Today I am reading you chapter one of my new book, Declutter Like a Mother, which is releasing on September 7th! I am so, so excited for you to finally get your hands on this book, and I hope you enjoy this first chapter! Here we go!
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DECLUTTER LIKE A MOTHER
Discover Allie Casazza’s powerful and proven method for clearing the clutter in your mind by first clearing the clutter in your home, the place where transformation begins.
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.
Chapter One: Things are about to get so much lighter.
Minimalism is not the point of this book. Did you just stop and check your device to make sure you’re listening to the right audiobook?
Don’t worry if you did. But since we’re going to deal with a lot over the course of this journey, I want to make sure we’re on the same page before we dive in.
I don’t care about the rules. I don’t care how other people define minimalism. I really don’t even care about minimalism itself. For me, it’s simply a means to get to the goal of a better, lighter life.
I’m definitely not interested in the one-size-fits-all approach to minimalism that has taken the world by storm the past few years. You know the kind I’m talking about. It’s the kind that really only works if you’re single or bored or don’t have kids.
I don’t care if you call what I do minimalism. I’m using that word because that’s what everyone else calls the removal of excess stuff. I needed a well-known word to express what it was that took me from feeling overwhelmed, depressed, overcomplicated, and overburdened to feeling light, joyful, present, and purposeful in my life.
But maybe the word I’m looking for is less. Maybe it’s simplicity. Maybe it’s intentionality. Or maybe I need to make up my own word.
How about simplicitism? That feels a bit better, but it’s kind of a mouthful. And it’s also not really a word, but it’s fine.
Whatever we call it, it’s about being intentional. It’s about simplifying. It’s about having less of what doesn’t matter in order to make room for what does.
Generally, I think most people would envision minimalism as empty white rooms with a few succulents on the counter, like Kim Kardashian’s bathroom.
If you’re listening to this audiobook, chances are, you’re a mom (though you might be a dad or a grandmother or just a person who likes the cover of this book). And if you’re someone even remotely like me, then the white-on-white-barely-furnished-perfectly-clean rooms kind of minimalism isn’t going to work for you.
I mean, come on. I’m a working mom of four kids who are home-educated, and I run an active business with my husband from our home. If I tried to subscribe to the kind of minimalism that a lot of other people subscribe to, I would fail. Epically.
It’s not that I am a failure at minimalism; It’s just that that type of minimalism won’t work for me. If it’s not relative to me and my family, then what’s the point?
Pursuing that type of minimalism for the sake of wide-open, empty space doesn’t fit into a life full of noisy, playful kids and all the messes that come from having a good time. So, what kind of minimalism do moms need? Moms need the kind of minimalism that works for them.
Take a second to let the simplicity of that sink in. The kind of minimalism moms need is the kind that works for moms. It’s the kind that helps you, the kind that supports you, the kind that makes you feel lighter without making you feel like there’s a massive set of unrealistic rules you need to follow.
It’s the kind of minimalism that is relative to the family you’re raising, the home you live in, the climate in your region, whether you live in a suburb or a city, and most importantly, the story you’re telling with your life and your home.
Your home is a reflection of your life story. If the minimalism you’re implementing isn’t relative to the story you’re telling, you’re going to end up getting rid of stuff just for the sake of having less.
This kind of rigid rules-based minimalism can end up being the opposite of freeing. It can leave you obsessing over the number of things you have in your home rather than creating space for life to happen and actually resting in the enjoyment of it.
That being said, you obviously don’t need to keep every single thing in your house. That also wouldn’t support you in being present for your life. Minimalism that works is all about balance. Most of the time, things are just things, but we over-complicate them by attaching meaning to objects.
Here’s the foundation I need you to understand: What takes up your space takes up your time.
Let’s use a basic household appliance to demonstrate my point. I’m going to go with the toaster. Whether you have a toaster or a toaster oven, it’s safe to assume you probably have some sort of bread-crisping apparatus in your home. Don’t get hung up on the appliance. Insert whatever you have in your kitchen and just work with me here.
Your toaster sits on your kitchen counter waiting to be used. It doesn’t seem like it requires very much of you, and it doesn’t even take up that much space. But because it’s there, you use it. It requires you to empty out the crumb tray, wipe it down and clean around it, or pick it up to clean underneath it (on the days where you care enough to do so).
Even something as inconspicuous as a toaster that just sits there takes up your time every so often. Let’s estimate that it takes about two seconds to put the bread in the toaster and push the handle down, and then two more seconds to turn it off and get the bread out.
Let’s say that it takes about ten seconds to dump out the crumb tray and wipe it down, and then ten more seconds to clean the front of the toaster. Let’s add ten more seconds for a once-per-week, deep-cleaning day where you wipe the counter under the toaster and make it shiny.
That’s approximately 178 seconds a week. That’s 9,256 seconds a year. That’s over 154 minutes per year. That’s over 2.5 hours a year spent on your freaking toaster.
Now, think about every single thing in your house. Think about every sock, every shoe, every photograph, every piece of decor, every note pad, every bobby pin, every piece of paper, every board game, every cord, every toy…every single thing taking up some amount of your time. This adds up.
Do you see my point? Every single thing that takes up space in your home is also taking up some amount of your time.
Let this be a reminder that you’re not a failure at this. You’re overwhelmed because it’s a lot. If we want change, we need to face the things that are holding us back.
We often over-complicate our lives by overstuffing our homes and making our lives harder than they need to be. We give our time to things that don’t ultimately matter, and then complain that there isn’t enough time in the day.
So what do I get rid of, Allie? you might be asking. How can I fix this? My brain hurts even thinking about it.
Don’t worry. I got you. That question is the very reason I wrote this book.
I know that decision making is often the most tiring thing in the world. Decision fatigue is a real thing. As moms, decision making is literally what we do all day. We make decisions for everyone.
How many times during your sixteen-plus waking hours do you hear these questions?
Can I have cereal?
Can I have a snack?
Can I watch Mulan?
Can I have a Popsicle?
Can I jump on the trampoline?
Do I have to take a nap?
Can I go outside?
Can we get a dog?
Can we get rid of my brother?
What’s for dinner?
Mom! Mom! Mom!
It’s constant. And it’s exhausting. The absolute last thing you need in your daily life is more decisions you need to make. That’s where I come in.
Listen. Getting clutter out of your way is something that will help you. Since you’ve chosen to listen to this book, it’s likely there is some sort of heaviness in your home, a sense of too much, and it’s having a major effect on your life.
You want to improve the way you talk, the way you interact with your kids, the way your day unfolds. Maybe you’re so deep down the rabbit hole that what you’re feeling seems a lot like despair. Or maybe things are going okay and you simply like self-improvement and want to make things even better. Whatever your situation and your reasons, minimalism is whatever you need it to be as long as you’re asking this question: Is this aligning with the life I want to live?
I want to help you answer that question and make decisions in the areas of your home that feel heavy. I’m going to add a little bit of decision-making to your plate now, but it’s going to result in fewer day-to-day decisions when all is said and done.
I want to come alongside you and help you get rid of the unnecessary bulk, the heaviness, the excess that doesn’t need to be there. And I want to do it in a way that feels relative to you and the family you’re raising.
What I want is for you to make a version of minimalism (or simplicitism or whatever you need to call it) that is unique to you and your family. I want to give you the gift of less of what doesn’t matter for the sake of more of what does matter.
Start by asking yourself: Is my house working for me or against me?
If you feel as though your house is working against you, it is not supporting you, which is the opposite of what it’s meant to do. I’m going to show you how minimalism can address the areas of your home that feel heavy and make them work with you and for you.
To give you some motivation and inspiration, use your imagination to jump forward in time and take a look at what your life will look like in the very near future after you have practiced what’s in this audiobook. If you start to feel overwhelmed while trying to climb out of the overwhelm, I want you to picture what you’re working toward.
If you get stuck in the details and sorting through a room of your house starts to feel like too much, like you’re stuck in the muck with no end in sight, I want you to know that there is an end, and it is not far away. So let’s jump into the future and imagine a few scenarios.
Scenario 1: You come home at the end of a long day with your arms full of groceries. You open the door and immediately feel at peace. Your home is restful. It’s nice. It’s welcoming. It’s just what you need after a long day of getting stuff done. You’re not wading through a mess and envisioning an endless list of chores in your head. Nope! Your task list is checked off for the day. It’s time to put the groceries away in the kitchen you feel good in, make dinner, relax and enjoy your family.
Scenario 2: Dinner is finished, the kids had their baths and are in bed, and it’s time for you to start your end-of-the-day routine. Instead of running around the house, overwhelmed by the mess leftover from the day and trying to clean every single surface so you can have some semblance of peace before you crash into bed, you calmly walk through your house, picking up a few things here and there. You wipe down the kitchen counters, put a small load of folded laundry in the dresser, toss a pair of dirty socks in the hamper. It takes you 20 minutes, and then you’re able to sit down with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and breathe. You can relax because everything is done, and it didn’t take hours.
Scenario 3: You wake up in the morning, open your eyes, and the first thing you see is a neat room. A relaxing haven. You get ready in a bathroom that’s functional and tidy. You walk downstairs and make breakfast in a clean and organized kitchen. Your day automatically starts with good energy, not stress. Your phone alerts you to a text message from your mother-in-law saying she’s going to drop by real quick to bring you something. Instead of feeling panicked and shoveling things behind the shower curtain (that was always my go-to hiding spot), you’re ready. Your house is lived-in and normal. Sure, there are shoes by the front door, cords coming out from under the TV cabinet and a few scattered things here and there (because, hey, people live here), but it’s not a mess. There is nothing for you to freak out about. Your home is easy to run. Everything has a place. You’re not constantly cleaning because the clutter is gone and it’s not possible for your home to get that chaotic. Less than an hour a day is all you need to keep your home clean.
Okay, friends. My first book, Declutter Like A Mother is officially available for pre-order. It releases on September 7th! I am so excited to call you in and ask you to be a part of this journey with me, to really join in, celebrate, and let’s have a friggin party!
Let’s declutter your spaces and get your environment to align with the version of yourself you really want to call out, because as Marshall Goldsmith says in his book, Triggers, “If you do not control and create your environment, it creates and controls you.”
So let’s get that aligned. Let’s get this area of your life fully supporting you. You’re paying for the space you live in, right? Let’s get it aligned and supporting you.
Declutter Like A Mother is written for the mom who really has unconsciously subscribed to the way that our culture describes motherhood to us. She thinks that this is just the way it is. It’s always going to be kind of a mess. It’s just always going to be a struggle and there’s just really no other way to do things. You can try to get organized and you can try to create more balance, but really it’s always going to be really hard. It’s always going to mean you are just serving everyone else and you’re kind of running breathlessly through life.
I can’t wait to get this book to every single mom that resonates with that, into their hands and show them, no, there is another way! There is another reality you can subscribe to that’s better and lighter. It’s not perfect, but it is so much better for you as a human.
Then you can show up as your best self—as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, as a sister, as all the different roles that you’re in.
This book is huge! It’s way beyond clutter. This is a book about life. This is a book about how to do motherhood a different way. And yes, we are going to start at Step One, which is shifting your environment.
So please, go pre-order it. When you do pre-order a copy, you get some really amazing gifts for free from me.
The first and possibly best (I’m very excited about this!) is the Mom Life Reset. This is a brand new crash course, designed by me, to help you uncomplicate things. This is literally unheard before, brand new content that I recorded just a couple of weeks ago that is only for those who pre-order the Declutter Like A Mother book.
You also get five lock screens, professionally designed by my designer, for your phone with affirmations on them, because your phone is a part of your environment and I really want to help you align that in a way that’s going to encourage you, lift you up, and support you every time you tap your screen.
The other thing you get is a sneak peek at a chapter from the book that I handpicked for you.
So go to DeclutterLikeAMother.com. Pre-order your book. Save that confirmation page. Share your confirmation number with me, so I know you pre-ordered and you can unlock the crash course, the lock screens, the free chapter.
I can’t wait to see what you think! I can’t wait for you to get this book in your hands. I can’t wait for this to be out in the world!
Thank you so much for your pre-order. It changes my world when you pre-order my book. Pre-orders are everything for authors, especially a first-time author like myself. So thank you!
I appreciate you. I can’t wait for you to pre-order it. I can’t wait for you to get the book. And I can’t wait for you to get your hands on these amazing gifts that I’ve curated just for you as a thank you for pre-ordering.
I love you so much. I can’t wait to keep supporting you. Thank you for being here!
I’m going to go a little off script here in this audiobook right now, and say these scenarios are just meant to get your imagination working. I want you guys to change your home for you, not for people that might drop by. Not for what other people think.
I want you to be enjoying your space. This is about you getting to a place where your energy is clearer, you’re feeling better, you’re feeling brighter and lighter. You’re becoming a better version of yourself because you’re in control of your environment. And that environment is supporting you, not pulling from you, or making things harder for you.
So, just keep that in mind. While this is a nice scenario, because we’ve all been there, it’s not about what the mother-in-law thinks. It’s not about making sure things look good for someone else. This is about you and your family.
Hearing all these scenarios, some of you might think, “Girl, this is a load of bull.” I know this might be so far from your reality. I get it. But I don’t want you to buy into the belief that none of this is possible. That’s not true.
No matter how far from your current reality these scenarios are—and the exact details may not apply to you because your life is just different—the peace; the lack of added unnecessary stress; and the part about your home being a haven that supports you is possible for every single person listening to this.
Several years ago, my family and I moved from Southern California to the Midwest. I had absolutely no family and no friends anywhere nearby, and I was so, so lonely. I was working on making new friends and I had plans with another mom that I had met to spend the afternoon at a park with our kids, but it started pouring rain before we could even leave our houses.
My phone dinged with a text from her: “I don’t think we can go to the park today and my house is being painted. Can we come to you?”
Let me tell you, if I’d received that text a couple of years earlier, I would have been standing in a monsoon made of my own tears and snot. Panic would have shot through my body, and I would have hidden in the hallway closet, simultaneously crying and yelling, “I just want to make friends! Why, God, why?” (Because, at one time I was a stable adult like that).
But you know what? I didn’t feel or say any of those things that day. Instead, I was able to text back, “Sure, come on over!” I didn’t have to run around, yelling at the kids to help while doing the shove-everything-under-the-couches thing. My house wasn’t perfect, but it was fine; she could come over as it was, and that’s all that mattered to me.
Perfectly staged to impress was not my goal when I cleared the clutter a few years earlier. I just wanted to remove the cause of excess stress and be able to have days like this when I could welcome a new friend over without the panic. I had reclaimed the freedom that clutter had once stolen from me.
Friend, please hear me when I say, this process we’re going through is not about trying to create a home where things are perfect; it’s about creating a home where things are so much lighter. It’s about creating a world in which we are available for life—the good parts and the hard parts— and aren’t making things even harder on ourselves. A world where we don’t feel stress and negative energy all day every day but instead have more clarity and more space.
Over the years, I’ve talked to a lot of women, from coaching calls to in-person meetings to interacting during my live streams, and one thing has stayed consistently true with every story I hear: changing your home is a means to an end. It’s a strategy we can use to create more space for actually living. It’s the catalyst to a life that excites you and feels good. It’s step one to less stress.
Decluttering won’t make everything perfect and it won’t solve all your problems, but it will make things so much lighter. Purging my home created less need for me to spend physical and mental energy on things that didn’t matter to me.
Yes, I still struggled with some of the same old things. I still ate junk food and chose the chalupa over the salad more times than was healthy. I still snapped at my kids when I was really frustrated.
I still had emotional outbursts. I was still a human being. But the negativity in my day decreased significantly, and I was no longer making things even harder on myself by creating more work.
I found that I had more patience. I was more fun to be around. I woke up excited for the day instead of dreading it. That’s a huge win when you’re a mom of three under three, which is what I was at the time.
Fast forward to today and my life is so different. So much lighter and freer than it would have been if I’d stayed on the path I was on before simplicity changed my trajectory. I now have four kids and homeschool them while my husband and I run a successful business. There’s a lot of people in our home, and we’re home together all the time. There’s no way I would’ve been able to handle all of this before minimalism entered my life.
Let me be real. My life felt like a total shit show. I was the “Hot Mess Mom” all the time. I barely had time to shower. There was no way I could have fit in starting my own business, let alone growing that business into what it is today, homeschooling my kids, working on my own self-growth, and nurturing my marriage and other relationships. Not a chance.
Removing the excess stuff from my home and learning to live without it ended up being the jumping-off point for so many purposeful things I’ve ended up doing in my life. I was able to say yes to many amazing opportunities and experiences, resulting in personal growth and family fun.
I was able to implement the business ideas I had flowing out of me, because my home wasn’t stealing my time and energy anymore; it was actually supporting me. And girl, that’s the whole point. That’s why I don’t want you to get bogged down in the details. That’s why I don’t want you to obsess over counting your items.
I just want you to walk into your home, trash bags in hand, and decide that you’re done with the old way of doing things and ready to bring in change. I want you to feel that fire, feel that energy rising up in you. I want you to feel that fighter in you come to life, because this is so important. You’re fighting for your life here. You’re fighting for space, for peace, for time.
This isn’t about spending every ounce of the time and energy you have making sure everything is as minimal as humanly possible. I don’t want that for you. I do want your life to be lighter and more focused on what really matters to you. That’s what I want you to fight for.
Too often, moms play the victim to their lives. We play victim to our kids, to our homes, to our circumstances, when, really, we’re the ones in charge. We just need to take ownership of what is ours.
I can help you move from victim to victor, friend. I have the solution. It won’t be perfect. It won’t solve every problem you have. But we’re not shooting for perfection, remember? We’re shooting for less stress, more space; less chaos, more peace; less of what doesn’t matter, more of what does.
I believe we are called to live an abundant life. From the way motherhood is talked about, society acts like moms are excluded from that life. But I know we’re not.
I know moms can live abundantly as much as everybody else. So that’s what we’re shooting for. That’s what we’re going to take hold of: living more abundantly; living from a place of ownership, not victimhood.
Listen, there are going to be problems and stresses and family issues, because we’re real people living real lives. You’ll have messy days, but the resistance will be gone. It’s a lot easier to walk through life and it’s different seasons when you’re not pressured, stressed out, and heavily burdened.
You are not meant for a life of survival mode, mama. You are meant for abundance! You have within you the ability to create this, and it all starts with clearing physical space for what matters most to you.
Since you’re not there yet, I’m going to give you some prompts to help you envision the changes you could make to start living this way. Keep your eye on the results, not the process!
- How would you feel if there was less laundry to do? Imagine everyone in your home having the clothes they need, they like, and they can actually wear? There wouldn’t be a crazy amount of excess clothes ending up in the hampers or on the floor, so you’d be able to stay on top of it, and Laundry Mountain would be a thing of the past.
- How would you feel if cleaning the kitchen after dinner each night didn’t take you over an hour? What if you could finish dinner, clean up, put the kids to bed, and still have time to relax and enjoy your night? Or maybe still have the energy to work on that passion project you’ve been putting off?
- How would you feel if your house was a space where your kids could freely play, create, and grow because it wasn’t overrun by clutter? How would you feel to have less of their stuff take over the house?
- How would you feel if you had way less housework every day?
- How would you feel if your relationships changed for the better because you were less stressed out on a daily basis? How would you feel if your marriage and your friendships and the way you mother your kids and the relationship you have with yourself improved?
Don’t you feel like if these things were to actually happen, your life would be so much better? Of course you do! Even if it’s hard to imagine a world in which you’re not stepping on a LEGO every time you round a corner (let me be clear—sometimes I still step on a LEGO in my house, and yes, I curse hard and loud), this less stressful, more intentional home can happen for you.
This is what your life will look like in just a few weeks’ time if you’re willing to do the work and implement the simple strategies in this audiobook. It is absolutely possible. You are in charge of your life. You don’t have to play the victim one second longer.
I’m not saying things haven’t been hard for you. I’m not belittling any of the experiences that led you here. But from this point forward, you get to make the decision for how you want your life to go. You get to set yourself—and your home—free. Are you ready for me to show you how?
It’s time to get up and do this! I think you finally understand what’s at stake. I think you get what’s waiting for you at the end of the tunnel. The time to start is now!
Here’s a little tip for you: You’re going to want to take a before photo! I know it’s painful and you would rather not capture the mess. But trust me, everyone regrets not snapping one before they start. Make sure you take photos of your progress. I would love to connect with you on this journey. It’s my favorite thing. Tag me in your before and after photos on Instagram @allie_thatsme.
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.