Episode 015: Guest Interview - Jess
Today’s episode is another guest interview. Our guest today is Jess Smith, a wife and mother of 5-year-old twins and a 2-year-old that lives in Waco, Texas. Jess shares all the ways she tried to get control of her home prior to joining Minimal-ish Starts Here. And how she went from a self-proclaimed “messy house” to feeling less overwhelmed.
In this guest interview episode, Diana talks with Jess about her journey to creating a decluttered home and how much easier it is to manage her household after ruthlessly decluttering.
They’ll also discuss:
- Why the things Jess tried before didn’t work
- Some of the emotional obstacles with trying to declutter
- How amazing our Facebook community group supports members and how helpful our couches are!
What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?
- 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
- How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
- Guest interviews
- Deep dives on specific topics
Episode 015: Guest Interview - Jess
This transcription was automatically generated
[00:00:00] Diana Rene: You're listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. A podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Renee, and in 2017, I had my second daughter, and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home. Okay, not literally. But I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next ten months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings, and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system, and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks, and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show.
[00:00:50] Diana Rene: All right, you guys. So we have Jess here. Um, and I got really, it was really funny because when she came on, I saw that she had the first and last name of one of my best friends since high school. Um, and so I wanted to talk to you, Jess, today because you are a member of Minimalish starts here, right?
[00:01:10] Jess: I am.
[00:01:11] Diana Rene: Awesome. Can you share with us just a little bit about yourself, um, your family kind of where you're located and all those fun things.
[00:01:21] Jess: Sure. So I was born and raised in Waco and that's where I am raising my children. That's Waco, Texas, which is in central texas.
[00:01:29] Diana Rene: Yep.
[00:01:30] Jess: Um, and I am a mama of three children. I've got five year old twins and an almost two year old. We have kind of always, even before kids had what I would call sort of a messy house.
[00:01:45] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:01:46] Jess: My parents are very attached to things. I think there are probably a variety of psychological reasons behind that. I know I've my own um, but really like I grew up in very full cluttered houses, so did my husband.
[00:02:00] Jess: And so, um, it really wasn't until after our twins were born, that I started feeling really overwhelmed by the stuff I was having to manage.
[00:02:12] Diana Rene: And I think that's really common because I think if, especially if we grow up in homes that are, um, particularly cluttered, that's just like what we know. Right. like, yeah.
[00:02:24] Diana Rene: Um, we grow up in it. And so we kind of just like, like, that's just kind of like what we expect, like that's how you live and, and maybe, you know, that like it's messy or whatever, but it's not as big of a deal until you bring other tiny humans into the mix and all stuff that they bring. And then it starts to be like, okay, this is too much to handle.
[00:02:44] Jess: Absolutely. And I think like one of the, the things is, it was sort of pre-kids, it was spread out vertically around the house mm-hmm and when I started moving all of the, I don't wanna call it junk, but it was probably mostly junk. Yeah. Out of baby reach out of toddler reach. Then I was like, it was suddenly all at eye level and I was really faced very literally faced with, um, all of the things that we owned, but didn't use.
[00:03:10] Diana Rene: Yeah. That makes sense. And you said, did you say that your twins are older or younger?
[00:03:17] Jess: They're older. They are, they turned five in February and then we've got a baby.
[00:03:21] Diana Rene: Very cool. Um, so when did you join the program?
[00:03:28] Jess: Not until January of this year. So January 20, what is it? 22.
[00:03:33] Diana Rene: Yeah. I know, I feel like this year more than even others. I'm like, what year is it?
[00:03:39] Jess: We accidentally celebrated my husband's birthday twice. Like he seven, twice. Um, because COVID has done such a number on years, so like,
[00:03:48] Diana Rene: oh my God.
[00:03:49] Jess: Did it ever be more embarrassing than that?
[00:03:51] Diana Rene: That is hilarious. Okay. So did you like, did he know that it wasn't his birthday and you just thought it was, or did you all think it was his birthday?
[00:04:00] Jess: I mean, it like his birthday's in October, we like it was in October, but the problem is like the year that he was supposed to turn 37, he turned 37. And then the next year we also put 37 candles on his cake and it was like several months later that he'd said something to his mom about being 37. And she was like, no, you're not.
[00:04:21] Jess: And then argued. It was so bad. We pulled out a calculator.
[00:04:26] Diana Rene: Okay. I am actually really glad you said that because I have to do the calculator all the time to figure out how old I am, cause I always forget. I feel like once you hit a certain age, you're like, Am I, am I 37? Um,
[00:04:41] Jess: Right it's harder than it looks.
[00:04:43] Diana Rene: Yeah. And had to do that a couple weeks ago because my youngest was like, mommy, your birthday's coming up.
[00:04:50] Diana Rene: And I was like, yeah, I know. And she's like, how old are you gonna be? And I like looked at her and I was like, I think, I think 38 I was like, hold on. And I had to pull out the calculator and be like 2020. And I'm like, wait, what year is it? What year is it? It's like, it was just a whole thing.
[00:05:07] Jess: So hard. So hard.
[00:05:10] Diana Rene: Nobody warned you about that, right?
[00:05:12] Jess: No. And as a kid, I knew down to like the week, like I am. Years old and 10 weeks, but like no longer.
[00:05:19] Diana Rene: Yep, exactly. And my, uh, five year old was like, oh, well, that's good that you're gonna be 38 because you're not old until you turn 48. I was like ok, good to know that I've got 10 years left.
[00:05:36] Diana Rene: Um, awesome. Okay. So you joined in, January. And let's talk a little bit prior to joining. So you said that, um, it was when your twins were born, that they, that you started to feel kind of overwhelmed by it, but that means that you had a good what, solid four to five years of feeling overwhelmed.
[00:05:58] Jess: Yes. And I tried a lot of, so I'm a, I'm a solution oriented person.
[00:06:05] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:06:06] Jess: I have my PhD. I like answers. I love a good answer. And so they were born. I was really overwhelmed. We were living in a, um, three bedroom, 1400 square foot house, which is a perfectly reasonable sized house for four people.
[00:06:22] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:06:23] Jess: Um, but I was so overwhelmed. I decided that probably the solution was just more space.
[00:06:28] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:06:29] Jess: And so we sold our house and bought a bigger house. Um, and that did not work to the surprise of nobody who has actually figured this out, but I was stunned.
[00:06:38] Diana Rene: Right. you're like, wait, that was a lot of work and stress for that, to that work,
[00:06:44] Jess: Like so much more money. Like it just, it, yeah. Hindsight. Oh my goodness. Like, clearly that was not the solution that I thought maybe.
[00:06:52] Diana Rene: Yeah. How many, sorry to interject. But how many square feet did you move into?
[00:06:57] Jess: 2,700. So basically that's
[00:06:59] Diana Rene: quite a big.
[00:07:01] Jess: Mm-hmm and so that's anyway, we're, we're still here and it's working for us, but such an interesting decision.
[00:07:10] Jess: Um, then I started trying to, I decided the problem was just that way I wasn't organized enough, but you can't organize junk. You say it better than that. You, you can't organize clutter, is that yeah. OK. You
[00:07:22] Diana Rene: say that basically, right?
[00:07:25] Jess: And so I bought a bunch of dressers, and I bought a bunch of bookcases, and I bought a bunch of baskets, I mean like seriously, probably a hundred baskets.
[00:07:37] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:07:38] Jess: Um, cuz I just thought I could do it that way and it probably wasn't until the twins were three, that a girlfriend came over, who lives outta town. And she was like, oh, this is just very stressful. And I was like, well, cuz it's loud. And she was like, there's just, there's so much to look at.
[00:07:59] Jess: Um, like what if you reset your mantle? And we took everything off of my mantle. I was like, some of that's decorative and is supposed to stay there. And she was like, let your eyes reset. Just take everything off your mantle.
[00:08:12] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:08:13] Jess: And so I did that and it was really astonishing, um, how, how much calmer I felt in the living room.
[00:08:25] Jess: Mm-hmm . And so at that point I started trying to minimize, um, but without much direction. And I was like reading books and I was watching Netflix shows and I was, you know, kind of spinning my wheels in a productive sense. Like, I, I do think it was better than when I was trying to organize my clutter. Um, but I still would like look at 15 things and get rid of like one of them.
[00:08:51] Diana Rene: Yeah. It wasn't ruthless.
[00:08:54] Jess: No, it was certainly not ruthless. Yeah.
[00:08:57] Diana Rene: Yeah. Well, and you probably, at that point had a lot of those emotional obstacles, right? Like things that were holding you back from letting go. So when you, at that time, when you would look at 15 things and get rid of one of them, what was coming up for you?
[00:09:15] Jess: Oh, goodness. Lots of fear and scarcity. Like, what if I need this later?
[00:09:20] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:09:21] Jess: But it was not like, oh my goodness, this one of the kind tea kettle handed down for my great-grandmother, what if I need this later? It was like a half pack of BIC pens that I'd bought six years ago. What if I needed later?
[00:09:35] Diana Rene: Right? I could totally relate. That's why I'm laughing. Um, I, I don't remember if I've talked about this on instagram or if it's inside the course, but I had like a bag of like 500 rubber bands, um, that I had the hardest time getting rid of when I was first decluttering. And I, it was like just sitting in my junk drawer. I had never opened it.
[00:10:01] Diana Rene: Like I had never used these 500 rubber bands, but like, I was like struck with like. It was like, I was paralyzed to be able to let go, because what if I had a use for a rubber band? Not only just one rubber band, but 500 of them, even though I never in my life had used them, you know?
[00:10:22] Jess: Right. Well, and like, especially, you know, it's not like we are on the frontier. Like if you woke up tomorrow and needed 500 rubber bands, you could get them within an hour.
[00:10:32] Diana Rene: Right. And not even have to leave your house. I ordered my husband a new, uh, toothbrush yesterday and I ordered it at like 9:00 AM and it was like, oh, it'll be there tomorrow. And I was like, whoa, that's that's cool.
[00:10:45] Diana Rene: And then like two hours later, the Amazon guy's on my front porch. And I'm like, how in the world did they get that here so fast? So.
[00:10:52] Jess: We live in the future. It is so weird.
[00:10:55] Diana Rene: Yes. And that's so true. It's not like, uh, if we do get rid of something, we are gonna have to like make a journey or like have a really difficult time to recoup it.
[00:11:06] Diana Rene: And oftentimes the things that we have the hardest time letting go because of what, if we need it later, it is typically like a lower cost item for some reason.
[00:11:17] Jess: Yes. I noticed that as well. And then my other obstacle, which I feel like is very related is, um, my mom is a huge hippie. We do our best to kind of live simply and not make a lot of waste.
[00:11:31] Jess: And so I had a lot of guilt about, um, like throwing away things that were broken that I could fix, or I could turn into something else, which I'm literally never gonna do.
[00:11:42] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:11:43] Jess: Or that like, very, I feel like this kind of a standard, terrible excuse to not get rid of something, but like, oh, but it's still good.
[00:11:50] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:11:50] Jess: And the thing that was really powerful that you said is like, okay, well, it's good right now. So you could give it away so someone else could use it while it's still good. Or you could keep it in a closet till it's not good anymore.
[00:12:02] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:12:03] Jess: Oh, okay.
[00:12:05] Diana Rene: Yeah. And it's hard to think that though, right? It's hard.
[00:12:08] Diana Rene: Especially when we feel like we're doing like a noble thing by keeping it. Um, and I think that that can come from a lot of different sources, it can come from being raised in an environment. Um, like you said, with your mom being a hippie and like think when like reusing and recycling, I'm assuming. Um, . Yeah. Uh, and so it can come from that, or it can be, um, if you grew up in poverty or really low income and there can be like actual, really valid reasons for holding onto things because you may not have the money to, to replace if needed. Um, or like being raised by a grandparent who lived through the great depression and just, you know, hoarded everything because they were so used to that in their life. So there can be so many different reasons, um, for having that mentality. But when you were able to let that mentality kind of switch. What happened for you?
[00:13:13] Jess: Oh, my goodness. Okay. So my husband and I were talking about this yesterday.
[00:13:16] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:13:17] Jess: Uh, we had gone out for a walk and when we came back in through the front door, I did like a teenager sigh just like very dramatic, huge sigh and said, Ugh, it is so messy in this house right now. And he laughed at me, which is probably not good marriage advice.
[00:13:34] Jess: Yeah.
[00:13:36] Jess: But he said, if you walked into our house a year ago, you would cry.
[00:13:42] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:13:43] Jess: Um, just like our threshold has really changed. Mm-hmm like when I went through and was really ruthless, um, and I'm not quite done with the program yet.
[00:13:53] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:13:53] Jess: I am. I'm kind of dealing with some emotional things, plus some time things in a craft room it's like kind of our last stop.
[00:14:01] Diana Rene: Oh yes.
[00:14:03] Jess: Like to the I'm avoiding it to the point that I've jumped to a section that's technically like after .
[00:14:09] Diana Rene: Okay. And that's okay to do PS by the way. Um, because I know in the program we talk a lot about doing it in order and how important it is to do in order, but every now and then there are going to be things like a craft room or oftentimes a guest room will kind of become a second garage or basement full of like it's where like all this stuff that you don't know what to do with goes to die, you know?
[00:14:33] Jess: Yes.
[00:14:34] Diana Rene: And so it's okay to move those to the end, but I would encourage you if you are stuck on it to if you're in the Facebook group to post in there so we can help you through it too.
[00:14:43] Jess: Perfect.
[00:14:44] Jess: And I just, part of it is I'm in academia and it's kind of a crunch time at work. And so it's, you know, I know you talk a lot about like 20 minutes, 20 minutes lately. I feel like I go in there and I spend like four minutes or seven minutes, but I know that the, the progress is happening. And so I'm not as hung up with, like at the beginning, I felt like if I didn't finish what I was doing, it was gonna like snowball and become way worse.
[00:15:12] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:15:13] Jess: And I've just, I've built up my decluttering muscles working through the program so that now I'm like, it's okay if I walk in there and do part of a drawer.
[00:15:21] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:15:21] Jess: Like, that's fine.
[00:15:22] Diana Rene: Right. Because you've built that momentum and you know, that you'll be able to finish the drawer another day.
[00:15:30] Jess: Exactly. And it's something that like, I know, like I'm not, I'm not defeated by it. Like, I feel like at the beginning, if I had tried at the beginning of this journey, even in January to start in that room, I never would've gotten anywhere else.
[00:15:45] Diana Rene: Yeah. Right.
[00:15:46] Jess: I think that's one of the most important things about your program.
[00:15:50] Diana Rene: Yeah. And I think that that is a really common thing. Okay. So you mentioned at the beginning of our, uh, chat that you, you know, were reading all the books and watching Netflix shows and things like that. Um, and there are several popular, like decluttering shows on Netflix and on YouTube. And, um, they have helped millions of people, so I'm not going to discredit them, but I know that oftentimes they show like the really hard rooms or like the really intensely cluttered closets and things like that. Um, and so oftentimes when somebody watches that they are like, oh, okay, I'm gonna go do my closet.
[00:16:33] Diana Rene: And then they get frustrated because , they, they try and they're like, this is hard. And I don't want to let go of these clothes because of like a multitude of reasons. Right? Like, um, I loved this dress before I had babies. And now my body doesn't really fit it right now, but maybe it will one day or like I was wearing this when I met my husband or, um, there's like, I mean, there's a million in one reasons we hold on to clothes, it's so emotional.
[00:17:05] Diana Rene: Um, but I think that oftentimes, when we are starting to declutter, we just go for the spaces that really bother us. And that tends to be the areas that are really hard to do. And that I never recommend starting with.
[00:17:22] Jess: When I first looked at the order, there was a part of me like my, like hands on the hips, four year old self that was like, no, I'm not listening to this. I'm gonna do it my way. And I'm really glad that for whatever reason I didn't, because I really do think that the starting in a place that was completely devoid of emotions for me, like it did not.
[00:17:45] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:17:46] Jess: It was not difficult for me to go into that first space. And be ruthless and get rid of things that we didn't use and were never gonna use that I had maybe bought. And didn't like, um,
[00:17:57] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:17:58] Jess: And things of that nature so that I could just kind of figure out how and get the practice and build that muscle memory and just like get ruthless.
[00:18:09] Diana Rene: Yeah. And, and it builds momentum, right? Like
[00:18:13] Jess: it really does
[00:18:14] Diana Rene: When you are able to be really ruthless in a, in a space. It doesn't mean much to you or you don't really care about, or you don't think it's stressing you out once you're done, you realize, okay. Maybe that was stressing me out a little bit, uh, but I also feel really good that I was able to do that. And so you're able to like progressively move into those harder spaces.
[00:18:37] Jess: Well, and the, there was such a, like a domino effect of it. Like once I had done my first space, which kind of my, my first space, my house was built in 1930.
[00:18:47] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:18:48] Jess: And so my second space is actually like a part of my first space.
[00:18:53] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:18:53] Jess: If that makes sense.
[00:18:54] Diana Rene: Yep
[00:18:55] Jess: um, but it wasn't able to function that way because we had so much junk, and products, and things that just had no business still existing in our house.
[00:19:08] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:19:08] Jess: Things that mostly existed, cuz I felt weird donating them. I didn't feel like I could donate, a lot of that stuff, cuz it was open. Okay. Um, but keeping something just because it's not nice enough to donate, doesn't make any sense at all. like, it's not good enough for a Goodwill, but it's probably not good enough for your house either.
[00:19:27] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:19:28] Jess: Um, but any, once I had done that and really made space, then suddenly we weren't keeping things on top of my husband's dresser or yeah. On the downstairs couch, off of the laundry room, like there was just, there were places that were serving as storage that had no business storing the things that they were storing.
[00:19:50] Diana Rene: Yeah. I totally get that. And I love that you said that because, um, I think that, I think we just, especially in America, I think we have it so backwards where we just feel like, and maybe we don't do this intentionally, right. But we just treat our homes like storage facilities. Um, and we do that because we live here of course. And so we have, and maybe we have the extra space or maybe we don't have the extra space, but we still like stuff it in there. Um, but the thing is, is that we are like turning our, the very space that's supposed to like rejuvenate us and provide like a Haven of rest and relaxation, um, and a place to like form memories with your family, into like a storefront of all the stuff that you maybe possibly could need one day or you feel bad donating or, um, just like you said. So I think it's really interesting that a lot of the times, the things we choose to hold onto are not logical by any sense. But they're emotional and that's why decluttering can be so hard is because if it was logical, everybody could, nobody would have clutter.
[00:21:10] Jess: Oh, absolutely. And I think it's so funny that you call it a storefront because like carrying that analogy a little bit further, like I would not shop at that store.
[00:21:19] Diana Rene: Yeah, right.
[00:21:21] Jess: I don't wanna shop at the store of half full shampoo, bottles and sheets with the blood stain, cuz my kids stain skin is knee and then crawled in the bed.
[00:21:30] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:21:31] Jess: Gross.
[00:21:32] Diana Rene: Right. Yeah. It's like the, the gross store that nobody wants anything from
[00:21:41] Jess: And yet I'm living in it. I'm living in the gross store, right? Or I I was, I, I have freed myself.
[00:21:47] Diana Rene: But right. And then we wonder why we're so stressed out. And obviously, there are way more factors to that. There's a lot, um, there's a lot that goes into. Stress, especially in modern motherhood and parenting, and like the expectations placed on us and, and all of that, but we are not helping ourselves.
[00:22:09] Diana Rene: We are, we are like setting ourselves even further back where we wake up for the day, and we're like already feeling behind simply because of our environment versus waking up for the day and feeling like, okay, I have a lot of like crappy things today that I might have to deal with, but at least I'm waking up with like a clean blank slate.
[00:22:35] Jess: Yes. Well, and like one of your, um, one of your systems that we have started implementing lately is PM pickup.
[00:22:43] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:22:44] Jess: And it's just, it's really nice to wake up to a reset home. And last night, this is, this is luxurious. Actually, last night, I accidentally fell asleep at 7 55.
[00:22:56] Diana Rene: Oh.
[00:22:57] Jess: Um, like I got all the kids down, and I sat down on the, well, I got my youngest down, my husband was still reading to the twins. And so I, I sat down on the couch to wait for him and then like woke up at midnight and just like went and crawled into my own bed.
[00:23:12] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:23:13] Jess: Um, and so this morning, when I woke up the house, was not ready for the day.
[00:23:19] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:23:19] Jess: Like he had made the lunches, but like there were water bottles and like a pair of rain. There were just stuff on the living room floor.
[00:23:27] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:23:28] Jess: So before I'm working from home today. So before I started my day, I just spent 10 minutes while the Keurig was making my coffee and cleaned the living room.
[00:23:37] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:23:38] Jess: And that would've been completely impossible before the program. Like it would've taken me an hour, and I probably would've ended up stacking a lot of that stuff on a flat surface, in a different room.
[00:23:49] Diana Rene: Yeah. You, you would've just hidden it.
[00:23:52] Jess: Yeah, I would've hidden and not even particularly well.
[00:23:55] Diana Rene: Yeah, right.
[00:23:56] Jess: Just been behind me. Right.
[00:23:58] Diana Rene: Just not in your like blatant vision
[00:24:02] Jess: Yes.
[00:24:03] Jess: Like that's about future Jess.
[00:24:05] Diana Rene: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:24:06] Jess: We wanna be kind to her. I love her. I should treat her well.
[00:24:10] Diana Rene: Yes. Um, I know that that was like a big thing for me too. Was. I used to like where I used to live. Okay. So now we kinda live out in the boonies, but where we used to live, like I had a lot of friends that lived nearby and like family that lived like walking distance. Um, and, I would get like a text, and it's like, Hey, I'm down the street. I'm gonna stop over. And I would like panic.
[00:24:39] Diana Rene: It was like the worst feeling because I was like, they cannot see my house the way it is, even though they were also moms of young kids and like totally understood. But so I would like go outside and like, just talk to them in the front yard or like, I, like do a mad dash and just like throw everything into closets and kitchen cabinets.
[00:25:00] Diana Rene: Like nothing made sense. I just didn't want it to look the way it did. And then that would bring on like a sense of feeling like I was failing like, I'm sure no one else has to do this. I'm probably the only one who has to do this. Um, but now, like when I have fully decluttered, like somebody can, um, text me and say, Hey, I'm down the street.
[00:25:19] Diana Rene: I'm gonna come over. That doesn't mean that my house is like pristine, but it does mean that like, if I have 10 minutes, then I can get my house to a place where it used to take me a couple of hours to get it to. And that is like a really freeing feeling. And it may sound silly or little, but just the ability to know that you don't have this, like one to three hour burden hanging over your head at all times that you can just like quickly put on a podcast and pick up for 10 or 20 minutes. And you're like, house is completely reset.
[00:25:57] Jess: And this is going to maybe sound like I don't have very much integrity, but I used to hide stuff, cram it into cabinets and closets and just like throw it upstairs. Cuz our stairs closed with the door.
[00:26:11] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:26:13] Jess: And then people would come over, and I'd be like, oh, I'm so sorry. It's so messy. I was lying, lying, lying.
[00:26:20] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:26:21] Jess: And so it's so funny now that, like, the actual mess is what I used to lie and say that the mess was.
[00:26:30] Diana Rene: Yeah,
[00:26:31] Jess: Like our starting point used to be the finish line.
[00:26:34] Jess: And it just, it feels fake sometimes. Like I'm still, I'm not quite sure how it took me this long to figure it out.
[00:26:41] Jess: And that's when I first started working through the program, my husband was like, I don't get it. Why does someone else have to tell you how to do this?
[00:26:47] Diana Rene: Yeah. I hear that a lot.
[00:26:49] Jess: You know how to do this?
[00:26:50] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:26:52] Jess: Feel free, bud. You can do it. Yeah. But it just, the, the patterns that you've set up the systems, the routines, the order, um, and then the support, like honest to goodness that Facebook group.
[00:27:05] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:27:06] Jess: Is the coaches aren't. Pressure. Yes, the coaches are brilliant, but even just like when I maybe should have been decluttering but was instead like laying around, going through Facebook, I would see like someone's craft room, or someone's like all of the shoes that they had been keeping like their kids outgrown shoes.
[00:27:27] Jess: Yeah. And seeing someone else's big ole box of outgrown shoes. It's like, oh, you have that too.
[00:27:35] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:27:36] Jess: Get rid of those real quick. You are not gonna use those. Give those away. Right. You can buy your baby new shoes.
[00:27:40] Diana Rene: Right. Okay. So I have to just talk about the Facebook group for a minute because I have been, my oldest is eight, and prior to her being born, I was a part of the bump.
[00:27:51] Diana Rene: Do you remember the bump?
[00:27:53] Jess: Yes. Oh, my goodness. And the nest and the that.
[00:27:56] Diana Rene: Yes. And, and so they had like the, um, the boards. So like, it wasn't even on like any social media, it was like on their website and it, they had boards and like, you would have your own, um, Like she was born in January of 2014. So it was like the January 2014 board.
[00:28:14] Diana Rene: And you could only join it if you were pregnant and do that month. Yes. Um, so like, even then, there was so much drama and. Snark. And like, there was a lot of really good. Right. But there was also like this element of like, always feeling like you're gonna say the wrong thing, or like people were jumping down other's throats and like then moving on to Facebook and like local moms groups.
[00:28:41] Diana Rene: It's like, man, they're so intense and not like supportive. Of what you would hope to join a group for, right? Oh, yes. Um, so I really hesitated starting this Facebook group for the members because that was like, my, that was always, my experience was like this drama. And I was like, oh, I don't know. I don't wanna deal with that.
[00:29:02] Diana Rene: I don't wanna like moderate that I don't, you know, I don't want that to be what it turns into, but we decided to go for it a couple of years ago. And it is the most drama-free supportive space I think I've ever been in on social media. Um, and you could tell me if you think the same or not, but
[00:29:25] Jess: Absolutely it is.
[00:29:26] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:29:26] Jess: And it it's astonishing. Like I am taking and posting pictures. Of the stuff that I was hiding from my grandmother, you know? Yeah. Right. Strangers, this really embarrassing stuff. And instead of, you know, there's not even like the the like passive-aggressive stuff. I feel like in a lot of groups where they're like, Oh, you're so brave for posting that. You're like, that's not a compliment. You're a mean person. Um, it's just people saying like, moly got this or, oh my gosh. My playroom looks just like that.
[00:30:02] Diana Rene: Yep. I, I call it a sisterhood because that's what it feels like to me where, um, there is so much support. There just really is. No. Judgment. We've had that group now for gosh.
[00:30:14] Diana Rene: Okay. What year is it again? 20 22, 22. Yeah. Um, so that started in August of 2018. So holy moly, four years, right? Is my math right?
[00:30:26] Jess: Yes.
[00:30:26] Diana Rene: Um, I'm like I had to break out a calculator now for, even for that. So it's four it's four years old, and we have only had to remove one person in four years from that group, which I think is just insane.
[00:30:43] Diana Rene: And then we have the coaches in there, which I also think is a really, really big thing, because a lot of times when someone joins like an online course, you're just kind of on your own. Um, and it's like DIY and sometimes that works, but for this specific subject matter, I, I just think that there's like a huge bonus to having.
[00:31:05] Diana Rene: The support of people who are doing it with you, but also who have been there, done that and can like walk you through the harder emotional sides, or maybe you're done with a space, and you wanna organize, and you need help with it so you can post pictures. And, um, I could talk about that all day. I just love the Facebook group and it's, I think there's like 2000 members in there now.
[00:31:28] Diana Rene: So to only have had them remove one person in four years is crazy.
[00:31:35] Jess: I love that. And I, I think another benefit of the Facebook group in addition to the coaches is that with that many people, there is gonna be someone who understands your like weird thing.
[00:31:46] Diana Rene: Yeah, right.
[00:31:47] Jess: Like one of my best friends is in the group and her husband has not gotten rid of a shirt since high school.
[00:31:55] Diana Rene: Mm-hmm
[00:31:56] Jess: Um, like, like that, that's a lot of shirts, bud. And so when she was first, she was like hesitant to join the Facebook group. Like she bought the program, she's working through the videos, blah, blah, blah. But she was like, I don't, I don't think I need strangers doing this with me. Like, we can just, it'll be fine.
[00:32:14] Jess: Yeah. And she was asking like, okay, so like, how did you handle when my husband is Wes, how did you handle when Wes, you know, didn't want you getting rid of any of his shirts. And I was like, well, West has 10 shirts.
[00:32:30] Diana Rene: I don't struggle with that.
[00:32:33] Jess: That's that's not something I really know about at all. He kind of always has. Like owned what he needed. And then when something got see-through or got a hole or got too tight or whatever, he would throw it away or donate it depending on why he was getting rid of it and replace it exactly. Like he has a cartoon character closet.
[00:32:52] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:32:53] Jess: That was my black t-shirt. So now I need another black t-shirt
[00:32:56] Diana Rene: That's very Steve Jobs of him.
[00:32:59] Jess: It's, it's pretty hilarious. I try not to, to pick on him cuz I've got plenty of weird quirks.
[00:33:05] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:33:05] Jess: But his closet really makes me laugh. And so it was really nice. Like when she, I convinced her to join the Facebook group, and then not long after we were in, someone posted something along the lines of, you know, here's the afters of my bedroom. I know it doesn't look like it's completely finished, but my husband's not ready. And so I left all of his stuff, but my stuff has been decluttered. And it was just so like. We were like, she called me, which it's twenty, twenty-two. We don't call people.
[00:33:35] Diana Rene: Right, right.
[00:33:37] Jess: But she called me, and she was like, did you see this? Like, it's fine. I can just do my stuff.
[00:33:43] Diana Rene: Oh, good.
[00:33:43] Jess: Yes. Yes you can. And I think it was just different hearing. Like you saying, like don't throw away your kid's stuff when they're not looking like that's not what this is about. Like right. Treating people with respect.
[00:33:54] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:33:54] Jess: Uh, when they're ready, they'll be ready. And, uh, it was just really, I think that's just one of the biggest successes of that Facebook group is normalizing.
[00:34:04] Jess: Mm-hmm
[00:34:05] Jess: All the different roads that we are on.
[00:34:08] Diana Rene: Right. And there, there are enough people in there that you will find at least one other person that has the same, what you perceive as like a weird thing happening in your home.
[00:34:20] Jess: Yeah.
[00:34:21] Diana Rene: Um, they have it too. And maybe even to like a further extent.
[00:34:26] Jess: Yes. And I love that. I think that sisterhood is perfect for that cuz you're not the only one doing, I don't wanna say weird for like the 50th time, but
[00:34:36] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:34:36] Jess: It really normalizes a lot of the quirks.
[00:34:38] Diana Rene: Yeah. That, so you mentioned your husband's t-shirt, so that makes me wonder, has your, you said that your husband grew up in a cluttered home also. Has he struggled with clutter, or is that something that he has more naturally been, been, um, successful with, or talk to me more about like what I know you said he gave you a hard time for buying the program because like, why would you need someone to tell you what to do? Um, and I hear that all the time, and it's really funny, but how, how has his journey been, I guess, is a better question.
[00:35:14] Jess: So his parents still live in his childhood home mm-hmm . And so when he moved out to go to college, he took some of his things, um, and then lived in a dorm, in an apartment, in a shared house, blah, blah, blah, like kind of jumped around the way that young adults often do.
[00:35:31] Jess: Right.
[00:35:32] Jess: And. Really because he was moving so often, really was kind of pretty bare bones about what he owned.
[00:35:40] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:35:41] Jess: Um, and then right before we met, he had moved to Arizona, lived there for about a year, and then moved back to Texas.
[00:35:49] Jess: Mm-hmm .
[00:35:49] Jess: And so that was another kind of major culling. Um, so he kind of owned fewer things and was fine with that in large part because anything that he wasn't ready to deal with was just still at his parents' house.
[00:36:04] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:36:05] Jess: Um meanwhile, my, um, my parents are divorced, and my mom and stepdad, which is where I kept the majority of my things. Um, cuz my dad rents a room. Like he very bare bones.
[00:36:18] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:36:18] Jess: They I'm the oldest kid. And so when I left, my brother got my room. He was texting pictures of, I guess he was emailing pictures. He was emailing pictures of his room before we had gotten to my dorm the day that I left home.
[00:36:35] Diana Rene: He was ready for you to go.
[00:36:37] Jess: So I have kind of always like my, my childhood clutter came with me even into my dorm room.
[00:36:45] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:36:46] Jess: And so I have kind of always like, I don't feel like I had a, a reset in college. Like this is my dorm with my one set of sheets.
[00:36:55] Jess: Like it was
[00:36:56] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:36:57] Jess: All of my junk. It was totes and totes and totes of stuff.
[00:37:01] Diana Rene: Yeah. That's interesting because that's not, that's not super common.
[00:37:08] Jess: No. And I think it really has, um, has rippled out into. even now, like there are things that I have gotten rid of this year that I probably took to college with me from my, from my home.
[00:37:24] Diana Rene: Yeah. Yeah. Which is interesting. That is interesting. And I think that, um, I think it is more common for people to be able to leave all their childhood clutter at home. Even if it's like in the garage or attic or something of their home. So that's an interesting dynamic that you took it all with you and continued to take it all with you.
[00:37:54] Diana Rene: Yes, that's.
[00:37:55] Jess: Probably not a, a good check-in, uh, in my column in terms of, uh, learning from my mistakes, like the best I tricked and schlepped all of this clutter around with me as I, you know, moved dorm to dorm and then got my first little apartment. Like why?
[00:38:12] Diana Rene: Yeah, well, it's, you know, it's funny because we have moved, uh, I don't know, I think three or four times since we've been married for 11 years and until I went through the whole decluttering process. Like we would move, and we would like go down to the basement, and we would like bring all the boxes from the basement and put 'em on the moving truck, and we'd be like, what's in those. And I'm like, I don't know. And my husband would be like, I don't know, but it must be important if we had it in the basement. So we would like move it to the next house and like, um, it wasn't until we decluttered that I like would go through 'em, and I've told this story before, and my husband knows, I tell this story, so he wouldn't be mad at me, but he had this ginormous box of it, it just said important on the outside. So like, we kept moving it house to house. And then when I went through like the whole decluttering process and I got into the basement, I started going through these boxes, and I opened this huge box that says important that had, it was full of, and this was like probably like half the size of like a refrigerator box.
[00:39:19] Diana Rene: So, like a really big box. Yeah. And it had, um, empty CD jewel cases.
[00:39:31] Diana Rene: So, like not CDs, empty cases. And I, like, I vividly remember walking upstairs and being like, why? Like just, why can you come here and look at this? Why is this labeled important? Number one? And he said 'cause they're my memories. And he was like, very matter-of-fact about it. And he like, like the look on his face, he was like, what do you mean?
[00:39:56] Diana Rene: Like, like, why is this weird? Um, and like to him, like as a teenager, like we had CDs and like, you looked at the lyrics, you know, like before you could like Google them. And he just felt like an attachment to them. And so we brought, like post decluttering, post getting rid of almost 70% of our items. That was, that box survived.
[00:40:22] Diana Rene: It was part of the 30% that moved to our new house with us. And then we were going through it again. Uh, when we were at the new house because I was doing like a maintenance round and I was like, let's just try let's, let's see what he says about this box now that we're like in this new house. And like, he feels really good about, um, how much we've decluttered and everything, because he was very, very resistant to decluttering.
[00:40:48] Diana Rene: Um, and he was like, finally, like, okay, we can get rid of these. That's fine. Um, but he had my girls with him, and he like had my oldest go get a trash bag. And then he taught them like this chant and they were like, we're throwing away our memories. We're throwing them in the bag. Um, and so that's just a really good example of, like, we hold on to the strangest things and. Like I said, I'm not talking bad about him. We talk about this all the time, but, um, we just hold on to the most random things. And then we do it sometimes out of like sentimentality, but sometimes we just hold on because we don't even think about it.
[00:41:37] Diana Rene: We just throw it on the moving truck. It must be important if it's in this box and we just keep moving it from place to place. Well, and
[00:41:46] Jess: I think that reason is also one of the reasons that it is so hard to declutter is like a lot of times clutter just is those unmade decisions. Yeah. And as long as you can put that off, as long as you can make that decision later and wait, um, then moving's easier.
[00:42:05] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:42:05] Jess: It's more expensive. It's more space. But, um, if I don't have to ask myself. Do I need this DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, cassette tape?
[00:42:17] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:42:17] Jess: Even though I bought it with my own money, like, do I have a cassette player?
[00:42:21] Diana Rene: Right, you can't even listen to it.
[00:42:22] Jess: A picture of this and just let it go.
[00:42:25] Diana Rene: Right. Um, yeah, you don't have to, especially if you're moving to a bigger space, right? Like you
[00:42:32] Jess: Yes.
[00:42:33] Diana Rene: Talked about, and you were like, oh, we are gonna have all this space now. Of course, we can keep that. We'll just buy a new dresser.
[00:42:41] Jess: Exactly.
[00:42:42] Diana Rene: Yep
[00:42:42] Jess: And I, I am embarrassed to admit, I know I'm, I'm working on getting them out of our house. They're empty, but this is one of the things my husband teases me about.
[00:42:53] Jess: Like, he'll just like walk through the house and count dressers. And like one is a buffet like we're using it as a sideboard in our dining room. Um, and one holds like all of our outdoor, like bubbles and sprinklers and like swimsuits and towels, like. Swim stuff. And then clearly we use them for clothes.
[00:43:13] Jess: Um, but I think we have like nine dressers in this dumb house right now. Like, yeah, that's, that's a whole lot of, uh, a whole lot of storage that maybe represents things that don't have to live here.
[00:43:25] Diana Rene: Yeah. And maybe those also, that might be hard for you to let go of those. And maybe once you do, you'll feel like you're finally really at the end of the program because I think maybe, and correct me if I'm wrong, those represent like what, what you thought was going to work.
[00:43:44] Diana Rene: And it's kind of hard to admit that that wasn't the solution, um, especially if you went out and spent money on them. Because dressers aren't cheap. It's not like BA I mean, even baskets can be frustrating if you buy a bunch of 'em baskets or bins, but like, for, for an entire like a big piece of furniture, that's not like a cheap thing to go out and buy. And so it can feel hard to maybe admit or acknowledge that that wasn't what you needed. So maybe something
[00:44:15] Jess: I had not realized, but yeah, I think you're absolutely right. Like I look at them, and I'm like, but this is, this is a solution. Like it's not a solution that worked, like, I don't know that you can call it a solution if it didn't solve a problem.
[00:44:26] Diana Rene: Right. Right. Okay. So that makes me wonder, out of all those 100 baskets that you bought. Do you still have them?
[00:44:36] Jess: Oh my gosh. Almost none of them.
[00:44:38] Diana Rene: Really.
[00:44:39] Jess: In large part, because I thought that baskets were gonna help me solve toy storage.
[00:44:44] Diana Rene: Oh yes
[00:44:45] Jess: And when I put random toys in a basket, the basket just gets dumped.
[00:44:50] Diana Rene: Mm-hmm
[00:44:51] Jess: Um, and I think probably any mom of littles can tell you one of the worst sounds in the world is the like crash of a basket being dumped over.
[00:44:59] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:45:00] Jess: Um, and so I really, I got rid of all of my playroom baskets except one. Um, that's holding like items, like that's where we're keeping all of the, um, like toddler-sized cars and trucks.
[00:45:14] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:45:14] Jess: Like hot wheels, like roughly like adult fist-sized, right. Are together in a basket. Um, and then our musical instruments are inside of a, I don't remember the brand, but it's the the Target drum that the lid comes off, and the music stuff goes inside. Yep. So, I guess that's kind of basket-ish, but almost nowhere else.
[00:45:40] Jess: I guess also in our, our mudroom, I've kept the baskets that I bought there, but honest to goodness, that's probably
[00:45:47] Diana Rene: very different than a hundred.
[00:45:49] Jess: Oh yeah. Yeah. Like probably have 18 left if I'm like counting correctly in my head.
[00:45:56] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:45:57] Jess: And I think about the time that I spent loading up to tiny little babies to go to target.
[00:46:02] Diana Rene: Yeah, right.
[00:46:03] Jess: Pick them and buy them and bring them home.
[00:46:05] Diana Rene: And this was prior to like curbside pickup.
[00:46:09] Jess: Oh yeah. Like we were inside of target, and my tiny little people are like licking the shopping cart.
[00:46:19] Diana Rene: Um, I know the threshold for like convenience taking little humans out of the house has like lowered so much since COVID. I feel like because so many stores made it so much easier.
[00:46:34] Jess: Well, and that, so target drive up in this area started a couple months pre-COVID.
[00:46:40] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:46:40] Jess: My mom used to make so much fun of me. She was like, you don't even go inside anymore. I'm like a. I'm saving a billion dollars by not going Target.
[00:46:48] Diana Rene: Right.
[00:46:49] Jess: Have you met these people?
[00:46:50] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:46:51] Jess: I'm not taking them I love them, but they cannot go places.
[00:46:55] Diana Rene: Right. I have a niece who was born in September 2019. So like, you know, the first few months of her life, she was home because she was a newborn, and then COVID hit. So she's like totally a pandemic baby. And, um, the first time my sister brought her into a grocery store was when she was like almost two. Um, and like she took a video of her, and it's so funny because like the look on her face, she's like, what is this?
[00:47:26] Jess: Totally
[00:47:27] Diana Rene: All these people and the bright lights and all this stuff. And, I'm sure it was pretty alarming.
[00:47:34] Jess: My youngest is a June 2020 baby.
[00:47:37] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:47:38] Jess: Like I was mega pregnant when everything shut down. Yeah. And so he really even going into other people's homes now just kind of stands in the middle of the room and looks around with big eyes. Poor sheltered child.
[00:47:54] Diana Rene: Yeah. Take it all in. That is so funny. Okay. So my last question for you, Jess, is how has decluttering impacted, if at all, um, your children, who are five and two.
[00:48:12] Jess: He'll be two in June. Yeah.
[00:48:13] Diana Rene: Okay. Yep.
[00:48:14] Jess: So, at first, they were really anxious.
[00:48:19] Diana Rene: Yeah.
[00:48:20] Jess: Cause things were changing. Like the house looked different every day.
[00:48:25] Diana Rene: Yep.
[00:48:26] Jess: But my daughter walked into a room pretty early in the program, and she said, how did you do that? How did I do what? She said you made it bigger in here.
[00:48:40] Diana Rene: Aw.
[00:48:41] Jess: So I, I got rid of some of the things that we're not using. She said I think you can do that. I think you can do that everywhere. I think that I think too.
[00:48:52] Diana Rene: So sweet
[00:48:54] Jess: And we just like, we have more, more space now that they can use, like before I was really stressed about toys.
[00:49:02] Jess: And so I would like. Dump armfuls of toys back into the playroom, like midday, constantly. I was like really bad about kind of just like kicking a stuffed animal or whatever, just into the middle of the playroom floor so that it wasn't anywhere else. Um, and now that it's, it's more maintained, there's fewer things like, okay, you wanna put the little tights trampoline in the middle of the living room? Go for it. Yeah. It's one toy.
[00:49:33] Diana Rene: Yep. I love that. And it's so fun. I love watching, um, through the eyes of children, as people are going through the program because they don't have, like all, all the mental and emotional. I mean, they're starting to, but they don't have like the level that we do with all of our stuff.
[00:49:53] Diana Rene: So like, it's very obvious to them, like, like your daughter said, how did you make this room bigger? because it looked bigger to her. Um, and one of my favorite stories is from someone, her name is Megan, and she was one of the like OG, like the first member. I think she was like the first 10 members of the program in 2018.
[00:50:15] Diana Rene: And she did her kitchen, and she's like, you know, we've lived in this house, uh, for seven or eight years. And my five-year-old walked into the kitchen that had clear countertops, and he said, mom, when did we get these new counters?
[00:50:34] Diana Rene: And she was like, she laughed. And then she was standing there, and she's like, he's five. And he probably has never seen like the cleared off countertop, like in his whole life.
[00:50:47] Jess: I know about that.
[00:50:49] Diana Rene: And she's like, so now I feel like I have brand new countertops in my kitchen through his eyes.
[00:50:55] Jess: One of the first things that you had me do was take everything off of my fridge.
[00:50:59] Diana Rene: Yes.
[00:51:00] Jess: Um, and I was reluctant, but I was going with it.
[00:51:04] Diana Rene: Okay.
[00:51:05] Jess: I figured that was the process to undo. If it, it didn't work for me. Yeah. and the third or fourth day, my, my five-year-old son is not the most observant child in the world. Um, he walked into the kitchen, and he said, how did you make that silver? So like, I did not make that silver.
[00:51:26] Jess: He's like, yes, you did. Well, it's always been silver. It's just been under a million.
[00:51:33] Diana Rene: So funny. I love it. We need to like, compile like a list of all the things that kids are saying as we're working through the house. That's awesome.
[00:51:43] Jess: Flatter, but they sure they are funny.
[00:51:47] Diana Rene: Awesome. Well, Jess, I feel like I could talk to you all day, um, but for the sake of your time, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for coming on and talking to me and just being really open and vulnerable about everything that you've gone through in this process, but like everything leading up to this process, too, it's been really fun to chat with you.
[00:52:07] Jess: Likewise. I feel like I frequently talk back to your videos. So it's been really fun actually having a conversation with you.
[00:52:15] Diana Rene: Thanks for hanging out and listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories, and if you're on Instagram, be sure to follow me at the dot decluttered dot mom and send me a DM to say hi.
I'd love to hear what you thought about today's episode. I hope you'll come back next week and hang out with us again.