Living An Uncluttered Life goes beyond your physical possessions. It reaches out to other areas of your life such as your health, your calendar, your obligations, and even your friendships. Consider questions like: What is this event doing for me? Is this 3-days-a-week time commitment bringing me joy? Does this person bring positivity or negativity to my life? By letting go of excess and removing what's not serving you, you are giving yourself space to have a more joy-filled life!
In This Episode, Allie Discusses:
What minimalism looks like in the rest of your life, not just your home.
Practical questions you can use to evaluate how to simplify your calendar and obligations.
How setting boundaries in your relationships will help you determine who is serving you well and who is not.
The importance of not labeling yourself when it comes to your health.
The beauty that comes from experiencing minimalism outside your home.
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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.
Hey friends, I am so happy to be doing this episode! It's something that I've been wanting to talk about for a while. This is basically a surface scratch of what Unburdened is all about. Unburdened is one of my smaller courses. I'm really passionate about this. This is more what I love to talk about and more what I believe versus being a minimalist with your possessions.
While that is so important and definitely the best starting point, there's so much more to be said. There's so much more to learn. I'm about six years into my minimalist journey. At this point, sometimes it feels a little stale for me to talk about house stuff (and maybe that's too strong of a word), but I just get so much more excited talking about the other aspects of an uncluttered life, the other areas of life that you can declutter, not just your material possessions.
I'm really excited to talk about this. I've been talking about this a lot more recently in interviews that I've done for other people's podcasts, and other media. We just redid Unburdened and I got a chance to really pour into this topic and share everything that I know, everything that I've learned. I wanted to do an episode about it as well.
We are talking about having an uncluttered life outside of just your home and your material possessions. I think the real beauty of decluttering your physical possessions is that it is very therapeutic. It almost always leads to the same practice of letting go of the excess and other areas of your life because you realize just how much excess has been weighing you down.
You start to let go of the old photo albums. You let go of the old baby things. You let go of sentimental things that are very, very loaded with emotion. Maybe it’s a pregnancy test from a baby that you miscarried. Sometimes things can feel like they are all we have left of something. We hold on to them thinking that it's helping us when really it's just weighing us down and causing us a burden.
Even things that are less heavy than that. Extra lip glosses that are old and we never use. But we feel like, what if we want that color? What if we want that lipstick one day? Extra socks. Extra clothes. Extra shoes. Extra hair stuff. Extra dishes. Extra everything. It just adds up.
It's not that one area in particular is making or breaking your life. It's rather that all those things just accumulate to so much excess and so much extra burden.
As moms, that's the last thing we need. I think minimalism benefits everyone. It's always funny to me how a lot of famed minimalists are bachelors, or dudes, or they're not parents yet. It's funny because minimalism serves everyone.
We live in a society that says, “Give me more, more, more, more. I totally understand going against the flow in any capacity is amazing, but it is so much easier to say, “I'm going to have less” when you don't have a bunch of kids. When you're not raising a family. When you're not a mom with all this responsibility on your plate for the people in your home. I feel like it's so much easier to just let stuff accumulate both in your home and in your life when you are a parent and, specifically, a mother.
That's why I'm so passionate about speaking on this subject, specifically to mothers and women. I really want to dive into what this looks like. What minimalism looks like in the rest of your life, not just your home.
I noticed that minimalism started spilling over into the other aspects of my life as I was decluttering my home initially a few years ago. One of the first areas that I noticed was my calendar. When you're going through your physical possessions, you start to fall into this rhythm of asking yourself questions about why you would or would not keep an item. What is this doing for me? How is it serving me? Is it making my life easier? Is it really necessary? Is this a need item or a want item?
You start weighing out your options. It might sound silly, but really just getting real with yourself and gut-checking where you're at with each individual item. The process is very quick and subconscious.
You're not literally sitting there looking at the item, asking yourself these questions out loud. You might do that in the beginning, but not throughout the whole process because you fall into a flow.
As you do that, it is so therapeutic and you see how it's helping you simplify. You can't help but start to go about the rest of your life that way. For me, my calendar was one of the first things I did after my house (even during my house decluttering). You start to ask yourself, why am I letting this thing take up space on my calendar every week?
Why am I taking my kids to this thing every single week when honestly, I really hate it. It's at a terribly inconvenient time. It totally ruins the day every week. It makes me not able to get a good meal on the table. We always end up eating junk food. Everyone's cranky afterwards. We’re stretched way too thin and they don't have time to do their homework. Why are we even doing this?
Then you can weigh it out. You can say, “Well, it's a kid's Bible study, so that's worth it to me. I would rather be flexible in other areas and find a way to be creative. Maybe I can do a crock-pot meal. Maybe plan ahead a little bit better and really work this thing into our schedule because it is purposeful for us and it is worth it to me.”
Or you can say, “You know what, this really isn't worth it. It's not a priority. It's not really serving our family.” The ways that it might be serving your family don't outweigh the negatives of going to this thing every week, month or day or whatever it is.
Honestly, this is one of the biggest reasons that I pulled my kids out of public school halfway through the year this year. I've said this before, so I don't want to drone on and on about it (if it's repetitive for you who already know this), but we put our kids into the public school system after homeschooling because the business got too overwhelming and we needed to take a school year, take a beat and just focus on one thing.
We couldn't do both. We couldn't do it all. We couldn't do running an amazing business, growing and providing income for our family, and homeschooling the kids really well. Something was always falling to the wayside and we needed to take a break.
We put the kids in school to give ourselves more space to focus on the business and hire some people so that we would be working less. We ended up accomplishing that in just a few months rather than an entire school year.
I was thinking, “Well this is good though. We can just have time together. We can have time with just Emmett. The other kids will be in school. We can just simplify, catch up on housework, catch up on other work stuff and just enjoy the fact that we're not homeschooling this year. What ended up happening was that taking the kids to and from school every day, dealing with all the paperwork, all the homework, all the expectations of somebody else (not us) on our kids’ academics, it ended up just draining us and being a negative.
It was no longer helpful. It definitely wasn't in the beginning. It served its purpose. We did the right thing and it was great, but at a certain point it was no longer necessary. It started to become a drain and it was no longer serving us.
We assessed it this way: How is this serving us? OK, here are the ways that it's really helpful. Here are the ways that it's really not helpful. The ways that it is helpful do not outweigh the ways that it is not helpful for us. We decided that we were going to let winter break come. Then we're going to let everyone know that we're pulling the kids out of school and going back to homeschooling mid-year instead of waiting until the end of the school year and going another five months like this. I hope that's a helpful example, but that's kind of what I mean.
How can you bring in the idea of decluttering and minimalism to your calendar and your schedule? This is so huge and I would encourage you to take a look at what's taking up space in your calendar. What is excess? What is obligation? What is not serving you or your family? What feels like a drain?
Some things might be drain but they kind of have to be there. Maybe you're in a season where you work outside of the home. You absolutely hate going to work every single day, but you need the money. For now you have to go and show up.
But maybe you can come up with a three or five-year plan to change your lifestyle. That's not sustainable to hate your job, hate where spend the bulk of your time every single day. That’s not sustainable for an intentional joy-filled life.
Maybe you can start to pray, think or plan, and come up with a way to have that not be your end-all, be-all. Have there be an end to that eventually. I think getting real with ourselves and assessing how we're spending our time and our calendar is minimalism in this area of our life.
What is an obligation in your life? Is there somewhere that you go already, maybe every once a week or so?
Let's say you go to church once a week and while you're there, there's something obligatory. You are doing something to serve every single week when you're there and you're not able to really enjoy the message. Maybe it's starting to feel draining and maybe you're not happy with that. It's an obligation. What can you do?
Can you cut back on how much time you're spending serving? Can you change the way you're serving? Can you serve one service and then attend the next one? What can you do?
Let’s give ourselves space to analyze how we're spending our time, what's going on our calendar, and what we're doing with our lives.
Whether you make changes or not, you should give yourself space to look and get real with yourself. Stop avoiding the problems. Look at what's draining. Look at what is life-giving. Maybe you'll look and see that every single thing is life-giving.
You don’t need to change anything. Great. Don't you feel better? Acknowledging that and knowing that, so it's not about going in there with a machete and hacking at things that are not super, super fun. We don't want to be unrealistic. It's about giving yourself that space to look, analyze and ask yourself, “Is this how I want to be living my life?” Because how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Right?
The other area in which minimalism is so helpful and not often talked about is toxic people. I love the term, “vampire people”, because they just drain the life out of you.
This is so often people that we are “forced” to spend time with, or at least we think we are. Very often it's family members.
We don't want to be jerks. We don't want to be selfish, but - boundaries. If you have not read the book Boundaries by Dr. Cloud and Townsend, go on Amazon right now and get yourself a copy. I will link to it in the show notes so you can make sure you're getting the right one. One of the best books I've ever read, top 10 list for sure. You need to get your hands on that book. If you haven't read it yet, it's so life changing.
Where are there people in your life that are draining you? That are causing you stress? That every time you are going to go somewhere where they are going to be, you are just full of dread? You're anxious. You're annoyed. You're irritable. You're snappy to your spouse and your kids. You don't want to go. You just feel like it's a part of life.
Maybe you don't stop seeing that person altogether, but you can give it some space. Again, give yourself some space to look at the relationship, look at the problem and come up with a plan to deal with it.
I've got people like that in my life for sure. There's been a couple of them where it was, “You know what? This is abusive. You're verbally so rude. You're not treating me and my family well and this is not OK. I don't want my kids around this. Until you can shape up your game, I’m going to be taking a step back.” It's a really hard, awkward conversation to have.
And I'm not saying this lightly. There was a situation that was incredibly wrong, incredibly, incredibly toxic and difficult where we had to have that conversation. The person kind of freaked out and now won't speak to us. It's out of our life, out of our hands. We're constantly just praying about it, making sure our boundaries are healthy. We're very willing to just forgive, talk and move on but the other person will not do that.
You may have an extreme situation like that. That's OK.
For me, having healthy boundaries is huge. Knowing that I am acting Godly and asking for forgiveness when I'm not. Knowing I have healthy boundaries that are protecting my spirit, myself, my husband and my family. For Brian the exact same thing - protecting me and protecting his family and having a godly lifestyle and forgiveness when we don't.
It may not be that extreme of a situation. It may be somebody that you have to be around. They are in your family and they're just kind of draining. They're just kind of rude. Maybe they're very forward and they say things that are kind of condescending. Maybe they're manipulative. There's lots of different types of toxicity in people, lots of different types of “vampires” out there, right?
Come at your relationships with a minimalistic mindset and think, “OK, where do I feel like I'm in a toxic environment? When is it that I'm seeing these people? Why am I seeing them? Is this something that I have to have in my life?” If it's “yes”, how can you come up with some solid boundaries? How can you respond in love, but with firm boundaries so that this person is no longer affecting you?
Again, read the book, Boundaries. Seriously, you have to read it. There are responses and examples that can help you in difficult situations. It's so important to have this.
My point in bringing this up is bringing the idea of letting go of excess, of removing what's not serving you and coming up with a plan to handle it better, to have a more joy-filled life. Bringing this idea of minimalism into the area of toxic people in your life.
Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?
Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!
It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.
Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.
In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.
How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!
How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.
How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.
How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.
This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.
It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.
Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.
I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.
If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.
Check it out. bit.ly/getunburdened
Another area where I've applied minimalism and it has so helped me is my health. I've written about this a few times, but really it comes down to health and wellness is such an over saturated industry in our culture.
I think I read somewhere it's a multiple billion dollar a year industry. People are buying products, reading books and purchasing things to help them lose weight and get healthy.
If you think about it, unless you've got some kind of ailment that makes it difficult, losing weight and getting healthy is very simplistic. Eat less junk, eat more of what is good for you and move more.
If you have a desk job, initiate nightly walks with your family. Do some squats while you are waiting for your lunch to heat up in the break room. There's never an excuse. You can always find a way.
With my health, I used to be about 50 pounds heavier. I still have some work to do. I definitely battled with emotional eating. I will do a podcast episode about that very soon.
I absolutely used food, and still struggle with this sometimes, as a coping mechanism. I definitely am an emotional eater.
To be frank, cutting the crap, not kidding myself anymore, getting real with myself and just thinking, “What do I want here? Do I want to feel awful every time I get dressed for the day and leave? Do I want to feel awful about myself every time I run into somebody that I know, but I haven't seen in awhile because I'm heavier and my skin's broken out and I don't feel good?” No, that’s not what I want.
It's not about my size. I'm a curvy person matter how healthy am, and I love that about myself. It's not about that. It's not about getting into a size two. It's about how do I feel and I just didn't feel good.
Bringing minimalism into my health looked like this: Cutting down on the excess. Not needing to have a label. “Oh, I'm going to eat Paleo. Oh, I'm going to do Whole 30. Oh, I'm gonna work out five times a week.” And you know, not going crazy. Just thinking, “You know, what? Where's the excess here? When I go in and hit the drive-through because it's convenient. That's excess. That's not serving me at all. It would be cheaper and easier for me if I just had some meals prepped in the fridge.
If I had some food prepped in the fridge, if I had something prepared so that I could have convenience but not destroy my goals and make myself feel awful, make my stomach upset. Simply stripping down and thinking, “OK, I'm going to no longer eat processed foods. I'm not going to eat refined sugar. I'm going to cut out soda. I'm going to cut out a cup of coffee per day. I'm going to drink three of these water bottles a day.”
Simplifying it, what's one thing you can focus on? Trim the excess. Stop over-complicating it because that's why we're never meeting our goals and making actual progress. We overcomplicate. We oversaturate and it's not serving us at all. Strip it down. What do you need to change? What is one bad habit you could do that you could cut out? That you could make a change and make a difference in your health?
Bringing minimalism into these areas of our lives is so important and so healing.
For a personal example on the health note, here's kind of what my health looks like, my routine and how I have minimalism as a part of my health and wellness. I don't like to over-complicate this. I definitely tend to struggle with that. I need labels. “Oh, I'm doing whole 30.” I have done whole 30 several times. Actually it’s a big part of how I lost 50 pounds, but not obsessing over that label and just doing it. If that's going to simplify it for you, do it. At that point in my life, Whole 30 simplified. I didn't want to think, “OK, wait, what's in this?” I just thought, “Is this Whole 30? OK, I'm going to eat it.” If it's not, “No, I'm not going to eat it.”
So that may simplify it for you, but you’ve got to do you. You’ve got to do what works for you.
Right now I try not to eat processed foods. I absolutely have grace if there's a day where I woke up feeling awful, we have baseball that night and I didn't get dinner on the table. Then, yes, we will drive through Del Taco and I will get the healthiest thing I can get there and it will be fine. I'm not going to die. It’s totally fine. There's grace there, but I try to make good decisions and not eat processed foods.
I don't drink soda anymore even though I love an ice cold Coke. I have my coffee black with usually a splash of raw organic cream. I drink a certain amount of water bottles.
I sit down when I'm homeschooling my kids and I usually am sitting down when I am recording the podcast and working, so I try and take a walk every single day. I try to get in about 15 minutes of exercise in the mornings as part of my morning ritual. That's it. That is enough.
I don't need to do more than that. I've stripped it down to the bare minimum. Those are the things that I know, “OK, if I'm doing this, I'm getting to maintain my weight.” I may even continue to lose weight. I'm happy with that. I'm happy with the way that I look and the way that I feel when I'm doing those things. That's minimalism in the area of health for me.
I hope that was helpful, but I just want you guys to understand the beauty of what it does for you as a mother to live an uncluttered life beyond just your home.
I do still think that your home is the best place to start and if you haven't already enrolled in Your Uncluttered Home, I'm telling you that is where everything is. It is my signature course. I worked my butt off on that for a long, long time. Just about a year of my life was poured into that course. I did research. I studied. I purged people's houses in person. I did so much for you guys in that course. It is everything if you want an uncluttered home.
But there's so much more beyond that. That's just the starting point. It's so therapeutic. You'll begin to see how you feel when you're letting go of physical items, letting go of emotional things in your life, your calendar obligations, toxic people, your health, your relationships. You start to see it and you can't help but let it spill over into those areas of your life. That's what I love about decluttering and minimalism.
I hope this was helpful for you guys. Please leave a review on itunes if you love this episode. I will talk to you guys later.
This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you. I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!
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