161. Why having LESS matters, the benefits of decluttering and minimalism

Ever wonder if decluttering will be worth your time? Does minimalism really matter much?

This question was asked in a recent survey I held and I thought it was so valuable. Because we all want to know that going through the work of decluttering will be worth it. Sometimes we need to hear about the benefits to help motivate us to start and move forward with the work of simplifying. 

I’ll share my own decluttering story as well as the benefits I see from in, after being 7-8 years in. 

Why having less matters, is a topic that was suggested in the 2022 Feedback Survey. Make sure you give your feedback if you haven’t done so yet. 

Products recommended here may include referral links to Amazon. If you click through and buy something I may earn a commission, at no cost to you. 


Collect memories, not things 

Starting out with my pitch to celebrate with your people, and make memories together when the opportunity comes your way. Take the chance!


A bit about my decluttering journey. 

It started with the book The Joy of Less, by Francine Jay. This book prompted me to start decluttering the Basement of Shame. 

This was the big declutter I started with and since then, decluttering has been a routine in my life


The benefits of having less

  1. Clearer space

  2. More mindful

  3. More clarity

  4. Enough is enough

  5. Intentionality seeps into your life

    • This whole process of removing the distractions, the entertainment, the overconsumption really makes you aware of what is left. 
    • Decluttering over the years puts you in a mindset of asking WHY and constantly evaluating things you are bringing into your home and life



Declutter is simple but not easy. It is a lot of uncomfortable work. But the short-term discomfort of decluttering is better than the long-term discomfort of living with clutter. 


Stop by Instagram for the basement before and after


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A post shared by Shawna Scafe (@simpleonpurpose.ca)


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Full transcript (unedited)

 For those of you who are new here, welcome. I am Shawna, I’m a mom of three living in small town Canada,

and I am here on the podcast weekly, but really, it’s been more like bi weekly lately, because hashtag life demands a lot out of me. So I’ve been showing up here as often as I can. And I am aiming to share episodes with you information, insights, ideas that are going to help you slow down, simplify your home, your heart, your life, and shop well for the things that really matter the most to you. So welcome. I’m so glad you’re here and welcome to those of you who are in spring break. Spring break is happening here where I am in British Columbia, in something magical about spring break in our home is that my three kids go to my in laws farm, so they live a few hours away. But when they go to that farm in the spring, it’s like summer camp for them. There’s farm animals, there’s baby farm animals, there’s daily activities, there’s ice cream, like this is the funnest week they have out of the whole year aside from when they go again in the summer. You know, we suddenly got a little worried this time that oh man, these grandparents bring it what are our kids going to expect of us when we become grandparents like, this is a high bar that they’re setting, which you know, I admire them for it. They also make it look easy and fun. So maybe this will be a legacy that we can continue on who knows. But this is also exciting time for the parents from Connor and I because we will often take a couple of nights away. So I worked my butt off to get my school done. So I wouldn’t have any school assignments hanging over my head. Hence the lack of a new podcast episode next week, I was doubling down on school so that I could take some days this week. And just be away from it all we went to the city, we stayed in a cheap, cute but very loud motel that involved a 830 wakeup call with a leaf blower and a pressure washer. But all in all, we ate some really good food. We looked at appliances for the kitchen renovation we have coming up this summer, we were still talking at the end of appliance shopping. So I think that’s a good sign. And we just had, we had a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun, just you know, having that time to ourselves as parents can imagine, right? This is something that every year when we’re like, oh, should we do something for spring break my husband’s like we should stay home, we should save money. And I’m like home like where our dishes are in like our laundry baskets. Like, I don’t want to be around those things. No, thank you. So it’s usually a discussion we have. But I’m the one who constantly lobbies for us to go away. And I’m going to get a little deep here for a minute. So this this spring break. And this time in the summer, when the kids are at the in laws, that’s pretty special. We don’t get time throughout the year where it’s just the two of us very often, we don’t do much throughout the year like this is kind of we’ve saved it all up for for this. And to me when that opportunity comes up for us to do something. And we’re on the fence, should we venture out? Should we spend the money should we take that time away? Like there’s a lot of work I could have been doing if I stayed at home, I am getting more and more passionate about saying yes to these opportunities. Because really, you just don’t know you just don’t know what the future will hold. I was really struck deeply watching my parents go through what are supposed to be their golden years over these past few years and my mom developing dementia over the past decade. And seeing that all of the plans that they had for these years, these golden years are not so golden anymore. So it just makes me want to savor it. Now, I started saving up for these trips throughout the year. And I’m not saying like go and break the bank. I’m just saying make the point of celebrating together. Celebrate your hard work because every day in a relationship is hard work. I’m saying to just celebrate the opportunity to be with one another to have fun with one another to relax with one another. I would like to do this more often in little ways. But when a big way is available to I want to be there for that I want to say yes to that. So that’s my pitch. That’s where I’m going with all of this. If you’re a couple out there even friends like you should date your friends I’ve written about this in the past. I’m going to put a link to that in the show notes. Take the opportunity to just be with one another and and have fun and savor it. Whatever that looks like to you guys. You know this can look like whatever you want it to be. It can look like a little coffee away a little picnic in like at the park like this can look like anything. One thing that I’m going to be doing this spring is take my daughter she’s the middle child between two boys who played hockey this year. So I’m going to take her on a hockey sibling. Appreciate Tonight, for all of the hours she spent in truck rides in a rink, playing mini sticks with their brothers listening to her brothers talk and talk about hockey. I’m going to do something special for her just honor like that she

showed up for that, that she was part of this whole experience that our family went through. So my besties and I are going to pull in and take all of our girls out for the night. I didn’t really plan to share all of this at the beginning of this episode, because this episode is about why it is important to have less and maybe you can see that connection though the difference in having a life of stuff, versus having a life of relationships and experiences. And what’s that saying? I’ve seen it on like pillows, collect memories, not things I always thought that was cheesy, but you know, it feels truer and truer to me, the more I go on. Today’s episode is reasons why having less matters. If that’s proper grammar, I’ll find out later the title might be updated. I often learn these things once I type them out and Grammarly flags it for me. But anyways, this is a topic that was suggested in the feedback survey. So the feedback survey is open. It’s open every spring, I’m going to link that in the show notes. If you want to take a couple of minutes and give me your opinions, your topic ideas, what’s helped you a little bit about you that information is very valuable to me, as you can see, because we’re going to do an episode on it. So this topic, why does it even matter? Why does having less matter? And I like this question because I feel like it’s being asked as a way to motivate someone, they want to know that if they go through all this work, if they’re decluttering. If they’re making these choices, if they’re being really intentional about simplifying their home, that it’s going to mean something that it’s going to give them a benefit in the long run. And you’ve heard my story over the years, about seven years ago, eight years ago, I’m not even sure. I read a book called The Joy of less by Francine J. And it just kind of opened my eyes to the responsibility, I had to take control of my space to end the power and the permission that I had permission to get rid of things that I didn’t actually want in my space. So I went down to the basement, it was also dubbed the basement of shame. And I spent a lot of hours going through boxes and boxes and boxes there. And that started the process for us. So I’ve been D I’ve done a big decluttering of my house during those first couple of years. And it’s something I tried to do often decluttering is routine, right? It’s not like a one and done thing. Because stuff still comes into your house constantly, you’re still faced with decisions, to bring stuff in and decisions to let stuff go. So decluttering is a constant process a constant routine in your life. But it is a editing process. It’s constantly refining your space and refining your stuff. So I want to talk about some of the benefits of doing this why it even matters. The first one’s obvious, I think it’s one of the reasons we all start doing it. And that is to have a clear space. Like if I get rid of this stuff in this space, then I have space left, right? That should be the math. And really, I don’t want to underrate the value of a clear space. Imagine yourself close your eyes. You’re in the most cluttered room in your house. How is that feeling? How do you feel in these spaces and now you know, if you’re keeping your eyes closed, whatever. Imagine a space that you love to be in. It’s probably a clear space, maybe it’s a space you went on vacation and it felt beautiful and lovely and simple. There is a scientific connection between stress and clutter. What you are visually looking at impacts how you feel you feel in your body. So clear space, it helps your mental and emotional health. The other part about having a clear space is now you get to use your space you get to use to the rooms in your home, how you want to use them, like do not sleep on the feeling of having a guest room that guests can actually use or a play room that kids can actually enjoy playing it. That is such a perk of having a clear space is being able to use the space and we all hear that it’s easier to clean it’s easier to clean things the less you have to clean. I think this is true. Like I don’t have bathroom counters full of stuff well aside from my ensuite don’t go into my ensuite guys, that’s like the inner sanctum of all my feminine messes. That sounds so gross but you know what I mean just don’t go there. It needs it needs some help in there but generally the bathrooms they’re pretty simple. There’s not a lot of stuff so cleaning it is easy. You just clean the toilet and wipe the counters down the living room. I mean sure there’s kids stuff that needs to be put away in their room but there’s not a lot of stuff to clean up and so it is easier to clean. I do think it is up but then again like I share all the time on Instagram how messy our house gets because hashtag we live here. So it still gets messy but it is easier to clean up in the end.

The next biggest perk about having less why it matters is because it makes you more mindful of what you bring into your home. And for some of us, this can translate into saving money when like we’re spending less money. I used to be someone who lived for the Bogo, the buy one, get one. And I would have like four T shirts, the exact same and different colors. I don’t do that anymore. I don’t go for things just because they’re on sale or things just to for the sake of buying something like I don’t shop for a hobby anymore. I shop with a lot of intention. I’ve shared this over different episodes, I’ll link those episodes in the show notes. It just really keeps me from turning to shopping as a distraction as a hobby as a way to keep building up this life. So I don’t find myself scrolling on freebie sites, I don’t find myself scrolling on garage sale sites. I’m just not in consumption mode. Like I don’t want to bring more stuff in. I used to love the idea of a garage sale like oh, what can I find. And now I just think if I find something I’ve nowhere to put it like I just don’t there’s no room i i like how everything is set up. I don’t want more stuff. That just makes me so much more mindful because of course, they still do buy stuff, right? But I’m really, really mindful about what I’m buying. The other perk is it helps you get really clear on who you are and what you want, which I think is something we all want to feel we know that we want a sense of purpose, we want a sense of simplicity in our lives, we want a sense of authenticity, like feeling like our life represents who we actually are. One of my personally greatest compliments I’ve received is friends or family who come into my house and they say it feels like you in here that really makes me feel like I’ve done a good job editing my space to create the space that I want to reflect that I desire to reflect when you’re decluttering ideally, you are keeping what you have room for and not bringing in more than what you have room for. What comes down to it is making decisions when you’re decluttering you are making decisions. So as you make these decisions, you need to start to ask yourself self reflect. What do I like to do? How do I like to spend my time? What’s important to me? Does this bring me purpose? Does this bring me any sentimentality does this bring me use and as you do that, you’re going to weed out the identity clutter. That’s something we’ve talked about, like having stuff for who you were, who you think you should be who you want to be, it’s all forms of identity clutter, that just jumped up on the microphone. Sorry, guys. So weeding out that identity clutter and getting more clear on what you’re passionate about what your values are, like for you personally, but also, for yourself as a family like what’s important to us as a family. When you’re having less, you’re having more of what matters. Having less also means knowing when to say enough. There’s a really beautiful podcast called the beyma podcast which reviews the Bible through the Jewish culture and heritage of the time. And there’s a really beautiful episode on knowing when to say enough, I’m going to link that one in the show notes. And I really like that mantra know when to say enough, knowing when enough is enough. And I that’s something that I tried to bring into even decisions about shopping for a sweater, I shared this in another episode, like I have sweaters at home, I have enough, I don’t need more. Some really knowing when to say enough, helps you keep the work you’ve done, it helps you keep the decisions that you’ve made. That’s another perk less decisions as you simplify. You have less decisions you have to make in just going about your day like I have less clothes I have to worry about wearing or managing or should I wear this and I haven’t done that a long time.

I don’t have a lot of kitchen appliances, though, should I use this? I haven’t used this in a long time. And am I ever going to use this past attachment? I just don’t have to make those decisions anymore. And the less decisions you have to make the list decision fatigue you get. I’ll link in episode about that in the show notes. Overall, this starts to give you more confidence in your decisions, which I think a lot of us crave as well, more confidence, more security in what we’re choosing. But we don’t develop that confidence unless we go through the work of growing it of growing those decision making skills. I mentioned that a big part of this is knowing when to say enough is enough. And this I think is really impacted my mindset on scarcity and abundance. And it’s something that I’m just reflecting on recently, that I’m just realizing after doing this for about eight years, how it’s impacted my mindset of scarcity versus abundance. So there’s an older episode on this, I’ll link that but scarcity is that mindset that there’s not enough, there’s not enough to go around? I am not enough, I won’t have enough. Versus abundance is that mindset that there’s plenty to go around? What I have is enough, there’s always going to be enough. There two different approaches into life. Right? And I noticed scarcity for myself a lot in how I felt about my home, about my closet about my hobbies, my life, my motherhood like I was not enough and I needed more I needed more in order to feel like enough In order to feel validated, and I realized I was just filling my life, my space, my mind was so much like fluff. It was just full of fluff. I was just filling it up. And it felt like never enough because it wasn’t the right stuff. But as you start to choose what is the right stuff, that becomes enough, you know, I don’t feel like there’s not enough anymore. And it’s because I got rid of the excess, the distraction that was keeping me from seeing what mattered and what was already enough white, where there already was abundance. And this is what flips it on its head for me, I didn’t get more things to feel abundant, I got less things. And that created abundance because I wanted what I had now. It’s just like, I’m still letting this one sink in. I think I need to talk about this more in the future, because it’s still like, it’s really sitting with me like being on the edge of something made up. I hope you can see how all of this decluttering simplifying your space, how you manage your space, it translates into your life into how you manage your life. Being intentional with your home is either a precursor or a side effect into being intentional with your life. When you are removing distractions, when you are removing things for the sake of entertainment, when you are removing the overconsumption when you start asking why then it changes your life. It makes you more intentional, makes you more purposeful. And that’s what minimalism I think has trained me to do to really ask why to constantly evaluate things. What am I bringing in? What are my motives? Why do I want that year? Where am I gonna keep it? How am I gonna manage it? So this is kind of running in the background now over the years of decluttering and asking these questions. decluttering sounds great, right? It sounds like it’s something that’s gonna change your life. And I think it will, because it’s changed mine. But I want to also be real with you that it’s not always easy. It’s simple, but it’s not easy, right? It’s a lot of uncomfortable work to go through this process. physically uncomfortable, emotionally uncomfortable, it is uncomfortable work. But in my opinion, the short term discomfort of decluttering is better than the long term discomfort of a cluttered home. And that’s just my personal opinion of growing up in a more cluttered home and doing the work of decluttering here in my own home. I also want to encourage you that you get to decide what simplifying looks like for you. There’s no checklist. There’s no like, limit on how many forks you can own. You get to decide if you have 300 pieces of items in your closet and you want to reduce it to 200. That’s great. If you have 100 and you want to reduce it to 20 That’s great, too. You get to decide whatever feels more simple to you. Whatever makes you feel like a clear space, a clear mind a clear clear of distractions, right. As I said, I’m going to fill the shownotes with a whole bunch of different links that are all related to what we talked about here today. Go check that out if you want to dig in deeper to any of these issues. And I also encourage you to stop by Instagram at simple on purpose.ca. That’s where you’ll find me on Instagram. Because I’m sharing a basement declutter that we recently did while the kids were away at the farm. So we’ve got the basement playroom and like I said this used to be the basement of shame. It’s where boxes of crap went to live out their days until they had an untimely death in a heated storage unit called my house. So as we decluttered that basement, we decided to renovate this and make it a great playroom for the kids. And many Christmases ago.

We did all of that we ripped off the paneling, the brick overlay on the walls that like gold, Shea carpet, and we had new drywall, new lighting, new carpeting put in. And that’s what we gave our kids for Christmas. For our kids realized that that’s not really a Christmas gift kiss that kids want but they loved it. They loved having the space. It was bright, it was clean. And then the next year we built them this really cool four out of plywood. It had like a climbing wall and a slide and like a little like hidey hole underneath. It was so great. We had that in our basement for many, many years. Eventually the grew out of it. So this this basement playroom just trying to say like it evolves as our kids change as our kids grow older, as they have friends over and what their friends like to do. So this now this placement play room is more of a hangout space. And I’ve been watching how the kids play in this space with their friends like where they sit, what activities they do, and I realized it was really cramped for how they want it to be hanging out. So I brainstorm some ideas and Connor and I did like a big furniture rearrangement in the basement. We didn’t bring in anything new and we didn’t actually get rid of any huge items of furniture but we just started working with what we had and moving things around. We got rid of some toys that the kids have grown out of. But the rest of the toys we actually just packed up and put away in the closet. So I feel like this space feels so much different. It’s going to be used so much differently, but we didn’t really. It didn’t cost us anything. We didn’t have to like make mega trips to the dump and there’s still a before and after that I think the kids are going to love. They haven’t seen it yet. I’m going to pick them up tomorrow and show them so I’m really excited for them to see that space. Alright friends, go check that out on Instagram and make sure that you’re sharing your own decluttering with me, maybe tell me why having less matters to you. I would love to hear that. I’d love to hear from you on Instagram, or in the Facebook group. Have a great day.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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