Fall Closet Clean-out!

I’ve cleaned out my closet dozens of times. I’ve sworn each time it would be my last. I’ve done it all different ways… Hello, Mari Kondo! Does this spark joy? Way too many pieces did, in fact spark joy. I’ve also attempted to go through my closet based on how often I’d worn something. Was it gifted and never worn, etc.? But the deal is, no matter how I did it, the process of cleaning out my closet was stressful and tedious. I usually do it quarterly, so I’m not even going through all of my clothes at once. Just one season at a time, and it’s still WAY too much! Ask my mom, my husband, and a few special friends who have helped me on this minimalist mission to pare down my closet. I’m sure they’ll agree that it was nuts how many clothes (and shoes, and bags, and hair products, and makeup items… ) I had to go through. That should have told me something quite a while ago, but alas. Here I am finally figuring it out after all this time.

My starting point this season.

The Process

I cleaned out my closet over the last couple of weeks – this time I did it in small bursts. Hello, moms! I know you get this. We do things when we can. Right? I also got completely caught up on laundry, so I had a true measure of what I had to go through. So what was different this time? Well, I happened upon a Fall Refresh challenge by Fashion Meets Faith, Shari Braedel, and I latched onto her concepts, and here we are!

Shari started us out by giving us small tasks a day – go through your makeup, go through your underwear drawer, get 27 matching hangers, try on all your jeans and set aside your two favorites, etc. I followed along each day, getting excited because these were things I could actually do without getting overwhelmed! And then on the last day she released her CLOSET OUTFIT PLANNER! Holy moly, this is what I’ve been looking for… tell me what colors work best for me, how to put outfits together with the best on trend colors and styles this season… Yes, please!!!! And then, it’s so simple to know what to get rid of once I put it all together. I’m sold, and I am excited to share it with you!

Closet Outfit Planner, Fall 2020

Here’s what my “final” 27 hangers for this season looks like! I say “final” loosely because I am leaving things flexible. For example, there’s an empty hanger for a pair of navy joggers I plan to get soon. And apparently in fashion there are only two seasons, and Fall/Winter are together as one. Who knew? You probably did, but I certainly did not! So I’ve added in my suggested trend color (pumpkin) and some animal print for Fall, and I plan to swap some of those pieces in December. You might already know that I love a good Christmas sweater, Mrs. Claus dress, and basically any other festive items of clothing. Stay tuned, I’m sure I’ll end up sharing some of those outfits on social media! But the cool part about this capsule wardrobe is now that I have my basics and neutrals pretty much dialed in, these transitions will be pretty simple!

27 Hangers – Fall 2020

The Plan

Did I get rid of everything else in this season that I own? Good question. No, but I did get rid of quite a bit. I think the reason it’s easier for me to get rid of some more clothing now than in the past, is that I’m adamant about not staying in my current size. In my last post I talked about my health journey, if you’d like to know more about that. So anything I am not using in this capsule that I don’t love or plan to use through winter/early spring in my current size is gone. When I go through my clothes for our next clothing swap, I plan to bring anything that’s gotten too big or that I can’t size down with as I go.

Also, I have been thinking about the containers on The Home Edit. They put everything in containers as they organize it, and they said it’s to give you boundaries. If you have a particular bin for snacks, for example, you don’t buy more than that which will fit into that bin. I think this is why the idea of 27 hangers is so great. We know that if we pick the right pieces (use the guide, she tells you how to do it!), we don’t need more than that! We can make so many outfits by mixing and matching our items, that there’s no need to expand beyond the boundary we have set for ourselves for each season’s capsule!

Here’s my plan to keep it under control now and forevermore! I plan to keep a capsule for each season (using the closet planner), and to use a beautiful antique trunk that I was given recently – passed down from family – to store the rest! No more pulling out and sorting several stored bins of clothing for me. I will neatly store my out of season wardrobe, and any accent pieces not in use but still relevant, in my trunk! If it doesn’t fit, it goes! This of course excludes lounge wear, undergarments (I include layering tanks in this category), workout clothes, pajamas, etc. All of these items are kept in drawers, separate from my capsule items.

I hope this helps motivate and inspire you to clean out your closet! I’d love to hear how it goes for you, and also what color code you are. I’m a Soft Sister, and navy is my new black. What about you? Drop a comment below, or share on social media and tag me @livelikeadaylily so I can see your fall closet!

It’s now or never.

Have you ever seen the movie “Brittany Runs a Marathon”? I just watched it for the first time a few weeks ago. I bawled like a baby. Why? Because I have gone through so much of what Brittany did in that story, and when she crosses that finish line, I was so proud of her! I wish I could be that proud of myself.

A couple of weeks after watching that movie, I had a follow up doctor’s appointment for my blood pressure (I had preeclampsia with this pregnancy). All my labs were good and my BP was fairly regulated, but then my doctor brought up my weight. She said I either needed to lose weight myself by our next appointment (in 5-6 weeks), or we need to talk meds or bariatric surgery. In the movie, this is Brittany’s eye-opening moment, too. Her doctor tells her she has to lose weight or she’s facing serious health issues (she has to lose about 50 lbs, I have to lose at least twice that).

I talked to my mom and my husband when I got home, told them what had gone down, and said that I refused to take medicine or get surgery for my weight. So I would need help and support to do this through nutrition and exercise. No more ordering pizza for every family gathering, more healthy options for quick and easy meals at home, etc. I am surprisingly active for a morbidly obese person, believe it or not. I have stayed consistent with doing an intense workout at least 4 times a week, maybe more, for a few months now. But my doctor said that it’s time to dial in the nutrition to see the scale go down. Track the calories. Ugh. Track the calories?! I didn’t want to do it. This triggers so many warnings for me in my head! Don’t do it! You’ll get obsessed! You won’t be healthy!

Eating Disorders

I’ve had eating disorders for as long as I can remember. Overeating to the point of feeling sick and still going, under-eating to the point of constant dizziness, throwing up what I ate so I didn’t absorb the calories, and I ate those little red pills you used to be able to get at gas stations like they were Tic Tacs. I’ve gone on crash diets, fasted, juiced, counted points, counted carbs, ate nothing but cabbage soup, ate only prepackaged meal replacements, protein shakes, skinny shakes… you name it. I’ve tried it. I can lose weight. I’ve done it countless times. I was even a health coach for a certain meal replacement company after losing over a hundred pounds. But doing it in a healthy way AND keeping it off? That’s where you lose me.

Becoming a Runner

In the movie, Brittany is a party girl, she is chubby, and she has crappy friends. Been there! Boy I have I ever. But now I don’t have that excuse. I am in a healthy marriage, I have fantastic friends, and a supportive and loving family. The only person not caring about me and my health is me. So, now what? Well, Brittany decides to try to run. She can barely get down the block that first day. But she ends up going running with her annoying neighbor (Moneybags Martha), meets another newbie runner, and creates her support system. She works out regularly, eats healthy, and ditches her crappy friend and nights at the club for more sleep and better habits. Then she signs up for a marathon! I’ve always wanted to be a runner. I envy those that just throw on their shoes, step outside, and take off on a run. No equipment required. No gym membership needed. No one to rely on but yourself. No schedule necessary. I want that for myself. I always have. I just haven’t stuck with it. I’ve always been a horrible runner, even in sports in high school I was the last one in on the one mile run.

I don’t have a running club in my area that I’m aware of, but I do have running shoes. And a running app. And two feet. And a push to get started. So, on Monday, I became a runner. I mean, it’s way more of an awkward shuffle at this point, but I did it. I’m shooting to jog a 5k on Thanksgiving, and my Couch to 5k running app will have me finishing my training at the perfect time for that. So, it was a no brainer. I’ve added that into my routine. I’ve done this multiple times before, but I’ve never finished it. This time I will. It’s now or never.

Body Image

I used to hate myself. Mostly because of my body. I never believed anyone would ever want me or love me because I was big. In high school I never dated anyone. In fact the guys all thought it was hilarious to call me “Ish”, because apparently I looked like the big dude on Kingpin. Talk about squashing an already teetering self-esteem. My other name was Jolly Green Giant. High school sucked. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized people would either like me for who I was, or they wouldn’t. And it shouldn’t go beyond that. My personality, my quirks, my experiences, my doubts, my dreams, my education, my talents, AND my body make up who I am. I’m one package of all of these things, and if you don’t like the whole package, well, then you don’t get to be in my circle. I still struggled with that for many years. Finding myself in toxic relationships where I was never good enough, thin enough, successful enough, etc. But now, I am not thrilled that I’m as large as I am, but I don’t hate myself or my body. I don’t think I’m hideous to look at. I am strong, and I have birthed two beautiful babies. And my body is about so much more than my size.

Losing weight now isn’t about changing what I look like, or making myself more attractive for someone else. It’s about being healthy. For me. For my husband. And for my kids. I want to be active and fun, adventurous, and joyful, and live for a long time loving on my family. It’s now or never. And I am choosing now.

It’s been four months…

On the 19th of every month I plan to share our story of Prudence. Today, September 19th, marks four months since Prudence’s day of life.

It’s been four months since I was induced unexpectedly and had Prudence a month and a few days early. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, and other days I still can’t believe we have already met her and that she’s gone. Funny how grief makes time do weird things, isn’t it?

I have been trying to figure out what to say today, what part of our story to share, and how I was going to do it. And I couldn’t figure it out. So here I am, typing away as I drink my morning coffee, not knowing where this post is going to go.

Let’s start from the beginning. That is one thing that I think ended up being a blessing for us. We were able to sort of grieve throughout the entire pregnancy, because we found out at about 10 weeks that we weren’t likely to have a healthy baby. When I went to the doctor and expressed my concerns I talk about below, we ended up getting an ultrasound that led to us getting an immediate referral to Iowa City, putting us in the right hands to deal with whatever was coming at us in the best possible way. I am sincerely grateful for our Midwife and the nurses that day, who not only handled me with care, but let me go, so that I could get the help I needed elsewhere.

Here’s what I wrote in March on my Caringbridge site, about when we first discovered something was wrong in our pregnancy.

I knew I wanted a safe place to share our journey with you, but I haven’t really known where to start. I was looking over these sonagram pictures today, and decided I would start on this day. The day we found out something wasn’t quite right.

We found out we were pregnant on October 15th, the day of Jude’s one year photo shoot, and 3 days before my grandma passed away. We didn’t share with anyone for a while, deciding rather to keep this good news to ourselves, and share once some of the grieving with family over grandma had subsided a bit. As far as we knew, we were pregnant with a healthy baby, I was healthy, and this was a joyous announcement that we couldn’t wait to share with family and friends! 

From the very beginning of this pregnancy, things were different for me than how I had felt during my pregnancy with Jude. I was always sick to my stomach, and I just didn’t want to get out as much – we thought maybe we were having a girl! Even though I was often feeling sick, I was working out a lot, and feeling pretty proud of myself for doing so… until I started bleeding. I was terrified. I called my doctor’s office more than once and they kept assuring me it was normal, but it didn’t seem normal to me. I quit my intense workouts, and the bleeding stopped. That was the week of Thanksgiving. We ended up announcing our pregnancy as planned when we visited family, even though at that point I was afraid something was wrong. 

When we went to our next doctor’s appointment, we were scared and just wanted to hear the baby’s heartbeat. They couldn’t find it with the fetal monitor, which they said was normal due to the tilt in my cervix, so they did an internal ultrasound. We saw the baby, and we were so excited to hear her strong heartbeat, see her cute little wave for the camera, and be assured she was safe and sound. That is, until the midwife came in to talk about the ultrasound. And that is when our whole world shifted. 

Our midwife said that they noticed a growth, called a cystic hygroma, which typically means there’s something wrong with the baby. She ordered a blood panel for genetic testing, and referred us to Iowa City. The nurse had tears in her eyes and both her and the midwife hugged me. At that point I knew something was terribly wrong.


So where am I at today? Well, I am doing my best. “Doing my best” is the most authentic, meaningful way to express myself without having to go into a lot of detail when I’m either unable or unwilling to share. And it’s true. In our home we have pictures from the hospital of Prudence, one with each of us, some on the mantle and on the bureau. We were gifted some beautiful pieces that we display lovingly that remind us of Prudence: canvas prints of a couple of photos, framed song lyrics to Dear Prudence, a wind chime, several angels, a hand-painted watercolor, and more. Those things are spread around our home and yard as beautiful reminders of our time with our little girl.

I visit her grave often. She doesn’t have a marker yet, but she will have a lovely one right under my dad’s at some point. I actually just put this hanging basket of mums out there this week. I don’t know how long they will last, but it makes me feel good to switch out the flowers occasionally. I think it sends a message (maybe just to me) that I’m still caring for her or attending to her, in some strange way. I find myself driving past often, even if I don’t stop. Probably my mother’s instinct coming through, I suppose. She’s buried with my dad, and near several other family members, so I feel some comfort in that. I hope to be buried near her someday. That’s something I hadn’t really thought of much before, but now I am sure of my desire to have a plot near my baby.

Feeling Those Fall Vibes

It’s that time of year again and many of us are running to get a pumpkin spice latte, buying mums, making our homes feel cozy, and switching out our wardrobes from summer dresses to sweaters and scarves. I love this season change so much, particularly in the Midwest. It is such a beautiful and cozy time! I’m all about cuddling up under blankets, watching sappy Hallmark movies, sipping wine, and enjoying our fireplace to the fullest. But in order to achieve all of this coziness, I have some serious work to do! Let’s break it down…

Home Declutter

The last thing I want to do when I’m in my sweats, under a blanket with a glass of yummy wine, binging sappy movies (or Cobra Kai or The Home Edit), is look at a bunch of clutter sitting around. I don’t know about you, but I have a very hard time relaxing and enjoying my home when it’s messy and especially when I have piles of “projects” or chores calling me off the couch.

You may have noticed if you follow me on Instagram or facebook, that I’ve been in a huge decluttering mode for a while… actually it’s been a few years in the making according to my fb memories! Well most recently I tackled my basement, and by tackled I mean I got some of it done and then I had my husband bring up a bunch of boxes. Those boxes have been sitting on kitchen counters, in my foyer, and on my back porch. You guys, it was a LOT of clutter and it was extremely stressful and overwhelming, but I knew it would force me to actually go through it and get it done. Yesterday was the day! I was motivated by the idea of being able to decorate with my favorite fall stuff, making my home super cozy and comfy, and being able to actually sit back, relax and enjoy it! I set my timer for 30 minutes (I think I hit reset 3 or 4 times), and put on an oldie but a goodie, The Sweet Home Alabama Soundtrack, (I may have listened to it more than once)! But that’s the point. I made myself focus for 30 minutes, but my husband was on baby duty, I was suddenly in the mode, and I just kept going until I got it done! Hallelujah! I might have been motivated by the fact that I got a decent burn pile out of it, and I love watching fire, and also the cleansing affect it has when you’re clearing out clutter! Of course I sat with a glass of wine while I watched. Talk about relaxing! I highly encourage you to set a timer, put on a favorite playlist, and knock out those projects or cluttered areas you’ve been putting off. It will be so worth it when you light that Simmering Cider candle and sit back and relax with a cup of hot cider (or wine 🤷‍♀️).

Home Decor

I recently listened to a podcast that changed my life! Ok, I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I think most of them change my life. That’s the beauty of finding ones that speak to us and give value and meaning to our day! One of my favorites is Minimal-ish by Desirae Endres, and she recently hosted The Nester, Myquillyn Smith, author of Welcome Home. In this episode, she specifically talked about how to make our homes cozy and festive without letting go of our simplicity and decluttered goals. I love her suggestion of using all 5 of your senses to decorate. Think about the things you want to see, smell, feel, hear and taste this season! I naturally do most of these things, baking pumpkin or apple recipes, getting a new candle, and setting out way too many fake gourds. But this year I am working towards using less visual clutter, only putting out decorations that I really love and spark joy for me, and filling in with the rest of the senses! I swapped out our throws for heavier, neutral colored ones, I’ve baked an apple crumble, I’ve been listening to slower, softer music, and I swapped out my diffuser blends with some fun autumn recipes. I love this concept, as it not only aligns with having a simple space, but it is an all-encompassing way to enjoy each new season!

Closet Cleanout

I’ve also talked about this process on IG and fb, so feel free to check out posts you may have missed for before and after pictures. But holy cow I know I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed with seasonal wardrobe switches! I mean, I’ve donated or sold soooo many clothes over the past few years, and I still get stressed about it! There are many, many ways to clean out your closet. Many different views on how you should minimize and organize your clothes. I’ve tried several ways, and I’m going to share a few of my favorites with you now!

  • Courtney Carver’s Project 333 approach is to only have 33 items in your closet (including shoes and accessories) at a time for 3 months. She gives suggestions and examples, but it’s not an exact science, and she encourages you to make it work for you.
  • Marie Kondo says to go through all of your clothes at once, regardless of season, and keep only what sparks joy.
  • Melanie Kruger, The Confident Closet, is a fun and creative influencer who helps you find your style and encourages you to show up for yourself each day. She’s sweet and sassy, and super into bold lips and fun accessories.
  • Shari Braendel, Fashion Meets Faith, has a color coding system, where you find what colors work best and get rid of the rest! She also does a 27 Hangers program, and specializes in fashion help for Christian women “over a certain age”.

I’ve done all of these (except the 27 Hangers – I’m actually getting a training on that today). What I’ve found is that I want someone to tell me exactly what to do, and then I will break the rules that enable me to make it my own. Marie Kondo’s method stressed me out to no end. How the heck was I supposed to know what to keep? Does this black tee spark joy? I have no idea. I did find it super helpful as an initial tool to weed out a ton of clothes I didn’t really care about.

I really liked the idea of Project 333, and it did indeed simplify my life by streamlining my closet, but I wanted more specific details on what to have. Also, I wanted more accessories and ways to add a little more flair to my look than this specific number allowed for me. Which is one of the things I enjoyed most about learning from Melanie Kluger’s The Confident Closet. She encourages you to always add an accessory. Like, when you think you’re ready to go, add something such as a bold lipstick, a fun piece of jewelry, jacket or whatever. This pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me having a lot of fun wearing different hats and sunglasses and such, and I got a lot of compliments and people saying “that’s so you”. Who knew! I usually wear lounge clothes these days. Stay-at-home toddler mom = wearing pajamas/lounge clothes until I have to go somewhere most days!

What I’m obsessed with right now? Shari Braendel’s Fall Refresh! Today is the last day, so I’m still learning and am in the middle of my closet overhaul, but I’m having so much fun! I’ll be honest, I’m one of very few ladies that are not “of a certain age” in this group, and if that doesn’t work for you, Melanie is your gal! But I’m having a blast and learning so much, and am getting a lot of great feedback! I’m a “Soft” according to her color test, which I have known for a while now, and have used it to do a huge closet sweep at one point. But now I’m diving into it deeper, learning about how to capitalize on my best colors in my closet and makeup drawer, adding in some fun trends, and letting go of more things that just don’t work for me as well. It’s such a cool way to clean out my closet and switch it over to a fresh fall wardrobe! I’ll post some pictures on IG and fb, so be sure to catch me there as I go through this process if you want updates. I am in a specific support group for this challenge, so maybe that’s another reason I’m enjoying this so much, but I love having the specific instructions. Like, don’t wear this. Wear that instead. Except for the “softs don’t wear black” one. I still have a hard time with that!

I hope some of these ideas and resources help you find new and fun ways to get ready for fall! If you have fun ideas for transitioning seasons in your home and closet, please comment or message me on social media! I’d love to hear from you.

Let’s Talk Underwear!

Let’s be honest about something really quickly… most of us wear underwear, and some of us wear bras. How many of us have actually found ones that they love wearing every day? It seems like just when I find something that works, my body changes (hello, moms, I know you can relate!), and then BOOM, they are the worst. I recently went on a personal mission to revamp my underwear drawer, and here’s how it went!

My requirements:

  • Must be comfortable. Duh! Why do we often make this a last priority for bras and underwear?
  • Must fit properly. No constant pulling up or down, no fidgeting with straps, no pinching, no jabbing, no gaps, no pain.
  • Must make me feel good. Yes, even comfortable underwear that fits us properly can be sexy and fun!
  • Must be ethically made. This is a new thing for me in my closet, which I will share more about in a later post.
  • Must be versatile. I need to be able to wear it under all of my clothes. This seems obvious, but looking back at past undergarment purchases, I definitely didn’t have this part figured out!

I started my search by looking at ethical underwear brands using the app Good On You – “Our recognised and trusted ethical rating system, advice and information are a part of this global mission, leading the way towards a more sustainable and fair fashion industry.”

I was able to browse which brands carried plus size clothing, browse by category, and also add filters to meet my needs. I found two brands that sounded good to me, and I liked their products for different reasons! Here’s how it went.


I started with Thunderpants! They’re fun, size-inclusive, and had amazing reviews!

Click on the picture to check out their collections!

I got the Women’s Original Plain Vanilla undies and the matching bralette. Ladies, they really are as wonderful as the reviews say they are! The underwear is different than anything I’ve ever tried. It’s basically like granny panties meets fashionable, cute undies that you can feel good in! They stay put, no tugging or pulling at all. And the organic cotton is thick and stretchy, so it kind of holds me in, while at the same time not pinching or making me uncomfortable at all. They recommend us extra voluptuous ladies get this style to prevent rolling down, which apparently can be an issue with the hipster. No rolling down at all with the original for me, so I’m sticking to these! If you are sized for the hipster and try them out, let me know what you think. I also plan to try the shorts and camis at some point! I’ll update you when I do.

The bralette is ridiculously comfy, and surprisingly supportive! I was shocked, thinking it would be more of a casual option for me similar to a comfy sports bra. But it’s so not that! I’ve worn it under many shirts and dresses and it’s fantastic! The *only* thing that didn’t work for me for this one is that I often need a thinner strap… and that’s where Pansy comes in.


I decided to try Pansy, because they had multiple style options for bras, and pretty colors!

Click on the picture to check out their collections!

I decided to get the black ones for these since I already got white, and I chose the Full Bra and the High Rise undies. Honestly I won’t spend much time on the underwear. I am keeping them, and I’ll continue wearing them because they’re not cheap! But they just didn’t fit me nearly as well as the Thunderpants and they seem to be quite a bit more fragile. I just don’t see them lasting as long. They also aren’t as stretchy, so although I got the appropriate size, they pinch my inner leg and just don’t stay put like the Thunderpants do! You might love them, though. Everyone has a different size and shape, so maybe these are just not made for mine.

I chose the full bra because it was recommended as the best one for my size, and also because the others were noted as more delicate. I am cool with delicate laundry care if it’s spelled out for me, but I’m hard on clothes. I just am. Plus I have a toddler who is constantly pulling on me and spilling things on me. Delicate just seemed to be a bad idea. The Full Bra is super comfy! It gives me a little lift, the straps are ridiculously soft elastic, and they *stay in place*! This is a huge problem for me with “regular” bras because I had a shoulder injury and my shoulders aren’t even, yes, they slip off even when I adjust the straps! I like how it has a lot less fabric than the Thunderpants bralette, so I can easily wear it with many types of dresses and tanks and shirts. I do think that even though this isn’t their most delicate option, that it still seems a lot thinner and more delicate and I wonder if it will last as long as my Thunderpants bralette. I’ll keep you posted!

Final Thoughts

In my search for the perfect items for my underwear drawer, I kept asking myself (and my husband, mom, and a few close friends), how many should I have? Literally tell me how many bras and pairs of underwear to put in my drawer. Nobody would answer, because of course everyone has different needs, different clothing styles, and different lifestyles! So here’s what I came up with after a *lot* of thinking and talking about underwear over the last month or so.

I need 7 different bras. Yep. Even as someone striving for simplicity in my life and in my closet, I do think I need 7. I have so many different types of shirts and dresses that I enjoy wearing, some light and some dark, and I would love to have a comfy, flattering bra for all of it! I am thinking I probably need 10 pairs of underwear – I’m still undecided on this, but it makes sense to me at the moment! Here’s the breakdown.

  • 1 Sports Bra – Undecided, but maybe Pansy
  • 2 Cross Bras (Black & White) – Pansy
  • 2 Full Bras (Black & White) – Pansy
  • 2 Bralettes (Black & White) – Thunderpants
  • 4 Women’s Original Thunderpants (Vanilla)
  • 4 Women’s Original Thunderpants (Black)
  • 2 Pairs of obnoxious, fun underwear

I currently have *close enough* options for all of these with the addition of my two recent purchases, and as my bras and undies from random other places (Torrid, Maurices, Motherhood Maternity, Amazon, etc.) need replaced, I plan to swap them out with the ones listed above. I need to remember, and perhaps you need this reminder, that as we strive to find more ethically made options, or even if we’re just working on decluttering our belongings and finding what works best for us, the simplest, cheapest, and most ethical way to do this, is to use what we already have!

What’s with all of the decluttering?

You may be wondering why I post a lot about decluttering, when you thought my blog was going to talk about my story. More specifically, my story about Prudence. My minimalism mission was magnified by Prudence, absolutely. When I felt like my entire life was spiraling out of my control, I could focus on my minimalism journey, and give myself something positive to do that I could feel proud of. But it all really started when I found out I was pregnant with Jude. Let’s go back a bit, shall we? I think this will all make more sense that way.

I am sure I’m not the only first time mom out there who freaked out, wanting to make sure their home was perfect before the baby arrived! I did a lot of reading and listening to parenting blogs and podcasts, because I wanted to make sure I did it all “right”. I wanted to have a good plan in place for how I was going to raise my children. What I didn’t expect, was how much time I had to prepare for all of this. I started researching this stuff right after Josh and I got married, because as we often said to each other when making decisions “we’re not getting any younger, why wait”? We married in 2016, just before I turned 35, and we started trying to have kids right away. We had no idea the journey we were about to embark on.

I’m going to fast forward through all of the stress, frustrations, doctor’s appointments, and everything else that threw me for a loop that year (for now). We finally got a positive pregnancy test in the fall of 2017! We were so excited, we told everyone right away. And then a week later, we were in the ER being told we weren’t pregnant. We were absolutely devastated, and I was even more determined to get more help in our fertility journey after that. Enter University of IA, which I can not recommend enough, by the way, and just a few short months later in February 2018, we were pregnant with Jude!

I was a mama-to-be on a mission! We had just moved into a new home, a much larger one that we hoped we would fill with many children! We already had my teenage step-daughter full-time, four cats, and a dog, and we were going to be adding a baby in just months! We only moved in what we needed, decorated sparingly, and focused on making sure we didn’t overload our home with things we didn’t want or need. I went around my home like a mad woman getting rid of stuff and organizing and reorganizing it, trying to make sure everything was just right. One of the funniest moments was when I decided that I had to completely revamp my closet, which at the time was an entire large bedroom, with four completely stuffed retail clothing racks, two dressers, and an entire closet of shoes in another area! It was nuts. My mom came over to help me because I was so pregnant I couldn’t bend over to pick up the piles off the floor, and she was shocked at how many clothes and shoes I had! I’ve come a long way. I’ll share more on my wardrobe journey another time.

Fast forward again. At this point I’m a stay-at-home-mom, still trying to find my way as a purposeful caregiver to this little dude that I had waited so long for. One day I came across the term “minimalist” and it all just kind of spiraled from there! Here’s how the rabbit hole went for me… If you haven’t seen Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things, stop reading right now and click on that link! It’s life-changing!

That led me to Courtney Carver. Oh, Courtney. She changed my life with her book, Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More and her capsule wardrobe Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More, her latest book which she just released this year.

Of course then I watched the Netflix series on Marie Kondo, and read her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Then I moved onto Joshua Becker, and his The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own and then I followed his instructional book The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life.

Now, why did I share all of those resources with you? Well, because I watched them, read them, tried their methods, and consider myself pretty well-versed on the concepts of decluttering and minimizing. However, not one single method worked for me exclusively. At different parts of my minimalism journey, I used different methods, and I am finally, after over two years of working on my physical declutter, nearly ready to move onto simplifying the rest of my life. So I’m not here to tell you how to declutter, what you should or shouldn’t keep, or how to prioritize your life. What I will tell you, however, is if you watch the documentaries, or read even just one of these books with an open mind, I can guarantee you that it will improve your life. Life is too short to have our things weighing us down. Let’s let go of the excess, and “live like a daylily” – on purpose, each day, making the time and space to do what we love to do!

Why I’ll never look at a daylily the same again.

My aunt told me that a daylily only blooms for one day. That’s it. A single day. God made this beautiful flower, on purpose, to live and die in a single day. My aunt told me this on the day that my daughter lived. It was also the day that she died. May 19, 2020. That was the day we said hello and goodbye to our dear Prudence Grace. She will forever be our little daylily, made by God, on purpose, to live for one single day. People have asked how I’m doing. I mean, it’s horrible what we went through. I am not even going to lie about that. As I sit here today designing this website so that I can share my story, I keep stopping to weep. But I think this is a story that needs to be told. Prudence was only here for one day, but in that one day she taught me the biggest lesson of my life. She taught me the importance of a single day.

“We can’t know why the lily has so brief a time to bloom in the warmth of sunlight’s kiss upon its face, before it folds into its fragrance and bids the world good night to rest its beauty in a gentler place. But we can know that nothing that is loved is ever lost, and no one who has touched a heart can really pass away, because some beauty lingers on in each memory of which they’ve been a part.” -Ellen Brenneman