109. Decluttering and Motherhood with Elyse of Wholesome Mumma

Elyse is a mom of three in Australia and she has a heart for helping moms make things simpler in their lives.  I asked her to come and share with us what her decluttering experience was like. 

In this conversation, you will hear Elyse unpack what prompted her to declutter her home, what she has learned from it and the encouragement and practical tips she has for you to get started. 




Finding peace in motherhood

Myth: If you were struggling then you are doing motherhood well

On a journey to find peace and purpose away from this mindset


Getting started with decluttering 

Decided to declutter her home at a time when she felt really unhappy in her space. “I didn’t like my home, I didn’t like being home” 


Staying motivated with decluttering 

Paying attention to how it feels to have less stuff to take care of and manage and clean

Asking, is this really adding value to my life

Appreciating how good it feels to have the space feel clear and more manageable 


The impact of decluttering on motherhood

Having a vision for home and life 

The physical clutter impacting the mental clutter

Recognizing how our home contributes to stress


Myths we believe about decluttering 

It is a one and done thing 

One size fits all


Other points we cover

How to decide what minimalism looks like for you

Advice for the women struggling get started with minimalism 

Does she regret getting rid of anything?


You can hear her advice, stories and sweet mumma encouragement on her podcast the Wholesome Mumma and on Instagram at Wholesome Mumma 


Related posts:

Declutter the ‘what if I need it one day?’ items

How I started decluttering



Full transcript (unedited)


Welcome to the Simple on Purpose podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. These episodes are often all under 20 minutes, I aim to keep them jam packed with just enough insight tips, advice, encouragement, stories that will help you get re centered and refocused on the things that really matter to you in your life, simplifying, and getting rid of the distractions so that you can show up for the things that matter the most on purpose.

Today, I’m talking with my friend Elise, who is a mom of three, she’s got a new baby named Lola, Isn’t that adorable? So I’ve gotten to know at least the group that we’re in, and I just really admire her I’m really drawn to her. She has this warmth about her. She’s so encouraging. And she really has a heart for moms to feel peace in motherhood real piece, and actually talks about a bit in our chat. It’s something that she craved because she shared she was living with this mindset that if I’m struggling with motherhood, then I’m doing motherhood well, and who wants freedom from that? I know I do.

And we look at social media and the culture and there seems to be these two ends of the spectrum on what motherhood is. It’s either total hot mess, like rolling to the bus stop chucking frozen waffles out of your kids from the door. And then there’s the Pinterest perfect mom.

But I say most moms are actually in the middle.

I know that’s where I am. I know some days my kids are like eating noodles out of a Ziploc bag. And I realized that somewhere along the day, my underwear had ripped and it’s just like floating around on my body loosely with no function. And I’m like, What is my life.

And then some days, dishes are done, the counters are clear. I’m eating vegetables, I’m being active, my kids are feeling kind and we’re playing this like family game and it feels so warm and wonderful.

Like somewhere in the middle is where my actual life is. And I love to make space for that. I love to make room for that and have grace for that.

But okay, this isn’t what we’re going to talk about.

We’re talking about decluttering and Elise shares a lot on decluttering. She has a podcast called the wholesome mama podcast, and she shares a lot about motherhood, or the early days of motherhood, postpartum decluttering, finding peace in motherhood. And I asked her to come on and share her journey, her story about what her decluttering experience was, like, how she got started, what she learned what her takeaways are. And I wanted this because I think these stories are so encouraging.

I know when I started my own journey with decluttering that I was looking for these things. I was looking for real moms doing this work and sharing that. So grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever, and enjoy this conversation with my podcast friend, Elise,

So for those of you who are listening, I met Elise, she has the wholesome mama podcast, I met her through a podcasting mastermind that we’re a part of. And she is I want to say token Australian because she just lights up our whole voxer our whole day, our whole zoom calls with her adorable accent. But aside from that she’s got a heart for something that I also have a heart for. And that’s helping moms make things simpler in their lives. So Elise, I’m so glad you’re here. Because I think the world just needs more of this message. And let’s open up Tell me a little bit about you. I know about you, but tell people who are listening a little bit about you, who you are and what you do.

Yes, so I’m Elise from Australia. It’s currently nice and warm down here. And

we’re just talking about the weather and I’m very grateful to be

live with my husband and our two, almost three kids having a third kid next week. So life is very busy. Our oldest is almost three and a half. So I kind of feel like I’ve been thrown into the depths of motherhood, but that’s where really I found my passion and calling I guess you could say to help other mums, particularly younger first time mums, they’ve really been on my heart lately to help them because I feel like motherhood doesn’t come with a handbook and yet we just get thrown into it. So

that’s why I started the wholesome Mama. I started as an Instagram and then I thought, Oh, yeah, let’s give a podcast ago and so that’s been really fun. And yeah, that’s how we met. Yeah, and I’m so glad you did. I really love the topics that you cover. I think they’re topics that all moms need to hear and I was right in the boat. You are had those three kids really soon and just having that voice in your ear that you know it’s okay.

need to slow down? It’s okay to take a rest. It’s okay to have balance and things and pay attention to those things. I think it’s just so important. Yeah, totally. So my big thing is that I struggled with motherhood was that I felt like motherhood had to be a struggle that if you were struggling, you were doing motherhood well, and that just really didn’t sit right with me. So that kind of, I guess, is where I started this journey of, Okay, well, how do I find peace and purpose in my motherhood? And then I can do that. So now I’ve got to help other women get out of this. I’m a bad mom. I have to be a hot mess. Mind. Yes. Yeah. I love that. What you said, I thought I had to struggle to be good at it like to do it, right. That is such such a hurdle that many moms I don’t think even realize that they’re in. Super, super powerful truth bomb. Let’s talk a bit about decluttering though this is something that you help other women through as well. And simplifying your home has led into other things in your life like it naturally does. When did you decide you wanted to declutter your home? What was going on for you?

So I think for me, it wasn’t really a decision of Okay, today, I’m going to declutter, it was more when I had my son.

As I said, I was quite young, I still I’m quite young, but and I didn’t like our home. So he was I remember, he was about three months old, it was a new year. And so everyone’s talking about the new year resolutions are they going to do this year.

And I just remember sitting in our home one day, and just looking around and hating it. I didn’t like our home. And it wasn’t

like it’s a typical first time. So it’s nothing fancy. But I actually didn’t like being home. And it just kind of clicked in me that something’s not right. If I’m not enjoying being home, home to me should be a haven, it should be this beautiful, safe place that we

feel and create that we can be ourselves. And so to sit down with a relatively still newborn baby and look around and go, I really don’t like my home. There’s just stuff everywhere. It’s always a mess. I just feel like it’s chaotic. Like, and so I think then I just went on a bit of a

Brian snap, and just started getting rid of stuff. And so it wasn’t an intentional, like, I didn’t know anything about minimalism or simplifying your home or decluttering. I didn’t even know decluttering was a word thing.

That it was more just going,

I do not have joy.

And I feel like all this stuff, taking away the joy because I look at my home and I look at our kitchen and go oh my gosh, there’s so much mess. And I guess that was causing me stress and anxiety. So I thought, well, if I just get rid of the stuff, then there won’t be stuff to clean. Yeah, yeah. And I love that because I think most moms can relate to the feeling like I don’t like my home, I don’t like being in my home. And I remember back to me, my solution was to find a new home. So I was always looking online, at what other homes we could move into. But to bring it back inward and to take action from you know, maybe this is a stuff problem. Maybe it’s what’s around me. And if I can start changing what’s around me, things will change. Do you feel like the whole process was natural to you? It sounds like it was motivated from this really strong place of wanting to change your space?

Yes, so I’m naturally not an organized, neat and tidy everything color coded person at all. So I wouldn’t say that it came naturally to me. But I guess my motivation was strong enough to override any natural instincts of

Yeah, not being organized. And one quote that I remember finding in the process because I did start to like Pinterest things and you know, your Pinterest, your home, what these beautiful homes look like. And I remember a quote that came up on Pinterest search and I still have it saved in my phone. And that is that clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination. And so when you get that, that all the stuff that is accumulated in my head is really made just procrastinating. And if you know me, I am quite good. I procrastinate.

I’m pretty good at it. Yeah. When I realized that, Oh, hang on, this is actually a result of all my unmade decisions. So my motivation? Yeah, kind of was bigger than any natural traits that I have to not be organized or anything. So yeah. Yeah. And it’s hard to jump into that. It’s hard to be like, Okay, I’m ready. I’m gonna start making decisions. Now. What do you think helped you keep that along the way? Like, you were pinning things? Were you? Were you finding any strategy or any mindsets that really, like helped you stay motivated?

I think it was, really. So I did a little bit at a time and I just felt good. I started feeling good again. But I think the with the mindset, it was around that realizing that this stuff is just another thing that I have to claim that I have to dust that I have to put away. Is this actually, and I totally wish that Mari Kondo was around, yeah, yeah. Then it was on Netflix, then we made it a lot easier. But um, but we’re asking yourself, you know, is this actually adding value to my life? Is this adding value to my family’s life? So they were some kind of mindset strategies that I would continually ask myself to practically keep going. But then once I started, and I realized, Oh, actually, it’s really nice to open the pantry and have it neat and tidy. But actually, it was really good to walk into my bedroom and not have stuff everywhere, and have books on the bookshelf where they should be. It’s actually really nice to go into the kids play room and have toys organized, or it’s really nice to not have Washing rolled up on the couch for five days. Right? Yeah. Yeah, more of the, I guess for me, and I guess from having that such big motivation, I then started to see the fruit of that, which helped me to keep going. Yeah, when you feel good from it, when you start to see those positive payoffs of doing that hard work? You feel proud, right? You feel like, Oh, this is why I did it. This is this is what I want it. Yeah. How did your family look like your son was? so new, maybe how did your husband respond to you? decluttering.

So he got home one day, and I had like, five big garbage bags of stuff by the door. And he just walked in from back when what happened here today. But he was he was really good. And he I guess more naturally is a very organized person. He loves things to be filed and super organized like that. So I think he was kind of relieved.

Yeah. But yeah, kind of. It’s been interesting that because there have been times where, you know, I’ve just maybe gone and thrown out a bit of stuff without asking him and he’s like, Can we just check though? So? Yeah, just the whole like, should we should I just get rid of it without him knowing? Yeah, that whole question, right? Especially his wardrobe.

Some things just get lost in the wash. I joke.

So you are kind of decluttered at the beginning of your motherhood journey. How do you think that is helped you in motherhood? How do you think it’s impacted you?

So I think that for me, it’s been a constant process and I guess because I’m like, I can kind of revert back to just wanting stuff and

wanting other nice things. So it’s been kind of a constant process but I think having the overall vision for my home and for our life to be free of clutter because I think that the physical clutter impacts the mental clutter as well so I think that’s been the had the biggest impact is when the home is clean, but not just clean as in like not dirty but like clear. I’m able to think a lot clearer, I’m able to be a lot more present with my kids, because I’m not thinking of the 45 other things that I really need to be doing. I’m not always trying to clean the house. I yeah, I just feel like when the house does get, and it does still happen, because we are not a perfect family. But it does still have a where we accumulate stuff still, especially like Christmas, where it’s just like we’ve been given all this sudden go, what do we do with all this now and I can feel it in myself when I walk out into the lounge room. And this just stuff again, starting to accumulate everywhere, we didn’t put things away, or maybe we haven’t given things a spot to put away, I can feel that then replicating our on to how I parent and even how I am with my husband. So I think that the physical and mental connection has been the biggest thing.

Yeah, and it’s so helpful, I think to make those connections as a mom, when you’re in your space, and you’re feeling stressed. Sometimes you just keep riding that stress train and keep piling it on. But when you stop and look around and think like what am I What do I need right now like what’s causing me stress and you can look at your surroundings and say, all of this, all of this makes me feel unhappy or whatever that feeling is that stressful for me. And you can do something about it often. And maybe a big thing like decluttering. And I love that you say it’s a constant process. I think that’s one of the the myths that I believe about decluttering. Like, once you do it, then it’s just done for good. But like you say, like people live here, and there’s kids, and there’s holidays and birthdays and whatever. Like it’s not something that is one and done. You constantly have to be coming back into it. What other myths Do you think that you met along the way that you had believed about decluttering?

I think that one was certainly the biggest one that it was just a once and done thing. And then it would be like simple but yeah, kids, I love that you said kids live here. Yeah. Yeah, um, but some other myths that we believe about decluttering. I think really, that one big myth is that it’s the same size fits all. Because what works for me and my home

be that the result of the decluttering or how we go about decluttering is very different to what might work for you and your home or someone else in their home. So

yeah, I think that

when you do particularly because the decluttering and minimalism and stuff like that is such a trendy topic. Like

you can find so many articles telling you, you know, capsule wardrobe, you have to only have this amount and like I really like clothes. So for me a capsule wardrobe does not work because I really like clothes. Yeah, so

there’s not one, while this is how this person says I have to do it. So this is the only way. And I think that that is the other really big myth, that myth that we can believe about decluttering that it’s Yeah, has to be done this way. And this way works for everybody. Whereas just like anything in life, you have to just find what works for you and your family. So how do you how do you like decide that? How do you filter that out? As you’re going through things? How do you decide? Okay, this is what people on Instagram Tell me minimalism looks like or what Pinterest says it looks like. But to me, what does it look like? How do you decide that for yourself?

Yeah, so I think for you first, the biggest thing is to know what you want. Because if you don’t know what you want, and you don’t have a vision, I guess it comes back to your vision for what you want for your life for yourself, but also for your family. And part of that being for your home, like what do you want your home to look like? But what do you want it to feel like? If you don’t know that, then you don’t have a direction to going. Whereas if you do know that then when you are going through things.

You can then say like, is this helping bring us closer to our vision?

Yes, totally, totally. And so you as a family like decluttering is one thing but deciding kind of where you’re going ahead of time so you can make these decisions. What I hear you saying is that’s a really helpful step so that you don’t fall into the trap of just trying

To copy what everyone else is doing, and it’s not really working for you. And they’re like, What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t my health look like that stark white thing on that I see on Instagram. So I think that’s a really great piece of advice is know where you want to be going.

Yeah, yeah. Because otherwise, you are just going to try and copy what they’re doing which and having a guide, I totally recommend having a guide when it comes to things like decluttering, because it’s so helpful, particularly if you’re going from very, the very beginning of your house, being a mercy being overwhelmed to wanting to get everything decluttered, then totally get some help and have a God with that. But

yeah, if you don’t know what it is that you want, and don’t have that direction, then you’re just going to copy someone else, and you’re copying what their vision is. So it’s not going to align with you. So you’re not actually going to find that piece or that joy, or whatever it is that you’re doing this for. Yeah, big time. And I love that you see a guide, it’s not something we think about, we’re just looking at stuff on the internet and trying to apply it to ourselves. And it works, right, like people can do that. But sometimes we just need someone to come into it with us and talk about what’s working for us and what’s not. And this I know, this is something that you do. When you think about the women who you’ve walked through this with and decluttering yourself and decluttering with other women. What do you think is one struggle that most women have that you would offer them some advice on?

So the biggest struggle that I see women who were trying to declutter, is, when they start, they feel like they have to go all in straightaway. That they have to do the whole entire house that week. And I think that that, that’s normally to well for pretty well, everyone, and is way too big of a task to undertake.

So I when I’m talking with women who are just starting, there’s two ways that I say you can really start to declutter, and one is what’s going to give you the most bang for your buck. So is doing something like the kitchen, where as mothers, we spend thing, how many hours a day? Well, I feel like I spent how many hours, right?

So if I can enjoy being in the kitchen, if the pantry isn’t just a mess, where food has just been thrown in anywhere, if we have a place for everything I can really enjoy, and that won’t stress me out as much as what it might currently look like. So that’s the first one, then the second one is just a quick, simple, easy way, when something like your bathroom where there’s not really anything sentimental in there. It’s mainly just your makeup, your personal care products, some really old nail polish that you’ve had for


Yeah, we might be emotionally attached to the glitter polish, or who knows.

But that’s just a quick simple one that can take like 15 to 20 minutes, and your bathroom cupboard is done. So that’s probably how I say it the two ways that you can really start because both of them are going to give you a win. And it’s just that what is the best way for you to start. And if you don’t know, just go for the bathroom to start there. Get a small win, and then that helps you to keep going. Yeah, I love that. Because then you get to feel what it feels like to be like I did that thing. And my space looks like this. And I’m proud of myself. And I did that. When you started what room did you start in?

So I did the kitchen first?

Yeah, because that was we have a open home. So that was

where I was spending a lot of time that was where I was feeling really stressed and finding that I was just so unhappy every time I walk into that space. So right yeah, it impacts you when you’re looking at it day after day and and once you realize that you can do something about it. That’s super empowering. Okay, I have a question. Is there anything you got rid of that you miss?

I think there’s been like maybe one or two pieces of clothing that I’m like, Oh, I really could have won that today. That would have been but honestly, no.

I can’t think of anything that I’ve gotten rid of that I regret. And that’s really encouraging because people are just so afraid of what if I need it? What if I want it down the road? And for the most part, I feel the same. Here’s a few things that I’ve could use it. But yeah, you don’t have much regret over the freedom that you get from it, right? Yeah, yeah. Not at all. And particularly when there are things that you might think of one day that you go, oh, that would have been really handy to have that, like, have that appliance that I got rid of say. And that really, for that one time that you wish you had it?

Is it worth you storing it some way? like all the other things that come along with it for you wanting at that one time? Probably. Right? Yeah, you do have to take out the emotion and the fear from it a little bit and really get objective with yourself, which is hard, for sure. But it’s it’s worth it. So Elise, thank you so much for coming on. I love hearing real stories from real moms who have just done the work, whether they knew they were decluttering when they did it, but it’s something they stuck with. And it’s something that that they find has empowered them in motherhood. I think that’s the big message that I hear from you is that it can empower you, you can show up, you can be more present, you can just feel more in control. When you take control. I think that’s such a great message. So I want you to tell us where everyone can find you.

Yes, so you can find me on Instagram. My handle is at wholesome Mama. And website is wholesome mama.com mama is m u m m a. And the wholesome mama podcast. I know you’ve taught me a new way to spell mama because we don’t spell like that here in Canada, or America. Maybe even so I love it. It’s so cute. All right, Elise, thanks so much for coming on today. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been an honor. Thank you so much, Elise for sharing that sharing your heart and sharing your insights. I find it really encouraging. I know I always feel ready after these conversations to just go and declutter something. Just keep simplifying keep working at it. You can find a lease at the wholesome mama podcast and on Instagram at wholesome mama she has a lot of adorable sleeping baby Angel pictures of her brand new sweet little baby. Alright, have a great week, friends

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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