EP79: Minimalish with Carly Adams of Tidy Revival
Carly and I talked about the concept of the good enough tidy a couple of episodes ago and she gave us five tips. I am a client of Carly's and a long-time fan. And so in our very many hours that we have spent together over the last couple of years, we have talked about this concept that is very popular. It's a niche topic, but it is very popular amongst a certain aspect of the population and that is minimalism.
Tami: Welcome back Carly. I'm so glad you're here.
Carly: Thank you so much for having me, Tammy.
Tami: Okay. If you haven't heard Carly and episode 16 and episode, whatever it was two weeks ago, Carly's back tar Carly from tidy revival. So Carly, if people, this is our first time listening, can you give us a little background on who you are and what you do?
Carly: name is Carly Adams and I am a professional organizer. I live here in Sacramento, California, just like you and I work with women to help them create simple solutions. Using decluttering is the foundation of organization.
Tami: Okay. Carla and I talked about the concept of the good enough tidy.
Couple of episodes ago and she gave us five tips. And I did tell you. It works. I am a client of Carly's a long time fan. And so in our very many hours that we have spent together over the last couple of years, we have talked about this concept that is very popular. It's a niche topic, but it is very popular amongst a certain aspect of the population.
And I want to talk more about it. So I figured Carla and I have interesting conversations. Y'all should hear them too. So Carly, talk to me about minimalism. What does it mean to you? How did it come into your life? Tell me about. Minimalism.
Carly: Yeah. I'm going to say that, first of all, that I know that the word minimalism, for some people get really turned off by this word.
I was talking to to people on Instagram as I was preparing for this conversation. And I asked, you know, do you like the word minimal Lish a little bit more? And you know, I'm getting comments like, okay, that's more like it. Or other people are saying that they're really more about intentionality, but not necessarily the label of minimalism.
And I will say that about probably at least 90% of the people that I work with, both my clients and students don't want to be a minimalist. They don't want to necessarily have anything to do with that. As. As a concept for their home, but that's fine too. So I just want to preface this off with saying that I'm not trying to convert people to the ways of minimalism.
I do consider myself a minimalist and it does mean a lot to me, but the biggest thing has been a shift in thinking and really focusing on contentment versus never having enough.
Tami: I am so struck by this. So if you guys don't know there is this sort of, there's a movement, there's a podcast there's books and there are TV shows, there's movies.
And when I came up against this new concept, I just air quoted new concept about minimalism. I thought isn't that just like living within your means? Isn't that just like not. Taking more than your fair share. Is that kind of like what our grandparents did? Why are why is grandpa live in a, got this new name?
It's like, it's got a, yeah, true percent.
Carly: A hundred
Tami: percent. Right. And I was like, no, I mean, I was, I came out of the womb, like a depression era, grandma, since I was like, seriously, since I was little. So I'm like, wait a second. That thing that I kind of do naturally has a name. So, what do you think about this?
This rebranding of grandpa live in a I'm a fan. But I definitely did not. I will say that my grandma told me a lot about frugal living and she was, you know, a depression era child. And we had a lot of conversations about that. But growing up that wasn't really my jam. And especially as a young adult, I was more like if there's room on my credit card, I'm shopping.
Carly: And maybe I can't afford this restaurant, but you know, I'm only young once and I want to go out with my friends and I had a long week, so I deserve it. And I was just, it was really more about like, I want it, therefore I have it. I deserve it. Therefore, I'm going to have it. I can't afford it. That's not really the point.
And I want to shop shop til it drops.
Tami: So funny. I'm sitting here listening to you and I'm like, Oh, you're describing my mom. Who didn't actually grow up with depression, era parents. Right. And so I think she rebelled against that. And then I rebelled against her. Like let's do, there was a lot of yellow and I was like, no, Sandy there, isn't yellow.
Sorry. That's not how this works. Like, they're going to want us to pay for that later. Yeah. I don't need to get that
Tami: There's only so many days I'm going swimming this year. I don't need several suits. I'm not going on a Mexican cruise. But on the vacay where I need a new suit every day. So what was the thing.
What made it attractive to you after being like somebody who was like treat yourself
Carly: constantly? Yeah. I definitely made a huge shift in my life and I know I talk about this a lot, so I won't go into like the deep dive of the story, but long story short. I used to be a, an incredibly disorganized person in basically every aspect of myself, of my life.
And there came a point when I realized that I needed to make a change. And it was at that point that I knew that I needed to replace a couple of things I needed to replace my. Shopping habit, which I was doing as both like a I'm bored activity too. I want to pick me up activity to a social activity.
I needed to replace that in some way with something else and I needed to. Figure out a way to be content with what I had so that I wasn't constantly spending money. And I was also going down like this decluttering organizing rabbit hole, and it led me to learning more about minimalism. And I realized that I needed to kind of make some shifts if I wanted to have less clutter.
And if I wanted to have more money and these things all really went hand in hand. So I started doing things like. Using it up or letting it go instead of just buying a new thing. Like this is a silly example, but like mascara is like, I used to have like six mascara's, seven mascara's at a time because I have one, I use it for a little bit.
I'd get bored, I'd get a new one, use it for a little bit, whatever do you want? And I have this like constant selection. So now I'm using it, my mascara. And when I'm out of mascara or just about ass out of mascara, then I get a new mascara. If I get a mascara and I try something new and I hate it, I either suck it up and use it up, or I don't feel bad about it.
Let it go and get a different one. But having my favorite mascara versus six mascara's that I only sorta kinda like. Is like, that's just one example of like hundreds and made in my life that are all that same principle.
Tami: So interesting is I'm sitting here and I'm like, there was a time in my life. It was when I was a teenager that I was like, sure, I'll do my thing.
Cause we all have a thing. Right. We all have a thing where we're like apparently Carly has a mascara thing. Yeah. I say, are you ready for this? Striped t-shirts Oh, Twain. I had quite a collection it's like I had long sleeve, short sleeve v-neck button up. It was long sleeve t-shirts. And I had like, you know, you're talking about the fancy fold, like I had like rows and rows of these.
T-shirts like, okay. And again, how many damn t-shirts can one person where? And when I finally realized I was like, wait a second. I'm going into debt because I was getting that hit from getting a new t-shirt at target, or I'm getting this, I'm going into debt because I'm getting a hit from going to the gap with my friend, and then we're going to go out to lunch.
And I felt like at that time I had to get something to kind of be one of the guys to be like I'm fitting in. But it was in my early twenties that I was like, God it's really. And this is not for everyone. I'm not saying everyone should be debt-free, but I have to tell you, debt super keeps me up at night.
I'm a delicate flower when it comes to debt. And I was like, I need to get out of this. So I read a book called it's your money or your life. Oh,
Carly: wow. That's the best title I've ever heard. Have you read that book? No, but my book that is the same, like that same type of book for me was young, broken, fabulous by Susie
Okay. Okay. So it's funny because my book is by this woman named Vicky. I can't remember her last name, but at Vicky's something, sorry, Vicki. I forgot your last name. I'm gonna look you up. And this guy named Joe Domingas and what they talked about was This concept of your trading, your, what they call your life hours.
Because the time we have on earth between birth and death is finite. We don't know when it's going to end, but it does end and you spend your life hours. Trading your life hours for money, and then you're trading your money slash life hours for possessions. And so they had this big exercise of going through and figuring out exactly how many life hours that you were spending to earn the money, to buy the thing.
And once it was put in that terms, I was like, I am not going to trade two life hours. Cause it, it depends on how much the item is and how much you make per hour. I was like, I'm not going to spend two hours of my actual finite life for yet another Stripe t-shirt and it was shocking. It was like that lightning bolt moment where you're like I guess I'm not doing that anymore.
And from that moment on, I was like, okay, but how do I, I grew up in, you know, my, like I said, my mom was like, let's treat yourself. And so I've like had to switch gears a bit. And so that's what I called it because I couldn't figure out what it was called. Then it was the early nineties. And when I figured out was it was frugal living and thing that went by then was slow living or simple living, which is why that magazine real simple.
Does it for me, I'm like, yes, I am real simple. I don't want to have such expensive stuff in there but it was crazy where it was like the switch where I was like, let's, how can I make do with less?
Carly: Or even like a huge, I want to say that this was like a life-changing shift for me is if I was at the store and I saw something on the clearance rack, because the conversation used to go, is this cute?
Do I love this or do I hate this? I can't decide, but it's $7. So you know what, I'm just going to get it. I'll just, you know, but now if I look at something and I say, do I love this? Or do I not love this? If I say in my head, do I not love this? Then I just put it back. I never regret it. I never regret not buying something that I feel wishy-washy about.
And it stops me from having a closet full of things that I put on. And then I'm like, no, not today. Take it off, try again. Next week.
Tami: It's all those things that are just not quite right. And that can be in the Stripe t-shirt category. You guys, there are a lot of poorly cut striped. T-shirts the ones that are perfect.
You're like. I will wear this damn thing every day. I would pay a hundred dollars for a strike. The perfect strike t-shirt at this point.
Carly: that's how I feel about stretchy pants. I've got, I, even before the pandemic, I had a lot of stretchy pants because I'm an organizer. So I wore them every day for work.
And I got two pairs of pants from the store and one was great. And the other one I felt like just kept slipping down. It was a high rise, but it kept rolling over it just, I would have to constantly pull it up and I was like, you know what? This isn't no, I'm not doing this life is too short to be pulling up my pants every 10 minutes when you're supposed to be staying put.
So you just let it go. And I don't miss those pants at all. Like, it's fine. It's just get pants that fit
Tami: a hundred percent. And I will say I have embraced the if it doesn't work perfectly for you, because there is no one perfect pair of pants or perfect. Stripe t-shirt or anything else. Perfect. But if it isn't right for you, there are so many ways to release that thing.
And the first way are you ready for this? Everyone, you can take it back where you bought it. Yes. Oh my God. The power of the return is blowing my mind.
Carly: I actually did get a return on those pants. There's was, I said I have washed it, but. They, these aren't staying up. Like they're not working and they, and the store just said, you know what, that's fine.
Just donate them. And here's your money back. Don't worry about it.
Tami: And you were like, you have great customer service. Thank you for that. Yep. Okay. You said something earlier that just perked up my ears, like nothing else. And that was the idea of, so I'm looking at frugal living, which by the way, Is reminds me of that.
I don't know if you ever saw the SNL skit and it's a riff on an NPR show and they're talking about sweaty balls. It's like a yarn thing. Anyway. So frugal living reminds me of sweaty balls from SNL, which is not a good luck. So in other words, it's not real sexy and it's super dorky and it's super grandma III, but it still, it scratches that itch for me.
Huh? Yeah. Simple living, slow living. All of that. Yeah. What I love, what you said was living with intentionality, by the way, I have a whole thing about summer of intentionality. Thank you, Rosie. Molinari who I will do an episode about that later in the summer, but you call it, did you call it minimal ish?
Carly: Yeah. Yeah. Minimal English and I have not been, I was not the person to like. Make that a thing I've heard it elsewhere. So I
Tami: Okay. Guess what this episode is going to be called minimalist. I love it because that, yes, I don't want to like only have a hundred possessions. I don't want just to have two forks.
Carly: Yeah. And that's the thing. This is something else that I wanted to make sure that I talk about today is that the number of items you have. Like, what is right for you is right for you. And that's going to be different than what's right. For me, or, you know, anybody listening to this and that number of items can change depending on your life circumstance.
Tami: Say, because remember when we were doing my house, you're like, how many towels do you need? Like bath towels. And I was like, It never occurred to ask myself that because what I did was I never got rid of my old towels. When I bought new towels, they just kinda got downgraded to what I don't know, towels.
Right. It's like they got. Downgraded to sit in the cupboard and to be shoved in the back because I was putting the new towels in front of them. Yeah. And so when you said, how many tells do you need? I was like, Oh, we're going deep here. I suppose we could only need three towels for each person. Thus, I only need nine bath towels.
Carly: And it's important to ask yourself about that with the downgraded towels too, because it's easy to accumulate over the years, you know, 80 rag towels, but when you. Think about how many rag towels you actually need in that answer is 10. Then you can get rid of the other 70 how many bags do you need from target?
Tami: How many plastic bags do you need underneath your sink? You guys, these are real questions that Carly was like, why do you have so many of these? I'm like, I, they go under the sink to multiply. I don't know
Carly: for the record. I think I said it in a gentler way than that. I'm just, Oh, just for the.
Tami: Absolutely on, sorry.
Sorry. She's very good at asking questions in a way that does not make you feel defensive about your thousands of plastic bags underneath your sink that you might need someday.
Carly: It varies my practice. Thanks for that questions
Tami: gently, by the way, PS, if I was your clutter coach, I would probably be like, dude, what's up with all the plastic bags that are sick throw it away.
I know. And you know what? That just made me sweaty. I'm like, yeah, but they're not. So I would have to find a home for them. Okay. So what we're talking about today is not. Minimalism capital M with a good branding. We're not totally talking about frugal living, although apparently both you and I have some very deep seated depression, era, grandma thread in our being.
But really what we're talking about is living in a way that is superintendent minimal lift. Okay. Now I can't say it minimalists. Minimal ish. So how does this come? How does the concept of intentionality and minimal Lish come into your life and your business? And then benefit from it. Okay. So it comes into, I'm going to start with business.
Carly: It comes into my business because I, my role with anyone I'm working with my clients, with my students is to help them make decisions for themselves on. These pairing down. So as we were talking about a second before, it's not my role to come in and say, get rid of your towels, get rid of this.
It's more to come in and ask people questions so that they can make those decisions for themselves. And whatever the answer is, if I said, how many rag towels do you need? And your answer is 50, and we talked through it and you need 50. I mean, fair enough. But if, you know, if the answer is 10, then. I'll give you the resources that you need to be able to get rid of the extras for the record.
The answer is your local SPCA, because they always need towels, but of any, you know, their older body, it's fine. The SPCA wants them. So, and also letting clients and students know that there's no best way to get organized. There's no best way to Essentially to get organized because I know I'm repeating myself, but I think that's the question that I get a lot, like what is the best way to store XYZ?
What is the best way to set up this sort of XYZ system and the way that you do this is going to be a little bit different for everybody. It's going to depend on your needs, your space. The measurements of what you're working with. Like there's all these different factors, but my role is to help you figure out the way that's going to work best for you in your individual spaces.
And this minimalist practice just helps with the decision-making so that what you are keeping the things that you use want need and love these. Are going to be the things that you're, you know, you're using them every day. They're making your life better. You're keeping things that you can implement into very simple systems at first is having to constantly dig through clutter items that you're not using items that you don't even care about.
And just the excess, we're just removing the access to make things more simple. And in my life, Like I'm only in business because I made this big shift in my life. I was not always like an organized person. I was not always somebody who is on top of these sorts of things. And ha I had a huge life shift and transformation because of these changes.
And it's what made me want to go into this industry. And so. I know the type of transformation that it can have for so many people. I have seen it in my own life. I have seen it in the lives of my clients and my students, I believe in it wholeheartedly. And I believe like this is the thing that I want to help people with.
So I would say that it's made a huge impact on my life. But being able to have things that are like less but better, or even just less like the mascara that I mentioned, it's not like I have like, you know, this hundred dollar mascara now I only have one instead of seven. Like I'm still using like a $12 mascara, but I love it.
And now when I go to use mascara, I'm not digging through a pile of makeup to get to it. I'm just like, there it is right there, or in the morning when I'm getting dressed for the day, I'm not having to sift through a whole closet of items that I don't regularly wear, or I don't, I feel like it doesn't really fit me that well, or I don't even like them.
I'm just going straight to my favorites everyday, just straight to my favorites, because that's the selection that there is to choose from. And it just. It makes everything so much easier when you're just removing the things that you don't care about or use, or even want or need. And you're along the way, figuring out strategies to let go of things like guilt that help you, that had you holding onto these things in the first place for so long, like working through that and working through helping other people work through that, it just means.
So much like when you're able to make these changes. And I, what
Tami: I, one of the things I find super interesting is that it's not like people come to you and they're like, I haven't washed a dish in five years. There's a lot of people who come to you and are like, I am 80% of the way there. Like, I was definitely an 80% of the way there, but it was that last 20% Rose, like.
I need to call in the reinforcements. I don't know how to get this done all the way. I don't know where the towels, the extra towels that I now know. I don't need, I need to know where they can go. What's also so interesting is that our work the work I do. With my clients and the work that you do with your clients a lot, there's a lot of crossover because I cannot give a self care prescription to people because I don't live in other people's bodies.
Like a lot of it's going to depend on what they're already doing, what their health is, what their situation is, you know, are they a parent? Are they not? Are they working at home? Do they work for themselves? Like there's so many factors. And that's why I really love working with you too, because you really personalized it, even in your course.
So Carly and I work together privately like one-on-one and then I also did our course, cause it's so good at but I was like, Oh yeah, still it's still really personal. And it's not prescriptive. It's like, Whoa. Whoa. The other thing I wanted to just mention is, so it sounds really simple when somebody says how many towels do you need?
But I would say this, how many times in your life has somebody asked you how many tells you need? That's probably why it's probably never thought about your number of towels because no one ever sat you down and asked you, like, at one point you asked me something else. Oh, it was when we were doing my kitchen.
And you asked me what, like I had something in a place. And what was the thinking behind where I had put that? I was like when I moved in 20 years ago, that's where I put it. And I was like, Oh shit, I haven't moved my dishes in 20 years. They've been. In kind of what I would say now that I've moved them and rearrange them.
So they make more sense. I'm like, wow, it was a little bit, it wasn't like they, I wasn't keeping them in the dining room or under the table. They were in a cupboard, but they just, I made small changes that it was like, now it just clicked and was like, Oh my God, I can't believe that tiny shift made such a difference.
That makes me really happy. Me too, because it's like, it just feels like everything, you know, when you're doing a puzzle and there's a piece that you're like, I'm pretty sure it goes there, but you can't jam it in there. And then you're like, but now I can't find it where it really goes. It's kind of like that the sense of relief that you get when you're like, it really doesn't go there and you put it where it goes, and then you find the piece in the dog's mouth and you're like, Ugh.
Guess what now? This puzzle works. Yeah. That's what it feels like.
Carly: The part that you were talking about feeling personnel, personalized, like your experience feeling personalized. I will have, I will say that if I had only. Gone through the process of getting organized and decluttering in my own home.
And then tried to replicate that with other people. I don't think it would be the same because the only reason that I'm able to make this feel. As personalized as it does is through the process working of working with like client after client and seeing the everybody's home is a little bit different.
Everybody's circumstances are a little bit different, the needs, what they want to keep, what they don't want to keep what's important, what they don't give a help, like what they don't care about. Like all of these things are so, so different per person that you have to figure out a way to. Get people to ask the questions that are going to come up with the answers that they need for their own circumstances.
Tami: Does that make sense? Right? Which is both. I mean, that's how coaching works is like not the coaching, right? It's like, I just present you with the questions that are going to help you get to what's true for you. But once you get to the truth, that's like personally fit for you. You're like. I had no idea how everything else in my life was so uncomfortable because I had been offered other people's solutions to my problem.
It's like but that your solution is the solution to your problem. I need a solution to my pain. So how do you think you'd benefit by living in an intentional minimalist way? Everyone's going to hate that big sh at the end of that, I'm glad I keep doing it. Sorry. Everyone's ears. I think the biggest thing, like I mentioned before is that things are just streamlined.
Carly: Like I'm not spending time digging through things every day. To look for what I need. If we lose something, it becomes like a big shock. Like it's not only like where did it go? It's like, no, really? Where did it go? Because it wouldn't just be somewhere else. It's like, it has a home, it should be right
Carly: We lost a key ones a few months ago and we're still joking about it. And I don't even know what happened at like, ended up in the car somehow. But for a few weeks were like, no, really? Where the hell is the key? Like, did someone
Tami: steal it? What's happening? Oh my God, that is my number one. Somebody stole it or my kids hit it.
Those are my two go-to shoes now. Cause I'm like, clearly the other grownup in the house put it away. Sometimes he doesn't, but he usually gets it in the area if , but man, that's the other thing, like again, when I lose something I'm like, Did somebody come in and burglarized my house P S while I'm in it.
And it's like, nobody wants to you guys. I lost a pair of striped leggings for like three months during the pandemic, or I have not lot. I have not left my house. I was like, they've got to be here somewhere
Carly: now. I need to know
Tami: where were they? They fell off. The shelf in my closet and they were on the floor for months, four months.
Right. And then I'm like, you sound like a crazy person when you're like, who came into my house, but like the leggings thief came in the middle of the night and just took those leggings. Sure crazy bird. I want to say, I think that's truly the power of getting organized though, because I've lost my keys now twice in the last, like six years, like.
Carly: For, you know, any amount of time at all. And I just think like that probably happened at least a hundred times a year
Tami: before that. So that's legit. I will say that's the difference. I will say my kid is she does put things away and sometimes I will say. We had a thing with flashlights for awhile, where I was like, where did all the flashlights go?
Because they should be in the utility drawer. By the way you guys here's the life-changing tip, don't have a junk drawer at your house because then you won't put junk in it. If you change it to utility, you will be only put the shit that goes in there. And I will legit say. To my family, only utility things go in that drawer and it's been a year and a half, and I've only had to do barely any tidying, but I will say we did have the great of flashlight hunt of 2020, where I was like, again, who stole the flashlights?
It turned out it was my kid. We got them back, but it was kind of bonkers. So one of my Unexpected benefits of being a minimalist is I save a ton of, Oh yeah. Like a lot. I was going to say it's weird, but I guess if you're not spending on stuff, it's not that weird that you're like now I have more money because I didn't spend it.
Yeah. And it helps me to then decide to spend my money on the things that I actually mean to spend my money on. I didn't mean to go into debt buying Stripe t-shirts but I didn't mean to go into debt buying taco bell, Walgreens, and Starbucks, but
I did. Okay. I, yeah, I nickeled and dimed myself to death,
Carly: but now I can spare
Was that like a triangle from where you were living? Yeah, that was basically everything that was close to my office at the time. Because I was working in San Francisco and I just walked to all those places within like five minutes of my office.
Okay. I get it. I get it. Yeah. And I used to buy a lot of t-shirts to make myself feel better when I didn't like my job.
I'm not gonna lie. Like in fact, the more clothes I'm buying, you could just say, Oh, you're pretty unhappy with where you're working. Oh yeah. That was a thing. Yeah. Okay. So if people are interested about learning more about minimalism, intentional living, minimalist stuff, what resources would you point them to?
I found out that my book is by my book, meaning it's your money or your life is by Vicki, Robin and Joe Domingas. And it's called nine steps to transforming your relationship with money and achieving financial independence. What are your favorite resources? The book I
Carly: mentioned is young broken.
Fabulous. I believe I'm not mixing up the order of any of those words, but it's by Susie Orman. I loved that. Also highly recommend the minimalists documentary podcast and social media during Instagram. There's a great podcast called minimalist moms podcast. And. Also on Instagram at Afro minimalist is Christine plat and she has a really great Ted talk on that subject.
I highly recommend
Tami: at Afro. The reason I'm writing this down is because I do not yet follow her and I will be in a moment. Yeah. Thank you for having this conversation with me and friends, we will link to all the stuff in the show notes, and you can follow Carly at tidy revival on Instagram, Carly, will you tell them where they can find your free class?
Carly: Yes. If you want to learn a bunch of tips on how to create a clutter-free home without giving up all your free time, you can get a bunch of tips and you can also learn about my course community and get all of those [email protected] forward slash free class.
Tami: Awesome. And if you would like to get some quick self-care in your life, I have a new class called that's right.
Self hair Quickstart, and you can find out all the details on my [email protected], where you will find the show notes. You will find the show. You will find all the information that we talked about, and until next week, remind, remember you matter too. Thanks.
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