How Getting Rid of My Stuff Saved My Motherhood

Hi Beauties!

Every month in The Balanced Life Sisterhood (my online Pilates membership program for busy women like you) we have a mission – a special focus on one area of life where we want to grow and improve in an effort to care for our mental and emotional health. This month’s mission is all about simplifying. So I’m delighted to have intentional living coach Allie Casazza on here on the blog today sharing how simplifying her life helped her escape the overwhelm of motherhood. Enjoy!

(Quick note: Did you see our brand new 21 Days of Pilates challenge? 21 days. Just 10 minutes per day. No equipment necessary. Sign up right here!) 

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How Getting Rid of My Stuff Saved My Motherhood

A guest post by Allie Casazza, The Purposeful Housewife

I was struggling. I thought I was the only mom in the world who couldn’t get it together, who wasn’t really enjoying motherhood. I felt terrible. I sat on my couch with a giant pile of laundry next to me. Another day had come and gone and I had barely been able to keep up. The days were flying by me, my kids were all four years old and under, but I felt like I had missed what childhood they’d had so far. I was always cleaning up.

When I thought about my days and how I spent my time, all I saw were piles of dishes, an endless mountain of laundry, and picking up toys and books and markers and jackets and shoes and empty water bottles and paper artwork.

I thought motherhood was going to mean I’d get to enjoy my kids. I chose stay-at-home motherhood because I felt like this is where I was supposed to be – home with my kids. It felt right. Yet, I never spent time truly with them. I had to keep moving or the house and the day would collapse. When I did press pause and spend some time with my kids, it felt like I had to pay the price – catching up on housework; making up for the time I missed living my life. This made me lose my desire to even play with them. What was the point if I was just going to get more behind, more stressed out?

woman ripped jeans

It’s not that I’m a neat freak (in fact, I’m probably pretty near the opposite). All this work was simply to keep the house functioning. I was that student in school who stays up all night studying and gets a C. That’s how I felt about my life. I was trying so hard! I felt little satisfaction, little joy, and every day was a battle for my time that I didn’t want to wake up for.

I asked other moms, friends, and people I respected if this was normal, how they managed their homes and kids, and if they felt like they enjoyed it. What I was met with was a resounding “oh yeah, I remember those days! That’s motherhood. It’ll be okay and you’ll get through it.”


“You’ll get through it.”


But what if I wanted more than to just survive in my motherhood? That’s what I was doing now.

After another particularly difficult day, I reflected on how I’d yelled, how I’d been the mom I never wanted to be, and how I was counting how many hours I had of peace and quiet before morning came and I had to start over. It wasn’t like I’d had this one really tough day, but tomorrow would be a fresh start and things would get better; I was feeling like this nearly every day. This wasn’t what I wanted, and I knew I was called to more than this for my kids’ sake and my own. This wasn’t abundant life, it didn’t feel purposeful, it felt overwhelming and depressing.

In that moment, I had had enough. I decided I wasn’t going to let this be my life, and this overwhelm and depression wasn’t going to rule me any longer.

What I did next set my life on a new course, and it never went back to the way it was. It changed everything.

woman swinging

I went into the playroom – the room that was the bane of my existence. This was a room full of colorful bins, each bin full of toys. There were toys on the floor, in chests, in boxes, toys everywhere. I would send my kids in here to play and they would come out less than ten minutes later complaining of boredom. This room was pointless, and I’d had enough.

I started working through the room, making piles – keep, trash, donate. I got rid of every single toy that I felt wasn’t benefitting my kids. If it didn’t cause them to engage in constructive or imaginary play, it wasn’t staying in this house because it wasn’t worth the work it caused me. If I was going to clean up it was going to be the things that added to our lives; it was going to be only the things we needed and the things we truly loved.

When I was finished, all that remained were trains and tracks, a couple of dress up costumes, books, and blocks. The trunk of my car was overstuffed with toys to take to Goodwill, my playroom was purged, and I immediately felt lighter.

The next day my kids ran downstairs for breakfast, and as usual, I sent them into their playroom to play, curious to see if meltdowns would ensue because of what I’d done with their toys. They walked in, looked around, said something along the lines of “Hey! It’s nice and clean, Mommy! Hey! There’s my trains!” and happily started playing.

I was shocked. I stepped out of the room, poured myself a cup of coffee, and sat on the couch. To my surprise, my kids played in that room that day for three hours. Three hours! It wasn’t just that day either. They continued to want to be in their playroom for long amounts of time from then on. They started going outside more often, making up stories and scenarios together, playing tag, and creating art. It was as if I had unclogged their God-given gift of imagination when I got rid of their toys.

I took my purging into other areas of the house – the dishes, the clothes, the drawers and cupboards – and our whole home-life continued to transform. I was spending much less than half the time managing my house, I was playing with my kids, I took up homeschooling, my marriage even improved because I wasn’t a cranky maniac anymore. My depression lifted and never came back.

Life felt lighter, intentional, and I was no longer “getting through it”. This was abundant life in motherhood; I could feel it.

allie and leland

(Note: I’ve put together a bonus resource at the end of this article that will help you begin this process in your own life).

Today, almost four years later, we’ve had a fourth baby, moved cross-country to chase our dreams (very easily, because we weren’t tied down by our stuff), I started a business doing what I love and helping other women, and the housework is just a side note in my life. It’s something I have to maintain a little each day in order to serve my family and keep things running smoothly; it does not take up the bulk of my life anymore.

So why did de-cluttering give me so much freedom? How does losing my stuff have anything to do with my depression and general lack of joy in my motherhood?

Studies show a direct link between the amount of physical possessions in a house and the stress level of the female homeowner. One study done at UCLA found that the more stuff was in a woman’s house, the higher her level of stress hormones. This same study also found that women subconsciously relate how happy they are with their home-life and family to how they feel about their homes. So the more clutter and chaos in the home, the less happy the woman is with her family and her life.




That’s what was going on with me, and I believe it’s the cause of today’s epidemic in mothers. Barely getting by, living in survival mode, feeling like their kids’ childhoods are passing them by even when they’re right there living it with them. Our stuff is literally stealing away our joy and our lives. It’s stealing the most precious thing in the world – motherhood.

“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of what we most value, and the removal of anything that distracts from it.” Joshua Becker

I believe mothers need minimalism more than anyone else.

Minimalism is less cleaning, it’s the joy of always being ready for company to drop by without stressing out, it’s more free time to focus on your priorities, it’s enjoying your home rather than being owned by it, it’s being able to be a mom who plays rather than a mom who’s always cleaning up, it’s being a happier person.

If you’re feeling ready to make some of the changes that led me to this place of thriving in motherhood and removing myself from survival mode, I’ve put together a free starter kit to help you.

I want this for you, sweet friend. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be like this for one more day. You can choose a different path, you can thrive, you can love this life, you can escape the chronic overwhelm that everyone else calls normal. I promise you, it’s so worth it.


Allie Casazza is an intentional living coach, and the blogger behind The Purposeful Housewife. Her passion is helping her fellow women find hope and light and purpose when chaos has stolen their motherhood, and infusing them with intention. She believes motherhood and humor should always go hand-in-hand, otherwise you’ll never get through it.

Allie is the wife of Brian, her seventh grade algebra partner turned sweetheart. They have four small kids, and they’re SoCal natives living in the beautiful Northwest corner of Arkansas.

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112 thoughts on “How Getting Rid of My Stuff Saved My Motherhood”

  1. I needed this article! I am at a place where I really want to get rid of stuff/clutter. I have managed to get rid of a lot of my clothes/shoes/purses/etc. but when it comes to my daughter’s stuff I immediately get sentimental. I have the hardest time getting rid of something that doesn’t really matter. Hopefully I can get past this and simplify!! I will probably read this a few more times!

    1. I agree. I know the feeling. So anything that is truly sentimental. I box. I have 20 large storage boxes and there remains albums, my girls dresses for keepsakes,their school work(art and story writing mostly). Some sentimental has to go but keep some and store. That way they can decide as adults what they want/dont want.

      1. An idea that might help …..
        You could take photos of the dresses and keepsakes. Could also take photos or scan their school work , art and story writings.

    2. Ask your daughter, depending on how old she is to answer, if it’s something she wants to save. 9 out of 10 kids dont put the same level of sentimental value on things, so they don’t care if you save it or not. If something is still in good condition, sell it at a yard sale, give the kids the money for it so they can buy something new with their current interests. Keep the buy, sell, trade cycle going and you save money as well in that process. Or maybe the kids don’t want anything and want to save the money for the future. Either way, get them involved in the purge. You’ll be amazed at how much kids can contribute.

      1. I sell my sons shoes clothes etc. with that money I then turn around and buy him what size shoes he’s in but a half a size bigger same with clothes I’ve done it for years now

      2. I take pictures and make a chat book of their school stuff each year ! They pick what they love and I take a pic and drop it into my chat book for each kid for the year ! I save maybe something with their handprint or a written short story but keep it to less than a few things per year ! They love the books and I love less clutter !

  2. Oh my WORD, this article is amazing. Thank you for sharing… & I’ll definitely be clearing out the kids toys (again). 😀

  3. Thank you for this article! I am in kind of the same boat, no kids but my husband and I run a service business from our home.
    The amount of stuff stresses me out and I have been slowly working on getting rid of stuff. My biggest problem is that I get so overwhelmed with where to start. I found just starting small and realizing that it doesn’t have to be done in one day has really helped me.

    One day I spent cleaning out the junk drawer and junk cabinet, the joy I get from going to get something from there is amazing, when you don’t have to dig for something and then spend time putting all the stuff back.

  4. Man…did I ever need this!!!! Just did the playroom and the first thing my 5 year old said was “WOW, it’s so nice and clean!”. There is still more I can do it there, but it’s a start. Now for the rest of my house…

  5. PERFECT timing…although I must confess, I am totally intimidated by the prospect of being a minimalist, in fact reading this and the toolkit, I think I’m a borderline harder! I have been wanting to purge for years but can never been able to do it because I get totally overwhelmed each time I start! Thanks Robin and Allie for just the right thing at just the right time!

    1. I do too! It is so overwhelming to me that I give up and it just gets worse and worse. I really hope this toolkit will help me get rid of the clutter and live a happier, less anxious life.

  6. Good article to remind me to simplify and refocus. I have realized that when I hv so many material things begging for my attention that my hunger for deeper relationships is diminished. Much like the Biblical account of the rich, young, ruler, being challenged by Jesus to let go of his love for his goods and turn his heart to following Him.
    On another level, just read a report on how women w cluttered countertops tend to reach for food to comfort them more than those w minimal clutter. Thanks for your encouragement. Z

  7. This makes me want to do a happy dance. I am so excited about the possibility of unstressed Mommy hood if I get rid of stuff! Thanks for the encouragement!!

  8. This is so perfect!! I cannot believe that I stumbled across this article because I needed this so badly! This is exactly what I have been feeling and exactly what I am trying to find the help to accomplish in my life! Such a good read! Thank you!

  9. I thought your observation about your children responding positively to an uncluttered space was especially interesting and inspiring. Sometimes, I’m afraid to put toys away or donate them because I worry that they need the “stimulation” but I can’t wait to get home from work today and continue my efforts to simplify our living space!

  10. She just described my life. So maybe she also described my solution? I’m excited to find more peace. I’ll give it a try! Sounds like a little work but I’m in!

  11. Carole @ Garden Up Green

    Awesome – Awesome – I completely agree that simplifying is the key to real joy. I’ve already raised our kids and we’re getting ready to sell our family home and downsize once again because we’ve always lived pretty simple. This is a major downsize and every time I remove something it feel better. Great read and awesome you figured this out now… A happy mom is a happy home.

  12. Wow! I feel like you just gave me the answer to questions I’ve been asking myself for a while. Thank you. Action is the next step!

  13. I am so grateful for this article. I felt like this was a reflection of my thoughts to a T. I’m not the tidiest person but having toys scattered everywhere all day and night gives me anxiety. I’m constantly falling behind it seems in picking up. I guess I believed I was the only mom out there whose mind was so focused on the house chorse that it kept me from even wanting to engage with my kids. I have a 2 yr old and a 6 month old. I have been depressed over not creating the childhood I desperately dreamed and prayed about creating. I breathed my first breath of fresh air reading this after months of feeling like I’m not the mom I always thought I was going to be. BUT I still can be! It’s refreshing to know I’m not alone in feeling certain ways and that there is hope. That it’s not too late. That it’s always too early to quit. So thank you for being transparent and writing this.
    I pray that God continues to give you stength and courage and wisdom in your writing.
    I’m in your corner.

  14. Sheila Akhavein

    This is so nicely written and really speaks to the everyday struggles of being a parent in today’s world! It also really speaks to very common Montessori principles which state that every activity should have a purpose- no wonder your name The Purposeful Housewife! If anyone is interested in how to make purposeful activities for their kids, or how to set up an intentional environment please do visit my blog Thanks again for this great read- I will post it for my friends to read as well!


    I’m not a mother, but as a woman and a caregiver to my mother, I needed this! I have a 3,000 square foot house full of dead relative’s possessions…I’m cranky and depressed when I’m home too long. Thank you, I have some hope even if I can’t see the finish line yet.

  16. Laura's Last Ditch Vintage Kitchenwares

    I’ve found that, beyond purging, it’s extremely important to manage the intake of possessions. One thing I’ve done is tell the school not to send any doodads or projects home with my child. Just send the best one home at the end of the year. My friends and family know not to give us “stuff” gifts, too. And, of course, we’re really careful about what we buy and what we take. Good deals can be a huge problem for me, but reminding myself that it’s okay to “leave it to bless someone else” really helps.

  17. I also can relate. I feel like everything I just read is a great start for My family and MySpace to help me to purge thing’s that I feel are very semential. Thank you and I look forward to spending time with my family and getting started.

  18. Great article! I made this realization earlier this year and not only have I purged a ton of stuff, I’ve been much more intentional about what comes into the house as well – otherwise you’re right back where you started. I’ve talked to my kids about “stuff” and what it can do to us, and they are getting used to bringing home less from the stores as well!

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  20. You mentioned some studies done, including a few from UCLA regarding women’s stress levels/hormones/etc… Do you have links to any of these studies? (I’m sure I could search around and find them but it’s always simpler to ask first!)

    Too much clutter makes me stressed, and I find it hard to focus. I didn’t realize studies had been done and that this was something that many people experience. I would love to learn a little more about it.

  21. You’re blog is so inspirational! Please write a book…I need it! It’s like you write everything on my mind but you bring it clarity and wisdom and it gives me hope. Thank you for sharing your story!

  22. Thank you for this article!! I’ve had an ongoing struggle with PND and decided that this was the year I would stop surviving and start thriving. I’ve tackled a number of problem areas in the house, like the linen cupboard, the laundry, but the bedrooms are really depressing me. I need to get back on that bandwagon!

  23. I totally relate to this! My husband thinks I’m a bit of a hoarder. It’s so much easier for him to get rid of things than it is for me, but he helps me along. Sometimes he will just purge the toy cupboards, and no one misses anything that’s gone! I grew up in a home where money was so tight that there wasn’t a lot of extra stuff, including food, so one of my biggest problems is grocery store bargains and Case Lot Sales where you buy a whole case of items, “saving money” by doing so. I really need to just take it one room at a time and let someone else’s life be blessed by items that just sit and take up space in mine.

  24. This is so so true. I had a purge about 5 months ago and we all felt better for it. Things have crept back in that I’d put in the garage ‘just in case’ but I now know there was a reason I put them there. Tomorrow they are going to charity! Time for a re-purge. Today my daughter loved playing hooking Cheerios onto dry spaghetti with me! It’s the simple things that count.

  25. I have been paying an organizer to do exactly this. I have felt every emotion mentioned in this article about motherhood and I know that since we’re almost done with “the great purging” everyone in my house including me is so much happier. I was at the end of my line. Exhausted, never able to catch up and then the circus started all over the next day. Now I am seeing the light–only the kitchen and our master bedroom left to go through. I can’t wait until I can say we’re done and I’m going to be so much more careful about what I allow into my home. This article is amazing and right on point! The best way to feel better is to get rid of things you don’t need, don’t want, and don’t bring you joy… I already feel so much happier in my home and I’m not done yet… Advice? Get someone to help you stay on track until it’s done!

  26. For those of you who want to start doing this. start with one room. In my case, I started in the kitchen, with just one cupboard. I went back to just what we needed and started eliminating. Toss, donate, recycle. Ask yourself how many dishes you really need. You may wash them more often, but you will have less dishes to wash each time.

    For your clothes in the closet, pick a date you will remember. Turn all of your hangers with the hooks facing outward. As you wear an item and return it to the closet, turn that hanger with the hook facing normal. At the end of the year, look at which clothes you haven’t worn. Those are the ones you get rid of. If you cannot bear to get rid of one of the clothes you haven’t worn, then you must exchange it for an item you have worn.

    If you like to shop, for each item that comes in, get rid of two items of similar size. And, go on a fast. You may love the thrill of the purchase, but is it worth the clutter? The odds are good that if you read the article and these comments, there is a part of you that wants to be freed from clutter. Cut up your credit card, and look for a new activity to do. You will be glad you did, later on.

    IF you have the grandma that loves to buy things or find things to give you, give them a gentle no thank you. Explain that you have more than you currently need.

    Ask your kids, if they would like to help another family who does not have as much. They will typically give up some things to help others.

    How many towels and wash clothes do you need? If those cupboards are too full, figure out the number you need, and get rid of the rest.

    A key to this is to reset the house to zero. Meaning the room is set back in place. Clear your table first, it’s your landing pad. Grab a clothes basket, a garbage bag, a donation box, a broom and a dust pan. Things that belong in a different room, go into the clothes basket. Things to donate, go into the donation box. Things to go into the garbage, bag it. Straighten the room then sweep it. Take the items to the next room. Repeat. Take all items to the landing pad. Now return those items to the correct room. That first day you do this, it will take a long time, but as you continue each day, it becomes much quicker.

    These are some tips I learned through facebook groups on decluttering.

    1. This is a great summary, thank you.

      I am not a mother, so some of what Allie wrote about doesn’t apply to me as a ‘non-mom’. Yet all of it applies to me: living an intentional life, connecting to people. I am selling my 2500 sq. ft. house – I live alone! And I have been torn between what I know I need and ‘expectations” that have me viewing another four bed home on Wednesday
      . What am I doing???! To fill it with what? Or leave two bedrooms empty, as with my current home? This article has refocused me. Enough for me will be enough. Trust the process.

  27. Needed this. However it is so hard to declutter when I have 7 kids. It still seems like we have too much stuff. Yet we need it all. I have de cluttered may times. Stay up till late doing chores and waking up early to finish them. Then it repeats. Not to mention bills to do, organizing, constant picking up toys and somewhere I am supposed to have a quiet time with God. So I am still trying to find a way to be happy with staying home with littles and being a mom and not so tired and just…done. It’s what I wanted to do, just not what I expected. Thank you for the article.

    1. LeAnn, whenever I think that I need something, I remind myself of what people had 100 years ago. People lived very challenging lives, literally working hard just to survive, with very little. That helps put it in to perspective for me. Mind you, I have more than they did, but most of it I know I don’t need. I have the amount that feels right for me.

      I actually read some of the “Little House” books as I started minimizing, and it helped. We need very little.

  28. I love you! I’ve already started doing this and I feel so much joy and such an uplifted spirit I don’t want to stop. I just happened to come upon your article in a FB post from a group I’m part of. It was nice to hear my beliefs being re-affurmed. Thank you!!!

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  33. Gloria Mcmillian

    I have my children’s old bedrooms full to the rafters. I don’t want to get rid of anything or I wouldn’t have bought to begin with. I just wish I had a larger home and or was organised. My children get upset because so much clutter. I had none when they were young, but relatives pass and leave wonderful items and I love antiques from eBay. Someday maybe or not. But I am sentimental to a fault.

    1. Gloria, it might be worth thinking through whether you might have an underlying sense of scarcity – that if you let these things go, you will suffer not just a physical loss but also an emotional one. I would like to suggest that you perhaps spend some time on Joshua Becker’s site, “Becoming Minimalist” where he explores these issues with great compassion. Minimalism isn’t about denial, it’s about creating space, time and focus to live intentionally in the here and now. Your children feel the overwhelm and I wonder if this life is maybe making you feel a little sad, too.

      My warmest thoughts and hopes for your journey.


  34. I wanted to highlight that your attitude and desire to embrace Motherhood along with it’s work is a necessary component of getting these results from de-cluttering. I can have the small amount of belongings but they will still need care. My children will still require work. Those chores of washing faces and cutting up food and cleaning up spills happen even in a house with only blocks to play with. Less stuff certainly brings freedom, but if my attitude begrudges the good work of serving my family, no amount of getting rid of stuff is going to fix it for me. I found one day that I had to embrace the joy of serving in the spaces where I would rather not, to have the joy of all the other snugly cuddly things that were more to my liking. Great post, you put these things in there I just didn’t want anyone to miss them.

  35. Thank you for writing this for us! I have come a long way toward minimizing and always the children are happier when we declutter. It is a good reminder that I am often the one that doesn’t want to get rid of their things and our things, but that we are ALL happier when we get down to just the things we love and also have space for without adding a burden by taking time to move around and clean.

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  37. OMGosh this hit so close to home for me. Thank you so much for sharing! I had one of those “I can’t do this anymore” moments and started the purge too. I’m going room by room and there is a lot left to do. But once I’m done the room is beautiful and full of things that are practical and items that I love. No more “stuff” that’s just there because. Everybody is happier and with each room I feel more at home in my own house.

  38. Your opening paragraphs just described me to a t! We adopted 6 kids in 3 years plus the one we already have. Our well intentioned friends gifted us, and continue to gift us, with clothing, toys, etc, etc, etc. I then brought home the accumulation of 14 years of teaching to use as a homeschool mom. I was already a borderline pack rat so now I am surrounded by so much stuff I can’t move. I feel depressed, overwhelmed, and anxious like I never have before and frankly don’t even like motherhood the very thing I feel totally called to do! Thanks for for writing this and think of me as I pack the back of my van with anything that doesn’t add to our lives!!!

  39. So while I agree that excess “stuff” can mean a lot of stuff to “pick up” and “put away” I don’t agree that being or going minimalist is less cleaning. We don’t have a lot of stuff, I purge daily, weekly and monthly. Many in my circle comment on my simplistic style, however I still have to cook, do dishes, do laundry, clean floors, dust, clean the bathroom, vacuum, because dust and dirt still happen even if you don’t own anything! So the cleaning and/or list of to-dos (meal planning, cooking, dishes, grocery shopping, etc) doesn’t stop just because you own less stuff. Unless you are fortunate and can have a maid, eat out all the time (which makes you unhealthy) or a hubby that helps out a whole lot…the amount of cleaning and chores in my house doesn’t decrease by simply getting rid of stuff. And I’m thankful that our clutter isn’t much and I would rather pick up and put away the little stuff that hangs out than clean floors or toilets any day!!!!

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  41. How do you deal with the constant influx of *more stuff*? I find that every time I declutter, grandparents visit and bring toys or books or craft materials, someone has a birthday and ten friends give them a gift, or dad takes them out to eat and they come back with Happy Meal toys, which are obviously the most special, precious bit of plastic tat in the world for the next 2 days. How do you control that?

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  43. Hi! Retired home schooler here. My six kids came separately, spaced by 4-6 years, each, not all at once, and that helped me a lot, but we only had educational, engaging toys, as you have seen is also part of the equation. A third thing I did was spend what time I allotted to cleanup, in TEACHING cleanup, so then my kiddos knew how to do it themselves. Eventually, they even cleaned in the more public areas such as living room and kitchen. But as soon as they were old enough to get stuff out, we began work on putting it back. Saved me a lot of grief.
    However, my husband is the delete geek at our house. His answer to everything is to get rid of it. 😉 He’s been eyeing my closet, and although I know he is right, it will take me a WHILE to get truly on board with that plan. 😉
    And after homeschooling for 25 years (ahem) there may be a few books that need to go…sighs. Bookaholic, here….

  44. Oh, how I needed this! My family of four recently moved in with my parents (3 kids still at home!) to save for a house and the number of material things we have yet to unpack or find places for is making me a very bad mother & wife. Unfortunately my parents also have a lot of material possessions and thus struggle with emotions and stress related to being unable to keep the house clean. Moving in has been a challenge, but at the same time, I think it will help all of us to grow! Thank you for being a lantern (with this piece of writing) on my journey through this tunnel!

  45. I am very minimalist but my husband grew up with hoarder parents and HATES when I try to get rid of his things. How do I help him see it’s healthy and normal?

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  47. Glory to God!!! OMG my Daughter, Actually my Wife’s daughter – just sent this to us. And we replied to one another….Yup, Yup, Yup; that’s us. Overload, overwhelmed…Let the cleaning out commence. Already- the senior center is collecting purses for a sale- my wife just gave me two/ no three to take up. let the donating begin

  48. How do you handle gifts from family members?? I feel like most of my frustration comes at birthday time when my kids get a million things, even when I try to tell family members to keep it small. It gets so overwhelming, and then since they are gifts, I feel bad just taking them to donate.

  49. Oh man did I need this. I actually purged my kids rooms this weekend and experienced the *exact* same thing. My kids have truly played with the toys they have instead of being overworked. Cleaning is easier too. Such a blessing.

  50. I have always been very neat and organized. One helpful thing I have done is keep a crate or two in the attic for things that are very sentimental. Just because you own it doesn’t mean it has to be in your living space.
    The article is great. Being intentional with organizing and decluttering will also help you save money. I am more careful about what I buy even down to our personal care items. We all have way too much stuff.

  51. Camesha | Mama Motivator

    This was right on time. I’m working on minimizing our attachment to stuff around here too. I know a more peaceful, fulfilling life is on the other side of it.

  52. We moved a year ago from a stuffed full (yet I had been trying to pare down for years) 4-bedroom home with an attic to a 3-bedroom apartment. We just moved into a 3-bedroom open-plan home. After living in the apartment, I realized we could live without SO many things! Moving to the house, I realized how little of the stuff I’d moved to the apartment had even been used. So when it came to moving stuff into the house, it had to be necessary, loved, beautiful, and must have a place to be. No bringing in dishes I couldn’t store, books with no shelf, etc. My garage is still packed with boxes I’m sorting through, but I have several boxes to donate and several empty! It’s slow progress, since those sentimental things get me, too, but I try to work on a little every day.

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  54. Great post! Thank you!
    Where can I find the studies that show a direct link between the amount of physical possessions in a house and the stress level of the female homeowner?

  55. THANK YOU! I actually feel better when there is less stuff. I also feel a lot more organized too. My husband always tells me is it useful, does it serve a purpose? Thanks for sharing!

  56. I needed this! Could have written this myself! I’m on the edge with 3 kids under 4, my crazy cleaning that gets me no where , this will be my new plan!

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  59. Oh my word!!! I have been doing this since school started and what a difference!!!! My family has noticed a clean house and a happy mom is waiting for them to come home from school, ready enjoy and be with them.
    Great article!!! So true!!!

  60. This sounds familiar and brings back a flood of memories. (Son is now 20 and headed to college, daughter is starting high school.) I remember the turning point when we needed to simplify, not just once, but twice. The toddler toy simplification marathon, and then again in the middle of homeschooling when the “schoolroom” started to overrun the house. Thanks for the great flashback.
    Anne —

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  67. I took this one step further & did the same thing to my areas last spring.

    I got rid of redundant cleaners in the kitchen & bathroom , making a list of my favorites. I only buy those on the list now. Same for hygiene & other self care type of things. Less clutter, less greif & better experience since only that which brings contentment remains.
    Now I’m trying to figure out something similar for my kitchen cupboard contents.

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  70. Kudos… I just hit my one year mark of staying at home with my two baby girls. This year has been though – emotionally, physically and spiritually but I am trying to find my way to creating a more meaningful and less clutter environment for my family. Anything that is not needed is out. It was so refreshing reading your piece. I was never a writer but this past year writing sure has help me to get through. Thx you! Keep on writing!

  71. Great read! I’ve literally been thinking this past week how much useless clutter is in our house. Love the idea of minimizing!

  72. I know I need to purge my house. This going t sound so terrible. I have tons of dirty clothes that need to be donated. They are weighing my life down so badly. I can’t even think about starting to wash all of them. Paper is also a biggie in my house. We get so much junk mail along with our other mail. I feel like I need to keep every piece of mail because I “might” need it! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  74. Wow this spoke to me! Exactly how I was feeling thinking I was the only one, thank you this gave me a motivation I needed to get up and declutter my house.

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  76. Lauren Himmelreich

    I agree completely! I am a mother of six and having a minimalistic approach to homemaking makes such a difference on my ability to focus and on how I feel throughout the day. It makes it simpler to focus on what’s really important.

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  78. I’m in tears. His article seriously spoke to me. I’m so sick and tired of getting by. There are so many things I wish I could enjoy with my children before this time in their lives passed me by. Thank you for writing this and for giving me the jumpstart I needed to make this happen in my life.

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  80. This is so true! I’ve found that putting my kids toys in pleasing-looking containers (i.e. nothing primary colored – items that blend in with my decor) allows me to not stress over the few toys we have.

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  82. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article. I am in tears. I’m where you were and I’m overwhelmed. I can’t wait for tomorrow morning because I’m going to do the exact same thing. Thank you!

  83. I love this article. I live this everyday. The anxiety keeps me up at night and provokes nervous breakdowns. I could totally live as a minimalist but I also have anxiety over my kids items. I’ll believe I’m doing great. Selling small items and clothes of theirs Ina local buy and trade website. Make a bit of extra spending money for them. But usually end up waking up the next night in a sweat and sick to my stomach beaicse of an item I sold or gave away and the memories I have of them. Even as silly as a sleeper or tshirt can send me spiralling into a full blown anxiety attack at 4am.
    This article gives me much to consider and know I’m not alone.

  84. Just an idea…ask people to give your child tickets to a movie, or tickets to the theater, rather than plastic toys. I raised my son with few toys, lots of dress up clothes, lots of books, but most of all, lots of time together. My son remembers going to see Peter Pan at the theater and he is now 18! Children are entertained by imagination and rich experiences. Blessings to all who are trying to give children their time of innocence and simplicity.

  85. Thank you thank you Allie and Robin!
    This post really encouraged me and confirmed the path that God enabled me to begin in 2013- of pruning and purging stuff, bad habits, and unrealistic ideals for who He made me and my family to be. I’m also reading a book called, “S.H.E.D.” by Julie Morgenstern which has been a helpful and resourceful tool in my journey.
    Praise God for His faithful and personalized work He begins and completes masterfully in each of us!

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