How To Simplify Your Entire Life

allie casazza minimalism momlife
If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
— Greg McKeown

One of my favorite things to say to an overwhelmed mama is this: you cannot be everything to everyone all at once. Simplify.

Minimalism has made such a massive impact in my life. After it took effect in my home it started spilling over into other areas of my life- my calendar, my to do list, my routines, my health, even my relationships and my beauty regimen. When you discover the beautiful effect of simple, the natural next step is to carry it over into everything you touch.

I learned how to bring the philosophy of less into my life the hard way- by overindulging in all the things, all the commitments, and then all the depression as a result. But there is one very straightforward way that you can simplify your entire life, and you can start right now

Ask yourself, “what is essential?”

The word essential means “absolutely necessary; extremely important” and it’s everything for those desperately seeking to simplify.

We are so good at stacking up unnecessaries in every area of our lives until there’s no more space for what matters most!

We say “I don’t have time for that” when what we really mean is “I have prioritized too many other things so that I don’t have the energy/space/desire to do that” or maybe it’s simply “that is not a priority right now.” It’s sad because if we really look at our life, most of us would likely find that the things we’re saying we don’t have time for are the things (or people) that should be non-negotiables.

I don’t mean to just dish out a bunch of tough love here while I stand on a pulpit. I’m so guilty of a lack of priorities and have to constantly remind myself. I’m growing, learning, and getting better, so we’re in this together, k?

In his book, Tim Ferriss talks about deciding what will get done by imagining you have a gun to your head and can only do what is absolutely vital. It’s blunt (my kinda guy) but it gets you thinking. If you had to choose what was absolutely crucial, HAD to get done, what would it be? Isn’t it kinda silly to prioritize anything else? All the rest can get done later, but some things can’t, so those things should take up the best time of our day. Those things should take up our space, not the stuff that doesn’t make us feel alive or keep our families functioning.

This is essentialism.

Let’s say you’re overwhelmed every time you walk into your kitchen. You hate cooking because it leads to washing a hundred dishes and takes all night. If you were to walk in there, look at your dishes and cookware and ask, “what is essential?”

How much would you feel able to let go of? You’d see that four different sets of dishes is certainly not essential. Actually, only one plate per person in your family is truly essential. You’d see that you don’t really need all those pots and pans, rather, just the four you use every time you make a meal. The others are just there because you bought them and because everyone else seems to have that many pots and pans.

You’d end up with less dishes to wash, more time on your hands, and a newfound love for being in your low-maintenance, uncluttered kitchen. I know this because it’s what I did in my own home and what I help thousands of other women do in their homes in every room, every nook and cranny through my online decluttering course.

Let’s say you feel overwhelmed and reluctant every time Sunday night rolls around. You know another week is starting whether you like it or not. I don’t believe that living for the weekend is abundant life- I think that sucks. I want to be present and feel purpose and joy in the week because that’s when the bulk of our lives our lived (five days versus a two day weekend). Memories are made in the day-to-day stuff, and I don’t want my kids to remember me going through the motions while I was focused on the coming weekend. So let’s say you find yourself feeling super overwhelmed and unhappy every time a new week is about to start.

Ask yourself, “what is essential?”

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Look at your calendar. Is it essential that you say “yes” to every single one of these commitments? Are you maybe feeling reluctant because you feel taken advantage of? Like your time isn’t your own because deep down you wish you didn’t have to do all the things you're doing? That’s on you, girl. Get real with yourself, learn to say no, and re-evaluate what you’re filling your calendar with.

This isn’t to say that every day is full of rainbows and butterflies and you never have to do anything you dislike, but it is to say that you’re in charge of your life and no one else cares that you’re feeling reluctant right before every Monday rolls around, so if you don’t like the way things are going, change it. How can you simplify the clutter of your schedule? Are you doing way too much at home? Maybe you need to start laying down some rules and boundaries with the people who share your roof so you’re not playing the part of the maid. Are you saying “yes” to too many things out of obligation? Learn to say no more often.

So how can we apply essentialism to the specific areas of our mom lives? Let’s talk through the main areas of our lives and work it out together.


What do you need in your week that falls under the category of self-care? Don’t overthink here. Most of us aren’t doing a dang thing to take care of ourselves on a weekly basis, so just focus on adding one simple thing. For example, coffee with a friend. If you added that one small thing to your week, every single week, I bet you’d look forward to it and leave that coffee date feeling refreshed and like your perspective on life is better. Know yourself. Are you an introvert (restored and energized by being alone) or an extrovert (restored and energized by being with other people)? Maybe your self-care will look like a simple weekly walk by yourself - time to reflect and be restored by the quiet. Choose something that speaks to who you are and is actually adding to your life, not taking from it.


This is the area most of us feel is a crazy mess of all different colored scribbles. It’s so chaotic we don’t even know where to start, so we just avoid it and go take a nap. Don’t overthink it, mama. We’ve got this. Look, it is totally unnecessary and non-essential that you are cleaning up all day every day and the house is still barely ready for company to come over. When you have too much stuff, that’s how your days will end up going. You need to declutter. What takes up your space takes up your time, so less stuff in your space means more time in your day.

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Ready to go all in and ditch survival mode for good?

My decluttering course has helped thousands of moms all over the world simplify their homes so they can focus on what matters most. 


Where do you start when you’re already overwhelmed and short on time? Look at your day. What area of your house do you see sucking up the bulk of your time? That’s a great place to start. For me, it was the kids’ toys. They were everywhere all the time and not even really being played with (more so just dumped out). Once I purged and got intentional about what toys deserved to take up space and aligned with the imaginative childhood I wanted my kids to have, I instantly created more time and space for myself. This gave me momentum to keep going into other areas and more time to tackle more decluttering!


There are some things we need to do that aren’t our favorite, I get that. But there are also things we can totally remove from our plates that we are doing out of plain old obligation or guilt. This is not time well spent! We don’t get that much time and our season of raising our babies is pretty short, so we need to be more intentional about how we dish out these sweet minutes we get! When you’re unsure of whether to keep or kick a commitment or event on your calendar, ask yourself some questions to uncover how you really feel.

1) Is this event in line with my purpose in life?

2) Why do I feel like I need to do this? (be honest, yo)

3) Is this an obligation or something that truly needs to be done by me?


Outside of our immediate family (husband and kids) most of us still have lots of other relationships- friendships, relatives, coworkers, etc. People are usually not shy about taking your time and energy and again, no one is going to make sure you’re prioritizing your life in a healthful way. That’s on you. Just because someone is in your life forever by relation doesn’t mean they have a right to your energy and time. Got that? Read it again and let it sink in. Okay, moving on…

Look at the relationships you are currently spending time and energy on. Are any of them with vampires? Some people just suck the life out of you and leave you drained and empty. Those are not the kind of people you need to be spending your time on. What is essential here? It is essential that you have enough energy to fulfill your role as a wife and mama. That should be the focus, not being polite and obligated to these other people who are obviously not good for you. So it’s time again to get real with yourself. Do you need to take care of yourself by getting some professional help via an awesome therapist to work out whatever ish inside you is making you crazy around this person? Do you need to distance yourself from that person whenever possible? If this is making you feel things because you know you have situations like this in your life, read this book now. 


Few areas are as over complicated as health and wellness. It’s a billion dollar industry, and I believe part of that is because people like to procrastinate doing hard things by convincing themselves they need further help preparing to do it. What I mean by that is, people want the result but they don’t want to start doing the actual work, so they spend all this time hiring coaches, buying and reading books on all these different ways to get healthy, rather than just doing what everybody knows- eat clean and move more. So simple!

My hope for those of you who have read to the end of this post is that you feel inspired, not defeated. I hope you see how simplified each area of life can be if you just change the way you’ve been thinking!

I like what Marie Forleo says. “Everything is figureoutable.”

I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed by your desire to simplify, I want you to understand how to apply essentialism to your mom life and feel invigorated by how much sweeter life can be for you, right now!

Don’t be stressed about how to live this out. Just start.

Open your eyes. Where is there too much going on? What in your life has you feeling completely depleted? If your answer is an exasperated, “everything!” Then just pick one thing. Start. Simplify. Cut back. Choose less. Say no to something. You CAN do this, and it IS worth the effort!

How can you apply essentialism and the art of simple to your life? Where have you already implemented this or where are you excited to start? Share with me in the comments!

Ready to simplify? Get your free minimalism starter kit now!

how to simplify your entire life minimalism allie casazza

Why I'm Hard to Get A Hold Of & You Should Be Too

I’m kinda hard to get a hold of. Today, people seem to feel entitled to getting a hold of anyone and everyone they know (or follow online) at any time they please. To me, that's some serious boundary issues, yo.

People often talk to me about how hard it is to reach me in a way that feels a lot like they’re trying to make it a bad thing, sometimes even a sad thing. They’ll say things like “Oh girl you need some help with those emails!” or “I can’t imagine being as busy as you are- you are so hard to get a hold of!”

Well, guess what. I have help with emails. I have an auto-responder that lets people know I’m probably not going to get their email, but I think they’re beautiful and awesome for being a part of my tribe and I want to be authentic in the way I live.

I also have a virtual assistant (hi, Kena!) whose sole job is to handle my inbox for me. She handles the customer service aspect of the emails and places anything that needs my direct attention in a folder that I check once a week for about thirty minutes. If I don’t get to them all, they wait till next time. If I never respond it’s because it wasn’t a priority for me at the time. If something is urgent, Kena contacts me on Voxer to let me know. 

I’m learning that people are deeply offended by other people’s boundaries, and that they’d rather think you are so incredibly overwhelmed, stretched soooo thin that you can’t even check your emails, versus accepting that what’s super important to them isn’t as important to you (i.e: whatever they emailed you about).

I’m not that busy. I do homeschool my four children, run an online business from home with my husband, and travel full-time in our camper. But that doesn’t mean I’m busy- it just means I have a very full life.

In this full life, I choose to be very careful with what takes up my time. It’s why I’m a ruthless editor of what comes into my home, of what gets a place on my calendar, and of what I commit to.

I teach other women how to be intentional with their space and their time, and I’ve received major public press for it, yet nearly every week, someone in my life seems shocked and appalled that I actually practice what I preach. Or rather, that they didn’t fall on my list of “worthwhile” tasks.

What’s funny to me is that if I responded to every single email, text, missed call, or social media comment, I would be such a hypocrite. People would be infuriated to learn how I really spend my time. But, here I am walking the talk by choosing one social media platform to be very active on, limiting my text time, and soaking up my family instead of emails, and I still get annoyed comments when someone finally finds me (via a live stream or in person, usually).

I’ve had people post to my public Facebook page (which is run by my lovely social media manager. Delegate, delegate, delegate) in a rage, trying to embarrass me or finally get a hold of me. I’ve had people post in my super amazing Facebook group telling me how hard it is to reach me and saying that it’s bad customer service (note: they’re usually not actually a customer, and my customers know that I have Kena hired solely to serve them and I always respond when they need me).

Here’s the thing - whether you’re an online influencer or a mom of a newborn who hasn’t worn a bra in three weeks (been. there.) you are not obligated to everyone all of the time.

You can respond to that text in an hour, or in three days, or never. *gasp!* Yup, never.

Last week was my writing week (I batch all my writing so it gets done within a few days and gets filtered out over the next month), and I’m always less available by phone during that week of the month. By Friday I had 19 unread text messages highlighted in red on my iPhone messaging app. That doesn’t have anything to do with popularity, it has to do with BOUNDARIES.

I responded to my husband, my mom, and my two closest friends of course. But I chose not to respond to a lot of other people who were reaching out for reasons less important than my writing and my family.

Listen, the fact that someone has your phone number doesn’t give them any right to reach you at any time and expect a response.

You can’t please everybody and you can never be perfect in anybody’s book, so it’s best to just do what works for you, what makes you authentic and happy and purposeful, and let the rest go.

Because you know what? You can’t be everything to everyone all the time. You have to choose. And I would rather be hard to get a hold of by the people who don't share my living space than by the people who do.

1. Stop checking your phone all the time.

Seriously, knock it off. You're training people how they can treat you and how accessible you are to them. Pick a place in your house (or at your office if you work) and keep your phone there. Set certain times for checking it and stick to them. For more tips on how to break the habit, read this

2. Stop responding to every single thing that comes in.

Just because it's time for you to check your phone does not mean you respond to everything you see on the screen. I have a few times a day for checking my phone, and usually I'll only respond to the key people in my life or anything that's pressing (i.e: a time-sensitive email that my assistant is telling me to look at). 

3. Be mindfully present.

If you're taking a walk with your kids, then walk with your kids. If you're at a stoplight, be at the stoplight. Don't also be texting or checking email. When we multitask like this, we're just robbing ourselves of the day and half-assing a couple of things instead of whole-heartedly being available for one thing that matters.

We're also letting someone else steal away our current moments by sharing the time with them as we respond to whatever they sent us. 

Are you hard to get a hold of or do you struggle with the desire to be everywhere all at once? Share your heart in the comments and let's start an encouraging conversation. 

10 Ways to Declutter Your Calendar & Get Intentional With Your Time

We live in an age where busyness is worn like a badge of honor. I’ve been in conversations with other women who are literally comparing how busy they are with an urgency so great they can barely let the other person finish a sentence before jumping in to one-up them.

“Oh tell me about it! Every Wednesday night I’m shuffling my daughter to piano lessons, my son to baseball practice, and my other son to karate!” 

It’s not that I’m a saint here or anything. I’ve felt the need to appear busy to avoid feeling somehow less-than. I felt it especially when I was transitioning from being a stay-at-home mom to a work-at-home mom and starting my company.

I found myself bragging about all the meetings I was being asked to be in and all the tasks on my to do list. It felt like I was making up for being useless for seven years of at-home motherhood, even though I pride myself on believing that that role is the most important role in the universe. When everyone else is doing something I think it’s only natural to feel like you’re somehow inept if you’re not also doing that thing. 

The thing is, when you allow yourself to get so busy, your life begins to happen to you and you’re not really living it anymore. When you fill your calendar, you spend all the in-between time getting ready for the next scheduled event.

You no longer have time to take a walk, read that book you bought on Amazon two months ago, have coffee with a friend (and have more to talk about than how terribly busy you both are), or listen to your daughter talk about the girl who hasn’t been so nice to her at school.

We are becoming less available to ourselves and less available to the people around us. We are missing the point and it’s really hurting our world. If you don’t have time to take care of yourself and do things that bring you joy, you’re going to end up overworked, unhappy, and quite possibly depressed. Trust me, I’ve been there. 

We need to stop being victims of what everyone else is doing, stop filling our calendar so dang high, and start asking ourselves if our schedules reflect the life we want to have lived when we’re eighty.

What would happen if you started telling your time where to go and removing the things on your calendar that don’t line up with your end goal? This doesn’t mean you have to become a Type A personality who lives by the schedule (that freaks me out and I could never not be spontaneous) but the fact is that if you want to live an intentional life, you have to plan to be intentional. Spontaneity has little to do with it. 

As someone whose life is generally insane (I have four kids under eight, I homeschool and run my own business from home- not bragging, it’s that busy all on its own), I’ve had to really get serious about how I’m spending my days and what goes on my calendar.

There are a few things I’ve learned about decluttering my calendar, clearing the chaos in my schedule, and being truly intentional about how I’m spending my time. 

>> Note: I’ve always wanted to write a “10 things” blog post but I never end up with ten things (I think everyone else is forcing it because they always end up with the perfect ten). But this time it happened. And I have to say I did a happy dance when I ended up with TEN perfect things, because I'm a huge dork. Anyway….

10 Ways to Declutter Your Calendar & Get Intentional With Your Time

  1. Question all reoccurring events and commitments.

    Just because you’ve always done something or you’ve been a part of it for x amount of time doesn’t mean it’s right for you in this season.

    Have you always been a table leader at your Bible study but when you think about the coming season you cringe? Back out. They’ll be fine, I promise. I give you permission to think of yourself here and remove yourself from any commitments that used too fit you but don’t anymore.

    One personal example I can give you is from our move to the midwest a couple years ago. We left our home state of California (we’re back now) and moved to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. I was scared and desperate for friends, so I started a MeetUp group. After a few months I wasn’t scared anymore and God had called me to start my business, which meant less free time. 

    The MeetUp group became a burden for me, so I handed the role of “leader” over to one of the other girls and left. I had carried so much weight and worrying around for nothing- they were fine without me, and my season of life had shifted and it just wasn’t a good fit for me anymore. And that’s okay. Look at your calendar and ask yourself what isn’t working for me anymore?

  2. What is working for you?

    As you’re dissecting your schedule, take a look at the things that are working really well for you right now. Is there a new yoga class you've been going to that contributed to the pounds you ditched recently? Great! Keep that. Is there a weekly coffee date with a friend that helps you breathe and gain a fresh perspective? Awesome. Keep that too. Make sure you don’t remove the things that are making you better in an attempt to simplify.
  3. Talk to your family about how they feel.

    Nobody will be as honest as your family (or just your husband if your kids are super small) right? So why not see how they’re feeling about your level of busyness? You may not realize it, but something that you’re taking your kid to out of the goodness of your heart might not actually float his boat anymore, and you’d both be a lot happier if you just moved on.

    You’ll never know how they feel about your life unless you ask. Besides, don’t we want to live lives that make our families feel good? Feel closer together? Start the conversation. 
  4. Remove those pesky little reminders you never actually do.

    You know those little notes we add to our calendars in a fit of organization? Things like, “do your deep breathing exercises!” that we add to every day because we read an article about it? And then they go off when we’re pooping or driving or stuffing our faces with cookies and make us feel like crap. Yeah… delete those. 
  5. Schedule one nothing day per week.

    I know this is a lot to ask, but seriously, if you don’t do anything else in this article, do this one. Having one nothing day each week is a huge huge huge game-changer. I would go so far as to say that doing this in my life made as big an impact on me as getting rid of all my clutter and deciding to wake up early. You can choose any day you want, but you’ve got to pick one.

    My nothing day changes throughout the week, but if you’re new to this I highly suggest choosing the same day each week until it’s a habit for you. Here's a "nothing day" in action example for you doubters...

    Two days ago I sat down to write this post and absolutely nothing would come out of me. I messed around on social media, rebranded my book page, and texted three long lost friends to see how they were doing. Yeah... that's not what I was supposed to be doing with that time. 

    Then yesterday was my nothing day. My family and I walked the beach for two hours, had lunch at a cafe (where Hudson pointed to a marine and yelled “THAT GUY DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A HERO IF YOU ASK ME!" Always respectful and polite, never embarrassing…), we took a family nap, then ended the day perusing the nighttime farmers market in downtown. It was an AMAZING day!

    Today, I woke up early, got dressed, grabbed my laptop, and headed to a cafe to write. I turned my WIFI and my phone off, and this is the third article I’ve written in the last hour alone.

    We need more nothing days! Nothing days allow our energy to restore so we can be better, more productive humans tomorrow. 
  6. Pencil in some self-care. And don’t you dare reschedule.

    What needs to happen for you to feel like you’re living well? Do you love taking walks by yourself? Do you love going to the gym without your kids? Do you love sitting in a coffee shop with a great book? Does getting a manicure make you feel like a brand new person? Do you love socializing?

    Rather than trying to remember to fit those things in between baseball practice and piano lessons (it will never happen), start scheduling those things into your calendar. If you don’t make it happen, it’s not going to, and you’re going to be less happy. You deserve better, and your family deserves to have a happy mama in the house!

    Don’t take “you” time lightly by bumping yourself every time another obligation/opportunity comes up for that time slot. Treat it like an important meeting! Show up for it and don’t reschedule on yourself. 
  7. Create scheduled self-care time for each of the main areas in your life.

    I like to have self-care times for my physical self, my spiritual self, and my emotional self. Physical is something that gets you moving and has you regularly taking care of your body. So maybe it’s a weekly class at the gym, or a Saturday morning run. Maybe it’s more often than once a week. As long as it works for you and makes you feel capable and healthy and alive, not burdened, it’ll work.

    Spiritual for me means my daily quiet time. I usually get on this first thing in the morning, but sometimes it ends up being midday. I read my Bible, pray, speak life over myself, my family, my business, and my day by doing my affirmations. My relationship with God is very important to me (mostly because every time I’m not focused on it I really botch everything), so this is one area that I schedule in daily, not weekly.

    I also have one day a week when I go for a drive and pray out loud over whatever is currently causing me stress or making me feel lost (this week it was a family relationship problem) just to keep me close to Him and make sure I’m not just going through the motions of my daily routine. That weekly time away and alone solely for the sake of talking with my Creator keeps me sane and at peace and focused on His will for my life.

    Emotional self-care for me means doing what restores my energy. As an introvert, that means being by myself. I usually couple my weekly prayer drive with my alone time by pray-driving myself to Target or the beach or the park, where I pop my headphones in and listen to a podcast while I walk around and just enjoy being alone. If you’re an extrovert, your emotional self-care will probably look a lot different than mine. The point is to do what makes you feel re-energized so you can give your best to the people who need you. 
  8. Have set times for important things that fall under one category.

    Being a guest on podcasts and doing press interviews is a regular part of what I do. It can very easily become really crazy and sporadic. At one point I was shoving my family out the door and jumping on Skype for an interview every day for weeks!

    When there is something you do on a regular basis but isn’t scheduled, it’s time for you to tell your time where to go. I started using Calendly to create a space for interviewers to schedule time with me, and I chose what the time slots are. Now, I have two days a week for just a couple of hours each day when I am available for interviews. If more opportunities come in than I have time for that week, they just get bumped to the next week’s interview time slot.

    I encourage you to try this if it applies to your life! Where can you apply batching? Look at your to do list and group all the similar tasks together into one time slot. If it can’t all be done in one slot, that’s okay- maybe it can wait till next week. 
  9. Schedule to be alone with each of your kids.

    This is one area where, I’ll be honest, I struggle. I am pretty much constantly with my kids since they’re homeschooled, and I have my work day down to just a couple hours in the early morning so it’s very rare that I am away from them. Setting aside intentional time to hone in on just one of them always feels unnecessary until I’m doing it. And then, every time, I see all the reasons why I need to be doing this on a regular basis.

    I try to pick a kid and spend one-on-one time with them every week, which adds up to each of my kids getting time alone with me every month. My good friends over at On Purpose Marriage (hi, Cody and Stef!) are awesome at this. I see them doing it all the time, and the joy on their kids’ faces is obvious.

    There have been so many beautiful conversations, revealed secrets, and sweet moments to come out of my alone time with each of my kids. If you start doing this, I guarantee your kids will feel closer to you and you will have their hearts. So worth it. 
  10. Does your calendar reflect how you want to live your life?

    In the end, this is what we’re really working towards- a calendar that reflects the life we want to have lived when all is said and done. Look at your calendar and ask yourself this question. Suddenly, football practice and baking cookies for the bake sale doesn’t feel so important anymore. Perspective. 

Tired of being a slave to your clutter?

What takes up your space takes up your time.

Take yours back and get focused on what matters most!

How to Say No

When you live or work outside of your heart, there will always be a breakup, a breakdown, or both.
— Courtney Carver

Saying no can be really hard, especially if you’re not naturally an assertive person. It can bring on anxiety and it can feel like it’s not worth it, but if we do not learn how to say no, we are only hurting ourselves, wasting precious time that could be spent on what really matters.

We don’t get very much time, and we need a lot of it. We need time to do our usual things and time to take care of ourselves. We need time to just have nothing to do and time to enjoy life. Things like reading books, having family movie nights, taking a walk, escaping to the beach for the day - they just rarely happen because there’s “not enough time”.

The truth is we aren’t always spending our time in the wisest way, and usually it’s because of our inability to or fear of saying no. If we don’t have time to do enjoyable, healthy things, we won’t have the energy to take care of anyone else.

When all of your time is spent making ends meet, crossing tasks off your to do list, catching up, running errands, staying afloat you’re going to run out of time and energy and joy. Fast.

If you want more time (or to know what real free time feels like), time to read a book, take a break from your inbox for a few days, time for coffee with a friend, time to enjoy your family, or time to soak up a good night’s sleep, you’re going to have to say no, and you’re going to have to say no a lot. I get it, you’re a nice person and you want to help others.

But think about all the yes’s you’ve given out.

Yes I’ll take that call.

Yes I’ll bake cookies for the bake sale.

Yes I’ll sign up to be team mom.

Yes I can meet you for coffee.

Yes you can pick my brain.

Yes you can call me in five minutes.






And what does your family get? Whatever’s left. And what do you get? Absolutely nothing. It’s no way to go, mama.

We’ve all said yes to too much before. Usually it’s because of FOMO or obligation/guilt, but either way this isn’t working out. We have to learn to say no.

Me saying no. Not really I'm actually talking to no one. 

Me saying no. Not really I'm actually talking to no one. 

If protecting your time is hard for you, I've gotchyo back. Here are some practical ways to start saying no like the boss you are...

1. Check yo’self.

Ask yourself a few questions before responding to someone asking if you’re able to do something. Why would you say yes to this? Is it adding to your life in a positive way? Will this help you live on purpose?

2. Be nice and let gratitude lead your words.

Saying no does not mean being a jerk face. Let the person know that you are very grateful they thought of you, but you won’t be moving forward. You can even express how exciting something sounds with a “Oh my gosh WOW! Such an amazing opportunity!” and then “but no.” Seriously, I sound sarcastic but it works and it eases the blow.

3. Don’t say “I don’t have time for that right now.”

Yeah you do. We all have the same amount of time and we are in charge of what we spend it on. Don’t patronize the person asking you for some of yours, just be honest. Something like “I’m not giving my time to things like that right now” or “I have other things I need to focus on” will earn you their respect and make a lot more sense than what everyone else says to remove the blame for the “no” they’re dishing out.

4. It’s okay to be brief.

Don’t let an awkward silence make you feel the need to fill it. “No” is explanation enough. You don’t owe anyone anything more than that, but you can certainly follow up with “it’s not a good time for me but thanks for thinking of me!” in order to be polite yet concise.

5. Apply essentialism.

Greg McKeown, author of the book Essentialism says, “if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” He’s right. You’re in charge, so take it! Does this thing fit in with where you’re wanting to go in your life?

Are you a champ at saying no or do you really struggle with it? Share your experience in the comments and let's talk it out!

Minimalism Is Not A Fad


I was on the phone with a woman the other day who asked what I did for a living since I mentioned my husband and I work at home together all day.

As usual I stumbled over my words a bit because what I do is sort of incredible and hard to put into a job description, but I landed on something about minimalism and inspiring other moms.

She politely said, “Oh neat! And that is such a fad right now so you must be doing well!”

I have to admit, I was a little annoyed.

Firstly at the fact that anyone would think I’d follow a trend so hard that I’d bet my business and family’s financial health on it, but mostly because she said minimalism is a fad.

This lady probably had no idea and I know she meant well, but it grated my nerves because I hear this kind of thing a lot, and it’s just silly.

A fad is something that is widely obsessed over without basis in the object’s qualities, and then quickly dies out (thank you,

Minimalism is not a fad.

It’s been around since Jesus set His sandals in the dirt, people.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

And he said to them, “Take care, be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

Luke 12:15

Minimalism is also not base-less, like a fad.

  • Is it baseless to create a home you enjoy more?
  • It is baseless to not be so stressed out about housework that you yell all the time?
  • Is it baseless to be the mom who has time to play with her kids?
  • Is it baseless to have more time to play and adventure with your kids because you're not taking care of the house constantly?

The act of intentionally choosing less for the sake of focusing on what matters most is not a craze.

Just like the Paleo diet is considered a “fad” but is actually the way we were designed to eat (arguably. vegans, don’t send me emails) and the way people have eaten for centuries and centuries.

It’s not a fad, it’s just something that people got re-excited about and that excitement spread and caused lots of change, but then the not-so-committed stopped. 

That doesn't make it a fad- it makes them wishy-washy.

Scrunchies are fads. 

Minimalism is not a fad unless you’re fad-ish.

If you’re one of the people who hop on board the trend train and hop off as soon as you walk into Target then yeah, it’s a fad for you in your life.

But the idea of less, of simpler has been around for forever and it’s something we all long for deep down. 

The things that take root in our hearts, that make our insides scream "yes! this is something I was meant to be doing!" are not fads. They are lifestyles.

And they're usually hard to maintain for those without much self-discipline.

So the others write it off as a "fad" to justify their quitting. 

The ones who live it out, who understand that the discipline it takes to keep on going comes with a massive payout (more time, more joy, less stress, hopping off the treadmill of American society and consumerism) and they press on.

They make the full change for good. 

The world is realizing that it's been so focused on more that it's been missing out on the sweetest things in life. So right now, minimalism is being talked about and labeled like crazy. 

Yes, that will probably die out one day. 

But it doesn't have to stop in your own life. 

Choosing to live simply and to live focused on what matters most will never not be an amazing, beneficial choice that inspires others to do the same. 

Ready to start in your own home? Download my FREE minimalism starter kit and let's make it happen, mama!

How Minimalism Can Steal Your Joy

I’ve spent the better part of the last five years uncovering something that changed my entire life.

When I first began, I didn’t know what it was called, or even that it was an actual thing.

I was just a desperate girl trying to find a way out of survival mode, because I believed in my heart that I was created for more.

It’s minimalism.

And it took me from overwhelmed, depressed, and fighting to barely get by to loving my motherhood, thriving in my role, and being the mom I always wanted to be.

For me, minimalism is about simplifying what I have in my house so that I’m a person who has the time and joy to focus on my family, offering them the best of me, not what’s left of me after I pick up, wash a thousand dishes, fold six hours’ worth of laundry, and reorganize all the toys.

The point of minimalism for me is where my focus is. It’s about taking the power of my time and how I spend my days away from stuff.

It's more time in your day, more time for what matters, more time for pursuing what lights you up and makes you feel alive!

It's more space in your home, more space in your calendar, more space to breathe and rest and enjoy and live

It's less yelling, less stress, less fighting with your family to just clean the eff up.

It's less organizing and developing routine because you don't need to rearrange your junk, you need to LET IT GO.

It's less crap in your way, less on your to do list and more checks on your bucket list. 

It's more money in your bank account because you spend mindfully now. 


It's being the mom you always wanted to be but have struggled so hard to find.

The mom who isn't stretched incredibly thin every dang day.

The mom who doesn't resort to yelling because she's just not that stressed out! 

As I’ve gotten to the heart of this idea, I’ve spread the secret of less to my fellow women as much as I can.

My message has reached people in Russia, China, Australia, Canada, and parts of the world I barely knew existed.

It’s gotten me on television more than once, landed me an interview with Jenny McCarthy, and had my experience spread all over major websites for months.

It’s been incredibly unexpected and amazing, and I love seeing other once-overwhelmed moms break the chains and find a new purposeful way to do this mom thing.

However, one thing breaks my heart every time I see it.

Women missing the point, obsessing over the details and the numbers, and continuing to give the power to their stuff, just in a different way.

Many minimalist leaders encourage this. Meaning well, they inspire others by counting how many of each things they own and focusing on the numbers.

There are no minimalist rules, there’s really no right way to do this, but I think we’d all agree that the point of living this way is the power. By removing the excess from your home, you are now in charge of your space, how much time you spend on mundane things, and how you spend your days.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
— Annie Dillard

If you’re focusing on counting, you’ve missed the point, because your things still rule you. In this case, minimalism is still about the stuff.

Sure, some people do really well with numbers and just want a little guidance with what works, but there’s a big difference between guidelines and obsession.

There are people who pride themselves on living with less than one hundred things.

That’s great and I’m happy you’ve freed yourself from consumerism, but I can’t help but wonder why you feel the need to wear it like a badge, pointing a big red arrow to the number of things you own.

I can’t help but feel you may have missed out on the freedom aspect and chained yourself to your things with a fresh pair of handcuffs.

This isn’t a spartan race where the most hardcore wins.

It’s not about comparison or being the biggest badass.

It’s about getting back what was stolen from us by our own selves.

It’s about more time, more joy, more living, more mothering, more being present, less yelling, less being stretched thin over your life like saran wrap over leftovers.

So what do you do then?

The way I love teaching the art of simple is this: focus on the intent.

What’s the why behind each item?

What is it doing for you?

Who cares how many you have… why do you have it?

Do you love it or need it enough to continue allowing it to take up your space and time?

Because what takes up your space takes up your time.

You buy everything twice- once with your dollars, then again with your minutes.

Could you live the next 30 days without buying it again? If so, do you really need it?

When you focus on asking yourself purpose-driven questions about what you own rather than counting and following what someone else is doing, you create a philosophy of minimalism that works for you, and it’ll actually last that way.

I know that I only need to clean up for about thirty minutes a day to maintain a house ready for company to drop by.


I know that my day is mine to live sitting on the floor building Legos, schooling my kids, running a business I love, and snuggled up with my husband watching The Office without the stress of how much housework I’ll have to catch up on tomorrow.

I know that I have the things that make me happy and the things I need to live life well, but nothing else. I want for nothing, I count nothing, I obsess over nothing.

Stuff has absolutely no hold on me.

I want that for you, friend.

I don’t want you to be bound by the stress of how much is too much or what number of jeans is the magic one that will make you a real minimalist.

I want you to make your own way and do what sets you free.

I want you to simplify and then see how you feel.

If you want even more free time, then go again. Move through your house in another wave of less.

Find your own magic number and don’t even count enough to know what it is.

Let go of the stuff and the need to follow rules.

Life is waiting to be lived!

Take the power from your stuff and put it in your own hands.

Want to start but don't know how? Download my FREE Minimalism Starter Kit now!

  • 20 Things You Can Get Rid of Right Now (and not even miss)
  • How to Destress Your Home in Ten Minutes
  • How to Declutter the Laundry & Dishes
  • Finding Your Deepest Why Behind Minimalism
  • An inspiring desktop background

How I Use Trello to Organize My Entire Life

This blog post is more of a description of how Trello helps me manage my life. If you want a more in depth training on actually setting up and using Trello for yourself, I've included the link to the video training I put together (it's free) and it's at the end of this post :)

What My Life Looks Like

For those of you who might be kinda new here, I have four kids. They are 8, 6, 4, and 2 years old. My husband Brian and I homeschool the first three (Emmett just colors and pretends to be a part of it), and I own my own business based on this website. I’m CEO and president of creative content and Brian is CFO and vice president of media. I also co-own The Purposeful Home Podcast.

Brian and I recently ditched the whole 9-5 job, house in the suburbs thing and are currently traveling full-time in our renovated camper. This means our family of six lives in a space smaller than the average kitchen, and that space is not only our home, but our school and our office.

Yeah. We have a lot going on.

I get asked a lot of questions about my personal life, and the one that is probably more common than any of them is, “How do you do it?!” It’s usually coupled with a face of shock mixed with a little stress.

Honestly, I don't do everything all the time. Something is always thriving and something is always needing a little more of my focus - that's just life. 

But in short, here’s how I do all that I have going on:

  1. Jesus

  2. Coffee

  3. Trello

And I’d have to give a shoutout to my noise-canceling headphones. They my boo.

This post is all about number three - Trello. Because the truth is, I absolutely could not run my business, my homeschool, or my life in the smooth way that I do without it.

And you should know before we even get started - this is NOT a sponsored post. Trello has no idea who I am as far as I know, and they have no idea I’m writing this. I don’t do sponsorships, I only share what I truly love with you guys. That’s how this blogger rolls.

The Big Picture

So listen. I believe that I am called to a purpose. Part of that purpose is to raise my babies to be world-changers. The other part of that purpose is to spread the message of abundant life and simpler living to my fellow women - that’s my job, and I love it. The thing is, I can’t do either of those things well if I don’t have some kind of plan in front of me. It has to be visible, I need to be able to pull it up and see it on a regular basis.

Usually, I’m a pen and paper kinda girl, but there is so much that needs to be written down and so many changes I need to make all the time, that it just has to be digital. Otherwise I’d end up with pencil eraser remnants coating my floor and my planner would look disgusting. We can’t have that.

Organizing and scheduling everything out goes against my DNA. Although I feel the need to know what’s coming next in life, I like to be spontaneous and untied day-to-day - free to pack up the kids and head to Disneyland at a moment’s notice, but the life God has led me into requires some structure in order to live well, and so, I Trello. And yes, I am officially making that a verb.

I Trello because with four kids and a husband who is always home with me (and schooling with me, and working with me, and cooking with me…) I am always being talked to, interrupted, and distracted. Literally nothing would get done if I didn’t have Trello to reference.

My Typical Day

So to give you an idea of what I do day-to-day and what I’m working with (so you can see and compare and figure out how you want to use Trello in your own life), let me tell you what a typical day looks like for me. Keep in mind there aren’t really a lot of days in a row that look the same for me. “Typical” is very fluid here.

I usually wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning. 4:30 if we have plans in the afternoon and I have a lot of work to do, 5:30 on most normal days. I believe that if something is important and needs to be done during the day, then it needs to be done first, otherwise life happens and kids happen and it usually ends up not happening, and I don’t like who I am under that kind of stress. And so, I wake early. I usually have my quiet prayer time, exercise, and accomplish my most important work tasks, like writing. It’s quiet, it’s still dark, and I can give the most crucial tasks of the day my full attention (thank you, coffee).

If you want more helpful information on how I wake up early and get stuff done, click here.

The kids know that breakfast is around 7:30 and they aren’t allowed to get out of bed and go crazy until then (except for using the potty of course). At that time we all make breakfast and start our day. Brian usually works after breakfast (he mostly does editing and video work, so he can do it right in the midst of our chaos - lucky) while I start on the homeschooling, and after lunch (11:30-ish) we switch. I accomplish a little more work and he takes over the schooling. The rest of the day is up for grabs. Naptime is involved and sometimes errands or something fun, usually outdoors. The kids go to bed at 7:30 most nights and Brian and I follow around 10.

The problem before Trello was that I would always drop the ball on exactly what work needed to be done during my work times during the day. With my life, I couldn’t remember that I was supposed to schedule the social media content for the next day and plan the photo shoot for next week’s blog post. I would forget where we were at in our homeschool and wasn’t keeping track of the kids’ progress. I was totally scattered.

Enter Trello

Trello is my secret weapon for life management. I can’t say enough about it!

I use Trello to organize my personal life, plan out my blog content, work tasks, homeschooling, everything. I have a board titled My Week in which I store all my tasks.

It doesn’t matter if it’s for the podcast, the blog, homeschooling, working out, or running errands - if it has to be done by me, it’s scheduled into my week in Trello. I check this board every single day, multiple times (Trello is a web-based program as well as a smartphone app for on-the-go use). If something is an actual event (like a meeting, speaking engagement, flight, coffee date, etc) it goes on my calendar (I use Google), but Trello holds my heart when it comes to task management.

I also have a board called My Month where I store my themes for each week of the month. I am all about batching my work in order to be more productive (to learn more about this concept, read this) and theming my weeks my task really helps me do that.

The first week of the month is for media work (this is mostly Brian, but I help with the creative aspect of it and am always the one IN the photos and videos), the second week is when I hit reset and just take a break and get some fresh ideas, the third week is for planning new content and getting all my new ideas out on paper (or Trello), and the fourth week is always for taking action and actually writing my content for the entire next month.

I have labels in place so I know which business each task is for (pink means it’s for the podcast), so I don’t have to write that out each time. Trello thought of everything!

I also have a board for running The Purposeful Home Podcast. Kelsey and I collaborate on this throughout the week and then meet up online three times a month to record episodes and have a monthly business meeting.

One of the boards that really help a lot is my homeschool board. Our school is called The Arrow Academy, so that’s what my board is titled :)

I use the labels in this board to distinguish between each student so I’m not writing their names on every single card.

I created a video to really show you how I use Trello and how to set it up, because photos don’t really do the job and I want you to be able to take this action in your own life. 


If you want a more in depth training on actually setting up and using Trello for yourself, I've included the link to the video training I put together (it's free) and it's at the end of this post :)

How Trello Works

Trello is made up of boards, lists and cards. So my Editorial Calendar board is its own separate page on Trello. When I have it open, none of the other boards are open. Same goes for all other boards.

This is a board. It consists of lists and cards. 

This is a board. It consists of lists and cards. 

Each board is made up of lists, and each list has cards underneath it - how many lists and cards there are in each board depends on how many you create.

The arrows all point to the lists within this board. 

The arrows all point to the lists within this board. 

The arrows each point to a different card on this list. This view shows the FRONT of the cards. 

The arrows each point to a different card on this list. This view shows the FRONT of the cards. 

Every card has a front and a back. The front is what you see when you’re looking at your board as a whole, and the back is what you see when you click on a card.

This is the BACK of one of the cards. I have written out a description of the task that was on the front side, and have also created a checklist of things that need to be done in order for that task to be accomplished. 

This is the BACK of one of the cards. I have written out a description of the task that was on the front side, and have also created a checklist of things that need to be done in order for that task to be accomplished. 

The back of the card is where all of Trello’s best features live. On the back of each card you can assign it a color label, create a checklist for accomplishing this particular task, set a due date for it, add a photo or file, tag another person in it, and other stuff like syncing with DropBox and Google Drive.

Let’s pretend we’re creating a new board with lists and cards right now. Say I’m taking on a big project - renovating a vintage camper - and I want to organize the tasks of that project with Trello. I’d start a new board titled Camper Renovation, then I’d start a few lists.

Let’s say list #1 is all about repairs. List #2 is all about interior remodeling. List #3 is all about decorating. And list #4 is where I’ll keep my timeline for the entirety of this project.

Underneath each list I will create cards. Cards are meant to be more specific for single tasks. So for example, I wouldn’t write “remove mold, replace panels, & paint ceiling” on the front of a card.

Instead, I’d make a card that says Water Damage Repairs and then on the back of the card, write out remove mold, replace panels, & paint ceiling because those are the details of accomplishing that task.

I could also just give each one of those three tasks its own card and then have the task breakdown for each one on the back of each card.

Trello can be overwhelming because it’s all what you make it and how you set it up. There aren’t a lot of boundaries or pre-set ways to use it. Don’t let that intimidate you because it’s an awesome perk and one of the reasons Trello is so awesome!

** Trello also has a mobile app that lets you set up notifications so you can be reminded of all you have going on while you're not on the computer. Two thumbs way up. 

How I Bring Art into Our Homeschool (When I'm A Truly Terrible Artist)

I can barely draw a stick person. That’s not a clever way to start this blog post that I came up with, it’s the sad truth. Observe.

See? Told you. Art is not my thang.

Give me a blank piece of paper and tell me to fill it with words that suck you in so much you miss your next meal, and I’m on it. But guys, I can’t draw.

When my oldest, Bella started showing pretty insane signs of artistic ability when she was super young, I have to admit I panicked. I had planned on homeschooling, and wasn’t sure how to cultivate her talent.

In our homeschool, we are all about finding what our kids are really good at and cultivating that like crazy. We’re also all about pushing the limits and encouraging them to get better at things they aren’t naturally gifted with.

And so, for both reasons, art has always been a part of our homeschooling. Since I can’t draw, I started using YouTube videos to teach the kids more about drawing, and we bought curricula that taught them about the classic artists to provide background knowledge. The YouTube videos though, weren’t cutting it once Bella turned seven.

I kept searching for more advanced YouTubers, but it never challenged her and I wasn’t a fan of their ads and crappy video quality.

A few months ago, Brian and I were fed up with less-than-inspiring online art lessons for the kids and were about to sign them up for in-person lessons when we came across Artventure.

We signed up for a free trial and instantly knew this was awesome. Artventure is run by Kirsty, another mommy who lives in Australia.

She’s a super amazing, gifted artist and has the sweetest temperament as she walks the kids through each lesson.

During our first week using Artventure, the kids were spending hours drawing and creating artwork. They didn’t want to do anything else - it was amazing! Even the boys, who are usually less excited about art time, couldn’t get enough and were creating some really great pieces.

One of the things I’m most grateful to Kirsty for, is inspiring Bella to teach. As she and I worked together on creating the Just For Kids module in my course, Your Uncluttered Home, Bella was really into finding ways to inspire the kids who watch to get creative and get outside. She had the idea of teaching them how to draw a few animals rather than sitting in front of the TV (her words - proud mama here!).

She led three lessons on drawing three different animals just like Kirsty does in Artventure, and it’s adorable.

Artventure has given my kids inspiration, skill, and the patient guidance to draw better - something I cannot give them.

After we had used Artventure for a few weeks, I emailed Kirsty and told her I absolutely had to share her website with you guys, and she kindly offered an exclusive discount just for my readers.

This code can be used to purchase any level of membership (3, 6 or 12 months) with 25% off.

Discount Coupon Code: ALLIECASAZZA

Head to Artventure, select your preferred membership, use that code at checkout and you're good to go!

I am so happy to have found Artventure, and so grateful to Kirsty for partnering with me in sharing it with you guys!

We even put together a video all about our experience with Artventure! Click below to watch.

What To Do When Your Kid Wants To Keep Everything

Kids, especially very young kids, can be tiny hoarders.

They find things like sticks, rocks, bugs, and leaves outside, collect them, bring them inside, and then seem shocked and upset when you suggest they put them back outside.

They receive a random toy from the Dollar Store and suddenly become obsessed with it, like it's a chunk of $1,000 or something. 

Broken toys are “hurt” and become the apple of your kid’s eye as soon as you decide it’s time to remove it from the house.

When you’re actively pursuing minimalism, this can seem like a hurdle, but it doesn’t have to be.

The thing about minimalism in motherhood is that it’s less about a perfectly clean house and more about joy. It’s less about perfectly executed rule-following and more about intentional focus on what matters most to you.

So in this, what’s the goal? Is it to teach your child that minimalism trumps her heart? Or is it to teach her that you’re working hard to set up a home that leaves you plenty of time to spend with her? I feel safe to bet that it’s the latter :)

You don't have to sweat the small stuff… 

When you have implemented minimalism throughout your home, little details like your child wanting to hold onto silly things matters so much less.

When you know the rest of your house is requiring very little of you and you are reaping the rewards of simplifying, you don’t need to obsess over converting everyone in your family. You don’t need to nitpick to make sure you live with a household of minimalism converts.

You can handle a little bit of non-minimalism from them and be a gracious mama because you’ve simplified everywhere else. That’s a great place to be.

So, if you’re not there yet, relax, let the collection phase go, and press on in your pursuit of an uncluttered home.

And if you’re done and you feel like you’re on the other side, breathe deep and pat yourself on the back, mama! Because you’re no longer in a place where this can put a dent in your peace and intent.

Remember, when we push our families to agree with us and get on board with what we’re doing (pursuing minimalism), all it does is create tension, push-back, and maybe a little bitterness. Even when it’s well-intentioned and subtle, nagging or forcing those we love into coercion accomplishes nothing positive. We don’t want it that way, right?

I know it’s hard, but the best way to go about this is to lead by example. Bring minimalism into the areas of your home and your life that affect you, spread it around like light by letting others see how much less is on your to do list, how much more joy and time you have, and maybe they’ll come around at their own pace.

My husband hated the idea of minimalism for two whole years before he realized it was massively beneficial and came around to the “light side”. With our kids, it’s more a matter of knowing when there’s a line that’s been crossed and you need to use your parental authority to set some boundaries, and when it’s not a big deal and you can let it be.

The thing is, the little nature-finds kids love to hold onto fade away - leaves get crispy and crack, bugs die, twigs snap - they run their course; they don’t last forever. Toys run their course too. There are very few things a child will love enough to keep for forever. Usually, you can let it be and their minds will change eventually.

If you’re doing routine purges (ours were monthly for a while but are now mostly seasonal), there will come a time for your kid to give it up.

What if my kid is keeping literally everything?!

During a conversation in my Facebook group, one mom had the problem that her four-year-old daughter was incredibly sentimental and wanted to keep everything, very literally.

She was keeping every single toy, everything she found outside, she was even keeping pieces of trash like candy wrappers and things like that. She got emotionally attached to everything!

If this is the case for you, then again, I think the solution is to look at the heart. What’s the issue? What is bothering you about this? Is it truly getting in the way?

If it's at that point, you can use the opportunity to teach your child about responsibility, cleaning up after herself, and finding a proper place for all her things. Even at the age of three or four, you can teach your kid these things, and in my personal opinion, it’s a great lesson for them to learn!

Of course your child is going to want to keep every little thing if she has no obligation of responsibility! If it’s just Mom’s job to figure that out, why wouldn’t she want to hold onto everything?

If this were my situation, I would get a small bin for my daughter and explain that this is her special place to keep the things that matter to her - things she is collecting and wanting to keep. I would explain that it’s her job to decide where everything goes and make sure there is enough room, and if there isn’t she can choose what she gets to keep.

I feel it’s important for kids to learn that what you have taking up your space has to have limits because it also takes up your time.

If the issue is just that you're irritated but not really being affected by all the keeping, take a step back. Childhood is so fleeting and temporary. This isn't worth it. This isn't the heart of minimalism. Set a few simple boundaries, hand the responsibility over to your child, and move on. 

Have you had an experience with a child wanting to keep everything or one specific type of thing? Share or ask questions in the comments below!


Are you ready to get refocused and uncluttered once and for all? 

How to Declutter Your Wardrobe (& Love Everything in Your Closet)

Moms: we’re always taking care of everybody else, famously forgetting (or not caring enough) to take care of ourselves.

Let’s face it... our self-care is typically bare minimum. It kind of has to be in certain seasons. It’s kinda hard to think about how flattering your jeans are or how fresh your makeup is when you’re elbow-deep in boogers and poop and haven’t slept properly in eight months.

Sometimes though, we forget to come out of those seasons when they’re over. We stay in super-mom-mode (official title) when we are getting better sleep, our babies have grown a bit, and we could be feeling a whole lot better about ourselves if we put in the effort.

It makes me so sad when I hear a friend say things like, “Oh I wish I could pull off a bright lipstick” or “I hate shopping for myself - it’s depressing!”

You CAN pull off that bright lip color because you’re bold, beautiful and amazing!

There is NOTHING depressing about dressing that beautiful body of yours, mama! Rock it! No matter what shape stage it’s in.

I face this scenario on a weekly basis…

Other Mama: How can I implement minimalism in my wardrobe?

Me: Let go of everything that isn’t working for you, making you feel amazing, or is damaged.

Other Mama: Then I’ll have nothing left!

NOT OKAY, FRIEND! Let's change that. 

You deserve to love everything you own. You deserve to feel incredible every day - whether you’re running errands, going out on a date, or staying home folding laundry. Casual wear or fancy going-to-a-wedding wear, you deserve to feel really really GOOD. Got it?

You should not be dressing yourself every day in clothes that make you feel anything less than glowing, adorable, fantastic, vibrant. I may sound dramatic but I’m serious. Love everything you own. Feel great in everything you wear. Because you deserve it! It’s that simple.

If you declutter your closet and you end up with next to nothing, that’s okay.

I’ve had four kids, one of whom was eleven pounds (that’s not a typo) and I can say that my body is far from magazine-standards-perfect, but it is perfect for my purpose and what it needed to do, and I take pretty good care of it, so I dress it well.

I dress my body in a way that makes me happy, excited to get dressed, and confident. I can honestly say that I love everything I own, I wear every item on a very regular basis, and I get weirdly excited in the morning to get dressed.

I love my gym clothes, my sweatpants, my tee shirts, my nice work clothes - all of it. I feel comfortable and flattered in every single thing. I want every mom reading this to feel the same way. Because, again, you deserve it.

Now, there’s a big difference in not feeling good in your clothes because you need to prioritize your joy more, and in not feeling good in ANYTHING because you’re not taking care of your body. An unhealthy body means unhappy eyes and a different lack of priority.

If you need to get healthy and you’re overwhelmed, read this and anything else you can find on the internet to help motivate you to make the positive changes needed to expand your health, your happiness, and your confidence!

So, moving onto the decluttering part. How do you simplify your wardrobe? What does decluttering look like when it comes to your clothes? First, you need to ask yourself a few key questions.

1) When was the last time I wore this?

2) Do I feel amazing in this?

3) Is this damaged at all?

Let’s do a question-by-question breakdown to help you get a tighter grip on what this should look like when you tackle your closet. Because I know you’re gonna take action on this post riiiiight?? ;)

Wanna see exactly what makes up my wardrobe?

Wardrobe Photos.png

Question #1: When was the last time I wore this?

By asking when you last wore each piece of clothing, what you’re doing is gaining a realistic perspective. You’re not asking yourself if you wear it or if you will wear it, because it’s easy to lie to yourself and step pretty far outside the zone of reality with questions like that. By asking yourself when the last time was that you wore something, you’re forcing yourself to come up with a number of days or weeks - a definitive, straightforward answer.

If you cannot remember the last time you wore something, why is that? Is it because you’re a stay-at-home mom and this particular outfit is really just a go-to for fancy nights? That’s okay then, if you really love that piece and look forward to wearing it on fancy nights.

For example: I work at home, so my go-to outfit is sweats and a tee, but sometimes I speak at women's events or at an online conference, and I need to dress up. I have a few outfits that I save for those occasions, but rarely wear. However, when the time comes that I do need to wear them, I look forward to it because I love them!

If you can’t remember the last time you wore something and it could possibly be because you don’t really love that thing, let it go. You deserve much better.

Question #2: Do I feel amazing in this?

If you don’t feel absolutely amazing in something, what’s the point of owning it? Who cares if you spent money on it… you shouldn’t have done that in the first place if it wasn’t amazing-status. Don’t keep things out of obligation - value yourself! Count it as a tough lesson in how you spend money and what you spend it on. Donate that ish. Get something that makes you smile when you put it on.

Question #3: Is this damaged at all?

Don’t hold onto something that has an unremovable stain on it just because you super love it and you’re sooooo bummed that it got ruined. It’s okay. It happens. Move on. You’re much too amazing to sport a stained sweatuh, girl!

If something is damaged and repairable (ripped, missing a button, etc), you need to get real. Are you going to have it fixed? Fix it yourself? What’s the plan? If your plan is to repair it, then get your phone out and set an alarm for one week from now. If that alarm goes off in your phone and you haven’t repaired the item or dropped it off at the tailor’s yet, time’s up. Get rid of it.

You have to get firm with yourself, otherwise you’ll keep everything and never make real progress. I know you want an uncluttered life. I know you want to get to the other side. This is how you do that - by making real decisions. By moving forward.

Okay. Let’s chat for a sec about what to do with your clothes after you’ve purged.

The Clothes You’re Keeping

You need to have a system for your clothes. If you have one, great. If you don’t like the one you’ve been using, reconsider! Have you tried hanging everything up? Would that work better in your particular closet? Do you maybe need a better dresser? Have you tried folding things differently? While I’m not a huge advocate of Marie Kondo’s book on decluttering, I have found her folding method to be helpful if you’re willing to put in a couple extra minutes when you’re doing laundry. It’s really helpful if you’re fitting clothes into a small dresser or space. If you have plenty of room skip this method because it just creates even more space and then your clothes move all over the drawer and come undone.

The Clothes You’re Letting Go Of

When we throw away our clothes, we’re contributing to a big waste problem. It’s important to understand that your buying these clothes in the first place was the real cause of your contribution to this, but also that you should only throw away clothes when they are absolutely not donate-able. If an item is ripped beyond repair or totally damaged in some way, you kind of have to throw it away. Otherwise, donate it! I know donating takes a little extra time and effort, but it’s worth it. You’re coming out of a hard lesson - you didn’t need or love everything you bought, so you’re letting go of some of it in order to create an intentional, abundant life. However, you are realizing how wasteful you’ve been by buying things you maybe shouldn’t have. You can make the most out of this by donating what you aren’t keeping. Someone else in a needy position can really benefit from your donation - think of that angle.

A Note on Budget Limits

I want to address those of you with tight budgets who desperately need a fresh wardrobe, but can’t just go out and buy new things. Been. There. Actually, when I first purged my wardrobe, I was super discouraged because I ended up with basically nothing and I knew I couldn’t replace those items any time soon. BUT! I stayed committed because I knew I deserved to love my clothes, and it was better to have little than to have much that didn’t make me feel incredible. We had a very limited budget at this time- I’m talkin’ zero wiggle room. What I did was I found ways to make an extra $20-40 here and there by selling something I was decluttering, or saving money on groceries, or using a sliver of Brian’s overtime pay and I would just buy one thing at Target or Old Navy when they had a sale. Piece by piece, very slowly, I built my wardrobe back up into something I loved.

Money doesn’t have to be flowing for you to love your clothes. You can get creative help pairing outfits you already have via Pinterest, look for killer sales, scrimp and save… it’s totally doable if you change your perspective and keep a positive mindset!


The Secret for Moms Who Want to Get More Done

Every decision we make throughout the day takes energy from us. A normal person has tons of tiny and usual decisions to make in a day, but a mom has tens of thousands of all kinds of decisions to make in her day. Not only do we face decisions in our own selves (Should I eat yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast? Should I respond to emails now or get my workout done first?), but we face decisions being put in front of us by our tiny humans - all. day. long.

Mom, can I have this?

Mom, can you turn on Bubble Guppies?

Mom, can I play outside?

Mom, can I get a snack?

And every one of those questions makes your wheels turn, trying to recall when was the last time he ate, how much TV she’s already watched today, if the weather is good enough for playing outside without a sweater, and on and on and on and it’s really no wonder we start the day out like Mary Poppins and end it like Cruella.

Enter: The Solution

While facing “decision fatigue” is normal and inevitable, there is something you can do to simplify your life and alleviate this sneaky form of weariness by a lot: rhythms.

Rhythms are things you do habitually, as part of your normal day to keep things running smoothly, except you don’t have to make decisions about them- they’re like automatic part of your daily checklist, even the time of day they’re accomplished is rhythmic!

I’ve found in my own life that rhythms are key to escaping survival mode in motherhood - they keep you from bottlenecking in your life, from barely scraping by, from totally losing it at the end of every day.

My Rhythms

Here are some rhythms I’ve implemented in my life that help automate some of the key aspects of my role in my family -

Waking up early and knocking out my most pressing tasks

Rinsing dishes, wiping the counters and giving the floors a quick sweep after each meal

Going to the gym or practicing yoga in the yard every morning after breakfast

Setting snack times with alarms on my phone so the kids aren’t constantly asking me

Having these things sort of on auto-pilot spares me lots of decision-making and ensures that the most important things happen each day. By waking up early and conquering my most important tasks for the day, even if the day goes completely south, it’s okay because the toppest priorities were done at 5:00 this morning.

By rinsing dishes, wiping the counters and sweeping up every time we finish eating, I’m using about 3-5 minutes of my time, but it’s sparing me a meltdown later when the kitchen is a friggin’ disaster and I’m exhausted from a long day.

By doing some kind of exercise every morning after breakfast, everyone in my family knows that’s a daily routine for me, the space is there for me to make that happen, and I can stay healthy and feel good at the start of the day. This keeps me sane!

By setting snack times at two specific times during the day, I’m removing the need for my kids to constantly be asking me for a snack. Kids like to snack when they’re bored (don’t we all?) and it can easily agitate me to the point of yelling, which I don’t want to do. I can solve this problem and save myself a lot of agitation by just setting the precedent with snacks in our house. I recently added the part about having a certain sound that goes off in my phone so everyone knows when it’s snack time and they’re not asking me if my phone has gone off yet the entire day.

For most of our daily frustrations, there’s a rhythm we can create that will help our day run a little more smoothly, and all that adds up to a more joyful life - I think that’s a pretty good deal.

Ready to put rhythms into action in your own life? Click to download my FREE rhythms workbook.

Do Rhythms Make A Dull Life?

Now, recently we were talking about rhythms in my Facebook group and someone said, “Doesn’t having everything in rhythms create a super boring life? I think I’d die of boredom if everything was rhythmic.” This questions caught my attention because I thought the same thing up until a few months ago, and it’s the reason I avoided living this way for so long. I wish I could go back and grab my own face and yell “You’re missing out on so much by trying not to miss out!”

First of all, not “everything” is rhythmic in my home. That WOULD be boring. And incredibly weird and unrealistic. Just a few key parts of my day are set in rhythms to help me do a good job in my role as wife, mom, and CEO of my company.

There are a lot of things on my plate, and I have seen firsthand that I cannot do a good job and stay kind to my family if I don’t have a few rhythms set in place.

I had this one day where I was doing an interview for a Canadian radio show and the entire time, I was whisper-shouting at one of my kids because he kept asking for a snack while I was on air.

This might not seem like a big deal, but when a typical day in your life includes being “on air”, you’ve got to figure it out and get some basic things on auto-pilot because you can’t do it all. It has worked so well for me and I know it still would if I didn’t work from home, so I’m sharing it with you all in the hope that it will clear some of the chaos for you as well.

Secondly, rhythms actually free me up to be more spontaneous and live my life. I’m not Type A by any means, even though a lot of people look at my life and think I am, so I have to work very hard to adopt a few Type A traits in order to run my home and my life even somewhat well. What I found when I got “boring” and adopted rhythms was that they actually allowed me to randomly take the kids out for a hike after lunch if I wanted to, or stay in and watch Disney movies all day because it’s raining, or go out for lunch and linger in the aisles of Target while the kids munch on popcorn. Rhythms allow me a lot more freedom because, again, the big things are already done - they were done on auto-pilot, so I’m free to actually live my life!

If you’re struggling to get even the most basic tasks in your life done every day, and you feel like you should have it more together by now, listen mama… I so get it. Grab a handful (or three) of grace and start over today, right where you’re at.

Implementing Rhythms in Your Life

Let’s brainstorm some areas in your life where rhythms would really help you out.

Think about what you do on a typical day, in a typical week. Do you work outside the home? Inside the home? Are you a stay-at-home mom? Do you homeschool? Write out your typical day’s schedule (if there is one) and look at where you have gaps of time to get things done.

For example, if you’re a stay-at-home mom whose kids are homeschooled, but go to a class outside your home every Wednesday morning, Wednesdays are probably a lot more stressful in your home. Rhythms can help with that.

If you’re a work-outside-of-the-home mom with a kid who plays baseball every Monday and Thursday evening, rhythms can help you get things done in the mornings and get out the door with everyone fed for baseball two nights a week.

Think about what kind of rhythms would help you out. What never seems to get done that really needs to? Do you always scramble to figure out dinner on the nights when you have Bible study? Maybe part of that morning’s rhythm should be to put a meal in the Crock Pot.

See where I’m going here? You can totally do this, and I bet it will really help you out!

If you need a little help, download my Developing Rhythms packet. It will help you get started and apply this post to your own life.

Most people already have at least one or two rhythms developed. What are yours? What are the rhythms you want to add in to help you further? Share in the comments!

A Guide to Your Best Mornings + Most Productive Days

A few years ago, I was a night owl who stayed up well past midnight most nights. I woke up to my kids asking for breakfast every morning at whatever time they opened their eyes and decided my day would start.

I believed that being a night owl was in my DNA - just the way that I was - and had no idea that this was actually a very limiting belief that was keeping me from being a better wife and mom. Over time I got tired of feeling busy but not productive, and decided that something had to change, so I started waking up early.

Hear me, mama. If you want to change your entire life with one simple change, start waking up early.

Waking up early has been the single most transforming thing I have ever done for my life, right next to ditching my clutter.

I believe that in order to be productive and fulfilled in whatever your role is, you need to wake up early. I think there are seasons of life where it just isn’t gonna happen (a baby who isn’t sleeping well yet, pregnancy) but for most people in most seasons, I think becoming an early riser is the key to successfully rocking life.  

I've heard people say they are actually more productive late at night when everyone’s in bed, and that may be true, but I found that there was a chance my nighttime productivity session wouldn’t come - life happens, the day can make you tired, things come up.

You might not get the chance for some quiet, focused time in your Bible at 2PM or 10PM, but you will at 5AM. I reached a point in my life where I was not living on purpose and I was struggling. I needed to take my days my the horns and pursue discipline, and that meant waking up early.

If you want to read more about how to start waking up earlier, how to handle kids who wake up when they hear you, and all the hurdles you face when trying to start your day early, I wrote a post on it that you can read here.

In this post, we’re focusing on what to do once you’re up.

I love what Laura Vanderkam says in her eBook What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast“Seizing your mornings is the equivalent of that sound financial advice to pay yourself before you pay your bills. If you wait until the end of the month to save what you have left, there will be nothing left over.

Likewise, if you wait until the end of the day to do meaningful but not urgent things like exercise, pray, read, ponder how to advance your career or truly give your family your best, it probably won’t happen. If it has to happen, it has to happen first.”

It is so much easier to become distracted in the middle or at the end of the day, especially when you’re a busy mama. Having kids means stuff comes up on a daily hourly basis. You cannot count on later for doing things that matter.

There is so much on our to do lists as moms that it can be stressful trying to decide how to spend our early morning time. It’s easy to give in to the pull to catch up on a looming task like laundry, but really, the mornings need to be for the things you can’t do well with kids awake and life happening.

In the early morning hours, it feels like life is paused. It’s quieter, solitude is so much easier to find, and you can think clearly (post-coffee, of course). Think about what you can do in these early hours that is really hard to get done during the rush of the day - quiet time, prayer, reading, exercise, stretching, breathing - do those things.

Quiet Time

What fills your soul and makes you feel like you can handle the day ahead and live it well? Is it reading Scripture? Sitting still while you listen to music? Taking in a good book? Meditation? Find a way to have some guided peaceful time in your morning. For me, I read my Bible as well as a short devotional (Streams in the Desert is my all-time favorite).


It’s really important to give yourself a strong, positive start to the day because it’s so easy for things to take a negative turn. When we put ourselves in the right mindset before the day even gets going, we up our odds of success and take control of where our minds will go as the day’s events unfold.

I like to take a walk (my husband is at home in case our kids were to need anything) and read my morning affirmations out loud. These affirmations have a powerful effect on me and get my mind right every time, no matter what’s going on. I also give my day to the Lord in prayer on my morning walk.

Click here to get a list of my morning affirmations for motherhood and success.


If exercise isn’t a part of your week, it should be. There are innumerable studies that show what an incredible, positive effect movement has on your body and your mind. You can’t take care of yourself without some kind of exercise.

Take a walk, follow along with a yoga YouTuber, train for a 5k, get a kickboxing DVD - whatever floats your boat. Along with my morning walk (which is super mellow and not really intended to be exercise), I have a gym membership which I use a few times a week. I’m also a fan of yoga and am currently on track to become a licensed instructor because I love it so much. Find what moves you, inside and out, and make it a part of your morning rhythm.


What practical things really need to get done? What are your most pressing tasks for the day ahead? Get them done before breakfast.

For me, as a writer with four small kids at home all day with me, it is incredibly difficult for me to create a quiet space for writing. I am constantly interrupted, frustrated, and trying to write in the middle of the day is pretty much pointless, even with Brian home to help me. I need to get my most pressing writing done early in the morning. I write about 1,000-2,000 words in the morning a few days a week. This keeps me on top of my task list with running the blog, and doesn’t take me too long.

If you don’t run a blog or a business, your work could be a load of laundry or meal planning. Whatever makes you feel pressured when you think about not getting it done during the day, do it early in the morning. Get it out of the way so that if life happens and things come up, it’s okay because your highest priority tasks are taken care of. You’ll be a much happier, calmer mom - trust me!

You can choose two or three or all of these types of things to add to your early morning rhythm. What you’ll be able to do depends on how early you wake up and what your circumstances are. The key is to be flexible and disciplined at the same time, and prioritize your morning time. It matters.

Do you have an early morning rhythm? Share your ideas for productivity in the mornings in the comments!


Overcoming Your Biggest Hurdles with Mindset Shifts

We are our own worst enemy so much of the time. We get in our own way, we hold ourselves back from overcoming a hurdle, accomplishing something amazing, becoming someone new. We get in the way of the Holy Spirit, allowing our inner voice to drown His out. We create an unhappy reality for ourselves without even realizing it, and then complain about it.

This is called having a fixed mindset or a limiting belief about yourself or your circumstances.

Let’s look at some examples of how this could be lived out.

Let’s say you’ve always been significantly overweight. You think about what it would be like to be fit, imagine how your body would feel, daydream about what it would be like to wear a certain outfit you admire, but you can’t actually envision that fit, strong person being you. It just seems totally impossible that you would ever really lose that weight and have that body - that’s a fixed mindset.

Here’s another example:

You’ve always had a lot of clutter. It wouldn’t be a birthday party in your house if you didn’t spend the entire day beforehand screaming at your family to help and shoving crap into the bedroom closets. This is just the way it’s always been and you can’t really imagine how your life would look if you had absolutely no clutter. You can see how it would free up your time, but you can’t actually envision that being your life. Fixed mindset. Limiting belief.

Let's look at one more example, this time I'll pull from my own life. I’ve actually related to both the examples listed above, and overcome them, but I want to dive deeper with you. Getting personal here!

I didn’t finish college. My parents never really expressed a deep disappointment in me for that or anything, but I felt like it was there, probably because I put it on myself (I’m the oldest and being the oldest means you’re super hard on yourself).

I got married young and my husband Brian (who also did not go to college) and I came back from our honeymoon to hardship - he had been laid off and the economy was crashing - it hit us right from the start. We struggled financially from the moment we said “I do” and it didn’t let up.

Brian had a solid job that provided for us and allowed me to stay home with our babies (this was a nonnegotiable for us) but it required working lots of overtime hours or we wouldn’t make it. He was gone six days a week and we barely scraped by. We had our four babies and struggled to make ends meet all the time.

There were very dark, scary nights when we didn’t know how we’d make it through, and I had grown used to this being our life. Money was something I just never thought we’d have - it wasn’t in the cards for us. I believe I spent a lot of years punishing myself for not finishing college, because I was raised to believe that college was a huge privilege that I had and you can’t make a good living without going to college, and I clung to this limiting belief.

Long story short, God brought our family into a situation that led to the idea of me starting a business out of this blog. I’ve always had an entrepreneur mind (I was raised by two successful business owners) and it felt like something I was meant to do, but my money mindset was very limited and held me from success for months.

I wanted to help more overwhelmed moms experience the freedom I had through a life of less clutter and overwhelm, and I knew I could do that through my business, but my limiting beliefs held me back from changing lives and changing our finances. 

When I finally realized this, I remember feeling like a rock had hit me in the head - my whole world was shaken up and I didn’t want to live under the weight of my fixed mindset for even one more minute. I went outside and prayed, and started speaking truth over myself and my business. I did this every day (and still do) and after a week, my business exploded and everything I had been working so hard for that wasn’t happening finally came through.

I can be successful because I am called by God, qualified, and smart. College doesn’t fit in with who I am and what my calling is. That truth trumped my limiting beliefs and I have never looked back.

I want you to overcome your biggest hurdles by changing the way you think, too. It’s such a powerful ability we all have! Our thoughts hold incredible power.

Need a little help getting started with affirmations in your own life?

I've put together a list of morning affirmations for your motherhood, and a second list for your life and success - the exact affirmations I use every day. Get all of them delivered to your inbox right now!

You can apply this to any area of your life and find your own personal limiting mindsets lurking. Let’s talk about what you can do about it.

Stop counting your failure as the end of the road. Learn from it, and try again.

Remember that one time and that two-hundredth time you tried to lose weight, stop yelling, start a business, improve your marriage, wake up early, whatever it is for you, and you failed? Nobody cares but you. Let it go, detach yourself from it - that failure is not your identity. Move on and try again.

Move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset

You’re stuck, and it’s totally possible for you to pull out of it. Change your way of thinking by counteracting your limiting beliefs with the truth. For me, that’s Scripture and who my Savior says I am - able through Him, a new creation with a fresh start right in front of me, called according to His purpose - those truths counteract my negativity and my fixed mindset. I’m a big believer in writing things down. Studies show that we are 42% more likely to accomplish goals when we write them down, so I think it’s pretty important to write down what it is we’re wanting to change in ourselves too.

Write out your limiting beliefs, then write out the truths and positive affirmations that counteract those beliefs. Get into the habit of saying those positive words out loud to yourself every day. Watch your world transform.


Help yourself overcome by putting your truths and the goal you want to make your reality right in front of your face all the time. Create a list or picture of vision board of where you want to go, place it somewhere you’ll see it all throughout the day, like your fridge or car steering wheel. Focus on it, let it permeate your brain all day long.

Make sure your affirmations make you feel something. When you’re reading them out loud, you should feel yourself being filled with hope - it should feel like someone is breathing life into you. When I read mine, I can feel something inside of me shifting, responding to the words I’m saying. Make them bold, not timid.

For example, when we were at our brokest point, I stood in my driveway and said, “I am extremely wealthy. I am also generous and changing the world with my money.”

Do you have any idea how ridiculous it felt to stand outside and say that sentence out loud when I wasn’t even sure how we were going to afford groceries the next day? But suddenly, nearly overnight, this was our reality, and now we are truly seeing our money do good things and change the world through giving - it’s incredible to see this practice take effect in your life. You can do this same thing with anything you’re struggling to overcome.

Get a PDF of the exact same morning affirmations I use every morning for my motherhood, my money, and my personal success right now to help you get started!

Have you ever tried speaking affirmations or Scripture over yourself? Share your experience in the comments section!


Becoming a Woman of Intent this Year

Life is happening right now. If it’s happening TO you, you’re probably floundering instead of being in flexible control. That’s a bad place to stay, friend. 

Flexible control means you have solid, healthy rhythms set up in your home and your life that allow you to get done what you need to get done without feeling stretched super thin all the time, and when life happens and chaos ensues, it’s okay because you’ve got your rhythms and you know where you’re going.

You have intent and purpose underfoot, and you can ride the waves of life with peace and confidence.

Becoming a woman of intent means balancing grace and persistence, flexibility and planning. It means living on purpose each and every day while taking time to soak up our families and our little moments. A woman with intent has a vision for her life, her family, and her legacy.

She knows that the end goal is, she feels it in her soul, and she’s taking small daily action steps to get herself there. A woman of intent doesn’t let life happen to her, she purposefully determines her next step and adapts as necessary.

Let’s talk about how we can become women of intent in this new year because it’s so much more substantial than resolving to lose ten pounds, and because resolutions don’t work. What we need are intentional, bite-sized action steps that lead us to meeting a meaningful goal.

1. Get uncluttered

Did you really think I’d start anywhere else? ;)

Clutter and stress are besties, and they have no place living in our homes - where we dwell and cook and sleep and love on our babies and cultivate relationships.

When you have a cluttered home, you have a cluttered life, and a cluttered life can’t be a truly purposeful one because clutter gets in the way of intent.

When I first started getting uncluttered, I had no idea that my marriage would improve, that my depression would clear up and leave for good, or that I would be a generally lighter, happier person. I was just looking to simplify and maybe get out of survival mode!

Choosing to move out of a cluttered life and into a purposeful space that you love is so incredibly powerful and the perfect first step to a more intentional life.

Let’s talk about clearing the clutter in a few main areas to get you started.

The Laundry

I know we all joke about Laundry Mountain and washing endless piles of clothes as being a hilarious part of the #MomLife rant, but what if I looked you in the eye and told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Would you even believe me?

Laundry is such a huge time-sucker and it’s so completely unnecessary for you to spend so many hours on it - it kills me that so many beautiful mamas are wasting their weekends catching up on this instead of sitting at the park with their sweet babies!

Simplify the wardrobes in your home by getting real with yourself. What are you really wearing every week? What are you really dressing your kids in on a regular basis? Forget what you wear simply because it’s there and be really honest with yourself about what’s needed and loved. Ditch the rest.

We hold onto so much excess “just in case” and it’s just making more work for us. Let it go, girl! It’s not worth it!

The Dishes

Another huge time-sucker - the dishes. Open your cupboards right now and look at how many dish sets you have in there. Now how many people do you have eating in your house on a normal night? Why do we keep so many dishes in our cupboards?

Have you ever wondered how you have such a massive pile of dishes to wash at the end of the day when you only cooked one meal?

Here’s the thing...when someone in your house needs a dish, they will always reach for a clean one in the cupboard, no matter how many dishes are sitting in the sink ready to be rinsed and reused. Why? Because human beings always opt for the path of least resistance.

So here's what you can do - choose just one set of dishes (enough for everyone in your house to have one, plus two extra) and store the rest somewhere else. Maybe boxed up in the garage, in a less high-traffic kitchen cupboard, whatever you like.

Get a dish drying rack and set it next to the sink. After dishes are used, they get washed off and set in the drying rack so they’re ready to be used for the next meal or snack. This way, you’re not washing a ton of extra dishes...only what was needed.

Click here to download my free guide to decluttering your laundry and dishes! 

Seek to clear the clutter and simplify everywhere in your house. Ditch the junk drawer for good, simplify your wardrobe, question everything you feel obligated to add to your calendar...get intentional about what is taking up your space and your time. It matters!

Challenge Blog post image.png

2. Create intentional focus on what matters

At this point, we all know that technology is a distracting, time-hoarding waste as well as an incredibly useful, connective tool we can no longer live without. It’s a life-changing asset and a weapon to destroy meaningful living at the same time, and we need to be intentional about putting it in its place in our lives.

How often have you found yourself reading something on your phone while your toddler repeats “Mom?” a hundred times and you weren’t even really able to hear her? I’ve been there and I get back there on a regular basis, so no guilt trips here!

The thing is, we can’t be the ones who just roll with it and let the age of technology take over our motherhoods - we have to try harder, fight back, and tell technology where it belongs in our lives - below our families. We do this by living it out.

Change your notification settings. Why do you need your phone to make a noise every time you get a text message? Why does everyone in your phonebook need to reach you at the drop of a hat? Change it so that only your husband’s texts trigger an alert noise.

Dedicate a place for your phone and leave it there whenever you’re home. Maybe it will be the entryway table, the bathroom, or your bedside table. Wherever it is, make it a non-pivotal location in your house and keep your phone there. Make a rule that you’ll only check your phone when you’re standing at that spot. When you change your notification settings like I advised above, you can leave the sound on loud so you’ll always hear if someone truly important is trying to reach you.

3. Develop rhythms

Rhythms keep you from bottlenecking in your life. If you can get into a balanced flow of the must-do's each day, you will always hit the pillow feeling accomplished, even when you didn't get everything on your list done. It's hard to get in survival mode when you live this way.

Moms live in chaos, so the more balanced, rhythmic strides we can take, the better we'll feel about our days and how intentional we've been.

Rhythms should be made for the things you really need to do each day or week. For example, waking up at a certain time instead of whenever your kids come get you in the morning, or sweeping underneath the dining table after every meal. They automate the musts and remove the stress of remembering every single thing every single day.

Look at how you spend a typical day and find places where rhythms would help.

4.  Have a vision.

Without a clear view of where you want to go, you will fail. I know that’s a hard truth but you need to hear it so you can take action. Ignorance in this is anything but bliss.

We are in charge of our actions, we are responsible for raising our babies, for cultivating love in our marriages, for watering the garden of our life. If we don’t get serious and create a clear, intentional vision for who we want to be and where we are going, we will die out and leave behind nothing of value.

Where there is no vision the people perish.
— Proverbs 29:18

How do you discover your vision? Ask yourself:

  • What do I want to have done, how do I want to have lived when I’m eighty?
  • What legacy do I want to leave behind for my children?
  • What is my purpose? What lights me up from within and makes me want to change the world?

    >> This can be a tough one for busy mamas who are focused on taking care of their littles. For me, that passion is reshaping motherhoods all over the world with my message of hope and light through minimalism and simplified living. You might need to take a little time, pray, think, walk it out… it will come to you if you look for it.

No one wants to purposely live a life that’s not as fulfilling and intentionally as it could have been, yet when we don’t get real, get serious and decide to be women of intent, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

If you’re ready to make this year your most intentional one yet and you want to dive deeper into each of these areas in your life - decluttering, developing focus and rhythms, and becoming a woman of intent - I want to personally invite you to join my Facebook Challenge, She is Intentional.

This challenge will be starting LIVE on December 26th in my Facebook group.

To be a part of it, request to join the group and watch for the daily Facebook live sessions.

Then download your free She is Intentional workbook. It’s for over 30 pages to help you put pen to paper and take real action in this challenge and apply it to YOUR life.

Are you ready?? Let’s do this, friend.



A No-Stress Way to Handle More Stuff at Christmas

You’ve been working hard to declutter your home, simplify, and lighten your load as a busy mom.

And then seemingly out of nowhere... Christmas.

You know this means loads of toys your kids don’t need, extra clothes you wouldn’t have picked out, and likely, an alarmingly excessive amount of stuff.

It feels like all your hard work is about to be undone, and it sucks.

You don’t want to feel ungrateful or be this year’s Scrooge, but you’re frustrated.

Maybe you haven’t started working toward minimalism just yet, but it’s on the horizon for the New Year and the last thing you want is a giant explosion of materialism to end the current year.

Relatives probably won’t get that you’re wanting to pursue less, you probably should have talked to them before they did their shopping anyway, and your kids are excited at the prospect of receiving all kinds of presents.

I know it seems like your only option is to look the other way, then deal with the chaos later, but take heart - I’ve got some things you can do.

How to Prepare Your House

Sometimes the incoming wave of stuff seems overwhelming because you’ve already got an overwhelming house. You can change that.

Declutter your kids toys by boxing up anything you don’t think they play with much or really love, then put the box(es) in the garage. If a couple weeks after all the new toys come in they haven’t asked for anything in the box, you can donate it.

If you’ve got older kids, let them know what you’re doing and keep it positive. Say something like, “I know you’re about to have an amazing Christmas so we’re preparing the house.” rather than “You’ve got crap coming out of your ears and I’m sick of it!” ;)

If you’re struggle is deciding which toys to keep and which to get rid of, sometimes it helps to consider the purpose of each one.

When I first started decluttering, I wanted my kids’ toys to align with a purposeful childhood, which for me, meant lots of outdoor playtime, building and creating things, and using their imagination.

So, toys that lit up and did all the playing for them went in the donation bin. We ended up having blocks, trains and tracks, a couple of beloved toys (I kept what their absolute favorites were since my aim wasn’t to ensure a place for them in adult therapy classes) art supplies, outdoor toys, and a few dress-up clothes that encouraged imagination.

Simplify your kids’ wardrobes by stripping them down to the bones to create less laundry for you to wash

We hold onto so many things we don’t need “just in case” we do need them, especially when it comes to our kids’ clothes. They’re hard on them, they’re dirty rowdy little people, so we feel the need to keep loads of extra.

The problem is, it’s creating more work for us and it’s usually not worth it. If you head into your kids’ dresser and closet, I bet you’ll be able to pull out the pieces of clothing you most often dress them in and like that they wear, and everything else would be rarely worn.

The times they are worn is likely because you’re behind on the laundry. Why don’t you remove the crutch of having extra clothes, you can’t get behind on the laundry, so you wash less clothes, and receiving new clothes for Christmas isn’t such a burden.

This is my two-year-old son's entire wardrobe, minus his raincoat and shoes.

This is my two-year-old son's entire wardrobe, minus his raincoat and shoes.

What you’re doing here is creating a ton of white space in your kids’ rooms so that the new stuff doesn’t overwhelm you. You’ll be able to handle it and not up your stress level because you already got to a very simplified place.

What You Can Do After Christmas Morning


Revisit the idea of donating with your kids. Often times, they gain a new perspective on old toys when they receive new ones. Make a trip to the donation center a week or two after Christmas (bring that box of unmissed toys you set aside before).

  • Tip: make donating about empathy for your kids rather than about you having a clean house. One of my core goals in raising my kids is to encourage a love of minimalism in them so they can live a simple, uncluttered life when they grow up, so that means giving them a deeper reason to live this way. Telling my kids that this is about me having a clean house is dense. Showing them that their donations are doing good for less fortunate people is deep and meaningful and teaches them empathy. Kids love being a part of something bigger than themselves and we all want to raise good humans - it’s a win win.


Give your kids the responsibility of their stuff. Moms are not slaves, and kids are not royalty. Teach them to be responsible people by having them take charge over picking p their stuff. Why should that stress be solely on you? Families are teams and team members should pull their weight, even at a young age.

Do what you want to here, but in our house our kids help out and are totally responsible for picking up after themselves and keeping their room clean. If they want to keep more toys, that’s totally fine! They’re the ones who have to keep them picked up. It’s a good lesson to learn because this is how life works.

Focus on another area that needs simplifying. I think a lot of time we obsess over how many toys our kids got for Christmas and what a huge setback it was when the real issue is that we aren't as minimal as we'd like to be, so we blame it on one area that isn't the sole problem.

I can honestly say that because my entire house is minimal, I don’t stress about Christmas and birthday presents. I let those who ask know what my kids would like that aligns with our minimalist lifestyle and Brian and I don’t buy them much ourselves, but other than that I ride the waves and relax about it.

I know that my house is as simple as I can probably get it, so one area not being perfect for a little while is okay and doesn’t stress me out. When you live truly minimally, you aren’t stretched thin all the time, and things like this don’t get to you.

Minimalism lived out the other 364 days of the year means you don't have to panic over this one.


How do you prepare for the influx of stuff at Christmas? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!




High Quality, Last-Minute Gifts So Worth Buying

Seeing as though I have a thousand kids (okay, four.) I have been super busy and distracted, and I feel swindled by Christmas this year. It seriously snuck up on me - it’s almost here!

I’m sort of a scattered mom when it comes to planning ahead for things like gifts. I always think I have more time and then Christmas is a jerk and pops up out of nowhere.

Thankfully, I have a couple of amazing little shops on my radar that I am super excited to share with the rest of you who are also behind on gift-buying.

I don’t like to waste money or buy things that are not going to be loved, valued, and used - it’s my minimalist heart ;)

I am also a huge supporter of small business, especially since I own one myself now!

If a gift can be worth the money, great quality, unique, and totally useful but serve me at the last minute, I’m sold.

Enter Jord Wood Watches.

I asked Jord to send me a men's watch for my hubby so I could give it a test run. I came across their site and thought wooden watches was such an interesting, unique idea, but honestly I was kind of afraid they’d break really easily.

I was so impressed with this watch!

Brian flipped out when he opened it (when you’re a blogger’s wife you get presents early because, photoshoots). It fit him perfectly and suited his lumber-chic style.

The other thing I really like about Jord is their customer service is one of the best I’ve encountered. They have a live chat box on their website where you can talk to someone immediately and ask them questions. Guys, I was browsing at midnight the other night and there was a person there - um, amazing.

I’m so happy to see that Jord has had incredible success, and their watches make an impressive, lasting gift for anyone in your life - husband, dad, mom, they really have something for everyone.

To help you out, Jord offered to give all my lovely readers a coupon for $25 off your order. Win!

Head right over here to snag one before they’re all gone and order something nice for a loved one.

Another smaller business I have been so impressed with is Thirteen Eleven Olive. Creator Annie Stayer makes the coolest leather cuffs, rings, drawer pulls…. Everything leather! I could go crazy in her little shop.

This is another one of those shops where you can find something for almost everyone and still walk out with unique presents that will last and be really useful.

I mean just look…

Can’t. Even. All the heart eyes for this shop!

When it comes to gift giving and minimalism, it's really about the quality of an item and how useful it is to the person you're giving it to. The point is to move away from pointlessly purchasing something cheap for the sake of giving the person something. Put thought into it, make it count, make it useful and unique!




This post was sponsored by Jord Wood Watches

How to Take Ownership of Your Day with Time-Blocking

You own time, time does not own you.

Think about that statement and let it seep into your brain as you think about what your day would look like if you lived that way. How would you carry yourself as a busy wife and mom?

How would you treat appointments, tasks, and chores? With that kind of ownership in your hands, you could probably be pretty confident in telling your minutes where to go and feel pretty great about all you accomplished each day.

That statement is pure truth. You DO own time, it has no power over you unless you let it. You have the same amount of hours in your day as Maya Angelou, Einstein, Oprah, all the great, accomplished people the world has observed as influential.

If you want to get more done, be productive, feel good about your day, and rock this motherhood thing, you’ve got to take ownership of your time.

Rockin’ this mom life gig is all about taking this ownership and balancing it with a heavy dose of flexibility. I need grace more than water, and I mess up on the regular, but for the most part, my days are owned, and I don't let the chaos win.

Let me show you how I do it, and then help you put this into practice for yourself.

What My Life Looks Like

I have four kids, ages two to seven. I’m married, I homeschool, and I own my own online business, which I run from my home office.

My husband Brian was able to quit the job that kept him away from us six excruciating days a week (massive prayer answered and a huge leap of faith for us) this past April, so he's at home with me.

We share the load of running the business and homeschooling the kids. This means sometimes the yellow time blocks set aside for work are used by him while I handle the homeschooling, but usually it's me writing or catching up on emails while he teaches the kids. 

This should give you a feel for our life and what it is we're dealing with. Your life will probably look pretty different from ours, and that's okay - you can still use this blog post and idea as a really sturdy guide for some structure in your day. Just tweak how it's filled in to fit your schedule and family. 

Our life is a lot, it’s not easy, and it takes a lot of patience, grace, and rhythm to keep things running smoothly. I’m not naturally a Type A person (kinda wish I was), but I have learned that I need to adopt some Type A habits in order to live intentionally, and that’s worth it to me.

Here’s what my typical day looks like (the details of the work and school tasks vary depending on which day of the week it is).

I typically take Thursdays off of both work and homeschooling, and our family will head out for an adventure day. Usually we do some sort of outdoor homeschool day trip, sometimes we just get lunch together, run some errands, and spend time at the park.

Either way, it’s a mid-week break with uninterrupted family time and I love it. I don’t do well with a traditional weekend of two days off in a row. I lose my step and my productivity tanks. Since I have the flexibility to do something different, I take advantage of that.

On Sundays, I don’t work at all, and I detox from social media too. It’s usually a very restful day for all of us.

Every day (even if it’s a day off), I wake up between 4:30 & 5:30. I found that there are certain things, like writing content for my website, that I really need to do in the quiet, which only happens when my kids are asleep. I’ve also found that if I have gotten the most pressing and important tasks for the day finished before my kids even wake up, I am able to be extremely flexible.

Mom life means unforeseen changes to the schedule pretty often - injured or sick kids, deciding to take off and do something fun midday, an errand that suddenly really needs to be done, etc. When the most crucial tasks on my day’s to do list are done at 4:30 in the morning, I can let go of the rest with a lot less stress if I need to roll with the waves and change my plans for the day.

You can read my suggestions on breaking night owl habits and waking up early here.

Enter: Time-Blocking

Now that you see the kind of things I need to accomplish throughout the week, let’s talk about time blocking.

Time blocking is exactly what it sounds like - blocking chunks of time out and dedicating each chunk to a certain genre of tasks. You’re basically telling your time where to go like you do in Dave Ramsey's budgeting philosophy.

Instead of telling every dollar how it will be used before you earn it, you’re telling every hour how it will be spent before it happens. This is taking ownership of your time, and in turn, taking ownership of your life. To me, this is a key part in living on purpose with intention and focus, which is really important to me.

Here’s what my time blocking looks like:

Want help applying time-blocking to your own life?

I typically spend two solid hours working early in the morning, and two or three hours mid-late morning.

I spend a few broken up hours homeschooling the kids in the afternoon and do things like going through our Bible curriculum while we eat breakfast to kill two birds with one stone whenever I can.

I’ve woven some self-care and intentional family time into each day as well. I end every early morning work session with a walk around my neighborhood while I speak affirmations over myself, my life, and my business and spend time in prayer.

My kids wake up around 7:15 and know they are to hang out in their bedroom until 8:00 when breakfast is served. I start my day with them feeling awake, caffeinated, productive, and happy. So much better than still in bed, groggy, pissed off, and late to the start of my own life each day!

I have prioritized meal time in our home by marking it in red on my time blocking chart. This way, even it’s an incredible busy day for me, we are pressing pause to sit down and share a lengthy meal together as a family.

You’ll notice that housework is the smallest block of the day, and blocking an hour out for it each evening is completely unnecessary, but that time is there in case for some reason we do need it.

Our home requires extremely minimal daily maintenance because of minimalism. I’ve simplified our belongings and our home down to the bare minimum, which allows me to not worry about housework much at all during the day. It’s awesome!

We pick up as we go a bit during the day, but the blue block of time on my chart is usually about 30 minutes of picking up right before dinner. Along with a load of laundry and caring for pets, that’s all we need to keep the house in good shape and feeling clean.

On Saturday mornings, we do deep cleaning as a family. If you’d like to implement minimalism in your house, click here.

How You Can Start Time-Blocking Your Own Life

The first thing you need to do is write out a list of all the things that HAVE to be done every week. What keeps your home running smoothly? What has to be done in order to keep your home and your life from falling apart?

Think about everything, including self-care. What needs to be done in order to keep YOU from falling apart? What do you need to do in order to be a fulfilled, peaceful mama? Include your marriage, your relationships with your kids, housework, business or work tasks if you have them, everything.

Next, you need to look at the amount of time you have in your day. What time would you LIKE to wake up? You can change this to be earlier if you end up needing the extra hours, but what is your ideal wake up time? Do you like to stay up later and sleep until about 7:30? Do you like to rise early? Write down your ideal time for starting your day.

Now write down anything you would like to accomplish before your kids come out for breakfast, if anything. Do you want to get the hardest/most important part of your day’s tasks out of the way right from the get-go? Do you simply want some quiet time alone? How long will these tasks take? Half an hour? Two hours?

Estimate and write the number down. Add thirty minutes to account for waking up, using the bathroom, and getting your head out of your sleepiest state. That’s how much earlier than your kids you need to wake up. If your kids wake up ridiculously early, you can set a new rule where they can come out for breakfast at a certain time that’s more realistic for you and allows you the time you need to start your day well in the mornings.

For example, my kids used to wake up at 5:00 in the morning, and it was ridiculous. I set a new rule which didn’t allow them to come out and have run of the house until 7:00. Now they sleep in until about 7:15 (their inner clocks naturally adjusted after a few weeks because they knew it’s no longer super fun to wake up early if you can’t do whatever you want), and their “come out and have breakfast” time is now 8:00.

This works great for our family, and you can adjust the times to what will work best for yours.

Next you need to look at your set schedule. This is the schedule that isn’t flexible in your life. For example, do your kids go to school? Their school hours are not flexible, and determine a large part of your day. Do you work outside the home? Your work schedule determines your day and is not flexible.

Do you have weekly commitments like homeschool co-ops, doctor appointments, or play dates? Write these things down and block out these times (school drop off and pick up times, work hours, commute times, etc.)

Okay, so now that you’ve done that, what’s left? That’s your place to fill in the things you wrote down in the first step - all the things you need to accomplish each day to keep your home and your life running smoothly. If you don’t have enough hours in your day, you have to create it by setting an earlier wake time, a later bedtime, or removing something from your day. Sometimes this means making hard decisions about your life because you realize you have way too much on your plate and literally cannot do it all well.

Don’t be discouraged or stressed out… this is something you needed to realize and can totally handle. Make decisions based on peace and confidence and in what feels right, not out of fear or worry.

The next step is to play around with the order and structure of your day. Look at what you’ve written down and think about living it out. Would you really like to respond to emails first thing in the morning? Or would you rather spend time doing that during the baby’s nap?

Think hard about the rhythm you want for your week and what will work best for your husband’s work schedule, your personality, and the ages of your kids. You might need to be a little more flexible for a season (ie: if you have a baby who isn’t sleeping through the night yet).

The final step is creating your personal time blocking chart. I prefer Google Sheets for this, but you can also use Excel or a similar program. You can also download my pre-made time blocking chart and fill it in for yourself by clicking here.

Want help applying time-blocking to your life?

Download the free Time-Blocking Mom Workbook now!

10 pages of help + a time chart for your week!

Life is hard, chaotic, and can make you feel out of control so easily. Sometimes that’s a good thing and it grows us, other times it’s debilitating and depressing, and keeps us from accomplishing our purpose. Take control of your time, tell it where to go, and free yourself up to enjoy spontaneous moments a lot more, be a more intentional mom, and end up with a life lived well.

Manage your time, construct your day better, organize how you spend your time. 

Manage your time, construct your day better, organize how you spend your time. 

Dear Mom Who Just Wants to Be Perfect, Strive for Happiness

My addiction to Pinterest has resulted in me reading an ungodly amount of quotes but recently, one grabbed my attention so hard that I could not get it out of my mind.

“Your kids don’t want a perfect mom; they just want a happy one.”

– Unknown

Now, if you’re anything like me, giving your children what they want is extremely important to you. I thought I was doing just that by trying to be the perfect mom that they deserve. After reading this quote, I started to think that maybe I have actually been depriving my kids of what they really want and need, a happy mom. It has become clear that attempting to be perfect may not be the only thing that is robbing me of my ability to be happy. I want to change that, not only for me but for all moms.

For me, deciding to strive for happiness starts with accepting and understanding why perfection in motherhood is simply not attainable. Sure, perfection is possible in some parts of life. You can get a perfect score on a test but only because there is a teacher’s guide to compare your answers to. As moms, we don’t have a guide to tell us what we are doing correctly or incorrectly because no two people will every agree what criteria a mother must meet to be considered perfect. Since we don’t have a guide to follow, most of us end up comparing ourselves to other moms and that, honestly, is just foolish. That mom at the park who you think has it all together might be thinking the same about you. That means that we are allowing ourselves to feel inadequate based on not being “as good” as another imperfect mom.

The author Jodi Picoult once said, “The very fact that you are worried about being a good mom means that you already are one.” This could not be more true. A bad mom wouldn’t waste any time wondering if she’s doing a good job, she doesn’t care. As good moms, we do care, a lot, and yet we tend to underestimate ourselves. Sometimes, second guessing our decisions can be frustrating but it can also force us to make better ones. Therefore, even as we worry and overthink, we can simultaneously hold our heads high, be confident in our abilities and continue on our journey to happiness.

Before I was a wife and mother, I had a clear picture in my head of what I was going to be like when the time came. I thought I would handle tough situations with grace and volunteer for everything. I assumed that I would never lose my temper or my figure. I thought that and my family would be perfect. When reality hit, I allowed the feeling of not living up to my fantasy to morph into a feeling of failure. If I had been able to let go of how I thought things should be, I would have been able to see the amazing transformation I was making. I was not failing, I was learning. We all know that becoming a good wife and mother can be a really challenging learning process. It was only after I let go of that fantasy that I was able to really enjoy how things were. So, if you haven’t already, let go of that woman you thought you were going to be. When you do, you will see that you have been transformed into someone more amazing than you imagined.

I believe that we should never allow anyone to stand in the way of our happiness, especially not ourselves! I don’t know about you but I would much rather hear my children describe me as happy instead of perfect. I will no longer try to be perfect, obsess about being good enough or underestimate the woman I have become. I will steadily strive to become the happy mom that my children truly want and deserve.

Lychelle Hollback is a military wife and stay at home mom to two wonderful boys, ages 3 and 6. She was born and raised in Wisconsin but now resides in South Eastern Virginia, where her husband is stationed with the Navy.

She is extremely passionate about her role as a mother, wife and homemaker and enjoys writing about the many adventures that go on in her day to day life. You can follow Lychelle by reading her blog.

How to Motivate Yourself to Wake Up Earlier

When you start waking up earlier, it really sucks. There, I said it.

I faced my dreaded early bird future a couple years ago, knowing it was the right way to go, but hating it and wishing desperately that I could hold onto my beloved night owl lifestyle.

The evenings were my prime time. Or so I thought. At the end of a long day, curling up on the couch with my laptop and a glass of wine made my heart happy. I would always tell myself I was going to be productive and knock out a blog post or two, but then get hazy and distracted and end up watching three hours of Netflix. I’d start to doze off and end up wandering to bed around midnight or later.

Sound familiar?

I reached a point where, like the lovely Kat Lee says so often, I was waking up TO my kids rather than FOR my kids. I woke up to them bickering, asking for breakfast, in a hazy fog from the late night before. Not my best self, I often started the day cranky, sometimes yelling - and the mom of the year award goes to…...anyone else.

I decided to suck it up and make some changes. I had already discovered the beauty of simplifying my home and how much freer I felt as a mom during my daily routine, so I wondered what I could change next.

I woke up at 5:00 the next morning. I forced myself to just do it - stand up and make the  bed as quickly as possible, then run into the kitchen - no chance of climbing back under the cozy covers. I was half dead, but with some coffee and a few quiet moments, I got my laptop out and started writing.

I was pretty productive, but the kids heard me tapping the keyboard and kept wanting to come out. Then they’d be loud, then they’d ask me for breakfast despite the fact that it was still dark out and they probably shouldn’t even be awake yet. It was frustrating and discouraging, but I could see the light. I saw how the mornings could go and noticed that I was for sure more alert and ready to be productive early in the day, unlike nighttime when I’m really just DONE and want to veg out with my hubby and Netflix. Plus, I liked it, to my surprise. 

I decided to adjust and push through, tweaking things to eliminate the problems. A couple years later, I still wake up around 5AM. It’s not perfect, and some days I get up slightly later and some days even a little earlier, depending on lots of things, but I’ve figured out how to make this work! And when it does, waking up early is pretty amazing and highly beneficial to motherhood.

I want to say before I dive into the deets...there are seasons for this. There are seasons to not give a crap - like when you’re pregnant or sick or have a baby who still wakes up randomly. There are people who truly do better, more productive work in the evening. This post isn’t meant to sway you. If you stay up late and get sh*t done, go for it. It works for you, great.

There are also seasons where nighttime really does work better for one reason or another. I’ve switched back to being a night owl twice in the last two years, very temporarily. Once because I was creating my course. It was very stressful and I found that I didn’t sleep well until I had poured a heavy amount of work into it. The other time is right now, in the past week, for a similar reason. I’m working on writing my book proposal and several other large work projects, and when the stress level is this high, for some reason I change into this nighttime productivity machine and just need to pour into my work right before I call it a day. It’s weird, but it works better for me very rarely, so I roll with it.

For the most part though, I wake up early. It’s now a part of my usual routine and it’s increased my productivity, happiness, energy levels, and general fulfillment in my life by a lot.

If you’re the kind of mom that’s in the right season of life and has the desire to wake up early but kind of sucks at it, this post is for you.

There are a lot of different reasons being dedicated to waking early has you failing or deciding you no longer give a crap. Let's hash them out, shall we?

1) When you wake early, your kids hear you no matter how quiet you are, and come out, ruining your plan for the morning.

Hear me, mama. YOU ARE THE PARENT! If you need to wake up early and be alone for a bit, set the rules and keep them.

When I saw this being an issue with my kids, I made a new house rule that is still in place to this day. The kids are not allowed to come out of their room (they have their own bathroom, otherwise that would be the only exception) until their alarm clock rings at 8 AM. This gives me three solid hours of writing without them coming out.

I set them up with what they need - this isn’t a torture chamber. They have a snack and water and are allowed to talk, read, and play until eight. My oldest gets the baby from his crib and helps busy him. Sometimes I have to run in and give him a fresh diaper, but the it’s right back into the room for some quiet play because that’s the house rule.

Kids, you can fuss all you want, but this is a boundary I have for myself, so that I can be a more productive, happy, loving mama.

They don’t even try to break this rule now because they know it’s set in stone.

2) You like staying up late the night before way too much.

This is your call, girl. It’s just like I say when talking about my decluttering course…. Do you want to reap the benefits of an uncluttered home or not? If you want to stop cleaning up all the time and be ready for company constantly, you have to purge and do the work.

Same goes here.

If you want the energy and productivity and good feelings that come from waking early and taking on the day, you have to make the sacrifice of time. I think so often we want a magic wand in life. If somehow we could stop loving the quiet of the evening and still wake up early magically productive, that would be great! Yes, it would be great. But you’re on Earth in cold hard reality, and it’s your call how your life goes down. So pick one. That’s the hard truth we need to face if we’re ready to stop letting life happen to us and start telling it how to go.

Waking early has massive return on investment, but you can’t get the return without the investment, yo.

3) The evening is the only time you and your husband get to spend together.

That’s true for probably almost all of us. Have at it! Watch a movie, eat dinner together, snuggle up, get freaky… whatever your thang is, do it and enjoy the time together! Getting up early doesn’t have to mean doing nothing at night and going to bed when your kids do.

If you’re so tired that that’s when you want to go to bed, it’ll get better as your body and sleep schedule adjust, and you might want to look at why you’re not sleeping heavy enough to feel rested, not what time you’re going to bed.

Brian and I LOVE our evenings together! We watch TV, we talk and laugh, it’s the best time of the day! Then around 10:30 or so, we head to bed fulfilled from the day and feeling connected from spending time together, and I can wake up early again.

Try not to make this seem like such a negative thing. It’s really not! Brian and I also put our kids to bed pretty early. Bella goes to bed around 8:30, and the boys go to bed around 7:30. That helps them get good rest and it helps us have some time alone. Again, boundaries and rules, mama. You’re the parents!

4) You can push through and wake up early, and you do feel more productive when you do it, but getting through the day without crashing is the problem.

Human adults need 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Are you getting that? If not, go to bed earlier or wake up later. Your call! If so, there’s another reason you are so fatigued, and you should look into it. You’re probably lacking a nutrient or something your body really needs. When I started taking B6/B12 shots, I was no longer dragging around 3:00 every day.

5) It’s dark and cold out, and so hard to actually get out of bed when it feels like I’ll freeze to death and be unable to get going.

There are going to be lots of hurdles to making this change (or any positive change), so it’s up to you to decide how bad you want the benefits.

Nothing good and different and better comes easy.

You can set yourself up for success, but you’ve also got to know it isn’t going to be perfect and easy all the time.

Keep a pair of super warm, cozy socks on your nightstand that you can quickly put on right when you wake up. Write a list of the benefits to waking up early and put it where you’ll see it when you open your eyes. Move your alarm clock so it’s not right by your bed and you have to get up to turn it off.

Set rules with yourself and be a disciplined person - that’s not something you either are or aren’t, it’s something you can choose and work hard to become.

Do you wake early or stay up late? What have you found works best for your productivity? Share your thoughts in the comments!

How to wake up earlier. Get motivated, go to bed earlier, and make it happen. 
How to wake up earlier. Get motivated, go to bed earlier, and make it happen. 

Getting Your Husband on Board with Minimalism

There are a few main setbacks I see holding overwhelmed women back from taking the plunge into the minimalist lifestyle, and their husbands not being gung-ho about the whole idea is probably number one on the list. The reason this is so frustrating to me is because of the misconception that a husband and wife need to be on the same page in order for the wife to better her life. This is so not true!

In a healthy marriage, if a wife is super overwhelmed and needs to simplify in order to be a more intentional person, she should be able to communicate that to her husband and move forward with the things that have an affect on her life, whether he gets it or not.

For example, a few years ago when I first discovered that decluttering was the key to overcoming overwhelm in my motherhood, my husband got tense. He wasn’t on board and was nervous about me getting rid of things. I explained that letting go of clutter was setting me free and improving my life, even helping clear up my depression, and he understood. We came to a compromise - I would declutter the areas of the house that were mine and the kids’, the areas that had a direct impact on how I spent my day, and I would leave all his stuff alone. He could keep the garage and his half of the closet any way he wanted, and I would never purge anything that belonged to him.

We carried on this way for two years or so, with me living incredibly minimal and him hoarding random odds and ends and little things he planned to use for some project one day. Eventually came to see the benefits of minimalism and started implementing it too.

Honestly, I’m so glad Brian is on the same page as me now, but I could’ve gone on that way forever and been completely happy. I would’ve experienced all the same freedom and joy and simplicity in my life as I am now that he’s on board. You do not need your husband to be on board in order to experience the freedom and intentionality of minimalism.

Me and my love bug :)

Me and my love bug :)

I don’t think you can convince, nag, or force a guy into jumping on board with this, and I wouldn’t try to. When you try to coerce someone into agreeing with you, what usually happens is you push them away and turn them off to the idea entirely, making things even harder for yourself.

What I did worked, so I think it’s worth a shot. Compromise without pressure, and being quiet, living proof that this works and makes life way easier.

There may be some things your husband and you spent money on together for the house or the kids that he’s not okay with you purging. Again, explain your overwhelm to him and offer to compromise some way. If he won’t budge, fine. Let there be a few things like that - you will still experience a lot less overwhelm by purging the other areas in your home.

One way you can compromise is by offering to simply move an item into the garage or attic for two weeks to see if it is needed before you commit to getting rid of it completely. This might help your husband feel less panicked about donating things you spent money on, and help him see that the real waste happened when you bought an item you don’t truly need, not when you decided to let it go for the sake of simpler living.

So much of the time, we sabotage our success by trying to have all our ducks in a row before we get started on something. I know it feels like you need your husband on board with this, but if that’s not happening, don’t let it keep you from starting. Start small, leave his crap alone, and just see what happens. Don’t let a hurdle, big or small, hold you back from improving your life in a way that makes you a better wife and mother, and a happier person who lives on purpose.

Mama, you can make this happen for yourself even through difficulties and lack of support. Things can change on that front, don't wait around for it though! A lifestyle of less opens the door to SO MUCH MORE! Start now and let me walk you through every step of the process. 

How to get husband on board with minimalism. What if my husband isn't on board?