Having Troubles Decluttering? Swap Questions And See Results!


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Are you finding that no matter how much time you spend discarding things through decluttering it still seems like you have too much stuff? Me too! But I think I might have landed on the answer to why and fixing the problem isn’t going to be as hard as I thought. In fact, it all boils down to changing the main question I ask myself when I start my decluttering sessions.

Are you asking the right decluttering question?


I stumbled upon this solution a few weekends ago when I went up into our attic to grab items for the massive yard sale my family is planning to take part in shortly (psst….grab a free garage sale planner here).

What immediately hit me as I reached the top step to the attic was the huge mess it was even though I had just tidied it up before the Christmas season.

As I dug into tidying it up I decided to grab my iPhone and open the hoopla app and borrow a book on decluttering as inspiration to toss like mad.

I figured I would join the masses of people who have read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Right away I knew that this Kondo lady and I do not see eye to eye on a lot of issues. Of course, she claims to have cured her  clients’ clutter issues for good and I am still struggling with mine so I decided to put differences aside and listen to her expertise in the area of becoming clutter free for good to see what I could apply.

I am not all the way finished the book yet–currently I am giggling over my socks having a need to rest from their hard hours of serving me well–however, one question she presented at the very beginning of the book has changed my perspective on clutter tossing and is having a HUGE impact.

Make Decluttering Easier With This Simple Question

Instead of asking, “What can I toss?” You need to ask, “What do I want to keep?”

I am not sure how Kondo explains the need for this as I was climbing up and down the stairs as she talked and was out of ear shot when she was explaining her answer–but I couldn’t get that question out of my mind all afternoon “what do I want to keep?”

Here is what my mind came up with as to the reason why “what do I want to keep?” works so much better than “what can I toss?”

When we declutter, most of us walk into a room and start looking for items we are willing to part with. However, when you ask the question “what can I toss?” you focus on what you are losing. After all–you are giving it away. The problem is that for many of us losing is associated with negative emotions. For instance we experience great sorrow when we lose a loved one or great fear when we lose our jobs. Plus, your mind knows that to toss something means to live without something and that stirs up the whole “what if you need it later?” question that causes many of us to grab items from the toss pile and put them right back in the keep pile.

However, when you ask the question “what do I want to keep?” your brain starts thinking about the phrase Kondo is famous for: “what sparks joy?” After all, you don’t want to keep something that doesn’t bring you joy in some way. Plus, your mind associates the question “what do I want to keep?” with you being in control, which is a much more positive experience than loss.

The shift is small but powerful. Suddenly possessions lose their power and you gain it.

I know it sounds odd, but it really works.

I dare you to try a little decluttering experiment. Choose one area of your home that is in bad need of a decluttering. First, enter the room and start asking the question “what can I toss?” Several days after you’ve finished, enter into the same room and ask the question “what do I want to keep?” My guess is that you will find yourself tossing even more the second time around even though you thought you got everything the first time because the act of decluttering became a more positive experience when you felt more in control by changing the question.

If you need support with your decluttering join the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group where we are helping each other toss clutter one inch at a time.

 For more ways to combat clutter try reading:

Make Over Your Mornings

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30X12 Challenge: April Update


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This month I had a little bit of help from my daughter. She gave her room a really good cleaning and ended up tossing a few things in my 30 item pile for April.

April's 30 pile

You are looking at my 30 things going either to the thrift store or the garbage this month. In the pile are stuffed animals, slips I never wear, bibles I have not used in quite a while (I have others I love more), plastic bottles gotten free at 5k’s, craft items and more.

What did you toss this month?

A Short Free Video Series That Will Encourage You

If you are like me sometimes all the household clutter can make you feel like a failure as a mom. After all, so and so down the street never seems to have a stray toy in her house and she has more children than you!

Or perhaps it isn’t clutter that has you feeling like a failure as a mom but something else related to homemaking, whatever it is take a few minutes today to watch this short video series and let it refill you mom tanks with encouragement.


30 times 12 challenge

Join the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group as we declutter our homes one inch at a time!


How To Have A Better Morning Without Getting Up Earlier


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Are you tired of mornings where you fly out of bed and rush, rush, rush? Me too!

Do you constantly get told that the solution to your problem is simply to get up earlier? Me too–but um–I already get up somewhere between 5 and 6 am so I don’t think that is my problem. Actually, I know with 100% certainty it isn’t my problem and I am almost as certain that it isn’t your problem either–even if you get up several hours later than I do.

How To Have A Better Morning Without Getting Up Earlier--It is a lot easier than you think!

The Solution To Rushed Mornings

I found my solution to rushed mornings in Crystal Paine’s new course Make Over Your Evenings and I plan to share a big part of it with you below, but to completely makeover your mornings from over-stuffed and overwhelming to manageable and sane, you will need to enroll in the course.

How to have a better morning without waking up earlier!

How To Have A Better Morning Without Getting Up Earlier

In day 9 of Crystal’s Make Over Your Evening course, a light bulb went off in my head.  She was talking about placing things you need for errands that next day near the front door when suddenly in my head I started thinking of all I could do at night that I have been cramming into the morning hours.

I admit this isn’t the first time I have heard about preparing for morning the night before, but up until now I have always combated it with the excuse that I am so brain-fried at night that I would rather use that time to just relax. After all, I deserve to relax after a long hard day of homeschooling, homemaking, and blogging.

That attitude problem was causing me to have to fit too much into my mornings–a time when I am most alert and capable of my best work.

As I watched Crystal pack her purse for the next day for her camera crew, I started thinking of all the no-brainer things I do each morning that I could take time to do in the evening even with a fried brain.

3 morning tasks I am moving to evenings and how it is freeing up 25 minutes each morning without overloading my evenings.

3 Morning Tasks I Am Moving To Evenings

Your tasks that you can move might not match mine, but that is understandable; you are not living my life and I am not living yours. I am simply listing mine so that it will get the wheels turning in your head of what you could take out of your morning routine and put into your evening hours to make mornings a little less hectic.

1. Pick out an Outfit for the Next Day

I am already in the habit of picking out a workout outfit and placing it on the kitchen table each night before I go to bed so it just seems natural for me to take just 5 to 10 minutes more to pick out an “after workout” outfit as well.

I have always fought this idea, saying the Indiana weather is just too unpredictable to decided what makes sense to wear the night before–but seriously–that excuse should have died years ago when handy weather apps became available.

I have already been practicing this a day or  two and it is making mornings a whole lot less stressful–and not just for me.  It also helps my poor husband, who is often still in bed when I am getting out of the shower, and was enduring having to pull the covers over his head while I turned on the lights to pick out an outfit.

Time to do this each evening: 5 to 10 minutes

2. Assign Children Their Chores

We have a chore chart that I fill out for the children each day. The chart is a lifesaver for me, it has freed up so much of my time to pursue blog work and it provides my children with money to learn to manage well.

However, it takes around 10 minutes each morning to fill out. I can just as easily look around my house at night and see what house-cleaning tasks I can assign to the kids the next day as I can in the morning. It does not require a fully alert brain to write down “fold laundry” or “wash dishes.”

Time to do this each evening: 10 minutes 

3. Put Work Gear Where it Needs to be

Since I work from home, I don’t need to prepare my purse or lunch or diaper bag for the kids (long past the diaper  stage), but since our home is small, my office is a floating one.

By floating I mean I work wherever it is quietest and that depends on not just the day, but the time of day. It takes me about 5 minutes to gather all my work gear from where I was working the night before to where I am going to be working that morning.

Each night I am going to make it a habit to think through where I will be starting work the next day and place the supplies I need to work in that place.

Time to do this each evening: 5 minutes

How To find 25 extra minutes each morning without getting up earlier.

Time Saved In The Morning & How I’m Making The Tasks Fit Into My Night Time Routine

If you add the time it takes me to do those 3 tasks, I have freed 20 to 25 minutes for my mornings without getting up any earlier.  What would you do with an extra 25 minutes each morning? Work out? Read? Study God’s Word? Take a longer shower? I am planning to get more blog work done. Boring, I know, but by getting it done while I am most alert I can relax and do fun things that require me to be less alert later in the day.

Of course, that also means I need to find 25 minutes at night to do these tasks. My plan is to do them right after dinner when I still have a bit of energy left. I am going to have to practice self discipline to not hit the couch with a good book before they are done, but I know the reward is that I can now read my book in the evening without thinking of all that blog work I didn’t get done.

I have been practicing this new routine the last few nights and it really hasn’t felt like it has added stress to my evenings in any way, but it sure has taken stress OUT of my mornings.

A few More Ideas of Things You Might Want to Shift to Evening Time

  • breakfast prep
  • getting the dishwasher started
  • writing out your to do list
  • setting out your workout gear
  • signing kids’ papers for school and placing them in their bags
  • cleaning the kitchen counters
  • making lunches
  • deciding what is for dinner

Once again, what works for your evening routine is going to depend on the unique nature of your family and your stage of life, but having a evening routine is going to make mornings run smoothly without even having to get out of bed one minute earlier than you do now!

How You Can Achieve Morning Success Too!

How To Have A Better Morning Without Getting Up Earlier--It is a lot easier than you think!

A blog post doesn’t allow me to share all that I am doing to make over my evenings in order to make over my mornings without getting up earlier.

However, the 14 day course Make Over Your Evenings does! Crystal walks you through exactly what you need to achieve success with her simple 5, 5, 5 formula. A daily 5 minute video, followed by 5 minutes of reading and wrapped up with 5 minutes of filling out a worksheet that will help you come up with a night-time plan that caters perfectly to your needs.

Go grab your copy here!