What’s cluttering your life? If you’re thinking about moving, downsizing, aging in place, or simply better organizing your life, decluttering can seem like an overwhelming task. Matt Paxton has developed a step-by-step process to get it done – and deal with the emotional aspects that may be holding you back.
Matt Paxton joins us from Atlanta.
Matt Paxton, host of the Emmy-nominated series Legacy List with Matt Paxton (3 seasons on PBS stations nationwide), is a leading downsizing and decluttering expert. He started cleaning houses after his father, stepfather, and both grandfathers died in the same year, leaving him with several estates to settle at once.
Ever since, Matt and his network of experts have been working with families struggling with settling estates and cleanouts for almost twenty years. He has been an extreme cleaning expert featured on 13 seasons of the hit A&E TV show Hoarders.
Matt is the author of Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff, created in collaboration with AARP and featuring his signature steps to downsizing and decluttering your home. He appears regularly as a public speaker, television guest on shows and radio personality helping families find the upside of downsizing. Matt is the national decluttering and downsizing expert for AARP and Goodwill Industries International. He lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife and seven kids (yes, seven kids, that is not a typo).
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On Why Decluttering Can Be Difficult
“There’s a lot of reasons that we struggle with letting go of the stuff, but I’ve found out that we really attach to the people behind the stuff, not the actual stuff. It’s the memories. It’s the people. It’s the stories. It’s the way those people made us feel. All of that’s wrapped up in the stuff and so when we let go of stuff we’re letting go of those people that we love so much. So it’s hard.”
On Why Less is More
“When it’s your stuff, that’s when the emotions kick in. I got about halfway through the process and I had to go through my entire house in the middle of the pandemic. I had a month to pack up my entire, at that point, 46-year life. And at the end of the day I fell in love. That’s why I was moving. I was moving to be with my now fiancee and her kids. So we have 7 kids between us and my wife is a minimalist, which means we don’t have a whole lot of stuff. So I had to get rid of 75% of my stuff to fit. My finish line was I wanted a happy family. It was the reason I had to rewrite the book because I got down to the last week and I was like I don’t think I can do this. It was the first time I’d experienced my clients fear and I was like: Oh, this is what they go through. Okay, I get it now. This is why I’m doing this, so it’s a very personal book. I put a lot of personal stories into it. But I’ll tell you the core of minimalism is that you’ll have more joy more happiness with less stuff.”
On How to Start
“It really is the the 10 minute sweep, I promise you. Pick a one foot by one foot area – that’s it. If you start small, you’ll be able to keep going, but too many people think: Okay, we did 10 minutes. Great! Tomorrow we’re going to do 9 hours! That’s where you’re going to burn people out. Just take it slow. Bite off ten 10- minute sweeps for the first week. Don’t wait until life makes you make this move. Something in life will make this decision for you, so start earlier and do it a little bit every couple of nights. Do it often and early so that you have complete control over where you go.”
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He’s the author of Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy coming this summer.
Intro and Outro voiceovers by Ross Huguet.