Krista Lockwood is the Founder of Motherhood Simplified, where she teaches decluttering for moms who don’t necessarily want to be full-blown minimalists. In 2013, she and her husband moved from Alaska to Florida with only one suitcase each. While she doesn’t believe you need to go that extreme, she has been able to master the balance of having enough, but not too much.
To connect with Krista, head to:
- Her website: https://motherhoodsimplified.com/
- Her courses: https://motherhoodsimplified.com/courses/
- Her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/motherhood_simplified/
- Her Fb page: https://www.facebook.com/motherhoodsimplified/
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and how you began the journey of teaching moms how to live simplified.
My husband and I are both born and raised in Alaska. In 2013 he was an entrepreneur and realized that there were not so many things to do in Alaska, so we decided to move to a big city to have more opportunities. Then, he took an interview in Florida, went down there, and accepted it on the spot. We only had a week to move, shipping our stuff from Alaska to Florida was too expensive so I stayed back and got rid of everything other than what fit into our suitcases, like a suitcase of clothes and a suitcase of toys for our kids. And we just started over and it was amazing. I didn’t even know that word like minimalism or decluttering was even in my vocabulary. I definitely didn’t know that it was something that people did on purpose.
My life felt totally different, I thought it was for the culture and climate shock, but in hindsight, I can see that it was because I wasn’t overwhelmed trying to keep up with laundry, and organization. I had the unique experience of getting a chance to cut ties with everything. So I decided to ask the mothers in my community if they wanted me to teach them how to get rid of some of their things. I’m not really a master of the order, I don’t have a good schedule, I just have less stuff.
When you’re packing only two suitcases and getting rid of all this stuff in Alaska, did it always feel awesome, or were there moments when getting rid of this stuff felt like a grieving process?
The process of getting rid of all of our stuff was awful. I didn’t have anybody telling me that I was going to get a lot of freedom, time, and energy from that. I was just like a mess, I also owned a preschool at that time and I also had to get rid of everything there while also like continuing care – I wasn´t going to leave these parents high and dry. It was just chaos, it was such a loss.
I went through the same process that everybody goes through when getting rid of their stuff. I felt like an irresponsible parent getting rid of all this stuff, but not knowing that on the other side of it, I actually was able to be a way better parent than I was when I was like so stressed out all the time. It’s funny because decluttering is like a good balance of a logical approach and an emotional approach.
For a lot of moms – we have those things around the house for those “just-in-case” scenarios. I might need that costume for one of my kids one day, or those random sewing pins I set aside for projects down the road. What about those “just in a case” items we may find hard to part with? How do you tackle prioritizing what we keep in our homes?
It is the most common thing and it was the biggest thing that I dealt whit when I was leaving Alaska. I still come up on it sometimes, but not very much. At the very most basic level of starting decluttering, you can just ask yourself this series of questions to help you get clear on if it’s worth keeping or not.
- Do I need it? – You’re probably going to say yes, so ask yourself; when do I need it? When will I actually use this?
- Is it worth keeping around for that potential scenario that might come up?
Let’s talk about the impact that having a tidy home can have on mental health. Why do you think a cluttered home can be such a trigger for moms?
So my life prior in Alaska was like going to work and coming home to more work. It was just constantly on. Like I wake up in the morning feeling behind on like yesterday’s stuff. I had to choose between like, do I want to just close my eyes and pretend like all of that work doesn’t exist. Do I want to go work more? It was not a fun cycle.
And then when we got to Florida I actually got two teaching jobs and so on paper, I was working more for less money, we left our family, and our support system, and we moved to a neighborhood where my kids were the only ones who spoke English. And yeah, it should have felt way more stressed out. But I could go and come home at the end of the day and everything was easy to keep up on. It was easy to just make dinner and then it was easy to just take time and connect with my kids and reconnect with my husband, and work out if I wanted to work out after they went to bed. I just had so much time.
I think that’s the best way of explaining it. My house was easy to be in, and my house no longer felt like more work for me. And that’s still true.
When you start really getting rid of a lot of stuff, at least for me, it felt like you were wasting a lot of money on things you don’t even need or care about. Then you just don’t want stuff in your space again, unless it’s something that you really love and enjoy.
For the women listening to that want to get their kids and husband on board because they probably have a lot of stuff that needs to be decluttered. How do you go about that with your clients? What’s the best approach? And do you recommend involving our kids in making the decisions for all of their stuff?
Always start with your own stuff first. If you can take a moment and choose to declutter your stuff, or at least like common area stuff, and just lead by example, two things happen and that is that your family takes as an example and they see that you are doing it for the well-being of all. That gives you a lot of credibility, it will make them trust you, and when you invite them to do it, they will not feel that you are attacking them.
You can’t really teach somebody how to do something unless you know how to do it. When you get a better idea of what it actually feels like to let go of your stuff so you can empathize with your kids you can guide them through the decision-making process.
And, talking about our kids, it depends on their ages. We do have a responsibility to know, like, are our kids even capable of making decisions? If you consider that they don’t have the brain development for that kind of decision yet, start helping them. Then you can explain to them about letting go of things that are old, do not fit us, or that don’t work anymore.
One really helpful thing, especially for like kids who are probably eight and under, is letting them come into your bedroom and help you actually declutter your stuff and telling them like, “I’m gonna get rid of these shoes because … or I’m going to get rid of these pillows because …”. . So they can actually practice it without it being their stuff and they can see your process.
Also, I do think as a parent it’s a good idea to just go through and do a clean sweep.
When people come to you and they’re like “I want do all of this, but it feels really wasteful to get rid of this excellent stuff” What’s the mindset shift there that you offer them?
We live in a society of overconsumption. Everybody has the same kind of clutter. So one thing is to just kind of accept that we over-consumed in the first place.
And there’s a lot of studies and just information out there that I’ve gone down the rabbit hole and I’ve recorded podcast episodes on it about how like our country, like the United States and Canada, we have so much stuff that we actually offload our donations onto third world countries, and they’re getting stuff that they don’t have any use. And so part of it is just accepting that this is where we’re at and we have a responsibility to stop the overconsumption in the first place.
For moms, I teach it kind of on a scale when you’re first starting out and you’re really overwhelmed. Get rid of your stuff in the simplest way possible. Like, getting rid of the stuff that you can trash. And then you move up to a place where you can donate things or coordinate listing and selling your stuff or taking it directly to sources.
It’s a scale; so don’t feel bad about starting down here. You’ll get to a place where you have higher-quality stuff. But it’s not realistic really to expect to do that right off the bat, and it’s definitely not realistic to do it.