The Spectrum of Clutter || Why Having Too Much "Stuff" isn't Always the Problem

DSC_0475 (1).JPG

A few weeks ago, I asked my Instagram followers which “type” of clutter most weighed them down. The answers were, as you’d expect, all over the board, with most saying that physical clutter distracted them the most. But regardless of which type bogged an individual down more, one thing stood out to me as I read the comments of the photo.

Not one person said they felt like clutter didn’t affect them.

No one said that they had all aspects of their lives squared away and didn’t struggle with at least one area.

This struck me because, despite our obsession with Kon Mari-ing everything, downsizing, and ensuring our wardrobes are neatly edited and capsuled, it’s still not enough. We still feel stressed. We still feel overwhelmed…sometimes (for me at least) it’s an overall feeling of overwhelm that I can’t peg on anything in particular.

These moments of “general overwhelm”, I’ve learned, usually boil down to an excess in one of the following areas that I haven’t recognized until it’s too late.

Sure, we can’t weed out every aspect of stress or “extra” from our lives, but we can do our best to recognize when we’re doing too much, owning too much, or taking on too much and learn when to cut back. It’s been one of the healthiest mental exercises I’ve started doing for myself, and I hope that once you’ve become more aware of which area of clutter stresses you the most, it will do the same for you too. Learning to think of clutter in a broader sense can be much more helpful than you’d realize.

I’d love to hear which clutter-style you most relate to in the comments below ;)

*Disclaimer, I don’t claim to be an expert in any of these areas, nor am I a psychologist. The following areas are simply describing things I’ve noticed both in my own life and in the lives of those I love.

  1. Physical Clutter

The first “pillar of clutter” gets the worst rap of them all, likely because it’s the most visible and the most publicized. Physical clutter is out in the open, for you (and everyone who enters your home) to see. Our possessions are a reflection of what we value, so of course, they’re the first thing that gets attention when we get stressed or in need of a detox.

For some, myself included, untidiness is a major area of stress. I usually feel like I can’t sit down to write or be creative unless my space is at least a little bit cleaned up and I have a cup of coffee in hand. I’m drawn to aesthetics, so I like my space to reflect the kind of creativity I’m trying to conjure up. That’s likely why I was so drawn to minimalism after becoming a mom — it felt like the only way I could regain a sense of control and identity. Lots of you said the same thing on Instagram. You feel like you have too much stuff, too many clothes, too many unnecessary “junk drawers”.

Clearing out this clutter is a great and important step towards feeling more free, but it only scratches the surface.

IMG_7161 (1).JPG

2. Mental Clutter

It usually takes a bit of a “self-discovery” journey to figure out whether mental clutter weighs you down or if you’re able to stay more or less “on task” when it comes to your thoughts. Through learning more about myself via the Enneagram, I’ve learned that as a type 9, I have an exceptionally hard time learning which tasks to prioritize. This often leads to a brain fog where I’m aware of everything I need to do, but can’t quite nail down which item needs checked off first. Usually, I end up doing something less important (scrolling Instagram or picking up after the girls for the thousandth time) instead of doing the more intimidating but important things first.

Mental clutter can look different for everyone though. Some people are able to mentally keep track of everything (Type 1’s i’m looking at you), but for others, it’s really their mental clutter that weighs them down more than anything else.

3. Calendar Clutter

Oh, the glorification of staying busy. We get bored, so we schedule more. All too often, we subconsciously assign ourselves value through how many playdates, or meetings, or business calls we schedule for a particular week. How much we do, or achieve, instead of who we are. Having things to do somehow makes us feel more important/valuable/validated.

I wrote a few years ago about this “glorification”, making the case that being busy isn’t better. In this post, I break down a list of “why’s” for doing something — for example, I sometimes sign up for something because I think it will make someone else happy, instead of doing it because I want to do it.

I try to use the same “spark joy” mentality that I use for the belongings I keep when it comes to the way I schedule my time.

4. Emotional Clutter

Physical clutter gets a bad rap, but it only scratches the surface when it comes to other types of clutter than can weigh you down. Which type do you relate to most?

For those who feel before analyzing (feelers vs. thinkers), emotional clutter can be debilitating. Oftentimes, this boils down to drama with family or friends or stressing over an important decision and being unable to prioritize anything else.

In cases like these, it’s so important to recognize which relationships are an added weight to your life without adding joy or edification. Of course, some relationships we can’t cut out fully, but there are most certainly times when saying goodbye to a toxic or unhealthy relationship is just the thing to help your mind heal and de-clutter.


Clutter, being the buzz word that it is, can be tricky to nail down. Clearing your life from clutter completely isn’t necessarily possible (or healthy), but being aware of your clutter stressors can help you live life more fully and simply.

My Babymoon Heroes || Azura Bay + A Few Other Brands to Love

IMG_1840.JPG

A “babymoon” might seem like the cheesiest thing a pregnant couple can do but, after two non-baby-moon pregnancies, taking a vacation during this one was one of my top priorities. The transition from two kids to three is daunting (less than one to two, but, any change is nervewracking) and I knew that AJ and I likely wouldn’t have the time to get away together for a long while after this pregnancy.

So, I saved up my money from this little job here and booked us a trip to Cancun.

And let me tell you right now, all of the cheesiness is gone from the term “babymoon” now. It’s necessary. It’s healthy. It’s smart to get away.

This was by far my favorite vacation we’ve taken together — we had no agenda, nowhere to be, no one to see or please. Just each other and the beach and lots (and lots) of food and virgin drinks. We didn’t take nearly as many photos as I planned; the sign of a trip well-taken, I assume, but it was a beautiful escape that I’d 100% recommend to any mom-to-be, whether this is your first or fifth babe.

I packed fairly light for our four day excursion, but one area I went a bit overboard on (intentionally) was with swimwear. I rarely get to wear my swimsuits, so when given the chance, I decided to bring three along, even though one was really all that was necessary.

Of all the pieces (all from ethical brands either new or secondhand), my Azura Bay pieces proved to be some of the best for the occasion.

What I wore:

Black & Gold Maria Bikini Set

Lemona Romper

Neither of these pieces are “maternity” but I love the extra room in the romper for a bump and, of course, all you need to wear a bikini is a body to put it on ;)

Azura Bay stocks ethical brands from all over the world, simplifying one of the most tricky aspects of ethical shopping: finding ethically made, affordable, and beautiful undergarments.

Other Trip Heroes:

Encircled Chrysalis Cardi: although I didn’t get any photos in this piece, I wore it on both plane rides as a scarf/pillow, and wore it as a wrap dress at the resort.

Sotela Stella Jumpsuit: this piece is a forever favorite for so many reasons. You all know my love for Sotela, and this jumpsuit is a true staple in my wardrobe. It’s bump and breastfeeding-friendly too!

Bikyni Set: One of my other favorite swimwear brands, I purchased the top a few years ago and they so sweetly sent me over a pair of bottoms for our babymoon.

QuiQuattro Turkish Towel: I’ll be sharing a full post on this brand in the coming months, but when I decided we were going to Mexico, this towel was the first thing I packed. I love using it at home too — so beautiful and functional.

Sseko Crossover Slides: The only pair of shoes I brought for the trip, other than the sneakers I wore on the plane were my trusty Sseko slides. I love this brand and everything they stand for.

We had such a relaxing, beautiful time and decided that we want to make it a yearly thing — likely with all three kiddos in tow next time ;)

Have you ever taken a babymoon? Tell me where you went!


*This post wasn’t sponsored by anyone, but some of the items mentioned were gifted as part of a long term ambassador partnership with the brands. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*

4 Ways to be a Better Listener (And Why it Matters)

I always thought that I was a good listener until I actually put it to the test. Our Sunday school class was going into a series about listening that really resonated with me. I picked up a book my mother had given me about the subject and decided that I would learn to be a better servant, better wife, and a better friend by becoming a better listener.

It’s harder than you’d think. 

Most people don’t think of themselves as bad listeners, which may be a big part of the problem. Perhaps we don’t check our phone as much as that one person we know, but there always seems to be so many distractions keeping us from fully immersing ourselves in one moment.

Too often I find myself thinking more about what I am going to say than fully listening to what someone else is telling me. Women often accuse men of jumping too fast to “fix” things instead of just listening to their problems, but a lot of the time I find myself doing the same thing to my husband when he’s telling me about his rough day. Many of our personal arguments are often caused by misunderstandings, or not really listening, to what the other is saying. It’s humbling to think that maybe people don’t need my input as much as they need me just to shut up and allow them to be fully heard.

Most people don't think of themselves as "bad listeners", but when you find it hard to focus on what the person is saying rather than thinking of how you're going to respond, these 4 tips will help you value the person you're talking with and become a better listener.

Listening is difficult when we disagree with what’s being said. We only listen to what we like to hear instead of trying to understand things from the other’s point of view. With the present election coming up, and all the social issues around us, it’s easy to want to cloister ourselves in with other people who agree with us and chuck rocks at the “other side”. There needs to come a point where we humble ourselves enough to let go of our defensiveness and hear them out even when we strongly disagree with their opinions. We may find that we can learn something from them, or that their viewpoints were not as wacky as we first believed. 

Though I am still growing in this (I’m no expert, by any means), here are a few tips for better listening:

Slow down

Don’t assume that you already know what someone else is going to say. Listen to them without interrupting or interjecting your “helpful” advice.

Put away distractions

Put your phone out of reach, or turn it off when you are dedicating time to listening. Checking your phone during a conversation greatly increases the other person’s sense of insignificance, almost like they are the distraction begging you for some time together.

Know when to help

A lot of the time people don’t want to hear your fix-all solutions to their problems, they just want someone there to share their pain or experiences with. Don’t treat people like projects because they will catch on to that attitude and close themselves off to you. There are times when people can be stuck in a cycle of harmful self-shaming where you can interject—lovingly, tenderly, with much care for their personal benefit.

Stay humble

Listening is a chance to serve others and allow them space to feel valued and validated. There will be times when you hardly get to say anything that you may have wanted to share with them, but it may be for the better.

A lot of listening has to do with living more simply, with less distractions and a lot of patience. Know that to be a really good listener takes time and effort; but it is a skill anyone can learn.

At Home Date Nights || "Date Crates"

I've been dying to share this at home date night with you all for so long! We decided to try something new this month and have a date night shipped right to our door step.

Sound too good to be true? It kind of was, in fact. I heard about Date Crates on Instagram and after reading a little bit more about them, I knew I had to try it out- so we ordered one (actually it was a gift from my mother-in-law. Thanks Chris! ;) 

Read More