Podcast Episode 268: How Decluttering Will Help You Handle Tough Situations Transcripts

Please note: Transcripts for the No Guilt Mom Podcast were created using AI. As a result, there may be some minor errors.

 Katy Wells: I had this expectation of motherhood and what it would look like. But when I walked through the threshold of my front door, I felt like I was walking into a second full time job. One that I didn’t get paid for, one that I had tons of resentment about, and one that just like drained me to the bone. I was so exhausted and depleted. 

JoAnn Crohn: Welcome to the No Guilt Mom podcast. I’m your host, JoAnn Crohn, joined here by the lovely Brie Tucker.

Brie Tucker: Why, hello, hello, everybody. How are you? Uh,

JoAnn Crohn: we get into the summer, we’re thinking about all the clutter and all the stuff. And, I know in our balance community, a lot of moms really, really want to focus on their houses because like your home environment has so much to do with your mental health and your energy. I mean, when I see a mess, Brie, I don’t want to do anything. I just want to like shut the door and go on Netflix and ignore any mess I see.

Brie Tucker: yeah. And in summer is definitely in my opinion, like the next to the holidays in my house, like next to Christmas, it is the messiest time of the year because everybody is home, especially like out here where we live. Like we always say like summer is almost our winter. Like we’re all stuck indoors. So just. Everything piles up everywhere and it’s just, ew.

JoAnn Crohn: Indeed. So we have Katie Wells on today and before I introduce you to her, if you could just take a few seconds, can you do a little favor for us because we want everybody to be a no guilt mom. We want to spread this message of doing stuff for yourself is not selfish, that you don’t have to give up everything to be a great mom to your kids. And so could you, can you leave us a little review on Apple podcasts if you get the chance? Because that helps.

Brie Tucker: on over?

JoAnn Crohn: Trot it over. Yeah.

Brie Tucker: trot on over to leave a review. tell us what you think.

JoAnn Crohn: Yep. Tell us what you think. It really helps Apple podcast show no guilt mom podcast to more people. And the more women that we can impact with this, I think the better our world will be. So thank you for taking the time to do that. And now I want to introduce you to Katie Wells. She is a declutter expert and the podcast host of the maximized minimalist. She helps families create homes that are easy to maintain and joyful to live in. And Katie’s the proud mom of two boys, seven and nine years old. And we hope you enjoy our conversation with Katie. 

We’re excited to talk to you today about decluttering. I was reading that you’re in Asheville, North Carolina.

Katy Wells: I am. I’ve been here for, yeah, gosh, 11, 12 years.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, my friend Nicole lives there and she says like it’s a totally gorgeous place and wonderful and amazing and

Katy Wells: This beautiful, a coming, so I grew up in the Midwest, Iowa specifically, just either corn or beans around our house at all times, kind of rural. And, when my husband and I were like, where are we going to live? I was like, mountains, mountains. I just want some change of scenery. And we absolutely love it here. It’s, we’re five hours from the beach. We’re in the mountains. I’m a mountain mama. And it’s just so, there’s so much to do.

JoAnn Crohn: I can relate. I grew up in the Midwest as well, like in Kansas City. So yeah, like it’s just, yeah, you’re like anything other than like rivers, like all we ever had was the rivers and that was it, like nothing else. I’m like, I need more scenery than that. So like moving out west to, Phoenix and having mountains around, which I never knew there were mountains in Phoenix, but there are, and it’s beautiful.

Katy Wells: Yeah,

Brie Tucker: That and palm trees. I’m addicted to palm trees now. I can’t imagine a life where I don’t see palm trees on a regular basis.

Katy Wells: You definitely went up to be on the palm trees. Yeah, I love it. I love it. 

Brie Tucker: mountains are beautiful as well, for sure. and the, we don’t get the green you have there in North Carolina, for sure. So, I missed that part.

Katy Wells: You have to 

JoAnn Crohn: so so Katie, I see you’re involved in a summit that my friend Tasha is hosting Tasha Grusso and, um, the beautiful home, beautiful life. And I know like with Tasha and her whole, decorating journey, and she’s very public about this. So I think it’s fine to share, but I am one of those people who like.

I feel like it’s so much effort for like decluttering or for decorating or, and everything like that. And what Tasha says is that she does it as a sense of clinging back control because in her childhood, like she felt like the only place she really had control was in her room. and so I’m curious, like about in your decluttering journey, like what made you really interested in focusing in decluttering?

Katy Wells: Oh, yeah, that’s such a good question. And I think it’s something you know speaking to Why Tasha loves organizing this summit and I mean, she’s amazing. She’s become a friend of mine as well. there is something to be said about how our physical environments impact our emotions, our thoughts, our feelings, our stress levels.

Just like how we show up day to day as human beings. I mean you can feel it when you go to sit down at a clean tidy organized declutter desk versus a chaotic one, our brains really crave that organization and order. you know, my declutter journey is unique in the sense that I wasn’t born organized.

I wasn’t Tasha who realized at a very young age, Ooh, this is really valuable. I’m going to invest my time here and I’m going to reap the benefits. Feel good at least in this space. I, uh, didn’t know what decluttering meant until, you know, I had kids of my own and it wasn’t until, we had a life changing car accident back in 2017.

my husband, my two sons who were two and one at the time were in the car. All four of us were driving out in Asheville to go enjoy the scenery and we were hitting a head on car accident and I spent the next. eight hours in the hospital, not knowing if my husband was going to survive. And this came at a very challenging point in my life and my motherhood.

I was burnt out. I was overwhelmed. I mean, tis the season. If you have littles, that was certainly part of it. But I remember before this car accident coming home, I worked outside of the house at the time and I would just be like, Oh, I just want to leave work and go see my babies. I just want to be home and snuggle and read books and do bath time and all these things, right?

I had this expectation of motherhood and what it would look like. But when I walked through, my front door, I felt lik a second full time job, o get paid for one that I h about and one that just l the bone. I was so exhaust You know, like a lot of people, I was like, Oh, if I buy the bins, if I organize, but like nothing I was doing was working, it was all very superficial surface level.

And then I’ll never forget after this car accident, finally the doctor came in and he’s like, your husband’s going to survive. He needs, he had a broken neck, shoulder punctured long, all the things that he, so he needed some 

JoAnn Crohn: Whoa, that’s crazy.

Katy Wells: The doctor comes in finally. And it was like the longest eight hours of my life. And he goes, he’s going to be okay, but it’s going to be a long road. So go home, There’s nothing more you can do here. We’ll take care of them. And my two girlfriends at the time, my best friends who came to the hospital after the accident, they drove me home and I opened the front door and it was like this moment of clarity for me where I finally saw my house very objectively for like what it was.

Like I opened the door, we walk in, and there’s stuff everywhere. There’s toys scattered on the floor. This isn’t unusual at the time, but it was like, I finally saw it, right? There’s arts, there’s half eaten crayons, you know how it is. Dishes everywhere, rice stuck on the floor from like dinner

JoAnn Crohn: Half eaten crayons. You’re

Katy Wells: half eaten crayons. I’m like, thanks two year old.

JoAnn Crohn:

Katy Wells: you know, I could laugh about it now, but in the moment I get just, I just got struck in the gut. It felt like a gut punch. First of all, I was so When you do this, you want it to be funny. I would’ve been so embarrassed and ashamed, because I was the type of person who, if these exact same women would’ve called me on a normal day and say, Hey, can I drop by and see the babies?

Can I come hang out? I would’ve been like, give me 30 minutes, give me 30 minutes. and then I toss the stuff in the room, try and tidy up, make my home look presentable. So she doesn’t understand we’re actually really slobs, right? I didn’t 

JoAnn Crohn: think that’s a very common thought. Like so many, if you’re listening right now and you have ever had that thought, no, just how common that is because so many people. Avoid having people over because they feel like they have to clean up and make sure their space is presentable Are you like that Brie?

Brie Tucker: Well, I was going to say, remember my previous life, I was a home visitor. for the state as well as like for hospital newborn follow up. And we did home visitation where we would come to people’s homes and we did that so that it was convenient. we’ll come to your home. You don’t have to make a schedule.

You don’t have to go anywhere. We just come to you. But the amount of people that would either cancel or delay because they were like, I have to clean my house. You’re coming over. And I’m like, dude, I am not judging. You could say that a million times over, but everybody feels that way. And even when I had a newborn follow up, cause my son was a preemie. I was like, no, you can’t come over. I haven’t cleaned and yeah, we’re all like that. It’s awful. It’s just it’s like a prison

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah So you what you went from this moment Katie of feeling that you had to clean over before Your friends came over to what happened then

Katy Wells: so Obviously at the end of this horrible day I mean, I was zapped and all I wanted to do was rest, right? I wanted to go snuggle my babies I wanted to just go pray over them and just be with them and be present and just likeease into the night. And I re I recognize very quickly that my home was working against me on so many different levels.

It was so, there was so much chaos and it was well beyond the season of life. I was in there was so much clutter. There was so much access. There was so much you know as they say the outer is a reflection of the inner, right? I you know leading up to this point dealt with so much depression anxiety procrastination was a big one for me and a big reason why I had clutter which I found out after the fact that procrastination leads to clutter and the more clutter you accumulate, the more you tend to procrastinate, right? It makes sense. Cause we get overwhelmed. 

JoAnn Crohn: it’s a void instinct you 

like do you have so much you’re like I’m just gonna avoid all those

Katy Wells: avoid, throw it behind in a drawer, throw it in a room, move those half eaten crayons and move about my day. And yeah, I thought I just can’t live this way anymore. And then it became, it went from embarrassment and shame. And guilt, like, I felt like I was exposed, right?

Because it is vulnerable to let people into your home, but also to let them see your mess. And then all of that transferred into anger. And this is all within 60 seconds. And I thought, I shouldn’t be devoting mental energy to feeling ashamed about my house right now. I need to be there for my kids.

I need to rest. I need, I have all these things I got to do. And I said, never again will I ever do that. Feel like clutter is stealing away from everyone and everything that I actually care about in life. And I was like, all right I’m gonna do this

JoAnn Crohn: You went through such a moment there because, I was actually just talking to a group we had at our retreat about how a lot of times, you need to get angry before real change can happen, because there has to be like that huge emotional moment where you’re actually willing to put in the effort and put in the work to change your ways.

Cause it’s going to be hard work. And I want to hear exactly what you did. Right after this break. So Katie, you had a lot of anger about your house at this point and just this anger about having to deal with it And knowing that like you don’t want to do this anymore. So what was your next step after that?

Katy Wells: My next step was really what any woman, family, man, like person on the planet tends to do, which is what we’ve been sold and taught. And that is typically number one to organize. So I can out organize, this problem, uh, you know, that’ll be the solution. So like so many people, I went to Target, I got new bins.

I headed to Pinterest, which was a thing back then. I don’t know if it still is. I’ll I need the checklist, give me the checklist and that’ll solve my life, that’ll solve all these problems. And what I found was I was lucky to get short term results, but long term results were out of the question. I remember one weekend just, I was like, Andrew, my husband, I was like, just take the kids, take them outside, give me six hours.

And while my home certainly looked better and everything was labeled and cute, like within, 30 minutes of the kids coming in, it was a tornado inside. And I was like, what? I didn’t know this actually, like, they don’t talk about this on these HGTV shows. It just shows this perfect, immaculate after. And I was like, what’s happening? What’s wrong with me? 

Brie Tucker: right You’re like you’re like it’s gonna be me because it doesn’t look like the magazine or

Katy Wells: It doesn’t, It didn’t stick. And I think so many of us have, have been in this position and then it’s like, I’m a failure. Uh, there’s something wrong with me. Why can’t I figure this out? It feels so isolating because we’re promised the end result of perfection. If you have these bins, your home will stay perfect.

If you do toy rotation, your home, whatever it is, right? People sell it to us in different ways. and I really realized like this isn’t working. It’s not working on so many levels. So I had to create my own approach, which started with, It took a handful of years and a lot of tiers and ups and downs, and really I decided, Hey, one of the reasons this isn’t working is because these conventional strategies, again, tend to just focus on these really superficial things.

And also to be clear, there is a major difference between organizing our stuff and decluttering. Decluttering is letting go. And so when we have a clutter issue, meaning excess things, we You know, don’t need, don’t love, don’t want, whatever. All the different types of clutter, which we can certainly talk about. We have to let those go in order to make space. The solution isn’t to just find adorable, expensive bins from the container store and plop it all inside. That

Brie Tucker: can’t just throw money at it. I can’t just throw money at the problem to make it go

Katy Wells: You, you, you, you can throw all the money, but your results never last. They don’t last, right?

JoAnn Crohn: Katie, you make such a good point because everything you’re saying there like has definitely gone through my head whenever I organize. And I was brought so much relief to where you probably heard when Marie Kondo came out after she had kids and she’s like, Oh, I don’t know if this was very like, like reasonable expectations with

Katy Wells: A hundred percent. If you read her book, which I read, that was one of the first resources, first books I ever bought during this time. I was like, Oh, this makes a lot of sense. I need to declutter. Oh, I want to do it. I want to feel what sparks joy. And then I’m going through my wardrobe and I’m like, Some tattered nursing bras, but I still wear them.

does this spark joy? I don’t know, like that concept felt so elusive, but also her whole approach was again, perfectionism. And that runs rampant in our culture. And it was just so pushed on us mothers and women. And I honestly can’t stand it, but it also has bled into these solutions like organizing and decluttering.

And I’m like, okay, Katie. Okay. First light bulb moment during my declutter journey is that Perfection doesn’t exist and the end goal should be to create a home. That’s easy to tidy not always tidy and just that small nuance in language and Permission to myself and understanding the new goal that I created not that’s being forced on me by hgtv Marie kondo whomever was so darn liberating. It was so liberating and I go, okay, wait a second That actually means so much. Like, this is epic. It was so exciting. 

JoAnn Crohn: let’s go back to this again. What you said is like a home that is easy to tidy and not always tidy. So I’m really interested in going into the nuances here between that like easy and always tidy. what is the first step you recommend for people to get a home like that?

Katy Wells: okay. First step would be to understand the difference between true clutter and what I’ve coined expected mess, okay? Expected mess happens from everyday life. If you are a living, breathing, human being, you create mess. I know we love to point fingers at our kids and at our partners. But I put my shoes where they don’t belong all the time.

I have stuff on my desk that I need to put away Right. It’s just a part of living and you know to that point I would like to delve a little bit further because I know expected mess in of itself can be annoying right? It’s there’s always stuff to be done around the house. but Understanding that first of all, it’s going to happen no matter who you are the minimalist Marie Kondo anybody I think is helpful for all of us to remember that, but also to see if we really zoom out and take a 30, 000 foot view and look at some of this mess in our home, we can see so much beauty in it.

And I know sometimes that can sound really trite when you’re like, Oh, really beauty and like dirty dishes on my counter. But like, I have to remind myself like dirty dishes on the kitchen table that need to be cleared, which. You know, a side effect of a wonderful opportunity. I just had to like, hang out with my kids, talk about their school day.

They, often make forts in my living room. They flip the couch behind me upside down. They move the blankets, they reposition the pillows. And that is a side effect of play, imagination,creativity and all these different things. And so seeing mess through a new lens also proved. To be really fruitful because it does have meaning and when I understood that mess can actually be really meaningful it really helped again lower that Perfectionistic standard of mine and go no because trust me.

I’m a type a person when I was like i’m gonna declutter and organize, part of the pendulum kind of wanted to swing so far the other way, where I was so in my kid’s business, they’d be like, Hey, can we paint your color or draw? And I’d be like, Nope, Nope. That’s going to create mess. Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope, Nope.

Right. And then I was like, wait a second. there has to be some happy medium here. And so again, speaking to that permission piece, which I think we all need to give ourselves. so expected mess happens, right? Laundry, dirty dishes, all that stuff. That’s going to be there. That is not the true enemy, right?

JoAnn Crohn: I love that idea of an expected mess because, what you said, like, just the shift of seeing the mess and not feeling that immediately you’re failing as a mom or a person, because there’s a mess in your house. Because again, going back to that perfectionism you were talking about, I think that’s what a lot of us feel like we see the dirty dishes and we’re like, oh my gosh, I didn’t follow up on that.

I didn’t delegate that. I didn’t take the time to do that. But really those are the places you create memories. It’s. and it’s funny too, because when you said that thing about your kids asking to paint and you’re like, no, no, it immediately brought me back to like my childhood where all I wanted to do was cook and like bake in the kitchen.

And my dad was the one who wouldn’t let me. And he told me, Oh, like you can’t. You’re going to mess up the kitchen. You can’t do it. Like it’s your mom’s kitchen. And I told my mom this years later and she turns to my dad. She’s like, what were you thinking? Like you didn’t, like someone else could have helped cook. And you’re the one who didn’t 

Brie Tucker: he was squashed that

JoAnn Crohn: like a 

Brie Tucker: and he’s all probably like, Um, um, um, um, I gotta go over this way. I’ll be back in a day or two. That’s

JoAnn Crohn: like a mind blown thing. But it’s so funny because a lot of us like have this fear of mess. Like you said, and we prevent these really great things happening in our lives that could serve us in the future just because of this fear of what you call the expected mess. And I love that. I think that’s so cool.

Katy Wells: And think about, even to that example, cooking, that is a life skill, right? I always invite, not always, I don’t, let me rephrase, when the time allows for it, because I never invite my kids into the kitchen with, to cook with me when it’s like, I got 10 minutes to get dinner on the table. That’s never, that’s like a recipe for chaos,

Brie Tucker: a recipe for yeah That’s a recipe for anger and just get out of my way

Katy Wells: But it’s something I feel compelled as a mom to do. And I have lots of conversations with my girlfriends about this. And it’s like, you know, sometimes you feel guilt, right? Speaking to your show, you’re all about no, drop the guilt, drop the guilt. And sometimes we feel guilt as parents and caregivers, because it’s like, Well, maybe I should be doing all the things and maybe I should not have my kids do laundry.

Maybe I should do all the decluttering and maybe I should clean the rooms for them. And I tell my friends and my husband, this and my kids, this, I could do all these things, but I don’t want to, we all make the mess. We are a family. And isn’t that a beautiful thing that we can work as a team to, clean this house up together. And, anyway, I kind of digressed there, but yes, expected mass is a 

Brie Tucker: you know what? Every, every future roommate of your children is thanking you right now.

JoAnn Crohn: No.

Brie Tucker: Somebody as somebody who like had an extremely slobby roommate in college and had to like, we had to have an intervention and had to tell her like, girl, you got to find somewhere else to live.

We can’t do this anymore. Like I, I felt terrible having that situation happen, but it had to happen. And so I’m telling you right now. every single future roommate of your children is thanking you right now.

JoAnn Crohn: But I’m also seeing too, Katie, like what a powerful thing to show your kids for the future. Like mom could stand up and be like, no, I don’t want to do this. And having that be a totally okay thing to actually act on your desires and act on your wants and appreciate them. And I want to hear like what other tips you have for people right after this. So we have dug into so much guilt, so much shame that comes with decluttering and also talking about there’s this expected mess to happen that could have so much joy and loveliness within it. What else do you recommend Katie for people who are like, Oh my gosh, I just want this to be, as you say, like not a tidy home, but an easy to tidy home.

Katy Wells: So two things. Expected mess isn’t handled by decluttering that stuff, right? Expected mess out, again, dirty dishes, clothes that are worn that need, these are cyclical, contributions we’ll be doing until we’re no longer on this earth. So what I teach my students on how we handle that issue, because it can still be annoying and, Feel like drudgery, I get.

We solve that with systems and habits. So one of my favorite systems to keep expected mess to a minimum and not have it grow and get overwhelming and we get triggered and turn into she hulk, or at least I’m speaking for myself. I don’t like 

JoAnn Crohn: liked She Hulk. that 

was a good show. With the emotions and everything, she could keep them under control. Unlike Hulk. Women have practiced with that, but go ahead. I 

Katy Wells: one of my, yeah, one of my favorite systems to manage expected mass is by doing resets. And this is where you reset the space back to its baseline tidiness level. And so we do these a lot innately and organically, you know, after we have dinner, typically we clean up the kitchen at the end of the night after a meal.

But I would encourage you and your listeners to go around your home and look at different spots that bother you or trigger you with a small t or a capital T, it doesn’t matter, and go, you know, what could this spot benefit from a daily reset? Maybe,spots like entryways, gathering spots, kitchen islands, kitchen tables, typically it’s some type of surface area, but it can be very compelling and invigorating and motivating to have That, one spot during your day where it’s 30 seconds, 60 seconds, where you just tidy up, put stuff back where it belongs.

And it just feels good speaking to what we talked about right when we started talking, right? Our environments influence us for better or for worse. And when I come down the stairs in the morning, If I did nothing else the night before, if it was a really tough day, I know I at least reset my kitchen and I can come down to my little coffee bar and it’s clear and I have my little favorite mug and it’s like the best way to start my day, right? And these little things can really make a big, big difference. Impact and how we show up as a human being so resets have been awesome

JoAnn Crohn: I’ve had a bit, a little bit of a light bulb, Katie, as you’re talking, because we’re having this issue with our kitchen right now where we delegate our chores. And if I cook dinner, my husband’s supposed to clean the dishes. and my kids are supposed to unload the dishwasher.

However, like. People, we get all get so busy and they get overwhelmed and I get overwhelmed where we go through doing the bare minimum during the week. And so it just piles up, piles up, piles up during the week. Like we don’t leave food out. We make sure the food’s put away that sort of thing. Um, Addie, how, yeah, my dog, but, it becomes this mess so much so like I am avoiding the kitchen at the end of the week I don’t want to deal with it because there is that mess available in the kitchen And what I hear you saying is I’m like, oh my gosh I could do like we could do a daily reset right after dinner where it isn’t just one person’s job to do their job It’s like we set the timer for five minutes.

Okay, let’s have everyone go through. Let’s wipe down all the counters. Let’s get everything off of the counter. Let’s put away those dishes and just all together. And that thing could be done in five minutes instead of all the hassle that’s throughout the whole week. So I like this daily reset idea. I’m going to try this tonight. I’m gonna let you know how it goes.

Katy Wells: Yes, please do. I mean you can do in a spot like that Definitely daily. I mean if you’re home all day if you homeschool or with you, you know home with the kids or whatever You know, maybe multiple diamonds in certain locations can be really fruitful. And then, it doesn’t also have to be daily.

For example, I reset my, I have a small walk in closet. So I reset that once a week, because again, the idea is we don’t, we aren’t perfect. Sometimes we grab a shirt, change our mind and we toss it down instead of hanging it back up. So you’re taking seconds and a few minutes each week or each day or how often you want to do these to reset the space.

And it really prevents so much overwhelm, procrastination, emotions, stressors, we don’t want to feel. So really that’s tool one, and that’s, your expected mask should be pretty well taken care of with that, in most cases. And then you have true clutter, right? The excess, the unused, the broken, the unwanted, like all the things that are hiding in plain sight or in drawers or closets within your home.

Again, I want to reiterate the solution isn’t to procrastinate it. Although we want to it’s not to you know get some new bins it’s to let go and a big thing I learned on my journey again And this is where all the checklists They stopped working for me. It was like step one, take everything out of the drawer.

Step two, if you haven’t used it for six months, put it back, you know, put it in your donate bin. And I’d be like, well, what if I need that in the future? that costs 20. Oh, well, you know, what if my kid decides in two months, he wants to start using this marker, even though, you know, so I’m like, so I wouldn’t get rid of anything.

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, 

Brie Tucker: That’s me. That is so me. Exactly. I’m like, oh, but I might. I

JoAnn Crohn: An extra layer on that is, is this is particularly common in ADHD, like people who have ADHD and like my dad has it, my sister has it. I have it, they have it more, but, They don’t want to get rid of things because the memories are attached to them, and they’re afraid they will forget the memories if they get rid of the actual item. And so it’s such an interesting thing that you say about letting go, because it’s so emotionally charged, letting go of things.

Katy Wells: And JoAnn, you hit the nail on the head, right? Because now When we’re facing this stuff, 

it’s not just stuff, because we’ve assigned meaning to it. And by the way, I want to share, you can pass this along to your family, there, have been at least one study was done, maybe a, maybe multiple at this point, that,suggested that when you take a picture with an item that you would consider sentimental, right, I don’t know, a pillow or a phone, Whatever that thing then that reduces what’s called.

It’s a psychological concept called loss aversion and that’s Essentially, our brain doesn’t feel, want to feel like it’s losing and, you know, the identity loss. Who am I? Am I without this thing or am I going to forget this memory without this thing? And when people took a picture holding the item, they were much, much more likely to be able to get, donate the item, pass it along to someone who was going to use it, all those things.

Um, so I know it sounds trivial, like I’ll really take a picture, but, the study suggests that it really, really can help for those people who consider themselves so You know, sentimentally attached.

JoAnn Crohn: I, they were, they are both very like scientifically minded. So I will look for that study and I’ll send it to them and that will probably help them out.

Katy Wells: Yes. Right. But even just there, I listed what two or three different, psychological factors that a checklist doesn’t really help you overcome. And so going back to the long term sustainability of decluttering, it’s we’re taught, we just need one weekend and we can do a marathon declutter and we can wipe our hands and be good.

But we all know, The clutter builds the other 364 days of the year. So there’s this sustainability portion where it’s just like habits. And so again, I was a busy mom. I worked 60 hours a week. I had two kids under two, just because my Y was now big enough to declutter. I was like, well, where am I going to find the time?

Because all the checklists say I need to pull the whole pantry out and do it all at once. And I couldn’t find these elusive six hour time slots. Yes,

Brie Tucker: all out? And then immediately that motivation just goes and you’re like, oh crap.

Katy Wells: or what would happen to me is the baby would wake up from his nap like two hours early and I was like, now my house is going to be even more of a disaster because I started this huge project, flip my house upside down. So I just ultimately came up with clutter audits. you know, this is going to help solve that clutter issue.

So clutter audits are essentially micro declutter sessions that take. seconds to minutes and you attach them to these normal household routines, tours and how you move about your household, right? And, you just simply take time to identify one or two things. And it’s really, it was really hard for me in the beginning, because again, perfectionist, I want to do it once.

I want to do it right. Or I don’t want to try I don’t want to do it at all. So it feels very uncomfortable for those of us who have that all or nothing mentality. Which is also pushed really hard in this niche. Um, But, for example, I you know, when I was unloading the dishwasher in the morning, I would reach to the back before I put, you know, the, Fresh coffee mugs in front and put those away.

I’d be like, Oh, there’s some sippy cups that are half melted back there. I can get rid of those. I don’t need 18 water bottles anymore. I can get rid of, you know, and so 

JoAnn Crohn: I did that recently with all the water bottles we have.

Brie Tucker: right? Okay, is that is that an everywhere thing or is that just that I thought that was an Arizona thing. That’s an everywhere thing like

Katy Wells: think in the desert, you at least have an excuse. You, y’all are thirsty. It is everywhere. There’s so many water bottles. It’s

JoAnn Crohn: We have our big dumb cops at SNL skit. Oh my gosh. It’s everywhere.

Brie Tucker: you have your water bottle and then you have your backup water bottle because no matter how old your kids are, they are going to forget them somewhere. So, yeah. Or like me, I go kayaking and then I lose them in the river.

Katy Wells: No, you need a little Velcro thing. We’ll figure it out. We’ll make sure you don’t lose anymore.

Brie Tucker: But all the water

JoAnn Crohn: I like that idea of a clutter audit though, and just going through when you see them instead of making it this one big process that you put off and put off, that’s an awesome thing to have. I need to remember that more in my daily life, I think, because we do get into that all or nothing mentality to think that we need to put aside this big amount of time to get it done.

When really it. The constant small actions that make a difference in our lives. And I find that fascinating. Katie, what do you have coming up for you that you’re excited about? And I, you gave us a little hit, which is very exciting,

Katy Wells: Yeah, so we’re, knee deep into summer, depending on when you and your kids finish up summer for the school year. But, summer can be, I would say, traditionally tricky for a lot of parents and caregivers, right? We’re like, oh, we think we’re going to have all this time and we have all these great goals. I’m going to teach my kid how to clean the room. And we’re going to finally tackle our garage and get the 

JoAnn Crohn: which does not sound like a fun summer, by the way.

Katy Wells: But then the summer’s gone, right? Cause we get, you know, there’s this funness about summer. It’s yes, we’ll go to the pool party. Yes, we’ll take a road trip. Yeah. And then like, all of a sudden the garage is even worse than it was before. And a clutter for so many of us tends to get more overwhelming because Partially because lack of routine, right?

our kids are home. So inside one of my memberships called the Clutter Cure Club I was so excited about this. I worked with a lot of my students on this I created a series of what I call summer simplicity sprints, which I love the Alliteration there and these are quick engaging decluttering tasks again tailored specifically for the summer season and a lot of spaces in our homes that tend to get out of control or are more likely to get out of control in the summer.

And they’re designed to take just 10 to 20 minutes for the week. So some of my students will do it in one go. Um, some of them will do like two minutes here, 30 seconds here, however it works into their busy summer schedule. and the beauty of it is it allows them to make really significant progress without being overwhelming, right?

when that overwhelm hits, procrastination is right along there with it, right? They’re best friends and these sprints are really designed not only on like physical clutter, but mental digital spaces that tend to, get in the way of having a more fun and summer, relaxing summer with our kids and ultimately help my students create a more serene, peaceful, easy to tidy home environment.

JoAnn Crohn: That sounds awesome. we’ll have a link to everywhere people can reach you in the show notes. And Katie, thank you so much for joining us today and giving us these simple ways that we do not have to have the all or nothing mentality and we could do little things along the way. So thank you so much.

Katy Wells: Thank you.

JoAnn Crohn: So I’m already thinking like I should probably look up that study for my sister and my dad and send it to them Although since my sister when we’re recording this is very pregnant right now. I don’t know how much she’ll appreciate it

Brie Tucker: Yeah. Right now, she’s going to be like, that is another damn thing for me to add to my list. I think not. I

JoAnn Crohn: It might actually be a distraction, I mean she is very concentrated on this So maybe if she like has a distraction of just going around and taking pictures of herself with her stuff It’ll take her out of her mind for a little bit of asking when is this baby gonna get out of me?

Brie Tucker: I will be honest, I, they talk about how you don’t remember,you lose some of the memory of childbirth, so that way, you’re willing to do it again. And having a 15 almost 16 year old and a 17 year old. I’m like, I don’t remember much about any of this other than just being sweaty and big, that’s the only thing I remember about

JoAnn Crohn: I feel like I remember everything, everything, everything, but I had c sections and they were planned and, it was, yeah, I knew I wasn’t ever going to go through it again. And I remember everything about my sister’s first birth and I’m so happy for my c sections. After watching that, because I’m like, I am really glad I didn’t have to go through that.

I’m not missing that at all. Watching her birth was really healing for me because I felt like I got jipped out of a natural birth, the second time too, because both my kids were breech and, watching that birth, I’m like, this is really cool to see someone else go through this, but I’m not going to do this.

Brie Tucker: Well, like, I just, only thing I remember is that I was not like, again, my oldest sister, I would call her a lot because she had already had three kids by the time I had my first. And I would call her for advice. I’m like, is this normal? Is that normal? Yada, yada, yada. And she’d be like, you know what, Brie? Some people enjoy being pregnant. I just think you’re not one of those people. And I’m like, I

JoAnn Crohn: Oh, I’m not one of those.

Brie Tucker: Oh, I hated it. Like I just, I mean, it was, I love my kids. I loved my kids and I was on bed rest for almost the entire pregnancy with my son. So I. Was willing to do whatever but yeah, I do not miss those days. I would not be like, oh, yeah I get to go through it again. Oh hails to the no. Oh hails to the no.

JoAnn Crohn: it’s an interesting thing because now that my kids are getting older, like just today I was talking logistics with my husband and, uh, you know, I’m going to go down to Tucson tomorrow and he’s Oh, well I have to pick up like our daughter from school. And I’m like, no, like she can get her own ride. She’s a high schooler. She’s a sophomore. She knows enough people who drive

Brie Tucker: We know that she’s got some good friends that drive. Yeah

JoAnn Crohn: we, we also have like another family who she’s friends with, who lives in the neighborhood, who pick up their daughter and could bring her back easily. And it just made me think Oh my gosh, this whole getting kids getting older is so much easier.

Like I’m not the one coordinating with the parents about like, Hey, can you pick up my daughter today? And do you have time? Like this not happening anymore. And I’m feeling, I’m getting so much of my brain back that it’s just. An amazing and wonderful thing. 

Brie Tucker: Wait, you’re decluttering your brain? What?

JoAnn Crohn: yes, but it’s like what you said right there, like you came in when you said you hated being pregnant. You’re like, I love my kids. And I feel like that is so interesting that we as women, feel we need to do that because I absolutely love my kids and yet, Oh my gosh, I’m loving that they’re older and that I no longer have to be. a hundred percent responsible that they could take this over to

Brie Tucker: yeah Yeah, it’s almost like you have to make sure repeatedly that you say that you’re grateful. I’m

JoAnn Crohn: Yeah, dads don’t have to do that. Dads could just be like, Woohoo! They could do this themselves. And nobody thinks anything of them. And yet if women talk about that, they’re like, aren’t you grateful you have children? You should be so lucky. You have, I’m like, Yeah, I love them just as much as their dad loves them.

Brie Tucker: It’s crazy. It’s

JoAnn Crohn: Society. There’s so much societal stuff.

Brie Tucker: looking forward to trying some of Katie’s tips for keeping my house clean this summer because like I said, summer is awful for me. I mean, I know that she has the youngest, the seven and the nine and I’ve got the, you know, again, like 16, 17, but they make just as much of a mess except for the fact, like I would say The shoes. She talked about, like, just not putting your shoes away. Oh, that is such a problem in our household, because everybody’s got big feet now! Shoes are huge! And they’re everywhere!

JoAnn Crohn: two sets of shoes under my desk and they are both mine. So like

Brie Tucker: They’re big, they’re huge, and they smell! Teenage feet smell!

JoAnn Crohn: Put some little odor eaters of them and I said shoot you

Brie Tucker: god! You can tell what’s irritating Brie right now, it’s hun.

JoAnn Crohn: well, it’s funny cuz we got our carpets cleaned the other day in the house smells different Like it smells like the cleaner and he my daughter comes in. She’s like, what’s up with the house mom? Like I don’t like it. It smells bad. I’m like And that’s clean. It’s like dogs when they have to put their scent on everything. I think like human children are like this,

Brie Tucker: I

JoAnn Crohn: their sense missing from everything.

Brie Tucker: I do think so. I think

JoAnn Crohn: It’s funny. Well, until next time, remember the best mom’s a happy mom. Take care of you. We’ll talk to you later.

Brie Tucker: Thanks for stopping by.

Brie Tucker

COO/ Podcast Producer at No Guilt Mom
Brie Tucker has over 20 years of experience coaching parents with a background in early childhood and special needs. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Missouri and is certified in Positive Discipline as well as a Happiest Baby Educator.

She’s a divorced mom to two teenagers.

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