smiling life coach with text overlay, "Feeling Cluttered? One Essential Question to Help Declutter and Organize Your Life" from episode 26 of The Organize Life Podcast

Hey Friend,

Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed by disorganization? Are you feeling cluttered? In your mind? Your home? Your office?  If so, you’ll want to try using this ONE question to help you declutter and feel more organized in your life.

Imagine discovering this simple question that can transform your life.

First, what is clutter? Google says clutter is a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass. I like to think of clutter as anything that keeps you from what you want. It could be thoughts, stuff, distractions, routines, piles, etc.

In what area of your life or business are you feeling cluttered the most?

In this episode, I am sharing ONE question you can ask yourself. Ask this every time you leave a room. Every time you move on from one project to another. Every time you feel overwhelmed (cluttered in your mind). You can also ask it every time you feel doubt in your business or when you’re standing in your kitchen looking around in awe at the mess around you.

In the podcast, I share a bunch of examples of how I use this in my life, how my clients use it, and areas you could try to use it.

I like to compare the process to an unexpected example. Intrigued? Stay tuned to find out how this one question can revolutionize your approach to decluttering and organizing. Message me on Instagram here to let me know how you’ve used it in your life to eliminate clutter and become more organized.

The key moments in this episode are:

2:15 – Monthly Mindset Themes
3:23 – Quarterly Projects
4:52 – Benefits of Joining Organized Life Academy
8:31 – The Essential Question to Declutter and Organize
15:04 – Sorting Out the To-Do List
15:44 – Taking Action on Decluttering
16:18 – Seeking Help and Doing Research
17:17 – Applying “Stop. What is the one next step?” in Daily Life

Your Asking-the-One-Question Declutter Coach,

Tracy Hoth's Signature

colorful quote, "It’s almost instinct now for me to STOP and ask myself, What is the ONE next thing I need to do" from The Organized Coach Podcast Episode 26

Resources Mentioned:

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4th Annual Holiday Planning Workshop (11/2/23)
Masterclass: 3 Pivotal Secrets to Take Your Home From Chaotic to Organized (11/8/23)

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Transcript with time stamps:

Are you feeling cluttered? This could be cluttered in your mind, cluttered as you think about a project, cluttered in your home or the car you’re driving in. It could mean so many different areas of your life. But if you are feeling cluttered today, I’m going to teach you one essential question to declutter and organize your home and your business. This month, I’m going to focus on organizing your life, meaning your home and different areas in your mind and everything along with your business.

Because I’ve organized hundreds of people’s homes and lives along with their offices and businesses, I want to share with you the skills that you can learn when you think about organizing your home and work in your home, organizing in your mind, organizing in your time, and projects along with your business. We’re going to look at that this month. Many of you probably don’t know, especially if you’re fairly new to me and to the podcast that I have a program called Organized Coach Academy. You’ve probably heard me talk about Organized Coach Academy, but for the past three years, I’ve ran a program called Organized Coach Academy.

It’s around this time of year that I get super inspired. I attend a live event, I get all motivated, I start thinking about the next year, and I start mapping out what it’s going to look like in Organized Life Academy. I think about what quarterly projects I want to work on in my life and what the clients that are in there, the students that are in there want to do. I think about guest speakers and having different people come in and teach their specialty. I think about monthly themes, things that people struggle with.

I have mapped out Organized Life Academy 2024. We’re going to have a motto called the Organized Life Experience. This is the life I choose, and I’m so thrilled to tell you a little bit about it really quickly. We’re going to have twelve chapters, and each chapter includes a monthly mindset theme and a declutter challenge.

We’re going to focus on those two things each month. Some of the mindset themes are going to be how to let go, organizing, implementation, enjoying the journey, the organizing formula, decision protocol, measuring the gain, values work, regulating your emotions when they rise up, and morning and evening organizing routines. Those are some of the themes, the mindset themes, for the upcoming months. We’re also going to do declutter challenges in every area of our home. One thing I’ve never done before is have an ‘in person’ event.

In April of this year, we will be having an ‘in person’ event for anyone in Organized Life Academy 2024. I’m super excited about that. This last year we did quarterly projects and I’ve loved having that kind of expansive time, a three month time period, to work on projects. It doesn’t seem overwhelming. It doesn’t seem like we have to do everything all at once.

When I think about the projects for 2024, the first thing I want to do, which I think a lot of you might be interested in, is organizing our health. I want to work on using the organizing concepts to create routines with meal plans, planning our movements, tracking, if you’re interested in that. Then for the second quarter, this is what I’ve been wanting to do, and it’ll tie in perfectly with the seasons. I want to minimize my wardrobe and closet and know my style. Doesn’t that sound amazing!

I’ve already thought about guest speakers for that topic. Quarter three is paper. We’re going to reduce incoming paper, create a flow, and eliminate paper clutter in our lives. I’m going to leave quarter four open. I have some ideas for that, but I’m not going to say exactly what it’s going to be yet.

By December of 2024, you will have created the Organized Life Experience, and you’ll be living the life you choose. Each month, you can come to four live calls. You’re going to bring your specific goals. You’re going to get coaching. We’re going to talk about the Declutter challenge.

We’re going to talk about our mindset, work that we’re working on, and anything else that you want to bring to the calls. That’s all I’m going to share about it now, but I want you in there. We have some amazing women that have been in organized life academy all three years. That’s the other thing. You get all three years worth of material.

There is so much material about every area of your house, about every aspect of organizing, and so much mindset material in there with different guest speakers and things from the past. So you have access to all of that. If you sign up before 1115, you’re going to get a VIP call with me each month. You can go to Simply Squared Away to learn more. Now, let’s get into the one essential question to declutter and organize your home and business.

Are you ready to work less, feel more organized and productive, streamline repetitive tasks, and implement systems that allow your coaching business to run smoothly even without you? If so, you’re in the right place. Welcome to the Organized Coach Podcast, your go-to source for practical tips and solutions. I’m your host, Tracy Hoth, professional organizer, certified life coach, simplifying expert, and most of all, down to earth fellow coach just like you. No matter if you think you’re missing the organizing gene, have ADHD, or just love anything organizing, I’m here to help you become an organized coach with a business that works for you.

Pull up a seat and let’s get started. Okay, as we start this topic, the first thing I did was to share what is clutter? If we’re going to declutter? What do we think that is? What is it?

I looked it up. It’s a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass. And I thought, that’s kind of true. Things lying about is how I think about it. It’s anything that keeps you from what you want. So anything that’s swirling around in your mind, anything that’s in the way for your reaching your goals or doing the next task, or anything that’s cluttered around from you living the life and doing what you want to do.

Now, to be organized means knowing what you have and being able to find it when you need it. I have one thing that I am going to recommend that you all begin to do. It’s one essential question, and here it is. It’s kind of a phrase and a question, a command and a question. Here is what I want you to memorize and practice using.

Then I’m going to give you, oh, I don’t know, 15 or 20 examples of this so you see exactly how it works. You see examples of it being used and you can begin to do this in your own life, to declutter and organize everything. The way this question came about is a story that I heard about a banker.

If you think of a teller, a bank teller, sitting at her window (nowadays, do they even have that?). Think of the bank teller sitting there. I may have shared this on the podcast before, but the bank teller is there and someone comes up, they do their transaction and they leave. Before she calls the next person up, she completes her transaction. She puts the money away.

She puts the receipt back where it’s supposed to go. She clears her register or whatever else she needs to do, clears the desk, and then she looks up and calls the next person over. I want you to think about that example, because if she didn’t do that, at the end of the day, things would be everywhere and she’d have so much more of a mess. Think about this in your own life. Here’s the question.

Stop. What is the one next step? That’s the question. Stop. What is the one next step?

I’m going to give you some examples. You go up to do laundry and you pull the clothes out of the dryer and you put them on the bed and you leave. You leave the bedroom, if that’s how you do it. Instead of leaving… right before you leave, whenever you’re turning to go do something else, I want you to think, “Stop. What is the one next step to doing the laundry?”

Could I fold it? Probably in less than five minutes for sure. You could have that laundry folded. I fold straight out of the dryer. I never pull stuff out, or rarely ever, out of the dryer and put it somewhere.

I just pull it out of the dryer, fold it immediately, and then I grab the piles of folded clothes or hanging clothes, and I take them into my bedroom, and I might lay the pile on the bed. As I’m walking out the door, I could say, “Stop. What is the one next step?” I turn around and I go put the pile of laundry away.

It will literally take me less than two minutes to do that. But what has that eliminated? It’s eliminated clutter for when I come back into the bedroom, because sometimes if my husband’s up there before me, he’ll put my pile of clothes on my dresser, and now I have clutter on my dresser instead of having it put away. So by saying, “Stop, what’s the one next step?” I can put it away, and then when I come back in the room, it’s done.

There’s an example with laundry. Think about that in your life. What’s your laundry routine, and how do you go about it, and when could you say, “Stop, what’s the one next step?” Here’s another example. When I get up off the couch, I could turn around, straighten the blankets or the pillows before I left the living room. It’s one simple step that in our house makes such a big difference, because if we’re going to have company over, we run in the living room and we straighten the pillows. We fold the two or three blankets that we’ve had out and put them neatly in at the end of the couch. So if I say, “Stop, what’s the one next step?” that gets done and we don’t have to do it? We don’t have to do it again.

Every time I walk in the living room, it looks amazing. We just got a brand new espresso maker. It’s very exciting in our home. After I made a coffee, I said to myself before I left the kitchen, “Stop. What’s the one next step?” We’ve trained ourselves to rinse out the what is that thing called that holds the ground coffee that makes the espresso? We rinse that out and we rinse the milk frothing cup out. But I turned around and looked, and the counter had some dishes on it, and I had dripped coffee drops on it or where it was draining was kind of wet. So I stopped, I put the dishes, the couple of dishes down into the sink and wiped the counter off and then left the room.

When I turned around to look, the counter was clear of everything, and it looked so good. Okay, here’s another example. After I work on a landing page, making a landing page or a registration page on my website, I say, “Stop, before I go to the next project. What is the one next step?” I added the link to my business dashboard, and I put the graphics into the correct folder to keep my desktop neat, because I’m in the habit of downloading things straight to my desktop, and then it gets messy.

So I put those in the folders that they’re supposed to go in, and then that project was complete. The link is in my business dashboard, which is what we’re working on in Organized Coach Academy. I cannot wait this week to have all the students in there have this resource filled out. It’s so fun. Okay, next example.

When I finish recording a podcast, don’t just walk off. I say, “Stop! What is the one next step?” I fill out my podcast catalog, and I make sure that the completed podcast recording is in the Google folder so that when my VA, my graphics designer, goes in there, she can get everything that she needs. Next example.

When I’m walking up the stairs I say, “Stop. What is the one next step?” And I make sure I’m taking something that needs to go upstairs. I may have set something on the steps. I may have something on the kitchen counter, but I see if there’s something that I can take up when I’m getting ready in the morning.

This just happened. It’s almost instinct now for me to stop and think, “Turn around. What do I need to do?” And I had hung my bathrobe on the end of the towel hanging rack, and so I said, “Hang that up”. So I took that and I hung it where it’s supposed to go.

It felt so good to just do that one next step. It reduces the clutter. So now when I go back into that room, it’s not messy. It is organized, because things are put away. Just this week on a call on Organized Coach Academy, one of the coaches came, and she was overwhelmed.

The first step to organizing is to sort. This coach and I sorted out the time that she wants to spend, and we prioritized what she needed to spend time on so that she could attend to some family emergencies that were happening. When we had her priorities listed, we just said, “What is the one next step for each of those priorities?” I like looking at it like you have a piece of paper with a whole bunch of stuff on it, and you overlay a piece of paper with just a little tiny hole over the one next step. Now the only thing you see is that little next step that you need to take.

Everything else is clean, and you can’t see it. You don’t think about it. It’s just you’re taking that next step. That’s kind of like what this question does. It’s no more clutter is visual because you’re thinking only about the next step.

She said she went from feeling overwhelmed when she came onto the call to feeling relieved after that. When she thought about the next priority on her list and asked herself that question, what is the one next step? You could just see it on her facial expression. You could see it in her body, her shoulders relaxed. She was just relieved and she knew exactly what she had to do.

Maybe the next step for you is to just sort out the to do list in your head. It’s to get it all out on paper, to sort it into categories, either projects or days of the week, or computer calls, research into categories like that. And then block out all the distractions and choose one thing to do. One of the coaches was organizing her digital files and she was in the middle of that process. For her, the one next step was to take one of the files, one of the main file folders, and to go into that one file and purge and organize that one file.

If you’re decluttering the toys, the toy room with your kids and you said, “Stop, what is the one next step?” Maybe it’s asking your kids to pick their five favorite toys. Maybe it’s just to pick up the room, to get everything put away so that then you can go through systematically, category by category, and purge some of the toys. Let’s say you’re planning a party and there’s so much to do and the timeline is short and you need to get all this stuff done. You say, “Stop.

What is the one next step?” The one thing you could do is make a phone call to see if there’s availability to rent a space. If you’re feeling confused on a project you’re working on, maybe the one next step is to ask someone for help. You put a post in a Facebook group. Maybe it’s to research, it’s to spend some time researching.

For me, as I was thinking about this podcast, I thought, “Okay, what is the one step?” First I thought of a title. Then I said, “What’s the one next step?” I made an outline. “What’s the one next step?”

I looked up what the word clutter meant. “What is the one next step?” I thought of examples. I just started thinking of all the examples I could think of. “What is the one next step?”

I wrote out the intro, what I wanted to share with you. So I want you to think about this in your life. What are you working on today? What area of your house could you use this statement and question?

“Stop. What is the one next step?” What area of your house could you use that in? Every time you leave a room or leave a task that you’re working on, I want you to try it. Ask this question and just see what happens for you. Maybe your mind goes to I don’t want to do that.

I have other stuff to do. I think it would help too with distractions. We’re all so distracted. I think it would really be helpful if we had this question in our mind. Instead of getting distracted, we could just say, “Stop.”

As soon as we notice we’re going for our phone, we say, “Stop. What is the one next step?” We get back to focusing on what we’re doing so that we can finish that project, finish that task, and eliminate clutter and keep things organized in our life. Okay, let me know. I want to hear from you what you are using this.

How are you using it? How is it helping you and DM me on Instagram at @Tracyhoth, and let me know. Until next week. Have a great day. Wait.

If you’re finding this podcast useful, you must check out the Organized Coach Academy. It’s my course where I walk you through every step to get your business organized, to get yourself organized, to save money and time, to prepare, to hire someone to do all the things that you want to do in your business with ease. Check that out at backslash OCA. Also, I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but I would love it, it’s my way of knowing that you’re enjoying the podcast, if you leave a written review, I have lots of freebies for you. They’re linked in the show notes. You can find them in my bio on Instagram at @tracyhoth. And until next week, have a beautiful day!


microphone with blue background with text overlay, "Feeling Cluttered One Essential Question to Help Declutter and Organize Your Life" from The Organized Coach Podcast

Tracy Hoth