5 Decluttering Questions to Use Instead of “Does It Spark Joy?”

the best decluttering questions instead of "does it spark joy?"

Inside: Marie Kondo’s “Does it spark joy?” is far from the best question to use for decluttering. Try these 5 decluttering questions instead, for a better decluttering experience.

The popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was my first encounter with decluttering and minimalism. When I heard about it from another blogger, I bought it the same day and read it cover to cover by the end of the next day.

I spent the next week picking up every single object in my house asking the now well-known question, “Does it spark joy?” And I thought that question was helpful…at first.

Bags and bags of donations made the commute from my house to the local thrift store. We gave away other items away to family and friends.

I felt so much better – a huge weight lifted off my chest, until a month later when I realized I had gone a bit overboard in my decluttering purge.

Decluttering regret quickly set in.

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Blog Income and Traffic Report {April 2018}

blog income report

Inside: Get encouragement, tips and ideas from a small blogger income and traffic report. Follow along as I work towards my goal of $1,000 a month income from this blog (I’m getting closer!).

I realized this month that I never fully explained why I’m publishing income reports on a blog that is primarily about homeschooling, minimalism on a low income, and parenting. So first off, I wanted to remedy that!

So why do I write income reports in the first place?

First, I started writing income reports as a means of chronicling my journey to earning $1,000 a month blogging. That was my year-end goal for 2018 for this blog.

Second, I want to encourage other bloggers who are struggling to earn an income from their blogs. Reading another blogger friend’s income reports from back when she made very little encouraged me to keep going and to not give up. I hope my income reports encourage other bloggers the way hers encouraged me. I also am a teacher by nature, and I love sharing what’s working for me with this blog and what’s not. Sharing that in a post saves time as well, when bloggers as me questions about my business strategy.

Third, I want other moms to know that it IS possible to earn a living online, working from home. We need the income this blog brings in. It is changing our finances and making staying home to homeschool a long-term possibility.

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For the Mom Disillusioned by Minimalism: You Need to Remember These 5 Things About Minimalism with Kids

What drew me to minimalism is what draws most moms these days:

  • the promise of a cleaner house
  • the time to do all the things I wanted to do
  • less exhaustion at the end of the day

Minimalism did give me more time and less exhaustion.

But that perfectly clean house? Well, I’m still waiting on that one.

I love Allie Casazza and Joshua Becker and most of the other strong voices in minimalism today. I agree with their message one hundred and ten percent: less stuff will change your life.

However, moms with little kids sometimes hear that message and add on to it, without even realizing it. They also forget that while single minimalists are able to make their own choices about what to get rid of and what to keep, we moms are dealing with multiple, possibly conflicting, voices and opinions.

After hearing gushing testimonials, moms jump into minimalism with unrealistic expectations about what minimalism can (and can’t) do for them.

How do I know? Because I did, too.

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7 Easy Ways to Add Art Appreciation to Your Homeschool When You’re Not Crazy About Art

homeschool art

Inside: Elementary homeschool art appreciation doesn’t need to be complicated and arduous, and you don’t need fancy (or expensive) curriculum. Get 7 easy ideas for adding art appreciation to your homeschool!

I could care less about art. There, I said it. While I do remember drawing as a child, I never drew for fun past my tween years, and I would never choose to spend my spare time going to an art museum. The art in our home is mostly my kids’ artwork, word art, and maps (which are probably considered a form of art).

But just because I don’t love art doesn’t mean my kids shouldn’t be given the opportunity to fall in love with art.

I’ve done enough reading to realize the value of art during childhood, both doing and beholding. A powerful quote from one of my favorite movies, Mr. Holland’s Opus, ultimately convinced me to make sure to include the arts in our homeschool.

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The Terrible Twos: How to Love This Stage (not just survive it)

how to survive the terrible twos

Inside: The terrible twos is a stage of childhood many parents dread. With a perspective shift and the right strategies, you don’t need to just survive this fun childhood stage. You can love it, instead!

When I was a new mom, everything I heard about the terrible twos was negative.

“Just wait until you get to the terrible twos.”

“Oh man, the terrible twos – they’re coming. You’d better be ready!”

“The terrible twos are gonna be rough. Hang in there!”

As you can imagine, this negativity drastically affected how I approached this phase of my child’s life. Before my daughter was even close to two, I was getting ready for battle and dreading the terrible twos. I expected the terrible twos to be what everyone said they were – terrible.

There wasn’t any room in my mind for a different point of view.

Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since my first child’s “terrible twos”. Now that I’m experiencing them the fourth time around, the twos is by far my favorite age.

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15 More Unexpectedly Awesome Books for Boys

Inside: More awesome books for boys coming your way! These funny and/or engaging picture books captivated my boys last month. I hope your boys love them as much as we did.

As I continue to write these book lists for boys every month or so, it’s started to become an exciting treasure hunt. As opposed to relying on classic book lists (that have failed me in the past), I love combing through the library shelves, digging for books that will make my boys either laugh hard or think deeply.

What makes it so fun is that every book we choose is a mystery: it could either be a winner or a total flop. Sometimes, the book covers fool us. My boys or I will pick out a book just from its cover. The illustrations or the colors will grab us instantly, only to disappoint when the content is mediocre at best.

More and more, I’m finding that it’s the books with unassuming covers and titles that delight us the most.

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15 Ways to Make Washing Dishes Easier (and maybe even fun!)

Inside: If you regularly think, “I hate washing dishes,” and the dishes don’t wash themselves yet (let me know if they ever do!), then you’ll love reading these 15 ways to make washing dishes easier and yes, even enjoyable.

I used to hate doing dishes. The only chore I hated less than doing dishes was sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor (I still hate that one, so if someone comes up with a way to make THAT fun, please tell me!).

As a homeschooling family of six, we generate our fair share of dirty dishes. When you have this many dirty dishes to wash on a regular basis, you have a choice to make: continue to hate doing dishes, or find ways to make washing dishes fun. Well, if not fun, more enjoyable at least.

In the last couple months, I faced that turning point.

I put my problem-solving skills to work and came up with fifteen ways to make washing dishes more efficient and yes, even therapeutic at times.

From one dish-washing hater to another, I feel your pain. Unfortunately, unless you decide to use paper plates for the rest of your life, the dishes will always be there.

It’s time to make the best of it!

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