I get asked so many questions about decluttering—which is what I’m most known for. Lately, there have been a lot of questions about people getting stuck in their decluttering efforts. So, I hosted live Q&A workshop online and answered a bunch of these questions live! I couldn’t answer every single one but I answered the ones that are the most common.
Decluttering is doable for everyone. A minimalist lifestyle is possible for everyone and I can show you how to get there in a way that’s practical, possible and relative to you and your family. This is what makes me different from other minimalist teachers. You don’t want to miss this. Especially if you’re feeling stuck.
In This Episode Allie Discusses:
- Changing your mindset
- An all-or-nothing mental block
- Sentimental items
- Decluttering supplies for past hobbies
- Items that belonged to the deceased
- Generational items
- Big families, small houses
- Dealing with extras
- Minimalism and your kids
- Minimalism and your husband
- When you still don’t have enough room after you’ve decluttered
Mentioned in this Episode:
Allie’s Facebook group
Allie’s Courses (Use the code PURPOSESHOW for 10% off!)
For the first time ever, I’ve broken down my big course, Your Uncluttered Home, into pieces you can purchase separately.
I’m calling it The Clutter Page, and you can scroll through and pick out which sections you really need!
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, beautiful! Welcome to The Purpose Show! Thank you for listening today.
Decluttering, decluttering, decluttering, decluttering. This is the thing that I think I’m probably most known for. Most people want to hear from me about this and I have been really, really swamped with lots of questions recently. Sometimes I’ll notice waves of things coming up a lot more than usual in my DM’s, emails, and things like that. My team will tell me with the things that they’re checking, “This is really coming up a lot.” And then the things that I’m connected to, like the Facebook group and my Instagram DM’s, I see these surges of things. And decluttering did that. It took over in a big wave and there were a lot of questions about people getting stuck.
So, what I did was I hosted a Q & A Workshop live online and I just told everyone, “Ask me any questions that have to do with getting stuck when you’re becoming minimal, when you’re decluttering your home. What kinds of things get you stuck? Whether it’s a life hurdle, or life happens and you always get busy and stop, or something had you stumped because it was really hard to make a decision about. Let me know what has gotten you stuck.”
Obviously, I can’t sit there and answer every question or we’d be here for hours and hours and hours, but I got some really great questions. I answered the ones that are the most common and the most like, “Uh, yeah, what do you do about that?”
I want to remind you all not to click away from this episode because this is what kind of sets me apart from other leaders in the industry of minimalism—the way that it is so doable.
I want to infuse you with this “can do” spirit. I want you to feel like you can totally do this, like it’s totally worthwhile, that it’s totally worth the effort. And that it’s about something more than having a clean house. That it’s about more than just limiting your books and only having a certain amount of books so you can be a minimalist. That it’s about so much more than that.
It is about where your focus lies, how much time you’re spending on things that matter versus things that do not matter. There is so much purpose on this side of minimalism for me and that is what I want to infuse into you. And this Q & A really reflects that.
It’s also incredibly practical. “What do you do though? What do you do about this area?”
So, enjoy me just answering these questions. This is one of those things that everyone always asks, but I don’t really answer these kinds of things all the time outside of my course. And I am today. So, enjoy!
I’m going to jump right in and say right off the bat for everybody here: there are things holding you back from the life that you want. And as hard of a truth as that is, you are choosing to let that be the case. There are things in your life and in you getting what you want that are holding you back.
Decluttering for me is about getting where you want to go and creating this life that you want. If you’re newer to this that might sound kind of funny. Most of you are not newer to this because that’s why you signed up for it. You’ve tried it and you got stuck.
But that might sound kind of funny. How is decluttering my stuff, my junk from Target, getting me to the life that I want? Well it actually really is. And that’s what I love about this. That’s why how I teach this is so different from the other teachers and leaders in this industry because it is about the purpose behind this whole process. The purpose behind every item. It’s about me getting you where you want to go. I’m your guide and you’re the one that’s taking action and doing it. I’m guiding you every step of the way. I want to help take your hands and pick you up over each hurdle.
Doing things like this Q & A session, sending emails, the things I post on social media, the classes that I do, the courses that I have. Everything is to help pick you up and help you over the hurdles that you face.
Because I want you to be doers. I want you to take action and I want you to follow through. Even if that’s not your strong suit. I want to help you. I want to make that your strong suit. I want to help you get stronger in flexing the muscle of completing and following through.
Because that’s a learned skill. It’s not something that some people are born with. If you’ve thought that in the past, “Oh, I just don’t follow through. I’m just not a finisher.” That’s a limiting belief that you’ve chosen to believe. That’s a total lie.
Pretty much everything is a learned skill. You can learn how to become different. You can learn how to step out of that and live a different kind of life. And decluttering is a huge part of that.
Decluttering for me is not about having a perfect house or even a clean house. It’s actually about stepping into abundance and stepping into a more purposeful lifestyle.
Don’t allow something to hold you back from this—whether it’s procrastination, perfectionism, a family member who’s not getting it. A lot of moms I see actually have this subconscious belief that if they really get their ish together, if they really get it together and they start to have a home that is working for them, things are running smoothly, it’s easier for them to clean up, and they’re living this life of joy, presence and less stress, they actually have this subconscious limiting belief of like, “Who will they be then? They’re going to upset other people who are struggling. Who are they to live that kind of life?”
Also, some people have this martyrdom syndrome where it’s like, “Well, what will I complain about if everything is easy? My husband will think that my life is too easy here at home.”
There’s a lot of stuff that goes into this and this is not talked about anywhere else. A lot of the leaders in the minimalism industry are men. A lot of them are not men and they do not come at it like this. They have these hard and fast rules of: “Have this many books and this many pants, and do this in this area.” And that’s it.
The problem with that is they’re not dealing with the mindset part of this. And it is such a huge part of it. It’s the biggest part of it.
When you allow something to hold you back from decluttering and moving through your home, what you know is going to work and what you know is good for you and your family, you’re actually choosing to stay in the muck of what is not working for you, of what is not serving your family.
You’re choosing to continue wasting time in struggle and overwhelm and stress. And that’s the hard truth.
That’s what this class is for. That’s what my programs are for. They dive deeper than I can on the podcast and in my emails. It’s just these little blips that I’m talking to you. But in the programs, we get really deep and we dive way into this. We get you out. We get you unstuck. We follow all the way through.
So, for those of you who might be watching this and you’re new, or this was shared with you by a friend, or you’re not really familiar, here’s a super quick overview before we dive in.
I’m Allie Casazza. And you can probably already tell, but what I do is I help women simplify their homes and their lives. I do everything from running a simplified and very lucrative business. Simplifying your schedule, your day, your week, your structures, your rhythms, your routines, your family life, your relationship, your health and wellness, and your homes. And I do believe that it all starts at home.
I have created Your Uncluttered Home, which is my signature program. It is a decluttering program and it includes mindset, home, video tutorials—everything when it comes to simplifying your home because it does all start at home. Then you have space, you have time to pursue other endeavors. People start blogs. They start businesses. Their marriages improve.
They start to simplify their schedules and their calendars because what takes up our space takes up our time. So, if you simplify that, you have more time. You have more white space. You have more brain space and you can focus. I used to wake up every single morning with this feeling of defeat and of dread. I just did not have the energy, the joy, or the drive that I needed to do the day that had just begun. And that was a really bad feeling to start out every day like that for months and months, and actually probably a few years, if I’m honest.
I was definitely struggling with depression. I was yelling at my kids because I was stretched thin and I was lacking patience all the time. All I did was clean up after our life and so much so that I wasn’t actually really able to live it. I felt like I was constantly having to choose between keeping up on the house and having a good time.
So, it was like, “Okay, it’s the evening time. I can either veg out on the couch with my husband and watch The Office, or I could catch up and start the day fresh tomorrow.” And that was a choice. It wasn’t both.
And in society, we believe that we have to make a choice. These stupid signs and beliefs like: ‘Good moms have sticky floors and messy kids.’ And I’m like, “No! No, that’s not the truth. Unless you choose that.” Which what a terrible choice so many of us have made and are making. You do not need to choose. Things can be simplified. You just have too much. You’re not bad at this. You’re just overwhelmed. You’ve got too much.
I just want you guys to know I get where you’re at because I’ve been you. I’ve been through this process. I think people see what I do now and they forget that I have been the unhealthy, unhappy, overweight, depressed, miserable, yelling, nagging wife and mom because I was overwhelmed, because my house was literally stressing me out and taking up so much time.
And you know what? It wasn’t just the house. It was also my schedule, my mindset, my marriage, my relationships, my health. But I started at home because I was so desperate. I didn’t know what else to do and everything else happened after that. So, I get where you’re at because I’ve been you and I’ve walked this journey.
I started by just decluttering. I didn’t even know what I was doing. I didn’t know that it was called minimalism. I just started. Eight years ago, I just started. I get this because I’ve been you and I walked every step of the way. I’ve gone through the hard parts. I can look back with 20/20 vision and see the shortcuts.
I have worked with thousands of women. Lots of them one-on-one, tons of them in groups, and tens of thousands of them in my programs. And I know what works. I know what is the right step and what is the wrong step. I know what to say to you to get you to take action. And that’s what I’m here to do.
If you want to know how to run your home better, how to make the place that you live work for you and with you, not against you. If you want to be happier and a more present woman, mom, wife, person, the philosophies that I teach are for you.
I’m so glad that you’re here. However you found me—if you’ve been here for years and you know basically everything about me, or you’re brand new and you just found this on accident somehow—I’m super glad that you’re here.
We’re going to dive into the questions here. I just want you guys to keep in mind this is what sets me apart from the other teachers in this industry, the other books, shows, and resources out there. I’m going to make this super doable for you and I’m going to give you the hard truth. Lovingly. I’m going to help guide you into the action that you need to take.
So many of the questions I received for this session, it hurt me to read them because I get it. I have so been there. Underlying all of these questions is perfectionism, fear, worry, and procrastination. And so, I want to help you guys see the root of your problem.
I will answer your questions, but I don’t just want to do that and be like, “Here’s the rules: You’re only allowed to have 20 books. That’s it. You just have to have hard and fast rules. Otherwise, you’re not going to get where you want to go.”
That’s a lie. That’s legalistic. And I don’t like that kind of stuff. I want to help you make minimalism relative to you.
Here we go. First question: I did a great job purging books, one bag, one week at a time, over the winter, as well as other things. Now I want to continue decluttering but all projects seem to have to be done all at once. Every section, everything that I declutter, needs to be all done all at once which feels really overwhelming. Any advice?
Okay, this a great example of perfectionism. This is perfectionism. You’re giving it this ‘all-or- nothing’ mentality. See how that’s an ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality, guys? Do you see how that works? She said, “All the projects seem like they just need to be done all at once.” Like, “If I’m going to do the books, I need to do all the books. If I’m going to do the clothes, I need to do all the clothes. If I’m going to do the kitchen, I need to do all the kitchen.” That is an ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality and the ‘all or nothing’ mentality murders productivity. It is literally the killer of productivity.
It kills me. I’m sweating talking about this because it’s like you’re so driven and you’re so close. You can do this, but you’re giving into this ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality that is a form of perfectionism. Get out of that. You’ve got to ditch that mindset. You need to realize that progress is progress and you need to focus on progress, not perfection.
Get out of that ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality. Why is that the rule? Why are you inventing that rule for yourself out of thin air? It doesn’t need to be that way. You have 10 minutes? Do the junk drawer. You’ve got 60 minutes? Do your closet. You’ve got 5 minutes? Do your makeup. Just make progress.
Put it on your calendar. Set some time aside for this. Make it a part of your life just like the way that you eat. If you have quiet time, if you want more time to read, you put it in your calendar. You put it in your schedule. You make it a priority. It’s a non-negotiable. There are so many benefits to this. Why is it not a non-negotiable?
That’s a perfectionism thing. That’s an ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality. You’re murdering your productivity. You’ve got to get out of that mindset, okay?
Question #2: I’ve tried almost every way to declutter: room-by-room, sorting like items together, doing month-long challenges. But nothing ever gets even halfway done before life happens and I can’t get back at it for months. Then, when I do come back to it, I am back to working on what has already been done and has now been undone. How do you recommend tackling decluttering for someone like me? I’m about to give up.
Do not give up! This is, again, a mindset shift. Do you see it? There’s a running theme here already. There’s so much mindset work in this. This is another version of perfectionism because this is not ‘one and done.’ You have to change your expectations to meet your reality.
So, the reality is kids are going to get sick, work gets in the way, life happens. You need consistency. Schedule 10/20/30/60 minutes a day or a week and put it on your calendar. This is a non-negotiable. It’s just as if you’re at work.
Think about all the benefits. Think about the way you’re raising your children—counter-culture, anti-consumerism, anti-materialism. Think about the way you’re creating space and time. Why would you give up on that? No! Remember why. Remember you are giving space, time, and energy to things that are not worth it. Those things are not worthy of less for your family. They’re not worthy of less patience from you, so that you’re yelling and snapping all the time, you’re not the mom you want to be. They’re not worth it.
You’ve got to get out of that perfectionist mindset and realize it doesn’t have to be a certain way. You don’t have to subscribe to a certain type of way to declutter. Just do it. Just say, “This is nonnegotiable. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do 30 minutes every Saturday morning before we go to the farmer’s market. Or 30 minutes every Thursday morning before I make breakfast. I’m going to wake up early on Thursdays and just get one section done.”
You guys need to focus on progress, not perfection. This is my problem with so many of the popular things out there right now. It’s so perfectionistic, solely legalistic, and so ‘one and done.’ “You just get rid of everything. 20 books, that’s it. You’ll have to realize what sparks joy and that’s it.” And it doesn’t always work.
You have to realize the inner work that has to be done. You’re focusing on this ‘all-or-nothing’ thing and it’s perfectionism. Sometimes people don’t know how to work through those questions that other people are having you ask.
You need to work through, “Okay, what is the reason that I have this? Is this worthy of my time away from my kid?” Because everything in your house is taking up your minutes. You buy things twice—once with your dollars, once with your minutes. Is it worth it? For thirty minutes a week ask those questions and make decisions out of that. Total progress! You’re ditching perfectionism like a boss if you do that. Do not give up! So much beauty is waiting for you if you get to the other side of this.
Question #3: I’ve gotten stuck on sentimental items. How can I decide which ones are okay to keep and which ones I need to make the hard decision to part with?
That ties into my last question almost perfectly. What is worthy—truly worthy—of your time? You, beautiful woman who asked this question, think about your life. Are you married? Are you single? Do you have kids? Where do you live? Do you work? What do you spend your day doing? What are your hopes and dreams? Think about who you are right now.
Everybody feel free to do this. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Think about, “Who am I? What do I love? What do I want to do? How do I want my life to feel? How do I want my home to feel? You’re paying so much money a month for your home. Do you even like it there? What do you want for that space?”
Now, go to the sentimental items in your house and think, “Okay, what is truly sentimental enough that it is worthy of that? Of who I want to be? Of the time that I have to do what I want to do, to be with the people that I want to be with? What is truly worthy of that?” Probably a lot less than before you asked that, right?
And the thing is, if you think that everything that has some memories attached to it or used to belong to so-and-so, or whatever, if you think that everything is sentimental and everything has sentimental value then really nothing does because the definition of sentimental is that it’s special. It’s set apart, right? It’s different. And so, if you’re keeping anything and everything that has a memory attached to it, that’s not sentimental. That’s just junk with memories attached to it and the memories don’t leave when you get rid of the item. You can find a way to honor it.
Ask yourself, “What is worthy?” That’s the answer to your question.
And I also want to encourage you guys, if something is sentimental and it can be used…like if your grandmother’s lamp is kind of amazing except for the shade, throw away the shade, get a new, more modern shade and have her lamp base in your home as part of your decor. What a conversation piece. What a sweet reminder for you every time you walk into the room that she left an impact on you, you loved her, and there is a piece of her in your home. If something can’t be used or it’s really just not worthy, let it go. It is okay to let things go. Things do not have life.
Question #4: How do I wrap my mind around decluttering things that represent a previous important part of my life that I am not sure I’m done with? I’m not using them currently but I loved the outlets they provided in my life a few years ago and I hate to think about spending the money to buy new ones if I decide I wanted to do these hobbies again in the future? These are expensive things: a very nice sewing machine, lots of fabric, a treadmill, et cetera.
Everybody has two versions of themselves. The version that they actually are, your flesh and blood, the way you are, your current mind, your current emotions, the way that you really are in the world right now, your real self. The second version is your ideal version of yourself that you play in your head. This ideal version of yourself does things that you’re not actually doing. It’s not really you; it’s just your ideal version of yourself.
So, the ideal version of yourself runs on a treadmill, uses her sewing machine, makes quilts with all her extra fabric. The truth is that you don’t do that anymore. You used to do those things but you’re not anymore. And I’m guessing by the way you phrased your question that it’s been a while since you did those things, probably years.
You’ve got a decision to make. Do you want to look at that treadmill and think, “I am not okay being this person that doesn’t run on the treadmill. It’s important to me. This is a priority for me. I’m going to make time to use this treadmill. I’m going to keep it and I’m going to use it. If I don’t use it four days a week for the next 30 days, I’m going to set an alarm in my phone and make myself sell this thing.” Great. That’s fine.
Another version of this might be, “I used to sew all the time, but now I have kids and it’s not a hobby anymore. I don’t really want to spend my free time doing that. I would rather read a book, veg out in front of the TV, or go on a hike. I’m just not a sewer anymore. I remember when I was a sewer and it was fun. It served me well. But now I’m not that anymore. That’s an ideal version of me and I need to part with that time of my life, sell this machine, donate the fabric, whatever it is.” There’s two options there.
Remember there is an ideal version of yourself that you have. My ideal version of myself, and I’ve shared this example many times, wears beautiful hair clips. I used to buy and keep all these beautiful hair clips, clips for the back of your hair and all of these fun, beautiful, ties and stuff. And the fact is I wear my hair pretty much the same way every day. And there were no beautiful hair clips in my hair ever. I always just feel like, “Whoa, it’s too much.”
I never used them. So I parted with all my hair clips because it was the ideal version of myself. I’d be at the store and find this beautiful gold hair piece and be like, “Oh my gosh! I’m going to wear that when I wear my hair parted back. It’s so beautiful.” But I never ever did and they just sat in the drawer for years. That’s a small example. The treadmill is a bigger one. But you see what I’m saying?
Ask yourself, “Am I keeping this because the ideal version of myself would use it or because I actually use it and it’s helping me?
Question #5: My husband and I are both sentimental and we keep everything. We lost his uncle and brother last year and acquired a lot of stuff. How do we deal with stuff that belonged to someone that is no longer here?
You have to decide what you want. Remember if everything has sentimental value, then nothing really does. These losses that you’ve experienced are awful and I’m so sorry. But holding onto things for these people does not make it less of a reality that it happened and it doesn’t do anything to serve you. What can be used by you and left around to remind you of them, like the lamp example that I gave? You’ve got to decide what you want. Do you want to have everything or do you want to have the space, the life, more time, and live an abundant life because you are still here and this is your only life and it matters? The people that have passed on would want that for you.
You can keep a couple of things that make you feel so happy, like there’s pieces of them around you, but really our things are not people and we have to make a decision about what we really want.
Question #6: This is a really common question. What about sentimental items that have been passed to me through a couple of generations? They may not be useful to me, but they were special to my mother or grandmother. They’ve been held onto for so many generations that I feel bad for it to leave the family now.
Here’s the thing with items like that: Ask yourself if you really want them. If you want them and you can find a use for them, great, keep it. That’s great. If not, offer them to your remaining family members and then decide what to do if they don’t want it.
This happens all the time. Families hand things down and then they’re like, “Oh, it’s yours now. You’re welcome.” Then the person says, “Oh, I really appreciate this. I see the value in this, but I just don’t have space for this. I’m so sorry. I just don’t have anywhere to put this. I don’t know how to use it. I’m going to go ahead and let you guys keep it since they are so special to you.” And then the family’s annoyed, offended and like, “I don’t want it.” If nobody wants it, why is it falling on you? That’s a boundary issue.
Decide what’s worthy to you. Decide that for yourself and then offer it up to your immediate family members. If they don’t want it, offer to sell it and give them the money, split the money up, or just donate it—whatever you decide.
Question #7: How does one be a minimalist with clothing in a climate with four seasons of extremes?
This is why I teach minimalism relative to each person rather than ‘one and done.’ Girl, you live in extreme weather. You live in a climate with extreme seasons, so your wardrobes will reflect that. That’s okay. Minimalism isn’t a hard and fast rule, like “This is minimal. This is what it looks like to be a minimalist.” There are things like that out there, and if that floats your boat you’re not going to like me very much. I just don’t do that. I just don’t go that way.
I think it needs to be relative for who you are, what your personality is, where you live, how big your family is. It’s all relative. It’s got to be, otherwise it’s just rules and it’s not liberating. Minimalism should free you, help you, and serve you, not bind you or make you stressed out.
If you’re not going to have what you need when winter hits—that’s not okay. Your wardrobe is just going to be bigger and fuller and that’s okay. You can make the decision if you want to have all four seasons of clothing in the drawers and the closets all year round or if you’d like to invest in some good bins for summer clothes, winter clothes, spring clothes, whatever. Your wardrobe is going to be fuller because you live in an extreme climate and that’s okay.
Question #8: What happens when your kids get sick? Changing sheets and clothes for example, if you don’t have lots of extras around.
This isn’t about not having extras, okay? It’s about having what you need for your life. So, if you have kids, you need to have what you need to have. You need to have extras.
I have extras. In terms of sheets, all my kids have assigned sheets they picked out and then we have a couple extra sets. They’re mostly for the blow-up mattress for guests, but if they get sick I can pull those out because they’re the same size as the kids’ mattresses and use them.
I also have a bin of extra blankets. We keep it in the kid’s closet and we pull it out when we have company over or if we’re all going to go snuggle on the couch or whatever. Just because something isn’t on a bed being used doesn’t mean that you can’t have it.
When my kids get sick, I don’t usually make up the whole bed again. We have those liquid-proof bottoms of the sheets, those mattress covers. If that’s okay to leave, I’ll leave that. Or I’ll lay trash bags down for them if they’re really sick and vomiting or other things might happen in their bed, and I will lay a spare blanket over it and snuggle them up again because I know that it’s going to get dirty again and I’m doing laundry. It’s okay to have some extras. It’s just about why, how many, and what works for you. You might have to live a little bit of life to test out what number is good for you.
But I also want to note: be careful not to over-dramatize this scenario in your head or any scenarios in your head. Maybe your thing isn’t the sickness one but a lot of people over-dramatize scenarios in their head like, “Oh I better be careful because I’m going to need loads and loads and loads of extra blankets one day.” And that day never comes. Be realistic. What will you really need? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Is it really going to ruin everything if the flu hits your house and you don’t have 45 extra blankets? Probably not. We do that a lot. We over-dramatize.
Guys, today is a big day because I have news! I’ve done something that you guys have been requesting for a very long time. It’s ready for you and it’s pretty, pretty great. So, I’m calling this The Clutter Page and it’s amazing.
If you go to alliecasazza.com/clutter you are going to see the availability, finally, to purchase individual sections of decluttering. So, rather than just one and done, you buy the course, you buy the ultimate big program, Your Uncluttered Home, and it’s got everything in it, you can pick and choose. “Well, I only have paper and digital clutter and I really need help with that. Well, I really just need help with seeing a visual of your home, Allie, so that I can get a picture of what I want.” Whatever it is.
Paper and digital clutter is one option. Kids’ stuff is another option. Events like birthdays, holidays, parties and other people in your family or life are adding to your clutter.
If you’re just overwhelmed or you don’t know where to start, we’ve got an intro program.
What do you do if you’re a visual learner and you just want to see video tours of my home, ideas, and ‘light bulb’ moments of how to make your house flow better, be more minimal, and look better.
What do you do if you’ve already decluttered but the clutter keeps coming back? There’s a program that you can purchase just for that.
And then, of course, you can go all in, get everything, and get the ultimate Your Uncluttered Home program.
This is a really big deal because it’s never been available like this before. It’s always just been all or nothing. I didn’t want to format the business that way anymore because it’s not serving everybody the way that I want to serve everybody.
This is really cool. Go and check out the page, allicasazza.com/clutter and you will see the clutter page and all the options. Scroll down a ways. There’s lots of good stuff there.
I’m here to help you. I’m here to serve you. I’ve got what you need to make your life easier, make your home flow better, to help you spend more time on the things that matter to you – your family, your business, reading, your friends, your ministry – whatever it is for you.
I want to help you get to that place because as Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” and if you are spending the bulk of your time maintaining your space, I know that’s not how we want to end up. I know that’s not really what we want, so we’ve got to be intentional to stop that cycle of chaos in its tracks and deliberately go a different direction. And that is what I’m here to help you do.
allicasazza.com/clutter. Go and check it out. I can’t wait to see how you guys love it!
Question #9: How do you minimize your clothes? Do you take everything out of your closet and then sort them or what? I’m struggling hard in this area.
These are little hang-ups that we all struggle with and we let them take over and totally derail us. This is a choice. Getting derailed by a detail like this is totally a choice.
I know that you guys are so smart and so capable. You’re raising human beings. You’re doing a great job. You know how to do this, but we let ourselves get stuck and hung up because we’re tired, we’re intimidated, or it’s not going to be perfect. We might not do it perfectly. We might not do what Allie would do. So, we get held up on these little details and it really just doesn’t matter.
There are so many options. Have you guys heard of the backward hanger trick for a month? Whenever you wear something, you hang it back up in your closet with a hanger backwards and at the end of 30 days or whatever, whatever is not hanging backwards, you didn’t wear in 30 days and you can consider decluttering it.
You can take out one drawer at a time and make decisions. Keep, trash if it has got a ton of holes in it, or donate. Or one section of your closet at a time. Whatever you want.
That is such a minute detail. That’s really, clearly, just procrastination and perfectionism coming back and rearing its ugly head again. It’s so easy guys. See how easy it is. It’s such a struggle. You’re not alone.
Question #9: I have six kids and we have a small home. We have minimized a lot, but there’s always stuff everywhere. With so many people in the house, I feel like it will always look cluttered until some of the kids move out, which is still nine years away. Help!
Minimalism should be relative to you and your family and your home. You have a small house with a lot of people in it, so you need to purge more than someone else might in order to feel good about it, right?
So, what are you happy with? How do you want your house to feel? Go through again until it’s at a point where you feel content, good, you have more peace, and you feel like it’s working for you. Sometimes there needs to be a one-year plan or a three-year plan to move. Maybe it’s not working for you.
I talk about this a lot when it comes to budgeting and money and stuff. Sometimes you don’t have a budget problem; you don’t need to cut back more. You have an income problem. Instead of brainstorming ways to cut back, you need to brainstorm ways to bring in more money. Sometimes that’s the same thing with homes.
I don’t buy the belief that anyone can be happy anywhere; we just need less stuff. Sometimes your house is just too dang small and you’re not happy and something needs to shift. Maybe you need to come up with a three-year plan to get into a different house and to move somewhere else.
But maybe not. Maybe you can make it work. Maybe you decide, “No, I don’t want to do that and no matter what I want to make this work.” Well then, you’ve got to decide. You’ve got to decide that and know and choose, “What is worth my time and my space? I have way less than most people, so I have to be extra strict. I have to really get down and dirty with the details of what I’m going to keep and what I’m not.”
For about a year, my family lived in a camper. We traveled around the country and it was really small. It didn’t have any slideouts. It was 26 feet or something like that. It was really small. It was basically a hallway and we pulled everything out, gutted it, renovated it, and made it super cute. It was so fun. We traveled everywhere, to tons of states with the kids and it was so fun. But that was such a challenge because it was such a small amount of space.
I literally had to choose what is absolutely essential. What do we have to have? We did a lot of laundry more often because there wasn’t a ton of clothes. There wasn’t a ton of options. We had to keep things clean. And that was the choice I had to make.
So, you’re going to have to make that same choice. You might have to increase your rhythms and your routines. You might have to make some other time adjustments and life adjustments if you want to stay in that house and you want to feel good and peaceful. It is possible, but you’re going to have to make some cuts that other people won’t have to make.
Question#10: How do you handle toys that you don’t like but your kids actually do use and play with? For example, 10+ stuffed animals that your two-year-old calls ‘her kids. So far, I’ve just kept them.
Yes, just keep them. Every kid goes through phases like this and it’s okay.
One thing that I want to say about kids is my goal is never to force everybody else to get on the same page as me or to tell my kids what is valuable and what is not. To tell them what is special and what is not. I want them to have a say and I want them to be able to decide because my hope is that they grow up, they become adults, and they take on this minimalistic lifestyle. That they look back and they see the value in what I taught them, how beneficial it was, how other people don’t live that way, and that they want to live that way for themselves.
Forcing them to get on the same page as me, to get rid of what I think should be gotten rid of and to keep what I think they should keep, having no say, is not going to accomplish that. All that’s going to accomplish is resentment and a lot of therapy, right?
Let your kids have a say. If you’re asking this question and you have a two-year-old, that’s incredible. You’re starting this when they’re so young and that’s what I did. It’s such an amazing way to raise your kids. She will catch on here. Focus on the other areas of your house. Practice what you preach. Lead by example. Raise her up in this way and she will catch on.
Bella did. Bella used to have like 30 stuffed animals. She was just obsessed and she would notice if one would go missing. It was right when I was learning all of this too and it was so hard, but it went away. Now she’s making those choices for herself because she realizes it matters. She’s in charge of cleaning up her room so she doesn’t want to clean up extra. She didn’t want a giant mess to clean up. She realizes the cause and effect because she’s 10 now. It didn’t take all these years for that to happen. I’m not saying that. Around age 4 or 5 things got better.
Just know that you don’t want the kind of lifestyle that you’ll get if you force your kids to do what you think. You want to be gentle with them, go slow with them, help them learn, and let them come into this in their own time. As much as also balancing the fact that you’re the parents and they can’t just have crap everywhere. You can teach her already, how to start helping clean up and picking up after she plays with something, and teaching her the cause and effect of stuff.
Question #11: How often do you cycle back through an area to declutter?
Just when I see that it needs it. If I notice an area is looking particularly cluttered, I’ll add it to my task list. Or seasonally. I always do a sweep through my house whenever the seasons change. I’ll notice that it’s been a while. It’s summer now. The next time we’re having a weekend where we’re not really doing anything and we’re just hanging out at home, I’ll do a general sweep over my house. It’s not much because it’s maintenance mode. It’s not like it takes a ton of time. I just have to pay attention and get a couple of trash bags and get rid of anything that’s come in and needed to go out and didn’t yet.
I don’t work my life around this; it fits into my life easily, and that’s how it will work for you too if you follow the way that I teach. That’s what I want for you. It shouldn’t be something that you have to take on like, “Great. I’m a minimalist now so here we go.” This should fit into your life very easily. It’s not really something that you need to think about, plan about, and put on your calendar like, “Hey, every spring we’ve got to do this or whatever…” It shouldn’t feel like that.
Question#12: What do you do if you’ve pared down something to your satisfaction but you still don’t have room for everything? For example, I can’t find the storage space for seasonal decor so it sits out in my rec room. Same goes for items in my tiny kitchen; they overflow into my dining room.
Remember again, to reiterate, it is possible to not have enough space for your family. You have a choice to make. You can come up with a three-year plan to make a move or you can get creative and come up with storage solutions for now.
Here’s a little personal behind-the-scenes for you. Our house isn’t huge and I’ve had to do this with certain things. We have a big family and our house is only three bedrooms. It’s three bedrooms and there’s not a ton of storage. We have six people living here. And we host people from out of state. We have guest bedding stuff and things like that. They don’t fit into the cabinets and the closets, you know?
In a lot of spaces I’ve had to utilize the closets for other things. My closet downstairs has shelving that I put in there so I can have space to put my bulk groceries, so there’s not a lot of space for the things that normally go in a closet. Then those things need to go somewhere else. You have to get creative sometimes and that’s okay. I have a couple of bins where I keep guest bedding and spare blankets like I shared before. You have to just get creative.
You’ve got to make a choice. What are you gonna do about this? Is this going to be the end all/be all? Is this going to be your excuse for not simplifying and enjoying a more abundant, fuller, purposeful, present life? Or are you going to find a work-around?
There’s so many creative storage examples. I’m a big fan of vertical storage. You can find a way if you really want to.
I think also when you say, “I’ve pared down something to my satisfaction but I still don’t have room for everything.” You really need to be more ruthless. The same as I was talking about to the woman who commented about her tiny house. When we were in the camper, there were things that I wanted but I didn’t have room for them. So I had to do more. I had to declutter more.
You have to make a choice. Are you going to move? Or are you going to stay and decide, “I’m not okay with losing out on the benefits of a simpler space—a clean, minimalistic space. I am going to have to be more ruthless in my purging because my space is smaller.” Everything comes down to a choice.
Question #13: My husband doesn’t see the clutter. He doesn’t care about it or it’s too overwhelming to tackle. He rolls his eyes anytime I talk about minimalism. How do I get him on board with his stuff, all of his stuff?
Here’s the thing. There’s an entire thing on this in Your Uncluttered Home for a reason because it is such a problem. It is probably the most commonly asked question. You need to stay in your lane. You can’t expect other people to jump on board and be on the same page as you at the same time.
And I’m preaching to the choir, too. I don’t know what it is about us wives, but for some reason we think that because we’re married the second that we are super gung-ho about something, our spouse needs to get super gung-ho about that same thing. But he’s a different person. He has different convictions, thoughts, passions, things he’s going through, things he’s thinking about, and things that he cares about. You don’t always need to be on the same page.
There’s also this weird belief that he’s got to be onboard for you to make progress and that’s just not true—unless you’re living in some kind of abusive relationship where you’re not allowed to do anything that betters your life without his approval. That’s just really irrelevant. Brian and I were in a lot of disagreement about this when I first started figuring this out all those years ago because he was freaking out about me getting rid of his stuff and making decisions. He was worried about wastefulness.
We had to have a conversation and I had to say, “I’m not doing this because I want to spite you. I’m not doing this because I want to freak you out, or I just want to get rid of stuff. I’m doing this because I have seen firsthand already the incredible amount of difference and the weight that has been lifted off of me. I can feel that I’m a better mother. I’m a more present person. I’m happier. I’m lighter. My depression is going away. I can feel this difference happening in myself and I want to show up for this life with you. I want to show up the best that I can. I understand that you’re not getting this and I don’t ever want to force you on the same page as me. So how can we compromise?” And we came up with a compromise where he had certain areas of the house. That’s where his stuff was.
I never purged his stuff. I would put his stuff in one of the places that was assigned to him. He had the master bedroom closet and the garage and that was it. And I was fine. I could have lived the rest of our lives with that compromise and it would have been just fine.
But I’m the one that’s running the house. I’m his wife. And if a husband loves a wife, they typically want you to be happy and they’ll listen to you if you just explain better why you’re doing this and the heart behind it instead of coming at it like, “This is what I want to do. We have too much stuff.” They feel out of control and attacked so often. Communicate in a different way.
You know your husband better than I do, communicate in a way that he’ll understand.
Let him know your heart. Come up with a compromise. Don’t expect him to jump on board. It’s just not realistic.
Every single thing that I’ve answered is in the programs. Those of you who are stuck, you need to make the decision of if you want to stay stuck. Or if you really want to do this and get to the other freaking side already so that you can be done with this and start to get to all the benefits I’m always talking about. Get to the place where you feel better and you’re lighter.
Let’s play a game for a second. Imagine, really imagine, if you could live every day—your mundane, normal days, whatever you typically do, if you work or whatever—if you could live everyday focused on the things that you want and need to be focused on. Things like your family, your job, your business, your marriage, your self-improvement, the books that you want to read that you never seem to get to read. Imagine if you could live every day focused on those things, focused on what you wanted to do and what you wanted to spend time on, where you were needed.
Imagine if your house was a place where memories are made, meals are enjoyed, life happens, and taking care of it and maintaining it is just a side note. It’s not everything. It’s not overwhelming. It doesn’t take up huge amounts of your time. Imagine you had less stuff and you’re done. You’re all the way through. Imagine what that feels like for a second.
Imagine that everything is streamlined and simple so that you had more time. Imagine you’re living your life aligned with what your priorities are. You weren’t just saying that your husband and kids are your priority but never really sitting and being present with them because you can’t. You weren’t just saying that your faith is important to you but you never really spend quiet time or you never pray or meditate. You never really get to read cause there’s no fricking time to press pause and take that space.
Imagine that you were actually living a life aligned with what you say is important to you because you have time and space to do that. Imagine that you were able to be the mom that you want to be—happy, playful, organized, and free to live—because there’s less clutter and there are simple systems in place that support your freed-up lifestyle.
That’s what I do. That’s what I get you to do in Your Uncluttered Home. That’s why I’m always talking about it, I’m always offering discounts and doing stuff to help you guys because I want you to do that.
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!