Hey there welcome back to Holistic Health masterclass podcast. This is your host Brett Hawes and we are back with another episode today. Today’s episode is all about clearing out the clutter. Okay, so de-cluttering and my guest today is Tracy McCubbin. She is an author and she runs a business called deClutterfly. And we discuss on the show today her latest book, which is making space clutter free, the last book on de-cluttering that you’ll ever need, and I got it


Say I am totally in love with Tracy’s holistic approach to clearing out clutter. So when you think of clutter, and you know, we talked about this in the show, clutter means different things to different people. There’s a difference between clutter and hoarding. But what I love about this, and this is really a core theme that runs through this whole podcast is the emotional attachment to our stuff, and the emotional connections and blocks that we build up with our stuff. So it’s a very fascinating conversation. As we walk through these emotional blocks, we uncover some of the hidden reasons why people actually hold on to stuff. And if you consider that the storage business is absolutely booming these days, and it’s actually one of the fastest growing industries is off site storage. You consider that we have access to all of the stuff right we can buy cheap stuff online any minute of any day. And you know, you think about consumerism and the world we live in. It’s no wonder people are buying


Too many things. And we’re sitting on those things, we don’t let those things go. So I think that if this sounds a little bit like you and you find that maybe you have piles of paper or rooms with stuff in there that you’ve never been in for years, or whatever the situation that you might find yourself in, I think that you’re going to get a lot of value out of today’s show. I know I did. You know, after reading Tracy’s book, it really made me look around my house, look around my space, and think a little bit harder about what I’m surrounding myself with. And yes, I think that you’re going to enjoy today’s episode. And of course, if you do, please share this with your friends family community, and subscribe to the show and leave us a review. So without further ado, I bring you today’s guest Tracy McCubbin, and if you’re interested in connecting with her reading her book or checking out her services, please do check out the show notes. So welcome to today’s show. And thanks for tuning in.


Tracy, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me today. Thank you so much for having me. So Tracy, you are the author of the book making space clutter free. And how would you describe what you do?


That’s a great question. Um, I think I’m part declutter, part organizer and part therapist, and I mean, no disrespect to therapists who have degrees. I don’t have a degree in psychology but i


i started organizing people about 13 years ago and it was just I came out of being a personal assistant and people when you’re a personal assistant, they think you can do everything so I calls and help people and sort through paperwork or move or unearth an office where business had gone under and through my work with them, I just got busier and busier and busier and


I started to see these patterns emerge these sort of stories that people had told themselves about their stuff and why this stuff was so important to them, even though it was getting in the way of how they wanted to be living their life. And so out of these stories, I saw seven commonalities. And I call them our clutter blocks. They’re these literal blocks that we’ve invented. That keeps us stuck with our stuff. Mm hmm. So So, so you’re de-cluttering experts. Is that?


Right? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So my business is called declutter. Fly. We’ve been in business for 13 years now. I have a staff of eight. So we I am every day all day. de-cluttering, working with clients organizing them, so I’m really, really in the field. I yeah, I think I just loved my 2000 job and welcome


little crazy I know, Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours. I’m like, I believed that like three times, and no doubt you have seen it all. So we’ll get into some of that in just a second. But you know, on a, from a from a sort of like foundational step, how do you define clutter? Because I think clutter would probably mean different things to different people. So perhaps you can give us your sort of expert definition, if you will.


So I define clutter as the stuff that gets in the way of the life that you want to be living. That’s the stuff that keeps your home from being you know, beautiful to you or useful to you or restful to you. So it’s everything from your dining room table is piled with papers and things you need to return and kids backpack so you don’t eat dinner at the dining room table. You watch TV and eat dinner on the couch. You know your kitchen counters are covered with just junk your cupboard.


And the kitchen are stuffed full of food you don’t eat anymore. So your resident to, you’re hesitant to cook a healthy meal. So you order takeout, you know, you’re getting dressed out of the laundry basket because your closet is a disaster. And it gives you so much stress to try and get dressed in the morning, that you start the day at a stress level. You’re not you know, getting out into the world calm and ready to face it, but you’ve already jacked your cortisol up before you’re even out the door. So you know, those are the everyday applications. That’s what I see clutter, but it also goes further into, you know, do you have rooms in your house that you don’t use because they’re so full of stuff you don’t use? Are you paying for outside storage unit? Is there a cost to your clutter? Are there things that are costing you money that you’re not using then they become clutter? Yeah, I mean, so so we’re essentially dipping our toe into the water of hoarders, right to


Where people, you know, I mean, that’s probably a very extreme case of clutter. Yeah, we’re not. So I want to clarify this, I am actually the child of a hoarder. So I have a lot of experience in this and hoarder is an hoarding disorder is an actual diagnosed mental disorder. It’s


an anxiety disorder not dissimilar to agoraphobia. Um, it’s a very complicated, very difficult disorder. And if you think that you have it or someone that you love, I would recommend getting therapeutic help. There are some very successful things to deal with it cognitive behavior therapy, you know, so what I’m talking about is those of us that have the garden variety clutter, you know, we’re at a place right now, where it’s never been easier to shop. You know, I was joking in the olden days, you know, when I was a kid, you know, I would go shopping with my grandmother was like an outing, right? You got dressed and you got in the car and you drove


To the grocery you drove to the store, you know, now you just order on Amazon, you don’t even have to put your pants on. So we’re inundated with stuff, things are really cheap to buy now we’re just consuming and consuming and consuming. And what that’s done is caused what I think is a clutter epidemic. So this is a little different than people who are dealing with hoarding disorder for that. Yeah, yeah. Okay. And that’s actually why I asked the question, right. So, you know, for myself and also for listeners to really sort of make that distinction and understand, you know, the area that we’re sort of talking about today. And you know, and you know, you’re so spot on with the whole shopping thing, you know, we live in such a consumer society. And when you double down with that, you know, everything is way cheaper than it used to be online shopping, you know, on demand shopping. And, you know, one of the things you mentioned in your book, which I personally resonate with, because I have a young child is, you know, children


Back in the day, we would have, you know, a few prized toys that we would play with them, we would literally play with them until they were done, you know, and if they broke, we would fix them. And nowadays, that’s just not the case. You know, children are growing up with tons and tons of stuff around them all the time. And I read a statistic that in the United States, even though the children in the United States make up a fraction of the children in the whole globe in the whole world, but yet, we buy 40% of the world’s toys, crazy, crazy. And a lot of that stuff is not it’s not being recycled or passed along, you know, maybe it’s being passed along within the family or perhaps within the, you know, extended family. But ultimately, it’s all ending up in the landfill, right? Oh, absolutely. And it’s the bulk of it is plastic. So it’s not even, you know, going to break down ever. And it’s, you know, what I’m seeing in toys now is that they come with so many little parts. So you


You lose one and it becomes obsolete. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, it’s it’s kind of crazy. And and I’m not sure what to do about the kids situation. However, let’s push forward because you have some really, really cool tools and tips. A little bit later on in our conversation. I think we’ll get there. But before, you know, just to sort of like, get our feet wet, what do you think clutter is actually doing to us on a sort of perhaps mental, psychological level? You know, we’ll talk about the emotional side of things in just a second. But what does it actually doing to us?


It’s absolutely increasing our stress. I, I described clutter as a constant to do list that you look at all this stuff and you have to manage it, where does it go? Where should I put it away? Do I need it? Do I not need it? You know, that’s what I see in my clients that I get the phone call that people say, I can’t live like this anymore. I don’t come home and I don’t rest. I don’t


You know, refill myself, it’s just I’m dealing with moving stuff all around. And they’ve done tons of studies about that exact thing. They’ve done this study where they tested the cortisol and women and women who live in cluttered homes have greater greater


incidences of, you know, high cortisol. So it’s an absolute link to stress levels. And there’s also something called decision fatigue. And I don’t know if you’ve talked about that at all. Oh, no, I haven’t. No, please. Sure. Yeah, it’s really interesting. So they did a study. And what they found is that the part of the brain that makes decisions there’s a fantastic article in The New York Times about this, because if I get a fact, right, and I want to know what what Simply put, they found that the part of the brain that makes decisions, contrary to what we think about the brain gets tired faster than the rest of the brain. And when it gets tired,


It defaults to making bad decisions. So it’s the reason why you wake up in the morning rested and you’ve convinced yourself that I’m only eating boiled chicken and steamed broccoli today. And then after you’ve worked a 12 hour day and you’re eating your 10th Pizza piece of pizza, you’re like, How did this happen? I wasn’t going to do this. You default to making bad decisions. So every piece of clutter every stuff in your house is a decision. So when you live in a cluttered house, you’re putting yourself in decision fatigue.


And I would imagine a lot of this is actually going on in the background, right? It’s like a it’s almost subconscious. Oh, yeah. And you know, people often say, you know that the brain has another ability to when it doesn’t want to see something anymore. it you know, it can only take in so much so it literally stops to see seeing it. So you’ll have piles of things that you walk by for years, and you you don’t even see him anymore. You know, you have a


guest room that you don’t go into, and you kind of forget it even exists, and then someone else will come into your house and you’ll see it in a new light and you’re like, oh, wow, that is a lot of stuff. But it’s there. It’s weighing on you all the time. You know, if you have a garage full of things, and you have to park your car on the street, you know, in some place in the back your head that stuff is in there, right? Yeah. And so many people like that, right? I mean, we all know just as you’re talking, I mean, I can personally relate to some of it. You know, we all know you know, the grandparents where the garage is just filled with stuff you know, that they never even look at they never touched but it’s tools from 60 years ago, you know that they’re never gonna look this. This is all of us. That’s that’s saying that that we’re all you know, I, I am in no way a minimalist, but I’m incredibly mindful. And it’s you know, if I don’t stay on top of it, I’m like,


We’re all this mail come for him, you know, just stuff. It’s just there are forces working against us. And it’s about, I think, an accountability and a mindfulness and an awareness. One thing clients say to me all the time is like, I don’t know how it got like this. And I’m like, well, you brought it in, like, someone had to bring this stuff into your house, it just didn’t happen. And I think that we really need to just take accountability for the amount that we consume. Mm hmm. You know, just a couple of things that you you alluded to right now. And just coming back to the book. You know, one thing I love about your approach, and the way you speak about this, and the way you write about it in the book is that, you know, it’s a very holistic approach. It’s a very mindful approach to dealing with all of this. And, you know, this is a sort of good segue, if you will, into what you call the emotional clutter blocks, right? And because I never ever thought about it, like


That, you know, we we think about holding on to emotions, especially, you know, our listeners are quite familiar with holistic health, you know, it’s the title of the show. But I never actually really connected those two things together, you know, having stuff in your house and how they could attach to these emotional blockages. So perhaps them, you can sort of walk us through briefly the emotional clutter blocks and what they are.


Absolutely So. And that’s such a great before we go into this, that it’s such a great point about the idea of this sort of holistic approach. My goal is that I want people to be happy. I want people to have less stress, you know, we’re not going to be happy all the time, things are going to happen in life. But if you’re creating a home that’s full of stuff that you don’t want and need, you’re already stacking the deck against you, you know, in the same way that we’re looking at how we eat, I I’ve just done I took sugar


Out of my diet. I’m on like day 27 how’s it going on? Yeah, it’s good. It’s, it’s tough. It’s tough.


But what it’s done is it’s interesting, I see myself kind of going through things that my clients go with, because it’s a go to, you know, oh, I worked really hard, I deserve a cookie or, you know this. And it’s the same way that I realized, kind of how it was undermining my good health. And I feel that same way about our clutter, your clutter can undermined your happiness. So I don’t want their homes, everyone’s homes to be perfect. Who am I to say what perfect is I want your home to work for you. So that’s why I want everyone to look at the bigger picture.


So the clutter blocks,


their stories that we’ve invented, and we’ve all invented them, and we all have some version of them. And I think there are seven of them. And so these are the things that we


tell ourselves about why we can’t possibly let go of our stuff. So for example Clutter block number one is, my stuff keeps me stuck in the past. So this is close we don’t fit into anymore because we’ve changed sizes.


You know, all of our child’s every every turkey ham they ever made or every piece of art or every, you know, homework assignment. You know, these are trophies from Sports we played that we don’t even really remembers playing. We don’t remember the game. You know, it’s all these things that tells us our best days are behind us. And absolutely, I’m not talking about memorabilia full stop. I’m not saying wipe out your memories. But when it gets to a point that you you know, you have a bedroom. I’m working with a client who has a bedroom that was her kids and it sort of frozen in time on their daughters, parts of sons.


her son’s in his 30s and just bought his first house. And it’s like she wants she needs that space to do this project she’s super excited about and I keep saying, Well, why don’t we move it in here? And she’s like, but I have to say, you know, I want to save the time. I want to preserve that in history. So it’s really when that stuff keeps you


then we go to clutter block number two, are you sorry, the audio cut out there for a second? That’s why that’s why there was a weird lag and I didn’t say anything. Okay. But I did want to say something on that. And just a question. Do you feel like people are trying to sort of hold on to the good old days, like the good times? Is that what it is, or? Yeah, I think I think people want Yes. And I also think that what people don’t understand is what they want is the memories, right? We want to remember and so the


This stuff is a reminder, right? It spurs a memory in us. But what we’ve done is we, we don’t realize that it’s just a memory that we want spurred we give all this we imbue all this meaning into the stuff, the stuff represents what was and it’s like, you want to remember and there are ways to remember. I mean, I gotta tell you, smartphones have changed my business, because now everybody just takes a picture. Right? Right. Great. Take a picture. Absolutely. Take a picture, you know, go back relive that. Absolutely. But you don’t have to keep all the stuff around it. Well, I think that’s the sense that I get as well is that if you’ve got all this stuff around it, and you’re holding on to that you’re also there’s no room to make anything new, right? Like you can’t create anything new and sort of


not reinvent yourself, but just take on something new like your client who’s trying to, you know, birth this new project and get it off the ground, and they have no space to do it because something old is occupying the time



boots. Yeah, it’s absolutely energetic. Right? You’re, you’re, I mean, the perfect example is clothes we don’t fit into anymore. I, you know, I am about to be 55 My body is very different than when I was 20. Just that’s life, you know, I work out and I feel good about it, but it’s different. So I’m not ever


you know, I’m not ever going to there’s a lot of clothes I’m not going to wear anymore. So to keep that and to remind myself, that I used to be something and somehow that something was better. That’s not healthy. That’s not helping me embrace where I am today. I’m not going to go backwards. And guess what? That’s okay. I’m not supposed to. I’m not supposed to. Yeah, it’s interesting. I mean, there’s just so much you could read into that statement and that way of thinking, you know,


yeah, I mean, of course on the flip side, if someone is very happy with who


Right now and they’re living in the moment and perhaps being more present. Maybe they’re they’re going to have a much easier time of letting go of that clutter. Or perhaps they wouldn’t even have the clutter in the first place. Yeah, I think so. I think so. And I think it’s, you know, for me, it’s always comes down to an awareness. Mm hmm. You know, just like, why are you keeping this? I mean, that’s the question. That’s what the whole book is about, is, you know, asking yourself, why do you have all this stuff? And is it serving you? Well, I think that’s the big question, right? Is Is it serving you? I mean, if something is serving you, then great, you know, no problems, but obviously in your line of work in your experience, you know, the reason why you wrote the book and do what you do is because you know, 99% of the time it’s not serving people. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, there’s a big bugaboo with clients is books, right, you’re going to tell me to get rid of all my books. I’m like, absolutely not. Right. You know, my


Be to be read pile is huge. You know, I read every day, it’s not for me to say how many books is the right amount, but if you have books stacked all over the floor, and you you’re never going to read them and you just keep buying books because you’re an information seeker but you’re not reading them, then we’re gonna have a different conversation. Totally, totally. Okay, so let’s, let’s move on to number two. Number two emotional block. My Stuff tells me who I am. So this is my shoppers. These are people who use shopping and buying of stuff as an identity. So you know, your client said recently, she’s like, how could I possibly be lonely? I have two pairs of shoes, you know, sorry. I have 200 pairs of shoes. You know, it’s this idea that you’re engaging in what feels like connection. You know, you’re going out you’re purchasing something is keeping you busy.


You’re not lonely, I gotta buy this, I gotta return that, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s kind of a call make work, like you’re just making all this busy work, but you’re not really interacting with humans. I, I have I live in a building with a front desk and so my packages, I’ll go to a mail room. And so I get a little email that says, you have a package, you have a package. And it’s like, my first thought is I was like, oh, somebody sent me a present. It’s like, No, you went on Amazon.


You know, and but we’re hardwired. But it’s this habit. And so we think that this shopping is going to fill something in us. Right, right. And, you know, as he said, we’re all guilty of it, right? Of course, it’s the world we live in. So there’s no way around it. And, you know, a great exercise that I tell my clients is when you when I hear them saying, Well, you know, I need a new pair of shoes. I need a new pair of jeans. I might just take the word nice.


out and say want because chances are you don’t need a new pair of shoes. At least it’s more honest if you say want, right, absolutely. Right. And then look if you want it, I got my eyes on a pair of boots right now I want them real bad.


I know it but I don’t need them. You know? So if you get exactly that’s what I want you to be, I want you to be honest about


you know what you’re doing it in to go back to this, you know, we just talked about how given up sugar for these days, and I’ve come up a couple of times where I’m like, okay, you know, I really I just want that. And is it going to be worth it to how I feel afterwards? Just having a conversation with myself. So far, it hasn’t been worth it. Well, that’s good to hear. You’re on the right track. That’s great. Yeah, exactly. Um, so Clutter block number three, and this is I fully admit this is my clutter block. This is avoiding my stuff. So this is


piles of paperwork and open mail, not doing our taxes. You know, this is the business of being a grown up. And when we are stuck in this clutter block, we get really stuck. And the interesting thing about this clutter block, as I really see my very successful people with this, you know that they live kind of big lives and are doing a lot during the day. And then when they get home, they kind of let their personal business slide. So it’s a really interesting one. Yeah, I think I definitely identify with that block myself personally. Yeah, there’s sort of like the things that are a little bit lower down on the totem pole in terms of your own priorities, but nonetheless are actually quite important. And we just kind of don’t, and also they’re not very fun like


know, and so this is a one where you’re like you got it. You kind of put your big girl pants


On. This is also a great one, you know, I’m a big fan of


plan your work, work your plan. So scheduling in time to do the things you don’t want to do, put them in your calendar. So I have tomorrow I don’t have clients. So I have a two hour block for my own. It’s just admin work where I two hours, I’m going to get stuff done. So I think people need to understand that for the most part for those tasks you don’t want to do, you’re not going to wake up and be like, all right, today, I’m going to do this, you know, you need to schedule it in and block the timeout. Yeah. And that’s actually something that I you know, coming into the new year, at the end of last year, I was like, okay, you know, I gotta change something, I gotta do something different. And so I committed myself to doing two days, so two full days a month of just stuff that I don’t necessarily want to do. So administrative stuff, you know, etc, etc. So I’m happy to hear you say that and it’s actually meaningful


Seeing my own behavior. So thank you for that. Yeah, it’s great. I have to do it to myself too. And, and always, you know, and also realize that it’s always going to take a little longer than you think.


The whole day job a couple of hours because I know it’s not going to be a couple of hours. Exactly.


Before my fantasy stuff for my fantasy life, this is holding on, you know, this is we’ve decided we want to take up a new sport, you know, I want to rock climb, and we go out. First of all, we go out and we buy everything for it before we even try it. And we think we’re going to love it and then we realize we hate it. Right? Yeah, we don’t want to do it. But we fantasize that we’re going to be this person. You know, these are buying of treadmills because you’re going to run or you know, buying all this yarn because you think you should be a knitter. You know that there are so many activities and hobbies and things to do and it’s okay if there are things you do


like to do? Hmm, you know, I think you need to give ourselves a break and be like, you know, I don’t like that. Me personally, I don’t like to run I’ve never liked to run. It’s not my form of exercise. Every once in a while, I think maybe I should start, right? It’s like, No, no, no, you don’t like to run, that’s okay. Figure out what you love to do and do that. Now, instead of concentrating on what you don’t like, and somehow feeling bad about it be like, no, this is what I like to do. This is what I enjoy. I and I’m great if I don’t become a runner. Yeah, well, and I think, you know, you said it, the guilt factor, right? Because I think, especially when it comes to things of perhaps personal development, or you know, things like, I want to learn how to play musical instrument, I want to learn a sports, I would like to exercise more, I want to, you know, whatever it is, and then we buy the stuff and we try it a couple times and then sort of fall off the wagon. It’s not for us, and then you can sort of fit I guess,


You have the stuff in visibility, you can sort of beat yourself up a little bit. You know, as the days go on and sort of be like, well, I should do it. I should do it. I should do it. And I bought the stuff I should do it, but you don’t really enjoy doing it. So, yeah, I mean, it’s it’s we were, as humans were so quick to create scenarios where we can continue to beat ourselves up, right? Just don’t cut it. I posted something on Instagram yesterday or it was a sign that someone sent me that said, you know, don’t be so hard on yourself. The mom and he had an alien living in her living room for a couple of days before she even noticed


where we do a number five, five Yeah, so yeah, so number five is I’m not worth my good stuff. So this is we’re just after the holidays. This is not using our nice China. This is not wearing our pretty close. You know this is saving our stuff for some day and I can tell you


There’s no guarantee of someday, right? You just don’t know that it’s going to happen. So use your nice stuff, wear your nice clothes, eat the fancy chocolate burn the smelly candle, like, you know, do the nice things for yourself because you work really hard and, and there’s no today is special like, you know, take if you’re just having a turkey sandwich, like put it on a nice plate like you don’t have to eat at the carton, like do those little things. Because it just sends such a lovely message right that you’re worth it. And


and I just really this is the one I really want the I mean all of them but I really want people to embrace what you share. You shared a pretty interesting story in your book and correct me if I get it wrong, but it was like a 70 year old Chinese couple I think it was that you were working with and


they’d never unpacked any of their wedding gifts or anything. Yeah, they were Japanese American and they had not only had they


Not unpacked, they hadn’t unwrapped, was still in the wrapping paper. And they were downsizing. And so much of the stuff was fabric and it had disintegrated. And it all just went away. And they’ve been enjoying it. And she just kept saying, Oh, well, we didn’t, you know, we’re not like that. We don’t we don’t live that life. We don’t, you know, and we do we all do. And, you know, I don’t I, you know, I, a lot of my businesses, I help people clean out. This is after someone’s past. Yeah. And I wanted to talk to you about that, actually. I mean, since since we’re on it two days, we’ll just talk about it because you had a section near the back of the book there which is about clutter after death, which I thought was interesting. Yeah. So you know, it’s a very challenging as everyone knows, and incredibly challenging time. So we often work with, you know, if the parents have passed away and the kids are grown kids are scattered around the country or they’re trying to get you know, a house on the market and or just go through the share of


volume of stuff. So we really help


kind of keep everyone on task, we can help divide things. And it’s just such a tough time because you lost this person that you love, or alternately that you have a challenging relationship with and you’re being triggered at every turn. So it’s great that we can come in and kind of help you see things in a very practical way. But it’s a you know, it’s a real, but my point being that oftentimes, in doing this will come across so many things that no one’s ever used right now, and it’s too late. And I assume as well, that it’s not just, you know, we’re sort of looking at it through the lens of a recent death. But what about people that post you know, 3040 years ago and we’re just holding on to all of that stuff?


Oh, yeah, I a big another big part of my business is helping people clean out their storage units because


They’re tired of paying for them. And I see that stuff a lot. You know, my mom passed away. I’m sorry. Sorry. No, it’s just gonna say the whole storage units. Business is crazy, right? I mean, that’s like one of the most booming businesses or, and I will go on record. I’ve said it before and I will say it here. Storage is bad. There is nothing I have cleaned out


hundreds of storage units, there is nothing with the rarest of exceptions in a storage unit that’s worth more than you’ve paid to store it. Hmm.


So yeah, it’s just if I can say anything to anybody, like, just don’t like when, I mean, just think about it logically. You’re putting things that you think you need away somewhere where you have to go very far to get them so you couldn’t possibly need them. Because finding it somewhere far away because you don’t have space to put it where you are now. So there’s no way it’s ever come


Back in right? Oh, no, it’s never coming back. No, of course not. Of course not. And then you’re you know when I’m seeing now and you know as you’re going to go there and there was a flood in the storage unit and the company never told you, so Everything’s ruined now, you know, I mean, I see that all the time. So I’m going on record. Storage is bad. Okay, well, I agree with you. I agree. And the first thing if you have outside storage, the first thing I want you to do is add up how much you’ve spent


because those fees increase every couple months, I want you to go back to day one and add it up and sit down because that number is going to you know, knock you on your feet, you know, knock you off your feet, but it’s is it worth it is that total number worth it? I found very rarely than it is.


So this biggest as this is a great segue into clutter block number six, which is trapped with other people’s stuff. So this is you’ve inherited all these things from the


People who have passed away, and you feel this obligation to hold on to it that you are, you know, somehow the keeper of the history of the family or someone in the family has told you that it might be worth something, you know that you are obligated to keep this. And what happens is it taught me this is a step that really stopped serving people, right? That they’re really that their garages full or outside storage is full, or their home. You know, I was in someone’s house the other day that the living room was full of four couches and two, four bookshelves, and, you know, they don’t even go in there and they’re like, Well, that was my great aunts. And that was someone’s and I don’t like any of it, but how can I get rid of it? You know, and I think that people oftentimes feel like they have to be the museum for the world. Right? Right. You know, and it’s not your obligation. You don’t wear their clothes. You don’t need their food. You don’t you don’t have to keep their stuff. If you don’t love it, and you don’t use it.


Okay, yeah, and I see this a lot with, with with parents whose kids are much older now. And they’re not necessarily holding on for memorabilia sake or anything like that. But their house or their garage becomes like a storage unit for the kids. Because the kids are all like living in a one bedroom apartment somewhere in the city. And they don’t want to get rid of their stuff. So they store all the stuff in the parent’s garage, right? And then yeah, and I’m gonna guess, and this is a pretty educated guess that by the time the kids, the grown children get to a bigger place, they’re not gonna want any Exactly, exactly. Yeah, yeah. So I think that it really when I say trapped with other people’s stuff, I mean, trapped. Mm hmm.


And so the last clutter block is the stuff I keep paying for. So this is, you know, this one awesome feeds into my fantasy stuff for my fantasy life. But this is the stuff that we keep that we don’t need.


That we paid a lot of money for, you know, and you think I just I can’t How can I paid so much money for it? I’m never going to let it go. I mean, exercise equipment is just, you know, the perfect if I see one more, you know, clients joke all the time that have a treadmill in the middle of their living room and living room or bedroom. And I’m like, What do you use this and they go absolutely every day to hang my clothes on.


You know, we’ve all seen that. We’ve all seen it. Yeah. So this is you know, and this one you this one you absolutely like I’m like, you just got to put your big girl pants on, except that you spent too much money. You made a mistake. We all do it and let it go. Because again, keeping it there is just this reminder that you made a mistake. We’re not going to get through life without making mistakes. It’s what happens, you know, but you don’t have to beat yourself over the head with it. Yeah. So you know, so I think again,


You know, if you’re listening out there, go and get the book because you know you Tracy really sort of unpacked a lot of the stuff and a lot more. And I found a pretty useful but um, what can people do about all of this you know, one of the big sort of sections of your book is set yourself up like a pro. And and then you give a lot you actually spent a lot of time in the book, getting quite detailed with specific rooms and areas of the house and areas of people’s lives where they can really get quite pragmatic with all this stuff. And, and, and get rid of the clutter. So I don’t know where you want to start with all of that, but Well, yeah, and you know, one of my intentions with this book was I wanted people to feel like they were working with me, right, like in the book is how as a client, I would.


So it’s really detailed, so that people who get stuck or don’t do this naturally can have a plan laid out and go Alright, I can see this. And you know what, I want people a great place to start. There’s a cup


Great place to start is just pay attention, spend the next couple of days going through your life making breakfast, get interested, you know, and realizing where you’re where you’re stuck where your house gets log jammed, right? Like, oh, getting dressed in the morning is actually a nightmare, or haven’t cooked dinner in my kitchen, because the countertops are covered with every kind of gadget known to mankind. So in paying attention to where your house is stuck, it’s going to give you an idea where to start. And understand that I want that Rome did not get cluttered in a day. So you’re not going to unclutter it overnight, you know and maybe book in a couple of small an hour, two hours on a Saturday, you know a decluttering session with yourself to see how it goes like want you to be successful. So maybe you need to start small and understand that this is going to take a little while and that’s really good advice because I think


You know, in anything, right? I mean, obviously, I work in, in the sort of health side of things, right as a practitioner. And I have to tell that to people all the time, it’s like, Look, you’re trying to change your life around. You got to you got to start with an area and sort of take it in little chunks, right? There’s no way you’re going to just magically transform your health, your life, your environment, or anything like that, in the blink of an eye. And so, Wait, are you saying that a five day cleanse is not going to click? 10 days? No, just kidding. Yeah.


It’s it’s, it’s a springboard, right. I mean, this is the whole thing. Like I always say to people, and I think it’s very relative to what we’re talking about is, you know, perhaps if you just get stuck into the dining room with a pile of papers, that’s going to be the platform for you to then say, okay, right. I’m going to tackle the walk in closet. You know what I mean? I’m going to tackle the garage that’s just piled to the rafters with with stuff because that’s much bigger. And at least that’s what I see it and from a health


perspective, I always say to people just start with one thing, move on to another thing. And as you slowly change these things, eventually that becomes your new normal. And that’s how you change. Right? And the other thing that I will say is to pay very close attention to how you feel about the area that you’ve decluttered. Like, you know, I said, I’m off sugar. And so I’m paying very close attention to how I feel right? Like, what does it feel with this outside? Not in my body? So feel like Oh, you know what? my dining room table is clear. I come home at night, and I just see that and I already feel my stress drop down, like pay attention to how it makes you feel to have less clutter.


Look, I mean, I think that anyone would agree once you actually have less clutter, you’re gonna feel amazing. I mean, there’s there’s no, there’s no, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, yes, absolutely. I get emails, I work with clients, you know, I just feel lighter. I feel less stress.


And it’s just the simple fact that you don’t have to deal with as much. That’s really the simplest. Yeah, yeah. Well, because I think people forget that all of these little things start adding up, right. And, you know, we just walked through the seven clutter blocks. And I think once you start probing a little deeper into each of those, you will find a much deeper emotional, psychological, mental side of things. That, you know, as we said in the beginning of this episode, and sort of this compound effect that increases your stress levels, you know, whether you’re, whether you’re aware of it or not, it absolutely one. It’s also you know, it’s so much like diet, like, Look, if you have a piece of, you know, one or two pieces of dark chocolate a week or one cookie a week, maybe not so bad, but all of a sudden, if you’re eating a cookie a day, three cookies a day, it’s gonna wear on your health. It’s the same thing, you know, a pile of small pile of papers that if you sat down and gave it an hour would go away. That’s not going to affect you a much is sort of, you know, six piles, and a


pile of magazines and books on the floor. Right? It’s a cumulative effect, and it’s gonna start to wear you down. Yeah, for sure.


So So I mean, aside from people like maybe just blocking out an hour or two and having a de-cluttering session in whatever room in their house, do you feel? I mean, what other sort of like two or three like big tips would you give people to really get themselves moving forward with all this?


One, you may need help. This may be a project you can’t do on your own, and that’s okay. If you want to learn how to play the violin, you would go get a violin teacher. It’s okay to ask for help. Ask a friend. You know, trade with a friend. I don’t recommend that parents asked their kids to help create a lot of family dynamic, but you may need help and understanding and accepting that you may need help is a great way to start


I’d like people to build in a reward, right? If you’re going to block out two hours of decluttering, then at the end of it, make a lunch date with your best friend, or go see a movie or, you know, set, set aside an hour to watch your favorite TV show or read a book, right? reward yourself for your hard work. acknowledge that you did that. This isn’t easy. I’m paid a lot of money. I have a huge team. This is hard work. So I want people to understand that. And then I think I really the other thing is I want people to be accountable. You know, even if you can’t start decluttering right away, and you’ve got to make some peace with what’s going on, to be mindful about what you’re bringing in.


Right. Really shopping. Yeah. You know, I think if we can just start there, and then you can, you know, slow and steady wins this race. Mm hmm. And those are all really, I mean, just great, practical advice, but also, I think just applies to this whole



Roses right across the board. So, so fantastic. Thank you for that. And lastly, just to sort of wrap things up for us, how do we organize ourselves so that we prevent this from happening in the future? And, you know, obviously, the one thing you said is just being mindful about what we bring into our house. But do you have any other sort of tips or tools that people can use? Yeah, absolutely. So I think that I think that we should all schedule in a sort of weekly, meeting up our house, get our house back together, you know, if you can’t tidy up a room in 20 minutes or less. clutter has gotten the upper hand. So I really like people to schedule a little time on a Sunday so they start their Monday, you know, with everything put back together. Look, I know if you have kids, it’s a tough one. Those play rooms can just know it’s all really hard man. It’s really hard to I don’t have kids but I have a little niece and nephew and I go to stay with them and I’m like, it is 45 minutes but this playroom back


You know, it’s not a lot of time when you’re working. So I understand but if you can get the whole family involved, and if you can, you know, sort of have a really good starting point, like, this is our baseline, this is where we feel positive, then when it starts to get out of control, you’ll know it. Mm hmm.


Any other sort of tips there?

You know, I just want people to really be mindful about their relationship to their stuff. What are they really using it for? You know, it’s getting this is gonna, I think if people are listening to this podcast, they’re searching their searchers. Anyway. So you know, oftentimes, we sort of think, Oh, well, we just have stuff. It’s just stuff what you know, what’s the big deal, but there’s a really complicated relationship. And so I would love people to start changing that relationship and understanding


You know, it can free them up. Yeah, you know and you just reminded me of something and I’ll share a personal story is I went through a divorce many years ago and long story short, you know, after divorce, I didn’t have a lot of stuff, right? So, you know, I moved out, didn’t have a lot of stuff didn’t really want a lot of stuff. And then about three or four years later, I found myself I was just living on my own and I decided to go back home to South Africa. That’s where I’m from. That’s what I got a funny accent. And, and, and it was interesting to me because I put everything in a storage unit while I was away and every single thing that I owned fit into a five by nine storage unit, which was kind of crazy, right? That was a couch that was a bed. That was stuff obviously my clothes I took with me, but I remember looking at the storage units and I mean it was a temporary storage unit but I thought to myself, wow, like this feels really good. It feels really good to not have a lot of stuff and


Not because I’m a minimalist because I have more stuff now. But it was just really good at the time for me to just really strip everything down, and to not have so much stuff like energetically around me. And then, you know, moving out of that, and once I came back from that vacation, and then moving that stuff into a new apartment, it was quite liberating. I gotta say, it was a very refreshing, uplifting kind of experience. And you bring up a fantastic exercise that I do with clients a lot, like think about when you travel, right? Everyone’s like, Oh, I just had the best vacation. I just loved it. It was fantastic. And I’m like, Yeah, a part of that as you just went with a suitcase. You know, that when we travel, we feel so much lighter and so much freer and not burdened. It’s like Yes, absolutely. So really think about, you know, think about that. Like I like that feeling. I want to be so bogged down, I don’t want to be so burdened well and perhaps also people are they have changed the scenery right? If you’ve


clutter all around your house, and you’re constantly looking at that or perhaps not looking at it. And all of a sudden, you’re not looking at it because you’re somewhere else. Maybe, you know, subconsciously and energetically, you feel much lighter. You feel like you’re having a good time because your stuffs not around you. There is a reason that when we go to the spa, there’s not a lot of stuff. Hmm, True. True, true. Yeah. Well, Tracy, it’s been a fantastic conversation. I really enjoyed you coming on the show today. I enjoyed reading your book. And I find that the approach that you’ve taken to, and just just not even the approach, I think was to just the way that you view. All of this really resonates with me and I’m sure resonates with a lot of our listeners out there. So thank you for coming on the show today. Thank you so much. I loved it. This was a fantastic way to start the day. And, you know, I look forward to getting feedback from everybody on how their de-cluttering goes. Absolutely. And before I let you go what


The best way for people to tap into you and connect with you whether it’s social media, websites, anything like that. Absolutely. Social media, both Facebook and Instagram, Facebook I am this is Tracy McCubbin. And I’m Tracy underscore McCubbin. The book is called making space clutter free the last book on de-cluttering you’ll ever need. It’s available at independent bookstores and Amazon at your library. There’s a Kindle version and an audio book if you don’t want the clutter. And, you know, Facebook and Instagram are a great place to find me and my website is simply Tracy McCubbin, calm, amazing. Alright, so I’m going to put those down in the show notes for you folks listening out there. Tracy, thanks again for coming on the show. had a really great time chatting with you today. Thank you. And as always, those of you listening out there if you enjoyed today’s episode, please share this with your friends, your family, your community and


Subscribe, leave us a review whatever you can do to help me bring more awesome guests like Tracy and you have yourself a beautiful day, wherever you are.