Managing Everyday Messes and Digital Clutter
Clutter threshold, behavior patterns, digital clutter, and managing email and photo collections are discussed.
Streamlining Email and Photo Organization
Declutter email and digital photos, use folders, unsubscribe, organize storage, and a fun twist at the end.
Teasing the story of an orange picker and a disliked gift from Sarah in next week's episode.
Listen in as I tackle the ever-so-common battle against everyday messes and digital clutter. We all know that even the tidiest homes aren't immune to the occasional socks on the floor or misplaced keys, and that's perfectly human. But what if you could reset your living space in just 20 to 30 minutes? I share insights into maintaining a 'clutter threshold' and the behaviors that contribute to our daily disarray. And, in a relatable confession, I discuss my own habit of leaving socks scattered and how my family deals with this quirk with humor and understanding. Plus, a listener named Jenny sparks an engaging conversation on the daunting task of managing a bursting email inbox and chaotic digital photo collections.
Dive into practical tips for streamlining your email and organizing your digital memories. The secret? Recognizing that most emails can hit the trash bin and creating folders for the essentials, while also being ruthless with deleting unnecessary digital photos to preserve those precious moments worth reminiscing over. Discover tools like unroll.me that simplify the unsubscribing process and hear about my ongoing quest to keep digital storage tidy. And stay tuned for a light-hearted conclusion where I tease an intriguing story about an orange picker, a nod to a forthcoming episode, and a humorous gift-related tale from Sarah, an admin with a fun twist, sure to leave you anticipating our next weekly chat.
00:01 - Krista (Host)
Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So we are still in our new format, which is Q&A style, where you, as the listener, can actually submit your own question that you would like to have answered on the show and I will answer it. And at the end of each episode I am going to answer what I would like to call an unhinged question, and these questions are submitted by either my family because I have a lot of kids or my husband, my good friends or members of the motherhood simplified community who I trust enough to not totally roast me, because these unhinged questions are going to be silly and playful, but I'm also going to answer them with some truth and some really helpful, helpful, decluttering and simplifying tips for you. So the question at the end of last episode was submitted by my husband, and here is what he asked me I wear socks, but I take them off randomly in the house. Shoes are the same Sometimes and somehow I even randomly find things like a stick of butter out somewhere. It's insane. I have keys to a car but, dude, they may or may not be somewhere.
I recall my question is what do I do when the five kids are adding to my piles of messes and clutter. So that is his question. He is pretending to be me, because that is me and if you followed me on Facebook, sometimes on Instagram I roast myself all of the time for leaving my socks out I'll post photos of like oh my gosh, my family left my socks out again, or left their socks out again. I'm like just kidding, it was me right, because especially in the wintertime, my feet get cold. But I hate how socks feel and so I urgently take them off and I just throw them wherever I'm at. That's what I do. Okay, it just is something that I do. I'm not saying it's good, I'm not saying it's acceptable, I'm not saying it's probably not annoying to some people, I'm just saying it's what I do. Okay, now to answer this question.
To answer this question, where will I start? First of all, socks are not clutter. So one thing that I want to distinguish between is like everyday messes and clutter. Your house, even if it's clutter free, is going to have everyday messes, because you're a human and you're living with tiny humans, so you're going to have messes. The key here is to be able to like how quickly can you recover from your messes In our house? We can reset our house every night, like 20 minutes, the house is cleaned up, including going around the house and doing things like picking up my socks and my kids' socks and my kids' clothes or whatever it is, or making them clean up their socks. So there's a difference between clutter and everyday messes, and if you've been living in clutter, you probably have a hard time distinguishing between which switch. So you probably have to do clutter so that you can get within your clutter threshold, which just means you can quickly, easily get your house cleaned up most days, like within a reasonable amount of time.
For me, if it takes longer than 30 minutes, I know we need to do some decluttering or like a big full reset of an area of the house. Okay, now I also want to say that this is not a clutter issue and it's not really a mess issue. It's a behavior issue. Okay, so it's a behavior issue. I recognize that I'm not saying that it's good, like I said, but it's what I do Now. Here is how we handle it. Now you'll have to decide in your home. Is this something you all can live with? For now, this is something that we can all live with in my family.
Okay, so my husband does not pick up my socks after me. He also doesn't nag me about it. Sometimes he gives me a hard time about it, but, like I know, it's annoying and so I try not to do it or at least try to pick them up quickly when I realize I did it again, because most of the time I don't even realize that I did it. He doesn't nag me, he doesn't do it for me. We joke about it and I also recognize that my kids do this and I also don't nag them. I also make them clean up their own socks and just treat it kind of the same way. It's just an annoying thing that happens in our house. Not proud of it, I do my best to recognize it and be better about it. But yeah, mostly it's like an act of desperation to get the socks off my feet because my feet feel like they're suffocating.
Okay. So ask yourself is it an everyday mess or is it clutter? The way that you judge that is how quickly can you recover your house? Can you clean up your house in about 20 to 30 minutes every single day? And by that I don't mean that it's sparkly clean and that you're deep cleaning things it's like. Is everything put away? Are dishes cleaned up? Are toys put away? Are clothes put away? Are things off the counters? Are things off the floors Like is it pretty clean most days in about 20 to 30 minutes? That's how you gauge it and can your family help you? So that is the first question. Now we also have a listener question today and she's asking about email and photos, so digital clutter. Her name is Jenny and let's take a listen to Jenny.
05:39 - Jenny (Caller)
My name is Jenny and I love seeing your social media posts and listening to your podcasts. It's all really helped inspiring me to get really good at decluttering my home, but while there are still some areas that need help and it's a constant process I feel like I have a pretty good handle on it. The one huge area, though, that I really struggle with is electronic decluttering. My email and my photo storage situation are really a mess. You don't want to know how many emails are in my inbox right now. With photos. It's completely out of control. With the amount of digital photos, I really don't have any kind of organization for them, and then knowing what to do with them to enjoy looking at them is really a struggle as well.
I have six kids, and for the first couple of the kids, I scrapbooked. It was kind of my hobby back then, but then the more kids that I had, I just had no time to really do that anymore. So now my youngest kids just really don't have any photo albums and they really hardly have any printed pictures, even besides the few photos that we have up on the wall. So I guess I'm wondering what do you do to simplify this area of your life? Thank you.
07:01 - Krista (Host)
All right. So Jenny is a married mom of five. She's adding a sixth soon. She's adopting through foster care which is amazing and she's got kids ages 21 down to four. She says she works as a nanny slash household assistant for two families with kids ages seven, four, two and nine months. She's dabbled in professional organizing with a few jobs, but she's not currently organized enough to make the leap to do it as a profession.
07:26ut a gift she gave me back in:
Okay, so when it comes to emails, the majority of your email is unimportant, unnecessary and, honestly, just noise, and I say that as somebody who participates in email marketing. I send you emails. If you're on my email list, I send you emails, and I do by mess to send you emails that are valuable and useful for you, and I'm not offended if you delete my emails, and I'm not offended if my emails no longer get a space in your inbox. It doesn't offend me if you unsubscribe, it's okay. So I just want to say that. But the majority of emails are not useful for you long term and they're kind of meant to be like paper mail, in that you throw away immediately, delete them immediately when they come in. Now, this is going to be true for emails and photos, but you're going to and physical paper, by the way.
So one of the biggest things that I teach when I talk about paper decluttering is you probably have a huge backlog that you have to get rid of. Now it can be pretty simple to just mass delete in an email inbox, just like select all delete. It depends on what your email platform is. You might have to do it page by page, but you might also be able to just do select all delete. Now what I do is I create folders for things that are important that you know I kind of need like original copies for, or what you would call original copies for. You know, in the paper version and I'm going to tell you a caveat to this so I'll put things like invoices for work. I'll create, you know, a folder for invoices that I need to keep for tax purposes, or I will keep emails with you know, downloads, like things that I purchased that have digital downloads in them that I don't want to have to get rid of, and I will say that in, or whatever else.
What other emails might be important for you, I put them in their own separate folders. There's not a lot in there, so don't keep a lot. It's kind of like your real physical paperwork. You don't actually need a lot of those things in the original forms. You just need like first certificate, marriage certificate, passports, deeds, things like that. You don't need as much as we actually keep.
But there have been times where I accidentally deleted like there were these audio files that I needed from somebody who I was doing a podcast with. I deleted the email and all I had to do was say, hey, kind of embarrassing, I accidentally deleted these. Can you resend them to me? And pretty much everybody is. There's going to be a copy of it that exists somewhere that you can get your hands on, or you might just have to do something random and, you know, take a couple extra steps to get that thing back. But overall it's really not that big of a deal.
So, when it comes to your email, search through and pull out the things that are important, search by name, search by you know, keyword, subject or whatever it might be the person that it might be from, move it into its separate folder and then just delete everything. Now there are softwares, depending on what email platform you're using, like unrollme, that will go through and unsubscribe you from the list that you get subscribed to. Just the random ones, the ones when people sell your information, right. So there are softwares that exist that you can use. I, one of my email accounts works for that, because it's just a Gmail account, but then I have another one that's a little bit more secure and I have to go do it manually, and that's okay too. So I make it a point to like do it once every two or three months, just go through and like unsubscribe, mast, delete and kind of clean it up. But it will take you some time to get through that initial backlog.
Now I'm going to say basically the same thing for photos is that you likely have a huge backlog that you have to go through, and when it comes to like deleting things off of your phone or your iCloud storage, it can be pretty simple to like go through and delete things like screenshots. You can just like do it by category, like all of your screenshots, delete, delete, delete. But do the same thing like just go through and delete, mast, delete, duplicate photos, bad photos, the ones where you can take your phone and you're like what even is this? Why do I have a picture of this? Because we just have so many, so much, that we never will look at we never will use, and it's not useful to have as much stored and saved because it does take away from the joy of being able to actually look through your videos and photos and enjoy them. So, again, do like a just a mast delete.
It's tedious, but depending on what kind of phone you have now, I've noticed that they it's gotten better at like sorting photos so I can actually do things like sort by face. If you don't like that data type of information or you know, using that kind of I don't know AI or whatever you would call it, don't, but I'm like I can sort this by face. I can take all of those photos of that face of my kid that's able to be recognized by a software, move it into a folder with their name and then do that for everybody's and delete the ones that are not in the folder. So there are. I think it's getting easier to like kind of do this mass sorting and deleting, which is nice, and you're going to have to go through the backlog. And then I will also say that I have it's just an ongoing project that I have where I am perpetually moving my photos from, so I have them on my, on my phone. I have an iPhone. I also save them on Google photos and then I move them to a flash drive. So I'm not going to say that I have it complete, because I just have never been able to catch up on the backlog. Just being totally honest, I do make a huge dent every few like months, maybe twice a year or something probably more like twice a year where I make a huge dent. I get close to getting caught up and then I just continue to take photos. But that's kind of my process is mass delete, sort them into folders and files and delete the ones that don't make it into a category.
As far as enjoying the photos, I think that is something that I am a little bit better at. So I do like to print off photos. I just use the free one on Shutterfly, where I don't know if they have the offer anymore you'll have to look into it but they they have a thing and have for the last few years where you can print off like up to 100 photos and you just pay shipping. So I get like 100 photos that I pay like $7 in shipping for. It's amazing and I just put them in a little photo album and it's one of my kids favorite things to look at and I try to do like one to 200 photos every year around the holidays times, just like as a gift for my husband so he loves to get photos of the kids. It forces me to kind of limit myself to like one to 200 photos that are worth printing every year and putting into an album. It's just like a whatever is at the store, like no decorations, no scrapbooking, because I don't enjoy that At least not in the season of my life I don't enjoy that and just put the photos into a book. I know a lot of people love chat books. I've just never committed to using them or trying them. But that could be a good option for you because you kind of consistently print off photos that you know highlight and showcase your family, which is amazing. That's the point of photos, right? And last year actually the last two years we did this thing. We like the game called what Do you Mean and I actually printed off photos and made our own version of what Do you Mean with our family photos, which was really fun. So, yeah, that was a lot.
I specifically don't really ever teach about this because, like I said, it's I don't feel like it's something that I've mastered myself, but I know the basics of like how to keep up and how to keep it somewhat organized. And here's the thing that gives me comfort is that I my memories, even if they're not stored in photos. Like having the memories stored in photos is just a bonus. Like I want to be present in my life, I want to be like with my kids. I want to talk with them, hang out with them, laugh with them, get photos of them. Yes, but I don't obsess over it like being perfect.
Like I know I've got my devices. I've got things saved in multiple places An iCloud version, the physical device on my phone and then a flash drive. I believe my husband also has an external hard drive with old, old photos, like from 10 plus years ago. But yeah, those are my suggestions. So I know that was a lot and it's really not a simple answer, because when it comes to things like this that have huge backlogs and, honestly, just like endless amounts of storage, it's just going to be tedious and annoying. But I do think that the technology is getting better to make it easier for us to sort and delete. So I hope that was helpful for you today. Thank you for the question, and now I'm going to let you listen into Sarah's question from me about the gift that she gave me. Hey, christa.
18:04 - Sarah (Caller)
Okay, Years ago, before I was an admin in a group, I saw a wild hare and I sent you an orange picker as a gift for your house in California and, logically speaking, you've moved away from that house. There's no more reasons to have an orange picker. But I got to come visit you this summer and I'm just curious what would you have said to me if I would have rolled into your house and been like hey, Christa, where's that orange picker I bought you?
18:38 - Krista (Host)
Okay. So this is a fun question from our mother had simplified admin, Sarah, and she is correct. When I moved to California, we moved into a house, had an orange tree and it had oranges all over the tree and it had oranges that were really high up that I couldn't reach and I was like, how do I do this? How do I get the oranges from the top of the tree? She sent me an orange picker and I thought it was so sweet and I loved it and it's actually one of my favorite gifts I've ever received because it was so practical and fun and we like something I would actually use. But it was also so thoughtful, right, it was like so specific. So I loved that gift and we see a lot of times in the group moms being like okay, so actually, you know what? I'm not even supposed to answer this for you yet.
If you want to hear what I would tell Sarah about the orange picker, tune into next week's episode. I forgot I'm going to tell you until the beginning of next episode. So tune into next week's episode. And she actually reminded me there's a second gift that she gave me that I did not keep and that one was a bad gift and that's why I didn't keep it. So you'll have to tune in next week to hear what it is. Thanks so much for listening. See you next week.