Episode 34: How to Simplify & Organize Your Life in 2024

Dec 22, 2023


*This is the transcript for Elevate Motherhood Podcast Episode 34: If you want to listen - click here!

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Elevate Motherhood Podcast! I'm so glad you're here!

There’s a million ways we can approach this conversation and stay tuned for future episodes if you want to hear all one million because that’s one of the main themes of this podcast and we have lots of good episodes coming up!


But today we are focusing on 3 main aspects of life- physical, mental, and calendar. And we’ll talk how to get organized in those 3 areas by decluttering and then strategizing and automating.


I have a free guide on my website that is called “Simple Life Starter Pack” and that’s what this episode is based on! So go ahead and listen here and then if you want to print out or see the PDF that goes with it, I’ll put the link in the show notes or you can find it easily at courtneylundeen.com CLICK HERE FOR THE SIMPLE LIFE STARTER PACK


So first. I know a lot of you are practical like me and don’t particularly like when someone tells you do “write this down” or “brainstorm. “ We are just like give us the next step. And I hear you. I’m built that way too. But the more I learn about *life* and goal setting and actually creating what we want our precious lives to look like... I’ve become a more firm believer in actually taking a second to think about what you want. Name it, write it down, tell your spouse, and then most importantly, pray for it. Talk with God about it, let him direct your steps. Use that as a guide to make sure your day to day is getting you in that direction of what you are wanting and praying for. Otherwise you may just be wandering aimlessly. We don’t want that!


So how that applies to this episode is- I want you to think of 2024 and name your priorities. What’s important? Most important? You can have more than one thing but you can’t have 20 things that are most important. It should be pretty easy to answer this. What’s most important, what is a priority to you. Okay now we are going to organize our lives so that our lives will reflect those priorities! By shifting or automating or getting rid of whatever is in the way.


So think of your priorities and we will take that with us as we go through these 3 areas of our lives in this episode:


First up is physical clutter and organizing our physical spaces.


So here’s another thinking exercise but also an easy one- think of a place that feels relaxing to you. A spa? A hotel room? Your friends house? Your parent’s house? Where do you feel peaceful and relaxed. And okay now think, why does that place feel relaxing? Natural light, peaceful music, unhurried host, food and drinks available, uncluttered spaces, comfortable seating, you’re thinking of a place that makes you feel peaceful and why.

Then quickly see if anything comes to mind of how you can make your home feel more like that. Maybe even write it down so you don’t forget. Maybe it’s something kind of easy that you never thought about before.

Now think- what times does your home not feel relaxing? When you can’t find something you’re looking for, or you have a big pile of papers in the kitchen, dusty shelves. Anything you think of here, we want to find a solution for that. So some quick ideas, you can find an exact place for everything in your home so you always know where to find things. This sounds hard and although it may take some work, it’s not actually HARD to do. You don’t just put the scissors in a random spot every time you find them, you put them exactly where the scissors go. And you help the rest of your family by putting things in an exact place. This eliminates husbands and kids having to constantly ask you where things are. Give everything a spot, and keep putting it in that spot. This will help you AND help your family.

Another idea I love and you’ve seen on Instagram if you follow me there- You can create a physical to-do list drawer. It’s a drawer in a main area of your home that is mostly empty at all times, and you put things in this drawer that need to be tended to. Something that needs to be put back where it belongs, an invitation that needs an RSVP, things like that. And at least once a week, you empty that physical to-do list and get all the loose ends tied up and finished. The physical to-do list works for me because I can close the drawer and not look at physical clutter in my line of sight. But also, I know I will empty it every few days so I can also free up my mind of thinking “I need to get this done, I need to get that done,” once it’s in the physical to-do list, you know you will do it within a few days.

Even just decluttering your home of things that are trash or you easily know you don’t need to keep can make a big difference. Don’t over think this if you’re not ready. Just get rid of things you know you don’t need or want and your physical surroundings will look and feel lighter. There is a term called visual noise and it’s basically the opposite of being in a peaceful room. When you look around and see just stuff everywhere, especially if it’s tied to something you need to do, it’s just physical clutter that makes your mind cluttered. It’s noise and gets in the way of peace.

You’ve got this! I have lots of resources to help you organize your home so head to my website or stay tuned to the end of this episode and I’ll tell you! This is the kind of stuff I just love thinking about so you don’t have to love it or research it, you can just take my tips and help yourself in an efficient and streamlined way!


Next, we’re talking about mental decluttering and mental organization. So. First I want you to give yourself some grace. As our body changes during pregnancy and after birth, our brains change too. The “forgetfulness” of mom-brain is real. And it’s okay and it’s actually good. The grey matter which helps recalling certain words, reduces, permanently in pregnancy and after birth. But moms’ brains positively change to include heightened capacity to stay calm in stressful situations, enhanced vigilance to potential dangers, and in other ways that lead to secure, warm, and protective relationships with our children. So, don’t fret! This is a great thing and we can feel empowered by that and also just help ourselves out! One easy way is to Just write some things down.

GET THINGS OUT OF YOUR MIND AND ONTO YOUR TO-DO LIST OR YOUR CALENDAR. This is truly a sleep tip, too. Write things down before bed so you know you can handle it tomorrow and you will rest easier! The “notes” app on my phone frees up mental clutter every day. If I need to remember something, I immediately save it on my notes app. I have “notes” for so many things. You can also open that app, swipe down, and search by word to quickly and easily find what you’re needing to recall. I also love the iphone “shared calendar.” My husband and I have a shared calendar for family events and it makes our lives so much better! Send me an email if you need help with this! I plan to make a step-by-step guide for this soon!

So for mental automation and organization, think of some sticking point in your life that is frustrating or stressful and step back mentally and think, how can I let this be easier? How can I minimize this? Am I subscribing to any unnecessary rules? Can I stop doing this? Or do this differently? Or do it ahead of time? As not another chore but as a gift to yourself.

For example, maybe you have identified that every morning when your kitchen counters are cluttered and you haven’t prepped the coffee pot- it makes it harder to get out of bed and you start the day feeling behind. Now that you have identified this, you can choose to clear off the counters and prep the coffee pot before bed. Not as a chore but because you want to bless the future you! Your mental space is more free because you’ve done something ahead of time and taken out a roadblock for yourself. You can do this in lots of ways now that you’re thinking about it!


Now I’m going to give you a little mental attitude pep talk.


Think of this as a talk with a sister or friend, I’m not a psychologist or a counselor- so please refer to those people. But you’re with me today and here’s what I want to tell you:
If you’ve made it through all of this and you’re still thinking, “But I can’t change this! My circumstances that are stressful are things I can’t change! Your little guide and tips isn’t enough for what I’m dealing with” ... and I hear you if that’s you. I have been there. So, first, Can you think of your circumstances as a season? Each season changes. Even if a fact is true for the moment, it may not be true forever. Something about this season will change. The blow will soften. Something unexpected might happen that dramatically turns things in a positive direction. Find something positive in your current circumstance and hold onto that. Hope will save your mind. Put your hope in the One who can save you. Even facts on earth are subject to change, things change all the time. God’s word never changes. You can learn it and hold onto it with confidence. Let that be your anchor when life feels all out of control.

My pastor Craig Groeschel says, “your life moves in the direction of your strongest thoughts.” Sometimes we can’t completely block the thought that comes in, but we can choose the thoughts we replay over and over in our mind. We can listen to or read things that align with our prayers. We can speak words that align with our prayers. If our minds don’t feel strong enough, can we use our physical body to distract ourselves from our own negative thoughts? Can we distract ourselves with a positive conversation or a positive hobby? We can let God know we are trying to really believe his promises are true for us. Be honest with Him. He cares for you.

You’re not alone. He’s there.

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a neuropsychologist and she says our thoughts become trenches. Like when a tractor driving down the same path

over and over again, that path becomes the easiest path to go down next time. If we are intentionally choosing what we replay over and over again, that will become the easiest path for your thoughts to go down. Dig your own trenches. Let the creator of the universe dig your trenches. Use His words.

Find the positive in your circumstances and think about that as much as possible. Count your blessings as much as possible. Have hope as much as possible. If there’s something you want to change, do your best to change it! You can do hard things.


When I think of who’s listening to these episodes I just think like what if someone is listening who doesn’t have a good mom or sister or friend to speak into her life and that’s why I’m here….  I’m really not like an expert in any way but I do have a heart for encouraging people especially moms so maybe God has you here listening to this just because he cares so much about YOU and wants you to know that.

And with that we are already at the final section of this episode which is calendar decluttering and automation.

As we move forward to simplify our lives, we have to address our calendar and commitments. I’m always trying to give myself margin in all areas of life- but especially with my schedule. This is a practical way to lighten your load and your life in 2024. If you’re pressed for time, you’re more likely to be frustrated and stressed. Have you ever tried to rush a toddler? It’s nearly impossible. Take my word for it- give your schedule some margin and your life will feel more simple. As your seasons of life change, your commitments can change too!

Saying yes means saying no. Every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else. Once I started thinking this way, it made it easier to make decisions. Is saying yes to volunteering for PTO worth saying no to watching your daughter’s dance class every Wednesday? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t! It’s for you to decide. The point is, YOU are in charge of your schedule!



By this point, we are getting more & more clear on naming our priorities. So now let me ask you, are there things you want to ADD to your life? ...More of what matters to you? We are going to use a little trick called “habit-stacking.” This means, you’re going to stack the new goal on top of something you already do. If you want to start giving your kids 10 minutes of undivided attention in the mornings before school, after everyone eats breakfast (which you already do), set a 10 minute timer for “mommy play time.” Once the timer goes off, everyone gets dressed and ready for school (something else you already do). You’re not trying to create a routine around a brand new thing, you’re stacking it with habits you already have.

You can invest your time. Really, you can! How? Taking time to plan ahead can actually save you time in the long run. USE a calendar (digital or paper), and take some time each week to look ahead at what you need to do, where you need to be, things you need to buy, food you want to make. Operating at the last minute is exhausting and stressful. Bless yourself with a few minutes each week to stay ahead of things! I heard once that meal planning is just deciding what you are going to eat ahead of time. You have to decide eventually. You ARE going to decide. But when you just decide ahead of time even if you don’t like chop the veggies ahead of time, just DECIDING ahead of time saves you so much time and exhaustion. And it can save you a last-minute trip to the grocery store because you can purchase everything at once. You guys know I am a huge fan of grocery pick up and delivery. I think this is like single-handedly something our moms generation would be like THAT IS A DREAM. And if wearen’t taking advantage of it, we should be! (Plus, having decluttered homes and being able to find things quickly can save you time, too!)

Or if you and your husband are constantly double booking yourselves or can’t make plans because you never know what’s going on, get that shared calendar on iphone or some people like the shared google calendar which is very similar.

So keep thinking through this, what are some parts of your week that seem tricky? Are there times you regularly feel an onset of stress or feel like your patience is stretched thin?

What can you do to change that?





Okay that’s all I have for you today!! That’s a lot, right? I always want these podcasts to be full of real practical things that can help you! IT’s my goal to help moms love being moms and to help kids have moms who love being moms. You’re blessed! I’ll tell you as many times as you need me to!

So like I mentioned at the beginning, if you want to kind of hear this again and see it in worksheet & pretty PDF form, head to the link in the show notes for this episode or you can find it at CourtneyLundeen.com. It’s free, I made it just to hopefully help yall simplify your life and make room for your priorities!


If you want more on the physical decluttering of your home, I’m here to help with that too! I have a DIY online course that you can either do 20 minutes a day as you have time, take it one room at a time, or knock out the whole home in a weeked. It’s packed with all my tips and tricks for simplifying your life at home, fostering independence for kids, and making home a cozy and special place for your family and anyone else who comes to your home!


If you need some one on one help like you just want me to do it for you or speak directly to you about your exact home, I’m offering one on one personal organizing consultations for a limited time! I’ll put the link in the show notes. We can do this virtually if you prefer or don’t live around the OKC metro, or I have a few spots left for in person organization in the OKC metro.


Before we go, I’d love to say a prayer for you!


Dear Lord, thank you for these listeners. Thank you for the time they’ve invested in listening to this and receiving encouragement about their upcoming year and all the plans they have for their families. Thank you that they are prioritizing their lives and really letting their lives reflect their priorities. Help us all as we attempt to do so, Lord. Let all we do honor you. In your son jesus’ name, amen!


If you want more elevate motherhood, be sure to click subscribe wherever you listen to podcast. I’d be so honored if you left a review and a 5 star rating! And find elevate motherhood on Instagram, I’m able to share more of the day to day there than I can here!

Thanks for being here, friends! Until next time, let’s Elevate Motherhood!

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