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From Clutter to Clarity | Kerry Thomas | TEDxAshburn

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Clutter is not just “stuff.” Clutter can be physical, digital, mental, emotional or spiritual, and each type can be overwhelming. Learn the number one cause of clutter in any area of your life, and how to bust through for lasting results. Kerry Thomas attended the University of Florida where she received her Bachelor's and Master’s degrees in Special Education. After teaching for eight years, a career change brought her to Professional Organizing, and Conquer the Chaos, LLC was launched in 2007. After years of organizing "a little of everything" from closets to kitchens to offices to garages to classrooms, Kerry decided to further combine her two passions (teaching and organizing) and specialize in helping small business owners with ADD create and maintain order in the midst of their disorder.  Kerry completed a rigorous training program, and is now a Certified Productive Environment Specialist™. This certification adds another dimension to her organizing and productivity consulting services. Kerry enjoys helping others find the peace of mind and increased productivity that come from and organized workspace. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
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Text Comments (270)
hot pepper (2 hours ago)
I came here to say I love your dress, is it handmade? Thanks 😊
Critstix Darkspear (3 days ago)
Clutter - TEDx is the clutter that devalues what TED used to be.
remcat (3 days ago)
I loved her talk, especially that we think more stuff means more fun. And especially that everything comes down to a postponed decision. And "give God something to bless". Great talk.
Yosri Osman (10 days ago)
Very helpful.
Passion Creativity (18 days ago)
Totally agree, the physical clutter destroys lifes
WMae L (23 days ago)
Best I've seen yet.
Muhd Khaleef Izzaldeen (29 days ago)
Yes it's either postponed decision or too many options wrongly taken into consideration. Minimizing Options and Optimizing Priorities or Decisions Can Be The Answer.
Clo Medrado (29 days ago)
This is a trend and troublesome topic that many people have to face to live better and happilly
salido nathalie (1 month ago)
Further than that, if you've got no clutter maybe you will have an empty place in your house, your schedule, your heart for welcoming what will eventually happen or come to you. Do not fear the void.
I agree in many points for I was in there and felt it, and need to do something about it NOW!
Night Lock (1 month ago)
Get out in nature and meditation. Man I swear. 😂😭
ss (2 months ago)
I dont think more is better or happier - I never wanted all the things I have - but I cannot waste stuff - anything
Joan Foglio (2 months ago)
Vz Bb/
Simone (2 months ago)
Overhelmed? Over what? I don't understand the word she say.
Barry Chandler (2 months ago)
Thank you 🙏🏻 I could really use your help, everything in my life is a big mess, there is clutter everywhere but no one knows it but me.
Samra P (2 months ago)
Please help me.
Sterling Solomon (3 months ago)
She definitely conveys emotion in her talk, and it reminds us of our power to change as it simultaneously allows the feeling of "sinning" and missing the mark and the guilt that can disable action. I actually came into the video with a bit of judgement and now I have to say this is one of the best TedX videos I've ever seen. I'm working on a technology interface(app ecosystem) to allow humans to reconnect to natural law and natural interaction and reset/reconnect that attention/ dopamine /hormonal circuitry that has been hijacked by commoditized social networks. We are cluttered with concerns, and made impotent by our borrowed fears. I am dedicated to deep wealth solutions, and Kerry Thomas hit on so many of my motivations in this talk. She also poignantly hit how my arrow of intention has sinned, and I'm sitting right now in Bali in a room with far too much clutter, typing on a computer with far too much clutter and appreciating how she tied it all together in this moment..
Cody Polar (3 months ago)
The part about cluttered iphones makes a lot of sense. When I truly listened to some of the songs I had, I discovered that I didn't like them anymore, never did, or they made me feel emotionally like I didn't want. So, I deleted over half my large song library. The criteria for keeping the ones I kept was "does it make me feel good". Now, there are a few that make me feel sad, but those are ones that are written to do that.
i.tsune (3 months ago)
'change is the result of action and action is the result of decision' loved that
Barbara D'Ascenzo (3 months ago)
This has been helpful to me: for anything that comes in... something goes out. Throwing out raggedy clothes is a stickler for me. Getting past the wash/ wear, one more time, ritual. ( Suprise,I was raised, in near poverty.... hmmm.) Good talk.
Baby Baby (4 months ago)
So true. It inspires me to think deep about me myself
Beth Bartlett (4 months ago)
Environment ... Does it Reflect: your present *Thoughts* condition? (are your *Thoughts* in the: present, past, fears, hopes, desires, Future)? "Change your *Thoughts* - Change your Life" Dr Wayne Dyer Help your *"Thoughts* Focus" by "Changing your Environment" Create your "Current Environment" to reflect your Desired Life Goals - In doing so, you begin living your Desired Life Goals NOW - Learning through Feeling - in the Now - that which you are *Accustomed to being in the Future* - If you don't learn the feeling of "Experiencing the Desired" - it can/will/does - remain in the Future in Thoughts, rarely to never *Experienced in the Now* You're welcome. Live your Dreams - Today 🎆
Charles George (4 months ago)
This talk is cluttered. Although it is worth mentioning emotional, mental, and spiritual clutter, the value and importance of tackling physical clutter as an initial step toward clearing inner types of clutter. Just think of how you feel once you have cleaned one messy room. The tangibility and simplicity of a tidy room is a more effective illustration of the positive results of decluttering than to focus more upon clutter as it exists within the psyche.
Muhd Khaleef Izzaldeen (29 days ago)
Charles George Can't agree any much more
Janie Super (4 months ago)
she is talking too slow for my tastes and its annoying me
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (3 months ago)
I have several feedback slips from other presentations (before and after this one) that say, "speaks too fast, please slow down" :-) so your comment made me chuckle. On a serious note though, it's not a bad idea for TEDx producers to offer a written transcript of the talks as an option.
Albert Barcellos (4 months ago)
Very sad story . I hope she is ok Good talk
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (3 months ago)
Albert, I'm great! Thank you!
MINI MENON (4 months ago)
Think...cluttering required especially in the Digital arena...to pave way for more peace and happiness.Whatever...is read and gone through...need to be deleted.../but for closely significant ones!!
Eddie Fittes (5 months ago)
Would owning 6 acoustics and not moving forward in playing them as much as you would 1 or 2 and just playing them side by side be in this category? I just want to learn as fast as I started and keep moving forward. Everyone else says its fine and love what ive got.
Wasiul Farabi (5 months ago)
Minimalism 🔥
Bonita Smith (5 months ago)
Why does all Tedx talks sound like they coached by the same person
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (3 months ago)
Good question Bonita. I didn't have a coach, so I'm not sure...
lily loves unicorns (5 months ago)
great video , I needed this
Claudia Morales (5 months ago)
I have mental clutter and emotional clutter too. I have to learn to kick it.
snip tip (6 months ago)
I'm here listening for much more.... then bland! the video ends. smh
Zahra Amanah (6 months ago)
Excellent presentation, thank you Kerry
WhereTheLionsRoar (6 months ago)
Love this!
Brenda Rain (6 months ago)
What a beautiful talk! 🙌🏻
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (3 months ago)
Thank you Brenda!
Cyndi Gallo (6 months ago)
I know what i want in life since i was a kid, and got it, it was simple stuff, but family members always trying to get in the way. They made their life kaotic, pursuing their dream, but they are not happy, so they want to make me unhappy too. Im artistic, creative, resourceful, and Spiritual minded and happy. They try to bring me down, thru out my life, becuz they are not happy. And they don't get me at all. I'm ok, with the fact, that they don't get me, they are not meant to............get it..
Night Lock (1 month ago)
I feel that to my soul.
Cyndi Gallo (6 months ago)
My closet is organized, since i was a kid. It's the people i live with that are disorganize with their life.
MARINA WILKINSON (6 months ago)
Excellent talk. Thank you 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (3 months ago)
Thank you Marina!
Toughen Up, Fluffy (7 months ago)
I thought it said, "From Cutler to Cutlery," which is a better title, if you ask me, being all drunk as I am. :0)
PROTXS EMF HEALTH (7 months ago)
I can tell you that these problems can be solved by seeking Christ.
Night Lock (1 month ago)
I do seek him and the holy almighty heavenly father. I don't find him so far. I don't give up. But idk. He might be helping now that it think about it. Idk The spiritual stuff is really intense fr. Mentally. Makes me wonder. But I think I'm Blessed tbh. What if. Shoulda would couldas. I hate them. Present. Forget. Regret.etc
Shuri (7 months ago)
"The key is: make a decision" type 9 sorry
Wisepersonsay (7 months ago)
I used to be sympathetic, emphatic, compassionate, whatever you like to call it - supposedly a human virtue. I decided some years ago to declutter this feeling and not to mix with people who expect sympathy and mercy. I'm much more refreshed now. Instead, I show these people how to fulfill their life by demonstrating it with mine. I don't talk/preach to them. I only show it.
Rachel Sweets (1 month ago)
Love this
Love Music (7 months ago)
Yes we fill up every aspect of our lives...one more aspect...we [over]fill our schedules. Sadly, many of us over fill our childrens' schedules as well.
Rachel Sweets (1 month ago)
marilyn gandhi (7 months ago)
"I can't lose weight" is a sign of Diabetes type 2 - See the Doctor and have the OGTT test :)
marilyn gandhi (7 months ago)
"I can't lose weight" is a sign of Diabetes type 2 - See the Doctor and have the OGTT test :)
Sherri Cimoch (7 months ago)
I’m so glad you made the DECISION to make this video. It was the push I needed. You make a difference.
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (3 months ago)
Thank you so much Sherri.
hanalei02 (7 months ago)
This is eye-opening! One of my favorite Ted Talk!
Wendi Watson (8 months ago)
Wow! So relatable, you have such positive energy, and i love that shirt.
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (3 months ago)
Thank you Wendi!
Jules Harger (8 months ago)
Overwhelmed..,... overwhelmed r distractions!!!!! Ahhh this is hard stufff!!!! Clutter that's another story!!! I threw away 20 color books away and 10 shirts this is CRAZY stuff! Can we say Chaos literally!!
Sheonagh Butcher (8 months ago)
My husband and I moved into our home 2.5 years ago and have not had any friends around for dinner because I cannot bring myself to unpack the remaining boxes in the formal lounge. It is stacked with boxes and furniture that we cannot use. I feel all of those things that you described at the beginning of the podcast. I am overwhelmed and have to get out of the room if I go in and try to sort it out. We are also paying for two storage units.I am getting sicker and sicker physically too. I stay at home in "lockdown" most of the day and surf for things to buy going to the PO box every week day to pickup something else. I listed all that companies that I am waiting for deliveries from. There are 12 at the moment Thank you so much for you talk. I needed to see and hear this. Funnily enough, yesterday, I had unfollowed quite a few streams on facebook and had decided to to actually unsubscribe to many email sales subscriptions today. It is perfect timing to fall across your podcast. I am not going out of the door without taking A BAG or two to the charity shop. My family (who have no idea how this is REALLY effecting me) will be very please but most of all I will gradually be released. I will be am avid follower until I get well. So scared to press the Comment button as I am very private person eeps!!!
w m (1 month ago)
Sheonagh, Something i have found useful is to drastically reduce tv, Netfix, Youtube etc. Somehow they take us away from the Inside, we cant hear that kind little voice inside us that pushes us towards healthy and positive changes. I m also very private, i even wont use my real name online. Wishing you good luck!
Life tobelived (5 months ago)
My friend is moving out of the country to stay with her family for awhile. I helped her sort and pack a some things the other day. She and her sister posted furniture online and she was able to sell a lot of her furniture be it at low prices but they went fast. It was funny because I had all the organizational skills to help her that i never use on myself. My big problem has been severe fatigue due to medial issues. I was surprised how fast we go through almost 2 rooms. I just brought stuff over in front of her and she saved, boxed, recycled and gave away.
Helene Bennie (8 months ago)
That's a great start. I decided at the beginning of the year that I really don't want ALL of my possessions anymore. I haven't really started to cull much but I have got rid of some stuff. Little by little and you'll get on a roll.
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (8 months ago)
I am so glad you commented! This is actually the first time I've read my comments in 18 months because I felt awkward, so it's perfect timing. It sounds like you have a good plan to make small, incremental changes, and I bet those will give you momentum. Best of luck!
Sandeep Kumar (8 months ago)
Wow.. amazing talk
Sandi Small (8 months ago)
Oh thank you. I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one with computer clutter.
Mitchell Rose (9 months ago)
Procrastination is the doorway to too late!
Sheer (9 months ago)
I listened to every word Kerry said. Thank you. Among the clutter in you tube, this talk of Kerry was a game changer.
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (8 months ago)
Thank you!
Susan Axelrod (9 months ago)
This is stellar, bless you and thank you. here's to your continued good health and success!
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (8 months ago)
Thank you!
vanessa scott (9 months ago)
Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom. Well said and explained. Simple enough to apply. Make the decisions and move forward.
mm mmm (9 months ago)
I loved this. I am trying to find her online. Does she have a blog? Instagram? Twitter?
Pedro Alb (9 months ago)
hi everyone ,if anyone else trying to find out organization tips for home try Stiklind Fast Declutter Fixer (should be on google have a look ) ? Ive heard some unbelievable things about it and my colleague got excellent success with it.
Melody Dlamini (9 months ago)
TINA ULA (9 months ago)
play speed 2 works well to make this go faster...Thanks, interesting video.
Panda Culture (10 months ago)
Her voice is like Brandi love
evans kariuki (10 months ago)
Bottom line, Decide + Act.
Karen Castle (10 months ago)
I want to thank you for your talk. I'm grateful. This may have just touched on why I always feel overwhelmed and helpless in changing it. It was starting to bring on depression. I couldn't figure out what the down feeling were. Now I do. Thank you again.
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (8 months ago)
You are so welcome Karen!
koit222 (10 months ago)
I dont find taking big decisions reduce clutter at all. This talk feels really superficial, cause it does not explain what it states.
Gail Remp (10 months ago)
Excellent. I would also highly recommend Mel Robbins Ted talk on how to stop screwing yourself up. It is really really excellent. Nothing to do with clutter except how we view what holds us back. I watched it several times, and something finally clicked in my brain about what I was saying outwardly and inwardly. And I have been working very diligently for the last two or three months in the house. And it is showing. If you add all these other Ted talks with it, you can do quite well. Anybody in here that has a one-word answer, DHD. ABC D. Whatever. Is obviously a perfect person. But for the rest of us humans that aren't, it's more than a one-word answer. It is digging deep to find out what is hurting you the most, taking stock of what you can do, and being able to put 1 foot in front of the other to change it. Blessings to all of you. Have a great memorial day weekend. This makes four years since my mom died on memorial day weekend. And instead of feeling sad, I am feeling very positive now. So take care.
Hungry Beastling (1 month ago)
Gail Remp, I realize it has been close to a year since you posted this comment, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing your lovely perspective as well as the helpful tips. I'm seriously off to go watch the Mel Robbins video right now! Your approach is not only motivating, but it's super refreshing! And it's obviously creating results. Please take good care and I'm sure you're continuing to flourish and just knock this one life out of the park!!! :-)
Bereket Melesse (10 months ago)
pray for archangel Michael for peace. spiritual warfare is real.
Night Lock (1 month ago)
I believe in that stuff. But lately idk. Tbdh
John Dyer (11 months ago)
Just like an oil change, you must declutter on a regular basis. It has to be a priority. Otherwise your life will always be a mess.
Ray Fletcher (11 months ago)
Box it up. Bag it up. Take it the curb.
Vanessa DeCoursey (11 months ago)
👏🏽🙂 Great advice!
Climate Chaos (11 months ago)
Give God something to Bless
Dianna Sierra (1 year ago)
Are you peeking into my life?
Night Lock (1 month ago)
Right tho 😂
Wai Kay Au (1 year ago)
My fats keep coming back
Mary LaFrance (1 year ago)
Great lecture Kerry. The dizzy spells may be due to an episode where your blood pressure is too low, and the need for a nap may be because you're run down (deficient in vitamin Bs) your metabolism has tanked. I have had these problems and fixed them with help from my doctor and personal trainer.
DANNE George (1 year ago)
I got nothing out of this, 11+ mins!
Piper Mccoy (1 year ago)
Excellent.. You seem like such a lovely person also.
Liz Kelly (1 year ago)
I loved this talk! I took away several quotes, I love the focus on decision making
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (8 months ago)
Thank you!
Brooke Melko (1 year ago)
I love what you said about Spiritual Clutter. Spot on!
Sams Randoms (1 year ago)
very good
Jennifer Radomski (1 year ago)
Thank you so much for this moving speech! Short, sweet and full of so many golden nuggets of truth.
jean schuler (1 year ago)
Give god something to bless!
normal woman (1 year ago)
I have well over 100 coats. Shame, depressed, and overwhelmed.
w m (1 month ago)
I had dozens of strings of Christmas lights. We have to fall to the bottom before we can feel compassion for ourselves. When we can forgive ourselves and love ourselves then life just changes amazingly ;-)
Helene Bennie (8 months ago)
Why don't you give some away? You wouldn't feel so ashamed then. You may even feel joyful to be able to give to others and share.
Joyce Brower (1 year ago)
Well said! Very helpful!
sparkimoto (1 year ago)
Postponed decisions! Absolutely. I already know. As long as you keep up on them, there is no problem. Once you get behind, that's how it starts.
GetA Job (1 year ago)
Love the necklace, love the dress, I hate that there are no pictures of your journey from clutter to clarity. Shame, is not an option, when selling an organized peaceful life. Maybe TEDx, did not allow you enough time to give your speech on YouTube to show your pictures? Why would you be holding a clicker otherwise?
HI GetA Job. Since April, yours is the first comment that prompted me to reply! I have zero shame of any part of my journey. The TEDx videos and speakers I enjoy most usually do not use pictures, so I did not plan any. I have the clicker because as I was walking up on stage it was handed to me. I was nervous, and instead of the awkwardness of denying it, I took it. I was then stuck with it. I'm mainly responding because I DO like the idea of showing visual representations of different part of my journey, and I appreciate the suggestion. It is something I will incorporate where appropriate in the future.
ramki glitz (1 year ago)
Good Talk got so much insights
Swankster (1 year ago)
"The Quality of your life, is determined by the decisions you make."
Anita Burke (1 year ago)
I Got Worms. I'm starting a worm farm. Seriously. Gotta give God something to bless amen sister!
hedy jeff (1 year ago)
Nancy Solari (1 year ago)
Thank you for giving such an informative talk, your story was truly inspiring, and I will definitely be taking your advice.
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (8 months ago)
You're welcome Nancy!
Nihar Savala (1 year ago)
Superb learnings! One of the better Ted talks.
Mary Prevoteau (1 year ago)
Beautiful talk, thank you!
cloud y (1 year ago)
One of the most helpful TED talks I have heard.
cloud y (5 months ago)
Conquer the Chaos, LLC, Welcome. Wish you much love and health.
Conquer the Chaos, LLC (8 months ago)
Thank you!
Pamela Moore (1 year ago)
A fantastic talk. I loved the simple, honest information she provided.
Asteri ETERNAL (1 year ago)
Joost Kamphuis (1 year ago)
In my opinion clutter is a lack of letting go not postponing a decision. However it doesnt matter what it is for you as long as it works for you.
Clara Fierro (1 year ago)
great talk!
N fm (1 year ago)
Maxine F (1 year ago)
I decluttered this weekend. Took a lot of things to Goodwill. I have a walk in hall closet that I can actually walk in now.
Thanks a lot . And I have to be aware of organized clutter bcz it is a clutter.

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