A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

When you've been living in a space for a while, it can be hard to see the possibilities. Quieting your space is a simple practice that will jump-start your creativity and give you a fresh perspective. It's kind of like a body cleanse for your home, only there's less time spent in the bathroom (unless that's the room you're decorating).

If an empty room is visually quiet, a full room is visually loud. A room slowly gets louder as we add furniture, accessories and everyday items. Each item in your room has a voice and adds to the chorus of the room. The more stuff you put in a room, the louder it gets. We often don't even notice the visual roar our rooms create until we make them quiet.

It's time to quiet your space.

You are going to remove as many voices as possible from your room so you can see it with fresh eyes. This means you're going to temporarily take a bunch of stuff out of your room and give it a chance to breathe.

Quieting a space is something I've done for years, and this practice always has a profound effect on my ability to identify what I need in a space. I'm always a little surprised how quieting a room motivates and teaches me. It allows me to see my room a little differently and uncovers things I've been trying to hide from myself, such as walls that need paint, stains that need attention, and furniture that needs to be replaced. I'm really good at hiding things from myself, and I bet you are too.

How to quiet a room

This is going to be such fun, but also a little uncomfortable. I really believe that rooms can tell us some of what they need if we take the time to listen. So this is where we are going to start.

You are going to remove everything from the room except the largest pieces. If you are working in your family room, you'll remove all the pillows, lamps, plants, books, wall art, clocks, photos, magazines—everything. You'll even want to remove the drapes. Yep. They probably need to be cleaned anyway.

To do this right, you'll even roll up the rug. You better believe it. And you'll want to empty those bookshelves. The degree to which you whine and complain about this part is likely an indicator of how long it's been since you've done any of these things. The more you grumble and start to wonder if I'm playing an evil trick, the more likely it is that there is excess stuff you probably aren't appreciating or using. The harder this is, the more important it is that you follow through, and the bigger the payoff.

Now you are wondering where in the world you are going to put all of this stuff, right? Figuring that out is actually part of the assignment. And the pain-in-the-neck work is a reality check about how much you actually have. If you have so much in a room that the thought of moving it all out makes you want to die, that's a red flag. That doesn't make this method bad or wrong; it simply means you have a whole lot of stuff. Which, again, just proves how much you need to do this.

The good news is you aren't going to get rid of anything just yet (unless you absolutely know you don't want or need it). See how risk-free this is? I'm not going to tell you to make all sorts of editing decisions now. You are simply going to get reacquainted with your space and let the room tell you what it needs and doesn't need. That way, you can make decisions with confidence.

You'll need to find a temporary holding place for everything from this one room. Yes, another part of your house will look cluttered for a few days or a few weeks. That's fine. This is how people do projects. It will get messy before it gets better—that's a sign of progress, so give yourself a high five.

Find a place to stash your stuff. I've put things outside on a porch and covered them with a tarp, stuffed artwork under my bed, placed everything in the basement. I don't care if you have to put things in the trunk of your car; you must find a place out of the room you are working on to relocate all the stuff that's been filling it up—ideally, a place that doesn't make your partner want to divorce you.

This is where warning everyone ahead of time pays off. You don't want to unnecessarily annoy your family while you are doing this. In fact, after you spend a day with your quiet space, feel free to move a lamp and a pillow back in if they are routinely used and needed in the room. We want to keep everyone as happy as possible during this process.

Relocating everything will obviously be messy and weird, but the end result will be worth it. Yes, this is inconvenient. Yes, this is work. Anything worthwhile is both. You'll know you did it right if the only things left in your family room are a sofa, a chair or two, a coffee table, the TV, and whatever the TV sits on.

Plan to quiet your space during a time when you'll be able to spend some quality time, preferably during the day, with your room. Don't quiet the room the day before you leave for a three-week vacation on the French Riviera.

You might have an introverted room, and it could take a bit of time for your room to speak up. That's why it's important to keep the room hushed for at least a few days. In a perfect world, you'd give it a week.

When you quiet a space, something magical happens. Your room has a chance to speak to you. If every item—no matter how big or small—has a little voice, a room can get so loud it becomes a rumble you get used to, block out, and then ignore. When you remove all but a very few of these voices, you can start to listen to your space again. Now you get to pay attention. Give your quieted space some time to settle and do its work. When you start to notice things, you know you are on the right path.

With the drapes down, you realize you never finished painting the walls.

With the rug gone, you remember how much you love the wood floor.

Without the bookshelves, you see how large the room truly is. And you wonder why you need all those shelves anyway.

When you take down the artwork, you feel happy—or afraid or sad.

These are all really useful things to be aware of because these insights are your room speaking to you. Pay attention to these thoughts and decide what needs to change.

Excerpt from Cozy Minimalist Home with permission by Zondervan.

You might also like:

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

You might also like:

Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

You might also like:

Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

You might also like:

As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.