Focus on the Family Broadcast

Getting Rid of Clutter in Your Home

Getting Rid of Clutter in Your Home

In a discussion based on her book The Clutter-Free Home, Kathi Lipp offers insight into the emotional and spiritual issues that may be leading you to cling to stuff you don't need, and suggests practical ways to de-clutter your home so that it becomes a place of greater comfort and peace.
Original Air Date: February 17, 2020


Kathi Lipp: God knows your heart and knows your heart to want to help people and to give. And cluttery people are the most generous people I know. But it’s that tiny step of faith that will start to show you that God does care about you, care about the condition of your heart and cares about your home to be able to invite people in.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Kathi Lipp joins us today for this Best of 2020 episode of Focus on the Family, and your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us, I’m John Fuller, and Jim, she used a word I don’t hear too often, they’re cluttery.

Jim Daly: Yes, yeah.

John: Cluttery people are generous.

Jim: And John, I feel like I’m a pretty organized person, I just didn’t know that went with being Scrooge as well.

John: You’re not, you’re very generous. You are very organized too.

Jim: Well, I think you can be organized and generous, I would hope. But I’ve mentioned how I like to keep that garage clean.

John: How’s that workin?

Jim: And that bane of my existence, actually. But, you know, I keep trying. I keep trying to make sure it can be as clean as possible.

John: I had to give up my garage to a daughter who is doing a van conversion this past summer, [Crosstalk 1:08] and it has continued and continued. (Laughter) And there’s sawdust and tools everywhere Jim.

Jim: You got to get out there every night and sweep up.

John: No, she does.

Jim: I think- well, that’s fair. That’s a good point. You know, with 2020 behind us and as we head into the new year, you may be thinking about downsizing or maybe cleaning up your garage or maybe more. And it can be overwhelming. I get it. You might have a room full of your mother in law’s antiques or kid’s artwork and clothes. It just goes on and on. And you don’t know what to do with all that stuff. Today, we have some solid practical advice to help you get rid of the clutter and bring peace to your home. That sounds good.

John: It does.

Jim: Kathi Lipp is always one of our most popular guests, which is why this is one of our best programs of 2020. She’s helped thousands of people let go of stuff they didn’t need. You can do it. She does it with humor and a great heart. And you’re going to be encouraged by what she has to share today.

John: I think you will be. Kathi Lipp is a popular speaker and author. She’s been here a number of times and is the host of The Clutter Free Academy, the podcast with Kathi Lipp. And she’s also written a book called The Clutter Free Home: Making Room for Your Life. And here now is a best of conversation with Kathi Lipp.

Jim: Kathi, welcome back.

Kathi: Uh, it’s so great to be here with you, Jim, John.

Jim: Hey, can you come help me with my garage? (Laughter).

Kathi: Um, I don’t do house calls.


Kathi: But I will tell you what to do.

Jim: You’ll give me a list of things to do.

Kathi: I-I’m very prescriptive, which is a nice way of saying bossy.

John: Yeah.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. It’ll work.

Kathi: I can help you out there.

Jim: Hey. Well, the reality is you have dealt with, uh, clutter issues in your own home. These are things that, for the most part, you’ve learned.

Kathi: Oh, absolutely.

Jim: On-the-job training, really.

Kathi: Absolutely. Well, from a small child, because my dad was a hoarder, so I’ve learned this from the ground up.

Jim: OK. So…

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: That’s an interesting insight.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: Sometimes I think God works in pendulum swings, as I call it.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: So, you know, if your – for example, your parents, on a serious note, you know, come from an alcoholic or abusive home, some children will tend to move the other direction.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: …Never – you know, “That ruined my family. I’m never” – and that’s a good thing. But…

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: You kind of had the pendulum effect with clutter.

Kathi: Yeah. So, when I was a new mom, I was you know – you guys are talking about such a busy stage of life. That’s where I was at. And you could – it was reflected in my house – I just accumulated all this stuff. And I now understand there’s a spiritual reason for that. But I’ve also understood that the more I got my house clear of clutter, the more I understood about, you know, what I believed about God and what I believed about myself. And so, yeah. I’m back at the other side. And by the way, my house is not picture perfect. Nobody from Real Simple is coming to take pictures of my house.

Jim: Well, that’s really a sign of healthy, too, actually.

Kathi: I feel like we’re in a good balance.

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: It looks like people live there. Let me put it that way.

Jim: Well, let me ask you that…

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: …Because what does it tell us when we do have a lot of just stuff?

Kathi: Well…

Jim: Why do we have it, and why do we cling to it?

Kathi: Well, I think it says different things about different people. One of the things I think it says is, when we keep stuff just in case – like, “I’m going to hang on to that sweater just in case I gain 10 pounds…”

Jim: Ouch. Now, you’re hurting me.

Kathi: “…Or if I lose” – I understand. This is – I tend to step on a lot of toes. The toes are usually buried in clutter. So that’s the problem. Yeah.

Jim: There goes all my old jeans in the corner of the closet (laughter).

Kathi: Right. Exactly. But if we’re keeping things out of fear, what I often feel like that is saying is, one, I don’t trust God to provide for my future, so I need to hang on to everything I’ve ever owned for my entire life. So, for some people, it’s fear. Some people, it’s guilt. If they’ve spent any money on anything in their entire lives, they need to keep it until Jesus comes back.

John: Right.

Kathi: Like, otherwise, they consider – you know, they hear from their Depression-era grandparents, you know, “Use it up. Wear it out. Make do. Do without.” And so…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathi: They’re holding onto things. That was – I actually love that saying, but it’s only for things that we actually use.

John: Right.

Kathi: You know? At one point, I looked in my drawer. And I had six eggbeaters. Who – who in the world except for, you know, a bakery, needs six eggbeaters? But I kept holding onto them because I just thought, “Well, when I wear one out, I can use another one.” Now, wearing out eggbeaters has not really been a problem in my life.


Kathi: So, we’ve got the fear. We’ve got the guilt and then shame. You know, if I – and the guilt also is, um, if somebody gave it to you. So, there’s guilt and shame…

Jim: (Laughter).

Kathi: You know, somebody gave something to me, and so I need to keep it till both of us are dead.

Jim: You mention the 10 principles of a clutter-free home, so let’s cover those.

Kathi: OK.

Jim: Just hit ’em.

Kathi: OK, so I am – the first one is – I’m going to challenge you, Jim. Make clutter management a daily priority. So, you say you know it takes exactly a day to clean out your garage, right?

Jim: Yeah, you caught that.

Kathi: I – I did catch that. What a terrible way to spend a Saturday. I’m sorry. That sounds awful.

Jim: (Laughter) She’s right. I agree. Let’s keep it clean.

John: That’s why we’re going to go do it today.

Kathi: That’s right. You’re going to go do it today. But here’s what I would say instead. Wouldn’t it be better to do a bunch of 15-minute spurts where you just go in there for – you’re saying, “No,” OK.

Jim: It’s just – I like progress (laughter). But…

Kathi: I – yes, I understand. So that’s why I think progress has to be done in small steps. So, like, I don’t want you to go clean your garage for 15 minutes. I want you to clean your workbench for 15 minutes because you can make progress on your workbench. But cleaning my garage on a Saturday is the most depressing sentence I’ve ever heard in the English language.

Jim: (Laughter) OK, good enough.

Kathi: OK. Designate a place for everything. So I think oftentimes we don’t have things – you were just talking about bills coming in, stuff like that – it’s because maybe the place is a little too out of place – and so having a cute box where everything goes in, something like that.

John: Yeah, my – my wife’s desk would be a better place than the wardrobe (laughter).

Kathi: Well, as long as she agrees with you because I want to be marriage-enhancing.

John: Yes.


Jim: That’s good.

Kathi: Number 3, don’t put it aside; put it away. I tell myself this all the time because what this is doing is taking care of my future self. If I put it aside, that means I have to go re-clean it up. But if I put it away, the next time I’m looking for scissors, I know where the scissors are.

Jim: That’s true.

Kathi: Or the next time somebody calls me and says, “Where are scissors?” I know where they are. OK, number 4, stop being reactive and start being proactive. And what I mean by that is don’t clean because mother-in-law’s coming. Clean…

Jim: (Laughter) Well, you should, but.

Kathi: You should, but don’t let that be the only reason because what that is is stash and dash. OK, don’t argue over stuff; negotiate space. This is so important for people who are in relationships because if you say, “You haven’t played that guitar in 12 years,” you’re wounding, you know, that little boy who played guitar to impress that girl. Like, he’s not going to get rid of that guitar. But if you say, “OK, you get one Gorilla Rack in the garage; I get one Gorilla Rack in the garage,” that is a way to a peaceful solution about stuff instead of arguing over the actual things.

Jim: The only problem is you still have to make some choices (laughter).

John: Yes.

Kathi: You do have to make some choices, but it’s the person’s choice. You’re not saying, “Get rid of the guitar,” saying, “Hey, can you…”

Jim: “But I love that guitar.”

Kathi: Exactly. Well, the guitar can fit on the Gorilla Rack. There you go.

Jim: How did you know I have an old guitar, Kathi?

Kathi: ‘Cause every guy has an old guitar.

Jim: I learned one song on that guitar.

Kathi: Right. So, let’s talk about that guitar. OK. The next thing is, don’t use storage as a way to delay decisions.

Jim: Oh no. OK.

John: Ooh.

Kathi: So, I – yeah, I know, right? That – that’s only come to me in the last year, but what I realized is the stuff I had so neatly organized in my storage space in the garage was just delayed decisions, the ones that I didn’t feel I was emotionally able to make yet.

Jim: I’m ashamed to say this, but I’ve actually been thinking about getting a storage unit (laughter).

Kathi: OK, can I – please don’t.

Jim: But not now.

Kathi: Please don’t. Please don’t. Please don’t. Did you know that there are more storage units than there are McDonald’s in the United States?

Jim: It’s a booming business.

Kathi: It is a huge business. And what it is – it’s all delayed decisions.

Jim: Wow, think of that.

John: Out of sight, out of mind kind of thing?

Kathi: Right. And do you – do you – before you make that decision…

Jim: I’m not going to do it.

Kathi: Go – I was going to say go investigate how much those cost. We have one woman in our group who emptied out her storage container, and every month in our group – in Clutter-Free Academy – she lays $70 on the table and takes a picture of it…

Jim: Every month.

Kathi: …Every month. And it was a tiny storage unit. But she lays that $70. She goes, “We are $70 closer to our family vacation.”

Jim: It does seem to be a big symptom of something much deeper (laughter).

Kathi: It’s – it’s because we can’t decide.

Jim: Right.

Kathi: We can’t make decisions. OK, so, um, once you diagnose the clutter, you can dispense with the clutter. Figure out what’s at the core. Is it fear, guilt or shame? What is making you hold onto that? Or maybe you just have too much stuff going on right now.

Jim: What about the person that says – and this is a fair one – “I don’t want to pay for it again”? “I don’t want to have to – what if I’m going to use it in a year or two…”

John: Yeah, stewardship.

Kathi: OK.

Jim: “…That eggbeater, the third one.”

Kathi: OK, so let me – let me challenge you back.

Jim: OK.

Kathi: If – if you know you’re going to use it in a year, if it’s a snow blower and you’re going to use it in a year…

Jim: Exactly.

Kathi: …Hang on to it. But if it’s a sweater that I liked one time and maybe I don’t like it so much anymore, but I could like it under the right circumstances, can I trust God enough to get that into the right person’s hands?

Jim: OK, fair enough.

Kathi: I’m not trying to throw the God card. I’m really not. But I really do believe sometimes stuff comes to us just for a moment and that we’re supposed to pass it on to somebody else.

Jim: Pass on the blessing.

Kathi: Yeah. Things are not relationships. And this is hard when we have, you know, aging parents who are passing away, we have somebody significant in our life, but if we see that person in every item that they’ve ever given us. What – we want to curate the best and get rid of the rest because other people could use those things.

Jim: Yeah, keep one or two things.

Kathi: Exactly. Um, just-in-case thinking is impoverished thinking. We’ve already talked about this. If I hold onto everything – you know, if you give a thousand things away and you need to rebuy five of them, you’re saving $70 on a storage unit.

Jim: Yay.

Kathi: You’re saving $150 on a storage unit.

Jim: I’m not doing it.

Kathi: And you deserve peace in your home. I think many of us feel like, “I’m so cluttered, I’m so chaotic,” that we don’t believe that peace is possible in our space.

John: These are really great, you went through them so quickly, I would like to post a summary at our website and of course, we encourage you to get the whole book from Kathi. It’s called The Clutter Free Home. Again, that summary and the book at

Jim: Kathi, you have made de-cluttering relatively easy in terms of the how-to. In fact, there are four steps you’ve identified, the first one being dedicate.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: What do you mean by that? And how do you dedicate your kitchen?

Kathi: OK, that’s such a great question. I think so many of our houses are so multipurpose, and we’ve got kids doing homework in the, uh, dining room, which is totally fine, you know…

Jim: Hey, if they do homework anywhere, that’s fine.

John: (Laughter).

Kathi: Exactly, right. We are not going to discourage…

John: That’s right.

Kathi: . . . them from doing it anywhere. But also, if you work at home, you may be working in your bedroom – those kind of things. I say get very serious about, like, just define what that space is. What are you actually using it for? And if you’re actually using your kitchen for homework and cooking and that’s the hangout place, then create the space around that. Make decisions. So, if you need to have homework cubbies in the kitchen, do that. But don’t pretend that the kitchen is just used for cooking and eating because in most houses, it’s not. So really dedicate that space. It allows you to decide the purpose of the space. And one of the things I love to do is actually just take a Bible verse or a quote or something and put it in each space to remind myself what it’s dedicated for. Julia Child has this great quote that says, “My favorite people are the people who eat.” And I just – I love that, you know? My favorite people are people who enjoy eating. And so, we have that up in our kitchen. And it’s silly, but it’s also to say, hey, this is a place where we want joy. We want fun. We want people to gather around the table and feel welcome – so really saying, this is what we use this room for, and this is what we use this room for. And it helps you sort and decide what you actually keep in that room. Instead of having, you know, scissors in every single room, you – you have the scissors in the room where you actually use them.

Jim: So, think about the purpose.

Kathi: Think about the purpose.

Jim: …Maybe not even the – the label the room has but how you as a family use the room.

Kathi: Exactly.

Jim: That’s good to know.

Kathi: And don’t – don’t let it be defined by how your best friend or your mom used that room…

Jim: Or Pinterest.

Kathi: …Or Pinterest or anybody. Use it how you want to use it.

Jim: (Laughter) OK, that’s good. So now you’ve made this, uh, dedication.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: Then you decide, OK, I gotta go tackle it.

Kathi: Yeah. Well, actually, I want you to do one other thing. I want you to decide how you want to feel when you walk into that room. So…

Jim: What does that sound like in your head?

Kathi: So, here’s what it is. Like, in the kitchen, I want it to be bright and clean and smell amazing. So, there’s this lemon verbena soap that I just love. So, I don’t spend a lot of money on my house, but I love that lemon verbena. And I’ve got it in a soap, in a candle, in a hand lotion, and that’s all in my kitchen. So, when I walk into my kitchen in the morning, it smells bright. It looks bright. That’s how I want it to be. My living room, I want it to be comfy and cozy and have lots of texture and snuggle up in a blanket. And so that’s – I actually decide the words that I want the room to feel like. Now, I think, you know, my husband, Roger, could care less about a lot of these things…

Jim: Go Roger (laughter).

Kathi: But here’s the thing. Roger wants a comfortable blanket when he wants a comfortable blanket. He hasn’t probably spent a lot of time thinking about that. But I know what he loves. He also loves to come home and smell something great cooking in the kitchen. So, do I. So, when he’s home, you know, I want the kitchen to be functional so he can cook, and I can cook. So, it’s thinking through things like that. What do I want to happen in that room? And how do I want that room to feel?

Jim: I’ve never thought of that (laughter) ever.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: That’s good.

Kathi: I bet you Jean has spent…

Jim: I bet she has. She’s good that way.

Kathi: …A lot of time thinking of it because she makes a home. And this is all about creating a home that we love to come home to.

Jim: So, the part, again, that I’m most interested…

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: You’ve given it names now.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: You know what you – what adjectives you want out of this room. Now tell me how to clean it (laughter).

Kathi: OK, de-clutter – so here’s what I want you to do. So, I’ve given you it in the book – and we can also put this on the website because we want to give as many tools as we possibly can. I want you to take one room a day and just spend 15 minutes in it because here’s what I know. You’re going to get done more in 15 minutes than if you said, “I’m going to go spend an hour cleaning the garage,” because 15 minutes, you’re gonna set a timer, you’re going to take one little section of that room, and you’re going to get it done.

Jim: OK, Kathi. I know what you’re saying, and I bet it’s helpful, but I’m telling you, for me, it doesn’t feel like I’ll have any satisfaction from 15 minutes. It’s like, I was just getting started.

Kathi: OK, so the number 1 problem I hear is people don’t have time to de-clutter.

Jim: OK, so that’s what you’re trying to address.

Kathi: So, I’m trying to say, hey, if you do 15 minutes – but I’m going to tell you two things I want you to do. It’s time boxing. It’s setting an alarm for 15 minutes, so you are going to attack it and space boxing. So, what you’re going to do there is, you’re saying, “I’m not going to go clean the garage. I’m going to clean the – the toolbox,” or something like that because, yes, if you try…

Jim: That would be true.

Kathi: Yeah, you – if you can get one little area. Now, here’s the thing. Like, when I go clean out my Tupperware drawer and – it only takes 15 minutes, but that keeps me from banging my head against a wall a thousand times when I can’t find the right bottom and the right top.

Jim: I can’t do that one (laughter).

Kathi: Right, no, most…

Jim: I have tried. I’ve got to avoid.

Kathi: Can I just say, I haven’t met a man who can. I don’t know what it is.

Jim: It – it taxes me in every way.

John: The lids go somewhere. I don’t know where.

Jim: Oh, no, not only that. Yeah, try to match those lids to the bottoms. It’s like, this is impossible.

Kathi: No, you and Roger need to start a support group.

Jim: OK, so we can back up (laughter).

Kathi: Right, and so, – but here’s the thing. I also know that once I’ve done it, every time I open that door, it makes me happy.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Kathi: I look at it and I’m like, OK, there is some organization there.

John: All right. So, Kathi, um, do you recommend that a spouse helps out in this process? Should Jean be helping Jim clean the garage for 15 minutes?

Jim: Hey, that’s a dangerous question. I would not ask that, John.

Kathi: OK, so here’s what I think. I think it’s everybody’s responsibility.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Kathi: I don’t think one person helps another person.

John: But I have kind of a sacred space in my garage, and Dena’s is the kitchen. If I cleaned up the kitchen…

Kathi: Oh, don’t do that.

John: Yeah, thank you.

Kathi: No, don’t do that.

John: You’re affirming what I assumed.

Kathi: Yeah, let’s keep your marriage happy. Everybody if you rule the roost in one area – like, I’m not going to go into the garage and rearrange things for Roger because I’m helping. Uh, that’s not helpful. That’s me being controlling. And so that’s not how I’m going to roll. But if Roger went into the kitchen and he goes, “I optimized the kitchen for – you know, for you to be able to cook better,” that is not marriage enhancing. Now, we also have other spaces that we’ve kind of just carved out as our own. I think it’s always wonderful if you say, “Is there some specific task I could help with that would be helpful to you,” but all those common spaces, that’s for everybody to help out with.

John: Well, I appreciate your clarification of that.

Kathi: Yes, yes.

Jim: (Laughter) Get with it, John. OK, Kathi, uh, more practical tips.

Kathi: Yeah. Right.

Jim: You describe your three tote, two bag system of getting rid of clutter.

Kathi: OK, so what clutter is is decision fatigue. It’s not being able to make one more decision. So, these three totes – one’s orange. It says, “other rooms.” One’s purple. It’s for put back…

Jim: That’s where Jean got the idea (laughter).

Kathi: Oh, she does it!

Jim: It’s happening in my teenager’s room right now.

Kathi: I love that.

Jim: I mean, it’s been happening for a while in there, but (laughter)…

Kathi: Well, you know what? There are some projects that are larger than others.

Jim: But she’s got the totes.

Kathi: Right, and then green is for giveaway. So, you have those three, and then you have garbage and recycling. And so why I want you to do this is everything that’s out of place in that room, I want you to either put in other rooms; put back means it goes in that room; it’s just not in the right space. Or give away, garbage or recycling because what happens is we clean everything out, we make a giant pile, the kids come home, they go through the pile, they pick out the treasures they haven’t seen in two years, and nothing ever happens. But I want you to take those totes and then deal with them. So, 15 minutes, you’re de-cluttering, and for five minutes, you’re throwing away garbage, you’re doing the recycling – the giveaway goes directly to the car not to be seen by a child – other rooms and then put back. All of that can really be done in about five minutes.

Jim: That seems phenomenal (laughter).

Kathi: It really is super helpful. And so, with 15 minutes, you do it for 15 minutes and you’re not overwhelmed. Yes, you have your day-to-day homework’s coming in, groceries coming in, mail’s coming in, stuff you have to deal with. But to get to the root of a room, that 15 minutes once a week is really going to help…

John: And that segmenting takes away the decision fatigue that you’re talking about.

Kathi: Exactly.

Jim: What’s a good question that you should ask yourself or maybe gently ask your family member?

Kathi: It’s three questions.

Jim: OK.

Kathi: Do I love it? If you absolutely love it, you get to keep it. But if it’s in the garage in a box, I question your love.

Jim: It’s not a deep love.

Kathi: That’s not a deep love. Do you use it? If you use it regularly or however it’s supposed to be used, absolutely, you can keep it. Would you buy it again? Now, if you can answer yes to all three of those, obviously, keep it. If you…

Jim: That’s on your shelf.

Kathi: Yeah, if you have a really strong yes to one of those, keep it. But if it’s kind of a meh to all three, I think get rid of it.

Jim: It’s outta there.

Kathi: Right – and because what you’re doing is, you’re making space for the rest of your life.

Jim: Yeah, and, you know, and those four things we’re going to post because we didn’t get through them all obviously. But the do your own thing, what’s – I got to catch that. What is it?

Kathi: Yeah, so that means that pillow that you love at TJ Maxx or that little thing that you saw at Target, when you get your room 60% de-cluttered, I want you to really think through what’s going to make it pop, what’s going to make it you. Don’t buy the things before you de-clutter because that’s just putting cute on top of clutter. And it just gets sucked in.

Jim: I like that, cute on top of clutter.

John: It’s like lipstick on a pig or something.

Kathi: Right, exactly.

Jim: OK, so your – your son demonstrates the art of curation. (Laughter) That sounds similar. Yeah.

Kathi: So, uh, my daughter’s boyfriend and my son were at the same concert. And my daughter’s boyfriend just got to go with some friends but was in the VIP area. So, it was very, very fun and special…

Jim: Very special.

Kathi: …Yeah, and, uh, found out that Jeremy was there and was – Jeremy was so excited to see them and everything. But Jeremy was just there as a fan. He…

Jim: The regular seats.

Kathi: He bought the cheap seats, the nosebleeds. And so, after the concert when – when my daughter’s boyfriend found out how much Jeremy loved this band, he had a signed poster for him. And he said, “You know what? I would enjoy this; you would love it” and gave it to Jeremy. And I love that it’s such an illustration of how sometimes things passed through our hands, they’re not supposed to stay in our hands. They’re supposed to go to the right person. So, there’s a lot of stuff in your house right now that needs to get to the right person. And I think we can trust God when we take things to a donation center or when we take them to a rummage sale or we put them out for a garage sale – not in our own neighborhood, Jim. You got to take those to a different hood to get rid of because people will find their stuff. But we can trust God that those things can get into the right hands without us holding onto them.

Jim: No, I like that. In fact, you watch History Channel. I think they have that show, the American Pickers.

Kathi: Obsessed, obsessed.

Jim: Now, OK, this is another thing, I can’t watch that show.

Kathi: Why?

Jim: It drives me crazy. Why do people have that much junk laying around?

Kathi: Why? Oh, because that was my childhood. Don’t you know? Because every one of those things is going to be so incredibly valuable.

Jim: I think it makes me want to go clean it.

Kathi: Right, well, see…

Jim: Do I have a problem?

Kathi: See? But that’s your motivation.

Jim: It’s like, how could you leave that car out beside the garage for, like, 70 years?

Kathi: Yeah, that’s – that’s the hard part.

Jim: And its half covered in dirt.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: Has anybody ever noticed it?

John: It’s worth something, Jim.

Kathi: Exactly, but what I love about that show is the older people get, they realize that the stuff is not the people.

Jim: Well, that’s true.

Kathi: You know, they got this from their grandparents…

Jim: It all has a story.

Kathi: …Right, and sometimes there’s a collector or somebody who is into that certain kind of memorabilia, it would mean even more to them.

Jim: See, that part I like, actually, the storytelling. But it’s just going through those garages (laughter)

Kathi: Right, yeah. You know, your garage cannot be that bad.

Jim: It’s a problem.

Kathi: (Laughter)

Jim: All right, Kathi. There’s got to be somebody listening today who wants to have a peaceful home like you’ve described…

Kathi: Right.

Jim: …That’s, um, comfortable and inviting where the home – all the things that you said about the room and then adjectives of the room and…

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: …Good-smelling and all those things, but they just don’t know where to start.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: Their stuff – basically, it owns them.

Kathi: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: Um, and it’s hard to let go. And you’ve given us – and you’ve given us some great practical advice on how to get started. Uh, but speak to those people where they’re just holding on, the just-in-case people – you know? – just in case that hurricane comes, just in case something – the big one, the big earthquake, whatever. What would you say to encourage them spiritually to move out of that place of fear – is how I would describe it – and move on?

Kathi: Yeah. You know, I – and I don’t – please hear that I am not judging anybody cause I have so been in this space. But I really do believe that the more we’re holding on to stuff, oftentimes it’s an indication of us not being able to trust God with the circumstances of our lives. So please hear zero judgment from me because I live this way so much of my life, but I also understood when I gave things away freely, it was amazing how many times, one, I never missed the item and, two, the time I needed that exact item, that God arranged circumstances to bring something back into my life. It happened over and over and over again. And so, I would just say, do an experiment in trusting God with your stuff. You know, Jesus spends so much time in the New Testament talking about our money and our things because Jesus is not surprised that clutter is an issue for us.

Jim: (Laughter) Right.

Kathi: Just not surprised. And so, God knows your heart and knows your heart to want to help people and to give. And cluttery people are the most generous people I know. But it’s that tiny step of faith that will start to show you that God does care about you, care about the condition of your heart and cares about your home to be able to invite people in.

John: What a fun and practical conversation with Kathi Lipp on this Best of 2020 episode of Focus on the Family, and I’m sure you got a lot out of it and that you’re going to get rid of a lot as well as you are inspired to declutter your home.

Jim: You know, John, it seems like a little thing, but clutter can overwhelm your life. And, John, this is an intervention. Dena wanted me to bring this up with you.

John: (Laughter) Oh, no, my secret is out.

Jim:  But, you know, here at Focus, we do want everyone to have peace in your home so you can create strong memories and enjoy the relationships with your family not with your stuff and mostly with the Lord.

John: Yeah, so go ahead and get started today, order a copy of Kathi’s book The Clutter Free Home, which is packed with some great insight and wisdom and some fun that you heard along the way here, along with a lot of practical ways to declutter and kind of release yourself from those things that might be holding you back.

Jim: And just to remind you, you can order that directly from Focus on the Family and know that all of that proceed goes right back into ministry, providing hope and help to families just like yours. So, I know it’s easy to do the one click with an online retailer, but your dollars will go much farther, helping families here at Focus. And I’m sure most of us are glad to put 2020 behind us. It was such a challenging year with the pandemic, violent rioting and the contentious election. It just goes to show we all need the hope and peace Jesus Christ came to give us. And that’s our mission here at Focus on the family. We want to provide you with the tools and insights to help you be a better spouse and a better mom or dad. One listener, Carolyn, wrote in to tell us this; “I have listened to your program from the time our two girls were children. Now they and their children are benefiting from your programs, books, CDs and DVDs. And you have been ministering to us for generations now. And since my husband passed away, your information and programs have been a support to me.”

John: I’m so grateful that we can have that kind of an impact.

Jim: Well, we are all grateful, John. We can’t do it alone, though. We need to hear from you. And your support will give families that hope in Jesus Christ. When you give a gift of any amount today to the ministry, we’ll send you a copy of Kathi’s book, The Clutter Free Home, as our way of saying thank you. God’s going to do some awesome things through you and Focus on the Family in 2021.

John: Contribute today and ask for your copy of that book, The Clutter Free Home at Or when you call 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive Christ.

Today's Guests

The Clutter-Free Home

The Clutter-Free Home

Receive Kathi Lipp's book The Clutter-Free Home for your donation of any amount!

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