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From Hot Mess to Home Organizer: Expert Advice on Overcoming Overwhelm with Carly Adams
Episode 616th June 2023 • Momma Has Goals • Kelsey Smith
00:00:00 00:52:55

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Picture this: your dream home, your perfect organization system. We all have our own visions, right? But here's the thing, having a system in place is an absolute game-changer when it comes to reaching new levels of success and personal growth. And guess what? Carly is here to help you figure out what works best for YOU! I am beyond excited to introduce you to the incredible Carly Adams, the powerhouse behind Tidy Revival. Trust me, you don't want to miss a second of this energetic and insightful conversation!

Carly is not your ordinary home organizer. In this episode, she spills the beans on her own journey from chaos to clarity, tackling not only physical clutter but also the emotional and financial messes that can weigh us down. Get ready to be inspired as she shares her secrets on how to regain control and declutter your way to the next level.

We dive deep into the decluttering versus organizing debate. Carly breaks it down for us, offering tips on dealing with sentimental items, inherited treasures, and even implementing systems that work for the whole family. Oh, and did I mention we're talking about organizing on a budget? Yep, you heard that right!

If you're feeling overwhelmed, unsure of where to start, or simply need that extra boost of motivation, this episode is for you. Carly and I will guide you through the chaos, help you set boundaries, and reveal how to keep unnecessary stuff from creeping back into your life. Plus, we'll show you how to create a playful and joyful environment without drowning in unnecessary things.

What you'll hear in this episode:

[0:00] From hot mess to home organizer.

[5:05] The difference between decluttering vs organizing.

[9:40] What is the purpose of an item?

[15:40] The numbers rule and the space rule.

[22:30] Having a system helps with decluttering.

[25:15] The four words to keep in mind: want, need, love and purpose.

[30:50] Having clear conversations.

[35:15] What to do when you’re overwhelmed with holiday shopping.

[39:55] Think about the spaces in your home that are stressing you out.

[44:05] Start with decluttering and make a plan from that.

[47:05] Organization isn’t one size fits all.


Follow Carly on Instagram @tidyrevival and on TikTok @tidyrevival

Check out the Tidy Revival website:

Find tidy inspiration on Pinterest:


Follow Kelsey: @thisiskelseysmith

Follow Momma Has Goals: @mommahasgoals

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Learn more at

Join our text list. Text "Goals" to (707) 347-0319


Speaker 1 0:00

The question that gets asked all the time is what is the best way. And like I'm doing this in air quotes if you're just listening, but the best way is going to be the system that is easy enough for you to maintain on a regular basis. If that means you're not decanting everything and you've got everything in the cardboard boxes, don't worry about it. Don't worry about it, you're doing a great job.

Kelsey Smith 0:21

Let's reimagine mom life together. Mama house schools is your hub for relatable support and helpful resources that help you fuel yourself alongside motherhood. Your identity is bigger than mom, and whatever your goals are, together, we're making them a reality. I think everyone has a different version of what their perfect home or their perfect organization system is. But overall, at the core, I think a system in a something is really necessary for the highest level of versions of our success and our selves. And having an expert help you figure out what that is for you, is really amazing and really nice, because it is hard to figure it out. Are you a clear box person? Are you a solid box person? Do you need to declutter? Or do you need to organize, and our guest today, Carly Addams is the owner of tidy revival. And she talks about how she went from what she calls her own cluttered self at the end of her 20s. And not just clutter in her home, but physical, emotional financial, she talks about how she felt like she was never going to get her finances under control and how that transpired into her creating tidy revival and helping families women, and even men get their lives organized and go from overwhelm and decluttered into the next steps. And when I first was like, I need to figure my life out. That's where it started for me too. And we talk a little bit about that today is how I knew I needed to get a couple things in order. And what that foundational organization in decluttering meant for me. So as Carly says she was a former hot mess to home organizer. And today we talk about what is the difference between decluttering and organizing? How do you work through things that have sentimental value or things that have been passed down that maybe you don't see value in others? Do we also talk about how you need to implement systems for a whole family that it has to work for everyone in your household? And not just you? So how do you do that when maybe you have a difference of opinions? We also talk about how to get organized on a budget and what the next steps are? And what do you do when you're completely overwhelmed when you don't even know the first step to take because we've probably all been there where you start organizing and decluttering. And you feel like it's worse than when you got started? And then how do you keep the stuff out? Maybe it's for you? And how do you set boundaries for yourself? So you don't bring more things back in that you don't need? And how do you do that for family members? Especially if people are giving to your kids? And how do you let life still be fun and playful? Without just gathering so many things that you don't need. We walk through so much to have a clutter free home in this episode. I hope that you enjoy, Carly, I'm so excited to have you here. When I woke up in the emergency room and knew I needed to get my life together. The very first thing was decluttering our house, our house was so unorganized. And I was like okay, if I'm gonna figure out like who I am as a human, I first need to have my space not feel so chaotic. And I did not know how to get started. And I know you resonate with the term like former hotness to home organizer. So I would love for you to just bring us up to like, how did you go from that to being a home organizer?

Speaker 1 3:41

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me, Kelsey. I'm really excited to be here, and hopefully share some tips that people can take away. But yeah, I absolutely resonate with hot mess express my life used to be chronically disorganized, because it was every aspect of my life. My finances were just awful. I was really in debt, student loans, but then also credit card debt. And I didn't have any systems in place of making sure that things got paid on time. So I had a lot of stress about where my bank account was because I was always terrified to look, the mail came I was just sick to my stomach. And then at home, I didn't have any systems. So I was losing things I was having to rebuy them. I was spending a lot of money on things that I didn't really need to because I already had 25,000 Look glasses it didn't need an extra one. Just the list went on and on. And there are so many things in my life that have changed now. Something that I talk about all the time. That just resonates with me every single day on why the change has just helped my life so much is even getting ready in the morning. He used to spend like 45 minutes getting ready, had the closet full of nothing to wear and it was just a really stressful thing. Every day figuring out what I was going to wear after I decluttered, my morning is more like top bottom go. top bottom go because everything works. And it's streamlined. And I'm looking at the things that fit me this season and are good for the temperature it is outside in ways that are big and small things have just been streamlined, so that there's less stress in my life, because that's the overall thing is that disorganization can just be very stressful and getting simple strategies in place to streamline your life will just overall reduce your anxiety and your stress levels. And

Kelsey Smith 5:38

yeah, and I love that you're talking about that. It's not just like the stuff in our house. Like that's a huge part of it. But it's also how you show up in your clothes, how you show like picking your clothes, your mental organization, also your finances, having that organized, it's not just the stuff in your house, but it's just like how you show up. And for a long time, like, especially when I stepped into parenting, I would tell people, I am not the minimalist Mom, I'm the mom that has this has these things. And I think there's a really fine balance, like there is certain things I love having knowing I have a solution to whatever situation I'm gonna find myself in. But I definitely have teeter totter in the past on having too much where becomes stressful, and you just can't be peaceful, you can't be your best self, you can't accomplish the things you want to do in a day when you are just surrounded by stuff. And one thing that was really impactful for me was to learn the difference between decluttering versus organizing. And so I love for you to debunk that and talk about like that organizing is not decluttering. And while they both have a little bit of value, they're not the same thing.

Speaker 1 6:41

Absolutely. So it's a hand in hand situation 100%. I approach organization with decluttering as the foundation of everything that I do, because what I found is it's twofold. One, if you just organize your stuff, and I mean, you could categorize it, you could put it in pretty bins, you could slap a label on it, technically, everything's organized, it's beautiful, you can get that Pinterest perfect, whatever room you're looking at. But you're still going to be wading through too much stuff day in, day out. So what I always suggest to people is that we are approaching any space, looking at what you use, want need, and love, and those ways that we're thinking about what to keep what to not. And the second half of it too, is that when I'm looking at a space, when I first became an organizer, I felt all this internal pressure to look at a space and have a solution in my mind, I wanted to be like the most original thing anyone had ever seen. And what I realized over time, quickly is that there was no point in making a plan when I looked at a space because we hadn't realized and chatted through what was important and what was not. And if I'm just looking at a space and making a plan off of that, I will be wrong 100% of the time, because I'm not taking into consideration the client needs, we haven't chatted through it yet. I'll give one example totally illustrates it. But this is this is something I talked about all the time, I had a client and she had a guest closet that we needed to get organized. And when we opened up is filled with beautiful leather bags, she bought beautiful leather bags, like when she would go abroad, she loved shopping for them, and she had this beautiful collection. But as we chatted through it, she realized that it turns out she doesn't like using fine leather goods, she likes buying fine leather goods, that's where the joy comes. And she was like, Okay, actually, I don't need most of these. So we kept maybe five of 25. And she gifted a bunch to her friends, it's something else that she loves to do is spend time with her friends gift her friends sayings, we donated a bunch to a women's organization, and she had all this extra room. If you're overwhelmed with too much stuff, the first thing that you can do is figure out what you don't use want need and love. And that's going to clear up some space for the things that you do and for what's important. So after we figure out what that is and what it isn't, then from there, we're creating solutions that are a lot more simple than if I had just walked in and like assumed on the front end.

Kelsey Smith 9:20

Yeah. And I love the it's re defining what the purpose of that item was in the sense of did it serve its value, because she her joy, and her ability to see out the life of that bag for her was buying it and then maybe gifting it or giving it to a friend where it doesn't mean you have to get your value out of it. I think allowing yourself to have permission that your definition of the purpose of that item may be different than when you bought it but also what someone else sees. So if you say hey, I bought this bag, someone else's That's an expensive bag and you're like yep, I just wanted to buy it and then I want to gift it to someone can I have to give yourself permission for that as well. organizer, what are some of the ways that you support this transition of the meaning that item has served in that person's life?


I think that it's so important, first and foremost, to listen to what my clients say, and to get them to your point, the space and the permission to chat through things. Because not everything is going to be cut and dry. And it's not necessarily just keep or not, people need to talk through things frequently. And it's interesting, because they'll start talking through it. And they'll say, sorry, I just needed to talk through that and like, you're fine. This is literally what I do. And there are a lot of items where people have been keeping them out of guilt and obligation, and those deep down or the feelings of why they're keeping it. If you give somebody permission, like, if I tell you that it's fine to let this go. Do you want to keep it? No, like? No? Great, let's let it go. You don't have to keep it. Yeah, like, oh, okay, yeah, let's get rid of it. And when you give people that permission, when you give them the space to talk through it, you're able to get to the core of what somebody wants, versus what's been put on them by maybe circumstance or society or their mother in law, or whatever.

Kelsey Smith:

I think that decluttering and people space is so tied to our mental well being in our relationships, and so much that I can totally see that it truly is like a cleansing process. You were touching on this, that there are some things that make that extra difficult, if things have sentimental value, if they've been passed down, you're honoring the history or the family. But you also want to honor yourself, what are some ways to deal with that, I'll give you a tangible example. In my life, I've sat down with my mom, and I've been like, Mom, I understand that you have three sets of China that you think you're giving me. But I do not need three sets of China. And I have to find a way to have that be a solution and work through things where I'm not going to have three sets of China in my house, I just can't do that for my mental well being. But she has a sentimental value with this. And she wants me to write she wants and we've worked through it for us. But that's an example of things that show up in so many people's lives. So how do you honor your family with certain things, but also not let it weigh you down?


Yeah, I absolutely suggest to folks when they're in that situation where they can be potentially inheriting things in the future, whether you're thinking long term down the road, or whether you're facing a situation in the moment, I really recommend people tap into those four words again that use want need, or love, are you actually going to use it? Do you even want it? Is this something that is important to you, when my grandmother passed away, she had a bedroom set that had a lot of sentimental value for me just because it was the one that she had my entire life. And it made me really happy looking at it. And at the time that she passed, I lived in a one bedroom apartment, and I said, I'm really hoping to get the tall dresser from her bedroom set. And my parents were like, What is a full set, so we could hold on to the rest of it. And then when you have a larger place than you could take the full set. I was like, I really appreciate that. But I actually do not want the full set. Like I'm never gonna want a full set. It's also just not my style. And you're like, but it is a full set. And I said okay, then nevermind, totally understand what it's all good. I just want the one piece, we ended up working it out, do you have the one piece we were able to find a beautiful home for the rest of it. But boundaries are really part of that too. And I have met so many people who have had multiple folks in their life pass away, maybe in like quick succession. And then they have two to three times the amount of furniture that they need in their home, like, at once. And that's very stressful. It's very stressful to have way too much furniture in your living space, especially over a long period of time. And I also meet a lot of people who have storage units that they just have indefinitely, or garages filled with furniture that they actually are never going to use because they have a household filled with furniture already. And there's no intention of ever using it. But what is the point getting to the point of why we're holding on to it. And then what those are questions that are important to ask because maybe if you're in this transition of somebody passing you're inheriting a lot of items, maybe a storage unit is the right thing right now while you're in the midst of grieving while you're in the throes of it while you're doing all the planning. I'm not against it. If you are able to also set a deadline, add it to your calendar circle back could be a year from now, that's okay. But make sure that you are circling back and reevaluating, saying, Okay, now that we have a little bit of distance, let's make a plan. Because if the plan is spend $20,000 over the course of the next decade or so on a storage unit for things that you've never touched, just think about that, if that's the plan, and you're loving the plan, go for it. But if that doesn't sound great to you, and you want another way, then it's going to be time to reevaluate what you're keeping what you're not. And it's hard. Those are the hardest items to chat through. But the chatting through it is really important, because just like therapy, that's what's going to take it to the other side of the situation.

Kelsey Smith:

Yeah. And I love that you talk about the plan, because if it just sits there, like you're not really honoring that piece. And if you need some time to grieve and process and then be like, Okay, do I want to choose that bed? Or do I want to choose the bed I already had, and be able to pick one or the other. But then once you pick, you let it have another life somewhere else, because then it's able to actually be loved, and not just sit in a storage unit somewhere, someone is going to love that piece of furniture, and they're scouring Facebook marketplace right now for that specific piece. And you get to give that piece another life. And I think that's so beautiful. I was actually just in an event this last weekend, and one of the speakers was talking about how when we choose how we're going to live our life and just living yourself full out. I like to envision the fact that my ancestors aren't looking down and aren't like, you know what, I hope Krystal has a mediocre life. I hope she just gets by. She's like, I hope my ancestors are sitting up there. And they're like, You go girl, like you live it up, you do this. And I think it's the same thing. When we think about the things have been passed down. I don't think my great grandmother's like Kelsey, I hope that you're extremely stressed out. And you just keep my China and you keep that in your house. No matter how stressed you are with your stuff. I don't even know how I got that China. And honestly, it doesn't even really matter to me. And you should give it to someone else to play with or use someone that's excited about it. I think like we create these scenarios that someone else is like, you must keep those things. And it's probably not true most of the


time. 100%. And I say that all the time. That's a perfect example, especially with gift giving. Because when we accept a gift internally, especially the closer the person is, the more we internalize story that doesn't exist. And the story is someone gifts it to you and they're like, here is this gift. And now you must keep it until the day you die or else you don't love me. Maybe one person does that. If it's not serving you, here's your permission slip, you can let it go. It's okay.

Kelsey Smith:

Yeah. And you touched on boundaries, I want to bring that back for a second. Because there's boundaries about the after the fact or receiving things. And then there's the boundaries of when to receive those gifts like you're talking about. And this is huge for moms, right? Because it is one thing for me to let go of my stuff and explain like why that's not a part of my life. But our community really struggles with this when it's things for our kids, like those grandparents that are bringing in this is a really hard conversation to with gratitude and blessings. Because if you're in a position that you're receiving things for your children, like we're all very grateful for that right? That is an amazing opportunity that people are loving on our little humans so much that they're bringing things to our kids and our family and they want to do that. But as a mom that has to find a place for it and have an organization and whatnot, that becomes really stressful. So with your clients, how do you find that balance between being like, okay, yes, my kids are going to grow, they're going to need new sizes for clothes, they're going to want new toys, that's a part of growing up in many ways. And it's a blessing. But also you can set some boundaries to be like, hey, like one gift per person, or please don't give me gifts at the birthday party or whatever that is,


when you are having boundaries, it is showing yourself love and it's showing your family love. And it's showing your children that boundaries are okay, which is going to be a very important lesson in life. I'm not an expert on boundaries, I am still also reading the books. I'm also in therapy just like other people, like still trying to learn and implement. So it's a work in progress. Know that. That's great. But I think that the more we can have these conversations with others, especially the folks where you are feeling a lot of tension, just important to know that we are not able to read your mind. Just like in our marriages in our relationships. That's something that my husband and I joke about all the time. Oh, that's right. Still not a mind reader forgot about that. No worries. Here is me communicating what my needs are. Because you can't read my mind. Totally forgot about that my bad, but it is important because they can't and people are going to gravitate towards their own Love Language as far as what that is, so if their own love language is gift giving, they are going to express it in gifts. That being said, you can do them a big favor by letting them know what types of gifts are particularly helpful. If that is clothing in the next size up around the holidays, if that is experiences, if that's a zoo membership, or pitching in for karate lessons or helping towards their summer camp, or whatever the case may be, that's really helpful for the people in your life to know that would be particularly useful. Because once you tell them that many people are gonna say, I obviously want to do the thing that like you're gonna love the most, because I love gift giving, so people will gravitate towards that. That being said, you are going to have some people who will completely disregard that. And you need to understand that that's fine, you have expressed your boundaries. And if people aren't willing to listen or respect or honor that, you also don't have to just keep everything, it's fine. If you express that you absolutely don't want any more toys, and then they're gifting you a bunch of toys. You don't have to keep the toys. Yeah, or and or and I know it's easy to say like on the front end, once your child sees a toy like it's Oh, and now we're getting rid of it. Because I told grandma No, I know that that's a lot harder. But you can also work with your children on establishing how many choices the right number for them. There's something that I use with my clients all the time called the numbers rule. And this also goes hand in hand with what I call the space rule. And that is figuring out the right number of things for you, the space might dictate how much is the right amount. So if it's enough toys that sit in your toy box, if it's enough stuffies this in the hammock, whatever the case may be, say, okay, as we've already discussed, the amount of space we have to hold is XYZ. So if you end up getting more, you can either choose to keep it or maybe play with it for a week, and then we let it go. Or we can switch it out with something that you're not playing with so much. And we can pass that along to a kid who really needs it, what do you think, and give your child autonomy over the choices while still keeping the boundaries for your household with how much is the right amount for you. And the right amount for you may be different than the right amount for me. And that's okay. It's not like everyone should have six shirts, everyone should have 20 books, it's not like that you

Kelsey Smith:

get to dictate what the right amount is for you. Yeah, cuz we're all different people. And we like different things. But I absolutely love that. And something that I tried to come back to to for me is that everything has a spot. And that's really what you're saying is like with the space and the numbers, if I'm like, Okay, I'm gonna have this many pairs of shoes, once they no longer fit there. Or once there's no longer a spot to put my shoes, or there's no longer a spot to put the kids toys, then there needs to be some choices. And then just up from the kids standpoint, like psychologically, we know that giving them choices is beneficial to their development and further autonomy and being able to allow themselves to be little humans to say, hey, you get to make the choice, like whatever you want to do. But you can only have this mini, so we got to get rid of to pick the two that you want to get rid of. And that's your choice. And helping them do that. I've seen things where people do like trial periods, too, right? Like, they'll say, let's pick two for this week to get rid of. And then if the kids really miss that, too, you bring them back in and they switch out for another two. But you give them like a timeframe, you say, okay, by the end of this month, we're going to be getting rid of two of these. So you're gonna have to pick this month, which shoe you want to get rid of. And that can be a little overwhelming, I think at first, but with any of this having systems really benefits this right? And so if you get in the practice of being like, Okay, we only have this many of these things in this space, we know that we have too much mail in our mail holder, we have to go through our mail, we have too many shoes, we have too many stuffies whatever it is, that's the system of how you keep track of things. What are some other systems that people can implement in their home, so it's less overwhelming and becomes more practical and practice of how they're just living their life.


I really do agree with you that the awareness of how much you have and having some boundaries around that. That's huge, because going through the decluttering process, the point at which things click once people tell me things like someone recently told me Oh, I went on vacation, and I don't know if this is a good or bad thing. But every time I went to the store, I was thinking to myself, Okay, am I gonna want this in six months. She's like, and I blame you. Honestly, I blamed me for that. So thank you, I think but I'm honestly not sure and looks like or somebody else recently is like yeah, every time that I'm at the store, I'm thinking about what purpose is this going to serve longer than I think it's really cute now Want to bring it home right now. And that's when everything clicks. Like once you have those moments where you're thinking about the future and not just Oh, cute get it, then that's what's going to be able to help you to maintain your systems long term. I could talk endlessly about a lot of different types of systems in different places. But I think that most of it really boils down to how much space Am I willing to allot for this, and being cognizant of when things are starting to feel a little more chaotic and being like, Okay, it's time to thin and out your closet is stressing you, okay, maybe it's time to do a little closet detox. If your shoes are starting to pile up and pile out. This is just one example. But recently in a client's home, we were looking to implement one main area where we could have a lot of what the family needed to just get started with their day. And just streamline things from having hooks for the backpacks or cubby or whatever the space is to the family calendar to this is where my keys go my purse areas for shoes, and something that we noticed they're like we do have the shoe systems, but they just keep getting really chaotic. And something that's hard in their house is that there's upstairs and downstairs. But at the end of the day, they mostly wear six pairs of shoes each. And so what we're going to do is implement a system where each family member will have space for six pairs of shoes. And then the ones that aren't used as frequently are gonna go in their closets, because we can make room for them. And even though it's an upstairs downstairs situation, if they're hardly using it, it doesn't need to be taking up a bunch of bandwidth in the spaces where they are using things all the time. That's a system I have at home with my shoes to I have the spot where we have the commonly used shoes. And then in my closet I had well mostly had because I recently detox my heels, I decided that I'm over it just purged like all my heels. But like cute acrylic shoe boxes, so I can see my nice dressy shoes and have the handbags I almost never wear and cute clear bends so that I can see them. But they're not getting dusty constantly. And it's a pared down collection. But when I need it, it's there. It's dust free, it's ready to go. And it makes me very happy. That's the basis of it is just making sure that when things start to feel chaotic that you have the foundation that you can go back to to streamline and like reset your system. So

Kelsey Smith:

yeah, one of the things that you reminded me of going back a little bit is it comes back to those four words that you keep saying that use want need love, but what is the purpose that this is going to serve? And I think, again, my brain goes to like little kids. But there are certain things that are going to serve like a 20 minute purpose, like face painting, or whatever else the it's going to be a memory you're going to have, it's not going to serve this long term purpose. There is this really fine balance between that right because sometimes you may be, quote unquote, wasting that money or getting that thing that isn't going to serve a lawn purpose. And other times there's a better solution. And it reminded me of we recently took our kids to Disney on Ice, it was something that we asked for experience gifts this year for our kids, we said we don't want things we need experience gifts, and that we had a grandparent listen and they got us tickets for Disney on Ice for birthday and Christmas. It was great. Now of course you get to if you haven't been to something like this with kids or family member, there's all these vendors with all these things walking around all these things that the kids are very attracted to and want that are going to serve a very small purpose and, and a lot of these like light up wands and things. Yes. And so the kids are like, I want to light up one, I want this I want to go and I was like Okay, let's go look and see what there is. And before we went to Disney on Ice, I was asking our kids who are you most excited to see what's your favorite character? And to be honest, we don't watch a ton of Disney movies or Disney shows. So I was actually really curious to see what they're gonna say. But in this moment, it was Toy Story. He was so excited to see Toy Story and Buzz and Woody. And I was like, okay, cool. So we go and we look at the little vendor toys. And there's all these lineup ones. And that's what most of the kids are getting. Most of the kids are walking away with these lineup ones. And that was the first thing our oldest was like, I want one of those. And I was like, Okay, we don't really have a long term purpose for that. Is there anything else that looks really cool to do like any of the other toys? And he's like, What if we got buzz? And I was like, You know what, I can stand behind that one. It was almost a third of the cost of a lighter blonde. And I'm like, Okay, this is something that's small. I know exactly where it's gonna go. It's something he can play with on Going into meat serves more of the memory of why we're there, because he talked about it going into it. And so it felt like a parenting when I'm not gonna lie, it was like, This is great. And then the little one was like, I want one. And so now we have Buzz and Woody, and they get to try it off and they get to play. And it's perfect. Now, then there's vendors that are all the food, right? And they're walking around, and they want all these other things. And in the moment, yeah, I splurged on a milkshake for him to be super excited, and he gets that, but it's not the souvenir cup that I'm gonna carry home with me. And it allows me to find places where I'm like, Okay, where am I saying yes, for right now. So that we are having that memory and maybe that thing that we're taking home with us, but I'm shifting my choices a little bit so that I don't have a lineup ones that batteries died the next day that I'm carrying with me. And no offense, if you're listening, you're like, I always buy the lighter one. That's great. But that doesn't bring me joy. So I was able to find a shift. What is another way that shows up for you less about kids, but as a human, like as an adult? What are some decisions that you make differently when you're places?


Okay, so we just got back from vacation. I know, I told you before we started recording, this is like my first meeting back. So we're coming back, and I'm an auntie to seven. So we had a lot of kids that we wanted to like buy cute things for. And we want to share some fun cultural things with them too, right. And one of my sisters started this because her husband is from Peru. So they go back to Peru, like fairly regularly. And when they come back, they always bring snacks, which is great, because it's like you're getting to taste something from a different culture. And it's new and exciting. And then it's done a bunch of stuff in your house. So we brought in Japan, they have, like KitKat. So we heard other people ahead of us in immigration, we're coming back in Oh, do

Kelsey Smith:

you buy anything you're like,


I got a lot of KitKats. Totally Yes. Not gonna lie, it was just like, all the flavors of KitKats. And some other different snacks too. But that's the bulk of what we brought back, we did bring back some small gifts, we ended up getting like three change purses. And that we have changed just leftover from Japan, which is fun and exciting. So we'll put change in each of the change versus two for the kids to play with. The bulk of what we generally bring back for ourselves and for others is either edible, or something you can use up different foods, bring that coffee from other places for folks chocolates. And another gift I ended up giving a lot to folks is a local candle vendor that I use. They do custom refills so you can do whatever scent you want. And then refill old candles. And so then I'll just refill them and give those to people. And yeah, basically things that you can use up is what I generally am trying to think of. Yeah, I love that.

Kelsey Smith:

And it's so much intentional, more intentional to write where you're not just oh, I'm bringing this back. Because I bought you something, it's I'm bringing this back because I've thought through the use case of it. Or I was reminded of you when I saw this like having more meaning behind it not just oh, I bought you something to say about you something like I absolutely hate when people buy me things. So I could open something. I'm like I would much rather let's just go on a walk together, then you just give me something. And I think it comes back to like you said your love language and what that is, and my mom and I, I'm going to tell her listen to this episode, I'm gonna be like it was all about you. I'm just kidding. But she loves to buy our family things. And one year, she was like, What do you want for Christmas? And I was like, I want a nine by 13 Pyrex pan. And she's like, You're so boring to buy things for it. And I was like, that's all I want. That's the only thing that's on my list right now. And so she listened. And I was like, does it give you joy, knowing that's really all I want. And more recently, she sent me a link from Amazon. And I was like, What are you buying us from Amazon? But when she was here last time, she was like, what are the things that you need for the kids? I was like, Honestly, the only thing I wish we had for the kids right now were solid socks that were both their sizes that didn't have to be matched by the different colors. And that's all I want. And so then a week later, black socks show up for the kids. And I was like, I'm just so happy you're listening. I will be honest, I don't think it gives her the same joy for picking out her same things. But we tried to have a balance. And I think just having those really clear conversations. What are some of the ways that you guide your clients to do that to have those conversations if it's doesn't come as naturally to them? Or what are some ways you've done it yourself?


So that one's really hard, right? Because sometimes I feel like you do end up getting into kind of this therapy adjacent friends adjacent thing and talking to people. About the tough stuff for them is tricky, right. But I think it's important to have these conversations and so I feel very He honored to be able to help folks guide those conversations and those changes in their life. The thing that I suggest for folks as they're starting, is to just be open about where they're at and their journey. So a great place to start is, instead of waiting until December 1, so you celebrate Christmas Hanukkah, instead of waiting till December 1, and then going to the grandparents and saying, Hey, listen, I know usually give me too many toys and like you need to stop instead of approaching things from that point of view. Maybe in October, when someone says, How are you doing, you can say things like, you know what we are on this decluttering journey right now. And we are just having so much fun with it. And it's just really helping us streamline things, but we're just kind of in this new mindset of my experiences over getting new, physical things. And it's really been making a big impact in our life, when you are sharing your journey. And that way it can set the tone. And then when people are asking you about it, or when it comes time to let people know, then you can reference that and say, hey, you know how I mentioned that we've been on this decluttering journey this year, it has me really thinking about the holidays. So just wanted to reach out to the grandparents will let you know that this holiday season, we're hoping for XYZ, and the invitation to be part of it is going to come across so much better than if you come at somebody in like attack mode in the same way. And it comes up a lot is when people say what about my partner, my partner is not on the same page as me, that's a lot harder to because you live in the same house. And I always liken it to if you had started a fitness journey. If you say to your partner, hey, I have decided that I'm going to go to the gym. And also I think that you are not looking so good. So you should come with me. And it's because you need to change that's not going to go over as well as if you are on this journey, and they see how much fun you're having. And then they say, Wow, it sounds like you're having a lot of fun. And you say I am having a lot of fun. You know what I would love. If you wanted to join me one of these days, we could have fun together, that feels a lot different than accusatory. And so it's really about inviting people in, versus being on the defensive mode, if that makes sense.

Kelsey Smith:

Yeah. And you just reminded me, my husband and I rarely do gifts for each other, it's really more of a surprise and delight. If we're thinking of each other. There's something we wanted. And that works really great for our relationship. But something that I love is when holidays do come up, or there's things that we're celebrating, we have a conversation about how do we want to celebrate, and we would much rather sharing experience together than just exchange a gift. We're doing that as a couple. But with you just sharing that it also reminded me with the grandparents, I think that's how they got into the transition for the experiences is they noticed we started doing more experiences with our kids and taking pictures and they're like, I want to go with you guys to the zoo. Can we go to the zoom? And then I was like, Yeah, sure, why don't we not do gifts, or we do one small gift. And then let's go to the zoo as a family. And, of course, there's limitations with maybe how mobile people are what you can do. But there's a lot of really cool things that you can do. We took our great, great grandpa, not great, one great grandpa to a children's museum and you guys watch the kids there. And I think it's just being in this creative mindset of how could we do this, and this would feel good. But that being said, I actually want to transition back a little bit to being overwhelmed. Because all of this stuff we're talking about is great and concept, right? But then you get overwhelmed and you're just like, I don't know, this sounds overwhelming. I don't wanna have these conversations. I don't know how to take action. So what is the first step that someone can take when they're like, I have a lot of stuff. I feel overwhelmed. I'm always getting new stuff. What is the first step to do to declutter? Yeah,


I love it. Okay, feels counterintuitive, but just go with me. First step, you can take a deep breath. And sometimes I end up starting sessions with a little bit of a sit down, like we're sitting down, we're chatting, would do a little bit of breath work. If I can tell that they're particularly frantic on a day, I might suggest that we just start with a few deep breaths, maybe a little water break while I set up and then Okay, let's get started. Because it's really hard to come into the process while you're feeling frantic. And there have been studies that have been done on the link between clutter and your cortisol levels are scientifically linked, and it's not just in your head. Clutter is stressful. So I suggest to folks maybe sit down with a piece of paper and pencil and a nice beverage, preferably something with water in it, and you can just hydrate a little and think about the area. I would say up to three. Think about the spaces in your home that are stress. send you the F out what is stressing you out the most. And we're going to list those bonus points if it's a space that helps you. Because especially as busy parents, your natural inclination is to think about everybody else and their needs before your own. And so if there's a space that can help you specifically in the day to day, and I'm just going to say it and not necessarily everybody else, but putting yourself first and putting on the oxygen mask on first. Getting that space in order is going to give you the inspiration and help with that snowball effect of wanting you to work in other spaces. If your space feels particularly sentimental, or has a lot of those, especially tough decisions, then maybe starting someplace, it's easier and less sentimentally driven for some people that could be a place like a pantry or a bathroom generally has less sentimental items. But depending on your traumas and things, sometimes those spaces can be especially difficult. So everybody knows when they're going through their spaces, what's going to be a little less emotional for them. And that can be an easier place to start. decluttering is like flexing a muscle. So as you go, you get stronger and stronger. So starting with the easy things can be a good way to be like, Okay, I'm getting into decision mode. So basically, I want you to start wanting to make a list of the three spaces and as you're writing it down, even leave some space. So one leaves some space to lease and space number three, then I want you to break down in those spaces. What is bugging you, but into teeny tiny little spots, say in your bedroom. Instead of working on the bedroom as a whole, I want you to work on your bedside table as one underneath your bed, the foot the pile at the foot of your bed, all the clothes on that chair, break your section down into spots, break your dresser down into different chunks like maybe one drawer at a time. Because it's going to be a so much easier for you to declutter one small space in 20 minutes, maybe a post bedtime pre before you go to bed. It's when you can break it down into small chunks that you can easily fit into your schedule and cross that off your list, you're going to be more inclined to be like, Okay, actually, you know what, that wasn't so bad. Now I can do it again tomorrow. And so breaking it down into the teeny tiny little chunks is going to be key. I also suggest having accountability. Somebody that you can talk to about it, someone you can set goals with online groups can be helpful a friend, just basically having people that can cheer you on because it can get really discouraging. And having the support even in forms of podcasts while you're decluttering listening to inspirational podcasts and things, it can be more helpful than you realize along the way.

Kelsey Smith:

Yeah, I love that. So we've talked a lot about the mindset behind decluttering. And we've talked a lot about just how to take action on yourself, your spaces, whatnot. But so often when people go to organize or declutter, the first thing they think of is a clear bin. And so before we wrap up today, let her talk about how so many people don't even get started. Because they're like, I don't want to spend $20 per bin to be able to just make my house look good. And a part of that is clear bins aren't for everyone's mind. Not everyone's brain likes to see clear bins. I am one of the people, I love clear bins, but that's not for everyone. So I'd love for you to just talk about the cost of you don't need to spend 1000s of dollars to get organized. And your version of organizing may not be the same as someone else's


100%. And like the big mistakes that I see people make when they get started decluttering and organizing. Number one is starting at the store. Because to my point earlier until you've decluttered a space, you're not going to be exactly sure on what you need and what you don't need. So I highly recommend decluttering first because then you're going to be able to see more clearly what systems are actually going to be helpful to you. Going back to the instance with my client and all of her leather goods. If I had looked at my space and made a plan around that, I would have a bunch of purse storage that we wouldn't have ended up using. So I'm glad that we start with decluttering and then make a plan from that. So as you're decluttering these are just like some tips that I use when I'm decluttering like super fast. I always have three bins with me with my clients minor trash cans, the playful to just stack and bring to all this session. But one is trash one's recycling and one is donations. So as you're grabbing an item you can keep or not and if it's not, is it trash recycling donation, if it's a key, then I suggest categorizing as you keep. So in a kitchen that might mean okay putting all your spatula together and all those little utensils It could mean putting all of your coffee cups together all of your plates, whatever the case may be in a bedroom that could be okay I'm putting my shorts together, I'm putting all my sweaters together and that sort of thing. Then when you have your keeps you see how much you have. So at that point, you might see oh, wow, I have 25 pairs of black skinny jeans. Is that the right number for me? And for some people? That's a yes. And for other people, they're like, holy crap, how did I get so many blockers gonna change? And so then you can look at that and say, Okay, what's the right? What's the right number for me, maybe that's 10, or whatever the case may be, again, the right number is going to be up to you. From there, you can make a plan, once you have a plan, kind of an idea in mind, then you can measure your space, then you can shop for what you need. So then when you're shopping, you're actually going to use that stuff. Getting back to your point. It's like emotional ergonomics, like you have to go with what feels good and what feels right to the way that works for your brain. Case in point I had a client I was working with this was a few months ago, and she's a teenager, and she has ADHD. So we were working on her room because we wanted to create systems that she was going to be more likely to keep up. And she had a closet system, but we just needed to tweak it a little bit in the way that it was presented. And just the flow and where the shelves were in this sort of thing. And we needed to get some bends. And we were talking about bins. Her mom had shown me an example video of a closet that she really liked. And we watched it with the daughter too. And she noted Oh, I really like those bins that they have in the video because they have little slits in them. But it's also mostly solid. So it won't be distracting because my closet is open. She's like, for me that would work better. Because I think that the clear bins are going to be too distracting to me while I'm trying to get my homework done. And I'm like, fantastic. And since I am a dork, I know exactly what bins those are. So let's just go ahead and get those men. So we did and they work great. We've got labels on them. And because she had that buy in on what's going to work best for her and had that input. She's kept it up longer than she's kept up systems in the past, which is amazing

Kelsey Smith:

organization is not a one size fits all. So you know, it's counterproductive, because then you're looking at things and you're like, Oh, I implemented the system like why do I not feel better? Why do I feel more distracted? Why does my room not feel good? And so that system just might not be for you. That doesn't mean you should go back to clutter. But that means that you look at a different system.


Yeah, a place that this comes into play. Two quick examples. One is with the trend right now of decanting everything in your pantry. People send me Kardashian pantries and stuff. They're like, Oh, this is so beautiful. And yes, it is. And you also just need to remember that this person has a staff member who dictates everything as it comes in and makes it like beautiful and perfect. As busy people as busy parents, most people don't want to spend the time to decant all the crackers as they come in. Now, if you do more power to you do it. The question that gets asked all the time is what is the best way. And like I'm doing this in air quotes if you're just listening, but the best way is going to be the system that is easy enough for you to maintain on a regular basis. If that means you're not decanting everything, and you've got everything in the cardboard boxes, don't worry about it. Don't worry about it, you're doing a great job, you're doing great. And the other example I was going to give is in my own drawer that has like my socks, underwear bras, and then a few night gowns that I use all the time. I still have shoe boxes, and they're not like the acrylic, nice shoe boxes, the ones that my shoes came in from wherever, because it fits really well. Everything's divided how I need it. And it hasn't broken. So I've been using the shoe boxes for five years. And I'm like, You know what, no shame. Because if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It doesn't need to cost a ton to be a system that can work if it works for you. Yeah,

Kelsey Smith:

so good. All right, as we wrap up, that's a great transition. I didn't realize how affordable it was to get an organizer to support you and be a part of your life. So I'd love for you to talk a little bit about how people can connect with you where they can find you on the internet and social media, and just having that fact of how they can reach out to you. Because I think so often people hear this and I'm like, gosh, that just sounds so overwhelming, or I'm not sure where to start. Carly also has a page in the mama house schools app that can help get you started. Really, if you're looking to take that next step. Don't be scared to ask what would that look like? And that you can also do virtual consultations. So many people think that you need to have the home edit, come into your house and redo your entire house and rainbow books. And that's beautiful and great if that's the way you want your house to look. But there isn't in between and you can get a little bit of support without having to have this whole like staff member and organizing and all of that. So I just want to also just debunk that for anyone Sitting is, there's all different levels of support, whether you take action from this podcast, which I hope you do, because there's so much value here, then you can tap into some of the free resources Carly has in the app, her own podcast, you can share about some of the other ways they can tap in, and then get on a consultation, get on a virtual consultation, or in person if you're in the Sacramento area. But if you are virtual tap in and be like, Hey, I have this one specific thing that's really stressing me out, or my whole house is stressing me out. But correct me if I'm wrong, you can really help them identify a win, you can say, alright, let me help you guide what your win would be when it comes to decluttering and organizing. So how can they work with you? Where can they find you?


Yeah, thank you so much. So you can find me online at tidy I'm on all the socials at tidy revival as well. Facebook, Instagram is probably our biggest one Pinterest ton of resources there and Tiktok as well, as far as we used to work with me, we do have a number of price points. Some folks really do want that hands on organization. So I'm in client homes every week working alongside of them and helping, it's mostly working with people to give them the skill so that they can move forward on their own versus a done for you situation, every buddy works a little bit different. But again, my folks are generally overwhelmed with too much stuff. So we want to work on how to reduce it and how to have that skill set. And that toolkit they can take with them later. I do work with folks online only as well. So if people want to work together to create an action plan, and then have an accountability partner so that they can check in on what they've done, where they're stuck, chat through it and figure out simple solutions that are going to work for them in their home. I work with folks on an ongoing basis in that way, or a one time strategy session just to check in about what is stressing you out and how you can make the changes and we talk about possible systems that you can implement as well. And then we do have a private community, which is the most affordable way to work with us. And we are currently revamping that and it will be relaunching early summer this year. That is

Kelsey Smith:

so exciting. And so when you hear this go live, it'll be right around that timeframe. And I think that's so amazing because obviously it mama has goals, we're big advocates for community and how important it is to have people working on the same goals as you so allowing yourself to be connected. Carly, thank you so much for being here. I can't wait to see what that community evolves to I can't wait to check in with you for myself for some new decluttering and organization. I need to uplevel some things. So thank you so much for being here.

Unknown Speaker:

Thank you so much for having me, Kelsey, it was great chatting with you.

Kelsey Smith:

You your story and what you have to offer this world builds me up. I want to meet you join me on Instagram at this is Kelsey Smith. And let's create a ripple effect for mamas with goals together is better