EP 050: How Minimalism Can Steal Your Joy

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I've spent the last six years uncovering something that changed my whole life. And when I first started, 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. And that thing, of course, is minimalism. The philosophy of less that comes with minimalism took me from overwhelmed, depressed and fighting, and barely getting by to loving motherhood, thriving in my role and being the mom that I always wanted to be.

For me, minimalism is about simplifying what I have in my home so that have the time and joy to focus on my family, offering my kids and my husband the best of me, not what's left over after I pick up, wash a thousand dishes, fold six hours’ worth of laundry and reorganize all the toys again. Minimalism is all about where my focus is. Not how many items I have, not how many pairs of jeans I have, not how minimalist I appear. I don't want to deprive myself of things for the sake of “being a minimalist.” There are things that bring me joy, make me happy, and fill my life. It's more time in my day, more time for what matters, more time for pursuing what lights me up and makes me feel alive.

 
 

In This Episode, Allie Discusses:

  • What minimalism means to her and how she finds joy in having more of what makes her truly happy.

  • When you focus on asking yourself purpose-driven questions about what you own rather than counting your items and following what someone else says that you're supposed to be doing, you create a philosophy of minimalism that works for you. And minimalism for you will look different than minimalism for anyone else.

  • How minimalism is less on your to do list and more checks on your bucket list.

  • What takes up your space takes up your time. So focusing on the intent behind the stuff in your life will help you fill your time with things that bring you joy instead of make you feel overwhelmed.

Mentioned in this Episode:

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DO YOU FEEL LIKE...

You're stuck in survival mode? The mundane parts of motherhood have taken over? Every time you get something clean someone is making a mess behind you? You’ve tried to get organized a thousand times, but it always comes undone within a few days?

If you're screaming "YES!" at an awkwardly loud decibel while staring at the screen, I totally get it girl. And I have something for you. 

YOU'RE ABOUT TO DISCOVER WHAT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING YOUR ENTIRE #MOMLIFE FOR...


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If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at hello@alliecasazza.com or connect with me over on Facebook & Instagram


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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.

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Hey sweet friends! Welcome to the show! Today we're going to talk about rules-based minimalism or this sort of “legalistic minimalism,” as I like to call it. This can be a controversial subject.

There are a lot of prominent teachers in the minimalism niche that have popped up over the last few years and many of them would strongly disagree with me on this. I know that because I have received emails. I won't name names because to each their own, but in this way, I think a lot of people disagree and that's okay.

But you know, I'm a mom. I've got four kids. I live a very simple life. I love my home. I love decor. I don't want to live in a cold, stark place that’s not very welcoming and doesn't make me feel filled with joy when I walk into it.

I don't want to deprive myself of things for the sake of “being a minimalist,” things that bring me joy, make me happy, and fill my life. I don't. I just don't want to live that way.

And so, I really want to address this idea of making decisions based on the fact of, “Oh, because I'm a minimalist or I want to be a minimalist…” I want to start out by saying that I've spent the better part of the last, oh my gosh, almost six years, uncovering something that changed my whole life. And when I first started, I didn't know what it was called or even that it was called anything. 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.

And that thing, of course if you know my story at all, is minimalism. And that philosophy of less that comes with minimalism took me from overwhelmed, depressed and fighting, and barely getting by to loving my motherhood, thriving in my role and being the mom that I always wanted to be. I am not perfect, of course not, but so much closer to what I imagined I'd be when I was a girl and I imagined having a family.

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

The point of minimalism, for me, is where my focus is. Not how many items I have, not how many pairs of jeans I have, not how minimalist I appear.

It's taking power and control back of my time and how I spend my days. It's not about how many objects I have. It's more time in my day, more time for what matters. More time for pursuing what lights me up and makes me feel alive.

You guys, I started this blog before my minimalist journey, but it sat there half dead and getting nowhere. I am a writer at heart. I wanted to have a blog. I wanted to do something, and I didn’t know what. This whole business, this whole everything that I have, was born because I created more time in my life for my purpose and I would have missed it if I hadn't done this. It's so important.

Minimalism is more space in your home, more space in your calendar, more space to breathe and rest and enjoy things and live.

It's less yelling. It's less stress. It's less fighting with your family to just clean up please. Everyone gets that, right? It's less of that. 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.

Man, I'm telling you, it's where it's at. It's huge. It's life-changing. Minimalism is more money in your bank account because you're spending mindfully. 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, just trying to get to bedtime. The mom who doesn't resort to yelling because she's not that stressed out anymore.

Think about that. It's amazing. It's such a gift.

As I've gotten to the heart of this idea for myself of minimalism, you know, I've been spreading the secret of less to my fellow women as much as I can and that is what got me up to where I am today.

My message has reached people in Russia, China, Australia, Canada, and honestly, parts of the world I didn't even know existed. It's gotten me on television more than a handful of times. It's landed me on the phone with Jenny McCarthy. It's had my experience spread all over major websites for years. It's been incredibly unexpected and amazing. I love seeing other used-to-be-overwhelmed moms breaking these chains and messaging me that they found a new, purposeful way to do this “mom thing.” They're so happy and grateful.

However, having said all of that and laying the groundwork for you, one thing breaks my heart every time I see it. And it's an almost daily thing. These women missing the point, obsessing over the details and the numbers of the things in their home and continuing to give the power to their stuff, just in a different way.

So, like I said before, a lot of minimalist influencers will encourage this. I think they mean well and they have their hearts are in the right place. I'm not saying there's anything necessarily wrong with it, but you will never find this from me.

If this goes well with you and you want to count your things, and that's the philosophy you want – go. This is definitely not the place for you. I think these people are meaning well, but they're inspiring others by counting how many of each “thing” they own and focusing on the numbers and the things.

There are no minimalists’ rules. There's really no right way to do this and if anyone claims that, I think they've missed the point. 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. Of how much time you spend on mundane things, of how you spend your days and like my favorite quote by Annie Dillard, she says, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

So, shouldn't we be intentional about this? If you're focusing on counting, you've missed the point because your things are still in charge of you. In this case of minimalism, it's still all about the stuff. You're just transferring the way it's in charge of you.

Sure, some people do really well with numbers and they just want a little guidance with what works and that's fine. But there's a big difference between guidelines and obsession. And I think there are people who pride themselves on living with very, very little. I've seen articles floating around about “this guy who lives with less than 20 things.” Okay, well he's homeless and he looks like he wants to kill himself, so, I'm going to go ahead and let go of how many jeans I have and just focus on living an intentional life with my kids. What's the point of that? To me, there's very little purpose there. It's all a big show. It's kind of irritating and it's also kind of unrealistic if you're a parent.

I've shared before that I love anytime the message of minimalism is getting out there. I love it. I love that this has spread like wildfire, become a trend lately. It's awesome. But most of the minimalist leaders are not even married, and those who are, are not parents, or they're dudes. They don't have the mom thing. They don't get it.

I'm happy when anyone frees themselves from consumerism. It's a real problem. I struggled with it for sure like anyone else does, but I can't help but wonder why these other people seem to feel the need to wear minimalism and the amount of items they have in their home like a badge. They show their stark empty houses with their plain, white walls that lack personality and they wear them like a badge, like pointing a big, red arrow to the number of things they own. I can't help but feel like maybe they've missed out on the freedom aspect, and instead you've chained yourself to things with a fresh pair of handcuffs.

You started out with the handcuffs over here to the left and you’re chained to your stuff because you have way too much of it. It's taking up all your space. It’s taking up all your time. It’s stealing your life from you. It's stealing opportunities from you. It's stealing your joy.

Then you find minimalism and you're feeling really good and inspired, but you get a little bit obsessive and you go all the way in and now you're obsessing over, “I really want these black jeans with holes in the knees and this tear right here. They're super trendy and I love them. Oh my gosh, they're so flattering. I have the money to pay for them, but I already have a pair of black jeans. I'm a minimalist and, oh my gosh, I can't. Nope. I'm not going to do it because I don't really need these.” And you leave the store and you can’t stop thinking about those dang jeans and how good they make your butt look.

You missed out on joy! Don't do that. The handcuffs are now on you still. They’re just over here to the right side because your stuff has you chained in a fresh way. This isn't a Spartan race where the most hardcore wins. It's not about comparison or being the most minimal.

It's about getting back what was stolen from us by our own selves by a culture of consuming. It's about more time, more joy, more living, more mothering, more present living, less yelling, less being stretched thin over your life, like Saran wrap over leftovers, where one little pull too hard or poke too heavy and it just falls apart. Your life falls apart. It's about creating white space in your life.

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When you buy something, you buy it with your time. With minutes from your life. Not just with your money. Studies show us that less clutter equals less stress and more time. It is really as simple as that.

This was the founding reason that I created Your Uncluttered Home. It has become my most popular, globally-praised, decluttering course that I designed for moms who want to live their lives more than they want to clean up after it.

It is truly the A-Z of minimalism. Every room. Every area. Every nook and cranny of your house totally uncluttered. This super extensive, extremely detailed course is literally everything you need to become a minimalist momma who is able to be a lot more present for what matters most.

To learn more about the course, go to alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

This really is the short-cut version. The exact journey that I took as a mom, 5-6 years ago, that got me to this point of an uncluttered, minimalistic motherhood where I am spending the least amount of time on my house every day.

Motherhood is just way too sweet a time to be spent struggling so hard and living in survival mode day in and day out. Our stuff is really the cause of that.

If you want to start this lifestyle, if you want to simplify your life… I believe that it all starts at home.

Simplify your life.  alliecasazza.com/allcourses.

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So, what do you do then? This is why I love teaching the art of simple in the way that I teach it, and that is by focusing on the intent. What's the why behind each item? What is it doing for you? Who cares how many you have? It's irrelevant. 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 the fact is what takes up your space takes up your time. Remember, you buy everything twice. Once with your dolares, your dollars, your money. Then again with your minutes, so that's a fact. Are you okay with that?

I always use this example, but I'm going to use it again because it's amazing. I have a friend, her name is Jen (HERE is her episode). She was my first guest here on The Purpose Show and she's amazing. She does tiny house living and she was moving into her first tiny home that she had named Caroline.

It was a little house on wheels, super cute. She was getting rid of everything. Then she came across the collection of shot glasses that she had collected with her father who had since passed away. So, she's lost her father. She moving into a tiny house. She's letting go of things left and right. She's at the point where she has to really, really, really be intentional about the amount of things that she could have because she only has so much space. (Side note, you only have so much space, so if you have a very little amount of space, of course are going to have less stuff than somebody else. That's good. That's good. Let it motivate you.)

So, Jen's in this situation and she comes to this question of shot glasses. They’re really not necessary. She doesn't need a collection of shot glasses. Where is she going to put it? But you know what? Jen kept that collection of shot glasses because it brought her incredible joy. It was deeply special to her. She toted that thing around all of her tiny houses that she's lived in and she still has it. That's amazing.

It's about what is it worth to you? Every single thing is taking up your space and your time. So, is that worth it to you?

I've shared before about my love of clothing and I lived for about two years with a full-on capsule wardrobe and it was helpful. It definitely reduced decision fatigue, but it kind of left me a little lackluster, because I'm a girl who loves clothes. Fashion has always been my thing. I love putting outfits together. I love having a minimal simplistic style, but I also love having options. I love going into my closet and having all these options and piecing together an amazing outfit.

I don't have a giant closet overflowing with stuff. Everything that I wear gets worn on a very regular basis and I love all of it. It fits me. It's not stained or damaged and I wear it all the time. It’s not like I have a ton of things because if I had a ton of things that wouldn't be true of my wardrobe but it's definitely not a capsule wardrobe and I love it (HERE is that episode).

It's okay if it means a little bit more laundry. It’s okay if it means a little bit more space and time taken up. It’s okay if it’s a little bit more maintenance because that's worth it to me. I feel really unhappy with a capsule wardrobe.

You have to decide what's worth it to you. It's going to look different for you than it does for me. I think it's also important to ask yourself, “Could you live the next 30 days without buying it again?” If so, do you really need it? That's how you decide if something is a need.

When you focus on asking yourself purpose-driven questions about what you own rather than counting and following what someone else says that you're supposed to be doing, you create a philosophy of minimalism that works for you. It'll actually last that way because if it's not making you happy, it's not going to last. If it's not really working for you, it's not going to last.

There are some things that I have chosen to be super minimal with and I'm never going back. Like my kids' toys. We have the one toy bin and we keep our Legos separate in a separate little organizer. My kids have one toy bin and it works great. All the toys fit in there. We've never had more than that. When it starts to get overflowing, we reevaluate what's in there. We get rid of stuff. We have a one-in/one-out policy and it works great. We've had one bin of toys for all four of my kids for five years and it's been great.

I'm super minimal with my kids' toys because I want my kids to have the gift of imagination. I want them to play together and they do. We don't need anything else. That might not be the same for you. This works for me. There's areas of my life where I am so incredibly minimalistic and other areas where I'm like, “Well, this is worth it for me.” I want a little bit more (like my clothes.)

I know that I only need to clean up for about 30 minutes a day to maintain a house that’s clean, beautiful and ready for company to drop by. I know that my day is mine to live - sitting on the floor building Legos, homeschooling my kids, running a business that I love, and snuggled up with my husband watching Netflix  - without the stress of how much housework I will have to catch up on tomorrow.

That is minimalism. That's what it's given me. I've found my “sweet spot” and you will too. I know that I have the things that make me happy and the things that I need to live life well, but nothing else. I want for nothing. I count nothing. I obsess over nothing. Stuff has absolutely zero hold on me and I want that for you too. 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 have less. I want you to have enough less that you notice a bunch of fresh time on your hands. I want you to be free in that way too. I want you to simplify all the way and then see how you feel. If you want even more free time then go again, move through your house and another wave of less in purging.

Find your own magic number and don't you dare count to know what it is and measure it up to somebody standards.

Let go of the stuff and the need to follow the rules because life is waiting to be lived, right? And I want you to take the power from your stuff and put it back in your own hands where it belongs. Don't just transfer the handcuffs from one side to the other.

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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.

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, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.  

I am always rooting for you, friend!

See ya next time!

Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.

 

Allie Casazza

Allie Casazza , Murrieta, CA