Episode 371 | May 21, 2024

The Healing Power of Decluttering with Star Hansen

A Personal Note From Orion

Are you struggling with clutter? You’re not alone! This week, the Stellar Life podcast presents a game-changing episode with Star Hansen, a renowned certified professional organizer and clutter whisperer who brings her wealth of expertise to help you conquer your clutter. 

Star has been assisting individuals in decluttering since 2004. Her boutique organizing firm, Reveal by Star, provides online courses and coaching to help people liberate themselves from clutter. In 2019, Star established the Chaos to Calm Organizing Community, a global platform that has transformed the lives of countless individuals. This online community provides a nurturing environment for people to confront their clutter, offering practical solutions and fostering progress after years of unsuccessful attempts.

In this episode, Star shares her unique approach that turns decluttering into an emotional healing journey. Learn why clutter isn’t just about the physical stuff but represents security, emotional attachments, and stalled creative endeavors. I also opened up about my own clutter challenges, and Star’s insights came at a perfect time. 

Get ready to be inspired as Star guides us through a healing journey, unveiling the hidden meanings behind our clutter and reclaiming our spaces and lives. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the show!

In This Episode

  • [04:06] – Star Hansen shares her journey from actor to certified professional organizer, finding fulfillment in helping people come home to themselves through clutter.
  • [09:11] – Star and Orion discuss clutter and organizing, with Star emphasizing the importance of being patient and curious when helping loved ones with their clutter.
  • [21:09] – Orion seeks Star’s advice on how to instill values in children, such as prioritizing experiences over material possessions. Star also elaborates on the value of creating a healing space for children, not just decluttering.
  • [25:32] – Star explains the 10-step process to organizing one’s space.
  • [31:13] – Orion asks how to protect her home from mold and how to handle it.
  • [37:57] – Star suggests finding one location to donate items and aligning it with personal values for easier organization.
  • [45:09] – Star talks about decluttering papers like documents, bills, etc., and advises seeking help from a therapist or professional to process emotions and find solutions for things that are hard to deal with.
  • [48:44] – Star offers some tips for living a stellar life.

Jump to Links and Resources

About Today’s Show

Hello, Star. Welcome to the Stellar Life podcast. Thank you so much for being here. I am mega excited to be talking to you.

Me too, Orion. Thank you so much for having me on. I love that we both have star-like names. 

We’re both in the galaxy together.

We are from the same soul family, probably from somewhere up there.

I agree. I feel it.

Before we begin, can you share a bit from your heart about your journey and how you became the magnificent clutter-healer psychologist you are today?

Yeah, absolutely. I actually was acting. I lived in LA, and I had this intention to be an actor; I was booking gigs right and left, and I just didn’t love it. I’d come home from a day of shooting, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I remember sitting in my dining room asking spirit, “What is my purpose?” Their communication with me was always very clear. “You’re a healer.” That never changes, which is nice because it reminds me that if the whole world went and got organized, I would still be a healer and find a new modality for that while I was acting. We had this amazing administration group that basically helped you to get a job. You can be a good actor all day long, but if you don’t know how to get a job and be an enjoyable person to work with, it’s not good. They said, “Come up with 50 ways to make money without working a side hustle.” So I came up with this tax organizing box for creatives who don’t like to organize but want their tax stuff easily organized, and I sold two of them, but I had three people who said, “Oh wow, you’re so organized. Can you help me with this?” This was in early 2000.

If you have clutter that keeps showing up over and over again, those items could be communicating for you.

Organizing was different from what it is today. It was a primary condo. There was not the social conversation that there is the way that it is today. I started doing trades with people for organizations, and I didn’t even know this was a thing then. I thought I had invented something, and thankfully, I didn’t because I don’t need or want to be a trailblazer that way. What was so amazing to me was that organizing is this very practical thing, this pragmatic, control-based, 3D thing that gives us access to deep emotional healing. I don’t know anyone with a lot of clutter or who has patterns of recurring clutter, who doesn’t have some sort of soul growth through that process, and they don’t always see it coming, yet it’s always there. It’s so beautiful to witness people come home to themselves through organizing. That’s what I view it to be: helping people come home to themselves, like, really find their truth and grounding within themselves through the physical clutter.

That’s amazing. We have two storage units. We moved from LA to Miami. It got delayed for six months because we moved during COVID-19, and it was stored in the worst conditions. A lot of old things are smelly and disgusting—things that I used to love and I kind of wanted to save. It’s horrible, and we’re letting go of it. It’s been emotional. Some of the things that I let go of, and I did not want to let go.

Yeah, it hurts a lot when we have things in storage that are not in our conscious control. I feel like it’s interesting when we can tap into our soul path and the universe’s higher wisdom and say, “Okay, you’ve removed these things from my life for a purpose. What are you making space for?” It’s a good narrative to just say thank you for the invitation. 

I’ve moved more times than I would like to admit. Most of the time, when I move, I get rid of most of the things that I own. It’s a lot. It pushes you to the next level, saying, “How do I make space for who I am today and who I want to be tomorrow?” It’s so powerful to make space consciously in our lives. It feels like a violation when our items get injured or damaged or someone else purges things for us. It is a violation that needs to be grieved the way we would grieve any other violation in our lives.

Thank you. My self-talk was like, “What are you doing? Why? It’s just things.” Usually, I have a really easy time getting rid of clutter compared to my husband, who’s the exact opposite. We get into conflict around it. He’s getting better, but there is something in him, and I think something with his family, too, that is like hoarding and keeping old stuff. He’s got boxes and boxes of old journals, seminars, and things that are not valuable anymore, or he will probably never touch any again. He’s making a lot of progress, but he’s still having a hard time getting rid of stuff. What will be your advice for him?

There are some really beautiful ways that we are using clutter, and when we start to see it, that opens up the whole process of organization.

Clutter in an active organization is an emotional journey because of the TV shows and the books. We think it’s some task we need to complete, and the opposite is true. It’s a healing journey, and we need to make time. We have to slow down and make time to process the big feelings, processing what we’re trying to do with our stuff. 

I talk a lot about recurring clutter in my programs. If you have clutter that keeps showing up over and over again, and often, if it’s in the same places with the same objects, those items are doing something for you now. They could be doing a lot of things. They could be communicating with you. 

When we leave something on our counter as a hint to our partner, it can experience a sense of security. For many people who grew up in financial scarcity and lack, or we look at people who grew up during the Great Depression, and if they didn’t meet their needs, it’s normal to want to hold on to things for a sense of security. You see that with a lot of people who immigrated from another country and lost everything. 

The need to hold on to things is security. We use it for protection. I have a lot of people who don’t want others to come over to their homes, and clutter is a great excuse for that. We might use clutter so that people can’t find things we value. I have clients who had a break-in. Having their house in a chaotic state makes them feel empowered, and they know that maybe no one will find their valuables if they break in. 

I’ve seen people use clutter to connect to loved ones who have passed away and want to hold on to things to stay connected to them or even to former versions of themselves. Then, there’s also creativity. We use clutter to hold onto creative ideas. “I want to do that. This inspires me in some way, and if I hold on to this thing, I’m more likely to do it.” There are some really beautiful ways that we are using clutter. When we can start to see how we’re using it, that opens up the whole process of organization and gives us a new lease on our lives because we can now create that change more mindfully without the clutter. That’s when the clutter can fall away.

My husband’s getting better, not because I’m kind, gentle, loving, and understanding the way you are, just because I’m like, “Let’s get rid of it. I can’t have it anymore.”

This is adult.

I can’t see the boxes. They smell, and I’m allergic to the dusty mildew smell. Seeing all those boxes makes my body stressed out. I feel like all those boxes are sitting on my chest. So, what does that say about me, and how can I handle it?

A great question to ask someone when they’ve been organizing is, “Did you find anything today that delighted you?” Find a way to be curious in their process.

I also am very sensitive to mold and mildew. It’s because I lived in a house once that had mold. Also, throughout my career, when I started my business, I didn’t know simple things like wearing a mask when you’re in a house with mold. Things like, “I didn’t want to shame my clients because I didn’t want to make them feel bad.” I remember one session where my assistant and I almost passed out simultaneously because of mold in a client’s house. 

I take it very seriously. It makes perfect sense that you don’t want to expose yourself. Be willing to wear a mask. I would like to change clothes. I wore an outfit like scrubs when working in highly moldy situations. It’s totally reasonable to protect yourself from that. I think it’s really difficult with our loved ones because if they have clutter, that makes us uncomfortable. It’s very normal for a lot of people to want to just say, “Oh, it’s so easy. Just get rid of it. What’s going on? Do it faster.”

You’re like, “You heard, get rid of it. Come on. Why are you looking at every paper for ten minutes? We have boxes to go through.”

Yeah. What that does when you get impatient with him, not just you, but everyone with clutter. When we get impatient with our cluttered friends, they hold on tighter and go slower. They feel less safe. They hold on to more things. If you want to support them in their process, you must be more loving and curious. You can also say to him, I am really having a hard time because we come at this from very different places.I want to understand what clutter is to you.” Clutter could be a triggering word. Like, “I want to understand why taking your time when you go through things is important. Tell me about your process.” A great question to ask someone when they’ve been organizing is, “Did you find anything today that delighted you or surprised you or was interesting to you today?” Start to find a way to be curious in their process.

I found some really delightful things. I forgot I had a teapot that I got in Japan long ago.

I love that.

With all the drama, I open all the boxes, and suddenly, I’m like, “Yeah, I found this, and I found this.” He shows up and says, “Oh, I heard you screaming for joy. What’s going on? I found this and this and this, and I’m so excited.” I looked at it and was like, “Oh, my God, I have so much stuff. Those are good things. Why would I get rid of them?” I guess it’s hard for me, too.

Clutter is an invitation to heal. Share on X

It’s hard for most people. It feels wasteful to just get rid of things. It feels wasteful when things get ruined. Having moved many times, it does feel challenging and stressful when you’re like, “Oh, now I have to buy things post-COVID,” and everything is triple the price of what it was before. “Why didn’t I just keep it?” I think that’s what we have to do. We have to slow down and make time to process those feelings. But what we often do is, when you have those feelings, you say, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do this faster? What’s my problem? I should be through this already.” We say that to our loved ones, like, “Oh, why are you still working on this? I can’t believe it’s not gone yet.”

All that does is invalidate your process. The truth is, asking yourself, “Okay, what’s really going on here?” Holding space for that is way more valuable. I will tell you this: if you have unresolved issues, journeys, and lessons in your clutter and ignore them, they will reappear again. You’ll manifest it one more time to get those lessons because our subconscious is so resilient. So take your time. It’s better to figure it out with this round than to re-clutter your house and do it again in six years.

That’s incredible. What a phenomenal advice. You showed up for me, and this interview is the perfect time in my life. This is the perfect episode.

I’m so glad.

It’s so cool. It’s so much deeper, and it’s such a reflection of your life in a relationship. I’d like to mention your TEDx talk, which I’ve been listening to. You were saying some things. I was listening in the car, saying, “Oh, I should have quoted that in the podcast.” I remembered only one thing. “Clutter is an invitation to heal.” That was one of the mic-drop sentences. I recommend everybody to watch it. Do you remember the name of it too?

Listen to the Monster in Your Closet.

What a great title—making friends with those monsters. The monster in your closet is actually the monster in your heart. The one you try to avoid, the one you don’t want. Look at those old traumas, old limiting beliefs reflected either in your clutter or different areas in your life. In that TEDx talk, you said you can go to people’s homes and learn so much about them. Can you share something about that?

I said in the talk, “I can walk into your home and know with a glance the state of your life based on where your clutter is.”

I don’t know if I would invite you.

No one does.

Very vulnerable.

No one does. But I always say I’m the least.

I want you to come to my house whenever you’re in Miami. Please come.

I would love that. I am the least judgmental person. When I first started organizing, I would walk into someone’s house, and they’d say, “Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry about the clutter.” I would say, “Oh, my gosh, I didn’t see it. Look at the color of your walls.” Or, “Wow, what a beautiful choice of furniture you have here.” When I walk into your home, I don’t actually see the clutter because I have this natural assumption that I will know how to solve the clutter with you. That’s never the problem. 

I’m much more interested in who you are at your soul level than your physical space because that will change as you evolve and grow.

I don’t need you to send me pictures in advance. I don’t need you to break it down for me. That will get solved because I’m healing your physical space energetically through this journey together. But what I see when I walk in is your highest self. I see who you really are. When I walk into your house, you complain and say, “Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry about these piles and stacks.” I track them, but I don’t notice them because I’m too busy taking you in and the incredible human that you are. It’s not something that I try to do. It’s just something that I’ve always done just to take in the person more than the physical spaces because our physical spaces are simply out-picturing of our internal world. I’m much more interested in who you are at your soul level than your physical space because that will change as you evolve and grow.

I love it. What was the worst house you dealt with clutter-wise, and what healing happened around it?

I don’t know. I think everyone feels like their home is the worst. That’s the calm. It’s hard for me, as a professional, to say what was hardest because I don’t always find the most work.

So, the most work for me is working with someone who doesn’t want to make the journey. It’s not about the spaces. No amount of clutter scares me or freaks me out. I’ve become clearer as I’ve developed my career: who I work with and who I don’t serve. If someone hires me and wants me to come and do it for them, even if they hear me, I always tell people, “I don’t do this for you. I do it with you. This is a healing journey. Tons of organizers will come to your house and do this for you and your work. I am absolutely not that.” When someone hears that and still wants me to come and do it for them, that’s the hardest for me because they’re not here to do the job I’m here to do. They want it done for them. The stuff is so secondary to me. That’s more challenging. Someone who’s not really ready for the journey and still wants to hire me that’s harder for me than any physical space could be because then we end up battling. They’re like, “But why didn’t you do this more beautifully?” I’m like, “Because that’s not what I’m about. I’m about making sure that you’re healing through your physical spaces. That’s what I’m here for.”

Do you do feng shui as well?

Not really. I’ve hired feng shui people from my house and enjoy it. I do unless I’m in a bad house. Unless I’m in a house that’s like a borderline house or something, I’m like, “It’s too stressful.” I’ve already committed. But, no, I have had moments, though. What has happened is that through working with people, I’ve seen patterns, and some of those patterns do line up with some of the philosophies of feng shui.

The most work for me is working with someone who doesn’t want to make the journey.

But I haven’t studied feng shui. I think it’s a beautiful practice. I will go and explore a little bit, but it’s not something that I think I’d ever get certified in because I don’t want there to be a rule that I have to follow. “This room is for family and friends who are helpful.” I want it to be what I notice. Where feng shui says, “This is where that area is for you in this home.” I pay attention to the evidence. If I see all your nourishment being held in your office or primary bedroom, I’m paying attention to that. I’m tracking that for you. I want to help you create a nest that serves and supports you, and if there is anything that’s like a red flag asking for love and attention, I also want to help you get that love and attention.

Yes. I guess my little one—I have a four-year-old—was watching my husband and me declutter and declutter. He said, “I want to give away all my broken toys.” But then he added, “So we can buy new toys.”

Oh, he’s making space.

He’s making space. How can I communicate these values and have a healing journey for my little one? How do you do it with kids?

Yeah, it’s so interesting because kids are little sponges. They are taking in all sorts of things. Depending on who they’re spending time with and the values of their friends and living in LA, as you know, you’d have someone who’s living in a tiny apartment, going to school with someone who lives in a mansion in Bel Air. That’s a lot for kids to process. It’s a lot for them to understand. Like, wait, “Why did they have this, this and this? Why do I only have this?” I think it’s really important to instill values into the kids about life being more important than stuff. It’s hard because, in our consumerist society, it’s, “Oh, they’re unhappy, buy them something. Oh, it’s the holidays, buy them something.”

What would it look like to start shifting that? Instead of buying things, start investing in experiences or creating things together and shifting the paradigm from what you have to who you are, the time you spend, and the relationships you continue to foster and engage in. I think part of it is just that kids will do whatever you do. If you want your kids to eat a salad and you’re eating salad every day, they will eventually jump in there. They might complain and be whiny about it, but the truth is that whatever is normal for you becomes normal for them. I think part of it, too, is you guys can even communicate where there’s a lot of stuff that we have that has gotten ruined, and it’s making us want less stuff. We can let go of some things, but we should start by giving them a lens. What are the most important toys? If you look at Pareto’s principle, which is the 80/20 rule, we use 20% of our items 80% of the time. Why do we have so much stuff when using the same? I wear the same things over and over again. We use the same toys over and over again, so it’s maybe even just letting him know, like, “Okay, there’s this new thing that I learned. We’re going to play this game. It’s called eight-two. Find your two favorite things out of these ten items.” I am literally starting to help them understand the priority of things and the values of things and that if they have too much, if everything is important, nothing is important. The less we have, the more we can give ourselves to the items we keep.

The less we have, the more we can give ourselves to the items we keep.

That’s amazing. Thank you. I’ll do this with him. We have clutter everywhere. I think most people have clutter somewhere in their home.

How do we self-analyze if we don’t have you to help us and kind of channel for us? This is what it means to you. Find your inner wound. How can we be the detective and take a deeper meaning into our clutter? What is the process to do that?

After I did the TEDx talk, I was like, “I need to give these tools to people because I don’t want to be some magical oracle who has the answers and no one else can have them.” I wrote a book called Why the F*#@ Am I Still Not Organized? They can listen to it on audible. It’s on Amazon.

But you can also download a free copy at starhansen.com

I included how to diagnose your spaces, what the different rooms mean, how your physical objects are trying to help you, and what they’re doing. I also included the ten steps for getting organized, which are the most pragmatic lessons that I teach on organization. That book is the brain dump of all the tools I have used with people to organize them. That is your one-stop shop for how you get organized with my philosophy and experience of what I’ve learned.

Nice. Can we go over the ten steps?

Yes. It’s so funny. People sometimes want to do that on podcasts. I’m like, “But there’s so many of them.”

Let’s go over whatever steps you think are important right now. 

What I will say about the ten steps is that most people are already on the right track with the organization. Most of us have just not been taught how to organize, and often, we do many of the ten steps without knowing it. But we’re sometimes skipping one, missing one, or jumping ahead three steps on accident. 

Live your life now, not when you’re completely organized.

If your listeners want to download them, they can go to organizingiseasy.com, which will let you download the ten steps. The ten steps start with setting an intention. That’s you asking yourself three questions. What do I want to do in this space? And I always say to keep it to three to five things you want to do in any given space. How do I want the space to look? How do I want the space to feel? Once you’ve set the intention, that’s your roadmap. When you download that, you’ll get a printout. You can fill it out for each room and hang it up on the wall, and that will help align you to what stays and what goes once you’ve set your intention for that room. And again, we’re working space by space.

We don’t want to go and take on the whole house at once. That’s too stressful. We just want to work on one small space. I always say, “Start easy. You don’t want to start with the hardest thing.” We have a lot of experience feeling like, “I’ve got to organize my whole garage this weekend,” and then it doesn’t happen, and then we beat ourselves up. Start very small. You’re learning. This is your training wheels. It’s your curls at the gym. It’s you strengthening the organizing skills. Start with small projects that could take you 20 minutes or less, ideally. So once you’ve set the intention for this room, you want to gather your tools and ensure you have everything you’ll need. Trash bags, sharpies, label makers, post, whatever you need because the last thing you want is to get distracted running around looking for supplies when you need them while organizing. You’re going to collect all the tools, and then you’re going to deconstruct. 

The way that I describe deconstruction is you’re going to take everything out of the space you’re working on, put it into neutral space and look at it like you’re looking at someone else’s stuff. If you’re seeing it for yourself, you’re emotional about everything. But this is so important, and I love and need it. Like, “No, this is your friend,” and you don’t know what any of this stuff means. You just kind of let yourself go blank about it. Pull everything out and categorize it. 

I help create a nest that really serves and supports and gets that love and attention.

Don’t make any decisions when you’re deconstructing. Once you pull everything out and it’s all created into categories, you will go back through, look at each category, and decide. “Am I going to keep this or let it go?” You will take what you know once you’ve gone through those categories. It’s like. Then, you let go of the stuff that you don’t want. You clean the space so that they can go back in there. You create categories and solutions, put them back in; you beautify them and make them look lovely. Then you’re going to go and set up some sort of maintenance plan.

Then, you celebrate just being the amazing human you are that just did a really hard thing. The way that I share it is to go small. Do something you can finish that day again. We’re strengthening a muscle. Be really gentle with yourself. This is a journey. It does not happen overnight. You didn’t get cluttered overnight. It’s not going to get solved overnight. These ten steps will really guide you. Most people make the biggest pitfall when they’re in the deconstruct phase, creating categories and thinking to themselves, “How am I going to get this all back in there? I don’t know where this will go, my friend.” That’s four steps ahead of you. That’s not where you’re at right now. Right now, just create categories, and then you’ll make decisions. You don’t have to think about where it will go again; there is a step for that, and you will solve it. 

When it’s time, you will find the answer. But we are always 1ft ahead, trying to protect ourselves and think of what we will need to solve in the future. I promise you, the things that we worry about most are the things that never happen. The crises in our lives are things that we often do not predict. We don’t know that they’re coming. In the moment, you will solve them. You will figure out what to do and have the insights you need to solve those problems when they appear.

I like it. I think they do it naturally with those steps.

Totally. Most people do. When I do my job right, people don’t say, “Oh, my God, I never thought of that.” They’re like, “Oh, that makes so much sense. Oh, I’m totally doing that.” It’s not brain surgery, right? But we get a little lost, second guess ourselves and get uncertain. The truth is, you actually know a lot of what you’re doing. You might be missing one or two here or there. You might forget it. 

Don’t make any decisions when you’re deconstructing.

I always forget the part about letting go. I hate letting go. I hate taking things to donations. Like, I just will stare. And so I make myself do it quickly because I’m like, “Ugh, this is my least favorite part of it. We all have something we don’t like, and we have to push ourselves a little bit on it.

I used to think of myself as a very unorganized person, but the more time goes by, the more evidence I’m pretty organized. More than most, it is just an identity shift or how you see yourself.

Which version of ourselves do we identify with? You might have identified with yourself when you were in school when you didn’t need to be organized because other humans were managing your schedule, and now you manage the schedule. To be an entrepreneur requires organization. To have a podcast requires organization. To have a child requires organization. You cannot be organized all you want, but you will do it for your kid. They have lunch that needs to be made, and they must go to bed at a certain time. Sometimes, we get the gifts of parenthood or entrepreneurship to help us solidify those lessons of organization and strategy for ourselves, which can be so beautiful because those strengths then cascade and affect every area of our lives in a really positive way.

Right. I want to ask you more of a personal question, but it will help many people. We get to our garage and sort the items I brought from the storage unit. Then, my husband brings more boxes because it’s just uncomfortable doing that in the storage unit. Some of them are moldy. Can the mold spread to the rest of the house? How do we protect our house? 

I have a bunch of my old pole dancing stuff—lingerie and shoes. They’re in great shape. They smelled like hell. I soaked them with borax baking soda and vinegar for 8 hours. The smell went from level ten to level three. I think I should soak them again for 8 hours just to get rid of everything. Am I doing the right thing? Should I just toss them? They start smelling really okay. But I also let go of so many boxes with so many bed sheets and stuff and just a lot of it. I need advice about that.

I don’t mess with mold myself just because of my own experience. If it’s organic, mold can grow on it. I’ve worked at people’s homes where we’ve just had to bleach things, and I’m more of a natural person, so I don’t prefer going hardcore like that. But what you have to do is remove the moisture from the air and remove the moisture from those things. It can still live there. Those mold spores can still be living there. They are absolutely airborne. When you crack open that box in the air, I highly recommend wearing a mask when you’re working with stuff that has mold or mildew on it and ensuring that you’re safe because those can also go into your lungs and grow in your lungs, and nobody wants that. 

Come home to yourself through the process of organizing.

You are really taking the time to protect yourself and are so good about doing your research. You have become an expert in so many things because you do so much research and take the time to figure out what the options are and what feels right for you and your family. I would ensure everything is squeaky clean if it comes into the house. Don’t be afraid to let go of things. You also live in a moist environment. You live in an area that has high humidity. And mold, I would imagine, is in a lot of homes already. It’s one of the things that I’m just real about, even in my contract, when I am hiring an assistant to work with me on a job. My instructions are clear. If you see mold, you do not touch it because the minute you move it, it’s now airborne and flying around. I would be very mindful about it. This is a metal pole. I can clean it off, and it won’t grow there. But your shoes, if they’re leather, might continue growing there. It may not be resolved easily. I’m doing a little research. But it is just because it is one thing that affects our health, and I don’t prefer how that feels to be in your body.

Yes. Do you think an ozone treatment for the house is necessary? Obviously, we carried something from the garage to the house. It’s impossible not to. It’s stuck to our clothes; some things were brought in. I’m sure it’s ruminating in the air. How do we treat the house now? Do we ozonate everything? How do we deal with this?

It’s so above my pay grade to answer that question. It’s definitely so personal. Some people will listen to what I’m saying, and they’ll be like, “That girl is full of it. Mold is organic and part of our natural world, and there’s nothing wrong with it.” Someone else will be like, “Burn everything.” But personally, if it was me, take a little time to research and see. I’d even call some mold remediation companies and say, “Look, we brought some stuff in from storage.” We didn’t know because they can also come out and do a test for you for a couple hundred dollars and find out if you have high mold spores in the house. Is it something you should be concerned about?

I think sometimes we get the gifts of parenthood or entrepreneurship to help us solidify the lessons of organization and strategy for ourselves.

Absolutely. I actually interviewed Dave Asprey here, and we talked about the dangers of mold exposure. I was exposed to black mold and was sick for three weeks. Now, I have to deal with this, and I need to declutter. But then it comes to my house, and I’m worried about many things. I need to let go of all the worry and believe everything will work out just the way you showed up in this podcast—at the right time and place—everything will work out. Because most of our fears in life, 90% of them, 96% of them, never come true. And if they come, and the rest, if it comes through, it’s not even half as bad as we thought. I’m going to infuse all this with a little bit more faith.

Yes. In kind of sending the prayer out to the universe, please show me what to focus on because it’s too easy to get into the compulsion of, like, “I’ve got to clean everything to the nth degree.” And you don’t just be like, “Creator, show me what I need to be focused on next.” The truth is, you could go out to the grocery store, brush shoulders with someone who has bedbugs at their house or who just came back from Paris and literally bring them into your home, and now you have bedbugs in your home from a simple brushing of an arm. So crazy, uncomfortable, negative things can happen all the time, and most of the time, we’re fine. The creator might say, “Give all of your clothes a deep clean,” and then you do. You don’t know why you’re being asked to do that, but you do the deep clean or like, “Okay, I need to get a Hepa air filter.” Trust the guidance that you were given because it’s too hard to know all the invisible chaos that might be swimming around us. You don’t need that kind of chaos in your life–on top of being a mom, an entrepreneur, a wife, and organizing a human doing your life. 

A human being, living, breathing. That’s enough.

That’s just in 2024. We’re all done. Our bingo card is full for the year. We’d like to start fresh now. 

Where do you donate stuff to? I have a company that I call. It’s a for-profit one. They work with veterans and charity organizations, and they’re going to come, and they’re going to pick up all my stuff from the driveway, which was much easier. There is some stuff I can sell. I can make $1,000 out of it or a few. There are some good things that I gave up, and I gave away a lot of valuable electronics. But then I have a box of Tony Robbins DVDs, which are hundreds if not thousands of dollars. I didn’t want to give it to the donation. I’m going to post it in a group and see if somebody wants to learn this stuff because it’s so valuable, and it can just go somewhere, and nobody can ever pick it up. Here is some advice about where to donate and how to do it.

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A high level, and I’m going to dial into this more. If you are really struggling to get organized, I often say find one location to donate things and do not give yourself options because it is a herculean effort to choose to get rid of things, do the organizational process, and then figure out the perfect home for each item can be so overwhelming and stops us. If you are struggling at a high level, pick a place that aligns most with your values. I know people who are vehemently anti-salvation army or anti-goodwill, so find the place that works for you. You have to weigh out what is the most important thing to you. 

For some people, earning a little extra money is their most important. So, listing it on Facebook, marketplace, Craigslist, or doing a yard sale is highly important for them because that money is so valuable that they’re willing to invest their time in getting the payback. If that’s where you are, great. I’m in the middle of a move and listed things on the marketplace. For example, I specifically listed the furniture items that I had. I will tell you, a chunk of my soul got removed during the week of sale because I live in a little flaky city. I’ve never lived in a city where so many people would say, “I’ll be there at noon,” and they never show up. “Oh, my gosh, I need it. Can you hold it for me?” And then they get there, and they’re like, “Will you take dollar 20 instead of a hundred? I’ve never, never been in a city like this.” I was like, “No.” I feel like they left with a chunk of my heart. I was exhausted.

Take it back. Just do some soul retrieval. Take all those sparks from those people, cut cords and say, “What’s yours is yours. What’s mine is mine. I take all my energy back,” and your energy is back.

Yes, I know. I’m a theta healer, too, so I have to reclaim the energy.

Oh, that’s theta healing. I didn’t know that.

Why the F*#@ Am I Still Not Organized? by Star Hansen

I think it’s a lot of people. But reclaiming soul fragments is also a part of theta healing and cutting. I think a lot of us are all in the form of healing.

I’ve done it so many times. It’s really helpful.

It is. I was like, “I feel tired now.” I’ve never had that experience with the Facebook marketplace before, where I’m exhausted. No one else asked me for a discount, but that’s because I’m doing about 300 things at one time. With my energy and bandwidth, I reach a certain point. I just stopped selling things because, energetically, it’s costing me more than it’s earning me, and I can’t. I sold the important things and just donated the other things. What helped me was that I met a friend who was in transition, and she needed to set up her life. I have basically given her almost everything that I’m donating. I feel much more joyful about letting things go because I know it’s going to someone with whom we share values.

Good home.

Yeah. I’m watching her and her kids get set up, and they like all these tiny little things. It feels so good. For me, that would have had to go to the garbage, but instead, it’s going to someone who will use it. Going to your free groups and saying, “Hey, I’m donating some stuff, and I’m leaving outside, and you’re welcome to it.” Or posting pictures that can be great. One thing I will say about donations is that if you wouldn’t buy it in a thrift store, don’t donate it. If you have something like a t-shirt with tons of holes in it or things that are really in bad shape or things that you like, like old panties that nobody’s going to want, it’s okay to throw them away. That’s what they’re going to do anyway. You’re now skipping, right? And then there’s a company called Take Back Bag that you can go online to. They’ll send you a bag, and you can mail all these textiles back to them to be recycled. That can be really helpful, too.

By the way, most of our recycling—96% or 97%—never ends up being recycled. It’s just something that makes us feel good. I still sort out recycling and stuff like that, even though I know it’s probably going to go in the garbage.

I know, and that’s what I feel is so not on the consumer’s shoulders. It really should be on the shoulders of the people who are creating the products and the food and all that because for hundreds of years, we have been fine without these plastic, consumptive things.

Setting your intention to declutter is your roadmap.

It’s like another podcast for another day.

Wow, that’s like a whole thing.

I’ve done something like, what you’re saying, the way I did it is that we had a green screen and a juicer, a toaster, things that are in really good shape that I felt like, I don’t know. This is a for-profit company. I don’t know if I want to just give it away. We took everything out to the curb on pickup day. Then, I went back and took a few of the most expensive things, the electronics. I put them back in the garage, and my cleaner came, and I was like, “Hey, do you want one of those items?” She wanted all of them. I’m like, “Yes, it’s going to be a good home.” I have a few more items, just a few that are going to be easy to give away. I’m not weighing myself down with trying to sell all those things. If I needed to, of course, I would do it. But what you said about it resonates with me. It’s going to be a good home.

Yeah. We should know how to do all this stuff. I have a ten-step class, and one of the modules is literally just you filling out this handout, figuring out, “Okay, where do I donate technology in my city? Where do I take old building materials in my city? Where do I take textiles in my city?” We’re naming all of those things so that when you go separate from the organizing process, because when you go to organize, you’re tired, you’re dirty, you want to be done, your kids screaming at you for food, you don’t have the energy. You’re just kind of like what most of us do.

We just, period.

Exactly. In your period. It’s too many things going on. We shove our donations by the door, in the car, in our garage, and then we forget about them, and then they blend with other things, and then we can’t remember what’s a donation and what’s not a donation. Now we have a new organizing project, and so what you want to do is just know in advance before you start your organizing process where those things are going to go so that you know that it’s like, “Okay, great, this goes to habitat. They’re 30 minutes away. This is going to go to goodwill, or this is going to go to Martha. She’ll be here tomorrow, whatever it is,” so that you don’t have to think about it. When you’re tired after organizing, and you already know this is where that goes, you have that clear intention.

Organizing is very tiring, and there is all the organizing of our million to-do lists. And in your TED talk, you mentioned something. Think about a place at your home with clutter and what it means to you. I thought about how long you have had that. A week? Two weeks? A year? Two years? So luckily, it’s not been more than two weeks. But I have a lot of bills to pay on my desk, and I haven’t touched that. I’m like, “What’s that about? Why am I holding back from refusing to pay those medical bills? Is there a part of me that thinks it’s?” I have to do my own self-analysis to think about my relationship with those bills and how that reflects on my relationship with money, for example. I can actually go through the process with myself and go deeper to get the answer, which is phenomenal.

If you have unresolved issues, journeys, and lessons in your clutter and you ignore them, they will reappear again. Share on X

That’s where the book will help because it’ll give you those insights to help you unpack it for yourself. When it comes to our paperwork and productivity, I always tell people whenever you’re getting organized, don’t start with paper. Everybody’s like, “But the paper is the biggest issue.” I just want to start there. I’m like, “Yeah, but you could spend 3 hours on two inches of paperwork, and it’ll look the same, and you feel like you didn’t do anything when you really did.” Mind-numbing, intense organizing is one of those things where I’m like, “Get a couple of wins under your belt first.” But when it comes to paperwork, a lot of times we. It’s a big conversation because it’s tied to money, physical health, and fear. I have clients who have had periods of not wanting to open their mail because they might get a medical bill of $20,000.

I had that when I was younger.

Yeah, it’s scary. That affects you. It becomes something that hurts. So you’re like, “Well, I don’t want to go in that again.” Especially when there’s nothing you can do about it, like, if the insurance can’t be negotiated with and you don’t have the money, it puts you in this place of, like, I can’t even find a solution, so I’m just not going to face it. That creates this boil that’s growing for us under the skin. That hurts us because it’s scary.


Oh, it is awful and horrible. People don’t enjoy this. When it comes to our money, people get very visceral about it. When it comes to our medical bills and things, people are very visceral about it. It’s no small thing. Sometimes, I just say, “Create a box of things I cannot deal with yet and shove it in there.” I know that sounds crazy, and probably no other organizer on the planet will tell you to do that, but take it and shove it. Make a box of horrible things, but I’m not ready to face-label all four sides of that box. Make sure it has a lid on it. Shove it in there because you’re already not handling it, but I want it to not.

I love it.

If you wouldn’t buy the item you have in a thrift store, don’t donate it.

It’s that way; it doesn’t toxify the rest of your house because there’s going to be a moment where you have to handle it, and when you go to handle it, you know right where it is. It’s in there and uncomfortable, but it’s not at least toxifying the rest of your home and making the rest of your home feel unbearable to you. I have this one box, and then you deal with it, maybe with the help of a friend or a colleague or an organizer or a tax accountant or whatever it is to be like I am feeling, or your therapist, I always say, “Take these things that are hard to deal with to your therapist. Take that box to your therapist and be like, “I am avoiding this at all costs. I’m terrified. Can you help me process it?” And it doesn’t mean going through the paperwork with them but helping them process why it’s so difficult and come up with some solutions.

Star, I think you’re a star. I love how you see things in a beautiful, healing, wholesome way and think out of the box. This is probably the best approach to organizing and the deepest I’ve ever heard.

Thank you so much, Orion.

They’re all good. It’s good to get rid of things, but personalizing them and looking at them from such a beautiful heart level and from that place of compassion—actually, for me, your TED talk and this podcast were eye-opening. Amazing stuff. Thank you so much for sharing all that.

Thank you for having me. It’s been so enjoyable to talk to you. Thank you for sharing your personal experience, which is so, you know.

I wear my heart on my sleeve as my listeners know about my life more than most people.

I love that.

Instead of buying things, start investing in experiences or creating things and shifting the paradigm from what you have to who you are, the time you spend, and the relationships you continue to foster and engage in. Share on X

If you want to know anything about me, please listen to my podcast. If you even care about me, just listen. What are your three top tips for living a stellar life, and where can people find you?

Watch sunrises and sunsets as often as possible, look at your stuff with curiosity, not judgment, and do not wait to live your life until you’re completely organized. Just go out and live your life right now. Imperfect home and all people can find me at starhansen.com. They can download a copy of my book for free. You can also take my listen to the Monster in your Closet Quiz and find out what monster is hiding in your closet, keeping you disorganized. You can also learn about my chaos-to-come organizing community if you want a safe space to help organize your entire home and life.

It was so good. Thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom. Thank you for being a light in the world, and I hope to meet you in person one day.

Thank you, Orion. It’s such a treat to be here with you today. Thank you for sharing.

Yes, thank you. And thank you, listeners. Remember to watch sunsets and sunrises, make peace with your clutter, come from a place of compassion, and live your life right now because every moment matters. Now is the time to be happy, joyful, and satisfied and see your life from a brighter, more loving perspective. Have a stellar life. This is Orion until next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓}Set an intention for the space you want to organize. Ask yourself: What are the 3-5 main activities I want to do in this space?

{✓}Start small and easy. Choose a space you can completely organize in 20 minutes or less. Starting small helps build motivation and decluttering momentum.

{✓}Gather all the necessary tools before starting. Ensure you have proper storage bins, shelving, and labels ready. Having tools prepared prevents getting distracted mid-process.

{✓}Deconstruct the space by taking everything out and categorizing items. Group similar items into general categories, such as books, clothes, and papers.

{✓}Go through the categories and decide what to keep or let go of. Pick up each item and mindfully assess whether it adds value to your life. 

{✓}Don’t second-guess letting go of things you no longer need. Have donation boxes for gently used items, and recycle or discard anything worn, broken or unusable.

{✓}Create storage solutions and put items back in an organized way. Use clear bins, racks, and shelves to keep things visible, and label all storage spaces for easy maintenance.

{✓}Set up a maintenance plan to keep the space organized. Schedule regular 15-minute tidy sessions and reset the space monthly by re-evaluating each item.

{✓}Celebrate your accomplishment. Take before and after photos to appreciate your hard work and revel in the positive energy of your newly organized space.

{✓}Access Star Hansen’s wealth of knowledge on clutter healing and organizing at starhansen.com. Download a FREE copy of her book Why the F*#@ Am I Still Not Organized? to learn her proven 10-step process and insights.

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About Star Hansen

Star Hansen is a Clutter Whisperer and Certified Professional Organizer. She helps successful people who feel like a hot mess to figure out why their clutter isn’t going away so they can finally clear the chaos and live a life of freedom, joy, and peace. She’s the organizer you call when nothing else works!

Star’s best-selling book, “Why the F*#@ Am I Still Not Organized?” has inspired countless individuals to tackle their clutter head-on and find lasting solutions.

Star has been helping people clear their clutter since 2004. Her boutique organizing firm, Reveal by Star, LLC, offers online courses and coaching to help people set themselves free from their clutter.

Star created the Chaos to Calm Organizing Community in 2019 to support people from across the globe in their organizing transformations. This online community has provided a safe, healing space for people to unpack what’s hiding in their clutter and finally see progress after years of attempts.

Star’s multi-layered approach is that of mind, body, spirit, & space. She has a knack for seeing through the chaos and into the lives & hearts of the people she works with. Her approach has been featured on OWN, TLC, HGTV, Style, A&E, and NPR. She has been a contributor to O Magazine, Woman’s Day, and Oprah.com. Star’s humorous and thought-provoking TEDx Tucson talk explores what the monsters in your closet are trying to tell you.

Star lives in Santa Fe, NM. She is an 8th-generation Tucsonan who loves living in the southwest and never misses an opportunity to soak up a desert sunrise, sunset, or monsoon downpour.

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