Project: Simplify…To Infinity and Beyond

Before I started Pop Parables, I had a long list of possible post topics, including a series on simplifying and decluttering. I wanted to pay particular attention to how the process of simplification relates to our spiritual lives.

March seems the perfect time to dive into a series on simplifying, especially since I’m participating in this:


Normally, I don’t read blogs with the word “Mom” in the title. But, I’ve been following Tsh on Instagram and Pinterest and I think I kinda like her. Plus, I soooooo need the intentionality, community and process that comes along with this challenge.

If you’re doubting whether or not this relates to pop culture, flip open any magazine, stop into Target, or watch a morning show to see that simplifying is what’s hot at this time of year.

What’s Project: Simplify?

Tsh explains the purpose of Project: Simplify as taking a few intentional steps to declutter, clean, and organize four specific hotspots, which will hopefully give us that boost to continue with the rest of our home into April and May.

Each week in March, Tsh will share how to tackle a specific area in your home and then you’ll be able to link up your progress on Fridays on her blog or on Instagram.

My personal reasons for participating are:

1.  Blog fodder.  One of best tips I’ve heard about blogging: blog about what’s important to you and what you’re doing. The most successful bloggers share things that are actually taking place in their lives. To me, this is a genuine and authentic approach to putting your true self out in the blogosphere.

2.  I need to.  There are areas in my home that really need to be tamed, and they cause me a great deal of stress.  I could always use less stress.

3.  The end result will bring me a sense of satisfaction and peace that will allow me to feel better about welcoming others into my home.

Toys, Toys and More Toys!

The first challenge is kids stuff.  Hubs and I voluntold {that’s military speak for you’re gonna do this voluntarily even though you have no choice} the boys on Sunday morning that it was time for a toy intervention.

Our Simplified Toy Collection


Surprisingly, it was unlike other interventions I had seen on Oprah. I expected lots of tears, kicking, screaming and excuses. But, the boys actually enjoyed the process of the entire family tackling a project together.

Since I’m totally not an expert on these things, I made a few mistakes . I share some tips with you below so that you don’t have to pay the stupidity tax I already paid.

1. Plan ahead. It WILL take longer than you think. We set aside 2 hours on Sunday morning for this project. In total, we probably spent closer to 4 hours including lunch, potty breaks, friendly banter {ahem…”discussions”}, etc. before we were ready to check this project off the to do list.

2. Organize your mess beforehand. Toy soldiers were in the firehouse. Wooden blocks were in the dump truck. Books were in the closet. If you have kids, you know how they can combine all of their toys into one big mess at the end of the day. If you organize beforehand {ideally the day before}, you won’t spend all your time monitoring the toy soldier reunion.

3. Group like things together. I corralled all the Toy Story figures together and discovered we had 5 Buzz Lightyear’s. We don’t have even have 5 kids, so it was easy to decide that 2 of the action figures were bound for another home.  But, it helped for the boys to see them all together and recognize it was excessive.

4. Keep younger siblings entertained. We epically failed at keeping Little Bubba out of the mess. A 22 month old isn’t very helpful at many tasks, specifically MY 22 month old who loves to throw toys, stand on bins, and steal from his big brothers. In hindsight, we should have done this during his nap or dropped him off with Grandma!

5. Be realistic. Your goal is simplifying, not pretending you’re on an episode of The Nate Berkus Show. At the end of the day, the boys room didn’t look spectacular. It wasn’t anything that I would expect to see in a magazine. But, we all could breathe a little easier in the space and it was a definite improvement. I’m hoping that at the end of this project, we’ll have more time and energy to make everything look pretty and worthy of my Pinterest board entitled “Organizational Swag“.


What does this all have to do with faith? I’ll give you a hint.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. {Hebrews 12:1-2}


Do you follow any blogs with the word “Mom” in the title?

Have you ever tackled a simplifying process?



24 thoughts on “Project: Simplify…To Infinity and Beyond

  1. I had to read Josh the part about the plethora of Buzz Lightyears. Haha! So funny! What a great idea, and I’m excited for the pop parable you will expound on. Right now our toys are pretty manageable, solely because we cut them down by half before we moved last summer. Also, I have been very vigilant about chucking McDonald’s toys when the kids aren’t looking and asking for clothes, books or art supplies for presents from family. It’s hard to keep up, especially with multiple kids. I’ll have to pop over to Pinterist to see the pics. :)

    1. Before living in this house, we moved every 18 months. I didn’t have to declutter or simplify because I was forced to do it by the United States Air Force. LOL That’s the best part about moving.

      So, do your kids ever ask again about the McD’s toys? Because mine do! They have amazing memories! They will even remind me when they played with the Smurf and which McD’s they got it, etc. I realized that I need to involve much more in any decluttering.

  2. Normally do not read blogs with Mom titles – we will just leave that there.

    Simplifying process – I have found moving over the years to be a great simplifying process – really helps to get rid of the physical clutter of things that builds up. I have moved many times so the amount of stuff stayed small until several years ago. You see several years ago I was living in a big house in a big city and life was moving fast. I was an associate pastor in a church and it was moving along quickly. The church sat in one of the most affluent communities of the city and so most of the people of the church had a lot of stuff. Life was moving a warp speed – I was always busy and we were trying to do everything as parents for our kids. My wife who felt she should not work was working because we wanted to have this and that. It all changed one day the pastor called me into his office and told me that I had six months to find another position (I did nothing wrong but the church was not growing like he thought it should so he asked me to leave and a month later asked two more to leave). It rocked our world – we were going to lose all that stuff and most worried about our home (which we did lose as we gave it back to the bank). I ended up leave a city of millions and God called me to a village of 400. What I learned in the process was that I had complicated life trying to keep up with “the Jones”. My life went from complicated (trying to be involved in everything and have everything) to simple (not have a whole lot and grateful for it) and I must say I love life now – the pressure is much less. I could go on but this would be the unending comment – I probably need to blog about this.

    Anyways – Spiritually it has simplified things because now it is not about big programs or how many people but it is about the personal connection with people for me and what Jesus is doing in their lives.

    1. Oh, Jim, like I said in response to Melissa, prior to living in our home, we moved every 18 months. It’s a great motivator for simplifying.

      Our life is actually pretty simple compared to most, but I want it to be even MORE simple so that I can make more time for others. That is really my greatest goal in this whole process. Thanks for sharing your experience, Jim.

  3. I am slowly working on a decluttering, starting with my son’s toys but with our schedule it’s become a lengthier project than originally intended…

    1. Oh, it def takes longer than you think. Right now we’re working through the house. The garage monster will be the last thing. I’m pretty scared of that boogie man.

    2. You can do it, April!!! :) Just give yourself a big old reward at the end. I’m thinking mocha or pedicure. Or a combination of both, at the same time! Oooh la la

  4. We’re currently in the midst of a 7 month simplification process. It’s a challenge we’re doing, given by the book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker. So far, we’ve cut the excess of stress and food, and we’re about to start on our clothes month.

    1. Welcome to Pop Parables, Adrian.

      Seven months?! That sounds pretty intense. And, also highly appealing. I will def put that book on my To Read list. Have you found the process painful, difficult, easy…?

  5. We REALLY need to do this at our house. My kids’ toys are out of control. Thank you for the great how-to guide and tips.

    I don’t actually follow any blogs with “Mom” in the title, but there are a handful of mommy bloggers in my RSS feed.

    1. I’ve discovered that it is something that has to happen often, in combination with a change of habits/lifestyle. I will openly admit, I’ve been run over by the stress of motherhood. It’s not much of anything like I expected and that has been rough. In that sense, a lot of things have been unintentional as I learn and grow. So, in some ways this is an “undoing” process. But, God is walking us through it.

      Okay, what good mommy blogs do you follow?

  6. I actually am subscribed to a blog that has MOM in the tagline. I don’t remember why I subscribed in the first place, but it is definitely a good place for me to learn about raising a family. The blog is called Inspired To Action: Tips and Tools for Inspired Moms (

  7. I think I follow a couple Mommy blogs. Wait… Pop Parables ISN’T a mommy blog!? :)

    We’re in the process of de-cluttering our whole house… more on that later, but yes. It’s getting re-painted, things are getting tossed, and we’re boxing stuff up…So, with that being said, I know where you’re coming from!

    1. Back up that train right now. This is most absolutely NOT a mommy blog. Isn’t it funny thought how “daddy blog” isn’t really a term?

      Excited to hear more about your decluttering, especially the hows and whys.

  8. I do follow a blog with Mom in the title – from a good friend battling breast cancer – in fact she’s in surgery right now. It is – she’s a true hero.

      1. Actually it didn’t! She had the blog about busy mom’s – different articles and helps on various subjects – then about 6 monts ago or so was diagnosed with a pretty aggressive breast cancer – so the last couple of entries have been about her journey. I understand from her husband that things went very well and they are optimistic. We hope to get to Seattle on Sunday to visit her in the hospital. She’s very good friends with Deanna Morauski too :) We all go way back!

  9. I don’t follow any “mom” blogs. Does that make me a bad guy? :/

    As for simplifying, this is one of the reasons I like Apple. They don’t have the most powerful computers or even the iPhone/iPad. But they are dead simple. Just what you want with one touch. Simplicity rules. Focus, productivity. Too much “noise” in today’s world.

    1. If it does, then I’m a bad girl. :(

      You are soooo right about Apple! Not only in it’s usage and imagery, etc, but just in the fact that it actually WORKS as opposed to other crappy devices I’ve used in the past who stop working almost the instant the warranty expires. Grrr No, I’m not bitter or anything.

  10. You’d be surprised how many Mom blogs are actually applicable to all areas of life. As a work-from-home father, I find a lot of the struggles to be very similar.
    I think the key to the organization process is just to be systematic and intentional about it. It’s not really rocket science – it’s just a matter of making it a priority.

    1. Loren, you must be a very open minded person. I just have a hard time wading through the fluff and “look how cute my kid is!” stuff sometimes. But, maybe I’m overgeneralizing on that.

      Side note: I feel like your blog has so many applications to all areas of MY life. It’s really quite remarkable. I so appreciate your hard work, Loren. Do you know if my podcast review showed up in iTunes?

      You are so right about systems and intentions. As I mentioned to K.C., I’m recognizing that this is about a lifestyle change, not just a month long process. If we do that, we’ll be right back where we started come this time next year.

      1. Wow, thanks for your kind words, Keri. I think that the issue of time management is pretty applicable to anyone in any situation, so I hope that it strikes a chord with people.
        And yes, I did see your review. Thanks! I just saw it the other day and I was going to Email you a note of thanks. I really appreciate it!

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