BENTONVILLE, Arkansas — When a mother of four reached the end of her rope with her cluttered lifestyle, she took extreme action and rid her house of all toys.
The end result turned out to be life-changing.
Allie Casazza spent the first four years of motherhood navigating a sea of chaos — and toys. The playroom in her house was overflowing with items her kids didn’t even touch, she told ABC News. Instead, they’d undo what she’d already tidied multiple times that day.
“I’d send the kids into the playroom and they’d dump out a few things,” Casazza said. “They’d be back moments later, saying they were bored and asking for snacks.”
The frustration and helplessness often consumed the young mother, who found herself counting down the minutes until her children were all in bed.
“I didn’t enjoy motherhood,” she told ABC News. “I didn’t enjoy (my kids). They were a bother to me.”
Casazza often found herself at odds with her husband as well.
“I had been so resentful of my husband, telling him, ‘you have no idea what I go through all day,’” she said.
Things only seemed to get worse, until one day, when Casazza reached her tipping point. As her children looked on, she hauled nearly every toy out of the room that had become more like a black hole to her family.
Casazza had prepared herself for meltdowns of apocalyptic proportions as her kids witness the great purge, but to her great surprise, the kids seemed happy about the change.
It didn’t take long — just a matter of hours — before the emptying of that room made way for a fullness the family had been missing for so long, Casazza said.
“After the toys were gone I immediately felt lighter,” she said. “I had so much less stress.”
Instead of fighting over toys, Casazza said her children began appreciating one another as playmates. They combined forces, added a bit of imagination and played for hours without even a single tear shed.
“That’s all they do all day — together,” she said. “There’s no more, ‘I was playing with that’ because they don’t have those things anymore.”
The family decided to cleanse the rest of their home as well, eventually downsizing and simplifying in all aspects of their lives, ABC News reported. Casazza credits the great playroom purge to saving her marriage and her motherhood.
“It’s such a short season when your kids are young,” she said. “Now I can enjoy it.”
Casazza has even turned her experiment into a business. She now coaches other mothers on minimalism through her website, The Purposeful Housewife.
“When I began to simplify and remove the unnecessary things that were taking up all my time, I discovered a light at the end of the tunnel,” she writes. “Everything got lighter, simpler, better. I finally shook my depression and it never came back… I was able to serve my family and be the best version of myself.”