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The Secret Life of Peter Walsh

Organising guru Peter Walsh joins Bonnie and Lily on the podcast to chat about all things home organising! Discover the mantras Peter swears by and the ways you can shift your mentality to stop being bogged down in clutter. Plus, Peter reveals some of the most memorable experiences he has had helping families declutter. Peter has transformed thousands of lives with his New York Times best -selling books, segments on Oprah and Rachael Ray for 15 years, and has now returned to our screens with his brand new Australian show, ‘Space Invaders’. To find out more about Peter, click the links in our show notes. EPISODE SHOW NOTES

Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome I am Bonnie, and I am Lily, and this is Little Home Organised, the PodCast dedicated to helping you declutter, get organized, and reclaim time for the things you love.

PETER: I was dropped on my head in the delivery suite, and I rolled over and said, Oh, that obstetrician’s table looks very, very disorganized. I have an accent, which is in America.


LILY: Is exotic

PETER: It gives you 10 more points of IQ; I got into terrible trouble for that because we were making a TV show


BONNIE: Hello and welcome today; we will be joined by organizing legend Peter Walsh to talk about all things organizing.

LILY: We have some exciting news, LHO is bringing you a brand new course.


LILY: We didn’t rehearse that.

BONNIE: About time.

LILY: This one was due a while ago but anyway here it is we are bringing you our brand new wardrobe course.

BONNIE: Oh, just in time, hopefully, I can get back into all of my clothes again.

LILY: So to say thank you for listening to the Podcast and to give you guys the best opportunity to nab this while is at a bargain price, head to our website littlehomeorganised.com.au, check out our courses, and you want to go the organized wardrobe, so Bonnie what can people expect from the organized wardrobe course.

BONNIE: Well, if you are someone who really struggles to get dressed in the morning and it takes you way more than 5 minutes to find what you need and to put an outfit together, the wardrobe course is designed especially for you, typically designed for the time-poor person as all of our courses are. The videos are short, sharp, and sweet, and we give you some very practical tips that you can implement straight away in zoning, decluttering, and organizing your wardrobe so that you can get dressed in less than 5 minutes.
LILY: That’s right, it is DIY; you can do it on your own time, on your own schedule, so if you want to log in at 9 o’clock at night, have a crack and then come back a couple of weeks later, you can because as long as this course is offered, you are going have lifetime access.

BONNIE: And that is it isn’t it, life gets in the way, and we need to know that we can come back and pick up from where we left off

LILY: So if you don’t currently love your wardrobe, you definitely need to check out this course, head to littlehomeorganised.com.au and check out the organized wardrobe, but the best news is yet to come, for the first 48 hours after this episode is released you are going to get it at the discounted extremely discounted rate before the price goes on up, so if that sounds like something you want to check out, head to the website.


LILY: So first things first, let’s introduce him; for the past 20 years, Peter Walsh has been working internationally helping families declutter and organize their homes, Peter has literally transformed thousands of lives with his New York Times bestselling books and TV shows, including 15 years with TV Titian’s Oprah Winfrey and Rachael Ray and he now returns to our screens with his latest Australian series Space Invaders. Peter believes that clutter is anything that stands in the way of people living their best lives, welcome Peter.

PETER: Hi guys, how are you doing? Bonnie, Lily, lovely to see you.

BONNIE: Lovely to see you too, and I have to admit every time someone says Space Invaders, I think of Pac man and the 80’s pinball machines.

PETER: Yeah, it is funny; we had a long discussion about what to call the show, and it went back and forth over a couple of titles and settled on the name Space Invaders, which originally I was not a huge fan of, but I have come to love it because it is kind of like you know the space gets invaded by the stuff, and then Cherie and Lucas and I come in like a tornado and invade the space and then when we are done the space is invaded by kind of peace and calm, and so, in the end, I don’t know the universe had a really good sense of humor, and I think we were blessed with a name that: 1 has great brand recognition, to use a marketing term; 2: that everyone kind of has a bit of fun with because they do recognize that from playing those games from the ’70s but most of all it is kind of has a really good connotation across the board, so I think it ended up being a great name for the show.

LILY: Yeah and a great show, what I really loved about it is it shows everyday Australian families, what it is actually like in everyday homes because you know there are some programs and things out there that are very niched and this was just so practical and from an organizing standpoint so engaging and interesting watching that whole process from start to finish.

BONNIE: Yeah, I think that a lot of those shows that really show the extreme side of clutter with the hoarding can really freak people out, whereas Space Invaders is just you know, a typical Aussie family that so many people struggle with clutter

PETER: Yeah, there were a couple of things about the show. 1: I have an executive producer role on this show, so I have quite a say in how the show you know is put together and made, and I think there is huge backlash at the moment against reality TV where a ton of reality TV is fake, you know and a big part of reality TV shows is to have a villain, you know and to have you know one person against another and you have to have drama, and you have to have the screamer, and I think people see that all that is kind of scripted and set up and our show is none of that, like none of our show, is fake, none of it and I don’t meet the family until the morning I open the front door until the morning I get to their home. I haven’t met the family before that moment, and we don’t know where the show will go, we just don’t know, it goes where the family takes it and their normal Australian families, everyone is dealing with clutter, we have worked really hard over the first season and into the second, now we are going into the second season to cast different types of families, the single mum, the struggling family, the wealthy and middle-class family who are overwhelmed, the young dating person who just can’t find love, the migrant family, we have worked really hard to cast very different types of Australian families struggling with different types of clutter to represent the broad spectrum of Australian’s, and hopefully we have captured a glimpse of all different Australian families, and all of it is real, and I think that is why the show has resonated so much, and it also shows you exactly what organizes do when they go into people’s homes.

BONNIE: Yes, and that is one of the things I wanted to talk to you about, and I am going to skip to it because you have just lead into it so beautifully; I remember at an APO conference years ago someone talking about how there is 2 types of organizers, those who do and those who teach and I am a teacher, like through and through and I know you are a teacher as well, so can you talk us through a little bit about why you choose this approach rather than the doing it for people approach.

PETER: You can’t do it for people. If you want permanent long term change, you can’t do it for people and that is you know the whole thing about you know can you come in an organise my wardrobe and I will be back at 5 o’clock and I want to see what it looks like, I have no interest in doing that, that is not what I do, and in the same way that organising and this sounds really counter intuitive organising is not about the stuff and if you focus on the stuff you will never get organised, it is always about underlying issues and the worse the clutter generally the deeper the issue, that has been my experience and it is generally about grief or loss or dreams or past passions, or abuse or trauma or relationships, that is generally what clutter is about and I have said many times that there are 2 main types of clutter, memory clutter or I might need it one day clutter and there is also more insidious type of clutter is malignant clutter that represents something really horrible from your past and unless you help people to understand why they can’t let go of clutter, what the clutter means you just end up moving the stuff around and not really touching the issue that is why I am not a fan at all of the hoarding show. I think the hoarding shows are largely theatre, I think generally they are far more damaging than anything to the person involved, and I have been invited many times to, you know, be a host to do the hoarding on hoarding shows, and I flatly refuse, and I think those shows are, I don’t think those shows are healthy.

LILY: And you see it at the end of those episodes on those shows as well, they often have some texts on the screen which shows that one month later, one week later, three months later that person went back to filling their home again and found it to be a hugely traumatic experience, so I can see why you would feel that way because mental health and everything that ties into our stuff is so important and when someone just comes into your home while you are out at work and you come home, and they organize it, it is not surprising that down the track it is all returned to how it was because they didn’t learn anything through it.

PETER: It is betrayal, and it is something betrayal, and I am asked many times you know my parents are going into respite care for 2 weeks, I am going into clean out their house, what advice can you give me, and I will say don’t do it, and people are you know well you are no help I will ask someone else, and you know what you end up doing is irrevocably damaging the relationship that you have with often with parents, you know at first glance you are doing a wonderful thing by cleaning up the house, but you are doing far more damaging something far more damaging because you are betraying trust, you are saying to them you are incompetent, which maybe they are, you can’t look after yourself which probably they can’t, but it is not about the stuff, you know there is a huge mental health issue here, and you have to deal with that. It is interesting the Anglican church in Tasmania just conducted one of the largest hoarding, one of the largest hoarding surveys in the country; I wish I could remember the name of it, it has just slipped my mind at the moment, but if your listeners look at just do a Google search on Anglican church Tasmania hoarding survey, hoarding studies, it is a wonderful read, and I think part one is an ongoing study and it is done in Tassie and it is really worth a read, it is fantastic.

LILY: I will have to check that out.

BONNIE: Yeah, no, we definitely will; I haven’t heard of that one.

PETER: It is not widely known in the organizing community, but it is definitely worth checking out.

BONNIE: Yeah, no, that is a great, great tip. Now okay, a question for you in regards to what you were pre, pre-organizer because, for a lot of us, we have come from different careers, we get into organizing in various ways, tell me what was your career beforehand or careers and how did you get into organizing?

PETER: This is a, I could say I was dropped on my head in the delivery suite, and I rolled over and said, oh that obstetrician’s table looks very, very disorganized, but that is not what happened.

BONNIE: I mean, that would be amazing for a newborn to say, let’s be honest.

PETER: I am a very highly developed human being; I mean I think I am like most organizers, you never had any intention or any thought or had never heard of organizing, I mean none of us have ended up where we started, I was originally trained as a teacher, an elementary a primary school teacher, I ended up teaching mainly grade 7 through to grade 10, maths science, graphic art. I taught for a few years, left teaching and got into drug abuse prevention here in Melbourne, I was the education director for the Alcohol and drug foundation, mainly teaching interpersonal skills to elementary primary school kids and developing drug abuse prevention programs which in Australia are largely around interpersonal skills development rather than drug facts so you know risk reduction, peer pressure, and all that kind of stuff and then was the educational director for the national heart foundation in Victoria so health promotion stuff and then worked the company here, business partner developing Corporate training programs and organisational change stuff for large corporations, we were distributing to about 40 countries internationally and I went to the United States to open up our office there and that was largely decision making skills, performance appraisals, organisational change, that feedback all that kind of stuff that at a corporate level for adults and there is kind of a pattern here about communication skills that suddenly make sense further down the track, we ended up selling that company and I got into the whole dotcom craze early in 2000 and rode that up into the sky and then screaming into the ground in the early 2000’s and in about 2003 a friend of my who produced programs in the States was making a program called Clean Sweep for the discovery network and said to me you would be really good at this why don’t you give it shot and I auditioned and I have an accent which in America.

LILY: It’s exotic

PETER: Which gives you 10 more points of IQ and I got the job and my interest was, I have a masters in educational psychology, so my interest was way more in the psychology of organising than in the physical side of it although I had had experience in that in businesses and so that is kind of the direction the show took, they originally wanted to go on how to organise a closet and how to fold to clothes which I had very little interest in, although you had to do that and so kind of the psychology side of it took off and that has been my focus from the start and I think that is where I have steered my whole area of organising and then the show was shot 120 episodes of that show and the Oprah show picked me up and I was with Oprah for about 5 years and did a number of shows on her channel and then had been flying back and forth to Australia for the last 8 years doing the living room and then now Space Invaders so you know I don’t know the answer is I don’t know how I became a professional organiser.

LILY: Delivery table and then from there.

PETER: But it all just, it is interesting it is then I think the only profession where all of my past experience, education, like drug abuse prevention, health promotion, risk reduction, promoting healthy behaviors, corporate training, corporate communication, development of communication skills programs all suddenly find an intersection in what I am doing in, and I have great interest in design all suddenly find an intersection in professional organizing, so it is just the universe again has a great sense of humor.

BONNIE: Yeah, it is interesting, and I have met so many organizers over the years, and my background is primary teaching as well, and so my focus or my passion I suppose, is workshops and working with kids, but you meet people who use to be nurses, and they are really good at helping disability families, and it is just I love that we are all so different and we just bring this amazing set of skills from our previous careers into peoples homes. It is amazing; I love it.

LILY: I have a question that is kind of off-script if that is alright with the two of you because it has been something that I have been thinking about over the last week Peter I am wondering because you have been organizing for such a long period of time, surely there has to be families or individuals that you have worked with that really stand out as far as the experience or the progress that you made with that client when you organized with them, is there anyone that you feel comfortable sharing a story about?

PETER: Um yeah there is a couple, I mean generally the ones that stand out the most I think, it sounds morbid but are the ones that revolve around end of life and I think one family in particular I was dealing with the father had end stage leukaemia, he had two older teenager daughters and a husband and wife and he was at end stage for leukaemia and in the middle of the sort it was a TV show and in the middle of the sort the, it became obvious that one he didn’t have very long to live and it became very obvious that he had never had that conversation with the girls, one was I guess one was about 20-21 and the other was 19 and it became obvious they had not had that conversation and the girls were ready to let go of kind of everything but that was kind of symptomatic of the fact that they were terrified a kind of holding onto anything, like it was a weird reaction to him going, they knew instinctively that we was going and so holding, they didn’t want to hold on anything because they knew that he was going, I can’t even say it properly and so I said to them, had said to him have you had the conversation with your girls that your disease is terminal, and the whole world and he said no, like even now saying it I have got chills and I said to them are you aware that your father is dying, and they were just, like everybody knew but no one had said it and they said yes, and I said have you spoken with him about this and they said no, and I said will you have this conversation and they said not with the cameras rolling and I said if I turn the cameras off will you have this conversation and they said yes and I said okay and I turned to the cameras and I said turn the cameras off and step back, and I got into terrible trouble for that, because we were making a TV show and I said step away

LILY: That was more important

PETER: The cameras went black, and for about 40 minutes they had, they had never had, and they had that conversation for the first time with their father, and he died about 3 months later; they had never had that conversation.


LILY: And those moments stick with you, yeah

PETER: And my partner and I went to the funeral, and I spoke with the mum a few times after that, and there was another similar case where you know a young child had passed away he died also strangely of leukemia and 4 years later the parents had another child, a young child boy, they use to go into his room every night and set his alarm clock and turn on the white noise machine, 4 years after he had passed away. They hadn’t touched anything in his room, and while I understood it, it was just very unhealthy, it was unhealthy for the surviving boy, and we kind of went through everything that was in his room, and there was still stuff in his, you know how I mentioned before malignant clutter. There was still stuff in his room that was like IV infusion stuff that the kid hated and caused him incredible pain, but they couldn’t let it go because they feared that if they let that go, somehow they were dishonoring his memory, and I, you know they are the ones that I remember, and they ended up letting go of all that just keeping a small box of the stuff they most remembered, yeah there are cases, there was another funny one, I will tell you one other quick one I know we are on time. The wife who had divorced and I shouldn’t talk like this, her mother in law was a real cow, and her mother in law was such a cow, and she had really described her mother in law, but her mother in law had given her a 12 piece dinner service that she insisted she use every time she came to visit and she hated this dinner service.

BONNIE: Control

PETER: And so I said oh, and she divorced her husband and she had this dinner service and every time she looked at it she despised it, so I said okay, and we packed it up in a box and went out in the back laneway of the house, and there was a huge brick wall, and I said you hate it that much, and I said pick up a cup, and she picks it up, and I said smash it against the wall, I couldn’t possibly do that, I said do it, and so she smashed the cup, and I said smash a plate, and by the end of it she was dancing, and she smashed every single piece against the brick wall, I got such bad feedback of how destructive how horrible but the thing is it was a ritual


LILY: cathartic

PETER: that she let go of all that anger, cathartic exactly, so yeah there was, I mean

LILY: It’s a privilege, isn’t it to be a part of these moments.

PETER: You may have seen on Space Invaders I got one woman whose husband had left her after 30 years for a younger woman, just smashed the headboard from the marital bed in the master bedroom, she smashed it with a sledgehammer, I got such resistance to doing it, she loved it, you go for it girl, you smash that headboard, and you just imagine that headboard to be whatever you want with a sledgehammer, so yeah it is a privilege. It is a privilege to go into people’s homes and be invited into their lives and to help them to move because clutter, as you said at the start, clutter is anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living and if that is a roadblock to happiness, if that is a headboard that represents some bastard that has walked out of you after 30 years of marriage for some bimbo if that is some horrible cow who has tortured you for 10 years because you don’t live up to her standards of what a daughter in law should be if that is the specter of death that has stolen your 8-year-old son then let’s get that, let’s get that hurdle out of your life any way we can with a sledgehammer or by breaking it to pieces, or you know that’s what we need to do, you need to invoke any wild ritual or anything we can to help people break through to that other side that is what our job is, and I love that.

BONNIE: There is something to be said for those rituals that help you close a chapter and start a new one.

PETER: Because we don’t have rituals anymore, you know there are so few rituals left in our lives, you know, and the thing is even you know the ritual of giving gifts, we have rituals for bringing gifts into our homes, Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Hanukkah, Weddings but we have no rituals for taking things out of our homes

BONNIE: that is a very good point

PETER: And that is part of the problem is the build-up of gifts, a build-up of stuff in our homes, so we need to start inventing rituals, so you know when I work with families, what is the ritual before a birthday, before gift-giving event with your kids, because if they get used to a ritual of donating stuff before a gift-giving ritual, let’s establish new rituals, we don’t have rituals anymore, so as organizers let’s start inventing rituals, one in, one out, that is another ritual, as a society and I am not a religious person, but we have lost the concept of rituals that once filled our lives particularly through religious services. They have gone, so we need to start re-inventing rituals that help us to deal with the new idols, and the new idols are all of the stuff that fills our homes.

LILY: Oh deep and philosophical, Peter

PETER: But the thing is that is what it is, you know we need, you know we need to start, and I say I am not at all a religious person, but there is a very good reason that one of the 10 commandments and I am not a religious person is thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods because the thing is the moment you start wishing coveting that you have what your neighbor has that is a problem that you want, I want what you want so I start buying what you want, then you start buying what I have, then Jack starts buying what I have, and that is exactly why coveting, wanting, that is exactly where we are at the moment, and it is an old wisdom but as I say I am not advocating the 10 commandments, but thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods is such an amazing piece of wisdom because comparison, a comparison is the death of happiness.

LILY: Yeah, the thief of joy, isn’t it.

PETER: Yeah, a comparison is the death of joy, the death of happiness, and that is why you look around. That is why social media is the death of joy because you look at social media, and everything on social media is fake. People only post the best of, the greatest of, the most illusion of life, experience, goods whatever

LILY: That’s why I on a little bit of a side tangent here; I love Celeste Barber so much because what her, what she does on social media is there will be a video of a model who fits a certain look that everybody is trying to aspire to be and she will recreate it and just like pull some really fun poses, and she is so confident in who she is, and she is just like an everyday woman, and it is so real, and it is so

BONNIE: Refreshing

LILY feels so refreshing.

PETER: Do you get my point that, there, all these old words that seem extremely outdated are actually absolutely applicable once you strip away all of the traditional kind of layers to them that there is an absolutely definite meaning to them that makes sense.

BONNIE: Yeah, it is that whole discontent, isn’t it? As soon as we start comparing, we become discontent with what we have got, and then all of a sudden, that spirals into us.

LILY: A lot of people are looking for the answer in stuff, and it certainly, in my experience, is not the answer

PETER: Because then you think that more is better, and if one is good then two is great because that is how advertising works that look what you have got is good but if you just buy this thing you can acquire the life that you want and that is how advertising works if you just buy the right thing you can acquire the life that you want and the premise is absolute crap

LILY: If only it worked.

BONNIE: I know. I mean

LILY: We wouldn’t need it all

BONNIE: I would love to buy the perfume that makes me Julia Roberts, like bring it on.

PETER: Exactly, that is exactly it, that is exactly it.

LILY: So Peter, I have to ask, of course, these mantras would be second nature to you in your mind like you say one in, one out, you know don’t put it down, put it away like organize people often have these rolling around in their head what are some of the organized strategies that you recognize you use in your every day in your home to keep on top of stuff
PETER: I think they don’t put it down: putting it away is a big one for me. No more later is a huge one for me. Like that is also don’t put it down put it away is kind of the same thing.

LILY: Didn’t you say once that later is the best friend of clutter?

PETER: I am not sure that I coined that phrase, but I certainly use it, a lot of people attribute that to me, I am not sure that I invented that, I am happy to take, I am happy when people do that, I am not sure that’s fair but okay, but they would be the two biggest ones because you know procrastination is the worse thing. If you put things off, but I often kick myself, it is funny just before this, I actually just ran in from something, and I threw my coat and scarf on the bed, and just before this started, I ran into making sure my hair looked okay because I am terribly vein and as I went passed the bedroom, as I ran passed the bedroom it was like oh dam, my coat is thrown on the bed and so is my scarf and then it was like oh you know it is one minute until we start dam I have to get in there, so I get kind of crazy, I think as I get older, I get a little more ADD, so I am kind of crazy about that stuff you know putting stuff away and not leaving it to later, that would be the biggest thing for me, because I find if I don’t have, I am not a crazy organized person, I really am not, and people often times you know magazines or people will want to do an interview where I live or take photos, and they will say oh your closet isn’t color coded and that stuff.

BONNIE: Where is the rainbow

PETER: It is not me at all, but I find if my space isn’t organized like I will do a quick wipe around before I go to bed at night to make sure that things are organized but like at this very moment, I need to do the ironing for example

BONNIE: So you’ve got a pile

PETER: Yeah, I will show you; I am not embarrassed to show you like right here it is not a very large apartment so right in next to me is the ironing board with shirts hanging on it and I put them out last night, and the intention was to iron this morning, but I had to run and do some stuff, so you know I need to make sure that the place is, I don’t want to get up in the morning and have stuff all lying around so I would make sure that everything is closed and put away, so you know don’t put it down put it away, no more later would be the two biggest things.

LILY: Doing that daily reset at night it is sometimes when you are so tired at the end of the day, you just want to sit down and put your feet up, but you will feel so much better when you get up in the morning, and you don’t have things to do to start

BONNIE: Fresh slate

PETER: Yeah, but I also don’t have kids, you know, and kids introduce a whole new thing to that.

BONNIE: But you have a partner, so it is not like it is just you

LILY: Having kids is like putting out little clutter fires, you know, every couple of minutes.

BONNIE: Just clutter fires

LILY: Just behind them with a watering can.

BONNIE: So true, so true. Okay, talking about clutter, we have to ask you, do you have something that you have held onto that is a bit weird, wacky, or wonderful because I think it is time for a clutter confession.


PETER: Yeah, you know it is; I am doing quite a bit of work at the moment on helping people downsizing because that is a big thing in my life, called let it go; I wrote after mum passed away about 5 years ago and with my 6 brothers and sisters we downsized and decluttered the family home, and the book Let It Go I wrote kind of after that experience, and the big thing that, that taught me was it is really important when you are downsizing to identify treasures and to pull from anything treasures, and I own very few things, and from that experience, I pulled from my dad the treasure that he had was his war medals, a couple of his war medals and from my mum she, I pulled two plates, I have got one here and one in the states

BONNIE: That’s beautiful

PETER: Yeah, but she always uses to cook my favorite dessert on, and she always uses to plate this lemon cheesecake that I loved on this plate and a lemon meringue pie on this battered plate, green plate Pyrex plate that is in the states, so these are the only, they were the only 3 things I took from my parents home, and I always say that you know people say I am decluttering my parents home and I have got so much stuff, well it is like just find 2 or 3 treasures and keep those and I can tell you all the rest of the stuff doesn’t matter but for me that’s you know that’s kind of it, and I am happy that and my brothers and sisters basically did the same, everyone took a couple of things and the rest we sent it all off the donations.

LILY: It makes it more special.

BONNIE: That may be the most beautiful clutter confession we have ever had

LILY: And also one of the most beautiful teal plates I have ever seen.

BONNIE: Oh, I am so jealous, like, that you are lucky you are not on the Sunny Coast.

PETER: The problem is, the problem is that when everything is, and this is another thing I say, the problem is that when everything is important when you are holding onto everything when everything is important, nothing is important, you know and I say this to people all this time. The funny thing is that when you pull out just a couple of treasures and set them aside and especially if you display them with honor and respect, frame them up or put them in a box frame or whatever, it is funny how everything else then suddenly pales into insignificance. You know there was a woman who I worked with a few years ago, her grandmother had passed away 25 years earlier, she loved her gran so much that when she passed away, she was so grief-stricken she put every single thing from her home into storage, everything, 25 years later she decided it was time to deal with it and I said to her what did you love doing with your grandmother, baking, so we pulled the boxes out that were from the kitchen we found some 4 x 6 cards with her grandmother’s written recipes on them, rolling pins, cookie cutters, some other flour sifters and left them there, and she also had photos of her as a little kid baking with her grandmother, I had a huge shadow box made, and we had all of these items, it was a huge frame, had them mounted in this shadow box and hung in her kitchen, she cried when she saw it, she let everything else go, after 26 years. A treasure that was the single biggest treasure, it was worth nothing, and it was priceless. Find the treasure, treat it with honor and respect; everything else pales into insignificance.

BONNIE: It is so true

PETER: And that’s what this is. See, that’s what this is, you look at it, and it has no value for anyone else, but it is priceless, and it can be anything, like the other plates I remember my mum buying it in 1967 when I was a tiny kid, it is chipped, it is cracked, it is a piece of crap, but it is priceless.

LILY: But it represents so much for you.

PETER: That is the point. That is the point, and everyone has something like that in their home where everything else means nothing but that holds all the memories. That is the treasure, and that is what you should pull from home.

BONNIE: Mmm, I love that, the whole it is like treasure hunting,

PETER: Exactly, and that is what you say to people, imaging your parents left something in this house that has meaning only for you, so instead of taking everything out and taking it your garage, you work from the opposite end and say go into the house, find the 5 treasures that are absolutely meant for you to carry in your heart and take to your home and then who cares what else in there. You see, it completely shifts the dynamic and then who cares, who cares it is not your stuff, it is not your life, none of that is your life, your life is those 5 treasures, and sure there is money there, sure there is value, get someone else to sell it and get back to your life.

BONNIE: I love that it is like the positive twist because so often people focus when we are decluttering on what they are losing, and it is so important to turn around and actually focus on what you are gaining instead

PETER: And no one who loved you would want you to be suffering under the physical and physiological burden of all their stuff

LILY: Exactly

PETER: Think about it, and I say to people if your mother was standing here, what would she say to you, people start laughing, and they would say she would say you are an idiot. What are you doing? Yeah, well, I will say if, for her, you are an idiot, what are you doing?

BONNIE: I love how candid you are; it is amazing

LILY: It is refreshing

BONNIE: It is refreshing; there’s not a lot of people who can get away with it.

PETER: You don’t have time, life is short, life is short, and you are arguing about a 1960 piece of ugly brown furniture that nobody, that your mother hated that you hate, and the only reason you are holding onto it is because your sister also wants it and the truth is nobody wants it, what are we doing here. That is the truth, and people start laughing because it is all crap. Your parents held onto it, and they hated it; what are you doing? Find the treasures, find the treasures, and walk away.

BONNIE: So true

LILY: We should rename the episode to find the treasures, cause that is great

BONNIE: Or cut the crap

LILY: Or cut the crap, yeah.

PETER: You see, we all focus on all the stuff, and people will say I am overwhelmed and paralyzed, of course, you are, because you can’t deal with all that stuff, so ripe the whole thing, deal with just what you can, the 5 treasures and suddenly all your perspective changes.


LILY: Oh beautiful

BONNIE: It is amazing; I love it; that is so good

LILY: Oh Peter, I feel like we should wrap up with you know one question because everything you have been saying have been absolute pearls of wisdom, and I am sure there are tons of those in your books

PETER: Whatever you want.

LILY: So you have obviously got a few books, and your latest book is Let it Go; if someone was looking to get some more information about this stuff, is Let it Go the best book for them to start with.

PETER: I think, I wrote, my first book was called It is all too much, it is a great book and my basic philosophy, but it is kind of dated now, it kind of predates a lot of online stuff and so it is still a great book but probably Let it go is you know, has the best, the most up to date and covers my philosophy the best, they can send me an email at my website peterwalshdesigns.com I answer all my own emails if you send me an email you get a response from me. It is all there; my Facebook page has all my stuff there, Space Invaders, I am easy to find.

BONNIE: You are very easy to find and very easy to listen to, and I have to admit this is totally not me sucking up, but when I started my organizing journey 10 years ago, your philosophy and your psychology behind clutter, and you know it is about the person, not the stuff was instrumental in how I developed my style as an organizer and I have just held

PETER: Well, thank you

BONNIE: I have held onto that for a long time, so thank you for being one of those key role models in our industry that has really shaped the way that we see it.
LILY: And bringing awareness to the industry and what the industry can really do for people’s lives as well, I am curious to know, and I think I know the answer to this, Peter are you very going to be joining the world of TikTok

PETER: Um, to be honest, I am actually debating whether to give up all social media at the moment.

LILY: We will miss you. No, go on tell us why

PETER: Because I am not sure the benefits outweigh the negative. You know I am sure you have watched the social contract; I can’t remember the name.

LILY: The Netflix one?


BONNIE: Social experiment

PETER: Yeah, it might be that I can’t remember, something like that, it is all in there. No, I don’t think I will be joining TikTok. Social media takes up; when Space Invaders launched I spent, I haven’t opened my professional page for the last month, 6 weeks because after Space Invaders launched I spent 4 months, I spent 3 days a week about 8 hours a day on social media promoting this show and it is a massive time suck, and so I have stepped away from social media, and I need to step back again, it is just a massive time suck for me, and I do all that myself plus I have got a business in the States, plus you know I am kind.
LILY: You do that all yourself


LILY: That is a huge commitment.

PETER: Yeah, and so I won’t be joining TikTok; Facebook is kind of my thing, and that even shows how old I am

BONNIE: I am pro Facebook too, and I am 34.

PETER: I am nearly double your age.

BONNIE: I can see the cogs turning in your head.

PETER: I try to do mathematics. So no, to be honest, I don’t have the commitment to do more social media, I just don’t, I think a lot of it is self-congratulatory, and I am just passed that, you know I prefer to put my energies elsewhere, so no I am happy to do Facebook, you know I will step back into that as much as I want to, but no, I won’t be joining TikTok.

LILY: Oh, so sad.

BONNIE: Lily loves TikTok

LILY: I am so into TikTok right now because so many people out there think, and I can completely understand, you cannot spread yourself so thin cause then you also can’t excel because you, you know, lowering the bar everywhere but TikTok has been so educational for me as far as yeah all kinds of things, but yeah it is addictive.

PETER: One of the problems for me is I have an extremely black sense of humor, and I get into trouble regularly for my sense of humor, and so I have to dial back my sense of humor all the time, and those around me are like no, you cannot put

BONNIE: You can’t say that anymore.

PETER: No, and so that is why TikTok seems to be exactly the avenue that would open up

BONNIE: A real can of worms

LILY: Get eaten alive, yeah, okay

PETER: And if you want to see already the kind of craziness that I get exposed to on Facebook, you just have to look at the stuff that I put up when I was vaccinated against COVID for example, that opened up just a nightmare of stuff for me and that is just the stuff that you see publically so I don’t need, I am way past needing that kind of stuff, so I am happy just to stick to my lane of social media, you know and to promote the stuff I am doing rather than branch out into other stuff.

LILY: Mmm, right to all the listeners out there, if you want to connect with Peter on socials, Facebook is the way to go; that is where you will find him.


LILY: But if you want to get in contact, of course, it sounds like email might also be a way to go, but you could be on a waitlist because he is a busy man.

PETER: Also, my website peterwalshdesign.com.

BONNIE: Oh Peter, it has been so lovely talking to you and

PETER: Anytime, anytime

BONNIE: So lovely staring at the beautiful painting behind you, I mean. It is very zen, isn’t it?

LILY: It is just awesome.

BONNIE: Oh, thank you so much, we really appreciate it.
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