3 Steps to Prepare for a Merry & Simplified Christmas

Christmas has the potential to be the MOST joyous time of the year. But it can also be the most stressful if you allow that to happen.

Every year, I sit down with my family to create a mission statement for our Christmas. We discuss things like whether it’s our beliefs that take center stage, or if we want to make it about giving or serving, or any other heartfelt experience that can increase our joy.

Once we have that mission statement in place, creating the holiday that we desire becomes easy. We’ve determined our “why" and that determines how we will celebrate our entire season. If people try to push back or veer us away from what we truly want out of the season, we have a strong leg to stand on and it doesn’t feel as hard to tell people no.

If you feel like your holiday season is being ruined by your kid’s stuff, it’s time to consider simplifying Christmas.

Many women turn to minimalism hoping that it will change their lives. But then the holidays come around and relatives begin asking what sorts of gifts the children would like, and before you know it your home is full of new toys again (and they’re still barely being played with).

If that statement sends you into a panic...

Mama, I gotchyo back! It doesn’t have to be that way!

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How to Get Started

1. Be frank and honest.

If someone is coming to you and asking what your children would like for Christmas, be frank with them. Explain what types of things your child may be into. Maybe your daughter is really into drawing, so you could suggest a new art set.

I always find that it’s super helpful to make the other person feel like they’re going to be a superstar to my child. It makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

If you want to make this even easier, you could have your child create a wishlist. Then you can provide that to people who might be buying for them. I also have a list of toys for minimalist parents and their kids in a PDF right within my course, A Merry Little Christmas.


ARE YOU SICK OF BEING STRESSED EVERY YEAR WHEN THE HOLIDAYS ROLL AROUND?

Girl, I was too. That’s why I created “A Merry Little Christmas”

A NO-STRESS WAY TO HANDLE MORE STUFF AT CHRISTMAS

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2. Remain Gracious and Selfless

You can’t expect everyone to jump onto the same page as you when it comes to simplifying things. Asking them not to get your child anything can be really hard. Especially if their love language is gift giving.

Try tweaking the gifts so that they are working for you.

Provide a gift idea that your child would absolutely love - maybe something that would pull them away from technology. Or you could always ask that they get your child a game for their game system they’ve been wanting.

Spin it in a way that helps you and still allows them to feel joy for giving your child a gift they will love.

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3. How to Handle the Out-of-Control Gift Giver

It’s pretty common to have someone in your life who is out-of-control when it comes to giving gifts. They claim “it’s their joy,” but it’s your home, and your holiday, and you don’t want to be completely stressed out because someone won’t stop buying presents.

Communication is the key here!

Talk to them. Let them know you love their heart, and that you are grateful that they can give so much to your children, but that it’s overwhelming. You could even mention that your children don’t even get the opportunity to play with everything because they’ve received so much.

In the end, if they choose to give a crap ton of gifts, that’s fine. There’s NO contract that says you must keep everything. You can always donate some of the items instead.

Don’t allow yourself to become handcuffed to the idea of minimalism. Allow things to stay if you or another family member love them, and if it makes them happy. Don’t make minimalism an idol, because all it does is shift the way you’re handcuffed to your stuff.

Communicate with people, set strong boundaries, control yourself when you respond to people asking for gift ideas, and allow yourself to feel the true joy that this season brings.


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How to Raise Unplugged Kids in A Tech-Obsessed World

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I have always wanted to raise unplugged kids. When you live in a tech-obsessed world, where most kids’ weekends are spent beating the latest video game and even doing homework requires a screen, it gets hard.

Six years ago, finding minimalism changed my life and restored my motherhood. I got my time, my joy, and my home back. I also feel that I gave a huge gift to my children. First of all, they got their mama back. I was no longer spending every ounce of my time cleaning up and folding heaps of laundry, and they developed wild imaginations. What does that have to do with minimalism? Well, everything.

The thing about minimalism is once you start, it doesn’t really stop. It’s like pushing a large snowball down a steep hill - it just keeps rolling, collecting more and more snow as it goes. You begin to look at the way things have always been done with fresh eyes, and you desperately seek a simpler way of doing pretty much everything. Minimalism will touch every area of your life once you realize what a truly freeing gift it is. For our family, our use of technology has been no exception.

Now let me be clear - I’m not the mom whose kids never play video games or don’t know how to use an iPad. We have plenty of technology in our house. I’m a professional blogger for pete’s sake. My boys’ biggest obsession right now is the Mario Brothers (my littlest is usually tasked with being Bowser while the older two run away from him screaming). The difference is, there are boundaries around technology. There isn’t constantly some kind of screen on entertaining everyone, and tech time isn’t something that’s expected by my kids.

My boys spend far more time actually pretending to be Mario, Luigi, and Bowser than they do playing the video games that made the trio famous.

Most people think limiting technology has to feel like some kind of punishment, and that is simply not true. All things need to be limited - it’s just not good for you to have too much of pretty much anything! By limiting technology, we are simply setting healthy boundaries, teaching our kids how to be well-balanced human beings, and encouraging the power of their imaginations. That is such a gift!

Kids played happily (and a lot better) without technology for generations before us, and I think sometimes we forget that.

In 1950, 10% of American households owned a TV set. By 1954 this increased to 50% of households and by 1970 98% of households had one. We grew into constant entertainment very quickly, not realizing the effect it had on our family time and our kids’ imaginations.

Let’s take a quick look at the deep impact technology has had on our children:

  • A report by the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates kids ages 8 to 18 spend an average of seven and a half hours a day with cells phones, computers, televisions and other electronic devices. That means the only things keeping kids away from electronic devices are eating, sleeping and school. And, during the summer months, of course, you can generally remove school from the equation.

  • Childhood obesity has reached an all-time high. Tech time has surely contributed to that.

  • Imaginative play is also influenced by screens- instead of creating their own play themes they often reenact characters from shows in a repetitive and stifling way.

  • TV often creates a sense of detachment in our feeling life- for example, we sit in a warm house with plenty of food in a comfortable chair and watch a show about homeless people and our hearts go out to them but rarely does this actually call people to action. This detachment also happens for children- violence, sarcasm, adult-themed innuendos or jokes become the ‘norm’. You may argue action-packed books could lead to the same effect- but when a child reads, his mind creates its own pictures and has time to think about them, digest them and make them his own. These thoughts could lead to new ideas that lead the child to action. TV does not give time for this higher level of thinking. When children are accustomed to lots of TV they are not used to using their imaginative thinking at all and don’t exercise that part of the brain (the neocortex). By telling stories and reading books children are able to create pictures which inform our dreams, intuitions, inspirations and imaginations.

  • Recent studies have shown that regular screen time causes atrophy (shrinkage or loss of tissue volume) in gray matter areas (where “processing” occurs) of the brain.

  • When a child is watching a show or video or playing a game and it is then taken away there is a withdrawal period. They often become anxious, nervous or irritable. Their movement becomes impulsive, erratic and uncoordinated.

Compare all of this to when a child is in nature for a period of time- playing in the dirt or sand, digging with sticks, building with fallen branches, exploring, looking at bugs. There is a sense of groundedness, calm and steady energy about a child who has been outside playing freely versus inside looking at a screen.

You will be amazed at how easily a child fills up his day without a screen. “I’m bored” happens in our home on occasion but it’s not a common thing to hear.

Jean Piaget, a pioneer in child psychology said,

“Children should be able to do their own experimenting and their own research. Teachers, of course, can guide them by providing appropriate materials, but the essential thing is that in order for a child to understand something, he must construct it himself, he must re-invent it.
Every time we teach a child something, we keep him from inventing it himself. On the other hand, that which we allow him to discover by himself will remain with him visibly.”

Screens put everything on the table so that there is nothing to uncover. But when we get out of our children’s way and let them be bored they come up with all sorts of exciting things to do and learn.

I have seen absolutely incredible benefits of limiting screen time in our home, and let me encourage you by repeating myself - we do not ban tech time - my kids regularly enjoy screen time. It’s simply that we limit it. You do not have to throw away all your devices and forbid the TV be used by anyone but you. This doesn’t have to be a thing that turns you into a monster or a tyrant, I promise!

Before we get into how you can start encouraging your kids to play more and stare at a screen less, let’s go over the positive effect of limiting technology in your home…

  • My kids get along much better.

  • They are more grateful. What I mean by this is that my kids seem to appreciate what they have more. They play with each other better, seeming more grateful for their siblings, and they come up with new games to play together. They are more grateful for their Legos and blocks and simple toys that were "boring" before we limited toys and technology. Their imaginations and creativity expand.

  • They spend their time reading, creating art, running around outside, making up games and stories together, reading stories - independently and with you.

  • They just seem a lot happier. They are less moody/cranky/irritable - no withdrawal symptoms.

  • You are empowering your children to connect with nature, the seasons and real people.

  • You are teaching self-discipline through example- carving out specific times that screens are appropriate and disengaging at times when they are unneeded- prioritizing your life and time without wasting it.

  • You are creating more time to be together as a family.

  • When you are clear with the boundaries you decrease whining, bargaining or constant negotiating.

  • They are allowed to be kids! This means more messes, more energy to be expelled, more attention required from you as the parent but you are gifting them their childhood. They are not chained to a screen for your benefit- this limitation is actually totally freeing for them.

Okay, so you’re convinced. But…. how do you start? When you realize your kids are spending way too much time with screens and you know you want to begin limiting, what do you do exactly? Sit back and take a deep breath, girl, cause I gotcho back.

How to Get Started

1) Get clear on your family’s values.

You can’t copy mine or ask your neighbor about her’s. You need to be deeply connected to what matters to you for your family. Grab a journal or open a note in your phone (See? Technology isn’t all bad, it can be super helpful!) and write out what matters a lot to you. How do you want your kids to grow up?

Some of my biggest values are:

  • That my kids have wild imaginations and know how to play like kids should

  • That my home be a beautiful haven we all love spending time in

  • That my kids see my husband and I intentionally spending lots of time together

  • The pursuit of minimalism in our home, calendar, and lifestyle

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts from it.
— Joshua Becker

Get the picture? Now go and do this for yourself. Without a clear picture of what matters most to you, you’ll find it impossible to implement new rules and boundaries, especially when your kids push back. You need a super solid why in order to be in this for the long haul.

2) Decide how you’re going to do this.

You can go about the pursuit of less technology a couple of different ways. You can do a full-fledged detox and not have any in your home for a set amount of time, or you can slowly pull back from it, limiting it more and more as time goes on until you hit your personal sweet spot.

Personally, I think a detox is incredibly beneficial for most families, especially if you’re reading this post and feeling the tug to take action. A detox doesn’t have to be super long or extremely painful. My advice is one week of no screens (or as few screens as possible if you need them for school).

One week is a great amount of time because it’s just enough to reset your kids’ brains. Just know that if you reintroduce your old tech habits after this detox, you’re going to undo all your hard work, so be sure to reintroduce technology on a very limited basis. For example, Netflix and video games for one hour on weekends only, or whatever similar boundary feels good to you.

3) Plan your first screen-free day.

Grab that journal again and come up with a gameplan, girl.

  • How are you going to find a moment for yourself?

  • How will you handle “witching hour” when you and everyone else in your house are just done.

  • How will you help your kids find media alternatives?

Without a plan you are much more likely to cave, drink an entire bottle of wine, and think I’m a jerk for even suggesting the idea of a tech detox. We don’t want any of those things….

4) Create a connected and consistent family rhythm.

Rhythms in your day help everyone feel at peace. The kids know what to expect, you know your day is already somewhat planned and you aren’t trying to come up with on-the-spot entertainment for your kids. How will you fill your day? What are you going to do with each time block?

Start with the blocks that are filled for you - school and work hours, meal times, nap time, etc. From there, come up with ideas of how to fill your day with intentional, family rhythms.

Another thing to think about is balancing inside play and outside play. This can help you find a consistent rhythm for your kids’ play because it feels like a transition. Instead of just two hours of straight playtime, you can guide them to play for a bit in their playroom, then outside, then in the living room while you prepare lunch. It doesn’t take much to change things up!

5) Help your kids get into their play.

We can’t go about life doing things one way and then rip the carpet out from under our kids and expect them to know exactly what to do and how to be, right? Nah, that’s not gonna work! We can, however, gently guide them and offer them alternatives and new ideas. #MommingSoHard

  • Give your kids something tactile and new to play with

  • Provide them with a clean, uncluttered space to play in #minimalism

  • Have open-ended, simple toys on hand (think Legos, blocks, puzzles, dress up clothes, art supplies)

  • Be prepared to spend more time with your kids as they re-learn how to play

6) Set yourself up for success.

How are you going to handle this big change? You have to be prepared and equipped, and that takes a little preparation.

We talked a couple points ago about deciding how you’re going to have a moment to yourself in order to go the length of a full day without relying on technology. Here are some ideas:

  • Seek support from your “village” by reaching out to a relative or friend to come over, break up the day, and help a girl out!

  • Lay the foundation for good self-care or “quiet time” by setting time for yourself before the day even starts. This way, you sort of give yourself a “moment” before you need it, and it can really help!

  • Make sure you have a strong bedtime routine. This will give you the evenings to yourself.

  • Get outside. One of my favorite things to do when I feel overwhelmed and stretched super thin with my kids is head to the park with my headphones. I listen to music or an encouraging podcast while they play on the playground and I watch. Win win.

  • Play an audio story to give the kids something calm to entertain them while you drink some coffee and take a break. We love Story Nory!

  • Make or prepare dinner early. This gives you a break during one of the hardest, busiest times of the day.

7) Set up a home that allows you to be a present mom.

It’s hard to ditch technology and apply family rhythms when you’re overwhelmed by a long to-do list, endless chores, and that feeling of dread you get when you know you’ve got tons to do but are spending time with your family instead. I want you to be able to pour into your kids and know your house is maintained without you having to constantly catch up. Believe me, it IS possible!

Here’s how it works:

the clutter cycle

When our homes are cluttered, we have more to clean. When we have more to clean, we feel an inner overwhelm and a pressure to keep up. We wind up feeling like we are always cleaning, and unable to pause and spend quality time with our children unless we are willing to pay the price later on - catching up on the housework.

I used to tell my kids to “go play” almost constantly! I realized it just really wasn’t the type of mom I wanted to be. I’m all for unentitled kids who know how to play, and my kids do- they use nearly all their free time to make up stories and games and play with each other, but sometimes, especially when you first start this or your kids are very young, they need a little help. I started saying “let’s play” a little more often, and some of my sweetest memories were born out of that switch.

What takes up your space takes up YOU.

  • Less stuff, more joy.

  • Less chaos, more peace.

  • Less busyness, more intentionality.

I used to be a very unhappy mom. I struggled with depression, I always felt overwhelmed and like I couldn’t keep up with all that was on my plate. Every day felt like a battle I lost.

I noticed I was spending the bulk of my time wrangling the kids’ toys, so one day I decided to get rid of almost all of them. All the useless toys that were doing the imagining for my kids, all the mismatched pieces of toys, everything except toys that inspired creativity and constructive play was donated or thrown away.

I noticed an immediate shift in our home. My kids began to display the benefits of an intentional home. I brought my new minimalist outlook into the rest of my house and my whole life changed.

Suddenly my to-do list was much shorter on a regular basis, the laundry didn’t need to be done every day (even with six of us in the house) because I had also purged our clothes down to only what we needed, the house was almost always picked up and ready for company to drop by, and that was a great feeling.

I had so much free time! I was able to play with my kids, take them on hikes, pour into them, homeschool them, even start a business from home (something I never would have been able to add to my plate before minimalism) and I was so much less stressed. I finally felt like I was looking more like the mom I wanted to be.

A life of less freed me and allowed me to be more intentional, more present with my family, and to fulfill some life-long dreams as well!

Eliminating the clutter and the chaos in your home gives you a firm foundation for raising unplugged kids because you are more able to pour into them! You’re able to be centered, calm, at peace with yourself and much less stressed. You’re freed up to replace some of the TV time with family adventures, sitting outside together, playing together - better things than sitting in front of a show.


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I want you to feel capable as this long post comes to an end. This doesn’t have to be a burden, a stress, or scary. Let it set you free to confidently and happily limit technology, throw away the crutch in your motherhood (do we really want to go through this thing relying on Paw Patrol to babysit whenever we get uptight?) and step into present, sweet, abundant life as you raise your sweet babies.

You were chosen out of every woman who has ever lived in any generation for all of time, to be the mother of your children.

- Allie Casazza


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10 Ways Minimalism Helps the Very Busy On-the-Go Family

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Motherhood is a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. As my kids get older, go to school, and realize the activities that interest them (and in turn, sign up for them) I find that my life just gets fuller and fuller.

I really enjoy having a full schedule. I’m an introvert, and I love being home, but I don’t like doing nothing. I need one “nothing” day per week. That usually means going to church on Sunday morning, eating lunch and then enjoying a family nap and a leisurely afternoon with my family. Other than the occasional need for a week off, I truly thrive when my calendar is full and my days are packed with a life lived on purpose.

When you have kids who are interested in sports, activities, and extra classes, your schedule will get full fast! Unless this goes against your core values for your life and your family, this is a good thing! Kids are so much fun and motherhood is something to be celebrated in every season.

There’s a big difference in being too busy and in simply having a full life. Embrace where you’re at and if you find yourself overwhelmed, find ways to simplify wherever you can.

Minimalism is one way to do this.

I started my journey to minimalism while I was in the baby phase of my motherhood.  I was a stay-at-home mom who spent lots of time at home (usually with no bra because #momlife) and I didn’t have a lot else going on. I had three kids under three, and my babies were all-consuming. That’s the season I was in, and minimalism helped me in different ways than it does now.

It kept me afloat and simplified my to do list in a very chaotic, uncontrollable time of my life when babies dictated everything, all the way down to how much sleep I got.

Now my “baby” is almost three and we’ve got baseball, horseback lessons, a business to run, meetings and media interviews each week, photo and video shoots on a regular basis, and minimalism helps me even more now.

No matter how many kids you have and what season of motherhood you’re in, minimalism lifts a huge burden you may not even know you’ve been carrying. It’s such a gift! I think it’s especially helpful for the family with a full calendar. Let’s talk about how!

10 Ways Minimalism Helps the Very Busy On-the-Go Family

1. You spend a lot less time cleaning.

Like, a lot less time. I typically spend about 30 min a day maintaining my house (which I prefer to be very clean) and we have a weekly cleaning day as a family that usually ends up lasting less than two hours. That’s it.

2. Your house is always ready for people to come over.

When another mom from the soccer team stops by to drop off your son’s forgotten knee pads, you can invite her inside without throwing a bunch of mess in the closet. When your church asks for volunteers to host Bible Study, you can raise your hand and be confident that it won’t be a panicked screaming match between you and no one else who cares as you clean all the things the night before every week.

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3. You have more time to actually enjoy this season of your family.

You can be present. Imagine that!

4. Your life is way less stressful.

Managing a family meal plan, running errands, and playing chauffeur is a full time job on its own, and these things will stress you out a lot less if you don't also have a house full of junk you’re constantly picking up.

5. Your kids aren’t overstimulated.

Scientific studies done all over the globe have shown us time and time again that kids don’t function well when they have a lot of options surrounding them. A cluttered room to come home to after a long day of school full of toys and junk they don’t even use just isn’t good for them. Add in screen time and long school days… no wonder they’re in terrible moods sometimes! Simplify their space. They’ll be in better moods in general and they’ll start enjoying their days a lot more (and you will too).

 

6. Your life is centered around relationships, not stuff.

No explanation needed.

7. When you want to say “yes” to something, you usually can.

When you’re not bogged down by a ton of home maintenance time, you’re a lot freer to be involved in the things you want to be involved in. You can volunteer more, spend more time with your kids, help your community more….you get the picture!

8. It teaches your kids to enjoy experiences over things.

I think we all want our kids to grow up knowing the value of living a good life, of experiences. None of us wish our kids would grow up materialistic. Minimalism draws all attention to relationships, family, and spending time living life.

9. You know where everything is.

When you live out minimalism, there’s a lot less time spent looking for things! Every mom knows how frustrating it is to desperately need to find your daughter’s other cleat and be fifteen minutes late to practice because it was wrapped up in a blanket behind the sofa. Less stuff means less mess, less chaos, less clutter, and more owning your space and what’s in it.

10. Less decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is a real thing, and it sucks. All the little decisions like what to wear, when should I clean the bathroom are made a lot less overwhelming when there’s simply less stuff. A smaller wardrobe means less choices (you weren’t wearing 80% of it anyway). These little tweaks in your home really add up to a totally different life! Trust me, I’ve seen it in my own life and I see it every day in my business ;)


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How I Simplified Clean Eating & Healed My Gut

My entire life, I’ve had a very sensitive stomach. That’s all I thought it was. I got sick to my stomach a lot, and I have loads of embarrassing memories having to do with my stomach issues. As silly as it might sound, I just learned to deal with it rather than dissecting it and getting to the root. That’s what kids do, usually.

As I grew up, got married, and had kids, my health was not a priority. I ate fast food on a regular basis and we were on a very tight budget, so eating the cleanest of food didn’t feel like a possibility even if I’d cared. Honestly, I used junk food to cope with a lot. I was an emotional eater for sure.

I started getting these intense headaches several times a week, sometimes every day for a period of time.

My spine would start to ache every late afternoon, and I couldn’t even keep my eyes open (Not exaggerating here. It was terrible.) once 2pm rolled around.

My periods were absolutely unbearable. I would cramp so bad I passed out more than once. I would vomit from the pain and cancel 2-3 days of plans because the bleeding was so heavy I couldn't leave the house.

My skin was breaking out with these huge, cystic pimples that hurt so bad and would linger for weeks and weeks.

Weird things started happening to my body and it all got worse when I ate.

It got to a point where anxiety formed around eating. I was afraid to eat unless I knew I wouldn’t need to feel good the next day. I realize how sad that sounds, but that’s where my head was at with four kids and a lot else going on. And then the anxiety started to spread like this terrifying cancer in my life. I was anxious about leaving the house because I might get sick. I was anxious about money. I was anxious about everything all the time. And in this weird way in my head, it was all based on food.

I was afraid of my own body. I spent every day trying to keep it quiet so I could live my life, but nothing worked. I would eat healthy and feel better for a bit and then something would set it off and I’d get super sick and anxiety would flood in again. I felt like I couldn’t pin down what exactly was bothering me.

I knew I didn’t handle heavy dairy well at all (like ice cream and lattes) but other than that I felt at a loss. I had cut out greasy foods and bread and all kinds of different things but would only be okay for a little while before terrible stomach issues would flare up again.

One day last year, I had had enough and went to see a naturopath who specializes in gut health. I sat in her office a sobbing mess. She listened to me and was very gentle as she explained that this is not how I was meant to live. It reminded me of how I am always seeking to live abundantly, not just get by, and I realized I'd been just getting by because of my stomach. I was ready to get to the bottom of this.

She had me lay on my back and felt around my intestines. There were a couple of very sharp pains as she did this, telling her what parts of my body were reacting to my diet and giving her clues about why.

She ran a few other tests and gave me the following diagnosis:

  • Adrenal fatigue. My body was exhausted. I knew anxiety had a lot to do with that. Anyone who has struggled with it knows how tiring it can be. The naturopath explained that when your adrenals are fatigued, your body is focused on keeping your energy up, so everything else. Including digesting food properly, goes on the back burner and the bare minimum gets done.

  • Dehydration. I wasn’t drinking enough water, and it was contributing to my upset stomach too. I felt like I was drinking plenty of water, but with my life, the day often got away from me and I was only drinking a bottle or two each day.

  • Gluten intolerance. A few months later, I would visit a doctor who officially diagnosed me with Celiacs, but I found out from the naturopath early on that my body does not tolerate gluten at all. This is what made me get really intentional about cutting it from my diet.

When we talked, we uncovered that these three things coupled with the fact that I just wasn’t taking proper care of myself and eating “junk food” often was making me sick. My body wasn’t doing well and I had to make a change.

Getting information like this is really overwhelming, especially when you’re a busy mom and business owner who’s (at this time) living in a camper and traveling full-time. I felt like it would be impossible for me to make the changes I needed to make when eating out was a very regular part of our lives in that season because of traveling. I was determined to get serious and find a way to simplify clean eating. I truly believed it was blown way out of proportion and people were overcomplicating it. After all, this is the way God designed us to eat… it could be simple, right?

Well, not at first.

Eating clean is fine, but eating clean in this modern society full of fake additives and gluten in literally everything felt nearly impossible the first few months.

Over time, I found ways to take my motto, “simplify” and apply it to eating well and healing my sick gut. I ended up losing 40 pounds (so far) and I can’t put into words how I feel now versus before. I went from an XL to a Medium, I have way more confidence, and I’m a much happier person.

My periods got so much lighter that a few months ago, I started without even realizing it was that time of the month. Normally, my cramps would be so bad for a few days before starting that it would completely interrupt my life.

My skin cleared up- finally! This probably made me happier than any of the other good things that happened. My skin was a huge burden for me for years and years and years.

Here’s what I learned, and I hope it helps someone reading this who’s struggling in this area!

1. Clean eating boils down to choices.

Making one good choice at a time will move you forward one small step at a time, and it all adds up.

So when I’m invited to a party, my best choice would be to prepare ahead of time by:
a) politely asking if there will be anything served that fits my diet
b) eating a meal before I arrive
c) bringing a healthy snack in my purse just in case

I have several options and any one of them is better than showing up unprepared and panicking when everything being served will make me sick and letting it ruin my experience at an event I was looking forward to.

There have been times I’ve found myself in a situation- starving and unprepared- in a place with junk food only. I just make the best choice I can in each situation. This one is not ideal, and I needed to prepare better, but in that moment I’ll probably find a piece of something offered (like the fruit served on the side of the sandwiches) to hold me over until I can leave.

2. Preparation is key, and just because my life is very full doesn’t mean I have an excuse to fail.

Preparing ahead of time for things is not my strong suite. I’m a pretty spontaneous person, and committing to things ahead of time kinda freaks me out.

When it comes to clean eating, though, preparation is everything. You will not successfully eat a clean diet without preparing food ahead of time. Period.

Telling myself this and owning up to my new reality, as much as it cramped my spontaneous style was key for me. It’s a reality-based pep talk I had to give myself several times in the beginning stages of “going clean”. And once I started preparing better, eating well was so much easier.

3. Food prepping works better for me than meal prepping.

I first heard about food prepping during a coaching call with Amanda Wilson. She told me about it after I complained for several whiny minutes about how much I hate preparing meals and then they don’t sound good when the time comes to heat them up and serve them. #spontaneousgirlproblems

Basically, food prepping is slicing, preparing, and storing basic foods you can use as ingredients or just snack around on. For example, potatoes, cucumber, zucchini, strawberries, things like that.

I started cooking whole chickens, shredding it, and storing it in the fridge. I cooked red potatoes, seasoned with butter and garlic and stored them for later. I wash and sliced berries when I came home from the store rather than just putting the whole box in the fridge.

This had me prepped with lots of food and snack options so that I was putting meals together with already-made ingredients instead of a) cooking from scratch with zero prepared or b) having to eat a meal I prepared for tonight that didn’t even sound good.

P.S. Amanda is a wellness guru and she shares the most practical, amazing clean eating tips on her Instagram (and her InstaStory). Give her a follow and be inspired!

4. Food should get higher financial priority.

Eating clean is more expensive than not eating clean. Everyone knows that. We can complain about it all we want, use it as an excuse to make not-so-great choices, but the fact is we live in a time where convenience food is cheaper and food that God put on this earth to sustain us costs an arm and a leg.

I say we all stop complaining, realize that it is what it is, and do what we can in our specific circumstances. If that means you can buy every single thing the cleanest you can get it, great! If that means you pick and choose which fruits and veggies you buy organic and which ones you can skip because they matter less, okay then, do that.

There are so many resources of eating clean on a budget- look at Pinterest! There’s really no excuse. Maybe you cut back on meats, maybe you shop the sales, maybe you cut back on other expenses in your budget, but don’t let money rule your stomach if you need to eat clean.

I get asked a lot what our budget is for food and groceries, and the truth is we really don’t have one. Eating clean is a high priority for our family not only because of my story, but because my husband has his own story and a very unhealthy family history. This takes priority and we have decided to do everything we can to make eating clean enjoyable, delicious, and as simple as possible.

5. I cannot do what God has called me to do if I don’t feel good, and that’s more than reason enough to be disciplined.

I’ve learned that my stomach problems (and the anxiety they led to) were directly impacting my purpose. I was shying away from opportunities with my kids, in business, as well as socially because of anxiety and worry and stomach aches.

God showed me that I am unable to live my life, be a woman of influence (a duty He gave me that I do not take lightly), raise my kids to the best of my ability, and fulfill His calling on my life if I don’t feel good.

If I am riddled with anxiety and pain I am nearly worthless. I shut down and just need to sleep while I wait for the pains to pass. That is not living an abundant life and that is certainly not how I’m called to live.

There is no food on this planet that’s worth sacrificing that for. That is what I remind myself of when everyone is eating cake. There’s no use for a pity party.

This is the way I was made, and I’ve learned to be truly grateful for it. It made me lose weight and feel better, it made me a more disciplined person, and it forces me to take great care of my temple.

My hope for you who are reading this is that you feel capable and inspired. Clean eating doesn’t have to be this over complicated, mapped out thing that takes over your entire life. Simplify where you can, make healthy choices as you go about your day, and keep learning. As you learn and know more, do better. You CAN do this, and it’s so worth it. I promise!

Want more ideas to help you simplify healthy eating? I've got 10 ideas to help you get started!

How to Declutter Your Kids' Wardrobes

For me, the purpose of minimalism isn’t to count my items or to let go of things for the sake of being “minimalist”. I can’t do much of anything without a purpose behind it- it feels empty. And for me, minimalism holds tremendous purpose - it’s the pursuit of less, to make space in my home and, in turn, my life for more living, and less cleaning up after memories I wasn’t a part of.

It’s a learning curve though. It’s hard not to hold onto things “just in case”, especially when it comes to your kids’ clothes. Maybe you fear that you might need it later. Maybe the weather changes a lot where you live (we used to live in Northwest Arkansas where the weather was different almost every single day, so I get it). While these concerns are valid,  remember to be real with yourself.

What do your kids really wear and need on a regular basis? What’s truly serving a purpose in their wardrobe and what’s just filling space, making you feel safe?

How to Declutter Your Kids’ Wardrobes

1. Go into their dressers/closets and pull out what you know they haven’t worn in two weeks or more.

This doesn’t count out-of-season items you know you’re gonna need when the time comes. If your kid has a winter coat you predict will still fit when that season hits, hold onto it! Minimal does not equal wasteful. Or stupid.

2. Let go of what you think they can do without.

Don’t be afraid to be ruthless. It’s better to simplify to the extreme, box up what you think you can let go of, then wait a few weeks before officially donating any of it. If you had to go out to the garage for that fourth pair of jeans, maybe you need to hang onto it. This is a great way to declutter without terrifying yourself before officially donating clothes.

3. Don’t let socks and underwear overthrow your kingdom.

To help give you a visual of what works for our family, here are some photos of my kids’ wardrobes. These were taken during a mild season, and they do not include their winter coats or swimsuits.

There are also a few items (like dressy shirts) missing from these photos because, laundry.

My 8-year-old's wardrobe

My 8-year-old's wardrobe

My 6-year-old's wardrobe

My 6-year-old's wardrobe

my 5-year-old's wardrobe

my 5-year-old's wardrobe

My 2-year-old's wardrobe.

My 2-year-old's wardrobe.

I’ve got four kids, three of them are boys (messy, dirty, wild boys) and this is what works for me. I hope this makes you feel safe that it can work for you too!

“So… how often do you have to do laundry with a minimal wardrobe?”

A lot of people think that having fewer clothes means doing more laundry, but it’s actually the opposite. Less clothes, less to wash, less laundry. Do I do laundry more often? Yes. But listen…

There’s NO POINT in holding onto clothing for the sake of doing laundry less often. It’s much better to only keep what you know you like and your kids are actually wearing and get into a rhythm of doing a load in the morning, or every other morning, or twice a week, or whatever works for you.

I can get away with doing laundry once a week, even with this minimal amount of clothes, especially with re-wearing jeans that aren’t destroyed and things like that.

Note: Never heard of rhythms? Need help setting some up for your household?

Rhythms are life-changing habits that keep you from bottlenecking in your role as a mom.

In my FREE “Developing Rhythms” workbook, I help you work through the tasks in your life that would be better if they were systemized a little. It’s super easy and will free you up, not tie you down to routine, I promise. Click here to get it right now. (link to Leadbox for rhythms workbook goes here)

“What about hand-me-downs?”

From other people:

This is one reason it’s important to be ruthless when you purge. When you create this much white space, it’s much less stressful when new clothes come in. You can rest easy knowing it would take a lot to set you back. You don’t have to feel uptight when a friend brings a bag of clothes over out of generosity.

If you hold onto every single thing you “might” need later, you’re honestly wasting your time. If you’re dedicating time to declutter your kids’ wardrobes, use it wisely - go all in, be ruthless!

When someone gives me a bag of hand-me-downs, I graciously accept it and sort through it when I have a chance, setting aside anything I think might be truly useful. I donate everything else or pass it on to another friend whose kids fit that size.

Sibling-to-sibling:

Most people assume I don’t save clothes from one kid for another, which is silly because I have no desire to intentionally waste money. If there’s an item of clothing that’s somehow still in good condition (rare) I will hold onto it for my next kid. I only buy my kids things I like, that I want them to wear, and that work for our lifestyle, so if it’ll work for a sibling there’s no sense in getting rid of it!

Keep in mind though, that I have three boys back-to-back-to-back, so when one outgrows something, his brother is right behind him, and that piece of clothing isn’t going to be stored for long. If your kids are spaced out further and it’s going to sit in the closet for years, it isn’t worth it in my opinion. Styles change, fabrics fade, and that’s space in your home you’re giving to something that will save you maybe ten bucks. It’s up to you what you do (#youdoyou) but that’s my opinion.

“What about baby clothes? What if you anticipate more kids in the future, but don’t want to hoard?”

I keep the same philosophy with baby clothes as I do for sibling hand-me-downs. If there’s something you used, that served you through your baby days that is still in good condition and makes you excited to have another baby in the future, keep it!

Do not ever get rid of something solely for the sake of being minimal. It’s a waste, it’s legalistic, and it’s not purposeful. Get rid of things because they no longer serve you and very likely won’t serve you in the future, because they’re used up, because you’re leaving that particular season of life, or because their purpose has been served, and their time with you is done.

Ready to declutter your kids' wardrobes? Get started with my free Wardrobe Decluttering Action Guide!

Giving Your Kids the Gift of Less

Motherhood is a crazy blur with a few quiet moments thrown in that make you realize how time is fleeting and you should quiet down and enjoy it more. 

Most people don’t though. Most people wake up the next morning to the crazy blur and let it erase the memory of that sweet, quiet moment. They let it take them away from what matters most - the hearts of the people they love. They get re-busy and don’t slow down again until the next quiet, scary moment when they realize once again that time is fleeting and they’re missing things.

None of us want to be “most people” - I sure don’t. But isn’t it so hard?

There are things that need to get done and places we have to get to… it’s just, busy. What are we supposed to do? 

I’m no expert, but I can tell you one thing for sure. Simplifying everywhere I can has transformed my entire life. 

I simplified my whole house and became a different person - one who doesn’t yell so much or feel stretched super thin every day. A person who walks into her house and feels at peace instead of overwhelmed.

I simplified, eating clean foods and moving my body more often, and quickly lost forty pounds.

I simplified my kids’ toys and the way we do childhood in our house. My kids have closer relationships with each other, and with the other people in their lives. 

They know how to imagine worlds, make up stories, create art, and explore the outdoors. They’re more in tune with their natural gifts and skills, they’re more grateful, and they’re more self-sufficient. 

I learned through experience over the past five years in my search for simple in all areas of life, that those most deeply impacted by the gift of less are the kids. 

Let me ask you, what do you want as you raise your children? And based on that, where are you currently going? 

Do you want your kids to grow up a little differently than kids today are growing up - with imaginations and the desire to get outside and play? 

Do you want to understand why less is truly more when it comes to your kids’ toys?

Do you want simple, applicable ways you can declutter the toys without scarring them?

Do you want to inspire imagination and creativity in your home?

Do you want solutions for remaining uncluttered once you’re done purging when kids seem to bring home so much STUFF all the time?

If your answer is yes, you’re in the right place, friend. I so understand those desires.

I’ve found a way to get there in this crazy modern world, oversaturated with technology and loud, distracting toys that do all the imagining for our kids. You CAN simplify here and give your kids the beautiful gift of less.

I recently hosted an online class all about minimalism, simplifying the toys, and what it all does for your kids. If you want to learn how you can move from where your family is now to actually decluttering the toys in a way that doesn’t have anyone crying, this is for you.

Just click the button below and you’ll get access to the class recording. 

In the class, I go over why minimalism is such a gift for your kids, and even talk about scientific experiments that have been done to prove it. Then we get into the nitty gritty of HOW you can make the changes in your home, because I want you to take real action, not just sit and listen then leave feeling like you don’t know what to do.

Give your kids the gift of less clutter, of more imagination, more play. Kids were made to play - they’re naturals at it! We just have to get out of the way and clear a space for it to happen. :)

When Minimalism Becomes Ingratitude

Minimalism is sweeping the world in a refreshing wave of less. It’s an idea that’s very close to my heart. Five years ago, before I knew it was called ‘minimalism’, before there was a documentary and a thousand other blogs on the subject, getting rid of the excess in my home saved my motherhood.

Minimalism is basically a lifestyle of purposely choosing to live with less stuff in your home so that there’s less to maintain and more time and space to focus on what really matters.

For moms, this is everything, which is why I started a movement for mothers based on this idea. I spend my days encouraging hundreds of thousands of my fellow women to ditch the clutter and the chaos and get intentional about how they’re spending their mom lives. And it’s incredible!

In doing what I do, there are a few things I see on a regular basis that make my heart ache. One of them is when a desire for minimalism takes over and becomes ingratitude.

In a world saturated with materialism, we have to fight to live with less, and it’s dang hard. I get it.

But sometimes, in our fierce attempt to simplify and be more aware of what’s coming into our homes, we become ungrateful guardians of our domains that make other people feel like we don’t appreciate their gifts. And maybe that we don’t appreciate them.

I know where the passion for less comes from. It’s like an inner uprising- a deep desire for a simpler way of living when you figure out what works and you’ve been living in the clutter and chaos for so long… you just want out. You found a way and you see the light and you’re not stopping for anything.

If you find yourself in this place, sister, let me encourage you to press pause.

Why are you doing this?
What brought you to this place of desiring simplicity?
What is the root reason for you seeking out minimalism in your life?

The root for most of us is relationships. Our relationships began to suffer because we were doing all the things, cleaning up constantly, running on a treadmill fueled by an endless cycle of stuff.

We want to be closer to our children, we want to stop being nagging, stressed out wives. We want time to be better friends with the other women in our lives, we want to have the time, space, and focus to love others and be present for them.

Let’s not get so caught up in being the editors of our homes that we hurt those around us.

Obviously, there’s a huge difference between someone giving a gift to you or your kids and someone who is blatantly against the way you’re choosing to live and continuously brings things over when you’ve kindly asked them not to. But what we’re talking about here is making minimalism into some legalistic law you follow to the death, no matter who you take down in the process.

It’s easy to do as we fight for the motherhood we want, so I encourage you to take a scoopful of grace if you’re feeling like you’ve gone down this path.

When it’s your child’s birthday, have a grateful heart.

Be honest when people ask what he’d like as a gift, but don’t keep other people in your life from blessing your kids. Ask for an experience gift over a material gift, tell them how much he loves *insert child’s favorite activity*, but don’t be upset when the day comes and he receives toys you know he doesn’t need.

Minimalism, the way I teach it and the way I believe in it, isn’t about only having what you need. Where’s the joy in that anyway?

When you get a basket of lotions and candles from your mother-in-law, give her an authentic hug. She cares about you! It doesn’t matter if the gift was totally obligatory or truly heartfelt- it’s a gift, and gifts are exclamations of love. Value your relationships over the state of your home- that’s what you came into this for in the first place, right?

Plus, I can tell you having spent years on the “other side” of minimalism with four kids… if you simplify your home and live this out day to day, gifts can’t set you back!

You don’t have to fret over the little things or stress out about how many presents your kids get for Christmas. When everything else is truly simplified, there’s room for holidays and birthdays and tokens of love from the people in your life. It’s okay.

My advice to anyone looking to implement minimalism is this: walk away from the legalism of it.

Don’t count your things, don’t guard your home from gifts like a lioness guarding her cubs. Just focus on simplifying what you can control and remember what matters most in this life- loving the people in it.


Are you struggling to become a minimalist mama? It’s hard! But like any labor, so worth it. When you say “no more” to the cycle of clutter and chaos, you get your life back.

You can be the mom who sits down and plays with her kids, the mom who isn’t stretched so thin all the time.

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My course, Your Uncluttered Home,  is the A to Z of realistic, doable minimalism for mothers. In it, I walk you through the issues you’ll face during this lifestyle change (what if your husband isn’t on board, what if your kids aren’t, do you sell or donate your things, etc) as well as the decluttering process for each and every room in your home.

There’s a section just for your kids, taught by my daughter Bella. There are checklists and worksheets and interviews and videos for you to make this happen in your life. There’s a reason this course has earned me global attention and interviews on multiple national news networks and websites- it works!

If you’re ready to dive in and make a forever impact in your home, yourself, and your family, I’ve got your back, mama. Let’s make it happen!

A Beginner's Guide to A Minimalist Home

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How do you feel when you walk into your home? Seriously, answer right now.

Do you feel happy? Calm? Overwhelmed? Upset? Depressed? Resentful? Blessed? Like you just don’t even have time to give two craps?

Grab a pen or your smartphone and jot down the first emotion or thought that pops up for you when I ask you that question… how do you feel when you walk into your home?

Now answer this - how do you want to feel when you walk into your home? Write it down.

Do your answers match? If not, this is for you today, mama. I know how you feel because I have so been there. But let me give you a virtual hug and a big scoop of hope… it doesn’t have to be like this anymore. Really! It doesn’t.

I’m not going to offer you some kind of ridiculous cleaning schedule or set of tasks to check off every day. I’m here to give you something that will last- the gift of less.

While magazines and Pinterest graphics everywhere are telling you to get organized and rearrange the way you have things set up, I’m here to tell you that none of that is going to help you one bit. All that’s gonna do is have you moving things around that are still in your way. I want you to actually let go of the stuff you have in your home but don’t need- the things that aren’t adding to your life or helping you fulfill your purpose. When you have less in your way, you have more time, energy, and space (emotionally, mentally, and physically) to focus on what matters most.

New here? Read my story to learn more about how I got here and why I do what I do.

I’m here to tell you with the biggest smile on my face and a hefty confidence that you can feel at peace, happy, relaxed, and fulfilled when you walk into your home on any given day. You can breathe and know that you don’t have to run around like a headless chicken trying to keep things clean, because they just stay cleaner when there’s less stuff. You can spend thirty minutes of your day on housework instead of four hours.

You can spend your weekends enjoying your family instead of catching up on the laundry. Seriously!

What does your home feel like to your family? Ask them.

If you’re afraid of their answer, I’ve been there too. I remember nagging my husband about how hard keeping up with my role was and how I wished he helped more. I remember being the mom who yelled, who was always behind, always cleaning up, and rarely enjoyed her family.

Your home can be a true haven for your family- it all starts with you, mama. You set the tone. If we can get you simplified and feeling lighter, it’s going to show on your face and in your voice, and that’s going to have a massive, positive impact on the people you love who share your space.  

So many of us think that keeping our home needs to take up the bulk of our time. But when you choose to let go of what you don’t need, of what isn’t serving you, you have less to maintain in your home and less time spent on it.

Most of my students who have gone through Your Uncluttered Home say the same thing- that they only spend about thirty minutes a day cleaning and maintaining their homes (the exceptions usually have extremely large houses).

Step outside of your current reality for a moment and imagine that… only spending half an hour at the end of your day cleaning up, with a few simple rhythms in place (wiping the counters and table after meals, etc) during the day. What would change for you? What would you do with your time? How much closer would you be with your children? The whole world opens up!

Minimalism is so much more than a clean house (that’s a perk for sure though!). It’s about creating the time and space you need to be a present mom; to live a purposeful life you love. It’s about getting to your eightieth birthday and knowing you were there; you didn’t just clean up after a life you wished you’d lived.

But how do you get there? Obviously you have to do some work on your house and get to this point, right? What does this look like room-by-room?

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The Kitchen

I don’t think any room is as integral as the kitchen. Everything happens here! School lunches are prepared, family dinners are made, coffee is brewed… this room is Grand Central Station for the busy mom.

Start simplifying in here by getting rid of some dishes! Most of us have way more dishes than we need, and it’s kinda weird. Why do we feel like we need three different sets all the time? Unless you’re the Duggars, you don’t.

Take a look at your cups and mugs the same way. How many do you have? Why do you have so many? What do you really use and love? Let go of the excess!

Look at your appliances. Those are such space hogs! And a lot of the time, we don’t realize how many we’ve been storing for years and not using at all. Sometimes you’ll find that one appliance has the same features as another appliance you own- you don’t need duplicates, so pick one!

Get my free guide to decluttering the laundry and dishes! This is one of my most popular downloads because it’s straightforward, but detailed and helpful for the two biggest time-suckers in your home.

The Kids Rooms

Most people think kids equal clutter, and there’s not much you can do about it, but I disagree. :) I think kids means messes, but not clutter. I believe mothers need minimalism more than anybody, and kids need it too!

Start by simplifying your kids’ wardrobes. So often we keep way too many clothing options and hand-me-downs for our kids, and all it does is give us overstuffed drawers and extra things to clean. Let it go, girl! Pare down to what you know your kids like, fit in, and actually wear.

Next, take a look at the toys. I know this is a really sensitive area because there’s often a lot of guilt that comes with simplifying the toys, but listen to me… your kids will play so much better with less to choose from.

Start by getting rid of what you know isn’t played with. If it’s broken, missing pieces, or just no longer used, let it go.

Keep things positive by talking to your child about how their toys will change the life of another child who is less fortunate than they are. When I make decluttering about blessing others, my kids light up. It’s a win-win. Let your kids be a part of the process- show them where you take their donations, make them aware of what kind of kids are getting their old toys and teach them to give.


You buy stuff with your time, not just your money. Less clutter equals less stress and more time. It's as simple as that!

Your Uncluttered Home is my most popular, globally-praised decluttering course, designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they clean up after it. 

It's truly the A-Z of minimalism - every room, every area of your house, totally uncluttered. 

This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist mama who's able to be a lot more present for what matters most. 


The Bathrooms

The bathroom is a fantastic place to start if decluttering totally overwhelms you.

Not a lot of people keep precious memories stored in the bathroom… it’s usually just old eyeshadows and hair tools you never use anymore. This makes the bathroom a great place to build some confidence and momentum, so you feel inspired and ready to move forward.

Here are some of my tips for taking on the bathrooms:

  • Don’t let the kids’ bath toys take over for one more day. Choose two of their favorites (or let them choose) and get rid of the rest.

  • If you haven’t used it in the last month, it’s probably not something you should hold on to.

  • It’s unsanitary to keep old makeup. Use that as your excuse for trashing it and let go of the guilt. It’s gross, girl!

  • Keep what you know you use regularly. Be honest with yourself!

  • Only keep one of each toiletry- one shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, etc. Buy a new one when you run out. You don’t need multiples.

  • Every bathroom-dweller has a secret grooming product obsession; they buy multiples of their fetish item. When faced with more than three of anything in the bathroom, invoke the Law of Numbers: Keep two favorites, declutter the rest.

  • If you haven’t used it in the last month, it’s probably not something you should hold on to. Things like make up you only wear to fancy occasions are your call, but know that it’s unsanitary to keep them, so use that as an excuse to let them go guilt-free.

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The Master Bedroom

I used to use my master bedroom as a holding cell for all the crap I didn’t have time to put away. I used it to dump clean laundry I didn’t feel like folding, too. Basically, at the end of a very long, draining day of mom life, I would climb the stairs and enter an abyss of stress. Perfect, right?

Your bedroom needs to be a place where you can rest and recharge. It just does. Mom life ain’t easy, and we need somewhere we can go to be revived. I don’t think we need to go outside of our houses for that; I think we can make that happen in daily life right where we live, and I think that’s the main purpose of this room. (it’s also where the “magic” happens, and the magic is a lot more magical when the floor isn’t covered in crap, am I right?!)

Start by removing all the things being kept in your bedroom that don’t belong there! What have you thrown in there because your mother-in-law was about to drop by? Use my favorite trick and grab an empty laundry hamper. Put everything that doesn’t belong in your bedroom in the hamper, then take it around the house with you delivering things to their proper homes.

Next, clean up your nightstands. These tiny tables are such clutter collectors! What do you need next to you when you start and end your day? Clear everything else off.

Pare down your wardrobe by using the reverse hanger trick. After you wear something from your closet, hang it back up and reverse the hanger so it’s facing the opposite way of the rest of the hangers. After a few weeks, look and see what’s still forward-facing. You probably don’t need those items as much as you thought you did, huh? Simplify!

WANT A LITTLE EXTRA MOTIVATION?

HERE ARE SOME EPISODES of the purpose show that are RELATED TO THIS TOPIC!

 
 

your uncluttered home allie casazza

If you’re sitting there wanting to just go all-in and makeover your motherhood through minimalism, check out my online course, Your Uncluttered Home. It’s earned global praise for the simple, busy-mama-friendly philosophy of realistic minimalism for families.

In it, I will take you through every step, A to Z, room-by-room until you come out the other side, and then even further through maintenance mode and lifestyle shifts like dealing with relatives who won’t stop giving and things like that. I’ve got your back, girl. Let’s make this happen together!

Decluttering 101: The Problem With Selling Your Stuff

allie casazza decluttering 101 the problem with selling your stuff

Selling your stuff can be a great way to reward yourself for your hard work. I have someone in my community who made enough money to take her family of seven on a vacation! It can feel like it’s all worthwhile when it seems like you’ve wasted so much money. I totally get it.

However, selling the things you aren’t keeping can also be a major hurdle, and I’ve seen it hold people back so badly that their decluttering actually comes undone.

Depending on your method of selling, you have to wait for another person to take interest in each item, which is totally separate from them actually coming to pick it up with cash in hand (or you taking time from your day to go to the UPS store and mail it to them).

When you’re decluttering, the last thing you need is a reason to hold onto your stuff longer. Someone in your family sees the pile of “to sell” in the garage and suddenly that old toy they forgot existed and haven’t played with in years is their most favorite thing in the entirety of this world, and out of the pile it comes. And so do twelve others.

The stuff in the piles gets moved around and pulled back into the house and before you know it, hours of your hard work come undone and you kind of just let the whole thing go.

It’s a slippery slope.

Here’s what I want you to take from this post - value your time and the hard work you put into decluttering more than you value the money you may or may not get for the items you’re letting go of.

Where are you at in this process? Is it all fresh? Are you having anxiety over all the money lost from buying all this stuff and wishing you could somehow make it better or make your husband less angry about it?

Know yourself.

And remember this - you did not waste money when you decided to declutter. You wasted money when you bought a bunch of stuff you didn’t really need.

The decluttering isn’t where the waste happens, the purchasing is.

One thing I usually advise people to do is sell the big ticket items at a killer price. For example, one of my clients sold her Kitchenaid mixer for $85. She posted it to a Facebook “garage sale” site and it was out of her house that night. Done and done. That’s the way to go!

Things like furniture and big ticket appliances are great items to sell if you really want to, but things like toys, clothes, plates, etc just take up time and aren’t really worth the money in my opinion. The risk outweighs the possible benefit here.

One great way to make some money without risking undoing your work is garage sales. If you live somewhere where the weather currently allows, host a garage sale and make some cash! Make the decision to haul whatever’s left away to be donated, no matter what it is and don’t let yourself waver.

When I was purging my home, I held a couple of garage sales throughout the process and it was nice to make a little something (we needed it bad at the time anyway!)

Think about the other side of this, too.

Who will receive an amazing deal on the things you donate?

Who will be so blessed by these things for free? (some places you donate don’t resell items, but rather give them to the needy at no cost)

When I was doing my initial purge, I was on a first name basis with the people who worked at my local donation center.

I had brought in a bunch of my daughter’s shoes and toys, and the next day when I was bringing in another load, the woman who worked there told me that I had just missed the sweetest, young, single mama who bought most of her stuff for her baby girl for just a few dollars. She told me she’d been so grateful to find stuff that was her daughter’s size and that she’d needed it so bad. It warmed my heart and reminded me why donating is awesome.

I understand that sometimes, you might be in the position of that single mom- in desperate need of some cash. I understand that some things are worth a decent amount of money and you’d like to make that money. I understand as I was there before too!

Just remember to know yourself, know where you’re at in this process, think of who you could bless by donating, and don’t compromise your success or waste your precious time to make a few bucks.

Have you sold anything in the process of decluttering? Share your experience in the comments!

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How Minimalism Impacts Kids

kids minimalism playing toys

So much of the time, people have the idea that minimalist motherhood is an oxymoron. They think living a minimal lifestyle and having children in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos, but they’re wrong. In the age of iPads strapped to car seats, childhood obesity being at an all time high, and nearly every kid in the U.S. being insufficient in Vitamin D, the kids of today need minimalism more than ever.

There are so many positive side effects of minimalism for mothers, and I spend my days helping my fellow women reshape the way they’re doing mom life based on a realistic, empowering philosophy of less clutter. What I want the world to understand too, is how minimalism makes an impact on children.

As a mom of four little ones, I can testify for this strongly! In the last five years of raising my babies under the minimalist lifestyle, I have seen a huge shift in my children and our family as a whole, and I notice some truly amazing differences in my kids on a regular basis.

The Effects of Minimalism on My Children
 

Lack of entitlement

My kids do not feel entitled to a new toy when we go to Target, they don’t even think to ask. Sure, they’re human beings and they see things they think are awesome and will occasionally ask for a toy- they’re not robots- but they don’t expect it; they don’t feel that they have the right to getting it. And to me, that’s the problem with so many kids today.

My kids also do not expect constant entertainment, they make their own. Driving for three days straight across the country last week, there was only one meltdown and it was from the two-year-old on the final day who was tired of being in his seat. The older kids made up stories and games, they laughed and played while buckled into the same seats for days in a row.

Sitting at the DMV a couple weeks ago, they pretended to be Princess Toadstool and the Mario Brothers for an hour without complaint.

When Brian and I have work to do, the kids are around because we homeschool, so we are literally all together 24/7. It’s rarely a problem because the kids will go outside and play for hours.

This is a reality so many parents don’t think is possible, but I’m telling you- it is.

Gratitude

So many of us want to raise grateful humans, but we overwhelm them with entertainment, gifts for no reason, and the philosophy that they should never want for anything or ever be uncomfortable. I don’t purposely create unfortunate situations for my kids, but life is crazy and stuff happens. Everything is not fluffy unicorns and butterflies and my kids are aware of that, even at very young ages, and they’re some of the most grateful people I’ve ever met. It’s a pleasure for me to bless them every once in awhile with something special because they truly deserve it and they’re so grateful.

They take better care of their belongings. They’re authentically thankful when someone gives them a birthday present. It’s beautiful to see that.

Playfulness and wild imaginations

I’ve seen my kids come up with incredible play scenarios literally out of thin air. I’ve seen them turn the most random, inanimate objects into the most entertaining play tools in the world. All kids are naturals at this; it’s us adults who get in the way by giving them loud toys that do all the imagining for them and rob them of their natural gift.

Social skills

My kids know how to make friends, have conversations with other kids, and talk to other adults because that’s something they do all day every day. They’re not pinned to screens, so they actually converse with other people. I may sound sarcastic but I’ve been on a couple of playdates where this wasn’t required and didn’t happen.

On one, the kid was allowed to sit in the car and watch a movie on the car TV. On another, the kid was glued to his iPad while sitting on the swing at the playground.

My kids wanted to play with their friends, but screen time won, so they played without them and went and talked with kids who were actually there to enjoy their childhood.

minimalism kids toys playing impact

Stronger relationships with each other

All my kids do is be each other's best friends. They play with each other, do school work with each other, do chores and clean up with each other, and fight with each other every single day because, that’s real life. They’re passionate and close and they love each other hard. Their sibling relationships will last a lifetime, so it’s important to Brian and I that they are close. Minimalism has definitely gifted them that, and if that were the only thing it did for them, it's worth it.

Creativity

When you don’t have a lot of toys, you use your God-given creativity to make up games and stories. Years of that will make you one super creative kid in one way or another. My daughter Bella (8) is a master artist (she even teaches her own module in my course and shows other kids how to draw pretty pictures instead of playing video games all day. Proud mama here!), my son Leland (6) is basically a Lego engineer, Hudson (4) is super active and great at coming up with fun games, Emmett (2) is the chief of boyish play and is constantly pretending to “get the bad guys”.

As my kids get a little older, they’re becoming very in tune with their personal skills, and I love seeing them confident in what they’re good at at such a young age! What a gift!

They’re happier in general

Whenever my kids (one of my sons in particular) does get screen time, I can see such a difference in their attitudes. Less technology and more old fashioned playing is so good for them, and they’re just generally a lot happier than other kids because of the way we live.

An awareness of community needs and charitable giving

We’ve always made minimalism about the giving, not about having less clutter and a clean house. It’s really important to me that my kids see the good in this lifestyle and not resent it. They have always donated their toys and books to orphans and they each have such a tender heart for those in need. It’s been painful and beautiful to show my kids that that world exists and is right in front of us. I love that they voluntarily talk to me about giving and helping the needy, and I know that comes from our approach to minimalism and decluttering.

The desire to be outside most of the time

It’s a safe bet to say my kids spend 80-90% of their day outdoors. That fluctuates depending on what state we’re in, but stays relatively steady. And the best part is that I rarely have to do the mom thing and kick them out yelling, “go be outside!” They want to be out there and it’s awesome. They get dirty and sun-kissed and they adventure every single day- nothing says childhood more than that to me!

Everything is calmer

Being a mom automatically comes with plenty of chaos- that’s a given, but parenthood today is just so demanding and loud and insanely draining. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming- that’s your choice. I feel like minimalism has made our home and our life so much calmer and deeply enjoyable. I don’t have to fight my kids to get off the video games or turn the TV off for the hundredth time or nag them to be together or love each other better. Life is slower and more peaceful because we have removed the excess, the clutter, and the noise of too much. That’s something our busy society has yet to learn.

If this doesn’t resonate with you at all, totally get it. Click away and never think of it again. You do you, mama. But if this is speaking volumes to you, you might be wondering how to make the transition from where you are right now to this life.

How to Implement Minimalism For Your Kids in Your Home


1) Declutter the toys

In order to get started, you have to let go of all the things that have been keeping you overwhelmed and your kids overstimulated with entertainment. Start slow, don’t overthink it, and just start- those are my biggest pieces of advice here. Don’t sneak around and get rid of stuff behind your kids’ back- that’s not what we want here. We want them to be aware and understand this process, so it’s better to go slower and wait for them to get on board than to lose their trust.


You buy stuff with your time, not just your money. Less clutter equals less stress and more time. It's as simple as that!

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2) Choose outdoor time over screen time

It’s a habit you can choose to make. Technology is awesome and there’s a time and place for it, but it doesn’t have to be the only way to fill your kids’ time if you don’t want it to be. Don’t let bad weather be an excuse to pull the iPad out either. If you live in a state with lots of freezing or scalding days, you have the challenge of getting creative and encouraging your kids to do the same! Nothing amazing comes easy. Sometimes you have to fight for what you want and make it happen like the warrior mama you are!

3) Play with your kids sometimes (but let them learn how to keep themselves entertained too)

Get outside, have a living room dance party, make up a game together… be the mom who plays and makes awesome memories!

4) Conscious consumerism

What kind of toys are you choosing to keep as you declutter? What kind of toys will you buy going forward?

Personally, I choose to have things in our house that encourage my kids to use their imaginations or to build things. Legos, blocks, dress up costumes, things like that are so worth the space they take up and always inspire creative play. If you have things like this and your kids don’t play with them, declutter the rest of the toys, give it a week and watch what changes.

5) Lead by example

Kids know what you show them. When I implemented minimalism in the rest of the house and we started living this way in every area, my kids learned that this was just a part of our family and how we roll. Now they don’t remember anything else and it’s just the way things are. :)

Have you implemented the idea of less with your kids at all? Do you want to? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

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The Incredible, Life-Giving Gift of Minimalism For Mothers

allie casazza gift of minimalism for mothers

Every moment brings us closer to our final breath.

I know that’s a strong way to start a blog post, but I’m not writing this one to bring you fluff, so listen to me.

I’m not saying this to depress you or make you panic, I’m saying it to inspire you, to help you get focused on what really matters here. Because it’s way too easy to get caught up in bills and PTA meetings and doctor appointments and coffee runs and totally miss the point of this entire thing we call life, but so often fail to live. Someone needs to talk about the hard stuff. Someone has to speak out loud the tough reminders we all need from time to time.

God doesn’t make extra people. He doesn’t make mistakes either. Your life is precious and marked with purpose. Our time on this planet is extremely limited and extremely precious. YOU are extremely precious! Do you hear me?

You are here for a reason. And if you found your way to my site, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that you’re a mother, and your reason has a lot to do with your babies and not a lot to do with the stuff that usually fills your days.

I spend a lot of time with other mamas. They’re my heart. I write a lot about minimalism and creating a life of less unnecessary clutter and more purposeful time spent living out what you’re here for.

A lot of the women I speak to get stuck on the part where they get to have a clean house pretty much all the time. But hear me… minimalism is not about having a clean house and an easier life.

Sure, that’s a benefit and I’m not going to lie, I love not having to clean anywhere near as much as I used to. I love that I have four kids and I can easily invite someone into my house at the drop of a hat without stressing out about all the crap that’s on the floor. But that’s not the point.

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Minimalism is about having time to focus on what matters.

I have a bold message for those of you who have been here awhile and have said or thought things like "I'm not sure I want to go totally minimalist, but I really need help purging my kids’ toys..." I read these types of comments all the time in my community. I wish I could throw my arms around you and shout at you in my most excited voice, “YES YOU DO! YOU DO WANT ALL IN!” Those who don't want all of this misunderstand what it really is.

Another bold statement. How can she say that?! Not everyone wants to be a minimalist or even should be one! How dare she!

Wait, mama. Listen.

Minimalism is not deprivation. It's not boring. It doesn't mean having basically nothing but hey at least you don't have to clean much. It is actually living life!

It's got nothing to do with letting go of precious things that make you sad to not have anymore. You make it what it needs to be for you.

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 on 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 for experiences and memories because you spend mindfully now when it comes to stuff.

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 anymore. Imagine that, friend! It’s right there - it can be your reality!

allie casazza gift of minimalism for mothers

I'm not lying to you, there are thousands of women in here who will tell you the same thing and back me up with their incredible stories.

Listen to me, this is freedom. It's the answer to the overwhelm that's held you down for years. Let that crap go and start living on purpose. There is nothing about this that you don't want ALL of. Trust me.

DO NOT WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME!

Don’t waste your life cleaning up crap you don’t even need. Stop waiting around for “the perfect time” to start - it’s right now!

If you’ve been overwhelmed or unsure how to start, take a deep breath and lean in because I’ve got your back.

You can read more about how this works and what it might look like in your life.
You can go all in and get the A-Z of minimalism and start living your days on purpose.
You can join my community of roughly 30,000 moms who are seeking purpose through minimalism and simplifying.
You can start slow but firm and get the Minimalism Starter Kit (my most helpful, most valuable, and most loved workbook)

You can do none of these things and walk away from this. Most people will, and that’s okay. I’m not here to push you with rough hands or coerce you into something you don’t want. I’m simply here with a burden on my heart to speak the truth and remind all the mothers out there of what is happening- time is slipping.

I’ve been where you’re standing- overwhelmed, unhappy, unable to get a grip, desperate for some hope that I’m not a terrible mother and that everything will turn out okay.

Standing on the other side of that season, I can tell you the truth…

Nothing will change if you don’t. Nothing will work if you don’t, and it doesn’t have to be the kind of work you’ve been doing all this time.

You’ve already been given the answers and you already have a way to make a change. You can make a difference in your life, in your home, in your family, for your marriage and your kids. It’s all in your hands and you’re strong enough, capable enough to have it.

Stand up, mama. Be of good courage and do something that will free you up to be more available.

You’re never gonna look back at your life and wish you’d spent more time organizing, or cleaning, or doing all the things. But so many look back with the very same wish- that they would have been more present for what mattered.

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  • 20 Things You Can Get Rid of Right Now (and not even miss)
  • How to Destress Your Home in Ten Minutes
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Morning Quiet Time Practices

allie cassaza morning quiet time practices

My morning time is everything. I couldn’t be the person I need to be for my family if I didn’t rise early and get a jump on the day.

I always feel a huge shift in my attitude and the tone of our day when I don’t get out of bed in time to be alone and get my stuff done. It’s kinda like dealing with a stomach ache after you make the choice to go off your healthy eating plan.

Unfortunately, just showing up for my early morning won’t cut it. It’s super easy to wake up and get out of bed. Believe it or not, the hard part is being intentional and not just staring into the eyes of my coffee until it’s time to serve everyone breakfast.

What really matters is how I spend that time- what am I going to do with this precious silence?

It really sucks to do the work of making time and waking up, and then not honor it by letting time go by without doing anything worth waking up early for.

I prefer to do things with my morning time that I can’t do or would be hard to do with the kids awake in the middle of our day. Quiet time is one of those things.

My quiet time usually consists of two or three of the following: reading my Bible, praying, taking a walk, writing in a journal, exercising, listening to worship music, or spending quality time with my hubby.

Quiet time, for me, is the time I get to sit in silence, reflect on what’s going on in my life, and spend time with God. Being a homeschooling mom of four means there isn’t much time for me to think, process things, reflect, or pray without a serious amount of background noise. It just is what it is- this is my season. So if what I need is quiet time, I have to work pretty hard to create it, and it is so worth it!

There have been seasons of my life in which daily quiet time just wasn’t a reality (sleepless nights spent rocking and breastfeeding one of my babies, pregnancy), but right now is not one of those seasons, and I really look forward to tending my soul before the sun wakes up. There’s something really soothing about this time I get to myself with my thoughts and my Savior.

My quiet time is separate from the other things I need to get done in the early morning hours. I don’t choose between my quiet time and working or my quiet time and my exercise time- it’s its own thing because it’s super important.

I have a lot of thoughts throughout the day- business ideas, family plans, homeschooling decisions to make, what to make for dinner, what should I do about my son’s terrible attitude lately, how can I tone my arms, why did I react the way I did yesterday in my marriage, what should I wear for date night next weekend... Usually the important and the mundane get jumbled and can easily overwhelm me and then just get lost in the busyness of life.

Journaling is a simple practice that helps me sort through them and get some clarity. I’ve always been a writer at heart. I kept journals as a kid all the way through my childhood and adolescent years. It’s so easy to get caught up and just go through the motions, letting ugly things like ingratitude and bitterness and overwhelm take root and grow before you even notice. Journaling gives me the gift of connecting with my heart and emotions as well as redirecting them where they need to go as I move through the seasons of life.

There have been so many times that I have been in a circumstance and through journaling, have realized how I really felt and been able to make calm, stable decisions in the midst of life’s craziest storms.

Writing out my thoughts as they are or thoughts focused on something in particular (like gratitude) is such an amazing way to start the day. Coupled with my Jesus time, I always feel focused and inspired and encouraged before my family even wakes up.

Life is crazy, and I’ve found that if I am not regularly focusing on what I’m grateful for, what God is doing in my life, and how I can be my best self in each season, I lose it. I am not the wife or mom I know I am called to be, and I don’t feel right. I’m off-center and cranky and can easily turn into a person I don’t want to be.

Here are some of my favorite morning time routines that help me start the day off right and stay focused on what matters in the middle of a very full life.

My Morning Quiet Time Practices


1) Prayer

I’m gonna be frank here… If I am not regularly giving God my time and seeking Him in all I do, I am just not a good person. I can’t give to my family the way I need to and my attitude generally sucks. I don’t have any kind of strict routine with this quiet time in the mornings. I just show up and invite the Holy Spirit to do the same, and He always does. I talk to Him about whatever is on my heart and He leads me to pray for whatever it needs to be that day.

Journaling is a large part of my prayer time. My thoughts too easily stray to something other than what needs prayer, but when I’m writing out the things I feel led to pray over, I stay focused.

allie casazza val paper co morning quiet time routines

2) Bible Reading

My Bible reading is usually led by the excerpt of the day from my favorite devotional book Streams in the Desert by LB Cowman. I start by reading the day’s devotional and then following the Scripture included and reading the entire chapter the given passage is found in. Sometimes I’ll read more than that, sometimes less. Sometimes I find myself in a random book of the Bible just reading what the Spirit led me to.

3) Gratitude Journal

I’m naturally kind of pessimistic, and I work really hard to fight that tendency! I find that I am so much happier and able to take on the chaos of life with grace and joy when I start the day focused on what I’m thankful for. I’m one of those people who can find something wrong in everything, and I feel like it’s my responsibility to actively counteract that part of myself. Have you ever read up on the effects gratitude has on a person? It’s absolutely astounding, and I’ve seen it actively working in my own life.

I set a timer for five minutes (borrowing from the popular idea of the five minute journal) and jot down whatever comes to mind that I am grateful for. I go beyond things like my family, a roof over my head, etc and really try to dive deep into the details. The smell of coffee on this extra groggy morning, my husband’s carpentry skills that provide beautiful handmade furniture...whatever comes to mind.

It starts the day on a very positive note and makes me feel so blessed when my kids come out for breakfast. It makes it very difficult to have a bad day when you start it out this way because the way you respond to other people is radically different than if you had woken up to tiny hands pulling on you and loud requests for breakfast.

allie cassaza val paper co morning quiet time practices

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4) Affirmations

At one point in our life, my family was in a very dark place. I remember standing in our driveway, dirt poor, unsure of how we were going to have what we needed for dinner that night and saying the sentence, “I am extremely wealthy. I can pay my bills, live a full life, and have money leftover. God has given us wealth so that we can change the world and live out the gospel.”

Do you have any idea how stupid I felt on the inside saying that out loud with all we had going on in our reality? Very, very stupid. But we had dinner that night and we never didn’t have what we needed, and about two weeks after I began speaking provision and truth over our circumstances in Jesus’ name, we had a multiple five-figure bank account and that money consistently poured in from our business. I never doubted the power of my words again, and I started carrying this over into other areas of my life. The point is, our mouths are powerful, and they’re directly connected to our thoughts and our hearts.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
— Proverbs 18:21

Speaking truth and positive words over ourselves is one of the most powerful things we can do. By saying things out loud you’re shifting your mindset, and your actions follow your thoughts.

This is another thing that has earned a place in my morning practices. Every morning I take a walk and speak things over myself and my family and our life. It’s a very special time between me and my God of calling good things into action in His name and saying YES to all the amazing things He has for me.

5) Movement

I do not like to exercise. I downright hate it most days. What I do like is the way it makes me feel after I’m done, and that, coupled with the fact that I used to be very overweight and unhappy, is why I make it happen. I think people over complicate things like exercise and make it into a formula you have to follow for it to work, which I think is dumb and a great excuse to procrastinate. I prefer to just do it (oh hey, Nike).

I like yoga, and walking, and I’ll usually run a mile before heading into squats and push-ups, but I keep it simple. I go based off my mood and what I did yesterday. If I spent the previous morning running and doing push-ups, I’ll spend this morning doing yoga and tomorrow I’ll focus on squats and lunges. Some days I skip exercise, but I rarely let myself skip more than one morning in a row.

My biggest suggestion on bringing exercise into your mornings has already been said- keep it simple. Just do something.

This is my favorite workout of all time. And let me tell you from a place of much less cellulite than I used to have….it works.

6) Dawn Dates.

Now that Brian and I run the business together and his normal 9-5 (which was really more like a 6am-midnight. so glad to be done!), we have a lot of time together. What we quickly learned is that being physically near one another all day long does not mean that we actually spend time together. It’s harder than ever to talk during the day! Our family is big and loud and chaotic and our kids are literally always with us (#homeschooling). When Brian left his job, we immediately saw the need to dedicate a specific time of day to our marriage other than our date nights.

Our mornings have become about our marriage a couple days a week. We feel that since our relationship (aside from our individual relationships with God) is the foundation our family stands on, it’s important. We dedicate at least one morning per week (it usually ends up being two or three) to our relationship. We call these times our dawn dates. I know I know, we’re super annoying. But when it’s 5AM and you’d honestly rather sleep, you have to call it something cute.

Usually, on the days we’re going to have a dawn date, I shorten my personal quiet time to like five minutes or skip it altogether. Otherwise I’d be spending four hours of my morning in different variations of quiet time. Plus, our morning time prayer and conversations are so restoring for me, I don’t need much else.

We travel full-time, which means we live in a camper, so when our alarms go off, we either stay in bed and bring the coffee to us and talk there, or wrap up in sweatshirts and sit outside together. The kids know they are not allowed to make sounds if they can’t fall back to sleep or to come out and talk to us at all. House rules, yo.

We bring our Bibles and marriage journals and just share thoughts and emotions with each other regarding where we’re at in life or whatever’s going on. We pray together and for each other and read a passage of the Bible or a devotional. Then we just have a really relaxed time of talking and hanging out over coffee like people who actually like each other, because we do!

Sometimes you just need to get on the same page and talk things out, and it’s really refreshing. Other times one of us is angry or hurt and this time is spent working it out. Either way, this time is marked out each week and we both know it’s there for us and look forward to it.

I wish we had taken up this habit before he quit his job! It would’ve benefitted us so much during a season that was totally chaotic in a different way. You can do this whether your husband works a lot or a little, in person or via Facetime!

I tend to keep a marriage journal throughout the week even when we aren’t spending time together as a couple. Marriage is so emotional and tricky sometimes, and being a writer, I really enjoy writing out how I feel and what’s going on in our relationship- both amazing and difficult things.

Obviously, I’m a big believer in paying attention to your thoughts and emotions and keeping a journal (or three). I feel that as a busy mom it’s all too easy to neglect yourself and rarely look at what’s going on with you. That’s how you have a breakdown or become bitter and resentful- we don’t want that right??

allie casazza marriage journal val paper co morning quiet time routines

Some of my favorite journals come from Val Marie Paper Co - they’re so beautiful! They’re the kind of journals that inspire you to use them, and she has a journal for each area of quiet time, which I love. Plus, I love supporting other small businesses, so this is a real win-win.

Val has kindly agreed to give an exclusive discount code to you beautiful mamas to help inspire you to be more intentional about your quiet time- a passion we both share. You can take $3.00 off each journal when you purchase three or more.

If you love these journals and you’d like to snag a deal on some of them, head to her website and enter code 3ORMORE at checkout.

Don’t forget to snag your free copy of my favorite morning affirmations!

allie casazza morning affirmations

Do you have any morning rhythms you look forward to? Share in the comments!

How To Set Yourself Up For A Successful Morning

how to set yourself up for a successful morning allie casazza

Waking up early has been one of the most life-changing practices I’ve ever taken up. I used to be such a night owl, staying up until one or two o’clock in the morning, soaking up the quiet. It’s so simple, but just like letting go of my clutter, changing my habits and rising early reshaped my entire life.

Knowing that I’ve knocked out the most important tasks on my list for the day, gotten my body moving, and had a cup of coffee in peace before the sun even wakes up gives me such a fantastic start to my day! When I’m not worrying about when I can fit in a trip to the gym or how I’m going to write that blog post all day, I’m able to relax and really be present for my family. When life happens and one of the kids gets sick, or someone needs me, I can be there and not be shuffling things around on my to do list in a panic because the biggest tasks are already done.

Waking early takes some serious discipline, but once I stuck it out for a few weeks it became something I don’t like not doing. When I sleep until my kids get me up, I start the day off with loud noises, tiny hands pulling on me, and demands for breakfast. I’m irritated, groggy, and usually pretty pissed off and the day just started. I know that if I push through the initial sleepiness and just wake up early, I can start the day in the peace and quiet of a house that’s still asleep and start my day with intent.

She gets up while it is still night and provides food for her family
— Proverbs 31:15

What kind of woman do you want to be? The kind who sets an example for her kids, wakes up for her family and starts the day well? Or the kind who lets the day happen to her and just rolls with it until she’s had her third cup of coffee?

If you’ve been complaining about how you “never have time” to workout, or be alone, or read, or pray, ask yourself what time you wake up. More often than not, the solution lies in the last hours you spend asleep.

If you want help with the actualities of learning to wake up early and how I made the change, read this and this. Oh, and this

Today I want to talk to you about how you can set yourself up for a successful morning. Because getting out of bed is one thing, but taking action and being productive is a whole other thing. It’s easy to wake up, climb out of bed and then just sit on the couch with our coffee and our Bible halfway stuck in whatever dream we were having thirty minutes ago. But that’s not worth waking up for, so we want to actually do what we got out of bed to do.

For me, it’s all about the night before.

If I go to bed one night, exhausted from the day, and I don’t prepare for the next morning, I always regret it. Sometimes I spend so much time trying to find my favorite workout pants that I end up wasting an hour and not getting my workout in.

When I find everything and prepare for my productive morning the night before, I eliminate my excuses and set myself up for success. It is so much easier to climb out of bed grab the pile of gym clothes on the dresser and head to the bathroom to change than it is to fumble around in the closet.

Before you can prepare the night before, you have to know what you’re going to be doing in the morning. This also really helps you have the drive you need to get up when the alarm goes off. What is it that you need to get done in peace, without kids interrupting you? Why are you going to wake up early? Are you going to blog? Get a workout in? Take a walk while you listen to a podcast? Meal prep? Don’t just answer with a task list. Look at the effects of having those tasks done will have on your life. How will it feel to know your meals are prepped and cooking for the week on Monday morning? How will you feel knowing you got a killer workout in and had coffee and Bible time before serving the kids breakfast? Focus on the impact, not the tasks.

5 Ways to Set Yourself Up For A Successful Morning the Night Before

1) Know your schedule.

Don’t just assume you’d never be physically able to wake up before 6:00. Plan it out, look ahead and know for sure you’re giving yourself enough time to get your stuff done. Say you have to be with your kids starting your family routine at 7:00 and you want to hit the gym and check your email beforehand. You’d need to wake up by 5:00 and be working out by 5:30 in order to have the time you need to finish your workout and check your email. Now you have your wake up time.

2) Lay out your stuff.

Let’s say you want to use your early morning time to work out and read for twenty minutes over a cup of coffee. Pick out your workout clothes and shoes, lay them out where you can easily grab them in your sleepy 5AM haze, and put your book or Bible or whatever you’ll be reading next to them. One other thing you’ll want to do is preset the coffee maker (with a timer if your machine has one). See how much easier you just made your morning? Now all you have to do is get out of bed and grab your stuff and head to the bathroom to change.

3) Prevent your biggest excuses.

I hear all kinds of reasons women have for not rising early, yet they want the perks so badly. Get over it! Push through, find a way! If you find yourself hitting the snooze button because you’re freezing and getting out of the covers is just too difficult, first reconsider your use of the word difficult, then do something about it. Have a thick wooly pair of socks ready to throw on, change the thermostat settings in your house, have a robe ready for you. If you find that you never hear your alarms, change them! Make them louder, put them closer to your face, set more of them, annoy yourself so badly that you absolutely have to wake up. Don’t let excuses keep you from doing great things and being a woman of intent and purpose. You’re better than that!

4) Tell your family.

You need support and respect. Talk to your kids about what you’re doing and why it’s important. Set strict rules and boundaries to make it happen. Follow through on them. If you’re married, talk to your husband about why you want to do this and how he can help. It’s not like you’re wanting to head out for a mani/pedi and catch a movie, you’re doing this so you can be a better mom. It matters.

5) Get your mind right.

So much of any habit change is mental. Don’t think of this as something that you’re “trying” to do or are “working towards”, think of it as something you ARE doing right now. If subconsciously you’re not really sure you’ll end up waking up and kicking ass tomorrow morning, you probably won’t. Another trick is to think about what will happen if you don’t wake up early. Look at how many crappy days you’ve had, look at how things are going for you right now. Do you really want it to stay that way? Go to bed at night imagining how you will feel if you woke up and got those pressing tasks crossed off your to do list before your kids come out for breakfast. Decide that you are going to do this and you will. Leave it up to chance or see if what I’m telling you will actually work and it won’t. Nothing will work unless you do.

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?”

minimalism allie casazza momlife

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

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.

Self-care

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.

Home

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.

allie casazza how to simplify your life

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!

Calendar

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?

Relationships

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. 

Health

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.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

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

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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, Dictionary.com).

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. 

WANT A LITTLE EXTRA MOTIVATION?

HERE ARE SOME EPISODES OF THE PURPOSE SHOW THAT ARE RELATED TO THIS TOPIC!