Now more than ever we are acutely aware of our homes and what is inside them. Many of us have been spending more time in them than we have in a long time and we are being forced to slow down and shift our attention to what is working, and not working.
As a mom I always wanted a home that was warm, cozy, inviting and a safe place for us all to land at the end of our days with ease. Having a fun space to just be and play was important to me, and so was having all of the things we wanted and needed. That’s what a home that was working for me would look like. My reality was very different.
I kept boxes of clothes and hand me downs for future kids and sizes. I filled their rooms with toys, gadgets and all the things I thought would bring us all joy. There was no shortage of educational toys to make sure that they had the best advantages in being smart, capable and prepared humans in the world.
I had crafts for every occasion. It made me feel like I could be a Pinterest mom if I could ever find time to actually sit down and do them, or find the things I needed when I did find time.
I was frugal and thrifty. I would buy things we didn’t really need on sale, and made weekly trips to our local thrift store in search of great deals and finds. I would pile up my treasures in our closets, under our beds and stack them in neat(ish) piles throughout our home to sit there just in case we ever actually needed any of it. There was no corner of our home untouched with stuff and things for “some day”.
I would guess my kids’ future sizes and stock up on clearance clothing and add them to the piles I couldn’t keep track of already in the name of saving money. Forgetting that I already had enough of that size saved, and that $50 haul of clearance clothing was actually a total waste.
I thought that all of this accumulation of stuff would mean that I was totally rocking my mom life, and providing my family with everything they needed (and wanted). But I wasn’t.
I was severely overwhelmed. I could never catch my breath, and I always felt behind. Not only did I feel behind on my every to do lists, but I felt behind on my adult life. I was living less than paycheck to paycheck and unable to understand why. I felt like I was failing and like I was entrusted with kids I didn’t deserve. Kids deserve moms who played with them, and enjoyed it. I was unable to do either because I was overworked and it was my fault.
I would spend my days cleaning up after everyone, all the time, just to get to the end of the day to a house that was still messy and needed an hour of work after everyone went to bed.
I wondered if this was what mom life was like for everyone and how everyone spoke so highly of it when clearly it just felt like being a glorified live in maid. I got really sad that despite having children being the biggest and most momentous experience for anyone in the world, I found myself wishing it away.
I wished for bed time, and I wished some days they would just take a longer than usual nap so I could catch up. I would clean and clean, cook and shop and it was never enough. I day dreamed of vacations alone, feeling guilty because I should be dreaming of experiences with them.
Sometimes I would cave and take them to a park to play, or make a day trip, but it would always end up creating more work that I fell behind on or getting drive thru for dinner again because I ran out of time to do the dishes before making dinner. It was hard, and I wondered if I would ever get a chance to slow down and catch my breath.
Well, the world right now is forcing us all to slow down and take a collective breath together and re-calibrate our lives in big ways and if you’re still reading this maybe you’re in the same boat I was in. Good news because there is another way to live your days as a mom!
I got the chance to have my own recalibration back in 2013 when my husband and I decided to leave the only place we had ever called home in Alaska and move to Florida in about five weeks time.
We didn’t have the money to bring our stuff with us, and it didn’t make sense to store it all in a frozen storage unit so we ditched it all and moved with only one suitcase each.
We got rid of our stuff in what was our biggest time of uncertainty and unknown. We were leaving our predictable and comfortable home, jobs, family, friends and community. We left behind all of our stuff that I felt was supposed to be my security and happiness in motherhood. It was so hard to let go of all the what if we needed it scenarios and even harder to see all the money go down the drain.
We had no idea what to expect or what was coming. Unsure about our financial future in a new place, no family or friends nearby to rely on or help us, and just total unknown. I braced myself for the worst but what happened was far from anything bad. Especially in my motherhood.
We let go of it all and trusted in ourselves and what I found was a true sense of security as a mother. I learned that security and happiness doesn’t come from our stuff or what we have, it comes from trusting in myself and my husband to be resourceful, innovative and creative. Learning that abundance is everywhere and we never go without when we had only a few suitcases of possessions was the most empowering experience I could have asked for in times of uncertainty.
I learned that I couldn’t give my kids happiness by filling our homes with good deals and thrift store finds. Yes, those things can be fun but what makes my kids happiest is having a happy and present mom. Giving them my time and energy instead of wasting it on cleaning and organizing – or being angry and resentful that no one helps me clean and organize isn’t what they want.
I learned that the people inside of my home are much more important than any stuff and that I would much rather spend my time and energy on them than pointless stuff. (I have something for your at the end to help you get to this point too).
Despite knowing no one in Florida, making less money than we were used to, and having next to nothing in the form of physical possessions my life was the best it had ever been. I felt totally free and alive in my motherhood for the first time ever.
I thought it was because I was living on the beach and that was glorious coming from Alaska but the truth was that my home was now serving my family for the very first time, instead of working against me every single day.
Instead of coming home from work exhausted from the day and being met with more work we walked into a sanctuary. Dinner was easy to prepare because my kitchen was always clean.
Cleaning up and bathing kids who played hard all day, then getting them into clean clothes was easy because I was always caught up on laundry now that we had less.
My kids played for HOURS independently and actually enjoyed and agreeably helped clean up. Which made it so much easier for me to sit down and play with them.
When the kids were asleep I had time to connect with and pour into my husband. Gone were the days of me being too tired or too busy to give to the one who helps me build our life and family every day.
All of a sudden I was a mom who knew what self care was and how to do it AND had time and energy for it! Who even was I any more?
These benefits of decluttering pointless excess aren’t exclusive to just me though – they have happened for the thousands of moms I have led in decluttering their own homes as well.
In times of uncertainty we’re forced to pare down to the essential and re-evalute what we really have space for.
It is the best time to start making our homes a place of retreat and connection, instead of never ending to do lists and weekend organizational to do lists. Life is so much more than moving things from place to place inside of our homes. Life is meant to be lived with the people inside of our homes.
If you want help in getting started with this I have the perfect steps for you to get started in this free guide that was co-created with the Motherhood SImplified community. We designed these decluttering projects to be so simple and effective any mom can do them. They give you the steps and confidence to believe that decluttering can work for you too. If you’re overwhelmed by your home and have tried all the cleaning charts, organizational systems or even thought about decluttering – now is the time, friend. Big changes in the world are happening and you can make them exactly what you want.
Why is Krista the best person to declutter your home with?
Well, I’m a mom just like you who has done it.
I don’t teach decluttering in theory – I will never ask you to do something in your home I haven’t done, or am not willing to do myself.
In 2013 my husband and I moved our family of five from Alaska to Florida with only one suitcase per person.
While I don’t think your goal should be to get rid of it all – I will teach you how to get honest with yourself about what you do have, and how to let go of what isn’t serving you.
Since 2013 we have moved several more times, and have found a comfortable in between of drowning in clutter and having just a suitcase of clothes and toys.
My core beliefs are to be kind, and be supportive and to create the life and home you want, no matter what that looks like.
The Motherhood Simplified community was built on this foundation of experience, passion and support. You are not alone in your quest for simplicity or the struggles that come along with it.
If any of this has resonated with you – you’ve found your tribe and we are here for you!
I can’t wait to get to know you!