In this episode I address several listener dilemmas by first showing how they all have to do with battling the feeling of overwhelm. When I asked you what your biggest struggle was when it came to your homes, you said not enough time, loads of clutter, and too many choices! Not to mention a lack of confidence. Today, I talk about three ways to deal with feeling overwhelmed so you can get unstuck and start living a beautiful life in the homes you have right now!
Hello, and welcome to the Style. Matters Podcast brought to you by little yellow couch. This show is for people who want to create a beautiful and meaningful home all while living your real life in your real home. I'm, Zandra your host. And I believe that how you set up your home can actually help you live your best life and how you set up and design and decorate your home.
That becomes your signature Style. If you're not sure where to start with that, take our quiz and find out what is the number one mistake that you are making in your home right now? Just go to little yellow couch.com and click on the yellow quiz button. Another way to get you on the right footing to creating your signature style is to join the Slow Style Society,
which will be opening up to new members. January 14th, 2021, stay tuned, signed up for our weekly emails, and you will be the first to know about it. All right. Let's get on with today's episode. Okay. So I'm going to be completely honest with you behind the scenes, that little yellow couch, and say that I have a completely unexpected episode today that I was not really prepared for.
And that is because plan a interview fell through and then plan B interview fell through for this week. And I had a couple of interviews and reserve that I could have put forward, but I had wanted to save them for different things at different times. So I decided not to do that. And instead I was trying to figure out, well, do I want to just skip this week?
Do I want to do a repeat of an older episode? That was great. Or do I want to try to put something together without a guest? Now I've just recently done one of these solo shows where it was just me and you. And so it's not really time for another one yet, but at the same time, I thought, okay, I don't want to just not have an episode this week.
So what can I do? And I decided to just look through, again, some of the responses that I got to a recent survey that I put out to everyone who is on the little yellow couch, mailing list, anyone who gets the, the email newsletter. And I asked you guys, what was your biggest struggle right now when it comes to your home?
And I got, I got a lot of responses, which I was very excited about because it gave me a lot of ideas for what kind of content to produce. But I also just loved connecting with you guys in that way. And so I thought what I would do today, again, unplanned unprepared is just talk about one of the big that came up.
One of the big struggles, and there were several to choose from. Here's what you guys said. You said you were feeling overwhelmed issues with clutter, with time, with confidence issues with your spouse, which by the way, I am going to be airing an episode that has to do with talking with your spouse or the rest of your family, your partner,
with decisions that need to be made around the house. I actually found a fabulous psychologist and marriage therapist type person that is going to come on the show and talk about that stuff. That's actually one of the episodes that fell through this week, but she, she had a family emergency. She's lovely. I cannot wait for you to hear from her, but it was not happening today.
But anyway, so that's coming down the pike and then I thought, okay, well, what else could I address? What else could I address today? Just sort of off the cuff for you guys, based on some of the struggles that you were having. And I was looking through the main ones and thinking, you know, they're all kind of related clutter choices,
confidence, lack of time. A lot of it can all be pointed back to feelings of overwhelm, right? And of course it can also come from being on this treadmill of having to put out whatever little fire is demanding your immediate attention, right? I'm talking about everything from a deadline that your boss has just surprised you with to an unexpected dishwasher breakdown,
or, you know, your, your teenager says, Oh, I I've got a science project due. I don't have any supplies. And by the way, I have to turn it in tomorrow, lots of little fires we're always putting out and, and all of this takes its toll, but really designing and maintaining a home. It's like any big project,
you got to figure out what order to do things in. And they're just do the first thing on the list of the first priority. So if your main struggle right now is a feeling of overwhelm, let's first figure out if it's really about time, lack of time, if it's about clutter, or if it's about having too many choices, otherwise known as decision-making and any of those things all lead back to feelings of overwhelm.
So let's start with time. As in, you don't have enough of it to spend on making things look better in your home, then the idea of transforming a whole room or researching and buying the right furniture. Yeah. It's going to feel overwhelming and that's understandable, but here's the real problem with not having enough time. It's you might then develop a habit of putting things off and living with what doesn't work and what doesn't feel good.
And when you do that over and over again, those issues pile up and five years from now, you've kind of lost touch with what it is. You actually love. You stop knowing yourself, and then you no longer trust your gut. And you can easily start to believe that you don't have the expertise to make design decisions. And all of that is pretty bad.
So allowing yourself to repeat the story in your head over and over again, I don't have time. I don't have a time. I don't have time. I'm not saying there's not truth in that. I totally get that. There are a lot of little fires to put out and that you're doing a million things, but telling yourself, you don't have time to give to your home and to pay attention to what it looks like for your own sake.
I'm not talking about to make it look good for others. You know that, but just neglecting your home in general, it's going to not be bad just in the moment. It's going to be bad because your future self is going to then have lots of experience moving away from who you truly are and what it is you truly love. And then it's a long crawl back to figure those things out.
So my suggestion here would be something that you probably have done in other aspects of your life. Look at your week, figure out when you have 30 minutes, just 30 minutes. And depending on the time of day, you probably want to pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and just choose one thing that you'd like to change.
Just one smell area of a room that's been bothering you, and just sit there with your beverage, look at it and just think about some options for what you could do differently. Maybe it's a more attractive container that you need so that you can hide some ugly stuff. Maybe it's a flow issue where you need to move furniture around and get rid of a chair here or bringing a side table over there.
Maybe it's a color issue where you like to set a brighter or moodier mood, or maybe it's a lack of personal touch where you want to finally hang some art or dust off and highlight your grandmother's China. And after you have this idea, whatever it is, all you have to do for the rest of the half hour is two things list. The next steps that you need to take to execute the idea and figure out when you're going to do that and literally open up your calendar and pencil in time for your next step.
Just the next step. Not all the steps, because that's what gets you into that feeling of overwhelm just the next step. And the key here is to keep these activities very small, try for half hour increments, which is really plenty time to do many things. And that way, what you're doing is you are getting into the habit of paying attention to your home and how it's making you feel and not just ignoring whatever it is that is really bothering you because ignoring it really,
it's sort of like our default mode and it's very easy to fall into that trap. And believe me, I've done it many times too. All right, let's move on and say that you're feeling overwhelmed because of clutter and listen. I actually think it's hard to do much else in our homes when we've got the clutter monster on our backs. And of course we all know clutter only gets more overwhelming.
The more we ignore it. So just like breaking down our limited, free time into small increments, you'll want to do the same thing with clutter. Unless of course you have an entire weekend set aside where you've got your whole family on board and just do this massive garage or basement junk, clean out that that's, that's awesome. But if you don't have that,
let's just start with an area of your home that you can then break down even further into bite sized tasks. So for example, it might be as small as just a cluttering, your kitchen drawer. And that's just the drawer. Recently. I have my own experience with this. I was, I was going through my cutlery drawer. Now it had been bothering me for months.
All of my knives were in there loose, which is the worst thing you can do for your blades. And they were tossed in with an egg slicer and my wine openers and chopsticks, and God knows what else, ice cream scoops. And I put off dealing with it because I didn't know where I was going to put all this stuff. So I felt like there wasn't a better solution.
So I just ignored it. I didn't spend any time thinking about it. I didn't spend a moment going. Hmm. What can I move around? What can I do differently? I, I just ignored it. But then I was, I was feeling so guilty about ruining my knives that I finally decided, okay, this is going to be my weekend project checked.
But of course the good news is it didn't take an entire weekend. It took half an hour. I pulled everything out. I sorted like things with like, and I got rid of stuff that I had not used in over a year, even if it was the coolest kitchen gadget ever. If I hadn't used it in over a year, it was going in the donation bin.
And then I was on a run to target, which I did not make a special run to target. I just was already going there for other things that I need to stock up on. And while I was there, I grabbed a bamboo drawer, divider thingy, and I got home. I put the drawer divider thingie in the drawer, and I put like things with like separating everything out,
making them easier to find. So it wasn't rifling through the entire drawer every time. And the only thing that I didn't pull were the knives, because I still didn't have a very good solution for keeping those blades sharp. So then I took about 10 minutes to look through countertop knife holder things on Amazon. And I ordered one. So that huge decluttering project that I had thought I needed an entire weekend to do.
It ended up being not so huge at all. Okay. But notice, I didn't say that I decided I was going to declutter the entire kitchen. I didn't go through all of the cabinets. I didn't go through all the pantry items and I didn't go through all the serving ware and serving dishes that I've piled up for the holidays. I just did one drawer.
And that I think is how to declutter pretty much anything and everything. Because when you only do one small thing at a time, you spread it out over a longer period of time. And then all of a sudden it becomes more of like a weekly kind of habit. It's not something that you just do once a year or once every five years, depending on your tolerance level for glitter.
It's something that just becomes a part of how you maintain your home. And finally, what if you were feeling of overwhelm is coming from having too many choices and the pressure to make decisions more specifically the pressure to make the quote unquote right decision so that you don't waste time and money. Well, this is a big one, but it's really an issue of allowing yourself to step back and evaluate what you want,
what you love and what you need. And what's realistic, which then is connected to another struggle that I heard a lot from you guys, which is a lack of confidence. Now there's no magic answer for this, or at least there's no answer. That's as simple as breaking things down into manageable bite-size tasks, like the last two examples. And that's because finding your footing when it comes to design and making decisions with confidence,
it takes practice. But by practice, I just mean time spent looking at inspiration and then time spent thinking about how to translate that inspiration into your own home situation. And then time spent trying things out to see how they make you feel. Now. I just mentioned a lot of time in there, right? Well, as you can probably guess my way of dealing with all of this stuff that takes all this time,
it's all wrapped up in the philosophy of Slow Style because this is not something that you do in a weekend. It's not something that you do in an hour or a half an hour when you're practicing Slow Style, you are regularly paying attention to what is beautiful and interesting and stimulating to you to you. You're filing it away in your memory banks, or sometimes you're literally filing things away in folders or on Pinterest,
so that you're developing a bank of inspiration resources to pull from when you do need to make a decision. Now, let me be clear here. I am not talking about filing way pictures of products that you like. That's fine. That's a, there's a place for that, but that, that is a different activity and has a different purpose. I am talking about a bank of memories,
either literal or in your mind that hold photos and drawings and poems and concert tickets, et cetera, et cetera, all associated with the things that make you feel alive. And if you pay attention to those things on a regular ongoing basis, when it's time to choose a paint color, or a couch, or even a dish towel, you'll already be so far along in the path of decision-making because you'll have done the legwork of knowing who you are and what's making you tick at this particular point in your life.
So even if you appreciate a home, that's filled with loads of texture and gallery walls and dark saturated wall colors, and that whole boho vibe, you know about yourself. But the last time you felt truly happy was when you were at that restaurant that was filled with sunlight, hitting white plaster walls, and that they had these simple handmade bowls and linen napkins.
And so, you know, you're going to choose those kinds of materials over velvet or boot clay, or costume jewelry, napkin rings that have a lot of hard edges to them. You may have several memories of seeing homes or being in restaurants or hotels that are, that are that first version, right? The saturated colors and the, and the lots of stuff and the,
the, the, the maximalism kind of thing. And you, and you loved it. You loved it for a night or a weekend, but then you have another memory of a different experience where everything was much more soft and neutral and everything that you, that you touched felt like it melted in your hands, and you hold those two memories, those two experiences in your mind,
and you say, which one feels more like me, or which one feels like what I would want to experience on a daily basis, not just for a special occasion. And then you start to have your answer, Oh, well, now I know which dish towel I'm going to choose. It's going to be the soft, natural one, right. Or,
you know, which couch you're going to choose, or, you know, if, whether or not you're going to do a gallery wall, or you're just going to get one big painting and not a lot of small objects. So yeah, I don't have a quick solution for feeling overwhelmed with choices, but my solution is at least simple, right? It's just to pay attention,
pay attention to your heartbeat when you're experiencing everyday life. And when your heartbeat quickens make note of what you're seeing and what you're touching, what you're smelling and store that away for when you need inspiration. And so that brings me back to this idea of practice. Slow Style is a practice it's about incorporating your, your sensory experience into your everyday thoughts and making note of things,
filing them away and paying attention to who you are and how you respond to your environment. So I hope this episode has been helpful. Again, I am just being completely honest with you. Sorry to say that I don't have one of my planned interviews to share with you, but I will next week. And in the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful week.
If you have a chance, let me know how you felt about this episode, in terms of me addressing some of the big struggles that were coming out in that survey that I sent out to all of you that are on the weekly email list. And let me know if you're taking any action on anything I would love to know. And I expect those actions to be really small,
really small, not big ones, really small. All right. If you have not had a chance, please go to Lidl yellow couch.com and take the quiz to find out what the number one mistake is that you're making in your home. And you will get a couple of emails in response to that. That just gives you some ideas of where to get started,
depending on kind of where you're stuck in your life right now. So that's all sort of related to what we were just talking about. And also if you have a chance to rate us on iTunes, or, Oh, sorry, Apple podcasts, we've switched over iTunes apparently doesn't exist anymore, but seriously, your, your ratings on iTunes and your comments,
Apple podcasts, sorry, again, they really, first of all, I read them all and I loved reading them, but they really do matter because they help other people who are obsessed with their homes, find this podcast. And so that's how we have been able to grow and we'll continue to grow. All right, take care. I will be back in your earbuds next week. Bye for now.