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EpisodesGuest InterviewSeason 3

Unpacking Clutter: Setting Boundaries to Simplify

Episode 62 | April 2, 2024

Star Hansen, Certified Professional Organizer (CPO©) and Clutter Whisperer joins us to talk about how our clutter may be trying to help us set boundaries we don't even know we need. Let's explore what they might mean and how we can better communicate and keep our spaces organized.

Listen in as Star talks about reasons our clutter serves us, how to uncover it's purpose and ways to get organized that aren't too overwhelming.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 


Star Hansen is a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO©) and Clutter Whisperer on a mission to help you banish your personal Clutter Monster, take control of your stuff, and create a life you’re truly proud of. She has appeared on over 30 TV shows, given a TEDx talk, and shared her fitted sheet folding secrets with Oprah & her fans. Her unique methodology has helped thousands of people get (and stay!) organized when nothing else worked.
Key Takeaways

“What if our clutter is trying to tell us something?”

[00:02:24] The significance of clutter

  • How is your clutter benefitting you?
    • It can be Communication
    • Protection
    • Security or to Feel Safe

“I consider myself a clutter whisperer because I am looking at how you’re using your clutter to benefit you in some way.”

[00:07:27] Clutter and its emotional roots

  • Excuses to not have other people around or make it more difficult for someone to break in your house
  • Use your clutter as data, track what message the clutter is sending you

“It’s such a fine line, because we are living at a time where things are so expensive that people are going without.”

  • Letting clutter continue to serve your purpose for now and find better avenues as time goes on
  • Really dig into why all the clutter exists

“Imagine it’s good. Imagine it’s doing something positive for you because the natural societal take is that it’s bad and you should be ashamed if you have it and hide it.”

[00:14:20] Clutter as a sign of trauma

  • It CAN be why clutter exists
  • Making sure that you that can be alternative options but they still have to work for your life and your brain

“clutter is not a defect. It can sometimes be a defense mechanism.”

  • It can feel threatening to even face the clutter, sometimes people don’t even mention this to therapists
  • Bite size, less daunting tasks that will feel empowering are a better place to start than an entire room

“it just is super helpful and reorganizing your socks or doing your junk drawer can actually make you feel empowered in other areas of your life.

[00:20:16] Overcoming clutter and perfectionism

  • Just do something – could be three minutes a day to your favorite song
  • Not creating an entire huge plan
  • Ask 3 questions
    • What do I want to do in this space?
    • How do I want this space to look?
    • How do I want this space to feel?
  • Start where is the most fun
  • Include family – do things with kids/partners so everyone can buy in so their needs and perspective are included

[00:29:30] Comparison is the thief of joy

  • Our childhoods vs today, we have SO much more stuff
    • It takes superhuman skill to remain minimalist in this day in age
    • Gifts, mailers, “things” are just everywhere and accumulate like crazy
  • Social media – people are constantly sharing unattainable views of their homes, lives, closets, etc.
    • This often times isn’t even true

“Please remember, no one, no one is on there being like, look at my normal life.”

  • TV Shows – These are for reactions

“If you welcome me into your home in the middle of baking a pie and there’s flour everywhere and ingredients out, I feel like part of your family. I feel special. I feel embraced.”

  • Being yourself, living in your home is the normal and natural space is how we are meant to live

“And there is no kinder, more loving expression of how you feel about me than if you really live your life genuinely in front of me and with me.”

[00:34:16] Learning the 10 organizing steps

  • OrganizingIsEasy.Com
  • Pick a room, set your intentions – ask 3 questions
  • Create broad categories, take no actions – then make decisions in smaller categories
  • What supports your life in how, where, and why you need items

“A common organizing falsity is only have one home for everything.”

[00:38:39] Emotional attachment to belongings

  • How to know when and when not to let go – tips for what mindset to have?

“What I love about when Marie Kondo said, you know, does it spark joy? Is that it was probably the first time in the clutter conversation that you mattered, that your opinion, feelings, and needs mattered.”

[00:42:31] The power of curiosity

  • Why do I have so many of these?
    • Does this work?
    • Are these important to me?
    • Do I use them often?
  • Try to be less judgmental with yourself

“I could offer people is look at your clutter with curiosity and not judgment.”

“Say no to the stuff that you don’t need to make room for the yeses you already have and need to organize.”

“I think that living a full and thriving life is sometimes messy and it’s preferable to living in a perfect Pinterest worthy house.”

Where to Find Star

FREE BOOK! Why The F*#@ Am I Still Not Organized? by Star Hansen

Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues
  • Videographer, Kae Holmberg