In this episode, Lisa talks about reducing clutter and overwhelm – in your physical, mental and emotional spaces.
Find out more about the Declutter Challenge here.
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
Hey, it’s Lisa, and welcome to another episode of the Podcast. Really excited today. Do I say that every time? I think so! But today, I am, because I’ve got something super exciting to share with you, that I will let you know about at the end. But I’m talking about a topic that I’m slightly obsessed with at the moment, and that is decluttering.
Now, I know many of you might be familiar with the KonMari method. You know, clearing out our house, and keeping things that only bring us joy. Love that book. Did a pretty good clear-out after that, but what I’m really interested in at the moment is the whole idea that less is more.
Now, I remember when I watched The Story of Stuff. Have you seen that on YouTube? Amazing little animated film, very short, and this was back when I was working in the area of sustainability. So, I’d created a TV show, back in 2007, called Making the Switch, and it was all about how just average people, like you and me, could choose a more sustainable option. Without, you know, giving up all our worldly possession and living on the top of a hill.
I was just an average person wanting to do my bit, so we created a show. And The Story of Stuff was around then, this was back in 2007. People were getting a lot more interested in our consumer culture, and whether more and more and more and more is actually making us happier, healthier, more joyous, more connected, all those things.
Never been much of a shopper. I don’t like hanging out at shopping centres, but I do like nice things, not going to lie. When I had kids, it felt like we had more stuff than I would have liked to have had. And there were things that we did, you know. My third child is still in the second-hand cot, and a change table is still in that room we got second-hand on Gumtree. Lots of different things.
But I remember wanting to invest in some really nice stuff, like a really good eco mattress, and sheets, and all that sort of thing. So, I guess I have a bit of a background in being a conscious consumer, but I must say I felt that slide a bit as our budget got tighter while I wasn’t working, and having children. There just wasn’t the extra cash for the nice things, so we were just sort of making do. And it’s something that plays on my mind all the time.
I have a husband who has a policy of ‘one thing in, one thing out’. He doesn’t like more things in our house. So, this has been an issue that’s percolated for a long time, and then I watched The Minimalists, the documentary on Netflix, and suddenly all these things were clicking into place. And I realised that a lot of the clutter in my life – while we don’t have an overly cluttered house – a lot of the clutter is in my head.
I’ve been thinking about social media, and, you know, with an online business, I must say it’s really hard to draw a line between work and play these days, and being switched on and being switched off. And putting boundaries around our time, so we can just be doing one thing.
I’ve realised, as a mother, that being able to segment my time like that, being able to be present in each moment – if I’m working I’m really working, and if I’m with my kids, I’m really with my kids – that has become one of my highest priorities, and it’s a practice.
What I’ve realised is, there are constant distractions pulling me away from that present moment. There’s also constant clutter that’s hiding in the weirdest places in my house, that just makes my days not flow as smoothly as they could. So, I’m looking around now, I’m looking around to declutter my mind, my space, so that I can actually get on with the important things.
Because sometimes it feels like – you know, I posted it on Facebook a few weeks ago – my kid said to me, ‘What, is it Friday already?’ Because we have movie nights on a Friday night, and I said, ‘Yeah mate, whoa, it really is.’
Even he feels like the weeks are going fast, and I just, kind of, have this feeling that if we don’t put the brakes on, stop for a minute, declutter some of this noise, then we’re just going to move, basically, just unconsciously through our lives. And especially as a mum with young kids, when every day kind of feels the same, how do we add that joy in? How do we create a feeling of calm amongst the chaos?
This is my new obsession. And you know what? I’ve always said the whole Small Steps vibe is about keeping it simple, keeping food as simple as possible. And I used to think that was so that we could achieve this, kind of, you know, big dream of eating more real foods more often. But now, I’m like, ‘No, we need to keep it simple, so, yes, it’s achievable, but also so it just doesn’t add to the noise.’
So, I’m busy going through my pantry, removing some of the bits and pieces that I have stocked up on, and called a ‘pantry staple’ over these last few years, that really, I never use. I want a simple, bare essentials kitchen, and then I want to be able to use lots of seasonal fruit and veg, some great quality meat, and a little bit of dairy if I want it.
I just want to be able to open things up, and see ease, be clear. Because if I’m constantly thinking about the things that don’t really matter, or if I’m making my life hard for myself. And PS, I’m a naturally scatter-brained person, I’m naturally messy and chaotic. I will start cooking without cleaning up the mess from the last thing, I’ll just put another chopping board on top of the dirty chopping board. Like, I’m not joking!
But I’ve realised it’s just not helping me live my best life, and that’s what I’m all about. I think that there were a few years there where I really was on autopilot. Three kids in four years, small business, it was pretty crazy.
So, I started to pull back on lots of things, and I started to be able to find simple ways to reduce the overwhelm. But this decluttering thing has really grabbed my attention, it has really changed the way that I see my days, my weeks. And therefore it’s changing how I show up in the world.
I want to be able to do all the things, be the full version of Lisa. Have a family that isn’t, like, in a constant state of panic and stress all the time. I think that’s what it’s been like, a little bit. So, I’m decluttering, and I would love to invite you onto the five-day Declutter Challenge.
Now, this is not going to see you going to the tip multiple times in a week, and completely overhauling. I’m predicting you’ll need ten minutes per day to watch a really short video, and just log in and get your little action point, and do it. Ten minutes, 15 max, in five days. And you’ll be surprised the places that I will point you to declutter.
Because what I’m finding is, I don’t really prioritise my own clutter. I often think about the toy room, I think about the kids’ rooms, I’m constantly going through their cupboards, because they grow out of clothes, I’m constantly replacing it. But what about me? What about my space, my room? What about my make-up drawer? What about all of those little places, where are we complicating our lives unnecessarily? How can we strip it right back?
Less is so much more when our brains are completely overloaded. And you know what a big part of this is? That Podcast I did recently with Allison Davies. If you haven’t listened to that, please go and listen to it. It will make you realise our brains weren’t meant for this much noise, and we are anxious, and we are stressed, and we are depressed, and we are suffering all sorts of things, because our brains are overloaded.
So, I am on a mission to reduce that brain overload. I’m on a mission to just give my senses a little bit less, and I really would love you to join me, because my driving goal in this world is to work out how I can best serve the world. What I’m here for, how I can be the best mum, how I can move through my day without anxiety, without adrenaline. How I can create time and space to do nothing.
I mean, we don’t even think about prioritising nothing, do we? I know I don’t. Because if I’ve got a spare minute, ‘Oh, I might just use that to do some work,’ or, ‘OK, I might just pop to the shops,’ or, ‘I might just go for a walk.’ But even that, you know, we need to create some space so that we can work out who we are, what we’re here for. So we can actually consciously think about the type of life we want to lead.
I don’t think I have really, consciously, connected to that since I had children. I used to be kind of full of ideals, I used to be full of – I guess I don’t even know what the word is – I had ideas about my life. I could see it, I used to think about it, and now I’m just like, ‘Phew, made it! Made it through another week.’ And I don’t want to live like that any more. There’s so much more to all of us than the rabbit wheel we’ve caught ourselves on in this modern life.
So, if you feel the same, and you want to get decluttered, in order to create a little bit more ease, more flow, reduce the overwhelm, chaos. If you want to even just commit to giving yourself ten minutes a day, to focus on something that’s going to make your life better, then sign up.
Five days, dudes. Five-day Small Steps Declutter Challenge coming at you very soon. I’d love to see you there, it’s going to be a whole lot of fun. And until next time, let’s reduce the load! See you soon.