A wise person once said that clutter is anything that stands in between you and the life you want to be living. That’s the philosophy Sarah Mueller lives by and tries her absolute best to impart to her community at the Decluttering School. Whether you’re talking about homes or minds, the early bird does get the worm and a lot of stuff done, put away and organized. Joining Dorci Hill on the show, the Early Bird Mom herself shares her insights about the importance of decluttering – both physical and mental – in helping us achieve our goals; the virtue of starting with baby steps; and a way to convince others to get into it without disrespecting their right to their personal space. For this episode’s good news, we get to hear this amazingly beautiful adoption story that will surely touch your hearts. Stick around for Dorci’s final thought – it’s a big one. Join in and have a happy hour!

The Early Bird Really Does Get The Worm With Sarah Mueller

We were talking about the early bird gets the worm, and a whole lot of stuff done and put away because that’s what’s on the show’s menu. It’s time to get you tuned in, turned on and tuned up with your dose of the show. It’s my mission to turn your frown upside down and help you incorporate play, purpose and pleasure into your daily routine so that you create the lifestyle that you want to wake up to every day that’s full of love and laughter. Joining me here is none other than Sarah Mueller. She’s the Creator of the DeclutteringSchool.com. She’s a lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four extremely rambunctious boys. Welcome to the show.

Thank you, Dorci. It’s nice to be here.

I’m tickled to have you here for our little chat because I’m going to tell you a secret. I honestly get giggly about clean spaces. I know we share that same giggly feeling. I decided there is not enough joy, happiness and healthy fun in the world these days and the world needs more good news, good stories from good people like you, for example. I want to make sure everyone reading stays tuned towards the end because I’m going to be sharing some good news stories with you from my neighborhood, from around the United States and the globe after our chat with Sarah. Let’s face it, the world could use some more good news. I want to start off, how are you doing?

I’m amazing, thank you. How are you?

I’m glistening and sparkly. Let’s jump right in because you and I both love this one subject, although you are definitely the reigning expert on this. Clutter is the number one killer to creativity. Do you agree?

I’m going to say no. We could have a discussion around this. Maybe you have different experience, but I don’t think it’s the number one. It will have an impact. No doubt. If you don’t have anywhere to work, if you are an artist, a musician or a crafter, if your stuff and space is full, then you cannot practice your creativity. It will have an impact, but sometimes like artists will say, “I need my things around.” A lot of people, when they think decluttered space, there’s nothing left. They think like minimalist. I don’t think we need to get there. It’s going to vary depending on the person. We want to be careful because when we say declutter, I don’t think it means getting rid of everything. It means getting rid of the things that are not serving us.

I’m a Type-A personality on a lot of things. I do like things in certain places. There was this gentleman and I found him years ago when I was in college. He did a lot of studies on birth order, like the first born are typically Type-As. He went through this whole list and I’m reading this going, “This guy’s in my head. Has he been spying me somewhere in my house?” The one thing though that he made a comment about, and I thought how interesting is that Type-As for example, a lot of their stuff is clean. Things are put away. On their desk, it’s like a mess, almost like the Tasmanian devil went crazy pants. Although in those piles, we can tell you exactly what is in that pile, even where it is, “It’s about midway through the pile, the second pile from the computer on the left.” It’s almost like we’re trying to say, “Yes, I don’t have to be. I’m not always that perfect, clean, free and clutter-less.” I like having certain things because those things around me do. I can look at it and it’s either a memory or you look at it and go, “I can do this.”

[bctt tweet=”Decluttering doesn’t mean getting rid of everything. It means getting rid of the things that are not serving us. ” via=”no”]

A lot of people will say, “How many shirts should I have in my closet? How many towels?” I’m like, “I don’t know. If you have a messy family, then you need one towel.” We can come up with rule of thumb, but we should all have permission to let go of things or to keep them. I am all about keeping the things that you enjoy. However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t let go of things, because what happens is when people take a look at what’s in that pile or in that corner, they will be surprised like, “I had no idea that was there. How did that get there? I don’t even know how that got in my house.” That’s when you notice, “I can deal with that. I know exactly what I want to do with it.” The permission is huge.

There’s a DIY show that I watched. One of the things they had people do though, before they cleaned out their space to redo and then bring everything or some of the things back in, was to make them briefly look at a room and then they had to close their eyes. The person who was cleaning out and decluttering would say, “Tell me what’s on that wall. What piece of furniture is there? What’s on the furniture? If it’s a dresser or a cabinet or shelves, what’s on the shelves?” If they could not remember, stay a majority of it, then the question was, “First off, does it bring you joy? Secondly, do you use it? If it’s not one of those two, then why is it occupying space?” That was eye opening for me that you can still have things, yet you don’t need all of the things.

Marie Kondo was big. She’s still out in the world. She’s very minimalistic in a lot of how she does things and even number of. One of the things I started to do many ago, and I don’t know if you do this and you can tell me one of your little secrets, is I realized I am one person. I can only wear so many pieces of clothing. I only have two feet so I can only wear one pair of shoes at a time. If I go out and buy 3 or 4 pairs of shoes at a time, I come home and 3, 4 or more pairs of shoes come out. My closet stays status quo. It was the best feeling ever. Although when Marie came out and she was talking about the way she was doing things, getting rid of a whole lot of stuff and even books, I’m a reader, a writer and I was like, “You’re not touching my books, woman.” What do you feel about the way she recommends to keep and clean your space?

A lot of people have had success with that. If something works for you, I’m all in. I’m not going to tell you not to use a method. What I have found is that when you have specific rules about the order to go in and how to do things, there’s a level of specificity that that method requires or encourages. Going in and going all-in like, “Let’s go empty your whole closet.” I find the people that like my methods the most, the people that I resonate with, those people that would not work well. If you want to empty your whole closet on your bed, you’re going to end up in the corner sucking your thumb.

I’m more of a baby step approach, “Let’s do the sock drawer. Let’s call it good and then tomorrow maybe we’ll do belts or one kind of shoe.” Let’s take it in smaller steps because if you have a lot of stuff, if you have significant quantity of stuff, you’re already overwhelmed. To go in and go all-in and do a big project, especially at the beginning is overwhelming. It can get scary and that can lead to burnout or you might even quit in the middle of a bigger mess.

Throw up your hands and say, “Forget it. I’m done.”

I’m not saying necessarily that she advocates that, but that’s what a lot of people get from her. The way we teach it is, “You get to decide. Let’s keep it small.” We talked so much about the emotional aspect of declutter, how to get started, how to keep it small, how to get that momentum and we start there and then we progress. No right or wrong answers, but I find that works better for my people.

Decluttering School: The more stuff you have, the easier it is to get sidetracked. That is the perfect reason to declutter, because you will find it easier to focus.

I always write notes every time I have a conversation with someone because my mind goes bananas. My first business years ago was a cleaning service. It was residential and commercial cleaning service. People used to ask me, “How do you get an entire house cleaned in a certain amount of time and not spend all day?” Let’s face it, when you’re cleaning or decluttering on your own, you do get pulled away by little things. I started the cleaning by myself and moved into hiring people, crews and moved into being the business owner. I said, “From doing it many years and then moving into running it, I still had those habits at my house. I would get started, go in one room, clean that room and then move to the next one and clean.”

If I’m doing bathrooms, go to one bathroom, clean it, the next bathroom, clean it and then I’m done. If something needed to be moved to another room, it went into a pile so then I could move that pile into that room when I went in there instead of you go into the bathroom and you see something on the counter. I got to go put this in this room. You go in that room, “This one goes in this room.” Next thing you know, half a day is gone and you didn’t accomplish much. You get frustrated and you’re like, “This takes forever,” and then you don’t finish anything. It was always like that for me to go in one room and do it. What would be your top tip or two, because we are sisters from another mister on the simple steps, making it simple, easy bite-size steps. What would you suggest for someone to get a quick, easy way to get started and have a real fun win?

That’s such a common thing, when you get sidetracked. The more stuff you have, the easier it is to get sidetracked. Some people say, “I’m easily distractable.” That is the perfect reason to declutter and to let go of the extra stuff, because you will find it easier to focus and you will not be quite frazzled. A lot of people don’t realize that. A good tip to get started is the baby steps, keeping it small and tight. We do this over and over again in my programs, what are you working on? Let’s name it. Let’s identify it. Instead of saying, “I’m going to work on my closet.” That is a huge project. However, if you say, “I’m going to go through t-shirts,” now I know what to look at. “I can do t-shirts and maybe I only do my graphic tees.”

The more you can zoom in, the better. The other thing would be, use a timer. Timers are incredibly motivating. It’s the craziest thing. If you know, a timer is ticking, you’re going to stay focused and on task a little bit more. If the timer rings and you noticed, you were off on a tangent, you’ll be like, “I forgot,” and you’ll come back. You can train yourself to come back, but having that timer for not 2 hours, but 10 minutes, then you check and you go, “I think I’ll do another ten.” We have people that live by the 10 or 20 minutes timer. They’ll do 2 or 3 or 4 rounds of ten minutes each. Before you know it, they’ve gone through 45 minutes.

No matter what it is, and not just for decluttering any tasks, it is amazing setting, a silly little timer for 15 or 30 minutes. Somebody made a comment talking about in one of the groups I’m in about business and she will do timers and she’ll do 25 minutes of work. If it’s a 25-minute, then she’ll do at least a five minute, get up, move around, get out of the area and sets it for 45 minutes. She’ll do a solid 45 minutes of work and fifteen minutes of getting up and getting out of that working energy. It’s amazing that little timer, it’s like you get super focused and it’s easy to let all the other stuff out of the way and what you can get done in ten minutes, and then it makes you feel good.

You want to do it again. That’s what you want to have going on.

You have thriving online community of what I call clutter, busting, raving fans. Tell me how many do you have in your Facebook community or communities combined?

[bctt tweet=”The more we can envision what we want, the more successful we can be at getting to that place.” via=”no”]

We have an amazing community. People have made lifelong friends in these groups. It is a beautiful thing. Everyone always says how non-judgmental we are in our groups. We don’t have any drama. We’re approaching 70,000 in my group. On my Facebook page, which my business presence on Facebook is 113,000.

That is a lot of clutter busting, loving fans. I’m glad that you said that about your group, that it is possible to have a warm, welcoming, nonjudgmental because in another group I’m in, it’s a group of women entrepreneurs and she asked that same thing. She has 7,000 to 10,000 people in hers. It’s smaller in comparison to yours. It is growing. All of a sudden, the people in there, they’re very active and they got snippy, snarky and it was like, “Isn’t that amazing?” This is a little bit off of the cluttering. However, when you get into the attitudes, the mindset, even some of the talking and posting, that’s mind clutter. You can have clutter in a whole lot of ways. Do you think that it’s being strategic about setting it up from the start in your groups, and this would also go over into your house, your space, setting it up with the right boundaries, keeps you from getting auto focused, confused, cluttered? What are your thoughts on that?

The more we can envision what we want, the more successful we are at getting to that place. That’s the way we did this group. We started the group intentionally. Everybody who’s gone through the group has gone for the same couple of challenges. We have this common history. Every now and then, we do have a little unhappiness. The other thing is that, we’re not expecting people to be perfect. People have bad days. I have them too, especially on Facebook, it’s easy to get into an argument. We understand that. Every now and then we’ll say, “This is going on here in the group.” It then comes down to leadership. I’ll go live or post and I’ll say, “We’re having an issue and this is not who we are in this group. If this works for you, we love you. We want you to stay. If it doesn’t, we will be removing you. It’s not personal, but this is what we want for our group.”

It’s the same thing in your home. If you let whatever happened, then you’re going to have chaos. It’s going to be a mess inside your head or inside your house. You have to figure out what is it you want and how do you get there. Taking a little bit of time to figure out what’s going on or is there a lot of clutter in your head? Do you need to cut a journal, make some plans and do a little bit of thought work to clean up? It’s not that we don’t get messy. It’s not that we don’t have a of thoughts in our heads. You and I were talking about this before we like a lot of stuff going on. We like it that way and it’s exciting. Sometimes we go a little too far and then we have to pull back. It helps to notice, “We have too much going on here. We have too much stuff in the kitchen or in the garage.” We deal with it, as opposed to throwing up your hands and surrendering what’s the good of that. I definitely agree that it pays to pay attention.

There’s so much we can get off into when it comes to decluttering. Even in your mind, you have to guard what you allow in because that can clutter one of your most important assets or your thoughts and your beliefs. When you start letting all of this other nonsense, then a lot of times, I see a correlation for myself. If I let too much go on that’s not in my highest and greatest good and is not on the path I was supposed to be on, then I see that manifest in my world physically. All of a sudden, something simple as like my workspace gets to be these enormous menaces and there are tasks that I don’t finish. I get cluttered in my mind, then my desk physically gets cluttered. There are all these things. Instead of it going smoothly, “I’m behind on this and I got to get this project done. I got to get working on these ads or these emails.” I’m like, “I’m done. I’m going to watch a movie and I check out and don’t do anything.”

The opposite is true too. If you are feeling super frazzled, go clean something up. Don’t put away the laundry. If you can’t think, and you’re like, “My head is spinning,” go do something mindless. Go wash the dishes, clean up the living room because putting things in order will help your head get ordered. It can go both ways.

When we have nicer weather, if it’s not pouring or hot that I walk outside and I’m pouring sweat. The water coming down is from me, not this guy. I go out in my yard and I’ll either sit in my hammock or doing a little bit of weeding or trimming. That helps get out of that spin and funk that I put myself in, because all this stuff that I created in my mind and on my desk, because I did it. Getting out and doing something different helps to shift it and get you back. My mom started me young on chores and certain things to do because she worked. She had two daughters. My dad worked and it was once we were old enough, it was like, “Here’s your chore list for the week.” How did you get started? You have four boys. You had to keep some things in order to have some stress less existence. How did you get started on helping people learn that freeing feeling and it was easy and attainable to have a clutter less life?

Decluttering School: Be careful what you allow inside your mind because that can clutter one of your most important assets.

We have four boys and we used to homeschool. Not only did we have the kids’ stuff, we had the homeschool stuff. I spent a lot of time trying to run around behind everybody, clean up and train those kids. Not just train them, they need the right chore chart or we need some magic baskets. Maybe that’ll solve the problem. We need more storage. None of that works if you have too much stuff. The problem is not that the baskets don’t match and that the kids need to know a little bit more because the kids don’t care, they’re busy digging in the backyard. The problem is that there’s too much stuff. Once I discovered that, I was like, “This is amazing. This is going to be much easier.” The answer is not to get more organized.

Organization is super important, but that’s not the first step. Once I discovered that, everything fell into place for me. I started doing it in our home and then I started teaching it. I had a blog and I started teaching it to my readers and they liked the way I broke it down. If you have a bunch of little kids, you don’t have time to spend all weekend or all month perfectly organizing and decluttering the basement. You got to do it in little bite-size pieces. There’s much room for grace with ourselves. We’re just humans. We have to remember that when we’re trying to clean up. People liked the way I talk about things and they had success. That’s how we got started.

They say, “The best teachers are those that are doing it and doing it well themselves.” You did this well and realize what work and thought, “I’m a mom. These kids are also at home. If this works for me, it’s bound to work.” The cool thing is you don’t have to be a mom. You can be like, “I don’t have the two-legged variety of kids. I have the four legged.” When you look at my house, in my den, my husband and I laugh, and say, “Thank God they allow us to live here.” Just because they have their own little beds, quite a few of those toys and specific blankets because they only like the soft blankets.

They’re not great at picking up their toys either, are they?

No. Whether you have two-legged kids, four-legged kids or you have a big two-legged kid, my husband is 6’4”, I have a big two-legged child. Sometimes as a wife, you look at little things like that and go, “How did you miss the basket when the basket is right there?” You put the dish next to the sink and yet it’s an inch over what would have been in the sink, which is clean. Also, decluttering for me, there was little things that I had with his stuff and go, “Is it worth in a relationship?” Relationship to you, your space and clutter.

Relationship with you, your husband, his stuff and your stuff, is it worth the time and the frustration and the argument to talk about that or to go, “It’ll be less time if I move the dish over, be done with it and not be frustrated.” I can see that in a whole lot of other areas too, instead of seeing a pile, because sometimes I will look at a pile and go, “I can’t believe I put that there. I can’t believe I didn’t look at it when it came in.” It’s berating. It’s getting frustrated like you know t’s going to take you longer to go through that pile, how many times are you going to do this? Stop the cluttery chatter. Do the thing, and then get in the habit to not keep doing it. That’s not always the easiest.

Habits and routines are huge. It is hard to create those habits. What you said is important like, “Maybe I’ll put that dish in the sink.” People ask me all the time, “How do I get my husband on the board? How do I get these kids to let go of their toys?” I’m like, “I have bad news for you. You do not try to convince them, but I also have good news because if you are in a house with a lot of stuff, my guess is that you have some things you could deal with too.” When we look at our own stuff, we’re like, “I know what’s in that pile. I know what’s in the pallets. It’s not a big deal.” His pile on the other hand, that is a big deal. How could he possibly walk past it? We have different relationship to our stuff versus his. It’s easy to dismiss someone else’s stuff either because we think it’s a pain or it’s a problem or we don’t even see our own stuff.

[bctt tweet=”“Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor. It’s anything that stands in between you and the life you want to be living.” – Peter Walsh” via=”no”]

The other thing is if you are new to decluttering or if you’ve been doing it for a while, you weren’t always a decluttered minimalist person to realize that maybe the person that you’re hoping will come on board. Maybe they’re not there yet, but it doesn’t mean they won’t. The coolest thing, this happened over and over again, people will come in our membership and they’ll say, “It’s a miracle. I did what you said. I didn’t nag. I didn’t drop little hints. All I did was work on my own stuff. Would you believe that my husband did the pantry? He said, ‘Can we go through my T-shirts together.’ It happens all the time.” I always say, “I’m not going to promise you that they’re going to come on board, but don’t be surprised if they do, because it does happen.” When people are free to join you and when they can choose to join you, then they’re much more likely as opposed to us trying to drag them along with us.

That never works with anything when you try and force someone if they’re not ready. No matter what it is, to change a diet, an addictive habit, because in all honesty clutter, a lot of times is a habit. You’re trying to cover up, minimalize, or you’re having to be busy that maybe you do need to address something and go, “I need to outsource other things so I can deal with this.” I noticed too with my husband. Sometimes some of this comes with the longer you’re together. The older we get, you realize, “It’s not worth the energy of the fight or the frustration.” When I started working on a lot of my own stuff, my health, and also things in my world, be there and say, “I honor you where you are. If you want to do the same thing, I’m doing great. If not, I love you. Even if you are a hot, crazy cluttered mess.”

Give them space to be themselves. It’s cool how a lot of times when you honor you, your space and your time that all of a sudden, they go, “Wow.” They then walk into honoring themselves by doing the thing that you hope they would, anyway. It’s a win-win all the way around. I want to know what does happiness mean to you in Sarah’s world? Is happiness a clean space? Is it having a wonderful thriving business that supports you and your family, whatever you guys want to do, or is there something else? What does happiness to you look like and mean?

It’s the things that we can all have now. For me, I adore sitting. In the morning I get up early. The nice thing lately is my kids don’t go to school with the shutdowns. We have a slow morning. I drink coffee, take care of my plants and read some books. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a wonderful way to start the day and I set myself up for a super busy day. Someone had asked if I had a vision board and I was like, “Not really.” She said, “Did you imagine what life would be when you had your business, where it is now?” I was like, “What motivates me is hearing from people like, ‘I adore that.’ That makes me freaking happy.” When someone emails and says, “You’ve changed my life.” This happens a lot. I love it. Relationships and time that’s all where it’s at. Sometimes use declutter to push that stuff away. That’s what makes me happy.

It makes me happy to know because you have such a heart for helping people. It’s the little things, it’s not these big, huge ordeals or these big, huge switches. It makes me think too, when I first started on my holistic health journey. My holistic nutritionist has given me a list of things and said, “These are the things that you need to get out of your diet.” It says ten things. She said, “I realize, it’s a lot at once. Do one a week until you’re comfortable getting it out and then add the next one in.”

Here’s the way I do things, when you tell me, “Get all this out, I came home that day and got all ten out of my pantry. My fridge got rid of it.” I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was ready for a big change. I know that doesn’t work for most people. They need the small incremental steps to have these little wins and to get it out. Hearing someone say how happy they were with cleaning out a sock drawer because it’s not just a sock drawer, it is always other things attached. You clean a physical sock drawer and then you get something else in your mind, your body cleaned out. It starts to snowball into this wonderful, amazing life that you go, “I didn’t think even six months ago I could have this.”

I want to know if you’re willing to share what is a fun fact about Sarah that people may not realize by looking at you?

Decluttering School: It never works to try to force someone to build decluttering habits if they’re not ready.

I’m fluent in German. I studied in Germany for a year in college. My first business was selling German language books.

I want to learn two languages and I don’t know very much at all. Unfortunately, my dad’s side of the family were from Germany. I was adopted and those are my adopted sides and my mom’s side came from Czechoslovakia. I want to learn some different languages. Do you secretly get a thrill when you see a pile of stuff or whatever it is in your house? I’m sure every now and again, there’s a pile of something. Do you get this little devilfish speaker thrill when you see a pile that you’re like, “I’ve got to be doing that, I’ve got to declutter?”

It depends on what mood I’m in, but I do look around like, “Can we get rid of some of these things? What can go?” It becomes addictive, because when you start out, you want to hold onto those things for dear life like, “Don’t take my stuff.” When you realize how good it’d be you get a little dopamine hit at letting things go, and then you start feeding on that empty space. It doesn’t happen right away, but it can be motivating. It gives you a little hit. I do like to look around and go, “What can I get rid of? Can some of this furniture go?”

It makes me think too back to when I had the cleaning service, it’s the little things like cleaning a room and then if it has carpet, vacuuming out of that room and there’s no footprints and it’s like, the whole room is clean. When you look at the floor you see the lines in the carpet. That was the best thing ever. If one of my employees, if I was there and they walked across that carpet and put footprints, it was like, “You get that vacuum and you go right back over there because we’re not going to put footprints in it.” It makes it feel like it’s finished and it’s final.

The cool thing here like you talked about how it gave you joy to hear people respond and say, “This changed my life. Your simple steps were amazing.” When people would tell me, “We are not cooking tonight because the house is clean. We are going out because it looks good.” It’s feeling like, “You gave someone a little space to relax and enjoy their life.” That gave them a stress-free moment. That’s priceless.

That’s what we’re looking for is how are we feeling. That is important.

Sarah, thank you for being here and chatting with me about all things decluttering. We could have obtained the conversations and still only scratch the surface of what you’re able to do and help people with. It was my absolute pleasure having you here. You might even have a link that you’re going to share with us that they can do a little something or get started?

[bctt tweet=”Wouldn’t it be amazing for everybody to open their ears more often than they open their mouth?” via=”no”]

We have some free ten-minute decluttering challenges and people love them. They’re super fun. It’s a perfect way to get started.

As we wrap up our conversation, one of the things I always like to do is have a little dollop of Dorci to end everything. This one is in honor of you, Sarah, and it’s about clutter. “Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor, it’s anything that stands in between you and the life you want to be living.” That’s from Peter Walsh. Think about that the life that you want to be living, and that is divinely meant for you is right there between you and declutter and it is possible. We’re going to say goodbye only for now. Don’t worry. We’ll have some more chats with her in the future. We’re going to say hello to some good news stories. It’s that time for me to say that I’m feeling some way and I’m feeling like I need a good news story in my day.

Doesn’t that little ukulele jingle jazz make you want to smile and tap your feet? It feels good. It makes you feel happy. At least I know it makes me feel happy. I hope it put a nice little smile on your face. This good news story comes to us from Ohio. A single dad adopts five siblings so they can stay together. His name is Robert Carter and he officially became the father of Marionna, MaKayla, Robert Giovanni and Kiontae. As someone who spent time himself in foster care, he says he knows first-hand how it feels to be removed from your biological home and then separated from your siblings. When he was twelve, he went into foster care in Ohio, and didn’t see some of his younger siblings for years. He was later granted custody of his younger sister and guardianship of his younger brother.

When permanent custody was awarded to JFS, the five siblings were already placed in three different foster homes. Mr. Carter was the only foster parent who was willing and able to adopt all of the children. His childhood background, made him aware of the importance of keeping siblings together. He says that he enjoys being their father and that parenting them is easier than he could have ever imagined. I’m not sure that a lot of parents are like, “What? Five kids, easy. What is wrong with this fellow?” His life is busy with a lot of love, laughter and the obvious loudness. He’s enjoyed working with the foster homes, the adoption agency and witnessing the children bond as siblings. He says, he understands how they feel, what they went through.

It touched him. He was already thinking about adopting all the kids together. When he saw them crying, he was like, “I’m going to take off five to keep them together.” He talks to them every night and make sure that he lets them know, “I’m your dad forever. I know what it’s like. I’m always here for you.” Little Marionna warmed up since the very beginning when he first met her. He says at first, she did not like him much. She walked into his room one night and said, “I want to say thanks for taking us in and taking care of us when our real mom couldn’t.” He says it touched him because making memories and letting them know he’s there and that they never have to go is the best ever and he’s here for them, no matter what.

If that doesn’t make your heart happy and feel good, knowing that there are such good people still in this world, I don’t know what else will. I’m telling you that made my little adopted heart go pitter patter. I’m going to end with Dorci’s final thought for this episode is, breaking up is apparently very easy to do. In the conversation, myself and Sarah, we didn’t agree on some things. We had a civil conversation. I learned a thing or two and realized, “She had some hustle, valid points in what she was talking about.” That’s the awesome thing when you listen and don’t always agree with someone. Yet agreed to disagree and carry on the conversation.

I’m saying that because unless you’re living under a freaking rock, you know that 2020 has been the year of everything chaotic, crazy. We had an election on top of it and all of the crazies, the nasties, the know it all and the, “If you don’t vote or think like me, we can’t be friends.” People have been out and about as annoying as a summer day in Texas full of gnats. If you have ever been to Texas on a summer day, when the gnats are crazy, you’ll know how annoying that is. You can’t even open your mouth without them flying in they’re in hordes. They try and fly up your nose. They’re the most annoying, disagreeable little bug on the planet. Here’s something else I’ve never been able to understand and find as annoying is when did we become dead gum and flexible that we cannot stand to have another human being disagree with the way that we believe?

Decluttering School: Don’t always agree with someone yet; agree to disagree and carry on the conversation.

Why does it have to be my way or the highway or your way or the highway? It honestly boggles my mind. I’ve seen many people say, “If you don’t vote or believe this way, then we cannot be friends. Delete me. You have no morals. You’re not a human. You don’t need to be breathing.” I’m like, “Are you freaking five?” It’s like listening to toddlers on a playground like, “Jenny, I love you so much. You’re my best friend. Can I have that ball please?” She says, “No, Kelly. It’s my turn and my ball.” You’re like, “I hate you. You’re not my friend at all anymore. I’m going home and Susan is now my bestest friend. Leave me alone forever and ever. Don’t ever speak to me again.” That’s exactly what it feels like.

Jenny and Kelly are going to be back on the playground tomorrow and most likely, they’re going to be best friends because that’s the way a lot of kids do for crying out loud. I’m not getting older. I’m just getting wiser. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I would rather have a discussion than a rant fist. If you can talk to me rather than at me, I’m game for pretty much any kind of conversation. The problem in my opinion comes in when we’re not fully vested in having a conversation, rather we’re more concerned with being right and making the other person believe exactly the way that we believe, because in our mind, that’s the only way to believe, to be, to do and to have.

It’s amazing how often this occurs when you watch other people have conversations. When you do play that fly on the wall type of person and listen and look, you can tell they’re totally not listening to each other. They are each simply listening. It’s like they’re volleying for time in the conversation waiting to get in so they can jump back in with their point of view and feelings. Almost like tag team wrestling. They’re trying to get back in and get their point of view across. Wouldn’t it be amazing to open your ears more often than you open your mouth? Do you ever think about that? I think about that a lot when I see people spewing the hate, they spew on social media. Let’s get this straight, it’s on both sides of the political party.

It’s not one of the other. I see it both ways and it’s disgusting either way because we have completely lost the art of conversation and the fine art of listening. You might find that simply listening to what someone else is saying to you. It’s not only interesting. You learn something new. You discovered more about a subject than you knew going into the conversation, or you can simply agree to disagree and all three are fabulous. Yet you miss all of them when you’re trying your best to voice your opinion as loudly or louder than your companion. I’m going to get a little bit touchy here. I’m going to be real because if you’re the type of person who allows friendships to fall away easily, then why would anyone want to be a friend to you in the first place?

If breaking a friendship, however or whenever it was formed is that easy, then please allow me to be the first to tell you that it says a lot more about you than it does the other person. I’d rather we agree to not even become friends in the first place if that’s how easily you break off relationships, if that’s how little you value me, my time, what I bring to the relationship, to the conversation. Don’t even be a friend to me in the first place because you are wasting my time and you’re taking up valuable oxygen that I could be breathing without you in my proximity. I’ve had many and uncomfortable conversation with people over my life. Looking back, I realize that it was in those uncomfortable conversations that I learned much about myself when I was smart enough to listen, learn and look back. I was for a long time, one of those people that wanted or more to the point, had to be right and had to hammer it home.

I had to get my point across regardless. Honestly, what I enjoy now is about all the work that I’ve done on myself is that I’ve learned the art of listening and enjoying what the other person is saying and being in the conversation rather than around the conversation. There are many times that what I thought I wanted to say is nowhere near what I ended up saying, because I’m in the conversation actively participating, not frantically trying to remember what I wanted to say, to prove a point. Honestly, it’s a much more relaxing conversation. It’s a lot less stressful because it flows more organically and it’s not forced and you can tell that there’s give and take in the conversation.

I honestly encourage you to try it sometimes. I’m hoping that you start to notice when you are jumping into the conversation before the other person is even finished talking, and then you realize how rude that is. It’s no doubt going to blow you away at how often you do this and you cut other people off because it was shocking to me. I was like, “I couldn’t believe how much I tried to hog the conversation.” I make sure that I don’t do that. I do get excited. I cannot lie. Sometimes I jump into conversations before it’s done, because I can get excited. Although, I’m getting better about saying, “I am sorry. I interrupted. Please continue,” because it is rude to do that, to jump into a conversation or cut someone off before they’re finished speaking.

They might say something freaking cool that you weren’t even aware of why you were trying to speak over them. I invite you to begin using what talk softly, listen, actively plan now, and like everything new, it’s not easy at first. It’s going to be a little touchy, a little ouchy, you’re going to stumble. You’re going to catch yourself jumping headlong into the conversation, long before you should. You’ll find everything else that you do with practice, that it does get easier and conversations will become much more enjoyable and more people will enjoy having conversations with you, all because you’ve listened rather than bulldozed over them with your beliefs. I wish all of you, active relationships, conversations, chockfull of awesome nuggets and few breakups this rest of this crazy 2020 year.

Let’s enjoy the rest of it because we’re here, you’re still breathing, you’re still 6 feet above ground, or however tall you are, instead of 6 feet under. Breaking up should be one of the hardest things we ever do, not the easiest. True friendships are hard to find it. You should want to be the friend that others would never ever want to leave. As much as I don’t want to leave you and, in the show, it’s time to close for now and to say that that is it for this episode. I am happy that you are here. Make sure you come back often to the show page so you can find out when new episodes are dropping.

You can read and listen along on any platform that you prefer and make sure that if you enjoyed this, which I am hoping wholeheartedly that you did, that you share it out to your heart’s content. My wish for you, as always, until next time is that each and every one of you are happy. You are freaking healthy and having a ton of fun in this life that you are living and creating. My biggest Texas love and hugs to each and every one of you. Bye for now.

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About Sarah Mueller

I’m Sarah, creator of Early Bird Mom, mom to four of the most rambunctious boys you will ever meet.

Upbeat encourager of overwhelmed women, Sarah Mueller founded and authors the blog Early Bird Mom, which offers guidance on decluttering and organizing. Sarah—the mom of four boys—also created two highly-popular Facebook communities, Decluttering Club and Declutter My Home, where she motivates members to pare down and tidy up. Facebook recently recruited Mueller to help them pilot their new Subscription Groups program with her new brainchild, Organize My Home, a targeted training group that gives tools to organize and clean cluttered spaces

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