all and are failing miserably? Join Kathi and her guest, Clutter Free Academy champion Tonya Kubo, as they discuss the concept of mental load and working that “third shift.” They’ll talk about:

  • Why lack of available brain bandwidth is not the same as laziness
  • The reason “I should” isn’t really helpful
  • Dividing household responsibilities without resorting to outdated stereotypes

Sign up here to be notified when the second part of this episode is released.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Links Mentioned:

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky

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

Clutter Free Resources:

How do you divide the responsibilities in your household? 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 


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

Kathi (00:00)
Well, hey friends, welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our goal is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. And we’re here for deep discussions today, but it’ll be fun, it’ll be fun, but it’ll be deep. And there’s hardly anybody I like having deep discussions with more than Tonya Kubo because I love her brain. I love her brain. Tonya, welcome back to the podcast.

Tonya Kubo (00:26)
Thanks for having me, Kathi

Kathi (00:28)
Well, I’m I who else could I have had for this discussion but you because you and I talk about this a lot But you really I mean you in social media are what introduced me to the subject of mental load And so before we go any further well, i’ll just say this You I was teaching in our paid group Clutter Free for Life and I started to talk about mental load And I would say At least half the women in there

Tonya Kubo (00:32)
Ha ha



Kathi (00:58)
had never heard the term. Or had never, maybe they had heard the term, but they didn’t know exactly what it meant. And we had such a rich conversation. And I thought, okay, well, this is something I need to be talking about more. And I’m gonna confess after you do, you kind of define it for us, some of the ways that my thinking has shifted. So.

Tonya Kubo (01:03)


Kathi (01:26)
Some of this are going, some people are gonna think that this is a very, how do I wanna say it? Kind of, I don’t know, scary topic? I don’t think it is. I think it’s exciting.

Tonya Kubo (01:36)
Oh, I mean, the thing is, is people will make, I think our listeners are our listeners and they’re gonna take it exactly like we take it. However, people like to make this political. People like to make this gendered, right? They like to make this like, like they like to assign all sorts of nasty labels to this conversation, but it’s a, yeah, but it’s a genuine conversation about the…

Kathi (01:44)


Men hating things like that. Yeah

Tonya Kubo (02:06)
limited capacity of each individual human. That’s really what this is about.

Kathi (02:10)
Yeah. So what is mental load?

Tonya Kubo (02:15)
Yeah, so mental load. So I like to describe the brain as a computer because it’s easy and honestly it is one, right? And so, you know, mental load is all of the stuff that you are having to think about, consider, and whether it is conscious thought or subconscious thought, it is all of the, it’s all the programs, right? It’s the 100 browser tabs open.

Kathi (02:20)
Mm-hmm. Yes.

Tonya Kubo (02:44)
on your computer at any given time that not one of those browser tabs is any big deal. One’s going to Gmail, maybe one’s open to Google, maybe one’s open to your bank or something, right? Like each of those websites is just a simple website, it’s not a big deal, but a hundred of them open at the same time has reduced the speed at which your computer can operate. And usually a hundred browser tabs open means you can’t even run a Zoom call.

because there’s not enough available, RAM stands for rapid access memory. There is not enough accessible memory to run Zoom without closing those tabs. So for us as humans, it’s all that stuff that pulls at our concentration, our focus, our energy, that prevents us or at least creates a limitation around how intentional our decisions can be.

how thought out, whether we’re actually thinking about all the, like thinking through an idea or we’re just going, yeah, whatever, that sounds fine. In clutter free space, right? It’s, oh my gosh, I’m thinking about this, I’m gonna do that, and I’m going through my mail, and it’s going, I don’t even have time to process the words on the outside of this envelope to know if this is junk mail or something important, so guess what? I’m just gonna put it here for now.

Kathi (04:03)

Yes, Lotta here for now. I get it.

Tonya Kubo (04:09)
Right, and it piles up over time. And then I look at that pile and I go, gosh, I’m so lazy. But in the reality is there are so many decisions in that pile and I have to have some available brain space in order to make them in a thoughtful way that makes sense. So that’s mental load in a nutshell.

Kathi (04:16)

there a lot.

Yeah, so why this can be a gender discussion, I will use myself as an example. I remember growing up in the 80s and being told things like, your husband worked so hard. I got married in 1990. Your husband worked so hard. So it’s your job to make sure.

that when he gets home, he feels well taken care of, that you are not leaving a lot of things for him to do. Now, what didn’t pop up in that conversation was that I was also working. And, or, you know, before that I was home with the kids, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And that in the 80s and 90s, and I’m sure before then, and I’m sure after then, that…

Tonya Kubo (05:01)

Kathi (05:25)
the house was considered, you know, the home was run by women, but catered to men. And I think that’s where a lot of the angst with our discussion last week in Clutter Free for Life came, because there’s this real hold over kind of feeling that if we are good wives, if we are good Christians, then we, you know, the biggest compliment we can be given is I don’t know how she does it.

Tonya Kubo (05:32)


Kathi (05:54)
I don’t know how she does it. And she doesn’t do it. Or you know, it’s, so was that your experience growing up? Or you know, how did this discussion start to happen for you?

Tonya Kubo (05:54)

Well, so for me, it’s a bit different, right? Because I grew up in a single parent household and not very many people that, not very many adults that I interacted with were married. My mom was a single mom who surrounded herself with other single moms. And there was a lot of community activity because they were all a bunch of single moms just trying to survive. So, but you know, so my, all of my understanding of

Kathi (06:25)
Oh, interesting.



Tonya Kubo (06:42)
married with children relationships came from television. So it was even more unrealistic than you can, because honestly like 1980 sitcoms, right? Dad’s an idiot, mom knows everything. And I don’t know how the house gets clean because it’s always clean, but nobody’s ever cleaning on the show.

Kathi (06:47)
Oh, interesting.



Alice it was Alice. Okay that I’m a little older than you Yes

Tonya Kubo (07:05)
It’s a little bit before, yeah. Right, but yes, oftentimes there was some kind of domestic help in the picture because it’s all wealthy families that we’re watching, right? Until Roseanne came out, there was no working class family on TV. So I had the same lack of realism in my life, but also when I came into adulthood and, you know,

Kathi (07:15)


It’s so true. Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (07:34)
wanting to get married and all that stuff, I’m looking at how do I not have a failed marriage? How do I not do this? And I encounter all those books that were written in that time that you were coming up that talked about how I needed the house to be welcoming. I remember reading like older books about like, you can’t have, the kids shouldn’t cry. If you have to feed them candy before dad comes home, you should do that so that the kids aren’t crying because no man wants to come home after a hard day of work to crying kids.

Kathi (08:02)
Yes. The book I read said you should be sauteing onions as your husband comes home. It didn’t matter if you were cooking onions for a meal, you should just be sauteing them because it would make everything smell better.

Tonya Kubo (08:04)
And, you know, go ahead.



Okay, what if he didn’t like- I’m just like, what if that poor man didn’t like onions or was allergic?

Kathi (08:21)

Well, that’s true too, but you just wanted the impression that something was cooking, you know, get ready for it.

Tonya Kubo (08:30)
Yeah, no, I get it. So for me, it was this idea that women were supposed to do everything, were not allowed to complain, and if anything broke down in the household, it was on them. Now, because I grew up in a single home, a lot of that stuff didn’t make sense to me, and I just didn’t understand. Like I understood if your husband worked outside the home and you decided that…

working inside the home was your role. And when I say working inside the home, I mean being a wife and a mother is your role. That is your profession. Like that division of labor kind of made sense to me a little bit, right? But I never understood how if both people worked full time, right? Like how did the rest of it happen? And it was the 1980s when that, I think it was an article that came out called The Third Shift, where they started to talk about

Kathi (09:10)


Tonya Kubo (09:28)
how women had to pull this third shift in the parenting and the caregiving responsibilities, but it still wasn’t quite thought about like it is now. So then you fast forward, see, I’m 46, but I’m kind of an old mom for where I live. I didn’t become a mom until my 30s. And I’m pretty much, most of my friends started having children in their late teens.

Kathi (09:38)

Tonya Kubo (09:54)
So, you know, their kids are all grown and out of the house. So they, I think most of them had the same concept as you. So I do think it’s fairly like, it’s relatively new. I think where mental load, I think you discovered it in the book, Fair Play, right? So you discovered it in the book, Fair Play, where I really found more people talking about it was when I started speaking on neurodiversity in marriage. Because, go ahead.

Kathi (10:09)
Yes. Yeah.

Okay, I want to I want to come back to that we need to take a quick break, but I want to come back to that and I think Uh, I think it’s going to be interesting to hear how that

Tonya Kubo (10:24)
Yeah. Oh, sure.

Kathi (10:34)
brought itself forward for you and how you were able to have those discussions in a really healthy way. So we’re gonna go and have a quick break, and come right back.

Okay, we’re back with Tonya Kubo. We’re talking about mental load. We’re gonna talk about neurodivergence and mental load. And how did you start to have those conversations with Brian? I think that’s really interesting.

Tonya Kubo (10:57)
Okay, well, so, you know, Brian was raised in a very non-traditional environment, like, because his mom, they lived out in the country, his mom drove quite a bit to go to work, and they lived on the farm where his dad worked. So his dad would come in and cook lunch for the kids. His dad, you know, cooked dinner oftentimes because he was done with work before Brian’s mom was. So…

Kathi (11:16)
Interesting, yeah.

Tonya Kubo (11:24)
there wasn’t really, like we definitely had our own expectations of what like a good wife was and a good mom was, but I, you know, I had much higher expectations of what that was. But one of the things that I discovered early on in our marriage is we go to couples groups and we fought the most coming home from a couples group than we ever fought any other time. And it’s because we’re going to couples groups and we’re studying a book on marriage, right? And

Kathi (11:29)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.


Tonya Kubo (11:52)
what a good wife does and what a good husband does. And I’m trying to do all those things and Brian is not happy with any of it. How dare he? And I remember one fight, one fight, I was just like, we’re like reading the book, right? And he’s like, and it was like, okay, when the wife does this, the husband feels this, right? Was the book. And you know, when the husband does this, the wife feels it. So he’s like, you do that. And I’m like, uh-huh. I’m like all proud of myself, right? Like he’s gonna see Kathi.

Kathi (11:55)

How dare he?

Oh, okay.

Yeah. Right.

Tonya Kubo (12:21)
how amazing his wife is. And he’s like, you do that. I’m like, uh-huh. He’s like, you do that. I’m like, uh-huh. And he’s like, I hate that. And I’m like, what? He’s like, wait. And he’s looking at the, like the guy feels column. And he’s like, wait, is that what you think? I think? And I’m like, well, that’s what the book says. That’s what all husbands like. And he’s like, no, I hate all of them. Make his plate.

Kathi (12:35)

Yeah. So give us an example. You do the, oh my gosh, okay, yes.

Tonya Kubo (12:51)
When a wife, so like the book didn’t say anything about cooking dinner, but it talked about how men really like acts of service. And one thing that you can do, a mistake that women make, a mistake that moms make specifically, because we love to beat up on moms. A mistake that moms make is mom will make the kids plates first, then make dad’s plate, and then make her plate. And what mom needs to do is make dad’s plate first. He is the head of the household.

Kathi (13:14)

Tonya Kubo (13:21)
and then make dad’s plate, make her own plate because the kids need to see that mom and dad are more important than they are. And then you make the kids’ plates and then everybody sits down and eats. So I started making Brian’s plate. And it was just me, Brian and Lily at the time, right? So I’d make Brian’s plate, I’d make my plate, make Lily’s plate, not a big deal. Didn’t take extra time really. But Brian was always like, hmm. Like you could just see, I mean, you’ve met Brian.

Kathi (13:37)

Tonya Kubo (13:50)
like not a mad guy ever. Right. But I could just tell he would be like, thanks. So his thing. So he was, he hated me making his plate. Kathi like absolutely hated it made him feel like he was five years old. So he didn’t appreciate that. And I was like, but, but like, why? Like I am actually doing this because I love you. And then he’s like, because Tonya Hughes, I feel like you are deciding what I get to eat.

Kathi (13:53)
No, never.

Oh, interesting.

Tonya Kubo (14:17)
Like, who are you to say whether I get three pieces of broccoli or four? Who are you to say whether I get half of a chicken breast or a whole chicken breast? I’m an adult man. I can make my own plate.

Kathi (14:23)


Tonya Kubo (14:31)
I was like, all right, say no more, go make your own plates, sir.

Kathi (14:32)
So, yeah, Brian, you’re not feeling how you’re supposed to feel. So you started to have these conversations about when you do this, it’s not the feeling you think it is. And I know Brian well enough to know he was very appreciative of a lot of things you were doing, but that he was expected to have a feeling that he didn’t have.

Tonya Kubo (14:43)


Kathi (15:02)
was probably very frustrating for him. Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (15:02)

Oh, definitely, definitely. And then there were things like, things that were really important to me that he didn’t appreciate. He did not appreciate me soaking dried beans to cook beans from scratch. He did not appreciate me cooking every meal from scratch. Cause for Brian, he just wants to eat food. And if I bought McDonald’s every day, he’d be perfectly happy. That’s not everybody’s dynamic.

Kathi (15:26)

Right, it’s not. Uh, s- Yeah.

Tonya Kubo (15:32)
But we had other issues, right? Like, I mean, and so for us, I just wanna kind of fast track the story a little bit. So it’s not the Tonya show because it’s actually not the Tonya show. It’s the Kathi Lipp Clutter Free Academy show. But he was diagnosed with ADHD at 40. And by that time I stopped enrolling us in couples groups. We stopped trying to do all of that because it was clear that wasn’t working for us. And that felt…

Kathi (15:38)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. Hmph. Ha ha ha. It’s all good.



Tonya Kubo (15:59)
Like we felt kind of fish out of water. Like we couldn’t really talk about what was working in our house because it was so different from other marriages of the people we knew. But then when he was 42, so I would have been in my late 30s by then, we ended up with couples counselor. And she looked at me one day and she said, do you think he has ADHD? And I said, yeah, but what does that have to do with what we’re talking about? She’s like, every complaint you have is tied there. And it was in that.

Kathi (16:05)

Tonya Kubo (16:26)
I can’t explain it, Kathi, but it was two things. One was when, like she gave us some resources and realizing the divorce rate in marriages where one partner has ADHD was astronomical. And like that was very sobering to me. So seeing that, and then also in just evaluating like what an ADHD brain needs.

Kathi (16:47)


Tonya Kubo (16:56)
It was completely opposite of those stereotypical gender roles. And so that gave me permission, because it did, it started with me, but it gave me permission to redefine our marriage and our entire household operation based on what worked for us and not based on what other people told us we were supposed to do.

Kathi (17:01)


Okay, I love this conversation so much. And some of you may be thinking, well, my spouse isn’t neurodivergent. So mine isn’t, you know, Roger says he’s probably on the spectrum somewhere. But, you know, never had a diagnosis. It’s, you know, he’s a pretty typical guy. But I remember when we got married, that

Tonya Kubo (17:47)

Kathi (17:48)
You know, I was all about we’re gonna do the typical We’re gonna do that. I want to be the best kind of wife. So i’m going to do the things in fact, I wrote up Yes By the way, I wrote a book on it And yes, which I stand Yes, exactly

Tonya Kubo (17:59)
A++ all the way, Kathi Lipp, A++.

Yes, you did. So we can all see what a perfect wife you are.


Kathi (18:12)
I stand by most of that advice, but you know what? If we’re not learning things after 10 years and not changing our mind, we’re not evolving as humans. But I will say this, that I can see why I was very frustrated in a lot of respects in my first marriage, because the expectation was that I was going to pull that third shift.

Tonya Kubo (18:19)

Kathi (18:39)
And where my first husband did help out, I think more than the average bear, it still was not equitable. And I felt like a failure all the time. I felt like a failure all the time, because I wasn’t doing what I assumed all these other women were doing. And that was so frustrating for me, because I’m like, I don’t know how to work more. I don’t know how to work harder. I don’t know what to do more.

Tonya Kubo (18:44)



Kathi (19:08)
And in our next episode, we’re going to talk about some of those things. But I want to talk about, you know, how do we have these conversations? And, you know, Roger and I have a classic example of, um, we were both trying to serve each other. So I was doing the dishes each night and he was cleaning up the kitchen. And, um, you know, I wanted credit for doing the dishes each night because that’s the worst job in the entire house. And I don’t know how we got into this conversation.

But he said, actually, I don’t mind doing the dishes. I hate cleaning up the kitchen. I’m like, what? I love cleaning up the kitchen. And so we made this swap. Now, here’s what I know. I’m saying that sentence, and there are a lot of women who are listening who are planning the meals, doing the inventory. Right. Cooking the meals.

Tonya Kubo (20:00)
I was like, who are getting no help in the kitchen whatsoever?

Kathi (20:06)
cleaning up from the meals, doing the dishes. And they can’t understand why their house doesn’t, isn’t running perfectly. And I have really changed my thinking. You know, you and I just did a series of one-on-one consultations with a lot of people and some other people did too, with Clutter Free Academy. And I finally had to get to the core of it with some of the people I was meeting with.

Tonya Kubo (20:09)


Kathi (20:34)
I’m like, you don’t have a clutter issue. This is a relationship issue or a division of responsibility.

Tonya Kubo (20:42)
Well, it’s also mental load. I mean, like, and I know we’re gonna get more about that, but one of the one-on-ones I had, you know, the person kept saying, well, I should this and I should that, and I have no excuse. And I had to stop them and just kind of say, it sounds like you’re really hard on yourself. And they were like, yeah. And I said, so you talk about yourself like this a lot. And they were like, yeah. And I’m like, and so if that was working for you, we wouldn’t be on this call, would we? And they were, they kind of stopped. And I was like, okay, so can we just try something different?

Kathi (20:45)
It’s exactly, yes.


Tonya Kubo (21:11)
and I had them walk me through and Kathi, like they walk me through what they do. And I’m like, I’m exhausted. Like it does not shock me that their house looks like, their house looks in a way that is not tolerable to them because I can tell you that the way my house would look if I was trying to do all that, that would probably break a health code or two, I’m sure. I’m sure it would break a health code or two.

Kathi (21:17)


Yeah. And most of us are trying to do all the things. And, cause we wanna be known as the, I don’t know how she gets it all done woman. But, but here’s the problem friends. If you don’t know how somebody’s getting it all done, they probably aren’t. So we’re gonna come back next week. And Tonya and I wanna give some, I wanna do two things. We wanna talk about, I believe you called it insourcing and outsourcing.

Tonya Kubo (21:38)



Kathi (22:03)
Correct? And I wanna talk about how do you have these conversations with the people you live with? Because I think that is what our group is most interested in hearing. And we’re gonna figure out how to start those conversations in a healthy and respectful way, but we’re gonna get it done, friends. Because I don’t want people I love living like this, working harder.

Tonya Kubo (22:03)
Mm-hmm. Yep.




Kathi (22:32)
and feeling more behind all the time. Tonya, thanks for having this conversation with me.

Tonya Kubo (22:32)

Thanks for inviting me.

Kathi (22:38)
And friends, thank you for being here for this. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp Now, go create the clutter free life you were always designed to live.


Fun Ways to Pep Up Your Marriage with Focus on the Family

Fun Ways to Pep Up Your Marriage with Focus on the Family

We love buying farm fresh produce, but let’s be real, Roger and I are both busy, and another thing… we don’t live on a farm. So, we decided to grow a few things in our own garden, well, actually it is a planter on the back patio, but for us, we felt like urban farmers.

Every day we went out to check on our little garden. As the leaves grew and little buds formed we enjoyed the daily routine of caring for our thriving plants and looked forward to the day when we could enjoy the fruit of our labor, literally.

It was a wonderful day in the Lipp Household when we plucked our first tomato off the vine.

How funny that we can get so intent on growing a vegetable, and yet how easy it is to get distracted from growing something much more valuable, our marriage.


It is so easy to focus on the mountain of little things that feel urgent on a day to day basis, but make it a priority to balance them out with what is truly important.


Busy happens, we need to recapture some of the fun things that drew us to our spouse. Whether it is a date-night, a simple gesture of kindness, or spending time with other couples, shake up the routine.


Just like our tomato took time and patience, we need to nurture a healthy relationship with our spouse. We didn’t flood our little “garden” once and walk away, hoping it would fend for itself. We made it a daily routine to make sure it was thriving.

There are seasons in life, but whether you have been married for a few years or a few decades, we can all benefit from savoring simple moments with the one we vowed to love, honor, and cherish.

How about you? Maybe you could use some fun and fresh ideas to nurture your relationship?

Join me as I visit with Focus on the Family on how to add some pep into your marriage.


4 Ways to Express LOVE to Your Not-So-Organized Spouse, Plus Free Printable

4 Ways to Express LOVE to Your Not-So-Organized Spouse, Plus Free Printable

4 Ways to Express Love

Socks scattered across the bedroom floor. Again.

Love is patient.

Paper piles covering every flat surface, even though I created a file system for them.

Love is not easily angered.

How many times do I have to remind him there is a container for the chips?

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

These are the thoughts and frustrations that run through my mind every time my husband’s messy tendencies conflict with my organized ways. You would think that after 25 years of marriage I’d be used to it.

I’m not.

When I married Clint I knew what I was getting into. I didn’t marry him for his organizational skills, but rather for his sense of humor, good looks, and kind ways. Plus, I was certain being married to me would cure him of his disorganization.

I was wrong.

Our polar opposite personalities and different ways of keeping things in order clashed from the get-go. We struggled and fought. In the end, I had to learn how to balance my orderly style with his not-so-organized ways.

Love Paves the Way

It wasn’t easy, but hope and LOVE made all the difference.

LOVE paves the way

Since our marriage was a relationship grounded in God, it seemed like the best place for me to search for answers in dealing with my disorganized spouse would be God’s Word. I was certain that I would find the evidence I needed to change Clint to my tidy way of living.

Once again, I was wrong.

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes, “ Love is patient, love is kind … it keeps no record of wrong.” I wonder if Paul knew how desperately some “Odd Couples” would need to hear those words in order to live as one.

Rather than give me the weapons I was looking for, God’s Word showed me how to express LOVE to Clint in ways that would honor him, our marriage, and our home.

Express Love to Your Spouse 

Learn your spouse’s organizing style. Organizing isn’t one-size-fits all. In fact, each of us has our own way of keeping order. As much as I wanted Clint to be organized like me, he had his own style.

Once I recognized his style – no lidded containers, simple in function, and everything in view – it made it easier for me to create order for both of us. By honoring who he was, and how God created him, I was able to find a balance both of us could work with.

A marriage is made up of two unique individuals. I needed to stop trying to make him just like me and appreciate the man he was.

Offer to compromise. In a perfect world, everyone would be organized. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and often times those we love are not as organized as we’d like them to be.

While we could insist they do things our way, God reminded me that love is not self-seeking (1 Cor 13:5). That’s where compromise comes in.


Rather than demand that every inch of the house be in perfect order, here are a few compromises I suggested:

• Offering one or two “messy zones” that he is free to keep as he pleases.
• Determining together which spaces in the house should be clutter-free and which everyone has to make an effort to keep orderly.
• Setting terms for dealing with unwanted stuff – agreeing to declutter twice a year with a goal of getting rid of at least 50 items.

Compromise is never easy, but it’s a necessary component of marriage and the organizing journey.

Verbalize your feelings, but don’t nag. While it can be frustrating to see the piles and chaos that disorganized spouses can leave in their wake, constantly pointing out those tendencies will not bring order to your home.

Statements such as, “Why can’t you put the chips back where they belong?” or “You always leave your socks on the floor” don’t exactly convey loving sentiments. Rather, statements like these that can put your spouse on the defensive and make you sound like a quarrelsome wife (Prov. 19:13, 21:9, 25:24).

Instead of bringing up his organizational shortcomings, why not try statements such as:

• “Honey, did you know that there is a basket specifically for the chips in the pantry?” or
• “It really bothers me when you leave your socks on the floor all the time. Could you pick them up more often and place them in the hamper?”

Words Have Power

Our words have the power of life and death and a gentle answer can turn away wrath (Prov. 15:1). They might just lead to order too.

Exemplify. It’s unlikely that your nagging or anger will be what brings your spouse to the light of organized living. I’ve learned from personal experience that setting the example first has more influence and impact than words or fights could ever have.

Truly, actions speak louder than words (1 Peter 3:1). Over time my consistent organized ways and habits eventually began to rub off on my husband. In the past few years I’ve seen Clint become more orderly – he makes to-do lists on a regular basis, he purges his clothes before we go shopping, and I’ve even caught him using my label maker!

I can’t say that he’s organized with everything, but he’s definitely not the same man I married all those years ago. Sometimes the best thing a wife can do is be the example for her spouse, even in the little things.

[Don’t forget to show LOVE to your spouse! Download the FREE printable – 4 Ways to Express LOVE to Your Not-So-Organized Spouse.]

Lesson Learned

Early in our marriage, I questioned whether two people on different ends of the organizing spectrum could make it work under one roof. I was certain that he was the one who needed to change. Eventually, I realized that the only person I can change is myself.

While our home isn’t perfectly organized, the truth of God’s Word, the hope that things could change, and a lot of LOVE have allowed us to have a home that’s as clutter-free as can be.

How could LOVE make a difference with your not-so-organized spouse?

Liana George is an organizer, writer, and speaker. Her mission is to inspire others in transforming their chaos into an organized lifestyle. Liana is married to Clint and together they have two adult daughters. When Liana isn’t organizing something you can find her curled up with a good book, watching/playing tennis, or planning her next dive adventure. You can visit her website at bygeorgeorganizing.com.

to-do list

The 5 Senses Guide to Sex

The 5 Senses Guide to Sex

senses guide to sex

My husband and I are fans of the book The Five Love Languages, by Gary D. Chapman. Our love languages relate to more than just the day to day, but it also impacts how you approach your sex life.

The 5 senses guide to sex

It came as no surprise my husband’s love language is physical touch, and knowing this caused me anxiety because I thought physical touch just meant sex and I needed to be ready for it at any time. I took a risk and asked him about it. To my surprise, we talked about sex in a productive way. It wasn’t easy at first, but over time I gained confidence. Together we learned sex is more about the journey than the destination. One way to enrich the journey is through the five senses guide to sex.


Sound is not only about what you say to each other, but also how you say it. Let your tone and inflections be gentle; try greeting each other with kindness or a soft word after a long day. Create a good vibes playlist on Pandora or Google Play to set the mood. Our men listen for our verbal cues ,so it is important that you provide verbal sounds or whispers to express how much you enjoy your husband in the moment.


Taste is more than things like brushing your teeth or chewing gum for a fresh taste. It’s also about the food and drink you share together. Think about how your lips taste, or how your body tastes, especially after a work out. Go ahead and rinse the salt off!


Smell is an aroma that is pleasing to you and your spouse. Try lighting a candle, using a pleasant smelling lotion, or spraying fragrance that he loves.


Touch is about caressing, massaging, holding hands and skin-on-skin contact. Always kiss while saying hello or goodbye. Wear something that feels soft. Put clean sheets on the bed so it’s fresh.


Sight is about getting out of the loungewear and feeling good because you know you look good. Text each other throughout the day to let your spouse know you are thinking of him and can’t wait to see him. Before you part ways for the day linger a little longer between changing clothes, make sure you catch each other. Or while you’re out shopping make a stop at the lingerie store.

Later, put on an impromptu fashion show and he helps you decide what to keep and what to return. If it helps set the mood, replace one of your bulbs in your bedroom with a red bulb. Maybe it is just the signal you need to help you both get in the mood. Lastly, schedule it. Honestly, when I look at all the things on my schedule for the day and I see “sex” pop up, it is a visual cue that helps get me prepared well in advance.

senses guide to sex

One Small Win: This list is just a small start, but I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and let one or all of the senses be your guide. The goal is to build and/or enhance physical intimacy in your marriage.

Julie Landreth is a speaker and a “wife coach” who loves sharing with women her passion for prayer and ways to actively cultivate a thriving marriage.  She leads a growing number of women in San Jose, CA through her curriculum: Consistency and Persistency: The Art of Praying for your Husband. Having been married 12 years, she and her husband have cultivated a marriage filled with intentional love, effective communication, sustainable fun, and a date night every Friday night for the last nine years. She also finds deliberate ways to spend quality time with her 9-year-old son who shares many of her artistic talents. Follow her along on Instagram at @julielandreth.