When it comes to decluttering, many people get stuck on the hurdles that come up in the process. They don’t take action, they procrastinate, and they never dive into it. When I realized that my stuff didn't have to own me and that I could live my life instead of cleaning up after it all the time, everything changed. What you need in order to take on anything new, anything hard, any big change in moving away from the life you've lived and into the new life you're going to live, what you need to do that, is a solid ‘why’ underneath you. Your ‘why’ will push you forward to keep going and keep making these positive changes when things get in the way and it feels too hard. So if you are putting off decluttering, I promise this episode will show you why you need to do!
In This Episode Allie Discusses:
The importance of your “why” and how it pushes you toward making positive changes.
How materialism is linked to narcissism and and depression.
Why she wants to see you move forward with decluttering and the value it will bring to you and your family.
Mentioned in this Episode:
The holiday season is almost here! Oh my gosh, it can feel super overwhelming but it doesn't have to be that way this year. What if this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids? My course, Merry Little Christmas, will do that for you! It is just $15 and I know that it will help guide you through a simple, yet fun holiday season!
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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 ladies! I'm so excited for today's episode because we are getting scientific.
Also, I am sitting in the desk chair at my hotel. I am recording this month's episodes during a hotel getaway, and the chair that I've just moved into for this episode is making farting sounds. So, if you hear a weird sound, it wasn't me. It was the chair. I promise.
Anyway, let's dive in. I want to get into this. I'm super excited.
What I'm mainly known for is decluttering and the problem that people get super hung up on is these tiny hurdles that come up in the process of getting rid of your excess in your home. And not just the tiny hurdles; even the big hurdles. The point is that they don't take action or they procrastinate. Or they let a problem get in their way, be in their way and stop them, whether they've been making some progress, and then they get held up and stop, or they never even start because they are so held up on the hurdles.
And the thing is is that I don't talk about this for nothing. This isn't just something that I randomly do, or that I kinda like talking about, or that I'm just good at. This stuff really matters. The reason that I talk about decluttering, the reason that I've built a business, a podcast, a blog, an email list, and all this stuff around this topic is because it is my life's work. This is my story. I was robbed of my motherhood. I was not living it. I was super overwhelmed. I was struggling with depression. I was missing out on my life, on my days. I was shooing my kids away from me so that I could catch up on the housework and letting these mundane pieces of life be my life, own me, and take all my time and focus.
When I realized that my stuff didn't have to own me, that I could put it in its place and simplify so that I could focus on what actually matters, and that I could live my life instead of cleaning up after it all the time, everything changed. And that's what I do. That's what I share.
It's frustrating to me when I see people not understanding that. I get that life is really busy, really full, and there's a lot of different things pulling at your focus and attention, but honestly it breaks my heart every time I see a comment or hear someone saying that they don't have time to declutter and simplify, that they hate their house, that they feel stressed when they walk in the door, yet they're doing nothing to move forward.
I think the biggest thing that I see - there's like five main things that I see - but the biggest, most common one is just that people are seeing decluttering like this big futuristic task they want to take on but haven't started yet, and that is just not how it needs to be seen at all.
It can be started immediately. The good thing about decluttering is that you pretty much see results right away. It's like instinct gratification. You get rid of something, you have more space and more time instantly. And that's pretty rare. It's not something that happens with everything.
So, I find myself getting super frustrated with women who are complaining about their homes, feeling like they're stressed when they walk in the door. They don't have enough time in their day. They're unhappy. They're dissatisfied. They're unfulfilled. And it's like you’re making this decluttering thing this big thing you're gonna do some day instead of just starting.
Some of the biggest excuses that I hear are, “I'm busy. Well, my husband isn't really on board. He doesn't get this. Well, but I work full time. Well, we're moving soon, so I'm waiting,” which that's my least favorite one because why would you move your crap into a new house when you have a perfect opportunity to declutter now while you're packing and only move into your new space what you want there?
You know, “We're renovating. It's hard right now. I'm afraid to hurt people's feelings if I get rid of certain things. Well I don't know what to do with things that I decide not to keep. Should I sell them? Should I donate them? Like I could use the money.
It's so frustrating because when I tackled all the clutter in my house - six years ago when I started this process, before minimalism was a fad, before there was a documentary about it, before there were a billion books on the topic - when I started this, it was nothing. I didn't even know that it was called minimalism. I had no idea it was a thing. I was just a desperate mom crying out to God on her bathroom floor and saying, “Please help me. I know that I'm called to abundant life. I know that I'm not living it right now and I know that you did not intend to exclude mothers from that promise, so tell me what I'm doing wrong. Please help me.”
When I figured this out, I tackled all the clutter in my house and it was the worst time for me. I had three kids under age three. I was seriously struggling with depression and all I wanted to do was go to bed and turn on Netflix. I had no money, a huge overwhelming house. It was my first year of homeschooling and things were crazy. I had every reason not to do this. My marriage was a mess. Seriously, every reason not to do this.
Brian was not on board. We've talked about that a lot and there's an entire lesson with an audio interview between the two of us in Your Uncluttered Home where we talk about how much he was not onboard with letting go of things, how we worked through that and how he wasn't on board for two years. I had every single excuse, everything against me, every reason not to do this, and yet I did it.
What you need in order to take on anything new, anything hard, any big change in moving away from the life you've lived and into the new life you're going to live, what you need to do that, is a solid ‘why’ underneath you. Your ‘why’ will push you forward to keep going and keep making these positive changes when things get in the way and it feels too hard.
So, I started to get really frustrated with all of these excuses that I hear and all these things. I get it. It's hard to make change. It is. But really what these are is excuses to not move forward.
And I decided, you know what? I'm going to write your ‘why’ for you, so that's what I'm doing today. I'm literally writing your ‘why’ for you and showing you, here's why you need to do this. Here's why no matter how much you have going on, no matter how far away you're moving, no matter how much you are afraid of offending people by getting rid of stuff they gave you, no matter how against this your husband is and how that feels like a huge hurdle, no matter what's going on, why you need to do this now.
So, I'm a Christian and as such I rely on Scripture a lot of the time and I've written articles about how minimalism is living biblically and all that stuff. It's good stuff. But today I want to talk about how science is, as always, catching up with Scripture and it backs this up so well.
So first, let's dive into an article published by Leaf Van Boven at the University of Colorado. His article focused on the fact that investing financial resources in experiences makes people happier than investing in material possessions. He basically came to find that materialism is directly linked to narcissism and depression. That's pretty heavy.
He cited that several studies have shown that the more people focus on materialistic goals, the less happy and satisfied they are with life in general. Think about that statement. That's super intense. Several studies have shown that the more people focus on materialistic goals, the less happy and satisfied they are with life in general.
Now, if you're familiar with Scripture, think about how many things can you think off the top of your head that back that up? That the message is to store up treasures in heaven and desert what is here on earth and focus on eternity. Focus on what really matters. So, we're just being told again what we already know.
There is something that I want to read you, too, from another article on this study that was done on studying people and things and the relation between that. This is what it says, super scientific, ready?
The way people describe their homes may reflect whether their time at home feels restorative or stressful. This article uses linguistic analysis software to analyze 60 different dual income spouse's self-guided home tours by calculating the frequency of words describing clutter, a sense of the home as unfinished, restful words and nature words. Based on a principle components analysis, the former two categories were combined into the variable stressful home and the latter two into restorative home.
Over three weekdays following the home tours, wives with higher stress home scores, had flatter diurnal slopes of cortisol, a profile associated with adverse health outcomes; whereas women with higher restorative home scores had steeper cortisol slopes. These results held after controlling for marital satisfaction and neuro-neuroticism. Women with higher stressful home scores had increased depressed mood over the course of the day, whereas women with higher restorative home scores had decreased depressed moods over the day.
It's okay if you need to use your phone app to skip back 15 seconds and relisten to that a couple times; I had to read it like five times because it's a lot of scientific words and it's a lot of information. Basically what we already know and what I teach all the time, this is backing that up. That the amount of clutter in your home is directly correlated to the amount of stress. More stuff - more stress. Less stuff - less stress.
So, these people did a study on dual income spouses giving a self-guided tour of their home. They took note of the types of words they used to describe their rooms as they went through and gave a self-guided home tour. They found that the words they used, the way they described their home, the tone they used, and the way they felt about their homes in general, were so directly tied to the amount of excess, clutter and stuff in the space. This really matters.
There's another study that I want to draw attention to. It was done by two people. One was named Darby Saxby and the other was named Rena Repetti. These two did a study that was published by Sage Publications and the study was called No Place Like Home. Here's a quote that I pulled from it. “The home can be a place to unwind from the work day, but when housework and home repairs compete for the attention of time-strapped, working parents, home can become more of a source of demands than a haven from the outside world.” Who is feeling like they want to raise their hands up to this? Like the house can become such a demand for your time and attention and needs so much work, that it ends up being like this giant chore list and task lists versus a haven from the outside world. What can we do to make our homes more of a haven? For ourselves, for our husbands, for our children, for our families as a whole?
Create less work. And that is why I so, so, so am hard hitting about minimalism.
This study by Saxby and Repetti also found that it's likely - “highly likely” to quote them - it's highly likely that individual's feelings about their homes also shape their everyday fluctuations in stress and mood. So how you feel about your home is how you feel in general. It's how stressed you are. It's how your mood is in general. It affects your thoughts. It affects your inner workings. It's so important.
There was another study done at Harvard that said that “eliminating clutter would cut down on housework by 40%.” How would your life even look if you had 40% less housework every day? That is a lot less burden for you.
Another study done at UCLA, which I talk about all the time, found that the more stuff that’s in a woman's house - they only did the study on women because they found that men weren't affected enough to show results, which I think is hilarious - but this study found that the more stuff that was in a woman's house, the higher her level of stress hormones (cortisol). The same study also found that women subconsciously relate how happy they are with their home life and family to how they feel about their house. So, the more clutter and chaos in the home, the less happy the woman is with her family and her life.
Hey friend, can you even believe it? The holiday season is almost here. It's coming! It's crazy that it's already here!
Oh my gosh, this season can so easily feel super overwhelming, not very fun, really stressful, and it just doesn't have to be that way this year. What if, imagine with me for a second, this year the holiday season was just as fun, just as magical and just as exciting for you as a parent, as you’re trying to make it for your kids?
I've put together a little mini course called A Merry Little Christmas and it does just this for you. I created this last year and it's been enrolled in by thousands of moms all over the world and they are loving it. It's coming back this year and here's what it does for you.
It basically will simplify everything about Christmas and the holiday season for you as a mom. You get an aerial view over what you want your Christmas season to look like.
We talk about what your intent is, what's important to you, what your focus will be. We talk about decorating your house with a simplicity mindset and prepping your house for the holidays.
What if your husband wants to go super overboard and doesn't want to simplify the holidays? How do you handle that? How do you transition your kids to a simpler Christmas when they're used to you just going all out? How to make new traditions. How to handle buying your kids presents in the minimalist way? What about relatives and all of their gift giving? How do you handle after Christmas? And a bonus for me is all about decluttering the toys for purposeful play.
This is a really awesome little course. It really packs a punch and it's only $15. So, head to alliecasazza.com/jolly and you can enroll for just $15 and get your holidays started off on the right foot.
So basically, there's your ‘why.’
If you've been coming up with excuses…You're moving. You're waiting for your adoption to go through or your baby to come. You're renovating your house right now. Your husband just doesn't really seem to get it. Things are just really busy and you're in a really full season. Your kids are all in sports and school is really hectic. You're going back to get your degree and you'll wait till later.
These are all good reasons to wait, but if you're coming up with an excuse and you're putting this off, I'm here to tell you, look at how serious this is. Seriously, look at what this will do for you and what you feeling lighter will do for your family. Could you even get a better ‘why’ than this?
What I want this episode to do, I want it to be a pep talk and I want it to say, “Stop overcomplicating this. You know what your problem is. You know exactly what the solution is. Just do it. Just do it.”
I've said this before, but I'm just going to leave you guys with this: This is your why. Feel free to come back and revisit this episode and listen to it over and over again to get amped up and remind yourself why this matters, why it's worth your time.
If you're having trouble finding the time, decide this is a priority. What do you do with priorities? You pencil it in. If you need to go and get a physical at the doctor and it's important to you, what do you do? You call them. You make an appointment. You put it on your calendar. You find the time. You get the time off work. You create space. Whatever it is you need to do, you make it happen. You put it on your calendar and you show up.
Treat this like that. This is an appointment that you cannot break. This matters. It's affecting your psych. It's affecting your mood. It’s affecting your stress levels. It's affecting your marriage, your motherhood, your family. It's affecting your kids' childhood. It's affecting everything. This matters; so treat it that way.
What I did when I was in the throes of decluttering, in the very beginning of all this, was I set aside Monday and Saturday mornings just for a couple of hours and I would just have at it. So schedule time. Find some space. Even if it's 30 minutes a week, it's something. Don't let this become nothing.
What I don’t want is this: I don’t want you to hear this episode and hear like, “Oh my gosh, she's so right. This is so important,” and then get really worked up to where it's such a big deal that again you find yourself in a cycle of seeing it as this big thing you’ll do someday that’s really important to you, but you’re not going to do right now.
Yes, it's a big deal. Yes, this super matters, but 10 minutes is better than no minutes. Do something. Clear out your junk drawer. Take a look at your closet and just get some stuff out of there. Go into the toy room with your kids and say, “Guys, I bet you could each find 10 things that you don't really play with anymore that we can give to some kids in need. Let's see who can find 10 things the fastest.” Just do that. It'll take you 10 minutes.
Just start somewhere. Stop over complicating this and just do it.
Once you decide this is important and you're going to treat it like an appointment and pencil it in, the other common hurdle is where do I start? You have two choices.
You can start somewhere that is sucking up a lot of your time and energy. Maybe that's your laundry for you. Maybe it's your kitchen. You just feel like you have way too many dishes and somehow, even though you only have four people in your house, you end up with a massive pile of dishes to wash every night. Start with the dishes. Simplify. All you need is a dish per person. Let the rest go.
Maybe it's your kid's toy room. Maybe you want to start there.
Start somewhere that’s really over complicated, that’s sucking your time and energy from you and just start there.
Or you can start somewhere that’s really easy. A really easy ‘yes and no’ decision area like the bathroom. The bathroom is so often just loaded with clutter. I was just talking to a friend and she told me that she bagged up four full trash bags of stuff just in her tiny little bathroom. It's not even a big bathroom.
But the bathroom is typically not a place where we store sentimental items. It's usually easy ‘yeses and nos’ like old makeup and hair tools that don't work anymore that we're holding onto for whatever reason. Start in there and let that be an easy ‘yes and no’ area, and build the momentum you need to keep going.
The point is that you're just starting. Stop waiting. Stop making this seem like this big thing you have to do someday. Start now. Start making progress. You will finish.
Eventually you will get to the other side where you can say, “Wow, the things in our home are the things we love and the things we actually need. Things are lighter.” You’re going to be in maintenance mode and it's going to be awesome.
But first you have to stop making this way more complicated than it actually is.
You'll have to let this episode serve as your big ‘why’ and let it push you forward and just start.
So, you already know what your problem is. You already know your ‘why.’ I just wrote it for you. I just said it to you.
You know exactly what the solution is and now it's time for you to just do it.
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!