It’s no surprise that my favorite thing to talk about is decluttering! Clearing the clutter is simplifying your life and creating an atmosphere of less so that you can focus more on what you want to be focusing on and what actually matters to you. This comes in many forms - physical clutter and mental clutter, heart clutter, calendar clutter, physical health clutter - all of that. And in this episode, we are going back to the basics of decluttering your physical stuff. I am going to help you figure out exactly where you should start! Let’s dive in!
In This Episode Allie Discusses:
Where her journey with decluttering all started.
Ways to handle the people in your life who don’t want you to declutter.
How to determine the best place for you to start decluttering your home.
The freedom you will experience as you declutter your home and your life.
Mentioned in this Episode:
I know how overwhelming it can feel to get started with all of this stuff. It's just a lot. And I wish I could be there with you and hold your hand, breathe with you and walk you through it step by step. But I can't.
However, the next best thing is totally free and I've got it for you right now! It is the Clear The Clutter Starter Kit. It's the best place to get started with my philosophy of simple, realistic, freeing, not limiting, doable minimalism for moms. It basically explains what minimalism actually is, which is not joy-sucking and depriving yourself of everything, getting rid of everything you have.
It will help you find your ‘why’ and teach you how to journal through the process so that you have that solid foundation to stand on. Again, this is totally free and it's just a downloadable pdf. You can keep it on your phone or print it out! I cannot wait for you to dive into this!
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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 Purpose Show.
Hey guys! This episode is a Decluttering 101.
I get super excited when I talk about this still, but only because everybody else seems to get super excited when I talk about this stuff. I talk about so many things that fall under the umbrella of simplifying your life and creating an atmosphere of less so that you can focus more on what you want to be focusing on and what actually matters to you. Clearing the clutter in so many forms - physical clutter and mental clutter, heart clutter, calendar clutter, physical health clutter - all of that.
So, whenever I talk about actual physical decluttering, like in your home, I feel like it circles me back to the beginning of where everything started because for me, it all started at home. And I think that's a lot of the stories of people that I talk to is that it all started at home. From getting really minimalistic there it spills over into the other parts of your life because how can it not when you see it working? When you see so many amazing, beautiful results, changes, and shifts happening in your life just from clearing physical clutter, you naturally wonder, “Well, what would happen if I applied these principles that I'm figuring out to the other areas of my life? Into my schedule, my relationships and all these other areas? So, I feel like we're going to just go back to the basics today.
It’s hard for me because I want to cover, “Okay, Decluttering 101, where do I start?”
Well, I want to talk to you about how do you deal with people in your life in starting to let go of things that other people feel are important for you to keep? It's so funny how other people will insert themselves in your business and say, “I think you should keep that.” And it's like, “Oh, it's not your house.” Or your spouse? It is their house and they have a problem with you getting rid of stuff.
There are so many pieces. This is a beast of an issue, which is why I have Your Uncluttered Home in the first place. That's where that online program was born from because people were asking me for it. “This is all so much. Can you condense it into one place and you just pour everything into one place that will walk me through the A to Z of becoming a more minimalist person in a way that's relative and doable for me, my personality and what I want?” And so that's why that's there.
So, it's hard for me not to go down all the different roads here, but I really want to zoom in on where do you start physically? Actually where do you start when all is said and done? When we're not talking about the other people in your life? When we're not dealing with your spouse and his or her pushback (depending on who's listening here) to the changes that you want to make? When we're not talking about your kids not getting it and them pushing back on letting go of things? We're not talking about all of that other stuff. We're just talking about the physical act of decluttering your stuff and where do you start there. So, I'm going to work really hard to hone in on this thing and answer this popular question for you.
When it comes to decluttering, I always give a couple of options because I think the world wants leaders to say, “This is the answer! This is the way you need to do this. It's cut and dry. It's super simple. This is where you need to start.” But it's hard because there's different personality types. There's different houses. There's different families.
I've done enough work, one-on-one and in a one to small group and I've had tens of thousands of people go through my online programs, and I talk to them, we survey them, we do group calls with them. I've had these conversations so many times, enough to know that giving one answer is only going to solve the problem for about half the people.
So, I have two options for when it comes to where do you start in decluttering.
The first one is an easy start. In that regard I think the easiest, best place to start with decluttering is in a bathroom. It doesn't really matter which bathroom it is. You can start in your personal bathroom. You could start in your guest bathroom. But in a bathroom it’s pretty much easy yeses and nos. Old makeup. Old hair tools and hairsprays that don't even work anymore. Why do you even have this? Old washcloths. Hair stuck to the bottom of the drawers that's been there forever. It's an easy clean out area. And what's good about that is that it gives this momentum that you need to keep going. It's an easy place to make decisions and you can just say, “Obviously no, I'm not going to keep this. Obviously, yes, I'm going to keep that because I use it every time I get ready.” Whatever the thing is, whatever the answer is, it's a place where you can very simply and easily make decisions about what to keep and what to let go of.
And there's not a lot of donations in there and most people don't keep sentimental items in their bathrooms unless you have a really interesting way of home storage. For most people, it's just easy. Yes and no. And that builds this momentum. You get in there, you get it done and you feel so good. Like you accomplished something. You started.
The hardest part of any project, whether you're writing America's next great novel or you're just decluttering your bathroom, the hardest part of any project is taking that first step in getting started. So starting in the bathroom gets that out of the way for you. It's just easy. It's simple. You get started and when you walk away with a trash bag full of old makeup and hair products, you feel pretty good. And your bathroom feels a lot cleaner.
You can work out how you want to organize things once you have what you're keeping. I like to get everything out of a person's bathroom that’s not going to be kept and then look at what is going to be kept and look at what's not working here? Do you need some little plastic trays to go in your drawers to store your hair ties and all that? We can look at drawer organization and set up after that.
Even if you don't want to do that, if you're kind of like me where I'm not a super organized person. I actually really like minimalism because it doesn't make me feel like I need to be organized. What do I need to function here? What is essential for me? What is making me happy and working for me? What do I use and I can just throw it in the drawer? I don't really need to be organized because there's not a bunch of crap everywhere that needs to be arranged in a more appealing way, in a visually appealing way.
Minimalism requires no organization because there's not a ton of extra stuff. You can just throw things in a drawer and it looks fine cause you don't have a ton of extra junk. So that's why I like this stuff. I'm not super huge into organizing. But if you are and you want to go and get little bins and trays and stuff to organize what you're going to keep, you can do that at that point. And then you feel super good.
A lot of people will send me emails after they work through that part of the course. And it's funny because they always say the same thing. “Is it weird that I totally wanted to have my morning cup of coffee in my bathroom this morning because it's the only purged part of my house so far and it just felt so good to be in there? That I want to spend time in here because it's so minimal, clean and fresh and I want to be in here?
So, I think that the bathroom is a really great place to start if you're looking for an easy starting point, if you're looking to build up some momentum because you're a little overwhelmed by the idea of decluttering your entire house.
Because it is overwhelming. It's a lot. It's a lot to think of. It's a lot to hear me talking about this and then walk into your home and see the piles of stuff that you've got shoved in closets. The stuff that's hiding under the beds and in drawers. All the paperwork. All the stuff…it's a lot.
And so, if you're feeling really burdened by that, start in the bathroom, consider starting there. It's an easy yes or no area. It'll give you that momentum you need to keep going. I think that in that regard it's a really great place to start.
Hey girl! Speaking of minimalism and simplifying your physical space, I know how overwhelming it can feel to get started with all of this stuff. It's just a lot. And I wish I could be there with you and hold your hand, breathe with you and walk you through it step by step.
But I can't.
However, the next best thing is totally free and I've got it for you right now. It is the Clear The Clutter Starter Kit. This has been downloaded over 150,000 times by moms just like you who are looking to get started in a really simple, straightforward way.
The Starter Kit is exactly what it sounds like. It's the best place to get started with my philosophy of simple, realistic, freeing, not limiting, doable minimalism for moms. It basically explains what minimalism actually is, which is not joy-sucking and depriving yourself of everything, getting rid of everything you have.
It will help you find your ‘why’ and teach you how to journal through the process so that you have that solid foundation to stand on.
We're going to talk about the basics, and the biggest time sucks, the laundry and the dishes because those are going to give you the quickest return on investment when it comes to time spent decluttering. But they are also two of the biggest difficulties for moms when it comes to clutter.
We're going to talk about those and get you started there. We're going to handle some 15-minute, quick, simple decluttering projects to really dumb this down and simplify it for you.
There's also a few other things in there that are super helpful to get you going.
Again, this is totally free and it's just a downloadable pdf. You can print it out if that's your style. You can keep it on your phone, tablet or laptop, whatever. Go to alliecasazza.com/starterkit and get it for free. Right now! Alliecasazza.com/starterkit.
Okay. Let's talk about Option 2 when it comes to where do you start? In helping people to decide which way to go, I ask them a couple of questions. It matters what kind of person we're dealing with here. So, the second option with where to start in decluttering is to tackle your big time suck first.
What I mean by that is, there something that's really stressing you out as a mom? Maybe you work, maybe you stay at home, but whatever your lifestyle is, one thing you know is that you are constantly overwhelmed by the laundry. It’s eating away at you. It's all you do. You spend your evenings and weekends trying to catch up on the laundry as your family is creating a bigger pile for you to wash every second. It's the bane of your existence. Knocking that out, cutting that down a ton is going to give you a lot of freedom. And that freedom is also going to give you the momentum that you need to keep going on your journey to a simpler home.
So, it kind of depends. Some people like to tackle their biggest time suck. Maybe it's the laundry. Maybe it's the kitchen. Maybe it's the kids' toys. Maybe it's your wardrobe, which basically falls into the laundry category. Whatever is your biggest time suck and if that was just purged and out of the way, you would feel so much better.
But some people have a personality where they want to see the biggest bang for their buck right away. Does that make sense? They need to see a big shift. They need to feel the effects of minimalism right away in order to have the drive to keep going.
Other people don't really need to see how much time I got back from doing this. They just want to get started. They just need to feel that momentum. They just need to start and see that they did something and they should start in the bathroom. But the rest of us need to start with our biggest time suck.
When I started doing this ‘minimalism’ was not a trend. I didn't even know what I was doing was called that. I was just a super overwhelmed mom, desperate to make something change. And I had this crazy idea that a lot of what I spent my time on was stuff. And what would happen if I just got rid of all the excess? Would I have more time on my hands? Would I be happier and lighter?
Of course, you guys know the story. Yes, the answer was yes. I was right and it worked out.
When I started I just thought, “Well, I'm going to start with the toys because the kids are going to bed.” And that room, that toy room is the bane of my existence. We have the first set of grandkids on both sides of the family. So everybody's just super excited. Our kids were given tons and tons of toys. We had turned our dining area into the toy room because it was downstairs. It was next to the kitchen so the kids could play while I watched them while I cooked and all that stuff. We had three kids ages 3 and under, and the toy area being the dining area was just right in the middle of everywhere.
You could see it when you walked in the door. You could see it from the kitchen. You could see it from the family room. You could see it from the living room. It was always visible. There were no doors. It was just an area and that area was loaded with plastic bins that were overflowing with toys. And the thing is, is that that area wasn't even serving us at all. It was not serving its intended purpose.
The purpose of kids' toys is to keep the kids busy and have them play with them. But my kids would just wander in there, dump out all the buckets because it's fun for toddlers to dump out buckets of stuff. They're searching for their favorite one or two toys and then they'd come out complaining that they're bored and want a snack two seconds later.
So that room just kind of made me angry. It just was not working for us. I knew it wasn't. I was constantly picking it up and reorganizing things just for the kids to come in and ruin it. It was one of those things where we'd have play dates and I'd have to like, “Oh I gotta go in and pick up the playroom so it's not a total crap show for our friends that are coming over and letting their kids play with us. But I know it’s just going to get undone in two seconds.” It wasn't working. It felt pointless. It was literally just sucking up my time for no good reason. If something is really worthwhile, you don't mind putting your time into it. That's why I think minimalism needs to be a little bit relative to each person.
Like for me, I don't mind having shelves of books in my home because I think it cozies it up a lot. I love my library of books that I've read. I love loaning books to friends. I love the look of a nice, full bookshelf and a cozy bedroom. I don't mind that I have to run the Swiffer duster over the books a couple times a week and pay a little extra for the sweet little lady that comes and helps with our housework once a week to have her dust those for me. I don't mind that. It's worth it to me. But these toys were not even serving the purpose that they were intending. You know?
So it's not about, “Oh, what's the bare minimum amount of time I could spend on my house and how can this be easier for me and I don't care what it means for my kids. I just want my life to be easier.” It's not about that. It's just that this room wasn't even serving us at all. It wasn't serving the kids. It wasn't serving our friends. It wasn't serving me. It was pointless and a giant time suck.
So, when I inadvertently started by purging the toys first. I was acting out of, “This is what I know is overwhelming me right now. I don't really know anything about this. I don't know where to start. I'm just going to dive in and see what happens.” I was just following my personality type, which if I was teaching me it would be, “Okay, where do you start? Let's figure out if you're a bathroom starter or a time suck starter.” I would see very quickly by my personality and the way I like to do things that I'm a time suck starter, so I just kind of accidentally started by purging my biggest time suck in my house, which was the kid's toy room and I, immediately, the next day was lighter.
The next day the kids played better but didn't even miss anything. You guys, kids are overwhelmed and they need us to bring this into their lives so badly. The kids didn't even miss anything. They just walked in and started playing better. It was awesome. I immediately felt a time difference. I immediately felt my load lightened. I saw the return on my investment right away. And that gave me motivation to keep going.
So to summarize, when you ask, when it comes to decluttering, where should I start? You've got to know yourself. What appeals to you more? Starting with your time suck? The laundry? The kids’ toys? The dishes? A closet that's really, really overwhelming you? Just make sure it doesn't have any sentimental stuff in it because you really shouldn't start with sentimental stuff. That's something you need to save for later when you're good at this and you've got some momentum built up.
Or do you need to just have an easy ‘yes and no’ area and just start in the bathroom?
I hope that makes sense. That's the approach that I used to take when I would do one-on-one clients and group coaching and all of that. That's the approach that I teach in my course, Your Uncluttered Home. And that is what I have found over the years to be the best proven technique - picking based on who you are and what is more appealing to you.
And you know what? Don't let yourself get stuck here. Don't spend a lot of time deciding. If you can’t decide or you don't really know where you feel overwhelmed, maybe you have a problem making decisions. Just start in the bathroom. I'm telling you right now. Decision made for you. Start in the bathroom and it's going to be that easy ‘yes or no’ that’s going to get you going.
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!