169. Moms Simplifying Q+A: Toddler MomLife, Procrastination and Decluttering

Answering decluttering, simplifying and momlife questions that were sent in through the Simple on Purpose community group. Covering topics including organization, procrastination, decluttering kids’ clothes, showing up well for momlife. 

Make sure to check out the show notes for more related links on these questions



Questions that were sent in:

Summer wrap-up!

Thank you for all the reviews and messages and emails you have sent, I am here for the COMMUNITY! Please do keep in touch!

Expect an Instagram hiatus this summer, but please do make sure to USE the Facebook group  – and declutter it if you aren’t going to use it. 

Make sure you are on the Simple Saturdays email to get the bi-weekly newsletter to keep getting Simple on Purpose inspiration through the summer. 

Save your favourite Simple on Purpose podcast playlist on Spotify to listen to this summer



Yes, I’m taking a summer break kind of at least a break from the podcast, which I’m sad about, I really enjoy the podcast. It’s a place for me to just bring up what are the what other topics are on my brain are being discussed. And it’s just a really fun place to unpack that and share some stuff with you guys that helps us all dig deeper into this simple on purpose life. So I know it’s going to be a little bit uncomfortable for me to go through the summer with that, in the back of my mind, oh, you should be doing the podcast, you should be doing the podcast that would make a good podcast episode, I can’t even tell you how many drafts I have have started of podcast ideas. So I’m gonna just have to put that mentally on the back burner. As much as I love to do this.

And I know I’m going to be filling up my summer with time with the kids. Another job I have with environmental health and finishing school if Are you sick of hearing about this yet? Are you sick of hearing about how school is taken over my life? You either way, I am in the homestretch of finishing up my training to become a registered clinical counselor, and just handed in one of my courses today. So I’ve got two left the finals, the certification exams, who I am just so ready to be on the other side of this. It’s been such a great experience. I’m sure I’ll share all about it in the fall.

But here we are last episode for the summer. And I asked in the Facebook group for questions, questions that we could talk about topics we could talk about. And I have some really fun ones. Overall, I encourage you to stop by the show notes for this episode, because I’m going to reference a lot of other episodes, or maybe blog posts and articles. And I’m going to put all those links in the show notes. So you can have a lot to dig into if you want to take any of these topics further. If you ever cannot find your show notes in your podcast player, simply go to simple on purpose.ca. Click listen, and you will find all of the episodes there, you can listen to the episodes there, you can read the transcript of the episode, I often put that at the end of the post, and all of the links that I can think of that relate to what we’re talking about. I fill that up there. I also encourage you to bookmark the podcast playlist page that is also on the page where you’ve clicked listen. And I have created Spotify playlists about different simple and purpose topics. So you can go pick whatever topic you’re interested in, whether it’s marriage or habit change, emotional intelligence, minimalism, and you can just kind of pick the episodes you want to listen to throughout the summer on that topic.

Okay, so let’s dig into the questions. And first of all, thank you so much to you, ladies who have sent in these questions. I really appreciate you bringing up these topics because I know that most all of us have this situation in some way in our life. And so by you bringing forward the issue, you are also helping people who have that issue as well in their life. So the first question is, I’m reworking a room in our house soon to be in office slash media room, trying to figure out a system for office supplies, books, devices, charging cables, it wants to turn into a catch all space, if you have any thoughts on that.

So one thing I’m going to share that I’ve learned is to not rush it. So you before you go and buy furniture, and drawers, and drawers and shelves and put things in permanent places. Try as much as you can to just use what you already have and and live in that space for a while. See how you’re going to use this space, see what’s going to work for you. I did this when we moved my office into the basement years ago. And I took time moving my desk around different spaces moving kind of this cabinet we had around, I wanted to take time to settle on how I wanted to move in this space, how I wanted to use it settle on a layout. And then I looked at what I needed, how often I needed it, where I could store it, that kind of thing.

It’s not necessarily a negative thing to have a catch all space. I know my office is a bit of a catch all space right now. There’s wrapping paper and crap supplies and photos. I’m just looking in the closet right now. And the sewing machine stuff. And there’s lots of books everywhere and filing cabinets for all the kids stuff. So this is a catch all space for me. But my kitchen used to be the catch all space and that wasn’t working. So maybe make a little bit of peace with the fact that sometimes we need a catch all space to get all of those miscellaneous things in our house. As I said my current office, it’s actually upstairs. It’s a much smaller, smaller space than I had before. And I have made changes to it. Over the years that I’ve been upstairs. I added a big long desk into it which was going to be just for painting. But then I started working casual for Environmental Health and now I use that space for that work. I also took out a dresser I had in the closet for storage. And I put in these big, my husband put them in plywood shelves, they are not pretty. If you open the curtain to my closet and you look in there, it is not pretty, but it is so functional. It’s not Pinterest where the things are stored in boxes in bins and big zip locks, and nothing is consistent. I’m sure I could make it pretty. But I’m probably not going to why it works though is everything is visible and accessible. Things aren’t stacked behind each other or on top of each other. These are just a whole bunch of open shelves, wide shelves, and I can see everything. So that’s what’s working for me in that space.

Overall, I would say take your time with it. Don’t worry about making it really pretty, but focus on what feels functional to you. I hope those help as a starting point. And as you’re going along, if you feel stuck on something, I really encourage you to share pictures of the space in the Facebook group if you want to crowdsource different ideas.

The next question is on vehicle and trunk organization and I I’m not going to have a good answer for you. First of all, I don’t have a trunk if I did, there would be a lot of junk in my trunk, I can assure you because I am the type of person that wants to keep stuff in my vehicle. I want it like a garbage system, I want water, I want supplies, I just want to basically be prepared and moving on my wheels. But my husband is the opposite. And isn’t that funny in a marriage, sometimes the person, it feels the opposite that you do. And he empties the vehicle he’ll go in and empty everything out. That’s really important. Turns out, I feel less passionate about how the vehicle is kept. So I just tried to help him out with that.

And something that I have adopted in response to that is to make bags for myself. Summers kind of the best example because we go on a lot of outings, go into the beach, going to friends houses go into parks. So I keep a big picnic style bag full of our summer stuff. It’s got sunscreen and band aids and goggles, there’s some emergency snacks, emergency water, and I just pack that in and out of the house whenever we are going. Bringing it in the house also helps me clean it out too. That’s something that is a benefit.

What is kept in the vehicle are the first aid kit and Kleenex, you know, got Bill you know if you got a pm zero sometimes. So those are in their hand sanitizer, stuff like that. Everything else comes in and out. And if it works for you get a bin system get a bag system of stuff that you want to bring in and out of your vehicle. I hope that helps. Again, if this isn’t as deep of an answer as you want, I encourage you to bring pictures of it ideas of it to the Facebook group because I’m sure there are women in there trying to simple on purpose, their own vehicles as well.

The next question is about simplifying family shoes. So to start my answer, I’m gonna ask you a question. And it’s gonna sound like an oversimplification. But I think it’s worth asking. What about your family shoes right now? makes it not feel simple? Is it that their shoes everywhere is maybe storage the problem or routines of putting shoes away? Is it that everyone has too many pairs of shoes? So maybe we should look at reducing the amount of shoes per person? Is it that all of the seasons of shoes are are all in one place? Do you need to start a seasonal rotation and I look at my shoe situation. Currently we have all of these problems in our house because I haven’t taken out the winter gear from the mudroom yet. So in response, we all started using the front door and now we have shoes all in the front door all in the bedroom all over the place. And I know I also haven’t decluttered my kids shoes, so I know that they have extra pairs that they aren’t wearing.

Ideally, here’s what ideally happens. We declutter each season. Well, summer and winter. We Declutter. So as summer comes, we try on the winter gear that’s left in the mudroom, pack up what’s going to fit next year. And then we pull out the summer gear that we packed up and people try that on and we just declutter what’s not gonna work. So it is kind of a process where we’re bringing everything out of these spaces going through it as a family and then decluttering and putting it away.

One thing that has really helped me over the years and I’ve shared this on Instagram, and maybe in the simple Saturday’s email, is to keep track of what you end up putting back in storage, I would find that I would forget what’s in storage, I would go by everyone’s snow boots or gloves or whatever. And then I would have these duplicates or I would be missing something. So in my notes app on my phone, I keep track of the date we packed it back in and who has what so who has snow boots, who is no pants who has gloves. So then in the fall, I can go and prepare ahead of time and buy that stuff without having to tear out the storage closet and not buying repeats.

Kind of along the same lines as the next question. Do you have any tips on simplifying kids clothes? And we’ve got about three categories of clothes that are too big for them. The clothes are currently wearing in the clothes they grew out of. So here is my strategy. The first thing I aim to do is declutter my kids clothes with them about every season ish. And I don’t make this a big deal a big to do. I just kind of come and hang out with them in their room. And this, it’s not like it’s a lot. It’s like shirts, pants and pajamas, right? So we just pull the stuff out of the drawer, and I hold it up for them kind of like quick fire rapid fire, does it fit you? Do you love wearing it? Do you want to even keep this. And that’s the sort we do. I toss things into one pile that they don’t want anymore. And I put things in another pile that they want to keep and then we just put them all in the in the spaces. I will also declutter things for them, when I do the laundry, if I notice that something that’s worn or not fitting them well or really stained, I’m just going to pull that out of their laundry and put it in the declutter pile.

And in terms of keeping track of all these different piles, I tried to have a spot for these different piles. So the clothes that will fit them, these are generally Hami downs, each kid generally has a spot in their closet on the very top shelf, you know, like that super top shelf that goes up into the abyss and it’s like dark and too big, I will put the clothes that are too big up there and try to bring them down every season and look through them. And then there’s clothes they are done with. And I have one big bin in my son’s closet because there’s space that I put all of those clothes that they are done with. And really it’s my youngest son’s clothes, and my daughter’s clothes because I pass down the older son’s clothes to the younger son of you know all the heavy nouns everywhere. So a couple of times a year, I will pull out that big bin that I’ve filled over time with the clothes, they’re done with it, pack it up and pass it on.

Kids clothes and shoes and gear can feel really overwhelming to manage if you have multiple kids. And if you live in a place where you have multiple seasons. My best advice in all of this when we’re considering how to organize things and store things is to not see coat the Pinterest picture perfect system. Those are out there. We’re seeing images of it. And we’re often trying to replicate that. But really find a system that works for you and your life. It doesn’t have to look beautiful. It doesn’t have to function perfectly. Every any system you put in place, you are going to have to do the work to manage it. Hence why I have a mudroom full of winter gear and it’s June. So really, I’m part of the system. I need to work on that part as well.

The next question, I’m moving in the next few months and working to declutter and pack etc. I have two kids under five and what I noticed is I’m having a hard time getting started on the jobs involved until the last minute. When there’s a big push and looming deadline. I would love to work on a more peaceful and gradual approach to get it all done. Okay. So you aren’t alone first of all and procrastinating. procrastinating is, is does not make us morally superior or inferior to date alone.

I mean, it’s only 11 o’clock, but I’ve met spent some of my morning procrastinating. My first task this morning was to proofread my school assignment and turn that in. Really, this is something that I could just buckle down and get it done. But you know what I found myself doing it. I found myself wandering to my bathroom and putting self tanning lotion on my legs. I made a coffee. I went through all of my text messages and I created new contacts for anyone I had texted but didn’t have a contact set. So that gave me kind of a false sense of productivity.

And I just share that with you to let you know it’s so normal to procrastinate. Our brain thinks it’s actually helping us by directing us to something more pleasurable to do with our time than something that feels hard. And our brain wants us to avoid the hard things really. I did an episode unpacking the reasons we procrastinate when it becomes a problem, what we can do about it. That’s episode 135. And I’ll link that in the show notes.

I’d encourage you to listen to that one and reflect on why you might be procrastinating with this in particular, do you feel overwhelmed and not really know where to start? What it helps you to start with a list of all the things that you want to get done and just pick one. Is it harder to do small things over time because you struggle with all or nothing thinking like just wanting to all in getting it all done? What about the actual decluttering and packing feels somewhat undesirable? Because we often avoid things because of how we think we will feel when we are doing them? Do you need to plan it and stick to your plan? Do you let quote unquote, urgent things take over your schedule? Is it hard for you to prioritize your time and stick to that? Do you feel like you need some skills? Are you missing some skills and actually getting the tasks done? I’m gonna link some more episodes in the show notes that might help you dig into this and uncover the reasons the hurdles for you that are keeping you from making this gradual, routine thing in your life. And I encourage you to bring that back into the Facebook group share with us what you find you’re struggling with there, and we can talk more about it there.

The final topic I’m going to cover today is the request to talk more about mom life, especially toddler mom life being purposeful and present and enjoying it. And I think this is a topic I could expand on maybe more in the fall, because there is a lot to say. One thing just to open it, though, I want to encourage you don’t judge yourself, if you find it hard to be present and enjoy it. Because you aren’t alone.

First of all, and it is hard, it is hard to be present and enjoy it. My kids are older now. But I remember the frustrations of the toddler stage. On one hand, they want independence, but they still need you. And they get frustrated by this. For instance, they want to buckle their own seatbelts, they want to brush their own teeth. And we just we know we can do it faster, we know we could just get it done. So we can keep moving, keep the day going. And it’s hard to step back and have patience. Well, they are practicing these new skills.

Likewise, we as parents want to see them become more independent, we want them to start doing things on their own, we want a bit more freedom from meeting every single need like we’ve had to since they were babies. So we do push them a little more. And you know what they do, they push back, because maybe they’re stuck on the playground and they’re calling for you for help. You just want to continue that first adult conversation you finally had in your day, and they’re screaming at you that they need help getting down, you maybe know that they know how to get down. You want them to learn how to get themselves down. But in that moment, they’re panicking, and they’re making you the solution. So there is this kind of tug of war at this age, neither of us really feel like we’ve got it sorted. And that’s a really natural frustration at this stage for one for our toddlers because they don’t have the awareness or even the words for what the problem is. And for us because we feel this push and pull between wanting to guide them and mentor them and support them, but also wanting to encourage them to become independent and doing things on their own.

As you learn that this stage is kind of navigating this territory, I encourage you to consider the term good enough parent. And this term was coined by a pediatrician and child psychologist named Winnicott. His research over the years led him to conclude that it is not possible for a mother to be perfect to be a perfect mother who’s available and attentive to every single situation with your kids. Nor does it help them. Nor does it help them to be attentive and available to every single situation with your kids. That this is part of the process of them learning their independence, I’m going to link an article that explains it much better, because the context isn’t just abandoning them, or just making them do it on their own. The process is very nurturing and sensitive. And honors the fact that this is a frustrating process for the child to learn to not rely on us for every single need. And for us as parents to have the patience while they learn those skills.

If I could go back and talk to myself about five, no, seven years ago, when I had two toddlers and a baby, I would say, first of all, it is frustrating. Let’s validate that. Let’s not try and talk ourselves out of that. Let’s make space for that feeling. Let’s feel that feeling well. Looking ahead, deciding I’m not going to let this hamper my whole day I remember needing to tell myself, happiness is still available to me, happiness is still available to me today. It is important to keep moving forward and seeking out the good. And acknowledging the reality of life, that every single day has some heart in it, and every single day has some awesome in it. And the more resistant we are, the more we fight the hard the more we get upset by it and judge it, the more we stay stuck in that place, we actually make the hard thing harder. And we experience less of the awesome. I expand on this concept hard and awesome in Episode 162. That’s just really a model that we’ve adopted in our family hard and awesome. Everyday is hard and awesome. I asked my kids everyday What was your heart and awesome today.

If I could also go back and tell myself when you find yourself stuck in the negative stop and honor that. It is hard, whatever kind of self care and I don’t mean bubble baths, and Nietzsche retreats, but actually just taking time to take care of your personal needs. Eating, drinking, taking quiet timeout, having some time alone, going for a walk, whatever you need to do to provide that for yourself is really important.

But when you are in that moment, you’re kind of stuck in this negative space. Stop trying so hard. That’s what I would say to myself. Stop trying so hard and go do something fun. This is supposed to be fun. I mean, it’s not all fun. But fun is available to me. That’s what I would go tell myself because that’s what I am still telling myself, how can I make this fun. And I’ll be maybe driving with my kids somewhere and they’re fighting, and I’m giving them a lecture on how they need to act. And I just need to stop and decide how can I make this fun. I’m going to turn up the music, I’m going to start joking with them. I want to have fun.

As a mom, I want to have fun. I talk about this a lot more in my episode about having fun with my kids. It’s episode 163. And there’s a blog post. That is one of the most visited blog posts on this website, because people are searching for this topic in that post is, when did I stop enjoying my kids, I’ll link that post as well in the show notes if you want to read that. That’s about me realizing I’m not enjoying my kids anymore. And my journey on finding my way back to that to enjoy them.

So as we wrap up for the summer, I just want to thank you for being here with the simple and purpose podcast, I want to thank you if you’ve left a rating and review, I want to thank you if you’ve emailed me back in this simple Saturday’s newsletter, if you’ve shared on Instagram with me, if you commented on Facebook, this community matters, this community is why I’m here. Otherwise, I am just talking into the internets and leaving it out there into the abyss. But when it goes to a person and back at me, that’s when the connection happens. So thank you for that. You might have noticed my Instagram hasn’t been updated in for ever. I’m sharing stories here and there, but I’m not posting and I feel that I went on an unintentional hiatus, I would kind of sit down to draft up my posts that I wanted to post for the week, I just would be overwhelmed by this feeling of oh, I have to do this. Again. I think the idea of content creation and feeding that content machine has just been wearing down on me. So I’m going to explore that this summer where that ugh feeling is coming from and what it is telling me.

I do encourage you most importantly to use the Facebook group this summer. These questions that you brought to this episode. They’re also great for the Facebook group, bring questions like this into the group. Bring your photos, bring your questions, your struggles, things you want to crowdsource ideas on, I would also love it. If you shared your thoughts on different episodes. If you started a discussion around that. My loving encouragement my loving challenge to you is if you are someone who is sitting on the sidelines of this group, and there’s hundreds of you so raise your hand if you are one of them. So if you’re sitting on the sidelines and you are not planning on actively engaging in the group, then I encourage you to declutter it from your Facebook, declutter it from your feed. Declutter it from your groups. Unless you are going to be an active participant in it don’t sit on the sidelines anymore. The purpose of that group is to give the members a space to talk about simple on purpose topics. So I really encourage you to use that group this summer. This summer. That’s a great way to stay in touch with me.

Also, stay tuned through the simple Saturdays email. If you’re not part of that, stop by the website and sign up for that. I send out an email every two weeks and I’m going to be including a lot of posts and episodes from the archives that I think are still relevant, still helpful, and going to help you live more simple on purpose. Alright, friends, I will see you in the fall. With love. From Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend. Have a great summer

Transcribed by https://otter.ai



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