Organizing Your Life For Divorce


T.H.: Welcome everybody to the Divorce etc… podcast. We have our friend Laurie here with us from Simply B Organized. She has been in conversation with us over the months and even maybe a year I’m afraid to say, but she is fabulous. Don’t be scared by Simply B Organized because she makes it super simple. You can do this people. Welcome to our show.

Jessica: Welcome Laurie.

Laurie: Thank you guys. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to be here because you know that you two are some of my favorite people.

Jessica: Thank you.

T.H.: Woohoo!

Jessica: We’re so excited to have you because we talk all the time about the idea that when you’re getting divorced, I mean, that’s the perfect time to try to literally declutter your life. It’s not just about moving out. It’s about really figuring out how you see yourself moving forward and what goes along with that. And so we’re very excited to dive into this conversation today.

Laurie: Oh my gosh, me too.

T.H.: I know from personal experience that I don’t look forward to decluttering.

Jessica: Because you’re a sentimental stockpiler!

T.H.: I like to hold things. I’m a sentimental stockpiler.

Laurie: We talked about this on my show.

T.H.: And I’m perfectly fine with that by the way, everybody. Because when I went through and it became time to declutter, I was like aww, okay, I can throw it out. Aww, all right, I’ll throw it out. But I had my aww moment and then I was okay. It just took a few years. So it’s a process people. It’s a process.

Laurie: Yes.

T.H.: I’m literally going to take Laurie’s words right now. Instead of focusing on the tactical side of organizing, we want to talk about the strategy behind it. How can someone come at this who’s a sentimental stockpile or who doesn’t necessarily enjoy throwing things out that pull on your heartstrings? Let’s talk about the strategy behind it. You have a process?

Laurie: Yeah. Just to give a real Cliff Notes overview, I started my business like 150 years ago, it feels like, right? It was 2009–

Jessica: You look great!

Laurie: Yeah, right? Thanks. There was no Marie Kondo, there was no Home Edit. There wasn’t even an Instagram when I started my business. I tell people that and people are like, “Wait, what?” There was no Instagram and there was no Pinterest. I just liked organizing, and I just stumbled into this. And so I’ve always been fascinated with people and what motivates people to do things. I was an executive recruiter in my past life, and so I find now looking back and seeing all the breadcrumbs that all led to where I am now. But at the time, it was just something that I wanted to help people that I felt were stressed and overwhelmed. At that particular time, I was in the season with two small kids and a husband who traveled a ton. So unlike you guys, I wasn’t divorced, but I was like a single mom with a paycheck is what I always say, because my husband was never there. He’s a good guy, but he was never around. And so I was carrying not just the physical stuff, but the mental load of all the things that had to get done with the kids and with maintaining the house. I was working, and then I took some time off to be a stay at home mom, and then I went back to work. So all of these things, even though I wasn’t a single mom technically, I wasn’t divorced, I was assuming a lot of those roles. I just had to develop a lot of strategies for survival. It wasn’t about–go ahead. I’m sorry, Jess.

Jessica: No, so that’s an interesting thing for everyone listening. You actually have sort of lived what a lot of us go through, having a million plates spinning in the air and having to figure out how to really just manage everything.

Laurie: Yeah.

Jessica: The organization of your life.

Laurie: Yes. I didn’t realize that my life was a dress rehearsal for what would be my business. I just felt for myself that I had to have some routines, guidelines that I could do, so that I would be able to get done the things that needed to get done, because if I didn’t have a plan, everything will go crazy. The byproduct was some of the products that I would bring into my house – organizing products and bins and baskets, but it was really less about the stuff. And so when I started my business, I had a big emphasis on where are your pain points and how can we address them, as opposed to let me come in here and find the best bin for your kids’ toys. That wasn’t the starting point. That was always just the byproduct. And so over the years, it’s evolved into more of an actual process and I’ve been able to articulate it. I talk about it in my book and in the teaching and stuff that I do.

But in a nutshell, the first thing that I try to do, and I think this is so important, especially for single parents, is understanding where do you feel the most overwhelmed. People think, oh, I don’t struggle with clutter, because they don’t have piles of paper. Maybe you do, but there are different types of clutter, and so I talk about three main types. That’s usually where our starting point is. I talk about physical clutter, which is the stuff that you see, right? Everyone knows that physical clutter is toys, dishes, laundry, the whole nine. Then we have emotional clutter, which is T.H. with her sentimental stockpiling. Emotional clutter usually stems from guilt or fear, right? We either feel guilty – somebody gave this to me, or I feel guilty – my kid made this–

T.H.: Or it cost so much money.

Laurie: I was going to say or guilt that it cost a lot of money. Even though these shoes kill my feet, or I’m probably not fitting into these jeans anymore, they cost a fortune, and so I don’t want to get rid of them. Or fear – the fear of either what if I need it and I don’t have it, or that fear that you’re going to be making a mistake.

Jessica: Well, you always hear those stories, someone’s like, “I had this in a pile for three years, I threw it out last week, and now today I need it.”

T.H.: Well, but honestly, my fear was that I would forget. I think that I was in such a robotic relationship with my husband that I really wasn’t taking anything in. I was just going through my days. If I didn’t keep it, I run the risk that I would never remember that it happened.

Jessica: Except you’re keeping it and storing it and you’re not looking at it anyway.

T.H.: Well, I took this out of storage, for anybody who can’t see–

Laurie: Oh my God, I love that!

T.H.: –my son must be like seven and he got a bull’s eye at camp. I found that because I kept it. So there were there were definitely a few choice things that I ended up bringing out, but I probably would have forgotten that that ever happened if I hadn’t kept it. I think the fear that you’re going to forget, that was my thing.

Jessica: Part of it. Okay, fair.

Laurie: Right. And again, without getting super, again, in the weeds with the tactical stuff, I believe there is a place for keepsakes. There is a place for memorabilia, 100%. I’ve got different schools of thought and strategies, and my kids have bins and certain things, but it’s about doing it with intention and holding on to things for the right reasons and not holding on to everything. Because when you hold on to everything, it dilutes it. And so you want to be able to easily find, because I always talk about the whole purpose of organizing for me is the ease of retrieval – how quickly can I get something when I need it. It’s less about the act of putting it away. It is how quickly can I get it?

Jessica: Wait, but that’s an interesting thing to think about. Because I think so many of us come from a place of everything needs to have its have its home, everything needs to live somewhere. I just put it in that folder in that filing drawer, whatever. But then you’re right, it’s like then you need it and you spend an hour or two looking through all the papers in that folder in that filing drawer and you can’t even find what it is that you’re looking for.

Laurie: Yeah, and you can feel free to reuse this, because I say it all the time, I always think about the ease of retrieval – how quickly can I get this? That can apply to anything. It could apply to clothes, it could apply to your spices, or it could apply to papers. Again, yes, I do believe things need a home, but what’s going to make the most sense and where am I going to find it? You want to be able to find that. And if it was surrounded by a thousand other mindless scraps of paper, it would have been really hard for you. So I love that you saved it, and I think I would have saved it too. I think that’s awesome, but it’s about doing it with intention, and so I love it.

Then the third type of clutter, and this is the one that I really want to just resonate on a little bit, because I think it doesn’t get enough credit and it’s something that’s so relevant for most people, but especially people of divorce, is what I call “calendar clutter”. It’s being over scheduled and overwhelmed, either not using your time wisely, or just having so much on your plate where you basically have more things to do than time to do them.

Jessica: Yeah.

T.H.: Jessica, she’s talking to you.

Jessica: I mean for sure. There’s no question that I’m overscheduled. I’m working a million jobs trying to make everything fit in. It’s challenging for sure. I mean, I feel I learned a few years ago to create a calendar that’s color coded based on what goes around it. I enjoy looking at my calendar, and I’m very good about calendaring out into the future. And by the way, if it’s not in my calendar, it’s not going to happen. If for some reason a momentary lapse happens and I don’t put it into my calendar, then come that day, that person could call, that appointment, whatever, is never going to happen. I think that you’re right, I feel the “calendar clutter” almost feeds into the emotional part of it because it so adds to the “overwhelm”. Oh my God, look at all of the shit that I have to do today, this week, by this date, etc. It’s like it can be paralyzing.

T.H.: I also think that what comes to mind for me, I definitely book and like to be organized, but this takes me back to dating apps and online dating. I booked two or three dates in a day. I surrounded myself with busy so that I felt busy, but I was 100% not productive. I was going out with guys who were completely irrelevant to me just so that I would have things on the calendar to do. I’d have a purpose in my day. And so I was filling the calendar also with stupidity, like really just…So when you’re doing online dating, that’s a job unto itself – first of all, do I identify with who I’m going out with?

Laurie: I don’t envy that.

T.H.: Then I’m in the calendar organizing New York City, Upper West Side, New Jersey, Connecticut. Yeah, that’s a whole separate calendar. So for anybody on that…

Jessica: It’s emotionally exhausting though, the “calendar clutter”.

T.H.: It is. It can be overwhelming, but I feel for me, at certain times, it was almost comforting to see my calendar full. Depending on where you are emotionally, you might be like, “Look at all I’ve got going on.” Even though it’s false, in terms of what it’s actually doing for you, it’s giving you a false sense of whatever security and being productive and stuff, but having stuff on your calendar for someone who doesn’t have something going on right then is not great, but I understand it.


Laurie: No, absolutely, and I think you hit on a couple things. First of all, Jess, as you said, the calendar leads into the emotional. They all are intertwined. In my book, I have a model with three concentric circles because they do feed into each other. If you are constantly on the go, it’s natural that physical clutter, things are going to pile up because you’re constantly on the go. If maybe you’re overcompensating, and especially again, I’m not somebody who’s personally divorced, but I can only suspect that depending on your situation, you may feel the need to overcompensate. So you’re going above and beyond, either because of habit or guilt, to do things for your kids, or this, that, and the other, that you have to overcompensate for your lousy ex or whatever. And so you’re adding unnecessary onto your calendar, which is just burdening you and slowing you down. And so clutter, I call it the other C-word, like clutter’s the other C-word. You can edit that out if you’re not allowed to say that. It becomes our dirty little secret no matter what it looks like.

Jessica: Men or women, these are the same kinds of clutter that anybody deals with.

Laurie: And that’s the thing is that clutter doesn’t discriminate. Organizing strategies are more going to be specific to the type of personality that you are, to the season of life that you’re in, as opposed to gender.

Jessica: That makes perfect sense.

Laurie: These are gender neutral problems.

Jessica: Okay. Is the process about like, okay, these are the three main types of clutter and I’m going to tackle this category first? Is it trying to figure out which of those categories is your most challenging? What’s your strategy from there? We all have all of those kinds of clutter.  

Laurie: Right. No, I think that’s a great question. Most people, when I talk about the three types, just like you guys did, you immediately were like “That’s my dominant type.” It’s not linear, right? We all can have a little bit of each one of them. But we know I’m somebody that struggles with “calendar clutter”, I know emotional clutter, or I know I’m a shopper, so my intake is always coming. There are certain people that can resonate with one over the other. And so for me, as I’m working with somebody, because it’s not a one size fits all approach, even though there’s certain tactical steps that I take, just the mindset of knowing, I think just having that self awareness of knowing, “Okay, I know this”, it allows me to have a little bit of grace. It’s not an excuse, but it gives you context so that you can have a little bit of grace. I know that these are my pitfalls, like I know that this is where I know I’m going to need a little extra time. So for somebody like T.H., where I know that you struggle with emotional clutter, when it comes to the process, if I’m sitting there working with you or you’re having an outside person, you’re going to hopefully want somebody that is going to give you some extra runway because you may have to go down memory lane, and you may need to pay homage to what was versus working with someone like Jess, who’s going to be way more ruthless–

T.H.: She’s going to be like, “Throw it all out”.

Jessica: I’ll throw it all out, and my calendar will be like, “Oh my God.”

Laurie: So having that is to me really important. Because whether you’re doing this by yourself, and you can just say, “I know that this is my pitfall” and have that kind of knee jerk where I’m catching myself in that loop, I’m catching myself in that mental loop, or if physical clutter is your thing and you’re knowing, “Okay, am I going to buy this because I’m bored? Because I feel the need? What’s my reason?” you can start to have these narratives with yourself to pump the brakes, so to speak. I think it’s just important to have that self awareness. Also, it removes a lot of the frustration because sometimes people get frustrated – “Why is it so easy for somebody?” or “Why can’t I do this?” as opposed to just going, well, just only do this. Just get rid of it. You’re sitting there going, “But I can’t,” and then you start to think like, “What’s wrong with me?”, or “I have to hide this”, or there’s all of these things. I can only suspect, and I’ve worked with people who have been going through divorce, and I’ve worked with people post-divorce, it’s a new chapter of your life. For some people, depending on their situation, you guys, I know you’ve talked about this, you talked about it on my show, and I’m sure you’ve talked about it with your audience, your situations were very different. For one of you, it was very liberating, like “This is my new chapter”, and “I’m doing this.” For another one, it’s mourning the loss, and so the process is going to look different based on the situations that you have. Then you can add in continual layers of, “Okay, now I have stuff for my kids that I need. They need double of this, because they have this at my house, and this is at my ex’s house.” There are all these external things, but I think it’s important for people. It’s easy for it to become overwhelming very quickly.

T.H.: So how do you even start?

Jessica: Right, so where do we go from here? You identified the three types.

T.H.: I’m here. I’m ready to organize my life. What are my first steps in making this happen?

Laurie: Step one is you’re going to say, “What area of my life is the biggest pain point right now? What is that?” It could be a physical space, and most of the people that will come to me, it’s the physical space is what brought them there. It could be my closet, my morning routine, or this, that, and the other. So you’re going to figure out what place is my biggest pain point. Where do I feel I need my biggest bang for my buck? Because most people are like, my whole house or this whole area.

T.H.: I will say that when you’re getting a divorce, or if you’re just moving–I didn’t have to confront the physical space because I had a really big basement. I actually stored other people’s stuff there, including dining room tables. I never saw any of it until I had to move. My house looked perfectly clean and organized because all the shit was in a room that no one’s ever walking in unless I add more shit to the room. That’s also why I think in a divorce when you have to make a change, or if you’re just moving, that’s when you have to confront all the stuff in the closet, or in the room, or in the basement that you never had to look at. Now you’ve got to take a look.

Laurie: It’s interesting because if people are going to be in a situation where they’re going to be moving, so you have a lot of change, and changes can be good and liberating, but it’s also hard and there’s a lot of emotion. The strategy is going to depend on where you are, but if you’re addressing your biggest pain point, I think you need to pick a space. Because like we said, there are all of these moving parts, and that is overwhelming. You need to say, “I’m going to focus on this and accomplish this small win, wherever it is.” That will allow you to a) maybe build that muscle that if this isn’t something that you intuitively are used to doing, and it will keep you focused so that you could say, “I can do this”, like, “I can do this, because you feel empowered.” Where a lot of people they’ll start here, and then they’ll move there, and they’ll start here–

Jessica: That’s me.

Laurie: –and then you wind up being what you said T.H., which is beautiful, and I talk a lot about this, is differentiating the busy from the productive. And so you’re going to be saying, “Okay, what do I need to do right now? What is important for me right now? What is going to be the important thing for me to do?” And so the process, the tactical process is I have a four pile method where I empty the space that I’m going to be doing and I sort it into four piles: your keep pile, which is what you’re keeping in that space. If you are going to be moving in this situation, you would maybe be putting it into a bin if you’re going to be moving – I’m keeping this. Then you have your relocate pile, which is okay, I want this, but it’s not going to live in the kitchen. It’s got to live in another room. Or this is going into memory, right? It doesn’t need to live in the kitchen drawer. It’s going into a keepsake. So relocate is really important. Then the other two are great because they’re leaving space. They’re either the donate pile, which is “I’m getting rid of this”, “I’m downsizing”, “I’m moving to an apartment or a smaller house”, “I don’t have as much space”, “I’m getting rid of it”, “I’m donating it to either a charity, a friend, whatever, getting rid of it”, or the recycle, which is, “It’s going right in the trash.”

Jessica: So though that part I feel we had spoken about, like putting the things into piles, but tell us a little bit about the roadblocks, the recurring roadblocks that you say stand in people’s way. Because I feel when you’re going through a divorce, or you’ve gotten divorced and now is the time that you’re dealing with moving spaces or deciding I’m going to really personalize this space now and make it different and make it what I want it to be, I think that the emotional toll side of it, whatever those roadblocks are, are a huge challenge for people. So talk us through that.

Laurie: 100%, absolutely. I talk about five main clutter pitfalls that people fall into. They are, again, not immune based on the type of clutter you struggle with. They’re not immune by gender or age. They do not discriminate. The five clutter pitfalls that people fall into are either procrastination, which is the “I’ll just get to it later”. “I’ll get to it later. I won’t deal with this.” Even you sticking the stuff in the basement is a form of procrastination. It’s just not dealing with it in the present. Then the second clutter pitfall is indecision. A lot of comes from the fear, which is, “I don’t know what to do, so I’m just not going to do anything.” We see this from people. And again, especially if you’ve been through any level of trauma and you’re going to be doubting yourself, who knows what your relationship was like if you’ve spent the past 10 years being gaslit by somebody? You’re going to doubt yourself. And so indecision is really a big thing. Then you have guilt, which again, we talked about. Guilt can come in many shapes and sizes for many reasons. But guilt is a roadblock that holds us back. Then the “overwhelm”, which is, “This is just such a big mountain. I don’t even know where to start.”

Jessica: That’s so many people.

Laurie: So many people. Again, whether you’re divorced or married, these clutter pitfalls are for anybody. But I feel if you’re going through a divorce or you’ve been through a divorce, they have to be magnified because there are all of these other things that are happening – so “overwhelm”. Again, that’s why it’s so important when you do go tactical that you do make it manageable for you. Then the fifth one, which again we talked about, is time. How are we using our time? Are we carving time to do the work? Because at the end of the day, in order for this process to get done of decluttering and organizing, either you’re doing it or you’re paying someone to do it. If you’re outsourcing it to somebody else, that’s great. But if not, we have to carve out the time just like you would do for going to the gym and exercising or doing whatever you’re going to do. You have to carve out the time to do it. I find that a lot of people talk about it, read about it, listen to podcasts about it, gather all of this information about it, but the execution of actually doing it just doesn’t happen.

Jessica: Yeah

T.H.: I think that’s for anything though.

Jessica: I can relate.

Laurie: 100%.

T.H.: We talk about a lot of things, and then we’re not getting it done. Then we have to create literally to-do lists so that we’re accountable for it like, well, now it’s on paper and you’ve got to check it off. It’s written down and it’s out in the world. It’s out of your head and now you got to like–

Laurie:  Implement it.

T.H.: You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to just do it. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? 

Jessica: But how do you bypass those roadblocks? Is it just acknowledging them?

Laurie: I think, first of all, acknowledging it is fine. I think we have to normalize it first of all. I think we have to normalize these things that like, I’m in a season of my life, and I don’t need to be Superwoman or Superman. I don’t need to be. I would say you don’t get any awards for that. For what, like, who cares? Asking for help is okay. Getting takeout for your kids is okay. All of these little things, carving out time, saying I’m going to spend 15 minutes to just recoup, or plan my calendar for the next day, or whatever it looks like, we have to just normalize this, that this is healthy. Especially if you are a parent with small kids, modeling this behavior is really important because we don’t want to set our kids up to fail. I think we, especially as women, as moms, I’m speaking for myself, I wanted to be like, yes, I could do this, yes, I could do that. Then all of a sudden, now my kids think that that’s what you have to do.  

T.H.: Yeah, and also just as far as modeling with organizing also when you’re moving, I gave my kids each one big bin that they could see in so they could see the stuff they’re keeping. But I had kept like one baby outfit, I kept their baby book, I kept some choice things. So that whole “T.H. kept” thing has to fit into their container, whether they want it or not, and then they add to it. Honestly, they definitely had one or two extra ones. It was not realistic for them at that point to remove all of it. But I did give them containers so we had some physical boundary, even though we got two more of them.

Laurie: Well, that was exactly the word I was going to use. I think the key word is “boundaries”. It’s about whether it’s physical boundaries, where you’re saying, “You can only have as much stuff that fits in this bin”, or boundaries with your time. What are the boundaries? I was talking to somebody on my show a couple of weeks ago and they said when you write on a piece of paper – because I always talk about margin, margin, margin – again, you think about a paper, you don’t write from every corner. There’s a waste of space.

Jessica: T.H. does.

Laurie: Well, my gosh.

Jessica: But most normal people might not.

T.H.: You’re all going to have to watch this on YouTube now. This is how I take my notes, and then I draw squares around–

Jessica: And by the way, that’s not even–

T.H.: –that I have to go back to and then I cross it all off so I know that it’s where it belongs. But I definitely have a monkey brain. Yeah, that’s my organized chaos.

Laurie: I think that another important point to bring up is people are inclined to change when something’s a pain point for them. I’m sure that, I mean, divorce is probably a prime example of that, unless it was something that you weren’t a willing participant in. But it’s not for me to come in here and fix somebody like, “I think you need to be fixed.” For me to come in and say, “Oh, no, no, T.H., you’re doing that wrong. You should do it this way” – anybody that tries to tell you that, they’re not the right person, because it’s really important for anybody–your stuff is personal, even though not everything has to have that level of importance. How we navigate stuff and having healthy relationships with our stuff and our time is really as important as having healthy relationships with other people. And so understanding like okay, where is this causing you a pain point? Where is it? And like you said with your analogy with moving stuff to the basement, in that initial season, that was a solution for you. Long term did that work? No. But it was fine.

T.H.: It was way more overwhelming in the end to look at 15 years or 20 years of stuff. It was a lot harder to deal with. It probably made it easier to get rid of stuff, though, to be honest with you, because I was like, there’s too much here, even for me. I did a tag sale, and the amount of stuff that was sold, when it was all laid out, I’m like, “I think I need to leave,” because I definitely have a problem.

Jessica: She’s like, “I’m really a hoarder.”

T.H.: No, but I feel hoarding is different in my mind. So I’m not going to identify that way. But also, if you saw us on video, Jessica has one picture behind her head and a nice little picture frame. I have a bulletin board with stuff spread around. This is clearly the difference. That’s comforting to me, and that’s comforting to her.

Laurie: Right.

T.H.: I want to ask you another question. Because when I was going through the massive amounts of pictures, because for everybody who’s younger, we took photographs and created photo albums, and so I had many photographs of my ex husband’s family that I didn’t want, but I thought he might want. And so if you’re the person moving out, and I’m not saying it’s always a man moving out, it could be a woman moving out, but you don’t necessarily get the opportunity to go through that stuff. And so when you’re helping different people organize, are you also helping people who are moving out of the house and starting new on how to recoup your stuff, not just your clothing and your toiletries, but your stuff? Someone else might be determining what you need. I gave him what I thought he should have, and then I felt good about it. But I loved to those people, and then I washed my hands of it, because now it’s his. So how do you handle that?

Laurie: Yeah, and I love this question because it can encompass so many different scenarios, not even just divorce, just even regular everyday teaching people healthy ways to declutter without guilt. I think when you’re deciding what you’re keeping and what you’re getting rid of, both should be done with a level of intention. And so if you are somebody that is saying, “I am moving”, it’s not just “do I like it?” It’s “do I need this in the next place?” So if you’re the one that’s leaving, and you’re packing up, trying to pack up the stuff with intention is important. If you are getting rid of stuff, it’s “where is it going?” That comes down again more to the tactical side of things of knowing who can I give this to that it’s going to serve well. In your case, these photos were something that you wanted to give to your ex or give back to your ex, or whether you wanted to pass them to your kids. This goes for toys and this goes for clothes. So people listening out there that might–I mean, pictures are great, and pictures are a huge roadblock because there’s so much emotion, so much that’s tied to it. It’s a combination of physical clutter, and we’re all in the same category with having lots of photo albums, but it’s not just physical clutter, it’s that emotional clutter because it’s taking you back and it’s representing the people in that season of your life. I think intentionality is really the key, and not just doing things in the heat of the moment and reactionary.

T.H.: Don’t burn the photographs. Think about it before you burn it.

Jessica: But it was interesting. Having been divorced twice, in terms of photographs, I have two wedding albums. I had two wedding albums. My first wedding album, I chose to keep. I mean, first of all, we have a very amicable relationship. But I also felt there’s going to come a point where my kids are going to love looking at those pictures. Then my second wedding album, we don’t have kids together, and neither of us wanted it. So I was like, do I keep it–

T.H.: Did you ask Daren if he wanted the photo album? Or he just knew that you were keeping it for the kids?

Jessica: I feel we may have talked about it at some point. But I think he was fine with me keeping it, and that was fine with him. I feel with the second one, I did ask him if he wanted it, and he had said no. I thought to myself, well, look, it was still an important part of my life those X number of years. Do I keep it out of prosperity? I’m not a sentimental stockpiler, but I certainly am not a person–I know there are people that get divorced and go through different processes of decluttering every aspect of their lives and really want to erase the memories completely of the time that they had with whoever that was. That’s just not who I am. Even though, on the one hand, there really isn’t necessarily a point to keeping that wedding album, there was a part of me that was like, but do I keep it because that was a significant period in my life, and I don’t want to be the person who’s trying to erase it. Ultimately, I decided to get rid of it. It was a very large, very heavy photo album. I felt like, look, I have other pictures. I don’t need to keep that specifically. And so I didn’t.

Laurie: Yeah, and you just answered the question, because I was going to ask what ultimately gave you the catalyst to say, “I’m at peace with getting rid of this”. Because it doesn’t seem like, again, you got rid of it in a moment of haste or hatred, or it was–

Jessica: No. I think the catalyst was like, look, we live in a virtual society now. There are plenty of pictures that I have from my wedding on my phone, on the computer, on social media. I’m also not a person, and I know we’re running out of time, but I think that there are also people who as part of the decluttering their lives process will start going through their social media accounts and deleting everything in the past. I have not done that. I have photos, if you were to like scroll back, and back, and back, and back, and back 8, 10 years on my Instagram, there are photos of prior relationships. There are pictures that are from other important times in my life. I know I have that still in there. And so I felt with the wedding album, specifically, I didn’t need that physical manifestation and keep that. Then also, as T.H. and anyone who listens knows, I also move all the time. That just wasn’t something that I needed to drag around with me, but not because I was trying to delete it or erase it from my mind or my life. I just didn’t need that specific piece.

Laurie: No, I love it. And I love the thought process that you went through. Again, it comes back to I think in life we all, to some degree, want a quick fix. What’s the best way? What’s the quick pill? What’s the best diet? What’s the best? What lipstick should I use that’s going to stay? Whatever it is, we want these fixes. And it’s the same with organization and decluttering – what’s the best way to do this? I hate being like womp womp, but it is very personal, depending on your situation, your season of life, the space that you have. If you’re somebody that has the luxury of saying, I’m really riddled with indecision, or “overwhelm”, and you say, okay, I don’t have to force my hand because I have a basement or an attic I can shove it in. Whereas somebody that doesn’t have the luxury of space, you’re going to have to make a decision quicker. So I think really understanding who you are as a person, what your personality type is, where you struggle with clutter, and then knowing which of your clutter pitfalls you resonate with is really important. Because just knowing that will give you permission to either pause when you need to, or say, “Okay, I have to take action.”

T.H.: I feel I could probably check them all.

Jessica: Yeah, right, exactly.

T.H.: At different times, I’m like Queen of procrastination, indecision sometimes. Maybe not so much guilt. I don’t feel guilty about getting rid of stuff, like I said. Maybe it’s just a form of guilt, just not wanting to forget. So maybe that is guilt. I really was afraid that my memory of these wonderful things was going to be gone.

Laurie: It was more fear. It was more that fear than guilt.

T.H.: Yeah, It think it was fear and “overwhelm”. And actually, time, I can always make time. I’ll stay up all night. I’ll figure it out. But yeah, four out of the five, I’m definitely a candidate for.

Jessica: I think that’s probably for most people. But I mean these are great tips and great information. I hope that it really resonated with everybody listening as much as it did with us. It’s a conversation that T.H. and I have had multiple times, because in the last year, we’ve both moved. I’ve moved more than once. It is a challenging issue for anybody who’s going through it. So thank you so much for your insight and your expertise. This is a conversation that’s going to have to definitely be ongoing.

Laurie: Yes, for sure.

T.H.: Reach out to Laurie, and honestly, reach out to your friends. I had a friend come because I had my grandmother’s and great grandmother’s crystal glasses. My first point was anything that’s not valuable is going away. I did that and I brought it to a place where I could donate it. The money they raised went to a charity of my choice.

Jessica: Nice.

T.H.: So I liked that it was for good, like what you had said before. But be kind to yourself. But I had a friend who helped me go through it. So even if that person’s not saying anything, you’ve got another person in the room to validate the good and bad. So whether you reach out to Laurie or you reach out to a friend, buy Laurie’s book, but definitely come back and listen to this podcast again because there are a lot of really good directional tips to help you figure out what works for you.

Jessica: Thank you, Laurie. We’ll talk to you again soon.

Laurie: Thanks guys.

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