Turning 40 and Considering Clutter: Is It Preventing You From Creating the Life You Desire?
As she approached 40, Julie Coraccio realized that her life was probably about half over and she wanted to spend the rest of it following her own path. These thoughts pushed her far enough out of her comfort zone that she started her decluttering and organizing business when she was 40. Julie defines ‘clutter’ as anything that prevents you from creating the life you choose, deserve and desire. In her view, it could be physical stuff, but could also be outdated thought patterns or emotional blocks. Your messy desk might not just be clutter. It might be a roadblock to a promotion.
Julie Coraccio is an award-winning professional life, and end of life, organizer, certified life coach, and professional declutter’er. She is passionate about supporting people in clearing clutter in all areas of their lives; getting organized; and becoming more mindful and aware. She hosts the popular podcast, Clear Your Clutter Inside & Out and is the author of 15 books.
Happily married to Tony she is also at the beck and call of 3 rescued black cats Antonio, NiNi and Gus. Based in Wheeling, WV, Julie works with people all over the world. She enjoys hiking, reading, learning about environmental and animal issues, baking and spending time with her nieces and nephew. The bathtub is her woman cave.
Julie Coraccio is passionate about supporting people in clearing clutter. She started her business when she was 40 but the roots of it go back to her 20s when she was nannying for a family in Massachusetts. One day she had to take the kids somewhere and she forgot the diaper bag, which meant a 40 minute drive back home and then back again. While she was a fairly organized person, this was a wake up call for her to get her act together.
Over time, friends and family thought of her as “uptight” and they’d ask her for help organizing. Then, when she found herself in a job that wasn’t so great, she thought about all the things she could do and organizing was top of the list.
After she finished nannying, Julie moved to Los Angeles with the dream of becoming a screenwriter and almost sold a script. She did some work in the industry and then stumbled on an opportunity to become a grant writer for a nonprofit.
She woke up one morning and heard her internal voice say “move to Raleigh.” She had never been there but believed in listening to her intuition so she made the move.
Julie said, when it comes to those internal voices, sometimes it’s tough to tell whether it’s intuition or ego talking. When what the voice is saying is completely outlandish, that’s a good clue that it’s intuition. She said a mindfulness practice helps to tune into the voices and distinguish one from the other. If you sit quietly and close your eyes, that helps quiet the ego.
And starting with easy questions is a nice way to tune in as well. What do I want for lunch – a salad or a cheeseburger? We’re accustomed to choosing the “health food,” but sometimes your body just needs the cheeseburger.
There are little exercises we can do to reinforce our intuition. Stand up, close your eyes and ask yourself a question. If your body sways forward, that’s a yes to the question. If your body sways backwards, it’s your body’s way of saying “whoa!”
She got a job in Raleigh but knew within two weeks that it was a bad fit so she used the 13 months she was at the job to figure out a business plan. She knew she was good at organizing so she worked with SCORE to register the business and build a website. By the time she left her job, she was ready to roll.
Shortly after she started her business she met with a woman who said, “I hate organizers.” Normally, Julie would have reacted but this time she just asked why. The woman answered that she found them to be wasteful and Julie pointed out that it didn’t have to be wasteful and listed out the many ways to be green, which led her to specialize in eco-organization, which then led to regional and national awards for her business.
Turning 40 and What’s Next
As she approached 40, Julie realized that her life was probably about half over and that made her question whether she was doing what she wanted to be doing for the rest of her life. She found these thoughts pushed her out of her comfort zone.
She used to be deathly afraid of public speaking. She joined a group that helped her face that fear and today she gets paid to speak at events. When she turned 40 she realized she didn’t have time to take crap. She knew she wanted to add things to the world and it was time to get moving.
She thought about what she liked to do, what could make a difference in someone’s life, and what she could make money doing and found the intersection of those things. In Raleigh, there were a bunch of professional organizers, which led her to create a niche to stand out from the others. She has since moved home to help care for her mother and there might be one other organizer in that area.
She’s fortunate that she grew up in the area and knew people so she didn’t have to start all over again, but she did think about what else she could do. She’s added coaching to her offerings. She’s created classes. She has a podcast. Her goal is to make money while she sleeps so that, when the time comes and she doesn’t want to be working as much, she can still make an income.
The business has taught her many things, among them standing up for herself. Julie says she used to be a doormat but a business teaches you to say no. You can’t be everything to everyone. And she learned to fire clients if she doesn’t want to work with them or they’re not a great fit.
More Than Physical Clutter
Julie deals in more than just physical stuff cluttering our lives – and this is the part of her job that excites her. She believes the inner reflects the outer. For example, if you have a messy desk, you may lack clarity. Working on the inside gets reflected on the outside.
Julie’s definition of clutter is anything that prevents you from creating the life you choose, deserve and desire. If you don’t have a supportive inner circle, that creates clutter for you. If you can’t say no and you don’t have good boundaries, that creates clutter for you. If you’re jealous, angry, frustrated, upset all the time, that creates clutter for you.
Thus, the messy desk might not just be clutter. It might be a roadblock to a promotion.
For Everything a Season
Julie acknowledges that life ebbs and flows in this regard. When she moved to Los Angeles, everything she owned could fit into a Honda Civic with a roof carrier. When she moved to Raleigh, she had enough that she rented part of a truck. She and her husband downsized in 2019 and then again unexpectedly in 2021 when she moved to care for her mother, who died last year.
Her father was ready to move things along much sooner than Julie was so she took more of her mother’s stuff than she initially intended. But that’s going to give her the time to process the loss and go through her mother’s things at her own pace. She didn’t want to pressure herself to deal with it quickly because she didn’t want to make decisions she’d regret.
Her mom saved mementos from her travels and Julie wants to be able to take time to go through those and appreciate them, and make thoughtful decisions on what to keep and what to part with.
Julie pointed out that decluttering is an individualized thing. Some people (like me!) may be comfortable with more in their homes and others may want things more streamlined. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that the memory lives in the thing. She insists that memories live in our heads and our hearts.
She got some of her grandmother’s things, including a bedroom set she still owns and a set of daisy china that may have been white at some point but had aged to gray. Even so she had a hard time letting go of them until she realized that her grandmother wasn’t in those dishes and that she could get rid of the dishes and not lose her connection to or her memories of her.
Too Much Stuff = Overwhelm
Most of Julie’s clients come to her overwhelmed. She sees her job as supporting people in bringing out their inner wisdom. She says they usually know what’s best for them and her role is to support them and champion them to make the decisions that work best for them. Sometimes people don’t give themselves permission to do what they need to do. Julie acts as the mirror, reflecting back to them and encouraging them to take the first step.
The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications
Book: Clear Your Clutter Inside and Out (affiliate link)
Stephanie: Hi, Julie. Thanks so much for joining me.
Julie: Hey, I'm excited to be here. Thank you.
Stephanie: It's my pleasure. tell me a little bit about yourself. So I, I'm passionate about supporting people in clearing clutter. It's been a journey of many different jobs, doing many different things, working for the man before coming into my own at 40 and starting my own business. But I would like to think that I'm kind of salt of the earth. I'm passionate about being that support system for people to shine their light. And that's one thing that gets me really excited.
Stephanie: Excellent. So I think let's go way back. I saw something in one of the notes you sent me about your sort of roots in organization and decluttering coming from a job when you were a nanny.
Julie: I was a nanny. Yes. And I'm I feel old because the oldest one got married the year after I did, I got married very late in life. I did everything a little late in life and I was like, Woohoo. I beat her to the aisle. Yeah. So the truth of the matter is I was a nanny and they paid for me to take graduate school classes.
Julie: I was live-in, and kids did a ton of activities and , they were in Wayland and I had to go to Wellesley or something and I forgot the diaper bag and I was like, crap. So then I had to go all the way back and you know, this is Massachusetts, it's like a 40 minute drive. And so I was like, okay, you gotta get your act together.
Julie: And in general, I was really in life fairly organized, but I needed to step up my game. So that's kind of how it started. And then people were like, you're uptight, help me get organized. And so then I would just do that, cuz they'd ask, and then I had this, I was in a job that wasn't so great. And I was like, well, what can I do? And that was kind of the beginning of it.
Stephanie: So you nannied I'm guessing you were in twenties, can I assume?
Julie: Oh, my gosh. You're making me think. late twenties. Yeah. Mid twenties. Late twenties. Yeah.
Stephanie: ...So we were in Massachusetts at the same time, actually. I was in the Boston area, around the same time, so when you said Wayland to Wellesley, I knew like, Oof, no bueno.
You know, I love Boston. It's a great town.
Stephanie: Yeah, me too. Me too. I'm still just about an hour north of it, so it's still accessible to me and yet we have the pace and the acreage up here that we couldn't get in the city. Okay, so you were in grad school and then you transitioned into a career in nonprofit. Tell me a little bit about that.
Julie: So After I finished nannying I'm like, I'm gonna move to Los Angeles. And everyone thought I'd lost my mind because they're like, you're kind of a hippie. Like we can see maybe Portland, Seattle. And so I moved to Los Angeles and I wanted to be a screenwriter and I almost got a script sold that didn't happen. And so bummed around, I shouldn't say bummed around I worked, but did things in the industry, blah, blah, blah. And then I. Out of the blue, this is a gift from the universe. Someone's like,Hey, I know you can write, I'm gonna hire you to be a director of a development and grant writer. And so that kind of started it. At first what happened is she said, you're way too overqualified to be the assistant. But then the person they hired was doing something unacceptable at work. And she called me and she said, I wanna hire you. So that got me started in the nonprofit road where I was for a while.
Stephanie: And that led you to realizing it wasn't a great fit. Is that right?
Well, I love writing, but I had moved from Los Angeles to Raleigh. I woke up one day and heard, "move to Raleigh," never been there. I'm like, but I believe firmly in following your intuition because when I follow my intuition, I'm guided correctly. And so I was like, interviewing for a bunch of jobs.
Julie: And then I got this job where I was 13 months and within two weeks knew it was a mistake because the person who was a consultant kind of handing over the job was like, this place is crazy. And so I'm like when you're telling the new person on the job, and you're a consultant, that it's kind of nuts, that's not a good sign. And so I used those 13 months to plan my business cuz I was like, well, what are you good at? What can you do? And I was like, okay, I'm good at organizing. And then I use SCORE resources. And if probably your listeners are familiar with SCORE and they were really funny, cuz they're like what? You wanna do what? So prior to leaving the job, I had my ducks in a row, so to speak, had registered the business, gotten a website.
Julie: So when I left my job, I was ready to roll.
Stephanie: Wow. Okay. So just for those listening, who aren't familiar Service Core of Retired Executives, is that SCORE?
Julie: I believe that's what it is. Yes.
Stephanie: Yeah. and they do, programs for small businesses and solos and people who have business ideas. They help you. I used SCOREmany, many years ago, as well, just to help you work through some of the things. I know when I started my business 15 years ago, I was good at marketing, right? I wasn't good at financials. As a matter of fact, I can't count further than toes. So I needed help with, you know, creating a prospectus and creating a budget and creating a business plan. So those are the kinds of things that SCORE is great for. You have an idea, but you don't quite have all the abilities to pull it together.
Right. And it's free. I mean, and especially a lot of times when you're starting your business, it's a wonderful resource
Stephanie: Yep. I agree. I agree. I wanna go back two steps. We'll come back to starting your business, but you said something. You were in LA and you woke up one morning and had this idea to move to Raleigh. And you said, when I follow my intuition, I'm never wrong. And I agree with you. Help me understand and helplet's sort of help other people understand how you can trust your intuition when it's saying something so outlandish.
Julie: That is a great question because sometimes how do we know it's the ego as opposed to the intuition or that inner wisdom? I think so one thing I would say is sometimes when it's so outrageous, that's a great clue.
Right. My brain could not make this up.
Exactly. Exactly. And so one thing I think is important for people to do is to find some type of mindfulness practice, whether it's meditation, whether it's listening to classical music. and to start to develop your intuition, if you don't have a regular practice. Sit quietly, close your eyes. When you close your eyes, that helps the ego kind of stand down. You remember your ego's job is to protect you. So if it's something that you're like, Hmm, this feels really good. And you hear that little niggling voice? No, you can't do it. That's probably your ego. So I think developing a practice is important. Closing your eyes, sitting and quietly breathing. You know,do something simple. Start out today. What do I want for lunch? Do I want a salad or do I want a cheeseburger? Now might people be like, oh, come on Julie salad, junk food, but you know what? Someday you need a cheeseburger. Maybe you're just really exhausted. You're playing tennis all day and you need the cheeseburger.
Julie: So working on that and doing little exercises to reinforce your intuition. Like if you were to stand up, close your eyes and ask yourself a question, swaying forward means yes. Think about that. We wanna take action. Whereas if we were to move back, that's saying, whoa, stop that. So I think it's super important. You know, I'll share an example. When I first started my business, I had this meeting, literally within the first month. And she was like, I hate organizers.
Julie: We were doing a little one-on-one and I was normally, would've been like, oh, run out of the room. And so I just said, why? And she said, well, they're wasteful. And I said, you don't have to be wasteful. Here are all these ways you can be green. And that allowed me to specialize in eco organization. And I was living in North Carolina at the time in Raleigh.
Julie: So no one else in the state was doing it. And people were like, you're gonna, fall before you've even started. But I won a national award. I won a regional award just for being who I was, which I know is a little different than intuition. But when she said that it felt right, I intuitively knew this is the move to make.
Stephanie: Yeah. I have, one little exercise that I do almost daily and it's, it's silly, but that's okay. Usually when I'm in the shower, sometimes when I'm lying in bed, it's about what am I gonna wear today?
Stephanie: And I actually wait for the outfit to pop into my head and usually it's, and I love clothes. I'm a bit of a clothes horse. I like to look nice. I love jewelry. I've got, I mean,my little turtle here is probably 20-25 years old. I never throw things away. Sorry, Julie, we'll get to that later, but, I, I don't throw things away. So I have, you know, clothes and scarves and jewelry going back to when I was in high school.
Stephanie: So for me, it's sort oflike this, what are we gonna wear today? and I'll wait for an outfit to pop into my head. And usually it shows up fully formed. And if I try to override that and say, no, I feel like wearing this today. Something will go awry. It won't fit right.It'll be rubbing all day, like something. so that's my silly little intuition sort of tune up for the day is, is what are we gonna wear today?
Julie: I think that's fantastic. That's great.
Stephanie: Okay. So back to Julie in her late thirties, you've moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, and you're in a nonprofit job that you knew very quickly after you started that it wasn't a good fit. Tell me about how, your sort of impending 40 birthday was Was it at all integrated or connected with the, this unease you were feeling or this discomfort with where you were?
Julie: Absolutely. it really makes you think I'm like, okay, my life is probably about half over, you know, if I'm lucky. And so what have I done. Is this what I wanna spend the rest of my life doing? And I thought, no, I don't. and the thing, like a good example too, is like this completely, I don't know about you, but completely pushed me outta my comfort zone.
For instance, I used to be deathly afraid of public speaking and I'm not exaggerating. I, and. First join this group and you had to give your 15-30 second pitch. I was like, I did. And they like kept going, keep doing it. And now I get paid to speak. Right. And so that was one of the wonderful benefits.
Julie: And so it has expanded my life so much, I think, which what makes me excited and the other thing about turning 40, 50 was even more freeing, but it was like, you know what? I don't have time for this crap. Like I need to do some stuff. It. You're halfway through your life, what is it that you wanna add to the world? It's time to get moving.
Stephanie: So you've always had, or at least since that aha moment, when you were a nanny, since the diaper bag moment, you've had this sort of predilection for organizing. You've helped family and friends. Now you're sitting in a job that you dislike, but you just moved to North Carolina for it. How did you know it could be a business? How did you know you could take this crazy idea and turn it into something that would support you? Or did you know?
Yes and no. So one of the things I, did was like, okay, what can I do that I'd enjoy doing right. I don't wanna be like, ugh, I hate what I'm creating. So what could I enjoy doing? What would make a difference in a person's life? And then the other question I asked was, what can I make money doing? And so it was kind of an intersection of that. So like I said, I started out, started seeing SCORE and they're like, what people do, what? But then there in Raleigh, it's rather interesting. There were a ton of organizers. There were a lot of people. And I think if you were in, if you were in an industry in a place where there are many people, I think it's important to find a niche that separates you from everyone else.
Julie: Now you can definitely expand. How am I different from people? And so I kind of, yes and no new to that, but now where I am, we move back to help care for my mom. And so I am the only one. There might be one other woman. I'm in town of 30,000, but it's there, aren't a lot of people in the area doing it less so than in Raleigh.
Stephanie: I'm sorry, I don't know how big Raleigh is. Is that just a factor of sort of the size of the area you're in, do you think, or is it a sophistication level or?
Well, you know what, Raleigh has blown up. Since I was there 14 years, and it has exploded in, population. but even at the beginning, when I started, there were a lot. So I think you know,Cary, which was a "Containment Area for Relocated Yankees." Yeah, that's what the southerners refer to Cary.
Stephanie: I've never heard of that.
Julie: You know what, you'll never be. Yeah. You'll never be a southerner unless you've been there for 16 centuries. You know, it's very subtle, but you'll know that you're never gonna be one of them. And so I think that there's,there's, money in Raleigh. There is, the Research Triangle Park, so definitely had the clientele to support it.
Julie: Okay. Okay. And so now where you are. You have an established business, but now you're in a brand new location. How are you finding yourself breaking the ice? I grew up here and so I would come back and help with people too. I'm fortunate that I don't have to start over again. The other thing I wanna share that I think is important as a business owner, like I'm finishing up a huge downsizing job, but I don't do that as much.
Julie: Like it's for my awesome neighbor. Who's just, I wanna be that awesome at 85, but I've had to say what else can I do? So I've added coaching. I've created classes. I'm like you and have a podcast. I have books. And so it was very important for me to make money while I sleep. And as I age and don't wanna do this as much, still bringing an income.
Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah, that's great. So it's been 13 years, you have a successful business and, you turned 40, you decided you didn't care. You turned 50, you decided you cared even less.
Julie: Absolutely. And, you know, I think that, as women, we have all these expectations that are put on us or all like,don't get angry. You can't be angry. You can't be this. You can't be that. But look where it's got us. Look where our state of the country is because women haven't stood up for ourselves on our rights.
Julie: And one of the things I'm passionate about is women owning their own business, cuz you control your finances, you control your schedule. You do all that. And that's incredibly empowering.
Stephanie: Yeah, I'm curious, you said you did things very late. When did you meet your husband?
Julie: Let's see, started the business at 40. I'm trying to think. We met at 42 and got married at 43, but it was 11 months from our first date. Like we knew. He proposed really quickly and we knew right away that it was gonna happen. And so life really has just been much better for me the second half. Yeah, like standing up for myself, I used to be a doormat. And that business teaches you to say, no, you can't be everything to everyone. And I'm allowed to fire a client if I don't wanna work with them. How awesome is that? And that's not, doesn't have to be bad, just not being a fit and not tolerating crap.
Stephanie: Right.I like you came to things very late. Patrick and I met when I was 40 and we got married when I was 44. So about, we got, we were a little slower in the middle there, but we hit the, I think we hit the wedding at about the same time. and I always say that he was my reward for never settling.
Julie: Ooh. My husband was the third guy to propose to me and I knew the other two weren't right. And he was yeah, worth the wait a thousand percent. And I'll just share a little story. I had written a list of what I wanted in a husband, integrity, smart, blah, blah, blah. But my one quality was six foot tall, right? At least six feet tall. As soon as I took that off, I met my husband who's an inch shorter than me, but I, wouldn't trade him for anything. So that was just a reminder. What's important. The inside the man is important and the height isn't.
Stephanie: Right, I had a list as well, in my thirties. And, I wonder if I could even find it now. I remember taking it out after. Patrick. And I, had been together for a while and it was like, check, check, check, check. You know,he checked a lot of the boxes and it probably like you, there were a couple of, surface ones that he might not have checked. But when you realize when you're standing there with the person and realizing how they make you feel, who cares? Not important.
Julie: Right. Exactly. Exactly.
Stephanie: Okay. So you are a professional organizer and you help people organize and declutter their worlds, but more than just physical. Talk to me about that.
Julie: Yes. And that's what I get so excited about. First of all, the inner reflects the outer. And so if you have a messy desk, you're probably gonna lack clarity. And so anytime you work on the inner, it reflects the outer. And so any work you do to cluttering is all good. My definition of clutter is this, clutter is anything that prevents you from creating the life you choose, deserve and desire. So you can have relationship clutter. If you don't have a supportive inner circle, that's creating clutter for you. If you can't say no and you don't have good boundaries, that's creating clutter for you. If you're jealous, angry, frustrated, upset all the time, that's creating clutter for you.
Julie: So it's thinking more broadly. And so, you know, I mentioned a messy desk a moment ago. I want people to say messy desk. No, it might be a roadblock to a promotion. Or if you have a closet, sorry for this example, that's over stuffed.That can prevent a relationship from blossoming. I went dated a guy for a couple dates and saw his closet and not, it wasn't over stuffed. It was so organized. I was like, I can't date this guy, this truly scares me.
Stephanie: Yeah, you're a psychopath.
Like the closet, the, everything was perfectly spaced. And I mean, a lot of people would be like, oh my gosh, this is awesome. For me, I was like, no, that's too rigid. It was a rigid issue. And I trusted my intuition on that. And he was a good guy otherwise, but not happening.
Stephanie: That's interesting. I had a crush on a guy, long before I met Patrick and a bunch of us were over at his house for a barbecue or something. And I,I did sort of, for some reason, end up in his bedroom with a bunch of people and saw his closet and saw the same thing I saw, you know, all his suits were sort of, you know,next to each other.
Stephanie: And his, shirts were color coded and his pants were, and everything was perfect. And I, did think like,that's actually not that attractive to me.
Julie: I'm with you on that.
Stephanie: We would not have been a good match.
Julie: Yeah. And so it was nice to know that, and again, there's like that worked for him. It's okay. There's no judgment. It just wasn't a fit for me.
Right. And there's a match out there somewhere.
Julie: Yeah, absolutely.
Stephanie: Tell me about decluttering in your own life. Have there been different stages or different times when you've focused on different things? I mean,tell me about how decluttering has affected your world and your mental state and your sort of personal evolution.
Well, it's really interesting because there have definitely like life it ebbs and flow. So for instance, when I left Massachusetts and moved to LA, everything could fit in a two door Honda Civic with a little carrier on top. And then when I moved from Los Angeles to Raleigh, I had to be part of a truck because I didn't have enough to rent my own truck. So again, those big cleanouts. We did downsize in 2019. And then we downsized unexpectedly in 2021 when my mother became ill and we moved back. But I'm at a time in my life even doing, after all this downsizing, my mom died August 9th of last year. And
Stephanie: Oh, I'm so sorry.
Julie: Thank you. It was really hard, but it was, you know, there's something when you've been ill, it's a release to finally be free of all that. But my father's like,okay, let's get this stuff going. I'm like, it was too quickly for me and I'm just gonna, and I had to respect his wishes, but I'm laughing. You know, I have some stuff. We're redoing our basement. We had flooding, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, the day bed's gonna go down there, but I am getting a bunch of my mom's stuff and I'm okay with it. Cuz I'm like, you know what, if it takes me a couple years to go through it. Like one example is she saved a bunch of things for her travel trips. So I would just wanna look at 'em, you know, maybe save a thing or two, then I'm gonna pass them on to my brother. Dealing with death has been very challenging. And so I'm giving myself the grace you've downsized twice in two years, you'll do that again with this, but it, I didn't wanna pressure myself because I was like, what if I let something go of my mom's and I'll regret it. And so I'm taking the longer route, but again, it's also beneficial cuz we've downsized. So if we hadn't downsized, it would probably be overwhelming.
Stephanie: So Julie, I feel like I have to admit something to you.
Julie: It's all right. You can confess no judgment, never any judgment. Right? We're always works in progress doing the best we can.
Stephanie: So I am, I actually consider myself really quite organized, almost I don't know. Not to a fault, but just a step before a fault, I guess.but I'm also on the edge of being a maximalist. I love things and not only just things, but a lot of my house is full of things, I call them, they have soul. So I have a lot of vintage furniture that comes down through my mother's family, through my father's family, through my husband's mother's family. I've got, vintage, wooden, dressers and, vanities and, things like that. Stained glass that my, my grandmother made. I just. I don't know, I like things with soul. And so if you came to my house and you, said, okay, let's start decluttering. I would actually start having a panic attack because I love those things so much.
Julie: Can you walk around your house? I mean, you're you, aren't a hoarder.
No, no, no, no, no.
Julie: Okay. so, you're not a hoarder. Okay. If they bring you love and joy, like I would ask you, do you find peace when you walk into your house? When you are you like, oh, when I come home, this is my sanctuary,
Stephanie: A hundred percent. I can walk in my door and just exhale.
Julie: Then it's okay. Then it's a good thing. Then it's not too much clutter. That's how I say, it's very individualized. Now, if we were tripping over the furniture, you know, if we had like a pathway through each room, I'd say, okay, Stephanie, let's talk about this a little bit.
I would like to add though. I think everything is energy. I like that you say it has a soul. What I would question you or say food for thought. A lot of times people will make the mistake of putting their memories on their furniture. So, uh, here's an example I'll use and you know, where our memories are in our hearts and in our head.
Julie: So my grandmother died and this is funny. We came back to my hometown and we ended up buying her house. It was, I knew it was meant to happen, although I'm sorry, grandmother, when I'm cranky at the house. But so when she died, my, my aunts and dad were really great. They wanted everyone to have stuff. So they shipped out her bedroom furniture.
Julie: I still have its in the guest room. And they also sent out these, and I remember these dishes and they had daisies on 'em. But they were gray. They at one point in time were white, but again, they wanted to clear everything out. And I was like, I can't let these go. And then, they were my grandma, and I was super, she was with my grandparent I was close with. And then I was saw Peter Walsh speak and he talked about the memories being in the head. And I'm like, since my own personal growth work, I'm like, they're also in your heart. And I was like, my grandmother's not in those dishes. If I let the dishes go. I'm not gonna lose my grandmother and I'm not gonna lose the memories from her.
Julie: So that's the only thing I'd say, you know,maybe consider that and you'd be able to let some stuff go or maybe not, there's no right or wrong here. It's just food for thought.
Stephanie: Yeah. I think, I don't know. I think sometimes i, will lean on the fact that I am so organized that I, so it, it allows me to have more because it's not cluttered. It's not, you know, messy. It's not it's, you know,
Julie: Then it's okay, then it's not clutter. I had a doctor that I worked with in Los Angeles and he just had an eye for things. And so he would change up his space. So he would have a space where he stored stuff within his home and like, oh, I, want the not holiday. Like just what I'd call regular decor. That's okay. That was his passion. And it made him happy, then that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. You know, I am not a minimalist. And when I think of minimalism, I think of austere and severe, and that's not who I am as a person. And we have cats, we have cat toys all over the house. I don't care. I'm not gonna pick up the cat toys, the cats, it's their house too. If people are coming over, I'll pick em up. But otherwise I'm like, this is just how we live.
Right. Yeah. No, I'm very much the same way. Yeah. And minimalism is austere is a,word that I would relate to that as well. Whereas I find my space cozy.
You know, we laughed, I will share this cuz I'm keeping it real. I went up before, Stephanie popped on and I have a pile of papers that I need to file. So she's oh my gosh, can I say something? I'm like, absolutely. It's not about being perfect. Now, if this were to be a month, like this two months and I say, okay. But I'm gonna get to it this weekend. It's on my to-do list. I like to clean my office at the end of the week, check in with all that. Those are the things to think about. It's a difference between having it for a week or two, as opposed to six months, eight months, whatever.
Right, tell me about, you said you,share your house with cats and I think you like, I have you, are they black cats?
Julie: Yeah. It was really sad on June 20th, we had to put our 19 year old cat. We had to help Joey cross the rainbow bridge. And my husband knew Joey longer than he knew me, cuz it'd only be nine years. Anyway, Joey was awesome and gave me the wonderful last gift of being able to grieve. And then we had a Tabby Athena that we had to save goodbye to before we, she was like, I'm not moving to West Virginia. She left before the election. She's like, I'm not staying around for this crazy time, but we still have three and we'll <whispers> get another one. So anyway, anyway, we have Antonio who's black and Nini Gus who were ferals that I helped foster and couldn't say bye to.Yeah, it's a happy household of black cats.
Stephanie: That's funny. So I was not a cat person until, geez. What is it? 14, 13, 14, 15 years ago. There was a stray over at my mother's house, this tiny little black cat. And my brother was living there at the time. And he found this cat and he fed her and she hung around for a week. And my mother said, can't walk by the door or the window without her starting to chat with me.
Stephanie: And I don't know why at the time I was in my late thirties, 38. And I just said, I think I'm gonna take that cat. So I called my brother and I said, is that cat still there? And he said, yeah, why? I said, I think I'm gonna come take her. So I went over with a girlfriend I'd never owned a cat before in my life.
Stephanie: I went over with a girlfriend who was a cat person, stood on the front porch. And I said, my brother was there with a buddy. And I said, where is she? He said, I don't know. She was just here. And over, she came trotting over to my feet and I picked her up and she snuggled into my neck and then put her down. She jumped down and, walked away again. Did it a second time. Finally, I said, all right.I picked her up. I walked her over to my car. I opened the door. She jumped in on the seat. And I was like, okay, this cat needs to come home with me. so that was Tuna. My princess. My brother named her because, he fed her tuna. So she kept the name. and we lost her in, I think August of 2020. So during the pandemic and I was heartbroken, just absolutely heartbroken.
Stephanie: So.we're in the pandemic, everybody's at home and I have a four-legged hole in my heart and a friend of mine is fostering a pregnant mama. And my husband and I had gone to a couple of shelters to look at kittens and nothing ever really fit just didn't feel right. But then this friend was fostering a mama and I said, Hey, you know, what about any of those kittens? And she said, nah they're all spoken for. And I said, okay, that's fine. And then two weeks later she goes, I think one of them's available. She said, it's the youngest one. And it's a black one. I was like, oh my god.
Stephanie: So I had a four legged hole in my heart, and now we live with a four legged pain in my ass because he is the opposite of her in every way. First of all, he is a boy. He's got very boy energy. He zooms all over the house. She was this dainty snugly six and a half pound princess. He is a 14 pound monster who, just last night, I don't know if you. can see, I've got a couple of, you know,he decided he was angry last night. I don't know the heat. I don't know something. We were playing and then he decided he wasn't playing. And I went to bed covered in bandaids. But we love him. We love him. So anyway, he's a black cat too.
Julie: They're the least likely adopted. Let's do a quick PSA here and black dogs too, so if you can open your heart to black cat or dog, that would be awesome.
Stephanie: Yes. And even though he is a pain, he is awesome. Let me think. what else should we cover here? we've talked a little, we've talked a lot about cluttering. Oh, I know what I wanna do. So the clients that you work with, are there any that you find are in that 40 year old area where people are making changes in their lives or starting to sort of realize things and make changes in their lives? Can you tell me a little about that?
Julie: Yeah, absolutely. So it's kind of like, what do I wanna do? What do I wanna contribute? And that freeing thing. I don't know if you found with your clients or with other women, like, Hey, you know what? It is time to to get going on life and, They're overwhelmed and that's why they wanna work with me. Okay. I'm overwhelmed. I don't know what to do.
Julie: And, I view my job as supporting people in bringing out their inner wisdom. They know what's best for them. I surely don't, but it's that support system and being able to voice, yes, you can do that. Absolutely go for it. You know, allowing that wisdom to come to the surface and You know, when you take a step to, towards your dreams, when you start your business, that allows someone else to see the possibility and give them permission. You know, sometimes we don't give ourselves to permission to do what we need to do. So that's absolutely what I view is going on. It's kind of be that mirror, reflecting back. Yeah. You can do it. Yeah. It's okay. You know what? You'll figure it out. Just take that first step.
Stephanie: So you act as a Greek chorus.
Julie: Yes. Yes. Oh, I like that. I've never thought of it that way.
Julie: Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, and I think it's so important to support each other and, you know, we've gotten away from that. So I think that's really important. Especially women, especially older women. The older we get, society says we're not valuable. They devalue us. And I think if anything, we become more empowered, be, become more strong and we have more to contribute.
Stephanie: I almost feel like we do it sort ofon the sly, likethere's this secret society of, wise empowered women who maybe aren't in the mainstream, but they're there.
Julie: A thousand percent, but look at what the mainstream does. How can we tear? How can we tear her down? How can we discredit her?
Stephanie: Right,Julie, this has been a wonderful conversation. I love your thoughts on clutter not just being physical, and clutter having relation to relationships and anxiety and health even, I think you've said, is that right?
Julie: Yeah. Yep. Health finances, you name it.
Stephanie: Finances. Yeah. Yeah. It's it's a little bit of a mind twist here. How can the stuff on my desk or in my house or on the floor in my bedroom have any relationship to finances?
Julie: How all that stuff collecting dust. I don't know what the, the most recent statistics I know is that have something like $15 grand of stuff hanging around the house that we're not using and maybe carrying $9 or $10,000, I might be reversing that, of credit card debt. So many people on credit card debt. What do you have hanging around collecting dust? I mean, that's a great motivating factor. What does this cost me?
Right. How many times a week does Amazon show up at your door?
Right? Here's a PSA. Another PSA. You don't need to buy anything from Amazon today. I'm just giving you permission to tell everyone listening, to tell yourself that.
I, I feel personally attacked, Julie. I just want you to know that.
Julie: Oh, no, not at all, but remember there's the, "and." I wanna talk about the word and for a moment. I don't like Amazon and I like Amazon. I don't like Amazon because it takes a cut of the books that I have on Amazon and Amazon allows me to reach a broader audience. I don't like Amazon, cuz it's too big. And when my mom was sick and I was outta state, I could send them what they needed. it's about that balance and not, and I don't believe in saying anything is completely bad or completely good. It's about, you know, what is the balance, that can be good and bad.
Stephanie: The duality of it.
Julie: The duality. Yes.
I will do my best not to buy anything on Amazon today. Although my Amazon packages for the day have already shown up. So I guess maybe I got my dopamine hit.
Julie: You got your dopamine hit. Well, you know,try tomorrow. You know it one step, one time. You do what you can, right? One foot in front of the other.
I know. It is true. Julie, thank you so much for joining me today. I so appreciate you sharing, with me and,with the listeners. I think the thing is a real, is something we don't maybe think about as being on the forefront or, something we don't think is affecting us negatively. And, so I'm glad that you came and shared with us how we can do better.
Julie: Thank you. And if they go to my website, reawakenyourbrilliance.com, I have a free little clutter priority assessment. You take it, figure out this is what I need to focus on right now. And I give you a take action item to get started.
Stephanie: Excellent. Excellent. And, on that note, you don't only work with people in your local town, is that right?
Julie: Oh, correct. I work with people all over the world. I definitely am working with some people in England right now. So it can be with the life coaching, organizing. I have people with technology can show me around the room and we can declutter and get organized. It's one of the things that I love about technology. It's been really neat meeting people from different parts of the country, and the world.
Stephanie: And helps facilitate for you to be able to work with people and not be standing in their living room.
Julie: Yes. Yes.
Stephanie: Great. All right, Julie, thank you.
Julie: Thanks for having me, Stephanie.