Do you ever get frustrated with trying to keep your home organized? For most of us, no matter how much we try, it can get overwhelming dealing with stuff.
And then there’s all the stuff from our loss and trying to figure out what to do with it.
But I’ve got the answer for you, and her name is Shira Gill!
She’s a coach and organizer who understands grief and also knows how to help you create a home that you adore.
Listen in for all her amazing tips.
You can find Shira on Instagram @shiragill
Her website https://shiragill.com/
And her new book Minimalista is out now everywhere you buy books.
To schedule a free consult call, click HERE
Review the podcast and then click HERE to enter to win Cards for Joy, my signature deck for of inspiration for your life.
Follow me on Instagram! @amy.smoothstonescoaching
Photo by Vivian Johnson
Music by ZingDog on Pond5
Hey, what’s up? I’ve got a couple of things to tell you about and then we are gonna get to my interview with Shera Gill.
She is so amazing. She’s in a coach, an organizer, and she has a new book out called Minimalist. I actually had planned this podcast before because I think organization is just something probably most of us struggle with. It’s the holidays and we’re gonna be bringing in a lot of stuff. So I thought it was great timing and it just happened that her book came out this week.
I love how that all came together. What I have going on, two things. I am going to do some special holiday coaching. I know the holidays can be so hard for some people and I don’t want you to have to just. Get through it. I want you to thrive and actually enjoy this season if you are interested in that. I only have a few spots, so all you need to do is email me amy smooth stones coaching.com, and I will get you your spot.
I have spots available Monday and Wednesdays, so hop on that and then don’t forget, I’m. Offering free cards for Joy for someone to win. If you review the podcast, if you love this podcast, go ahead and review it and then go to smooth stones coaching.com/review. Enter your name and email. I will know that you did a review and we will pick a lucky winner to get some cards for Joy just in time for Christmas.
I really appreciate you being here. I appreciate your support and I really would appreciate a review. Let’s dive into today’s interview. Well welcome everybody, and I wanna especially welcome Shera Gill. She’s here to talk to us about getting organized and Shera, thank you so much for being here. Thanks for having me.
I’m so happy to be here. Yes. Well, let’s start off, I always start off the podcast just asking, A little question about, I know that sure has not experienced the loss of a baby, but she has experienced loss in her life. So would you mind telling us about someone maybe special to you that isn’t with us anymore, and just even a favorite memory or a lesson, um, that they taught you?
Sure. Yeah. Um, so I lost my father, um, who I was. Very, very close with, um, kind of tragically about nine years ago, and, um, One of the things, I mean, we may talk about stuff and what to keep and all of that, but I was kind of tasked with, um, going through my father’s whole house and, and deciding what to keep, um, and what to give away.
And, um, because his whole family was on the east coast, we’re on the west coast in California, so I was the only. A person who lived, uh, close by. And um, so that was a really intense process for me, obviously. But I did keep a few things that really, um, remind me of him in the best way possible. So I have, um, A Ben and Jerry’s cookbook, like an ice cream cookbook.
And I used to make, um, like hand churned ice cream with my dad. And then we had a big old fashioned machine with the salt and everything. And um, we would use this Ben and Jerry’s cookbook, which still has like ice cream and stains and, you know, dog ears and. Um, when I went through his house, I found that cookbook and our old fashioned ice cream scoop.
And so now, um, I make ice cream from that same cookbook with my girls and it’s a really lovely way of kind of remembering one of my favorite activities with him and then also sharing it with my family Now. Oh my gosh. That’s so cute. I love that. That must have been so special when you found it. Yes, and we’re, I mean, I’m a huge ice cream person, it’s like kind of a problem.
And my dad was like, you know, a massive ice cream person. So it feels very, like, I always feel connected to him through ice cream. Amazing. I love it. I wanted to talk about that a little bit At the end of, you have a new book coming out, which we mentioned, but. At the end, you have a section on what to do with things when people pass away.
Yeah, but I wanted to talk about it at the beginning because we talk a lot about grief here and loss, and I think that what’s unique about losing a baby is you don’t have those memories, right? Like when you lose grandpa, it’s the whole house full of things, right? When you lose a baby sometimes all you have is maybe like, A pregnancy test or you know, an ultrasound picture or something like that.
First, I’ll just ask you that specifically. What would you say to someone, and I’m sure you’ve, you’ve, you help people in their homes, you’ve been through a lot of, you’ve seen a, everything probably. Yeah. Um, what would you say to someone who just has like, An old pregnancy test that they put in a drawer and they just don’t wanna let go of it.
What’s some ideas you have about, you know, maybe preserving that memory but not keeping that actual Yeah. Pregnancy test. I mean, I would say with stuff in general, it’s always about kind of asking yourself how does this thing make me feel? Um, and do I like it and, and do I like my reasons for keeping it, you know, even with my dad, I think there were certain things that I felt like maybe I should keep, but I.
I didn’t want to, or whenever I looked at them or touched them, it made me feel sad. And um, so I think like with regard to the example that you gave of the pregnancy test, I guess the most important thing is first I. Just really being real with yourself about how does owning this pregnancy test make me feel, and does it make me feel closer or like have more of an intimate connection, or does it just bring me a lot of.
Pain and grief, um, and, and really checking in and there’s no wrong answer obviously. Um, but I think arriving at a decision that feels good to you in terms of, first of all, even if you do wanna keep the tangible object, um, and then of course there are like creative things to be done in terms of like taking pictures of an object but not keeping the actual object.
I’m really into the idea that, you know, uh, we get really. Bogged down by this idea that like you have to keep a thing to keep the memory or the connection. And as a minimalist, I kind of like thinking the opposite and like thinking we always have the opportunity to remember something or ritualize something or feel connected to something or someone.
Through the way we think about it. Um, but we don’t have to be married to that actual physical thing, to have the memory or to have the connection. So I would invite people to kind of free themselves of needing to clinging to every little tiny symbolic thing, unless it really does feel good and meaningful to them.
Yeah. I like that how you said to make a decision, right. Even if you do wanna keep it, and let’s be honest, they get kind of gross and they’re not, you know, it’s not cute after a while. Yeah. Um, but if you wanna keep it, like keep it on purpose, don’t just keep it cuz it’s too, like it feels overwhelming to decide what to do.
I was gonna say also, like sometimes, I mean, I found with my own grieving process, it, it’s so not linear and it’s. Shifts all the time. And so there were years where actually, you know, I went through my dad’s house and kept certain things of his, but I couldn’t look at them. I just wasn’t ready. And so I basically put them safely in a box in our basement and just stepped away from it.
And then years and years later, I felt like kind of a pull to look at some things and to revisit and to see. See, and my relationship with those things had changed so profoundly. So I think also if somebody feels just like overwhelmed, even by making a decision that’s so normal in the grieving process, and in that case I would say like if it does feel like a another excruciating choice, maybe just making a little keepsake box and putting it out of sight in a safe place and just allowing yourself kind of the peace and freedom to revisit.
At a later time if you want to, and make those decisions later on in the game. Yes, absolutely. I think that’s great advice. I was actually getting ready for this and I, I pulled out my box, so I have a box for my daughter. She was still born, um, at full term, so we were kind of like ready for her and had everything set up.
But yeah, it’s really interesting, um, that I went through and it’s, it’s right here, but. You know, I found, I haven’t looked at it for a long time and it’s been eight years since she passed away, but I have like hand prints and I have like the, one of the dresses, so my little girls wore dresses, um, to the funeral.
It was around Easter, so yeah, I have four little girls, so I had four dresses, but I did decide to keep one of the dresses cuz they all matched and. So I kept one of the dresses. But yeah, there’s like just things that I have, like the pillow from her little casket. Because it didn’t really fit. Like when we buried her, we took the pillow out and I just still have the pillow.
And so things like that for somebody who maybe does have more things or had a nursery had a later loss. Right. What would be, I mean, you already gave some great advice, but maybe what’s a a step to start like deciding Yeah, do I wanna keep this or not? Right. So I found it, um, in my own process, really helpful to give myself, um, a physical boundary, um, which to me really like anchored my choices.
So I, I mean, and obviously for me, I was navigating an entire home with a basement, and so that’s a very different example, but I think. Even in the case of someone who maybe has like a fully furnished nursery and clothes and accessories and all of the things to decide, you know, this is just an example.
There’s no right answer, but like I’m going to have two bins that are this size and actually buying the bins and. Just taking a first pass and saying, I’m gonna pluck out all the things that feel the most meaningful or the most special and put them in these bins, but these bins are what I’m going to keep.
I find limits can actually be really. Like our best friends and starting with that place. And also a lot of people have physical constraints, like, um, you know, maybe they’re changing their house around or moving or don’t have the space to store endless amounts of things. Um, so for me, like when I cleaned out my father’s home, I had to kind of whittle an entire home with a basement, an Attica garage.
Three bedrooms, et cetera, into six beds. And so that was actually very helpful for me because it took away that feeling of drowning in like the too muchness and kind of forced me to just focus on what are the things that have the most meaning and feel the most personal. Um, and another thing that really helped me was just distinguishing between like, What is just stuff and what actually feels very meaningful and personal and kind of uniquely sentimental.
And so, you know, for example, if you had like, Two dozen white onesies, you know, maybe you keep one of them. Um, or your example with the dresses, you know. Um, so it’s kind of thinking if you do have a group or a category of things to pick out a singular, most meaningful object from a big group. So for me, you know, I realized at a certain point, like my dad, His mugs were just mugs and his glasses were just glasses and they weren’t meaningful or special to me.
But the things that were, were like photos or letters or, you know, like maybe people have a letter that they wrote to their child, or, um, something from a baby shower that feels. Particularly poignant and meaningful to kind of pull out those things that feel like it’s not just a thing you buy from a store, but it’s actually a unique kind of sentimental object.
And what would you say? So I think a lot of people are in the boat of. Well, what if I have another baby? You know, what should I store? And I know that’s how I was. So I had like four girls and then I lost a girl. And so I have like these rotating totes of clothes and things and it’s like, well, we don’t know if we’re done.
So what’s your advice on that? Just, and I mean, this can be after a loss or just in general, right? Like that? Well, we might have another baby, so. Now what do I do? I know, and it’s such a big thing. And I would say like by and large, people keep so much more than they ever need to, whether they do have another child or not.
Um, and so again, it’s looking at like what are the physical constraints of your home? And that will dictate a lot. Like if you do have a garage or a basement or an attic with. Ample space and you really feel like, well, I don’t wanna run out and buy all of these things. I know that I would use them again.
Then I say, okay, put ’em in weatherproof bins and tuck ’em up out of sight if they’re really not gonna bother you or take up valuable real estate in your home. Um, but for me, like I live in the San Francisco Bay area, we have two tiny closets in our entire home. We don’t have a garage. You know, our basement is the size of a postage stamp, and so, For me, uh, and I had two girls when I was kind of thinking, well, we might have another one after the first.
I really limited myself to just the space that we had. So in my case, it was the bottom dresser drawer was. I’m gonna only keep clothes and shoes that fit in this one drawer for my future possible baby. Um, and then what I decided is with regard to gear, I always was gonna know a mom that I could borrow a baby swing from for six months, or, you know, uh, I would say if you have something very high value that you like, you know, you went really big on like the perfect stroller that you love and it, you know, is the best.
Then sure. Like fold it up and keep that one thing. But I always say like if you have a community, which everybody has some form of community, people love to help. They love to say like, oh, what do you need? Let me cover you or borrow this for three months. We’re out of this phase. So I think kind of cultivating an abundant mindset around stuff and not feeling like.
You have to cling so hard to everything cuz what if, what if? Um, but really thinking about like, fewer better. And so, um, when I was making those choices, I set myself up with clear criteria. So it was like I’m only keeping clothes. That feel gender neutral in great condition, that they don’t have massive stains all over them or big tears like those I’m gonna recycle or pass on.
Um, and with regard to gear, since we really didn’t have a place to store gear, I just thought, you know what? If and when we have another baby, I’m gonna be able to buy or borrow what I need and. I think the more children you have, the less stuff you need because you get more confident as a parent as well.
So that’s really my advice is like keep less, make clear criteria for what is worth the space to keep. And give yourself a timeframe too. I mean, I’ve had clients who, um, are even like past the point of having kids, but they’re hanging onto all this stuff because they haven’t been able to let go of the idea that maybe one day.
Something will happen. Um, and so I’ve done coaching with people around like, grieving, if that’s not gonna happen and let’s let go of this stuff so we can make space for the next chapter of your life. And I think that’s a really powerful thing to do sometimes. Cuz like you said, sometimes having the things.
You know, is gonna affect just the way you feel and in your home and when you see them. Yeah. I know for me, I had some, some things that I knew, like we had diapers and like baby soap and stuff that I knew, like even if we had another baby. Yeah. Like. I’m gonna wanna get new babies soap right. In a, a year from now or whatever.
Or things that I saw that I thought, this is, it’s sad for me to look at these things, so it’s okay to like pass them on to someone who needs them. Yeah. And I think, um, passing them on to someone like that, you know, like you said, in that community that you have. Um, I know something that helped me letting go of some of those girl clothes, like I said, was there was a girl, you know, young newlywed.
They didn’t have much money. They’re living in their parents’ basement type of thing. And you know, she had a baby about the same age as my daughter. And even though it was like I. Emotional that, you know, that baby was there. I just thought, you know, I want these to be used and for someone to wear them and, and stuff like that.
So I think that can be really helpful. Um, absolutely. And I think generosity is a great way of cultivating abundance. Um, because when. When we’re generous, we actually have to believe that we will have enough, that we will be okay, that we’ll get what we need someday if things change. That’s actually for me, exactly what you said, like I love to identify.
Either a person, like an individual or an organization where I know the things I’m letting go of are gonna have a good home for someone that will use it. Now, I think it helps to kind of say, well, I’m not using it at all, and I don’t know even for sure if I ever will, but there’s someone in the world who needs it now, so why not?
Like make that. Match, um, and trust that if things change, I’ll be able to have what I need at that point. The other thing I’ll say, I mean, I was raised by hippies who were very anti materialistic, and I remember even when I had my baby shower for my first daughter, my mom was like, this is such a racket.
Like kids don’t need anything. Like they need diapers and food and a place to sleep. And so I think there is so much pressure to have. All the things and all the gear and all the latest gadgets, but truly, if you really think about what a baby needs, it’s mainly a relationship with their parents. It’s less about the physical, tangible things.
Anyway. Yeah, absolutely. My mom always tells a story of bringing my oldest brother home, and I think he slept in a laundry basket for, for quite a while, you know? Yeah, I know. You always hear about that, like the drawer. Yes. Yeah. Okay. Well, I have one more question. Um, On this subject and then we’re just gonna talk about organizing your home a little bit.
Okay. So I think, like I said before, with with losing a baby and you don’t have all of those things, I think sometimes there’s a pull to actually buy things for your child, which I, you know, when I talk to my clients, I think, you know, if that’s something you really wanna do. Like, that’s okay. Like it’s okay to continue to parent your child even though they’re not here.
Yeah. For example, the year that Lauren would’ve gone into kindergarten, I bought her a backpack because, you know, it was a hard milestone and I thought I bought all my other kids these LL Bean, you know, Mo with their name on it, um, backpack and and things like that. So what would you say to someone who.
Wants to get some things to remember their baby by, um, how would you keep that? Just keep it in line with, um, how you want your home to feel. Yeah, I mean, I think it’s so tough with, I. With grief and loss because there’s no like one size fits all prescriptive formula. Um, it’s always kind of doing a gut check to see like, what am I needing this year and honoring what you’re needing.
So I think like honestly, if somebody is feeling like they need to go shopping, And that’s part of their ritual, then by all means, like do the things that are gonna feel good to you. Now, knowing that that may completely change the next year, like I have felt, I. So profoundly different every on every anniversary, and sometimes the things that I do involve stuff, and sometimes they involve just taking a hike or going to the cemetery.
It really shifts, I would say, like if doing something around stuff and shopping authentically feels good to you, then of course do it. But I also would invite people to really think about a ritual, creating a ritual. That doesn’t have to involve stuff that is doing something. Um, you know, like my example is every year on my dad’s anniversary, I take a hike.
He loved hiking and I go take a hike, um, to the beach where he loved to hike. And then he used to always take me and my brother out to lunch and then buy us a present on Father’s Day, which was so sweet that he would buy us a present. And so, uh, when my brother’s in town, we just do that same ritual and it feels.
So meaningful. And it also feels like we’re kind of taking care of ourselves. Um, so it’s like we’re grieving and we’re honoring our dad, but we’re also doing something that feels good, like taking a hike, having a nice meal, talking about favorite memories, and then, and then we do usually end it by buying like, One specific thing.
So it’s funny, there’s uh, this ceramic store called Heath Ceramics, and my brother and I both love it, but it’s quite expensive. And so we started this ritual where every year, uh, both on Father’s Day and on the anniversary of our father’s, um, death, we buy ourselves like one piece of. Ceramics. So like one plate or one bowl or one mug.
And now it’s been so many years, we both kind of have our own collections. So that’s been kind of a lovely thing where it’s like we splurge on one little thing that feels special, but then it’s added up to this lovely collection that’s become part of our home. Um, and something that we kind of needed and used.
Anyway, so I think just giving yourself the permission to be creative and think outside the box and like, I have many friends who have, um, lost kids, lost pregnancies, and they all have such different ways of grieving, of celebrating, of commemorating. And so I think it’s more like checking in with yourself and giving yourself the permission that like, Every year this is gonna look different, and every year what I need is gonna look and feel different and just being open to, um, whatever pops up for you, and just honoring that for sure.
Thank you. Yeah. All right. Well, let’s talk about. Organizing your home and minimalism. Can you just tell us a little bit about what’s your version of minimalism? Because I know when a lot of people hear that word, they’re thinking, and you are an example of this, but this like white house with no nothing in it and like no stuff ever.
Right, right. Um, what does it mean for you, kind of like a, because I love your take on it, which is like, A functional minimalism. So just tell us a little bit about what, how you would Yes. Explain it. Yeah. I do think, I think minimalism is kind of a dirty word for a lot of people, and it feels like when people think of the idea of minimalism or a minimalist home, I really do think they conjure up this idea of like this stark white box with like nothing.
And it’s. Cold and it’s sparse and it’s not inviting. And so for me, minimalism really is about living an intentional life and creating a home and a life that reflects your authentic style and personal values and goals. And I think it’s really about using your home as a tool to help create the exact life you want and, Deciding through this kind of thoughtful process that I teach in my book, what are the things that serve me and add value to my life?
And really support who I am, who I want to be, how I want to live, and what are the things that are really just creating clutter and distraction and gathering dust. And so my process is about identifying what’s important and stripping away the rest. But that again, is not prescriptive, it’s personal. So I’ve had clients all around the world, you know, in, you know, the multimillion dollar mansion.
To the studio, apartment, and everything in between. And what this process looks like is the same process, but the end result is going to be different depending on who you are, where you live, what you care about, what your lifestyle is, what your values are. So really, I wanna make it less of an intimidating thing of like, people are always like, she’s gonna come for me and take all my things away.
And that’s not what it is. It’s really. And, and you know, I’m kind of a combination. I’m a certified life coach, as you know, and also have been a professional organizer for almost 12 years now. And so I combine the two. And so I start with, my first step in my process is just clarifying, what do you care about?
What do you wanna do moving forward in your life? Like, What are the new results that you wanna create? And getting really clear about that. And then looking at your home and thinking about what do I wanna subtract to get me closer to this vision? What do I wanna add? If anything, um, like elevate is another step in my process.
Um, so once you’ve kind of gotten clear, stripped away the clutter, gotten organized, then I give people like my full blessing, like, elevate your home, like. Add flowers or add art or add pictures of your loved ones or things that make you smile in the morning. So it really is a holistic process. Yeah. And I love this question that you have.
It says, when it comes to editing and organizing your home, what benefits are you most excited about? And I just love that question because like you said, a lot of us are like, oh, what am I gonna have to give up? Like, what is this taking away from me? But, right. But what, uh, could you tell us like some of the benefits you’ve seen for people who’ve gone through this process?
Oh my gosh. The benefits have just been incredible and like such a ripple effect. So I’ve seen people, you know, through the process of kind of decluttering and reorganizing their home, they’ve repaired relationships, um, with their spouse or with their kids. Um, they’ve lost weight. They’ve reclaimed their health.
They’ve, um, improved their finances. They’ve improved their social life. That’s a big one because I think, you know, shame and clutter go hand in hand for a lot of people. And so I have had so many moms who have hired me because they. Feel so ashamed of the state of their home that they’ve realized it’s affecting their whole family life.
Like they’re not hosting the play dates or the birthday parties or the get togethers. And then once they’ve gone through this process of, you know, editing and organizing and kind of overhauling their home, there’s this sense of pride in what they’ve created. And they now wanna open their doors and bring people in and share it with people.
And even for my own, like one of my big motivators was I love travel. So having a minimal home has really enabled me. I. To pack up at the drop of a hat to rent our home. We used to rent our home on Airbnb a lot, and it would pay for our vacations. Um, we now rent our home to, um, to people who are filming commercials or doing, uh, photo shoots.
And so I’ve met all of these like interesting, talented, creative people. Who have been attracted to my home, and so I’ve really seen like your home can be this force that shapes your life in such a profoundly positive way. You just need to put in the time to really reflect on. You know, what are the things I’m wanting more of in my life?
And so for me that was like more hosting, more time with friends, more travel and more kind of creativity and collaboration. And through the process of setting up my home to facilitate those things, it literally created those. Results. Yeah, I love that. I love that there’s so many like bonus benefits that people might not even think of.
And I do agree that whole shame, that’s something I’ve worked on a lot is, you know, I wanna be able to have people knock on the door and not be like, oh my gosh, right? Like all in the closet. Yes. Just having that peace that comes from like knowing. You know, it’s, it’s okay. Again, I don’t think you also think that it should be perfectly perfect all the time.
If you’re living, like for example, I have six kids. Wow. Six living kids. Um, so tell us a little bit about, I guess just where would we start if we want to get these, so we’ve like identified our why, which I think is so powerful and get excited. Yeah. Then where do we start? Then we’re okay. Yeah. So the first step in my process as we discussed is clarify and kind of identifying what do I want?
Why do I want it? What’s the vision? Then the next step in my process, which is really we’ll take the bulk of the time of these five steps is edit. And so editing is just subtracting the items that don’t serve or support your vision. So once you have a clear vision, I then have really built my process and my book into these like, Tiny bite-sized steps, especially for people who have many kids a career, a podcast like you are juggling all the things.
It really is so rarely possible to take your entire home by storm, right? And so, I break things down into a room by room approach and within each room, tiny little bite-sized projects. So I would say once you have your vision and you’re ready to move on to editing is simply to make a list of all the rooms that need editing, and maybe that’s every single room in your home.
And then it truly doesn’t matter what order you go in, it’s just about starting. But I would say like if people feel like kind of paralyzed by, I don’t even know where to start. I often say just start in your entry, whatever kind of landing space you have in your home. Um, because that seems to be a space that clutter gets really attracted to.
And if you’re juggling multiple kids, there’s gonna be the backpacks and the goosh and. You know, all of the things that are always coming in and out of your home. So just starting with like one micro space, like maybe it’s just your entry closet or, um, you know, your landing table if you have like a little table that gets all the things dumped on it.
And I have this strategy called the 15 minute win. So I say set a timer for 15 minutes. Set yourself up for success with no distractions and just see what you can do in 15 minutes. So typically, if someone was ready to start editing, I would just say, make sure you’ve got a trash bag or recycle bag and something to put donations in, and just literally set a timer for 15 minutes.
Take a little micro space. It could be one shelf or one surface or one drawer, and you will be shocked at what happens if you just focus for 15 minutes with that idea in mind of. Wanting to clear space or make your home feel better or make it more functional for your family, and just 15 minutes at a time.
One itty bitty project at a time is how I would tell someone to approach it. I love that and that. I mean, that works so well for really any project we’re tackling. Right. It’s like sometimes you just have to take action. Yes. You know, and, and whittle away at it instead of staying stuck in that. Yeah. I mean, this is, I use this approach to do my taxes because I find sitting down and dealing with accounting very stressful and overwhelming and out of my comfort zone.
And so I always say, okay, I’m just gonna do 15 minutes until it’s done. And then what I find is once you start, that’s really the hardest part. And typically people will kind of get on a roll because it will start feeling good to be out of overwhelm and into action. And then you’ll just wanna complete the project.
And I loved, um, one little shift you had in your book where you said, rename your junk drawer into your utility drawer. Yeah, I love that. As far as like maintaining the mindset and like the, the last couple of minutes, I mean, people just need to go read your whole book. It’s amazing. And like you said, super doable.
Not like super doable. I loved it as far as maintaining and keeping that vision of what you want. Cause I think we do kind of get in that thing. I’m like, I’m gonna pull out my whole closet and I’m gonna Yes. But then, yeah, so we’ve gotta keep it going. So what are some little, um, Tips you have like that.
Cause I love how you change it to utility drawer, which means this is the things I use. Right. And I wanna be able to find quickly like that screwdriver, you know, or pens in my house pen. We wanna hold drawer filled with junk. Yes. Um, so yeah, I mean, rebranding things certainly helps, but I think also just reminding yourself, Organization is not about perfectionism.
It’s really just about being intentional and purposeful and making your life easier. So one thing that I say, like if somebody’s short on time and they just are like, I wanna get more organized, but where do I start? Just identify something that you always lose or misplace and set up a home for it. Um, so that can be.
Literally as simple as like, ah, my keys are always floating around my house. Okay, I’m gonna take two seconds and put a little command hook by the front door. And now every time I walk home, my keys go on that little hook. I’m never gonna lose my keys. Um, or, you know, during the pandemic, my husband was suddenly working from home and he had all of this stuff all over our house that had no.
Home, right? And so I got him a big basket and I just said, this is your work from Home Basket. So when you’re done working, put all the cords and all the random things that you use for work in this basket. That’s a system. So I just wanna kind of drive home like. Organization does not have to be color coded alphabetized.
It can be very simple. And the way I describe organization in the book is it’s basically putting similar things together, like grouping, like with like, and then making sure each category has a home to live. So that it’s easy to return at the end of the day or when you’re done using it and that your kids can also easily identify Oh, right, all the art goes in the art cart.
Like that’s easy. Um, so just looking for ways you can kind of simplify your whole home. Okay. So I have to ask, since you mentioned it, and I think this is another. Big thing when people talk about organizing is the containers. So we think we need to go to the container store and drop like a thousand dollars on clear plastic bins.
But I think, like you said, we gotta edit it down first and then also like how, how would you use bins in like a good and helpful way rather than just like bins for the sake of bins. Bins for the sake of bins. Yeah. I mean, I think the number one home organizing mistake I see is shopping before editing and taking a careful inventory of what do I actually need.
I think people think that the container store is going to solve all of their problems, but having more bins doesn’t actually solve anything. So I would say, I mean, number one, You can instantly improve the look and feel of your space simply by owning less stuff. So like my number one design tip for people is own less stuff.
It’s free. You can give things. You might even make money. Like I’ve had clients who sell a lot of things and make money and improve their home just by clearing clutter. Once you’ve done that, once, you really are at a point where you feel like, okay, I now own things that. I use, I need, I love, they all have a function and a purpose at that point.
I would say then do an inventory of what are the things I can do now to elevate, do I wanna get some pretty matching baskets to contain my things? Do I want some drawer dividers for my utility drawer? So it makes it really easy for everyone to know, like the scissors goes. Here, the pens go here. But really like, I forbid people, even in my work and in the book, I say, please, please don’t shop for anything until you’ve clarified what you want.
Stripped away, clutter, organized by type and usage. And then you kind of have my full blessing to go buy some pretty bins and baskets. And I love, you have so many good tips about, I mean, we could talk about the baskets, but I love how you said just have one basket for like, The things that, you know, the mail or the in kind of inbox or using baskets in your linen closet as a way to like just make it look prettier and so we don’t have to fold those fitted sheets.
Oh yeah. That number one hack, cuz I hate, I’m not good at folding a fitted sheet and I’m supposed to be good at it because I’m an organizer, but I’m not. So I had to figure out a way for myself and my clients and I realized most people don’t love. Spending their spare time folding, fitted sheets. So just again, a simple system, like we have a pretty bin for each sheet set.
So like one for the king sheets, one for the queen, one for, you know, my kids’ twin sheets and we just plop ’em in by type. But then they look pretty because all you’re seeing is the face of a bin. So that’s another example of like a simple way of elevating your space, um, just by buying. You know, a handful of matching bins or baskets, and I love that.
It’s okay, you know, to make it pretty and functional too. Oh, yeah. Very important. It, I mean, don’t underestimate the value of aesthetics. I really think when our homes feel beautiful and curated and intentional, we treat them with more respect. Our kids treat. The space with more respect. Um, I think it’s sort of a, um, almost like a subliminal message that like you matter, your space matters, your stuff matters and you’re taking care of things.
Whereas if everything’s kind of in these haphazard piles everywhere, it’s the converse of that. It’s this sort of nagging feeling of unfinished business. And so I think the more that people can be. Intentional and really pay attention to like the styles you like the colors you like. I always get inspiration, like if I stay at a hotel or I go to a boutique, I get inspiration for how to style my own closet.
So being kind of open and curious about, um, the things that resonate with you and then how do you add little bits of that to your own home to make it feel really good. Yeah. And that, that leads perfectly into my last question for you. Finding inspiration, instead of doing the compare and despair thing that we sometimes do, how would, what would you tell someone?
Since we’re both coaches and we talk a lot about our thoughts and our feelings as we’re doing anything, it’s so important, you know, how do we go through this process from a feeling of love for ourself, for our home, and like doing it as a gift to ourself instead of the same old like, Oh my gosh. I do not have it together.
The shame, the blame, like all the shoulds. Um, I should be more organized. I should, you know. Yeah. What would just be kind of like a message of kind of like, Loving ourselves through this and doing it cuz it’s fun and it’s a gift, um, rather than because there’s something wrong with us if we’re not organized.
Yeah, I love that question. And I think, I mean, I can say most of my clients at some point during our process have burst into tears. So I first of all just wanna normalize that it does seem to be a universal feeling of feeling like I. Either it’s all too much, or how did I get myself into this mess? Or I should be better at this, or I’ve let things go.
And I mean, really, aside from creating suffering, it just doesn’t help anything, right? It doesn’t get you closer to your goals. It doesn’t make you feel better. It doesn’t make other people feel better. And so I always start with just how can we start this process from a future focused, really positive place of, you know what?
First of all, forgive yourself. Anything that you feel responsible for, let it go. Just let it go. It’s not gonna help. Um, and then really starting from a place of gratitude and appreciation, I think it’s so easy to criticize our homes, to compare our homes to other people’s homes. But the truth is, I mean, what helps me a lot is just thinking.
How fortunate I am to have a home, like that’s not a given in this world. A lot of people don’t even have a home. If you’re gonna compare yourself, like maybe compare yourself to people who are less fortunate and cultivate that sense of. Gratitude and perspective. Um, that always helps me if I start to get into that, like keeping up with the Joneses, it’s like, wait a minute.
Like, I have a home. I have like a warm, cozy place to sleep at night. I have a bed, I have pillows, I have a computer. Like, just starting with the gratitude of that and then focusing on, well, what is the vision I wanna strive for? And getting excited about that vision and maybe getting your family. To collaborate on that vision, um, so that there is less blame or nagging in the process and more joyfulness of like, what do we want more of as a family?
What do we want more of as individuals? Like we have a family meeting, um, on Sunday nights and we just check in with everybody. And you know, often my kids will just say, I really want this person to come over, or I really wanna sleep over with these two girls. And just checking in to see like, what are people wanting and how can your home facilitate that?
And working towards that and trying to let go of what everybody else is doing. Um, which is so easier said than done. But I think when we can really. Connect to that vision of what we want and make sure it’s really anchored in our values instead of in comparison to what somebody else is doing, which may be right for them, but it may not be right for you at all.
I think that’s beautiful. Just, yeah, bringing it back to you and your family and you know, they might not be on the same page. I know it’s easy for me to like blame. I have a lot of kids. You can imagine that it’s easy to, to kind of blame them, but I think when I took more ownership, Like, no, I want my home to be this way and I’m willing to do the work and be the mom I wanna be as we manage this.
And also allowing for the fact that we live here. I think, I think it helps a lot. Um, so thank you so, so much for everything. Tell us just a little bit about where people can find you. Yeah. Great. So yeah, I have, um, my Instagram is where I host my 15 minute win. So for anybody who wants to try that out and share, um, I love kind of celebrating your wins with you.
Um, so my Instagram is just my name at Shera Gill. Um, and then my website, I have a blog. I’ve been running with tons of free tips and inspiration and resources. I have a free kind of five day challenge you can do, um, to just start. Practicing these like tiny little wins every day. And then obviously I have my, my new book and um, I’m gonna have a online program that goes with the book that will be launching close to the new year.
Um, but my book Minimalist is sold wherever books are found. So Amazon, Barnes and Noble, but also small independent shops, um, should be carrying it as well. Amazing. Thank you so much for being here. Oh, thank you for having me.