Sunday, January 6

Inspiring a #calmdwelling | Looking Beyond the Purge to Shape your Home (+ Daily Prompts to de-clutter this January)

Picture this: it's 1996, my hair is blonde, cut embarrassingly short and I am wearing teva flip flops and a gymnastics leotard, covered in chalk dust and heading to the laundromat at summer camp with the biggest grin on my face - the thrill of washing and drying my own things and then putting them all back exactly as I wished, was glorious. So yes, I've always been a serial tidy upper but in each stage of life, this manifests in different ways. Right now, I am a mother of three in the thick of chaos and I do not expect perfection, so when you spoke up on Instagram and insisted that I lead you on a de-cluttering challenge, I knew that I needed to go beyond the purge.

So what is the #calmdwelling challenge?

These next two weeks will not be filled with one million complicated organizing how-tos, but instead we will focus on things like defining a room's purpose, honing in on the ways that space could better support you in your daily life, making meaningful decisions about the things you chose to keep in your space, low / no waste ways to let go of clutter without the guilt and finally, simple ways to love the space you call home.

I will be focusing on two main areas of the home - the bedroom and the kitchen, but my hope is that once you work through this process in one room of your home, you will be inspired to continue on. I will be walking through my personal closet de-cluttering process and how to organize your kitchen so that it's both functional and a beautiful space.

Simply, we will work together towards the aim of creating a #calmdwelling .

Here are the key areas we will touch on:

Defining a room's purpose // 

What do you want to use this room for? To create, to rest, to sleep, to cook, to get work done?
What is the room actually being asked to do currently? Is your bedroom your office? Is your dining space your laundry folding area?

Honing in on the ways that space could better support you in your daily life //

What could you change in your space today, to make tonight easier? Are there things in the space preventing you from relaxing in the room? If you rearranged the room, would it work better for your family?

Making meaningful decisions about the things you chose to keep in your space //

How do you decide what to add, what to take away and what to repurpose?
Are there patterns in your buying that are making life harder instead of easier?

Low / No waste ways to let go of clutter without the guilt //

What is your gut telling you about the things you no longer use in your home? Is something holding you back from de-cluttering the things you no longer love and need?

Simple ways to love the space you call home //

Tips and tricks to increase your happiness in your home.

How do you join in?

The challenge will run from January 7th to 18th on my Instagram account and a couple of guest features that I will share over the course of the 12 days. You can find the daily prompts below, as well as in my stories on Instagram. Please send me DMs with any questions you may have about that day's prompt.

I would love if you also share your progress by tagging me @ashleyizsak and using the hashtag #calmdwelling . I think it will be fun (and motivating) to see how you make this challenge work for you!

Daily Prompts

(January 7 - 18)

7 | Pick a room + define it's purpose OR better yet, make a list of every room in your home and map out what that space is for.

8 | Honing in on the ways that space can better support your life.

9 | Make meaningful decisions about the things you chose to keep in your space.

10 | Bedroom closet de-clutting process.

11 | Tips on how to de-clutter when you always have children around.

12 | Low cost / no cost organization systems.

13 | Tips to create a functional and beautiful kitchen.

14 | Tackling the stuff that comes with raising children.

15 | Low / No waste ways to let go of clutter without the guilt.

16 | Simple tips to increase your love of your home.

17 | My personal favourite home pieces that make my life easier.

18 | Ask me anything organization related.

Cheers to a low pressure (yet hopefully still life changing) January challenge!

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Friday, December 28

Is Everything Okay Now?

It's December 28th, I wrangled our twin girls into doing kundalini yoga with me this morning and I've had exactly three cups of coffee - so I'm feeling pretty wonderful and just inspired enough to publicly commit to bringing back my weekly essays - only this time, let's just call it "weekly-ish essays" (because I'm all about the low pressure these days). So here goes!

To: the woman I was six years ago,

You aren't crazy for secretly wishing you'd requested that the doctors put all three embryos back in. I know at the time of their transfer, you thought you wanted twins, but then afterwards, when you had them, you realized that triplets may have been easier in some ways.

Not in the day to day ways.

No, twins... they were busy, but they never got close to breaking your spirit.

Triplets, well then you would have been completely outnumbered and let's not even speak of the stroller that would have been necessary for your sanity saving walks.

Octomom - right? That's what you'd envisioned. No, scratch that. You never envisioned anything related to three children then or in the future. You made a deal with yourself somewhere between the age of five and twenty five that you'd have two children, before the age of thirty so that you could have enough time to get your body back and because two is what you knew.

But then you had two at one time and you weren't okay.

You were in a race, the newborn type that comes with a stubborn sense of determination to get all the things done and move on to the next to-do, so the fact that there was this tiny hole inside of you, it was hardly noticeable.

Except when you'd hear the word triplets,

Except when you'd see some crazy big family on tlc,

Except when you'd drive by the fertility clinic,

then that hole would spread, smearing the ache around.

We all know what happened eventually. (And in case you're new here you can read it for yourself here, here and well everywhere else on this blog and instagram).


To: the woman consumed by guilt one year ago,

After Ben's birth, everything felt so good and wrong and wonderful and achy, and although it's less acute now, I acknowledge that all of those mixed feelings were necessary.

Six years with an embryo in the freezer at the fertility clinic, is a long time to wonder,

to miss what you've never even had,

to swallow down the guilt whenever you see a newborn,

to just not know what to do, with something so uncertain, so unknown and yet so full of possibility

And the rush of deciding to try to have another baby was exhilerating and utterly terrifying

I remember googling "frozen embryo after twins," and "singleton six year age gap," when we were on the cusp of making the decision to try our frozen embryo - and coming up blank. I wanted to know what that life would be like if we ever got there.

So when he was finally with us, where he was always supposed to be, it's no wonder that just looking at his newborn face had the power to crumple my defences.

Everything felt raw, and as I've learned, all too real. I was remorseful, judgemental and completely unforgiving to the me of the past, the one who couldn't decide what she wanted.

A year ago, that life looked like survival, it felt like my heart was having an out of body experience where it was prone to bumps, bruises and possibly even breaking. I retreated to the safe house of our family, I stopped sharing pictures + stories publicly because I was frozen in all of the intensity of life.

And, as with many things in life, all I needed was time. Time to soak up this new role as mother of three. Time to allow the guilt to turn into peace. Time to realize that this must have surely always been the greater plan.

And now it all feels right and warm and as it should be - and now I remember that there was this big old clue.

I was standing in the line, very much pregnant with Alice and Isla in my belly 8 years ago, when the man behind the counter smiled at me, gestured towards my straining bump and said, "You will be blessed with a boy." I smiled back of course and gently reassured him that I was having two girls.

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