SASM 020 – How to Create Space, Kindness, and Happiness with Tammy Strobel

Tammy Strobel

I could never see Tammy Strobel walk into a room, not get something she wants, and then proclaim, “Do you know who I am?!”

She’s way too kind and humble for that. However…

I can definitely see myself walk to the far corners of the Internet, find people who don’t know who Tammy is, and then declare, “What?! You don’t know who Tammy Strobel is or what RowdyKittens is all about?”

That’s exactly what I’m doing with this episode of Smart and Simple Matters.

Tammy is a lot of things to a lot of people, but she’s also not a lot of things that most people are. And to me and the many people who follow her journey, that’s a very good thing.

In shorter terms, her mission is all about “going small, thinking big, and being happy.” It’s something that I can get behind, and so can the people who have heard about Tammy in places like USA Today, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and The Today Show.

In our chat, Tammy and I talk about some of the themes from her book – You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) – but we also go beyond happiness.

We talk about creating space in your life. How kindness and empowerment work together to become something even more powerful. We talk about… well… we cover a lot.

Here’s a glimpse of Tammy’s thoughtfulness:

I didn’t realize how much the “stuff” was weighing down my mental state. With a lot of stuff, you have to keep track of it [and] that takes up a lot of space in your brain. – Tammy

This was such a good conversation that even I said something useful.

It’s fun to be consumed when you’re consumed with the right things. – Joel

[Tweet This]

Tammy even complimented me on my curating via spreadsheets, so instantly, she gets bonus points. But don’t let my light-heartedness obscure the serious – and seriously awesome – message that Tammy has for us all.

You can read more about it below and I’d encourage you to click on some links if you normally don’t do that.

What You’ll Learn

Besides increasing mindfulness, creating space in all facets of your existence, and learning to use empowerment, you’ll get a ton from this one.

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • How to use your personal story to help people find their own happiness.
  • Why empowerment is so powerful … and can eliminate the feeling of being controlled.
  • How to have more physical (and mental) space for the things that matter.
  • Why “should” and “have to” should lead to you judging less.
  • How to push people towards happiness without shoving them unwillingly.
  • The strange, wonderful link between photography and simplicity.
  • How a morning ritual can help you slow down and be grateful.
  • Acting from a place of kindness and not making assumptions about people.
  • Approaching the roadblocks on a simplicity journey with a “beginners” mindset.
  • A double rainbow other than the YouTube guy’s one.

Resources and Items Mentioned in This Episode Include:


  • [03:49] Tammy’s seeds of awesomeness
  • [06:56] Tammy’s downsizing story
  • [11:33] Ways to find happiness
  • [16:31] The link between simplicity, photography, and rituals
  • [19:43] The peer mindset
  • [23:00] Why tiny houses are awesome
  • [25:46] How Tammy curates her existence
  • [28:52] E-courses (Tammy/Courtney Carver’s and others)
  • [33:40] Double rainbows

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The transcript will not be available until I find a new transcriptionist (if you know someone good, let me know).

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And if you have someone or something you’d like us to cover on an upcoming show, tell us in the comments below.

7 Responses to SASM 020 – How to Create Space, Kindness, and Happiness with Tammy Strobel

  1. Erin says:

    Ooh! I’ve known about Tammy ever since I came across the site name “Rowdy Kittens” and couldn’t resist checking it out :)

    I won’t get to listen to this before I get on a plane tomorrow, but maybe it’ll make for some interesting in-flight entertainment. Looking forward to it!

  2. Shanna Mann says:

    Tammy sounds really great, so intentional and conscious. Definitely an inspiration.

    • I imagine that if someone came up with a checklist for the “Tammy Strobel experience,” toward the top would be boxes for “intentional,” “self-aware,” and “I feel inspired.” That’s how I felt after getting the Tammy experience in recording this episode.

  3. Sarah says:

    Great interview, Joel. I always love hearing people talk about how they’ve been able to pivot towards happiness in their lives – Tammy sounds delightful. One question though… how did you *not* ask where the name Rowdy Kittens came from?! Or is it totally apparent on her blog, and I just need to get in the know? :-)

    • I already know the origin story of the Rowdy Kittens name. But shame on me for not asking for the benefit of the listeners! I’m supposed to be asking the questions they want me to ask, right? :)

  4. Ethan says:

    This has been my favorite show in a while! Maybe it’s because I’m building a tiny house, and Tammy’s house was the first one I ever saw on wheels and was an initial inspiration for the project.

    But I was also inspired to re-look at scrivener (which I am still confused by but want to love), and felt compelled to want to start a serious journaling practice. I am considering Tammy’s writing course!

    • I’ve heard so much about Scrivener too that, if I had access to it, I’d feel obligated to plow a couple of hours into learning it. Especially considering I want to get my book written in something other than Microsoft Word or some of the other undesirable options I know about. One thing’s clear: when it comes to writing, follow Tammy’s lead. She knows what she’s doing!

      By the way, I knew you’d enjoy this one due to the topics and specific guest. I still remember what you told me in SASM003 when you mentioned the potential Craigslist ad, “Tiny man in tiny house seeks tiny piece of land.” I’m stoked your tiny house is almost done and that you have a tiny piece of land lined up. Maybe you can tell Tammy all about it in June when she’s in VT.

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