How many times have you heard the phrase “less is more” in your lifetime? Probably more times than you care to remember. That’s because a lot of people, not just moms, have started to warm up to the idea of minimalism. One of those people is Allie Casazza, the woman behind what some would describe as the life-changing book, Declutter Like a Mother.
Being a mom can sometimes feel like the world’s most challenging juggling act. You’re constantly switching roles, ticking off items from a never-ending to-do list, and you’re still expected to maintain your sanity throughout. At some point, you have to stop and press the “refresh” button, which is what Declutter Like a Mother is all about.
Moms around the world would agree that Declutter Like a Mother speaks to their lived experiences. There are many similarities and parallels between what moms around the world feel and go through, and it seems like Allie Casazza realized this and took the time to provide a much-needed guide to freedom!
It’s normal to occasionally feel overwhelmed as a mom, which is where decluttering comes in. Living with less could very well be the way to enjoy a more fulfilled life. So, you’ve probably heard the rave reviews and people singing Allie’s praises for the masterpiece that is Declutter Like a Mother and are wondering what it’s all about.
Many would agree that this book contains several gems and pearls of wisdom, with some of the main talking points being the ones listed below. If you’re like me and want to put Declutter Like a Mother to the test, allow me to share what changed when I tried to declutter like a mother.
Read or listen to Declutter Like a Mother
From the onset, Declutter Like a Mother zooms in on the concept of minimalism, but before you run for the hills, it’s not as bad or scary as it sounds. Adopting a minimalist life doesn’t mean depriving yourself of necessities or luxuries for the sake of having less, it just means doing away with the things that don’t really matter.
Material possessions and tangible things immediately come to mind, but I found that this applies to what consumes your mind too. It seems quite easy to declutter your space, all you have to do is get rid of the things you’re hoarding and no longer use because they’re just uselessly consuming space.
But what about your thoughts?
I get it, it’s not easy to relax and stress less – especially when you have a family and little humans depending on you! One way to adopt a minimalist approach to your thoughts is through meditation. Thousands of thoughts go through our mind throughout the day but practicing mindfulness and being aware of what you spend your time thinking about can help you declutter your thoughts.
In fact, you could even adopt the 5×5 rule here, which states that if you come across an issue, take a moment to think about whether or not it will matter in five years. If it won’t, don’t spend more than five minutes stressing about it. If you’re looking for a way to filter your thoughts and declutter your mind, or even just to put things into perspective for yourself, then the 5×5 rule is a good thing to remember.
Remember, the goal here is to make things easier, more manageable, and lighter for you.
Take your kids on the journey with you
It wouldn’t make sense to discuss the teachings from a book called Declutter Like a Mother without touching on the kids and where they fit in, right?
You may be on the right path and progressing well on your decluttering journey, but don’t forget to take your most important passengers with you – your kids! Allie specifically highlights the importance of decluttering with your kids instead of doing it behind their back or crossing your fingers and hoping that they’ll follow suit.
She recommends taking the time to actively involve them in the decluttering process. They may have become accustomed to a room full of toys, gadgets, clothes and a lot of other unnecessary things because that’s the only life they know. You need to show them that there’s more to life than that.
By understanding what type of kids you have and what motivates them, you’ll get an indication and better understanding of how to introduce the concept of decluttering to them. For example, if your little one has a heart for people and knows that they have more than what other kids have, then they’ll likely hop on to the decluttering bandwagon if you tell them their excess items will be given to those in need.
On the other hand, a competitive kid may feel most motivated by seeing how much they can clear up and who’ll be able to do the most decluttering between them and their siblings.
The key takeaways from Declutter Like a Mother can be adapted to suit your family and your preferences. I found that by getting my family involved, it gave me accountability partners and became easier because it’s now a joint effort. When one of us becomes too caught up in excess possessions or becomes consumed by meaningless thoughts, we’re able to refocus and help each other get back on track.
Be intentional about your space and surroundings
It’s difficult to get to something if you don’t have a clear picture of what it is exactly that you’re pursuing. This is something that Declutter Like a Mother makes you realize because in the process of decluttering, you need to have an end goal or vision of what you want to achieve. Now, the end goal can’t be reached without intentionality.
In my approach to decluttering and being intentional about my space, it took me back to the days when I was still doing the décor for my home. Questions such as “What do I love the most about my current space?”, “What do I want to change?”, and “What mood/atmosphere do I want to create in this space?” came to mind.
Why? Well, because the answers to these questions provide guidance and can put you on the right path towards creating the space and surroundings you desire. At least that’s what answering these questions did for me.
It’s taught me that before buying something or adding a new decorative piece, I must stop and give it some thought. It’s so easy to walk into a shop and see something you like, buy it, and take it home. Before you know it, you’ve got a lot of decorative pieces that are pretty to look at but don’t really complement each other or reflect the environment that you want for your family.
Intentionality. The fact of being deliberate or purposive.
Make time to declutter even when you feel like you don’t have time
It’s often said that there is a direct link between your stress and anxiety levels and the amount of physical possessions you have in your home. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when the space you’re in is not conducive. I know what you’re thinking, surely all it takes is a bit of organizing and packing things neatly, right?
A lot of people prefer to just neaten things up because they feel like they don’t have the time or energy to go through years’ worth of items, hoping that it will make their “little” decluttering problems go away. It won’t.
There’s a difference between rearranging your things and decluttering. Spending even just a few days or weeks carefully going through everything will ensure that you’re left with only what you need, and all that extra baggage won’t weight heavily on your shoulders anymore. Both figuratively and literally.
If you’ve committed to decluttering like a mother, you need to understand that simply organizing your belongings won’t bring you peace and calm. Allie emphasizes this in her book. If you don’t do away with the clutter, your belongings will still suck your time and energy, even if they’re organized.
What decluttering can do for your relationships
The narrative of the cranky and overworked mom is a common one, and I can tell you now that’s because of having a lot of nonsense in your space. Decluttering can do wonders for your relationships, not just with your partner or kids, but also people that you interact with on a daily basis.
When you let go of the things that don’t matter, you open up space for things that really do matter and it starts to show in your relationships. You can’t expect to live peacefully if your surroundings scream chaos and your space is full of nothing.
Something as seemingly simple as waking up in a fresh and airy room with only the things I need made a major difference. It affected not only my mood for the rest of the day, but also my perspective on circumstances that I was faced with at work and at home.
My Declutter Like a Mother experience in a nutshell
I don’t know how many times I’ve committed and recommitted to decluttering over the years, because that’s what we do as busy moms, right? We have certain areas in our lives that we want to improve on, but we never quite get to them because of how busy and stressful life can be.
The lightbulb moment came when I realized the difference that a few lifestyle changes can make. Living with less in pursuit of a more meaningful life starts with being intentional and beginning with the end in mind.
I used to have boxes of random things and storage containers full of I don’t know what in different parts of the house. The fact that I’ve gotten rid of them and there’s not a single thing I need from any of them says a lot!
My Declutter Like a Mother experience has opened my eyes to what really matters. While minimalist living is something I’ve always been keen on, decluttering has encouraged me to take it to the next level and really think about what I’m bringing into my space. I feel lighter and more at ease. In fact, I’d say I’m a much happier person overall – something I’m pretty sure those around me appreciate!
Special thanks to author: Sannie Nkosi is the founder of Four-Leaf Consulting. After a few years in journalism, she ditched the newsroom to write about things that really matter (like family, finances and travel). On a regular day, you can find her creating content, listening to podcasts, or engaging with small business owners.