Today’s episode is amazing and unique. This is actually the audio of a part of the web class, Minimalism & Kids, that I hosted with my friend and child play therapist, Amy Tirpak. This episode is the beginning of the class—the part about why you need to declutter the toys. This is going to give you the kick you in the pants you need to get rid of a bunch of stuff that is just not serving your kids. There are some key nuggets in here that I haven’t shared on the podcast ever before. So, let’s jump in!
In This Episode Allie and Amy Discuss:
Raising kids to know who they are
Being intentional about your kid’s “blur”
Being intentional with the weeks we have with our kids in our home
The benefits of minimalism for you and your kids
Taking ownership and control as your kid’s mom
Mentioned in this Episode:
Courses (Use the code PURPOSESHOW for 10% off!)
Mom life. We’re surrounded by the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. We’re supposed to get through it. Survive. Cling on by the last little thread. And at the same time, Carpe Diem—enjoy every moment because it’s going to go by so fast. The typical mom culture that sends us all kinds of mixed, typically negative messages. We shouldn’t take care of ourselves; it’s selfish. The more ragged you run yourself, the bigger your badge of honor. But also, ditch your mom bod and work out. Don’t yell. Make more money. Show up. Be better, but not at the expense of time with your kids. I am putting a hard stop to all of this. While being a mom, running a business, and whatever else you might have going on is hard, it is a lot and there’s lots of giving of yourself, the idea that motherhood means living a joyless, nonstop-hustle-with-zero-balance kind of life, where you give and give and give and never take, needs to stop.
I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime (at least most days). Stop the mom guilt and shame game. Stop cleaning up after your kids’ childhood and start being present for it. I want to help you thrive in work, home and life. I believe in John 10:10 that we are called to living an abundant life and I know moms are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, some business and life hacks, spirituality 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.
Hi babes! I’m so excited to be here with you today! Thank you for listening to The Purpose Show. I really appreciate it.
I also have been appreciating so much how much you guys have been sharing the show lately. I know that there has been several episodes that have really gone over well with you all, and that makes me so happy.
Seeing you guys sharing it, seeing it grow, getting messages from people who found me because somebody shared my podcast on their platform, it makes everything so worthwhile. It really, really warms me up. I appreciate you so much.
There’s so much generosity and abundance in this community and I don’t take it for granted. I see it every day. Thank you for not just listening and leaving, but taking a screenshot and tagging me, sharing and telling your friends to go listen to the show. It really is making an impact for real.
And when you do that, it’s not just growing my platform. It’s changing lives and really helping people understand that there’s a different way to do motherhood and a different way to do business. So, thank you so much!
Today’s episode is amazing and unique. This is actually the audio of a part of a web class that I hosted with my friend, Amy Tirpak. Amy is a child play therapist. She’s incredible.
She is on Team Allie. We work very closely together and she’s a really good friend of mine. She’s brilliant when it comes to kids, their psyche, and how they work. She’s so amazing.
We did this web class together called Minimalism & Kids about why you need to declutter toys, how to do it, and all the stuff that goes with it. It was pretty lengthy, but I pulled out part of the beginning of the class—the part about why you need to declutter the toys.
This is going to kick you in the pants and get you legit moving & grooving, getting rid of a bunch of stuff that is just not serving your kids. This is the stuff that’s totally holding them back, making it more difficult for them to focus, more difficult for them to do well in their schoolwork, more difficult for them to get along with each other, you, and other people in their lives.
Don’t skip over this episode because you think you already know it. There are some really, really key nuggets in here that I haven’t shared in the podcast ever before. That’s what led me to do this episode in this way, because it hasn’t been on the podcast before.
I want this to be super clear. I want this episode to sit here and get a lot of hits in the future because it’s so valuable and so mind blowing. This is half of the class that Amy I did together, and I’m actually going to give you a link where you can watch the rest of it and get the “how” part.
How do you talk to your kids? How do you begin to declutter their toys? What about the hurdles you’re going to hit as you begin to move in this direction with your kids and your home? How do you deal with all that stuff?
And of course we’re going to give you an amazing discount on Amy’s and my program, Uncluttered Kids. You can get the “how” and the rest of the class for free. And we’ll give you a discount for the course that’s super exclusive for you guys.
I wanted to drop this piece of it here so you know that’s the status of what this episode is. I can’t wait for you to dive in. Please enjoy, my friends!
All right, ladies. First of all, you’re at the Minimalism And Kids Class in case someone invited you here and you’re wondering what you are about to learn. We’re going to teach you to stop the struggle and help your kids ditch their clutter. And you can start right away.
I know we’re in a really weird time right now. At the time of this class, we’re in a global pandemic and we’re quarantined and I know personally, for me, it’s getting a little depressing some days. I know we’re all safe and there’s so much to be grateful for, but you’re allowed to take up space with your feelings.
You’re allowed to feel like this is hard. You’re allowed to feel overwhelmed. You’re allowed to feel like you don’t like your kids very much. You are allowed to feel. You’re in a safe space.
I would love for this chat to be really positive. We have admins in the chat with us today who are on Team Allie. I want you to treat them with respect and kindness, but please know that we’re here to support you and it’s okay. Any thoughts you’ve had leading up to this class, any worries you’ve had, any fears or guilt you’ve had—take a deep breath, in and out, and just let it go. You are okay.
Amy and I both have kids. Amy has two really young kids and she’ll talk about them in a second. I have four kids, and we just want you to know that we’re in this together.
We aren’t coming at you in an aggressive or preachy way. We want you to know that we see you. We see you doing such a good job, trying, wanting to grow, learn, and be better. We know that you know what’s best for your kids. We want to come alongside you and support you in putting that to action.
You are a good mom, if anyone here really needs to hear that today. You’re a good mom. You’re doing a fantastic job. What you’re here doing is so good because you’re learning to be an even better mom.
You’re taking it to the next level. You’re leveling up in an area that so many other people have just accepted as being too hard. They’ve just accepted it as a crap show and believe that this is just the way it is.
You made time to show up for this. You were chosen out of every woman who’s ever existed in any generation, in any era to be the mother to your kids. To make decisions that affect them.
That is powerful. That’s beautiful. I want you to know that you are doing that. And you’re doing such a good job.
The reason we’re all here today is because raising kids is not easy. Right? We need support. That’s normal and that’s good.
There’s so much stuff. We’re living in a culture of materialism even though we do now have a wave of minimalism with all of the documentaries and the books. And that’s so good. I love that the message of minimalism is so normal now, but still we have a problem.
There’s still so much stuff. And technology—that’s a whole other beast, right? And it can be chaos. It is chaos. You want to raise kids who know who they are and society is literally working against you.
Who here wants to raise kids who know who they are? Who are confident? Who are self aware in a good, positive way? Who are creative? Who know what they’re good at? Who know what their purpose is?
I was recording an episode recently about how to raise kids connected to their purpose and I opened up Q & A for that and it blew up. You guys want to know how to connect your kids to their purpose. We’re about to get into the real minutiae, the little details.
What does this all have to do with raising my kid? Trust me! This stuff, the stuff in your house, the stuff in your kid’s space, the stuff we’re going to go over today, is the first layer. It’s big.
It’s the first layer of foundation work. It’s a main pillar. It’s like a load-bearing wall in a house. You knock that wall down, the whole thing crumbles. This is that wall, that support that will build up to your kids knowing who they are and being self aware, being connected to their creative energy, knowing what they’re good at and what is just not their thing.
That is probably the biggest gift that I’ve seen this lifestyle give to my kids. Mine are a little bit older than Amy’s, but even in Amy’s season, whether they’re toddlers or babies, there’s so much good here. As we get into all the little details and the minutia, I want you to understand that it’s all for a bigger picture.
Neither Amy nor myself really gives a rip about organization or everything being clean all the time. It’s about focus. It’s about the energy in our home. It’s about the time and space that we’re creating with and for our children, because this is their childhood. So having said that, Amy, go ahead.
AMY: The reason that we are bringing this to you guys is because when you have kids there will constantly be stuff coming in. As Allie is teaching women about the stuff in their house, it’s easy just to say, “Okay, well, I’m just not going to buy more stuff. I’m going to limit my Target trips. I’m going to get rid of stuff.”
But with kids stuff is constantly coming in. They outgrow their clothes, so they need new clothes and new shoes. They outgrow their toys. They have new interests.
Sometimes they get involved in activities where they need equipment or supplies. They have relatives that give them things for holidays or birthday parties. They have relatives who give things just because. I know my kids have two grandmas who are very generous all the time.
You’ve got art projects and school papers. If you drive through somewhere for dinner, you’ve got a new Happy Meal toy. Stuff will continue to come in and if you don’t get a handle on it, develop a system of how you’re going to handle it, what you’re going to do, it’s going to get out of control, if it’s not already.
That’s why we’re here. We get it. Like Allie mentioned, I have a 2-year-old and my son just turned 1 last week. I’m in really young stages.
Allie’s kids are a little older, but we get it. We see you, and we’re here to help you figure out what to do with all of this stuff as you move forward.
ALLIE: All right. Because there’s so many of you here that are new or were invited by a friend, we’re going to do quick intros.
I’m Allie. I’ve been married to my husband, Brian, for about 12 years. We have four kids. My oldest, my only girl, is 11, and my youngest is 5. I’ve got a girl and three boys in that age range.
I’m the host of The Purpose Show podcast, which some of you may listen to. I love my podcast. I love being a host. I love having conversations with incredible leaders and bringing you guys inspiration all the time.
In my business, I create online programs that support women, that really come alongside overwhelmed women and help them. I’m a speaker. This is my website. My Instagram is probably the best way to connect with me, but really what you need to know in this class is that I’m a leader in both the minimalist industry and the motherhood side of things.
I’ve turned something legalistic and stiff—minimalism—into something that’s life-giving and doable for overwhelmed women. The minimalist industry was previously really highly saturated by single men, which I’m all for, but it seems pretty simple to be a minimalist when you live alone and have no kids, right? I love coming in and speaking life over you guys, giving you tools for doable, realistic minimalism that works with you and isn’t limiting, difficult, or perfectionistic.
I’ve been featured on all kinds of great media—Good Morning America, The Today Show, Huffington Post, Babble, ABC news, Good Morning La La Land, The Hallmark Channel. It really has nothing to do with me and everything to do with this message and this philosophy because It works.
I want you guys to know that being on platforms like that, having the following that I have and doing what I’ve done doesn’t happen just because. It happens when something really truly works. I want to share that with you so that you can begin to open up and trust the process.
I’m here to support you. If you are coachable, ready to learn, go all in and really make this happen, your life will seriously seriously change with this.
AMY: I’m Amy. I’m married to my husband, DJ, and we have two kids, Tenley and Milo.
I have a Master’s of Science and Social Work degree from Columbia University with a focus on children and youth. I’m a therapist. I’ve done individual, group, family therapy in a range of different settings from foster care to adoption agencies to emergency shelters.
I was a Clinical Director at a 100-bed residential center for children. I worked in a traditional office setting with a child and adolescent psychiatrist. In my clinical practice, I specialized in play therapy with kids and teens, but I also love to teach. I’ve trained Children’s Services Workers, judges, lawyers. I’ve trained and supervised other therapists and mental health technicians.
It sounds really braggy to be like, “Hey, I’m Amy, here’s all this great stuff about me,” but I want you to know that I do know what I’m talking about. You can trust what I say. It’s not just opinion. It is based on my education and my experience.
Some of you might recognize my name or my face from Allie’s social media communities, because I work for Team Allie now. I’m the team manager. I’m an admin on social media. That allows me to really get to know you guys a lot.
I see your questions. I see what you’re struggling with. I get it, not only as a mom but also working for Allie. I am excited to be able to bring my experience and combine that with Allie to help you guys in this class.
ALLIE: Amy is brilliant. We’re very lucky to have her here with us. This class should literally cost a lot of money. She’s so brilliant.
Okay, we’re going to dive in. Use the chat, guys. Explode it. This is a community and we all need community extra right now, right? Explode the chat. We will keep up with comments as much as we can, but the goal for this class is not so much that we see every single thing, but that you all share and talk.
Let me say that this is a closed community where your husband’s probably not watching the chat. Your relatives are not watching the chat. This is a safe space where you can share, “I do feel like that. I do struggle with that.”
Not that everyone’s carrying around all of these weird secrets or anything, but it’s a free space where you can get it off of your chest, where you can say, “I am worried about that. I really feel that way.”
Share and collaborate with other women in terms of encouragement. This is a community. I want it to feel like we’re all sitting together on the floor, in a room, in a circle sharing, talking, supporting, and getting so crazy inspired that we have to jump up when it’s over, run and take action. Use the chat.
Do you feel your kids truly know how to play? Good, old fashioned play with imagination, being super creative, and enjoying themselves? Do you feel that they enjoy their toys rather than dumping, searching for something, and wandering off complaining that they’re always bored? Do you really feel like you’re happy with how they’re playing?
Or do you find that all your kid wants to do is play with technology, video games, or the iPad? Or if they’re super little, do they just dump everything out, wander off, and then you wonder what’s even the point of having these toys? That’s a good gut check to start with.
When was the last time that you were able to really sit and play with your kids without feeling pulled, distracted, or hurried because there’s so much else to do, you’re so behind, and there’s just so much pulling at you all the time?
When was the last time that you had someone over (pre-COVID) without stressing out? Or preparing for days ahead of time, nagging your family, or becoming scary mommy before company came because you were so stressed out? We’ve all been there at one point, right?
When you’re hosting a birthday party the coming weekend and you’re freaking out Wednesday to Friday because everything’s a mess. And suddenly you realize you need to clean the entire kitchen and there’s crap coming out of the closet, like Monica Geller’s secret closet, and it’s so embarrassing you hope no one opens that door. When was the last time that you didn’t have that?
When you think back on your childhood it’s probably mostly a blur, right? It’s a blur with a general feeling about it. You have pockets of specific memories that generally felt happy, but you specifically remember one time where your dad spanked you really hard and you were scared, or your mom took you out of school and took you to Disneyland. Mostly it felt happy or mostly it felt traumatic. It’s a blur with a feeling.
Our kids will have that same thing. They’re going to have that same experience. So the big question to ask here is, what will their blur feel like?
Will it feel peaceful? Will it feel chaotic? Will it feel pretty happy but they remember that their mom was really stressed out because you yelled all the time? Will they feel like they were walking on eggshells because of your mood or because of your stress level?
Will they feel like they didn’t have a connection with their siblings? Or they didn’t know who they were until they turned 35? What will their story be? What will their blur feel like?
I don’t want this to freak anyone out. I want you to see the power you have right in front of you. The power that you get to have such a huge say in what that blur feels like for them.
What happened in the past no longer matters. What’s happening now? You can make a different story. You’re still holding that pen. You can begin to write on a new page a different story.
I want to tell you a story that’s really humbling but we’re going to go there. I have these pictures of my son’s first birthday party. My son Leland is now nine years old and this was his first birthday party.
At this point in my life, I was basically a completely different person than I am today. There was crap everywhere. I was very overwhelmed. I was pregnant with our third baby, Hudson. And I was performing. I was trying to build memories through performances basically.
Day-to-day, I was stressed out. I was always cleaning. I was always thinking about how I could get the kids busy so that I could catch up because I had to write and manage my blog. I had to help my husband get ready for work, because he was the breadwinner at the time.
I didn’t have my business yet; I was a stay-at-home mom. I was running this life, this house. Getting the kids busy so I could do this thing, then getting the kids busy so I could do that thing, then getting the kids busy so I could do this thing again. It was this crazy cycle.
And then on birthdays and weekends, I was thinking of how we could have an amazing time because I wanted to make myself feel better. I was over-compensating for something in the day-to-day. Does anyone relate to that really raw truth? It’s hard to say. It’s even harder to know that for so many years I was living that way and missing out.
So, my son’s first birthday party was a superhero theme. My husband, Brian, is a gem of a human being. He was working really long hours, six days a week. I had him build these fake city backgrounds and help me cut everything out. I spent money that we really didn’t have on comic books so that I could cut them out. Past Allie is so different from today’s Allie. Thank you, Jesus!
I was literally cutting and pasting when the kids were asleep or they were busy in front of the TV or something, so I could get ready for his birthday because his birthday was my identity as a mother. It’s so dumb, but that’s where I was. I think this is a real problem. The storyline here is what happened.
In the days leading up to the party, I was yelling, I was freaking out, I was stressed out. I was breaking out from stress. I felt sick. I was inducing stress on my pregnant body.
The kids didn’t want to be anywhere near me. Brian probably didn’t want to be anywhere near me. A friend came over to help the day before because I was texting her, and she was scared of me. I was so stressed out.
Stressed out over a party that’s unnecessary? What is this life? I was snapping at everybody. I was a basket case.
Then the day of the party, that little city background, the little things that were holding it up, fell off and it fell over. And I remember Brian, my husband, was laughing, like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it fell after all of that. That’s funny.”
And I was like, “Get over there and fix it!” Threatening under my breath. My cortisol was through the roof!
It’s okay if anyone here is judging me because I have spent a lot of time judging myself, and now I’m over it because it’s just not worth it. But that’s where I was at that point in my life.
I think the story here is that even if you’ve never been in that specific situation where you were doing that to yourself, we’ve all experienced something where we missed the point and were overdoing it in some way—performing, trying to make things better, overcompensating or focusing on the wrong thing. That was not the point.
The point was that my baby was healthy, happy, and turning 1 and I missed it. The picture that I’m showing you in this class is probably the only time I was really close to him the entire party. I was running around, serving, making more punch, making sure everyone was happy, taking pictures for the blog and being ridiculous.
These are the years that our kids are home and they are short. They are short and they go by so fast. I don’t care how cliche it sounds; it’s cliche because it’s true.
We’re spending too much time living in the cycle of too much stuff stealing our time. Too much stuff in our closets. Too much stuff to maintain. You clean up all day while the kids rip it apart behind you.
You get the kids busy so you can catch up on what doesn’t freaking matter. But what if you just had less stuff? You would literally create more time.
This birthday story is so hard for me because I’m so disappointed that I even got there and did that. This day is captured in pictures, right? And it’s done. These photos show that day and I’ll never get it back.
Instead of enjoying it, I was freaking out, stressing out, and running around like crazy. That day is ruined in my memory. The only good thing that came from it is that my baby turned 1 and I had a lesson. I have photos that remind me to keep going. Don’t go back there.
There are 936 weeks from the time that your child is born until they are 18. It is too short to be freaking out about a stupid birthday party that the kid doesn’t even know is going on.
I look at Bella in the pictures and she’s nervous and scared because of the monster is behind her—me. Leland doesn’t have a freaking clue what’s going on. He’s just happy that there’s some kind of muffin in front of him. We only get 936 weeks, and we have a visual for this actually.
AMY: I have some jars here and each jar has 936 M&Ms in it. Each one of these M&Ms is a week from the time your child is born until they turn 18. The ones at the top, they’re newborns and you’re covered in spit-up and you’re not sleeping. There’s not a whole lot of impact you can have on them other than keeping them alive and safe.
When you get down to the bottom they’re teenagers. They’re starting to drive. They’re involved in a lot of activities. They’re with their friends more or they’re out of the house. They care less about what you’re making the household like, what you’re saying, because they’re out of it more and they’re focused on where they’re going next.
The chunk in the middle is where you have the most impact on them. This is when they’re starting to absorb what the home environment is like, what you’re saying and what you’re doing. And that’s where that blur is going to come from.
I have another jar here. If you have a 6-year-old, this is what the jar looks like. It’s down to there already. Can you see how much the 6-year-old jar has? If you have a 10-year-old, this is what the jar looks like. It’s already more than halfway gone.
As we’re talking about our kids’ experiences and what that feels like, we want to make sure that we’re enjoying that time too. Like Allie said, you can’t get that day back. All of these weeks that are gone, you can’t go back and relive those them so you can yell less and be present more. They are gone.
But you still have what’s left in your jar, whatever your jars look like for your kids’ ages. The point of this is that when you see how much time you have left, you’ll tend to make the most of the time that you have now.
We’re going to give you the information, the tools to change. If how they’re childhood is currently going is not how you want their childhood to feel and it’s not what you envisioned for them, you can change that. You have control; you’re the mom.
This is to empower you and give you perspective so that you can look at this and say, “Today, I’m going to take what I’m learning and I’m going to make a change because there’s no reason that it has to continue this way.”
“When you know better, do better,” is the Maya Angelou quote that Allie always points us to. Think that quote and think about your jar. We’ve taught this class before and a lot of women went out and actually made their own jar just to keep in front of them as a visual.
The jar thing is not my idea. I stole it from Orange, but it’s really powerful and I wanted to show that to you.
ALLIE: This is about perspective. I’m a big believer in those feelings. The days are going by. The weeks are passing by. Life is happening, whether or not you’re aware of it. Get aware of it. That’s my perspective.
I have an 11-year-old. Leland, he’s almost 10. Here’s the thing that you need to focus on—that time is going by whether you realize it or not. Realize that knowledge is power. Look it in the face and deal with it.
I’m always talking about hot-mess-mom or reactive-victim-mom versus the action-taking, problem-solving woman. The action-taking, problem-solving woman would look at this and say, “I’m not afraid of this. I am in charge of it. I have some regrets, which means I’m human! But I have more M&Ms left in the jar and I am going to take ownership of this.”
Don’t stay in those feelings of, “Oh my God, I ruined everything.”
If you’re intentional about your stuff, if you get intentional about the words you speak, the things that are taking up your energy, your space, and your time, if you get serious right now, you can give your kids an amazing childhood right from where they are now. We are here to help you with however many M&Ms you have left.
I’ve been blessed with an overabundance of older women in my life. There are a bunch of older women who are like mentors to me. I texted some of them and I asked them what comes up when I say, “What do you wish you would have done when your kids were small? What is your emotion? Did you feel like you were cleaning all the time? What is your story with your kids and your stuff?”
Most of them texted back, “It just took up so much space. I’m so remorseful. I totally see that now. And now they’re having kids and I’m seeing them do it again. And I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, this just doesn’t matter. The birthday parties don’t matter. This stuff doesn’t matter.’”
One woman that I’m very close to, she’s actually my godmother, she raised four kids and they really didn’t have a lot of money at all. She was always worried that there wasn’t enough. Now her kids are adults and she said they all talk about their childhood so fondly. Their childhood was focused on playing, creating, on knowing themselves. Her kids are the most self-aware, confident, solid, secure people in faith, emotionally, their relationships are all healthy. That’s what she was saying.
Another woman told me, “I regret filling in the gaps in my parenthood with purchases. I bought my kids stuff, clothes, toys, and things in an attempt to make up for working and yelling all the time and how little patience I had because I felt bad.” Here’s her actual quote, “Maybe if I would’ve kept things simple, I wouldn’t have had so much to make up for.” This is a mom of three grown children that are between the ages of 30 and 36. That’s heavy.
I don’t want this class to be about regrets and hugging your babies because the M&Ms are almost gone. I want this to be about empowering you with the knowledge that’s in front of you to make choices that will serve you and your kids moving forward.
It’s about the future, not the past. It all comes down to getting rid of the junk that you don’t use and setting your kids up to play so they can develop into who they’re meant to be. You can feel good about how you raise them. You can look back at all the M&Ms gone and feel good about their blur.
Now we’re going to get into the teaching part. Get your notepads ready. I’m heading back into the slides. We’re about to blow through a ton of good stuff, you guys.
If you answered negatively to the questions that we were asking you a few minutes ago then we want you to know, it’s not your fault. You’re not doing a bad job. Again, remember what Maya Angelou said, “Know better, do better.” That’s what we’re going to do.
Here’s a little bit of a truth bomb that is the foundation of everything we’re going to stack on today. The truth is that so many of you guys are always on Google and Pinterest searching and trying to figure out how to get organized, and it always comes undone, right? That’s because the truth is that organization is not the solution to your problem.
It’s impossible that organization would really solve your problem. It might feel good and look pretty for a minute and help a little bit, but it’s not the solution because disorganization is not your problem. Your real problem is that you have too much stuff, not that you’re disorganized.
Clutter and too much stuff is the problem. Which means that decluttering is your actual solution, and that organization is really just an added layer for prettiness. I actually really don’t like being organized. I don’t like keeping things perfectly set up.
Organization has very little place in my home. I like minimalism because I don’t need to worry about that. I don’t need to worry about tons of bins and boxes and getting organized. It’s freedom.
So, if that’s true then that would mean that minimalism, being intentional with your stuff is the ongoing solution. The lifestyle that will keep you from ever returning to the problem again. I literally just gave you a golden egg of knowledge. This will stop this cycle.
It will stop the cycle of you swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other. From, “Oh, who gives a rip? I’m just not organized. I’m just a spontaneous mom.” And then going back the other way to, “I’ve had it! We’re done!. We’re getting organized.”
This stops the cycle of chaos. It stops it in its tracks. It has nowhere to go because it has no source. You pulled out the root of the cavity instead of just filling it without cleaning it first.
Just like this is true for us in our homes, the same is true for our kids, their toys, and their stuff. We spend time arranging and rearranging our kids’ stuff and they dump it all out to find the one or two toys that they really want. What if we just didn’t have all the other stuff? That’s the light bulb moment. That’s the question to ask.
Okay, if that’s true—whether you have pre-teens or toddlers, in some way that’s what they’re doing—then what if all the other stuff was not there? This is where minimalism comes into play and is the solution to stop the cycle once and for all.
Minimalism by definition is really as little as possible. I don’t love using the word all the time because that’s very limiting and legalistic to me. I like to use it in the sense of it’s less of what doesn’t matter for the sake of more time, energy, and space for what does matter to me.
That’s why my philosophy is different than probably anything you’ve heard or read elsewhere (that’s original at least). It’s about the meaning and the intent behind it. It’s not about less for the sake of less. Let’s go over some of the benefits for you and how your life is going to get lighter if you were to live more in this light.
First of all, there’s less cleaning. Harvard did a study that showed you would do 40% less housework if you didn’t have stuff you don’t use. 40%! Stop saying we don’t have time. You would have less cleaning, more time.
You would always be ready for someone to drop by unannounced, which is a great feeling. You would enjoy your home more. How many of you are paying a large part of your budget to your mortgage or rent? Do you even like being there?
You’d have more margin, more breathing room in your life. Your relationships will improve. If you’re married, your marriage will improve. That seems like a stretch but it’s not. That’s the first thing I noticed when I did this in my life.
It’s not super rocket science, but if you’re not as stressed out, a basket case all the time who’s running around, freaking out, asking for more help, and having so much on her plate, you are more fun to be around. You’re a happier person. You get to be the mom who plays. You get to be the mom who’s present. You get to be the mom who created a happy blur. That’s really what it comes down to.
AMY: And of course, there’s a lot of benefits for kids too. Kids who grow up not having an overabundance of stuff everywhere, they’re going to develop longer attention spans, have better social skills, learn to take greater care of their things because they have fewer things that they really love. They will develop a greater love for reading, writing, art.
Those kids become more resourceful using materials and things they have for another purpose, like building forts out of blankets and stuff. They are going to have more perseverance so they’re going to not give up on their toys and just go to another one. They’re going to keep working at it.
They’re going to argue with each other less because they’re sharing and working together with what they do have. They are less selfish, less entitled. They experience more of nature because they tend to be outside more if they don’t have so many toys inside. They also learn to find satisfaction outside of the material things in a toy store, which is a good life lesson to be teaching them.
ALLIE: Especially the relationship one. What I really care about is my kids’ relationships with each other. My babies were huge. I didn’t carry their puffy selves around for a billion months, all in a row for all of my twenties for them to not get along. I want to create an environment that is conducive to them having a relationship with each other.
This has been naturally cultivated in an environment in our home where there’s very little arguments of, “This is my toy; that’s yours.” We literally have one huge toy bin and everyone’s stuff goes in there and everyone just shares. I did not teach them that. I did not set that up as the rule.
We have birthday parties; we celebrate Christmas. We do all the normal things, but stuff is just not a highlighted thing in our family. It’s just not a part of our family culture. We work regularly to purge together and get stuff out together.
The kids have this healthy relationship with things and it’s amazing. This is literally the only thing that I did. It’s really cool as a mom of older kids to see that. We’re going to shine a light on some facts really quick before we get into the action steps. Wake up, ladies, and jot things down because we’ve got to know this stuff.
AMY: Allie and I both are research nerds about this stuff and I could go on forever, but I’m going to make it really quick for you guys. With adults, studies are showing that when you have stress or when you have clutter and lots of extra stuff, you have higher stress. Of course, we are all thinking, “Duh, we know that.”
But it is proven through research now. Your cortisol, which is your stress hormone, those levels are higher in moms whose home environments are more cluttered. Over time increased cortisol levels can lead to anxiety and depression. This is a big deal. It’s serious.
A Princeton study found that clutter makes it hard to focus. Our productivity decreases. Harvard found that eliminating clutter cuts down on housework by 40%.
Cornell found that a cluttered home environment triggers unhealthy coping and avoidance strategies. Snacking on junk foods, scrolling through social media, watching Netflix—things that aren’t necessarily the most healthy for us. Of course we need an escape, but when we have more clutter, it tends to be unhealthy things that we gravitate towards.
For kids, studies are showing that fewer toys is better for them. One study in Germany took all the toys completely out of three kindergarten classrooms and observed them with an open structure for three months. They found that kids had better concentration, more imaginative play, and better communication.
Another study compared kids that were given 4 toy options with kids in a room that had 16 different toys in it. The kids who were only exposed to 4 options to play with played for longer periods of time and their play was more creative and more interactive. Claire Lerner is a child development researcher and she says, “Our studies show that giving children too many toys or toys of the wrong types can actually be doing them harm.”
We’ve got to flip our thinking about this because for so long we’ve had the mindset, and it probably originated generations before us, that you show love by giving things. And if you love your kids, it’s good for them to have all these toys and all of this stuff.
But what we’re learning is that that is not the case. That’s not good for them. It could actually be harmful to them to be giving them all this stuff, having all these different toy options and stuff. Us taking action and deciding that we’re going to do the work to keep things minimal for our kids, that’s the best thing that we can give them.
An example that we used with my mom to help explain this as we were going through this process with our kids, was sugar. Kids love sugar. If you offered a kid dinner that was cookie, candy, ice cream, cake and stuff, of course, they’re gonna be like, “Yay! This is awesome!”
It makes them happy in the moment, but it’s not good for them. They’re going to have a belly ache. They’re probably not going to sleep well. And over time, if you did that consistently, they would end up with cavities, obesity, and who knows what else.
We don’t give them sugar for dinner; we give them vegetables. We make the choice as the parent to do not what makes them happy in the moment, but something that is better for them. It’s just like that with stuff.
If we know research is showing us that having all that stuff is harmful for kids, having all these electronic light up toys everywhere is harmful for kids, now we get to do better because we know better. Now we can change. We can take action. We can use all that we’ve learned and actually make the change that’s going to change the time that they have left with us.
ALLIE: I want you guys to understand this has to change because it’s so counterculture. There are so many industries that benefit from you not thinking about this, not realizing it, or you being so overwhelmed that you’re just in reactive mode, which is mom default.
It doesn’t need to be that way. And that’s what my entire company does is help you get out of that place so you can be proactive and intentional. But there are so many people banking on the fact that you’re not going to wake up to this.
That you’re going to say, “Well, it’s awkward. I don’t know what to say to relatives when I don’t really want the kids to have a bunch of crap for their birthday. They want parties. What am I supposed to do? Well, we celebrate Christmas. What am I supposed to do? Well, I have five kids. They just comes with a lot of mess.”
No! No, you are in charge. Take ownership. The action-taking, problem-solving woman in all of us takes that control. She takes action.
She’s not a jerk about it. She’s not a control freak. She just knows what she’s in charge of and what she’s not. She’s in ownership of that and with intention.
These are our babies. These are our kids. These studies are trying to wake us up to some facts. What you do with that is your responsibility.
Hi, love! It’s me again. At this point in the class, Amy and I jumped into the “how to” part so you can take action. We talk all about how to get started. What should you keep? What should you let go of? Common hurdles that you’re going to run into, like family members giving a bunch of stuff to the kids and maybe your kids not being on board with this whole thing.
To get that for free, go to alliecasazza.com/how to get the second half of this class.
And if you are ready, you can enroll in Uncluttered Kids for more than 50% off. This discount has not been seen in months and months and months. It was exclusive to this one class that we did that is now removed from the internet. Over and done. But you can get access to all of these things by going to alliecasazza.com/how
I love you guys! Enjoy and please spread the word! Thank you so much!
Thanks so much for hanging out with me! In case you didn’t know, there’s actually an exclusive community that’s been created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions around The Purpose Show episodes. It’s designed to get you to actually take action and make the positive changes that we talk about here. I want you to go and be a part of it. To do that, go to alliecasazza.com/facebookgroup.
Thank you so much for tuning in! If you’d like to learn more about me, how I can help you, how you can implement all these things and more into your life to make it simpler, better, and more abundant, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, online courses, programs, and other resources to help you create the life you really want.
I am always rooting for you, friend! See you next time! I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.