Stuff, Junk & Things: The Mom Hour, Episode 35

(alternate title: The Non-Konmari Method of Dealing with Loads of C-R-A-P Year After Year)

This episode was inspired by listener Kate from San Francisco who wrote:

I have a show topic for you: Stuff, Junk and Things. I had a writing teacher in middle school who would not let us use those words because they are so unspecific and vague, but that phrase perfectly describes the tidal waves of stuff that enter my house with every holiday and birthday.

The kiddo just had his third birthday and I asked guests not to bring gifts. Just with the gifts from grandparents, aunts and uncles we are drowning here. If I could give 50% of his stuff away I would, but that would not go over well. Grandparents are not going to give money to the food bank in honor of the kid’s birthday. They want to give him things. How do you manage grandparents who want to be included (we have 3 sets, a curse and a blessing)? How do you sneak out currently under-used toys before the house is filled up?

I live in a Victorian apartment in the middle of San Francisco. We don’t have a basement, and the Victorian era was not big on closets. I have got to keep the stuff, junk and things managed. Or do I just give up and turn over my apartment into a mini preschool?

Oh, Kate, we feel you. (That photo at the top of the post? That’s an actual photo of Sarah’s family room when her kids were 5, 3, and a few months old. Shudder.) To hear the advice we gave Kate, listen to Episode 35 using the player at the bottom of this post.

But first, a robot vacuum.

Sarah talked about her new robot – the Neato Botvac Connected Wi-Fi Enabled Robot Vacuum – and we discuss how it’s doing so far on her hardwood floors.


(And though neither of us has experience with the Roomba, it’s got great reviews and less expensive models like this one.)

And, then, KonMari.

While we didn’t set out to talk about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in this episode, it turns out Meagan got into a bit of a Facebook debate about the so-called magic of Marie Kondo’s method. We had a bit of fun with this (and we’re not altogether negative about the book – in fact, Sarah shares her take-aways in this episode) before moving on to the meat of Kate’s question.

Facebook discussion about Konmari method

Links we mentioned (or should have) in Episode 35


  1. Hi Sarah and Meagan –

    I love this topic because I am a huge thrower-outer and would love to just chuck everything as soon as it comes in the door (especially most school art projects – sorry). I thought the book (the magic of tidying up) was way too intense and dogmatic for me BUT my mother (a HUGE keeper-holder) loved it and responded to reading it by getting rid of piles and piles of junk. So, I think it speaks to people who maybe need a little hand-holding getting rid of the stuff they really do need to get rid of. Okay, as always, I loved this show. (I listen to you so much that I find myself thinking “what friend of mine said thus and so” and then I remember it was one of you! ha!) 😉 Becky

    • Aw, thank you Becky! We love being your “friends.” 🙂

      I think that’s a great observation that the book might appeal more to people who really do hold on to stuff for emotional reasons more. Though neither Meagan nor I is immune to that, we’re not really the type to have trouble purging. I’d never thought about it in those terms but I think you’re onto something. Thanks for listening and commenting!

  2. You guys make me laugh! I have a 13 month old son & just listened to Kondo’s book. 98% of the book I was convinced she was crazy. I figured there was a lot of information lost in translation & culture differences. There were some good nuggets of information though! Overall, great topic & tips!

    • Kati, totally agree with you on Marie Kondo. I wonder how having a baby will change some of that? 😉 Thanks for laughing with us! (WITH us, not AT us…right?? 😉 )

  3. Any strategies for dealing with stuffed animals.
    My kids are pretty good about letting go of toys but stuffed animals are a different story. They have little room to sleep with the number of stuffed animals on their bed.

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  1. Episode 22: Questioning The KonMari Decluttering Method – Edit Your Life

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