Ep #82: Decluttering Your Life & Mind with Shira Gill

One of my absolute favorite topics is decluttering, and I’m really excited to bring Shira Gill, a professional organizer and life coach, on the show today. I have worked with her in the past and she really has a great way of coaching people through the decluttering and organizing process in a way that is sustainable. We discuss everything from over-consumption to the biggest mistakes people make when they start trying to organize.

Shira really emphasizes the importance of the order in which you take on new organizing and decluttering projects. She has seen where people go wrong and get side tracked, so she encourages people to work on the mental part and their decluttering before they begin to organize. Shira also touches on closet decluttering and how to dress with intention, as well as questions to ask yourself when deciding what to get rid of and what to keep.


Listen To The Episode Here:


In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • The connection between life coaching and decluttering.
  • Shira’s background and the reason she started her decluttering business.
  • What’s behind the problem of having clutter or just too much stuff.
  • How retail therapy and an over-consuming society make a lot of problems for people.
  • The relationship between weight loss and decluttering.
  • Where to start when you want to begin decluttering or organizing your home and life.
  • The biggest mistake people make when decluttering and how to avoid it.
  • Questions to ask yourself when deciding what to keep and what to get rid of.
  • Why you should never start with buying organizing bins and containers.
  • How to dress intentionally and curate your wardrobe.
  • The benefits of shopping at specific brands rather than going to overwhelming department stores.
  • Where to draw inspiration from when it comes to creating your own style.

Featured In This Episode:


Get The Full Episode Transcript


Read the Transcript Below:

 

Katrina Ubell:      You are listening to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD, episode number 82. Welcome to Weight Loss for Busy Physicians, the podcast where busy doctors like you get the practical solutions and support you need to permanently lose the weight so you can feel better and have the life you want. If you’re looking to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place.

Hello there friend, welcome back to the podcast. Today’s podcast I’m so excited about. Seriously, there are a few things that I like to talk about more than decluttering. You know that Marie Kondo book, that Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, I found that book right when it was first published, just randomly and seriously tore through my entire house. Like, I just love getting rid of stuff. It’s one of my favorite things to do. And I know a lot of you feel the same way but you don’t know where to start and you feel like you’re drowning in your stuff, and you don’t know what to do or even where to begin. So you are in for a special treat because I brought on a professional organizer today who I have actually worked with myself and she is going to just help with everything. She’s amazing and you absolutely don’t want to miss this.

Shira Gill is who I have. Come on. She is trained as a life coach. She is a professional organizer and a life coach. So this is, there’s life coaches and there’s professional organizers and Shira is like the unicorn who is both. Because she understands that so much of what our physical surroundings look like, is a direct reflection of what’s going on in our brains. And that we have not only a lot of physical clutter but we also have a lot of mental clutter and she helps with both of those things. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Like all that chatter we talk around food, like that’s mental clutter. It’s cluttering up the space in your brain that you could be using to actually move forward on a goal or spend time loving your family. Like there’s so many other things you could be doing with that space in your brain.

So she is amazing. She is so loving and nurturing yet no-nonsense at the same time, which is exactly what you need out of someone like this. I worked with her virtually and I know for a fact that so many of you are going to be so interested in working with her. But the best news for her is that she now has an online program and I’m actually going to take part in it. She did her first launch of it and I was out of town so much, I was going to miss a bunch of the live component of it. I decided I’m going to do the second round. Like the second go-around is what I’m going to participate in and it is coming up.

So the way for you to find that information is to go to her website which is www.shiragill.com. So S-H-I-R-A-G-I-L-L.com and click on the Closet Makeover program. You might, depending on when you listen to this, get the waitlist. If that’s the case, put yourself right on the waitlist. As soon as she opens it back up again, you will be the first to know and you can sign up. Or if she is actively enrolling, then you can sign up right then as well. Her work first of all is amazing. So number one, like the content, the work itself is so good. But in addition, everything she does is so visually pleasing like everything is beautiful.

I am not an Instagram person but you should check out her Instagram. Listen to me telling you to go on social media and waste time, hilarious. But I want you to seriously check it out because it’s so beautiful. So, so, so beautiful. She’s also just a really fun person, has a really neat interesting story and she’s just someone that so many of us can learn so much from. So please enjoy this discussion. We talk about everything including even underwear and it’s fabulous. So for sure listen to this one and if you want to do the Closet Makeover program with me, sign up on Shira’s website, shiragill.com. Talk to you next week. Enjoy. Hey Shira, welcome to the Podcast.

Shira Gill:            Hi Katrina, I’m so happy to be here.

Katrina Ubell:      I am so excited. We talked about this months ago, having you come on and we’re finally doing it. I’m so excited.

Shira Gill:            Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      What I want to start with is you first telling us just a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally and what your superpower is.

Shira Gill:            Okay, perfect. My name is Shira, I am from the San Francisco Bay Area but I have lived all over the world. I’ve actually moved 25 times. It’s kind of a fun fact, so I have a lot of experience moving, packing, unpacking and my expertise is on home decluttering, organizing and styling. So basically, I help busy, overwhelmed women streamline their spaces and simplify their life.

Katrina Ubell:      Which is like what everybody wants, right?

Shira Gill:            I think so. I think you’re right.

Katrina Ubell:      Like who’s like, that sounds terrible? I think everybody is like, sign me up immediately.

Shira Gill:            Totally. I’ll say like the reason I founded my business was that I just started hearing from women in every aspect of my life how overwhelmed they were by clutter, disorganization, that it was a massive pain point. And I have two girls and I was in a mom’s group, this is about nine years ago, and every single woman in my mom’s group kind of confessed to feeling overwhelmed and ashamed of their living spaces. And so I had this kind of light bulb moment like this is a massive pain point for people and it’s something that has always come relatively easy for me. And so that’s actually the story of how I founded my business. Is that I wanted to help the women in my mom’s group, so I just started offering my services kind of small and locally and then it just ballooned from there.

Katrina Ubell:      And if you don’t mind sharing, tell us a little bit about how you developed this skill when you were a child. Like you came out of the … Some of us can think, some people are just organized. It’s just like genetically who they are, but with your story of your growing up kind of story, it was a little bit something that you developed as you went along.

Shira Gill:            Absolutely, yeah. So my parents separated when I was three and they ended up divorcing when I was eight. I was an only child and so basically my mom moved out and moved about 10 blocks away from my dad’s house. And I had a custody schedule that was such that I actually went back and forth every other day. Here I was this eight-year-old kid kind of dragging my belongings back and forth from house to house. And things felt really crazy like my parents divorce wasn’t easy and was fraught with a lot of drama. And so I think as a young child I kind of looked and felt like things were out of control all around me and I think it was actually a coping mechanism for me to develop these systems and the sense of ownership over my space.

So my mom is always saying when I was a little kid I was always kind of very attuned to my physical surroundings and my space and wanting to create order and structure for myself. So I think for me, my skills actually kind of came out of trauma but have become this very positive skill both for myself and for my career in my clients and something that I help even my kids with now. But yeah, it really was born out of this desire to have more control in a world where we have very little control.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. And see, that leads right into my next question. My next question is like, we know too much stuff and all that stuff, but like what’s really behind all of the clutter and disorganization? Like, why is it a bigger problem than just having too much stuff? Why do we need less stuff?

Shira Gill:            Right. Well, there’s so much here kind of to unpack but I would start with I think we have an epidemic of buffering with overconsumption and I know your work speaks to that with food and my work speaks to that with shopping and consuming. What I see a lot in my work is that people just end up buying stuff and feeling pressure to buy and pressure to consume all the time. I mean, it’s in our media, our magazines, everywhere we go it’s kind of this hum of buy this, buy this, buy this. And I think especially with like now having access with this whole online shopping world of like it’s everything is just a click away, it’s become exponentially easier to buffer with over consumption and shopping.

So what I see is, and this is something I think we’re all guilty of is, you’re bored and you’re up at night, next thing you end up browsing on Amazon or your favorite retailer and you just kind of want to feel better instantly. So whether you’re feeling some sort of pain or emotion or you’re just simply bored, that click is like an instant dopamine hit and kind of adrenaline rush that makes us feel better. Of course, that short-term gain always ends up in long-term pain and suffering, and that’s what my work really addresses. Is what got us here is kind of this desire for quick instant gratification, but then as soon as we have the stuff and we start getting all of those Amazon boxes, all of a sudden, buying these stuff has become more suffocating than liberating. And now we’re drowning in stuff and we have to manage the stuff instead of the stuff actually helping us feel good.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Shira Gill:            I do see that a lot and I’m even guilty of that even as someone like I would consider myself a minimalist. But I find like when I’m going through something emotionally and I don’t really deal with my emotions, I can find myself like on eBay buying a handbag wondering like what just happened.

Katrina Ubell:      For sure, that’s the solution right now. You definitely need that.

Shira Gill:            That’s it. So part of my work is really helping people to slow down and feel their emotions and process their emotions all the way through. And what I find is sometimes if you’re willing to slow down and just kind of get in touch with what am I feel right now, what’s really going on, what am I needing. If you really drop into that, it’s almost instantaneous like this sense of relief and oh silly me, I don’t actually need that handbag from eBay.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. I’m in the parallels here with… it’s uncanny, it’s like the exact same thing just a different-

Shira Gill:            Yeah, isn’t that interesting?

Katrina Ubell:      So many of my clients who have weight issues also have a totally messy home as well. And maybe not like … disaster like hoarders but some element of disorganization there.

Shira Gill:            Yes. And I was going to say conversely, it’s kind of fascinating talking to you about it because what I see is a lot of my clients who have a lot of clutter are also overeating and dealing with the repercussions of the overconsumption in both areas at the same time. And so sometimes by really focusing on decluttering the home and kind of dropping into like what do I really want for my life and getting very conscious and having that awareness, I actually find a lot of my clutter and organizing clients end up losing weight as this kind of unexpected byproduct of the work we do together.

Katrina Ubell:      I love that. That’s so awesome. So most people are totally overwhelmed by their house all, they don’t even know where to start especially in this day and age, if you have children with all of the toys and all of the stuff and we don’t even know what to do. So where do you recommend they start?

Shira Gill:            That’s always the case, people feel so overwhelmed and generally people like if you have a clutter or organizing issue in one area of your home, it’s most likely kind of all throughout your house. So what I always tell people is just to start small and start with one area. So one of the biggest mistakes that I see is people get really motivated to get organized but they don’t really have a plan and they just start kind of taking their house by storm like on this wild rampage, there’s no game plan.

And so what I really urge people to do is just to identify one space. And this could even be like if you identify say my kids playroom feels really overwhelming and I just really want to get a handle on it, that can even be starting with like one drawer or one bit. Because you don’t want to over stimulate your brain and get overwhelmed and then just give up. So I really focus with people on having small wins. So we want to start with one area that you feel like, this is an area that feels overwhelming and I really want to work on it and then you want to break that area into bite-sized pieces.

So when I work with a client, we really do a sweep of the whole room very systematically but we’ll start with one drawer. And so that can just be literally like emptying a drawer, emptying a shelf and looking at the contents with critical eyes and just starting to ask yourself new questions. Like, are these things that are worth it to take up space in my home, are they adding value to my life right now. If I were going to go shopping today, would I buy this item and bring it intentionally into my home or not.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s my favorite question. That one right there. I love that question. Would I buy it again. So good.

Shira Gill:            Because the answers almost always no for that one. If you really look at something and think like would I buy this like old crusty candle or …

Katrina Ubell:      But I had in college and I loved it then.

Shira Gill:            Yes. So that’s one of favorite questions too and it’s just really focusing on that one small area and getting very, very conscious about the things that you own. I always say like look at them with a new lens like almost as if like you’re visiting somebody’s house and say you’re a guest and you empty this drawer and look at it like an outsider. And really question it with that critical eye of like what is this doing here, does it make sense, is it serving me and do I want to keep it.

Katrina Ubell:      Great questions. Love that. And even look at the playroom, I love how you’re saying breaking it down because when you have this room and there’s just like stuff everywhere and all these toys, it’s easy to think like oh I’ve got a couple hours I’m going to just start going through this stuff and then you make a huge mess and then you run out of time. And you’re like, now what am I going to do? Like, I just throw everything back and then not deal with it because we just think we’re not good at that or we need more bins or whatever.

Shira Gill:            Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s the solution and really it’s just dividing it up into those really manageable pieces. I tend to be someone who love, as you know because you and I have worked together, I love to just take action and just like blast through it and just bang it all out and all of that. But at the same time, it’s like one cupboard or one small section. When I’m tidying up and I find myself going like, I do a couple things in this room and then that takes me into the other room and then I’m like, yeah, I should do that over here in this room.

And then I go somewhere else, I’m like, I’ve been tidying for hours and like nothing changed. What’s happening? If you really focus on one room, it makes such a big difference. You can actually create spaces, find some countertops. Okay, this room’s done, now let’s move to the next one if you still have time or energy to do that.

Shira Gill:            Exactly. I always focus on doing a very thorough job with whatever you’re working on. So I want to make sure whatever area I’m working on, it’s fully edited like I’ve looked at every single item with fresh eyes, I’ve made the hard decisions of do I want to keep it or do I want to donate it and pass it on. Or is it trash, recycling or do I want to relocate it. So I call that stage kind of the processing stage where you’re really going through each item and making a plan for it and then I want to setup and style that space. Whatever it is. And that could be as simple as categorizing things just by type like in a play room. Okay, we’re going to put all the dolls we want to keep together in one bin.

So really taking the process all the way through to completion before you move on to another area. And what’s interesting, what will happen it’s kind of this domino effect. So like when I have clients hire me for one space, we get that whole space completely streamlined, organized, setup, styled, systems, the whole nine yard. Then they’re like, oh my god, the rest of my house is a wreck and they kind of want to panic because they just want everything done to those standards immediately. I always want to kind of dial it back and say, you know how we do this all and we did it right, that’s what we’re going to do one simple step at a time. So what’s the next room you want to do? All the way through we do that and then eventually you will be done and you’ll just get to enjoy the maintenance.

Katrina Ubell:      The parallels are uncanny, right? It’s like, I want all the way weight off immediately while you need to lose it one pound at a time. So focus on this next pound. What you need to do to lose this pound. Not get overwhelmed and worried about the 40 more you have, right? Before you know it, they’re all off and then you focus on the next thing, just like you said.

Shira Gill:            That’s so funny. The parallels are uncanny.

Katrina Ubell: What I know a lot of people think and the reason I know a lot of people because it’s like the proverbial they, right, the they. The they meaning me. I used to think that what I just needed was more bins. I bought so many of those bins from Target and I used to just drool over The Container Store. It’s a really good thing that we didn’t actually have a container store in Milwaukee for a long time, we do now, but I don’t even feel like I really need it that much. But we think we need to buy all these, again, systems and we just … Like the problem in our closet is that we just need that alpha system in there and then everything’s going to be better and the shelves are the problem. And you disagree with that, right? Why is that not-

Shira Gill:            I really do. It’s actually my number one biggest organizing mistake is verging on organizing products. And it’s really interesting because when people first hire me, all of them are like, you must love The Container Store and I can’t wait to buy all the bins and baskets. And that’s when I say okay let’s slow our roll. I think we always have to start with the decluttering and then the buying of the products is really something that we do very methodically at the end once we know exactly what we actually need. What’s really interesting is when people hire me, they always want to start with the bins and the baskets and the systems and the shopping. And I will not let anybody do that.

Katrina Ubell:      Because that’s over consumption again. It’s like, I just need more my stuff to help with all my too much stuff.

Shira Gill:            Exactly. And so to me that’s never going to solve the problem because really the root of the problem is always two things. Its volume of stuff, so too much more than we need and lack of systems. And a system does not necessitate going to the convenor store and buying 100 baskets or an elfa system. A system can be as simple as putting all of your camera equipment in one place in your home and always having it in only that one case. So the way that my process works is the first thing that we do is we edit. So we look at everything with that critical eye and we question all of it. Is it relevant, is it serving me in my life, is it useful and functional for me now. Then generally once people go through that process when they work with me they eliminate like on average, I would say 50% of their possessions.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s a lot. If you already have a lot of stuff.

Shira Gill:            It’s a lot.

Katrina Ubell:      That is a lot.

Shira Gill:            Yeah. I mean, I’m talking like we do massive pickups with it like necessity, huge bulky pickups with trucks. I’m not talking about like a few bags here or there but … I actually, work with a lot of physicians and I work with a lot of high-level professionals and they are always shocked at the volume of what’s living in their home. And it’s really not until you really unpack it and take everything out that you can really have this new awareness of like how much most people are living with. And it’s generally exponentially more than they need and really becomes so suffocating. So the biggest pain point for people is generally that they just have too much stuff and more stuff than they can manage.

So once we solve this stuff problem, the organizing problem is really easy. Because organization is really nothing more than having a simple system to manage your stuff. If you imagine like getting back to the playroom. If we get rid of 50% of like little Jimmy’s toys, all of a sudden we’re looking at piles of toys that we can put into very basic category. I generally would say like, okay great, let’s look at what Jimmy owns now. He’s got Legos, let’s put all the Legos in one pile. He has blocks, let’s put those in one pile. Toys and games, one pile. And each one of those piles is a group or a category. And then we look at, what do we own that we can contain these items in. Do we have the systems already and often people do. They already have bins and baskets and drawers and cabinets that they can use that are totally suitable to get the job done.

If not then this is the point where you then say like, we have six categories of stuff for the playroom, we want to get six matching bins or baskets. And then at that point, you measure your space so you can figure out the exact right bin for the volume that you have. Then that’s the point you get to go to the Container Store and buy your six bins and then set them up. So it’s really the tail end of the process is when I encourage people to splurge on those products.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s like your reward for having gone through all of the effort.

Shira Gill:            Yeah. It’s like the cherry on top. Like, you get to go shopping at the end. That’s your reward.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s so good.

Shira Gill:            And I have had so many people that by the end they really realized, oh my god, we actually have bins and baskets. We can repurpose, we don’t need to buy anything. Like all of it was solved by just the volume.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s amazing. So tell us more. We’re going to kind of pivot here a little bit. Tell us more about getting dressed with intention and dressing for your current body. Because that is a huge thing, right. We have closets, many of my clients in particular have closets full of lots of different sizes. I know for sure, I did. I totally had like the size that I could wear before I needed maternity clothes plus like two or three other sizes below that, and then it was just this fluctuation up and down. And you know it was actually kind of a problem. Sometimes I’d gain a little bit but then I’d go to the next size up and be like, I forgot about these cute pants. And I not… like I was really doing anything that what I wanted in my life, which was to not be gaining weight, right. But just having all these extra clothes and then looking at it and going, none of this even fits and feeling even worse about themselves. So let’s talk about that.

Shira Gill:            Okay, let’s talk about it. First of all, one interesting statistic is that most people were 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. So if you think about that, that’s like a very slim margin of your clothes are actually getting worn. So most people, again, just have kind of a massive volume of clothes that they haven’t been very intentional about curating. Especially for women who are going through weight loss or pregnancy or having different transitions in their body, I actually think it’s more important than ever to dress for the body that you have now in whatever phase of weight loss or pregnancy or breastfeeding that you’re in.

You just focus on how can I elevate the body that I have now with the clothes that I put on it as opposed to having this kind of provisional wardrobe that’s like, if I lose five pounds, if I gain pounds, if X, Y or Z happens. I think that that’s rooted in kind of scarcity thinking and I think it feels much more abundant and much more frankly kind to ourselves to say, this body that I have right now today, I’m going to treat it like a queen. I’m going to put on beautiful clothes that fit this body perfectly so that I can show up as my best self today. And I think that’s a huge confidence builder for people.

So when I’m editing a closet, this comes up I think in almost every closet that I’ve edited. Like somebody will take out you know, these are my skinny jeans, do I get to keep them? And I’ll say, how do they make you feel? For some women and I would say this is like the vast minority. They could say, you know what, I look at these skinny jeans, like I’m excited to lose the weight, I can’t wait to get into those jeans. I would say for the vast majority of women, they look at those skinny jeans and they feel shame and they beat themselves up and they use it as an excuse to kind of live for the future and not for the present.

So my advice is always, dress for the body that you have now and even if you’re determined to lose weight, even just investing in a few pieces that fit you perfectly now and flatter your body. And then if you want to hang on to some of the very high quality pieces that you know if I lose the weight, I really would want to wear this and be excited about it. I have people put that either in the far back of their closet, like just make one little section that’s in the back but not the prime real estate areas or just pack up and really have the constraint of limiting it to like one binner box. And getting that out of your prime real estate.

So my kind of goal and vision for women is to open their closet and everything that’s front and center fits them, flatters and feels good. And even if that’s like only 10 things. Like right now, focus on those 10 things being high-quality and fitting because really like how many clothes do we actually need? Most of our clothes just sit there and it’s this illusion that we have choice and options, but most people aren’t taking advantage of that. Like I have a capsule wardrobe for myself and I can tell you it’s completely changed my life, and I find that the less clothes I have the better I dress.

So it’s been this like fascinating thing of like the less I have, the more abundant I feel. I really splurge on those pieces and I find that by having the constraint of just having like a few nice tops, a few nice bottoms, a few nice sweaters, all of my clothes like are top of the line. Like, they fit me well, they flatter my body, they feel good and I think it’s kind of an unconventional form of self-care. Is really saying like, I’m going to really invest in treating my body well and investing in pieces that feel great to me, right now.

Katrina Ubell:      You know what I feel like it could do wonders for people, especially when they feel like no their clothes flatter them is seriously going and buying a few pairs of underwear that actually fit them properly and a couple bras. Like seriously. Especially when you’ve been nursing and then whatever and then you losing weight. You can look like you lost 10 pounds just by wearing proper fitting undergarments. So if you go to a lingerie store or go to Nordstrom, there’s other stores like some personal fitting, they’ll help you find something that actually fits you. And then the clothes you do have that fit will actually look so much better.

Shira Gill:            Yeah, I love that. I love that so much and those are like your foundational garments, right. So they’re the first things you put on your body every day and I can’t tell you how many of my clients are living in like multi-million dollar homes with like the most beautiful curated interiors, and then we get into their underwear drawer and it’s like ratty old underwear from 10 years ago. And there is like a such a disconnect. So I think that’s brilliant like the idea of really investing in those kind of base layers that you put on that like set the tone for your day.

Katrina Ubell:      Absolutely. And it’s not about like feeling sexy or like any of that although that’s still available if you want it, it’s so much more about just actually putting everything that you put on your body fitting you. Like not expecting clothes to fit you when underneath you’re not supporting yourself the way you should.

Shira Gill:            And I know, I mean, after I had two kids and after I had my second daughter, it took me a little bit longer to lose the weight and I was self-conscious about my stomach. And I remember I would dress in these like big kind of matronly blouses. And what’s so interesting is now when I look back I’m like, I was not doing myself any favors. There was this part of my body I was self-conscious about and so I like drowned in fabric, which actually probably drew more attention and was less flattering. And I think like were I to do it over again now, I would buy just like a few tops that fit that body, that transitional body and felt good. So that even though I knew like I’m in transition, I want to lose some weight and get my body to a place that makes me feel better, I would start treating my body well right then and there instead of waiting.

Katrina Ubell:      I’m going to probably mess this up and I don’t even remember where I read this, and maybe what I’m talking about. If you do, then please correct me. But I feel like there was this one woman and she lived in New York City and she wore the same outfit every day for a year. You know what I’m talking about?

Shira Gill:            Yes, I do and I can’t recall her name.

Katrina Ubell:      With the red belt. She wore the same thing over and over again and nobody noticed. Even with like a bright statement belt and people did not notice. And then like months later, someone’s like, I like your belt today. Seriously. Notice, so when we think well I can’t wear the same thing over and over again, you totally can. Like seriously, people will not notice. What they will notice is when the button in your pants is sagging and you’re just looking sloppy and you’re not actually dressing yourself. And that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive.

Like with my clients sometimes they’re like, I’m losing it this really good clip and my pants really don’t fit but I don’t want to go and really invest in some really nice work clothes, got to Target. Like for real, you can get stuff there to tide you over for a few weeks or months while you’re losing some more weight and then you … You know the next season changes and you get a couple more pieces and then you maybe don’t have such a huge financial investment. But you don’t have to be sitting … If the alternative is not spend a ton of money and look great or wear clothes that don’t flatter you or fit you at all, like there definitely is another option than there. And that actually leads-

Shira Gill:            Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      My next question is, so many of my clients feel like they wish they could just be more stylish. They just don’t really have the knack for it or they don’t know … Like they used to be stylish but now that their body has changed, maybe after pregnancies or after a lot of weight loss or after some weight gain and they don’t just don’t even know what is stylish for a woman who’s 40. Like, last time I was stylish, I was 23. Like what do I even do. And sometimes that goes over to their home as well. Like they’re looking at their house and they’re like, I just would like it to be pretty. I would like it to be cute and maybe they just don’t even know where to start.

I mean, so many of my clients back to the clothing wear scrubs every day. So like, you wear scrubs and you go home you put on your jammys or your sweats like you don’t even have any that fit you. So for somebody who’s really like now they’ve kind of worked through all this and now they’re going out, but I need something to wear, how do you help them find their own sort of style statement?

Shira Gill:            In terms of that, I think style it’s like how we show up and the information that we put across to the world, it’s kind of a shorthand. So however we dress, like it or not, people are making snap judgments about who you are and how you’re showing up in about two seconds when they look at you. So I always start with just how do you want to feel in your clothes and how do you want to look like what do you want to present to the world. So really starting with like your own intention of how you want to feel.

Then a quick way to do it, like one little trick is just imagine that you’re going out, like say you’re going to your 20-year high school reunion and you have to get dressed and you want to feel amazing. Go to your closet right now and pick out what you would wear. It’s basically forcing people to figure out like what is the best of what I’ve got and what do I feel the best in that, and then you can kind of use that as some preliminary information to start forming this style statement for yourself. Of noticing like, so maybe what you pull out was a dress. So notice like how does the dress fit, what are the colors, what do I like about this dress, what about this dress helps me feel my best.

Another kind of easy hack is just to pay attention to finding a brand that resonates with you. Like for me, I really like this brand called Cuyana and it’s all about like the simple chic urban woman. And so they’ve done a lot of the work for me. So they’re kind of curating their line every season and they’re deciding what an urban modern chic woman looks like. So then I will just go to that one store and pick my favorite things instead of going to a department store and being totally overwhelmed and have way too many options.

So I suggest trying to be attention to like just identifying one or two brands where if you look at the catalog, even online, you say I like that. And pay attention, what is it that you like about it. What are the colors, what are the silhouette, what are the fabrics that you gravitate towards and then you can kind of start forming a bit of a style profile for yourself. Another thing that I do is I just pay attention to what I admire in other people. So whether that’s like a style icon like a celebrity or someone in a magazine or just someone I encounter in my everyday life. Paying attention to how do they dress, what do I like about it and what can I borrow from what they’re doing.

So for me I kind of started paying attention a few years ago, I had a friend Naomi who’s actually an ER doctor. But when she’s not in scrubs, she is like the most stylish woman ever. And I started paying attention and I realized Naomi doesn’t wear any patterns ever. She’s only wearing solid colors and all of the colors are super neutral. So I noticed she’s wearing like often totally monochromatic. Like she’ll wear all black or all white and that’s something I never would have come up with on my own, but just by paying attention to someone I kind of looked up to their style. It was something I was able to adapt in my own wardrobe and just start playing with even without stopping. Just going, I’m going to try wearing all black today.

Katrina Ubell:      Just going to pair this with this which I don’t normally do. It’s so great.

Shira Gill:            Exactly. So you don’t have to hire a stylist or an interior designer, it’s just you do have to start paying attention to what you like. And I’ll say because I work a lot in the home, I started paying attention to what I loved in other people’s homes, in boutique hotels, even drawing inspiration from restaurants and just taking notes of like, I really like very neutral colors. Like the spaces I’m drawn to are generally all white or like white and gray. Okay, great I can take that into my home now. So it’s just gathering information, being curious and starting to create this little profile for yourself.

Katrina Ubell:      Definitely. That’s so great. Because I think for so many people, it just seemed so intangible. Like they just don’t even know where to begin and that’s the greatest place to go. Like you don’t have to totally fall down to Pinterest rabbit hole but you can go on to houzz.com, H-O-U-Z-Z.com, if people don’t know that website and take a look at different things and you can just kind of start snapshotting. I like that, I like that. In fact, actually when we were renovating our home and I was trying to decide on paint colors for my kids rooms, I found one room for boys on Houzz and ended up using that paint color. It said which paint color it was and I chose the bedding on the bed. I was like yep, they’re getting that bedding, then I was like it’s not the exact same thing but it’s really similar. I was like take a look, done. Let’s do this.

And it just simplified things so much, I didn’t need to hire a designer to come help me do all that stuff. So I think you can definitely DIY a lot of that yourself for sure. So Shira, obviously clients that you work with in person in the San Francisco area, but not all of us are lucky enough to live there, in fact, most of us won’t be. Though you recently opened up a closet organizational course, Closet Makeover course. So tell us more about that.

Shira Gill:            Yeah. I’m so excited about my program. I did have women coming to me from all over the world who wanted to work with me and obviously there’s just one me and I’m local to the Bay Area. So what I did is I created a course, it’s a six-week course you can do on your own schedule and I basically take you through my entire process for how to edit, organize and style anything but we use the closet as the vehicle for this process. So the program really walks you through a step-by-step guide to how to edit every single part of your closet. I’m talking like socks, underwear, belts, handbags.

We go through every single piece and I tell you what questions to ask yourself, what to do when you get stuck, teach the art of the edit, steps that you can use to organize literally anything. And so I walk you through in my 6-week program. By the end of it, not only will you have a closet that’s edited, organized, setup and styled, but you’ll have all of these new tools in your tool kit. So my goal is really by the end of it that you’ll have this framework that you can then apply to any area in your house. So if you are stuck in your office, you can apply the exact same skills.

And the course also includes weekly live Q&A calls with me, which are super fun so women can hop on the call and say, I’m really struggling with this or they can even show me a specific piece. Like my mom bought me this and it was $500, what do I do? And I can coach them through it. So yeah, I’m super excited about the course.

Katrina Ubell:      Perfect. That’s awesome. So you are opening it up again in September, right?

Shira Gill:            Correct.

Katrina Ubell:      I’m going to actually take it this time. I was too out of town, I wanted to meet up with you. I can’t even tell you. I think my house is like pretty okay already, but every time I’m in my closet, I’m already in my mind picking things that are going to go.

Shira Gill:            My god, I love it.

Katrina Ubell:      I don’t like that anymore, I don’t even wear that anymore. And I have to say when we’re recording this, the Nordstrom anniversary sale is coming up. So I’m like, well, I got to make some changes, I cannot just keep adding on. But at the same time, I have already had thoughts of I need to be very particular in what I choose and I’m not just going to get something just to get something. I really have to love it and make sure it fits well and it’s really flattering. Because I’ve gotten into that trap of like my gosh, it’s on sale, let me get it. It’s amazing.

Shira Gill:            Right. Don’t do it, don’t do it.

Katrina Ubell:      I don’t really like it that much.

Shira Gill:            It’s so tempting. And I can say like I just could give one little tip on the shopping is write down exactly what you need, like the pieces that you actually need in your wardrobe. I even like putting them just on a little like index card and having it in my purse. So if I’m out and about and I see a sale or feeling impulsive, I can just refer back to that little card that tells me exactly what I actually need from a place of intention. And I can kind of use it as a touchstone to get back to being really intentional with the shopping.

Katrina Ubell:      You know what would be so good with that too is doing that if you have kids, doing that for what close your kids are going to need. Because if anybody is anything like me, we’re like look at all this adorable kids stuff and then we can’t even think, we can’t even remember what they have already and then they too many clothes too and then there’s no way they’re ever going to wear all of those things. So really just going like, they actually need like one pair of leggings, not six.

Like, that’s all we really need to do, so which is the cutest of all of these and get those. And I also have to remind myself with my kids like, it’s not necessarily always so important what I like, it’s what will they wear. Because there have been so many times that I’ve gotten things I thought were so cute and then they were just total duds. And I’m like, why didn’t I even know. I should have known. She would never wear that.

Shira Gill:            I know.

Katrina Ubell:      I’m not dressing myself as if…

Shira Gill:            My kids are seven and nine now and I just let them pick out their basics. So like back-to-school shopping is coming up, I know the volume of what they need. So I’ll know like okay, you have holes in three of your leggings so you get to pick out three leggings. So I’ll let them pick within that category. But I found with my, I mean, the most important thing that I’ve done with my kids is setting those limits and boundaries and then giving them freedom within those limits and boundaries.

Even around the holidays like, okay, you’re going to get your new holiday gifts, let’s think about what you want and we’re going to get you one big present. And having like a real constraint around it so that they can start practicing being really thoughtful about what they want to invest in. And even though it’s not their money yet but like it’s their gifts. What do you want? Likewise with clothes, you get to pick three pairs of leggings, which ones do you want?

Katrina Ubell:      Yes. That’s fabulous. So good. How can anybody listening who’s interested in your program, how can they get on the waitlist or find out more about signing up, where should they go?

Shira Gill:            Yes. So they should just go right to my website, it’s shiragill.com. So S-H-I-R-A-G-I-L-L.com. All of the information for the program is there. You can register, it’s only 197 for the whole program and sign up right there.

Katrina Ubell:      Her stuff is so gorgeous, it’s so beautifully done. Just looking at the course materials makes your eyeballs so happy.

Shira Gill:            I love that.

Katrina Ubell:      Go through the whole process, I’m going to do it. I know it’s going to be amazing. When I was with Shira before, she helped me with some more design choices but in doing so, there was some decluttering and some reorganization that we did and it was amazing. She was so clear in what to do and gave me something to do and I just did it and that was so helpful. I know to just have that task like have someone sort of be in charge and that’s exactly what you can do here. And then like she said, take that meta skill and apply it to all the other areas of your life where you need to be doing this work. Like the garage and the summer or you know out there. So you know what doctors like to do? They like to collect medical journals that they’re never going to read. Likes stacks and stacks and stacks-

Shira Gill:            That’s amazing.

Katrina Ubell:      So if that is you out there, listen, you’re never going to read them, put them in the recycle bin now. Plus all the stuff is online.

Shira Gill:            They’re just collecting dust.

Katrina Ubell:      You can just get it online. You don’t need any of that stuff. It’s so good.

Shira Gill:            But you’re doing my job for me.

Katrina Ubell:      Right. I know. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing all of your wisdom. I hope that all sorts of listeners end up signing up for your course, we’re going to do it all together because I’m doing it too, and they’re going to. Thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

Shira Gill:            Thank you so much for having me, so fun to be here and to chat with you.

Katrina Ubell:      All right. Okay. Bye everybody, we’ll see you next week. Thanks for joining me today. If you like what you heard here, be sure to hit subscribe in your podcast app so you never miss an episode. You can also get my Busy Doctor’s Quick-Start Guide to Effective Weight Loss for free by visiting me over at katrinaubellmd.com.

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  • KRUF26

    Katrina,

    Both this podcast and a very early episode about how a cluttered life can prevent weight loss, really spoke to me. I do have one lingering question that I was hoping you’d address. I understand the physical process of decluttering, but I’d love to talk more about the emotions involved in letting go of “stuff”. Often when I get ready to purge things (mostly toys and clothes) from our home I am overcome with guilt about the money that myself or someone else has spent on that item being wasted. Or – I worry about offending the person (often my mother or MIL) who bought that item as a gift. What is the best way to work through those situations and change my thoughts so I don’t feel guilty about doing what is best for me and our family. How do I prevent the abundance of “stuff” from entering my home in the future when it was “gifted” to us?

    Thanks so much for your podcast. It was recommended to me by my OBGYN. I started listening about a month ago (and read the obesity code) and am down 7lbs and a lot of unnecessary stress! I am not a dr, but an “on the road” salesperson who has plenty of car time to listen!! Thanks again!

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