EP 77: Good Enough Tips with Carly Adams of Tidy Revival

I am bringing back our friend, Carly Adams of tidy revival. You met her first in episode 16, and today she's back and we're going to be talking about the good enough tidy.

Show links:



Tami: Hi, Carly. Welcome back to the show. 

Carly: Hey Tammy. Thank you so much for having me. Okay. 

Tami: So for those of you that were not around in episode 16, you can go back in the archives and listen to Carly's whole self care journey. Uh, but for today, we're going to talk about some specific. Pandemic central topics. Um, so Carly, give us a quick introduction.

Um, before we get started, who are you? 

Carly: So Carly Adams and I'm the owner of tidy revival. I'm a professional organizer and I'm based in Sacramento, California, just like you. Um, so I essentially help people declutter and get organized with very simple systems in their 

Tami: homes. And uh, full disclosure guys.

Carly came to my house for six months in, uh, 2019. What good timing got our house in ship shape, uh, right before the pandemic. And so one of the things that I wanted to talk to Carly about, um, is what are your clients worrying about in 2020, 20, 21? Hmm, 

Carly: a lot of things. Um, I would say that, that the biggest thing is that people don't want to spend all their extra time organizing and decluttering.

And I think that's something that stops a lot of people from getting started because they feel like this is going to be their new full-time job. They're going to have to spend all the time doing it. Um, so that's a huge thing. Not spending all their time. People are also really concerned with having space for distance learning, um, and working from home and how that fits into their home routine.

When they know that this may still be fairly temporary. Um, and then just juggling all the things we've got parents working from home and having to manage distance learning all at the same time somehow. Um, so the expectations of what. It's gonna take to make things run smoothly on a day-to-day basis has just exponentially gone up.

So again, people want everything else to be really as easy as possible. 

Tami: What's so funny is, um, You could have asked me that question and I could have said exactly the same thing people are like, but, but I don't have time for self-care don't you understand these people that used to go places don't go anywhere anymore.

I don't go anywhere anymore. How can I possibly add more things? So if I was to say to you, Carly, but I can't add more things. What would you say. 

Carly: I would say we are going to be doing this, like the least resistance way. We are going to be taking small chunks of time and doing what we can with them. We are going to be simplifying things instead of making things more complicated.

We are going to be ultimately working to get your time back so that you can spend more time. Feeling rested at home and enjoying your space and enjoying your family and your hobbies versus constantly having like the nagging pressure of a to-do list. 

Tami: Okay. I have to say this is a real deal thing. So I was going to say, if you asked me that question, great.

Let's take some stuff away. And I know, I mean, it's funny because, um, That's one of the things people say to me too, is like, I don't have time. I don't have this. I don't have that. And I'm like, well, how about we streamline your life so that we can actually get you to feel the way that you want to feel?

And I will say here's a testimonial for you. We'll put a little asterisks here. And that is I've Al I've been living in my house since 1999 and I love this place, but man, until we worked together, everything felt. Uh, not quite done. And when we finally went through and did the whole decluttering process and then containerizing what was left, what I found was the sense of peace that I was like, what is even happening?

Why do I feel so much better in my space? Why is this so much easier? D is that a common response? When people declutter their houses? I 

Carly: mean, yeah. The whole goal is to make things it's to simplify things, to make them easier to Uncomplicate your systems. And like you mentioned, finishing is a huge part of it.

Cause I think a lot of people, um, you know, you do start a lot of things, but. Sometimes it takes a second pair of eyes to get you over the edge and to get you past the point of almost done into this is complete spill. Um, so that's crawling, I work on with people, 

Tami: you know how I love me some beginnings of projects.

Um, I actually just call Carly the finisher. Capital T capital F um, because like you said, when Carly came over, she was like, I can see all the systems that you got started, but that was the thing. I was making everything too complicated. And so working with you help me actually finish. And then I asked you the $10 million question.

Do you remember what it is? 

Carly: Um, not off hand. I wish that would have been cooler. 

Tami: Okay. Sorry guys. We didn't plan that part. Uh, the $10 million question is Carly. Now that this is done. Ah, How do I keep it? That's the way I am sorry. Like probably tons of people can tell you all about how they started the, the, the marathon training program.

And they never exercised again, after they can tell you that time, they lost 10 pounds when they went to weight Watchers, but then they gain the 20 back. But, so I happened to run with a real fast crowd of starters. Uh, well, what I found is lots of people have a hard time maintaining. So what's the big secret.

Carly: So nobody likes to hear this. Um, I have a blog post all about it, but it's about a little bit consistently. And it's not about huge chunks of time every week, every weekend. It's about taking that 15 minutes a day to reset what you've worked on and putting things back in their homes. Um, because that's the great thing about decluttering and organizing is that once items have a home, once you go to.

Put things back, you're actually putting them back where they belong and you can find them again later versus clutter ends up being kind of this never ending shuffle of like, eh, should it go here or should it go here? But then you're still, if you need it, you're looking for it. And if you don't need it, you're shuffling through it to find things that you do need.

But when things have a home, they can just go back and it becomes so much, so much easier, um, to maintain it once. The simple system is in place. And then I know you've mentioned before, um, that the great thing about it too, is that the effort you put into it is exponential. Once you get your family on board, which is why I am so pumped up about creating like the most simple systems imaginable so that you can get as many people in your household, on board, no matter what their ages.

So we're talking like. You know, to on up, let's create some simple systems and not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something. So you can put those people in charge of the things that they can do. 

Tami: Absolutely. So if you guys are wondering about this thing that she just said, which is. Did she say two year olds can help tidy.

And the answer is yes. And I have a, I have a podcast episode with my parenting coach, Megan Ford. And I'll link to that in the show notes too, because one of the ways, um, that kids feel good about themselves is when they have real jobs in the house. And so our daughter has been tidying she's 10 now, but she has been tidying and putting toys away and.

You know, putting laundry and laundry baskets and folding towels and all that business since she was a toddler. So I legit get that, but I tell you what we are at next level. Now that we have Carly tidy revival, tidy revival systems in our house, because I can say to her, like we set up our distance learning.

Station in our dining room, we moved a little table in, we set up this bookshelf that has all of her things. Exactly where they go. They all like, everything has a place. And by the end of every school day, I do not know what she does over there. It looks like the, some whirling, like Tasmanian devil has gone through there.

And then at five 30, because you know, what's happening next, the 15 minute tidy, I say. You need to put, you need to put all that away. You need to reset your stuff. And then I walk away and she can easily put everything back where it goes. And every single day I'm like, this shit is magic, magic, magic. And the reason I set her up like that is because when I was a kid, Carla, and I don't know if this happened with you, but my parents would say, go clean up your room.

And so I would go in my room and I would look around on the floor and think, huh. And then I would shove everything under the bed or in the closet door or in one dresser drawer. I had the least efficient dresser growing up. It only had three giant drawers. I would just like pile. It didn't matter what it was.

It all went, whatever was previously on the floor or hanging on like the side of a chair, whatever, everything got stuffed somewhere. And then they would come in and sometimes they would be like, cool, it's clean. And then other times they would give me the like, and now I'm going to look under the bed and my heart would sink.

And my play date idea went out the window and I would be crushed, but they would pull it all out and they'd go. But I mean, for you to do this and my whole life, I was like, but I don't know what you mean. What you mean? I don't know where any of this stuff goes. Otherwise I just would have put it there.

I'm nodding 

Carly: along. Yeah. Yeah. Feels it's 

Tami: deeply. I did that as a grownup to I called the crap bags of shame where I would get so far about 76% into a project. I'd be like, I'm done. And I would put it all in a bag. And then a year later I'd have like three or four of those bags. And I was like, Oh, I wonder what's in there.

Carly: So, yeah, I will tell you that finding in closets, um, a target bag it's it's for some reason, 50% of the time it's a target bag, um, filled with like a ton of random or seeds purchases. Maybe like just some paper trash and just like all sorts of things. It's just shoved in a target bag. And then in the corner of the closet that you find like five of them that happens all the time.

So someone else is like, what? I thought I was the only one with the target bag. No, everyone's got that target bag or seven. 

Tami: Exactly. And I can imagine if people do not have systems set up for their 20, 20, 20, 21 pandemic life, because it's not like we saw this coming. Maybe people are sitting there with, they're like, Oh shit, This was the year, remember last year.

And everyone's like, I'm going to write a book. I'm going to bake some sourdough. Maybe this year, the year you are actually going to get organized. I'm just saying it, it could become a reality. So currently this is here for you. Tell me, um, I actually sent you a note earlier and I said, can you give us five helpful tips for the good enough tidy?

And what the hell are we talking about when it's the good enough tidy? 

Carly: Okay. So I talked to some people on Instagram today to talk about the good enough tidy and prep for this. And I got a few answers ranging from not having to tell us smeared on the counters and walls, which sounds great to me, um, to just having things functional, no major clutter or things putting, being put away, or at least they're hidden.

Um, so that things can like, look. They can appear tidy. That's all. I really want 

Tami: to get rid 

Carly: of the visual clutter. Yes. Yes. So. Let's talk about good enough. I mean, obviously we can talk about like the perfect vision all day, but nobody wants to hear that people want to hear, like, what can I do now to get things going in the right direction, but not worry about perfection.

And that takes me to tip number one, which is to throw perfection out the window. Let's not worry about making things Pinterest. Perfect. Today 

Tami: I have to give you. Somebody prompts for this, but can I, cause I know a bunch of people just got sweaty under their armpits and they're like, but if I'm going to do a job, shouldn't I do it the best I should do it.

Maybe we could talk 

Carly: about that in 

Tami: 2022. Cause I keep telling my clients, I'm like, you know, no one's coming to your house right now. Right? Just that space. This is for your behind your arm. Look cute from like the chest up and then. Do what you gotta do. 

Carly: Yeah. Do what you gotta do because we're doing this right now for our mental health to make things feel less stressful and to make things feel less stressful.

We deal, we don't want the additional weight of a perfection expectation. So let's not worry about that. Just take that pressure off yourself and, and just throw perfection out the window. Um, I'm going to give you a good example of somebody asked me in the last few weeks, um, what my, my cleaning schedule is like, how do I have this like perfect cleaning schedule?

Well, one I don't, um, claim to be like the expert for cleaning. It's just not like part of the stuff that I teach. So, um, I hate to break it to people. I don't have a perfect cleaning schedule, but I think that the same can be said for other sorts of scheduled, like. I don't say, okay. Tuesday is my ironing day.

Thursday is my towel day. And you know, then this other day, I do know I, there are some things we do every day in our house and a different households are different. We do the dishes every day. My husband really can't stand dirty dishes in the sink. He's super on it. I think that's wonderful. I'll take it.

Um, so I try and pitch in to make him happy in that way, but I do dishes every day. There are some things that I don't do for a couple of weeks laundry. We have two people in our household, so it's probably like, I would say on average, every couple of weeks, it might be one week. It might be two and a half weeks.

On average, it's two weeks. I'm not really worried about making sure that there are specific things that I'm doing like every single week or on certain days or whatever the case may be. When things feel dusty. I take time to dust them. If it seems like I need to vacuum, then I vacuum, but I'm not on a particular schedule.

And that works for me because it's just one less thing. That I have to worry about and that I'm not, um, giving myself too much pressure on, I do have notes on like things that I would like to do as far as deeply clean items every couple, you know, months. But am I the best at keeping that schedule? No, it's kind of like a generalized suggestion.

Um, but there's less pressure that way. And honestly, honestly, like, I feel like that's good enough. Everything is going to be fine. Um, The second tip is the 15 minute tidy up that we talked about before. I think that it's really something that you can't underestimate the power of just setting a timer, 15, 20 minutes.

Just set it, throw on some tunes, walk around, pick up. What's not in its place, put it back in its place. If it doesn't have a home, then that could be a good time to say like, okay, What do we need to create home score? What do we need to like sit down and think about what would be the best place for this item?

And if there are things that you're constantly just shuffling around, then that's, you know, that falls under clutter and that's time to, that's something that you can plan on addressing, but in that 15 minutes, you're just resetting things, even something as simple as like going to your couch and putting the throw pillows back in a nice way.

And then, you know, the, the little throw blanket and its place, even those little actions just make you feel. Like things are a little more reset and they boost your mood a little bit, making your bed, it boosts your mood and every little bit helps. 

Tami: Totally. And I have to say I was dubious about this.

However, I instituted the 15 minute tidy. If anyone wonders what we do at five 30 at my house, that is what we do. And my husband goes in the kitchen and tidy. Does the dishes gets everything cleaned up, gets the dishwater dishwasher ready. And then my daughter and I spend our 15 minutes doing stuff in any of the other rooms.

And what I found is. It's not really a 15 minute tidy when people are doing it. It's a 45 minute tidy because we have my 15 minutes, his 15 minutes and her 15 minutes. When you put those all together, it's 45 minutes of tidy every day. Is shockingly effective. And if we have a bunch of days where people didn't get a bunch of stuff out, meaning my child, um, and didn't put it away.

Sometimes we do things like vacuum during the 15 minute tidy or we'll dust. You know what I mean? And I'm like, did we just make more time for cleaning, but it, but it's crazy because it. It feels almost painless. It's just like, it's not much effort for a lot of payout. And then what's crazy about it too, is then it actually makes when I go to clean, super easy, because I am not decluttering, throwing things away, putting things away and cleaning, all I'm doing is cleaning.

And I'm like, yeah, God, I wish somebody would have taught me this. Some point before I met you. Although that would be sad because we wouldn't have had this like golden moment of like my light bulb going on. But if you guys haven't tried the 15 minute tiny. I can't recommend it enough. Okay. Carly what's tip number three.

Carly: Number three is to not try and do it all. And I have an example on this and for me, um, this is going to be folding because I will admit I have gotten on some trendy folding trains and had a great old ride with it. Um, for a hot second, I had. KonMari folded all my socks. I had a beautiful sock drawer. I think it's like on Insta, somewhere back in the archives.

Um, and I even had these like beautiful little bins of perfectly folded wash claws. And, uh, in the last few months, somewhere, I decided that I don't care because they're just in bins and I don't have time for this anymore. And I just kind of stopped caring. Honestly, this is a fantastic. Way to save a little time.

And I think that just, I know that that's just a few, couple, you know, folding examples, but there are a lot of other ways in which we. Kind of like demand perfection of ourselves where we really don't need to. It's pretty inconsequential. Like if my socks are folded versus, you know, the, the paired up and then fold over the top standard way, or if my rags are just like in a band, it doesn't matter.

When I go to get a rag, I'm not like, dammit, who folded this? Who forgot to fold this rag? Like if I'm there rags, I'm just cleaning with them. So it doesn't matter. Um, And now I just, when I'm sorting my laundry, I just take that handful of rags and just plop them back in the rag bin and go on my way. And it's fine.

Um, so if there are things that you, if you feel like you want to get a little bit of your time back, uh, stop doing, trying to do so much. And I give folding as the example, because I had a client once who decided to, she shared with me long before we met, she had two young kids and she had a lot on her plate and she just decided to stop folding all towels, kitchen towels.

Bathroom towels and all the towels just had a little had their own, you know, bins. So they're separated, you know, where to find them and just grab one when you need it. And she's like, I'm not wasting my time with this anymore. I'm over it. And I just thought that was amazing. So once I let go of it too, I was like, this is fantastic.

I don't think I'm going back. Um, so yeah, just stop doing as much. You don't have to do it all. It's fine. 

Tami: You know, what's so funny about that. Is that a kid too? There's so there's two kid related. Uh, antidotes that I have for that. And that is one, I had a client who was folding baby clothes, and I was like, okay, I have to ask, is this super important to you?

And she's like, I never thought about it. I was like, do you think somebody in your life would be disappointed if you didn't fold the baby clothes? She's like, I don't think so. And I was like, do you want to try not folding the baby clothes and see what happens? And she was like, yeah, Yes. Yes I do. And then after she stopped folding the baby and toddler clothes, she could then just hand a sorted pile to her toddler and say, go put this in the drawer.

Carly: Right. Yeah. And then you don't have to worry about the toddler knocking over the perfect folded pile, which is the 

Tami: thing. And since we're all, we're all, I mean, I don't know about you, but I basically wear like t-shirt material things. Most of the time, especially during the pandemic that I'm like, what is my t-shirt going to be wrinkled.

Probably not, or it's not going to be so wrinkled that I can't wear it. Um, and so if, if you're like, no, I got to keep folding. Okay. Cause I still have to, we slipped on full towels because we don't have a basket, but I'm thinking, Oh man, maybe I could do a basket for that. Um, Hmm. Got me thinking. But pro tip, do you know who loves a folding wash claws and kitchen towels?

Toddlers. Shut up because they are so desperate to help. All you got to do is teach them how to lay it out on the coffee table, show them corner to corner, and they will be the proudest little babies that they were doing real 

Carly: work. Mm. 

Tami: Yes. I have photos and videos of my little one when she was like two and three.

I taught her how to mend things when she was three years old, because I was like, I literally do not have any training in this, but I can drag a piece of thread through this tab, this pillow that she keeps tattering. Um, and I. Was like, she's probably not going to do it any worse than I did. And you know, confidence building skills, you guys.

So we have tidying tips and confidence building tips for little kids. Okay. So we're not going to do it all. No, I can go for everything. Yes. Um, was that tidy tip number three? 

Carly: That was number three. Yeah. 

Tami: What's tidy tip number 

Carly: four. Number four is to curb your impulse buying, which sounds harsh. And I think I'm going to get a lot of pushback for this because I have been told that many people's favorite.

Quarantine activities buying everything from Instagram. But I have also heard that many people's nemesis are in quarantine is all the crap in their house. So what we need to do is think for a hot second, when we get the urge to impulse, buy something like, is this something that you are actually going to use?

Or is it something that you're thinking like, this is amazing. I love it. It's so pretty to take it home with me, like the impulse for everything. We see that as super cute. Yeah. Bring it home. But that doesn't mean that we, it doesn't mean that it has to live with us. And if we stop and think and give it a hot second and think, is this going to be something that I am going to be decluttering and six months.

If we say goodbye to it at the store, then we don't have to declutter in six months, we just got rid of that. Decision-making in the future. Um, so that's something that I'm not saying don't ever buy anything from the internet. I'm not saying don't ever shop. I'm not trying to suggest that, but it helps too to create less clutter while we give ourselves just a few more seconds of.

Really thinking critically about what we want to buy at the store versus having to do deal with it later. 

Tami: I love that. And it's so funny because when you said that I immediately thought of all the packaging that things come in. I wasn't even thinking about the things I was thinking about the endless stream of boxes and packing materials that come by having things delivered.

Um, and now I'm like water. People buying that so great. Because I will say I have made a couple of pandemic purchases that I'm like, Ooh, I should have done this earlier. Got myself some joggers and an air fryer, but those things are not cluttering. Cause I am wearing them now and going to use it later. Um, but still the boxes.


Carly: yeah. I will say like most garage jobs that I have done. Um, I'm working for chili now, but this is an old story. Um, most garage jobs, when you start step one, it's like less breakdown down the extra empty boxes because there's always like 25 and 

Tami: there is that meme. Like, you know, you're old when you're debating about getting rid of a box.

Cause it's a really good box. 

Carly: Uh, I actually had a, sorry, I'm laughing. I had a friend connect with me this weekend and they're, I'm decluttering their garage and they wanted to get my opinion on appliance boxes. And I was like, just get rid of it. Um, it less. And I would say the one exception is if or two exceptions, if you are planning on moving and like you have the dates that, you know, you're moving in the next couple of months.

Okay, maybe those will be helpful. Um, or if you're the type of person, because I get this question about electronic boxes all the time. If you're the type of person who consistently upgrades their electronics, like every single year and consistently sells your old electronics year after year, after a year.

You can consider keeping the box because apparently it like ups the resell value. If you're the type of person who likes to think that they're the type of person who sells electronics, but really they just keep using them and using them until it's completely worn out. And then they eat, recycle it. Just get rid of the box.

I will say 90% of the time just to get rid of the box. 

Tami: I hear you out. I'm like, I think I might be guilty of having some boxes around here for the, yeah. But. Yeah, I'm just telling you, before you come over to my house again, I'm going to go through and make sure I got rid of all those boxes. 

Carly: I, I even had a bunch of boxes in my house because I was doing garage jobs with people.

Um, or anytime you do. Kitchen jobs with people. We end up getting rid of a lot of glassware. And when you get rid of glass where it's better to have a box versus a bag anyway, um, or if I had moving clients, then it's just nice. If you have extra boxes to bring them over and help as we're purging or as you're packing or whatever.

So I had a fair amount of boxes and there was a point in the pandemic where I just had to like, look at them and say like, what are we doing here? What you're like, what are we stir 

Tami: box? We're not going to be you. Your services are not needed this year. Oh, bye. Sir. It's been fun, right? If people are doing their own decluttering, which we'll get to in a moment, um, you could use your boxes to declutter your stuff.

Okay. Carly, what is tip number five for good enough tidying in the pandemic era. Okay. 

Carly: Anytime. Yes, this is good enough stuff. Okay. So we all have our list of, to do items, right? You have to do items that you're working on, the things that you want to make happen. There are some things that you. Would like to do, but they never make it to the to-do list.

And then you kind of feel guilty about these like nagging things that are on your, I want to, but it's just, I just don't, I don't have the time, my, a big tip is to either make it happen or just let it go because some things are just never going to make the to-do list and that's okay. We don't need to pile on the guilt about it.

Just, that's just not something that we care about right now. That's fine too. Just let that be fine. 

Tami: Oh, I really liked that one. Just let it go. I mean, I have to say a couple of years ago I started working with a wonderful assistant. Hi Katie. Hi, I brought her this just terrible list of things I was not getting to and I felt bad.

Um, but the end of our first meeting, she was like, You know, if you give me money, I'll just take all those things off your list. And I was like, Oh God, this is what they mean by throwing money at a problem. I'll take it. Yes. Right. So if you can't get rid of it completely, could you delegate it to someone else?

Could you trade the dreaded activity with your spouse? Could you trade it with another. Mom or your sister or something, and it's like, I'll do your closet if you clean out my refrigerator. I don't know. But yeah, I love that idea of taking things off and that's, again, it's full circle to where we started, which is the role that Carly and I both play in our clients' lives is making what they have easier.

More simple, sustainable. And a lot of it comes from subtracting. What got in your house or in your schedule or in your life. And you're like, how did that even get here? I don't remember that box, that purse, that habit, that volunteer opportunity. I just air quoted opportunity that opportunity, or that turned into an obligations.

Like how did I even get here? And why is it still here? If I don't like it? Yup. Love that. Okay. So we have your five tips for good enough tidying Carly. If people are like, um, I'm pretty sure I need help with this. Are you someone I could talk to a hundred percent. I knew that you would be, what can you do for 

Carly: our people?

So I'm working with people these days into different ways. I work with them directly. One-on-one I still meet with clients virtually, um, and kind of act as like a clutter coach so that we can work through the specific issues that they're having or create personalized organizational solutions, et cetera.

Um, and then I'm also building a course community and. If you would like to know more about working with me in that way, I have a free class for you with a ton of tips on how to create a clutter-free home without giving up all your free time. Um, and then it also goes into the details of the course community, and that can be [email protected] forward slash free class.

Tami: Love that. And where can people find you on the internet, tidy revival.com anywhere else that you like to hang out on social media? Yeah, 

Carly: I'm on Instagram and Facebook. Um, Instagram, even more, and that's at tidy revival for 

Tami: both. Awesome. Well thank you for being here. Hey friends, uh, reach out to Carla and I on Instagram.

She's at tidy revival. I'm at Tami Hackbarth and until next time, remember that you matter too. 

Carly: Thank you so much, Tammy.


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