massive decluttering + mindful downsizing

Early in our marriage, my husband and I moved 5 times in 10 years: from Colorado to Vermont (just for a summer), from Vermont to Illinois (Chicago, for 10 years), from Chicago to California (Los Angeles, 2 years), from LA to Torrance (2+ years), from California to Ann Arbor, Michigan. And after 10 years, my husband moved to Hong Kong while I have stayed in Michigan.

Moving that often certainly makes you travel light—even with kids! Decluttering becomes a way of life. By the time we moved into our current house, we were so streamlined that we had an embarrassment of closet space, especially after we finished the basement.

(An embarrassment of closet space and a ridiculous number of bathrooms: it is my firm belief that nobody, and I mean nobody needs 4 full bathrooms in their house. Although when it looked like two of the four of us would be quarantining this summer, my daughter commented, “See? Aren’t you glad we have four full bathrooms?”)

Granted, it was our first single-family home—and I remember marveling at the sheer number of closets and wondering, what ever are we going to put in here?

Hahaaa—of course, in the course of a few years, those closets were full to overflowing.


We’ve done a few big declutterings, the most famous one probably being the whole-house-top-to-bottom one I did single-handedly while the rest of the family made a trip to England in 2013.

We decluttered in a big way before my husband’s most recent move and in a smaller way when he came back to visit last month.

And every time I declutter, the energy in the house shifts. No surprise, according to my friend Michael Spencer, who practices a form of decluttering called “home energy purification.”

I believe that how we do anything is how we do everything, so whenever something feels stagnant or cluttered, the first thing I do is figure out how to shift that energy.

I like to implement my friend Holly Southerland’s process—declutter, organize, increase efficiency—in all areas of my life.

And the most recent area I’ve been focusing on is my health coaching practice.


When you train to become a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®, they’re really good about giving you all the information about how to start and run a coaching practice—a long litany of don’t do this, do this; don’t do it this way, do it this way.

And like teenagers, most coaches have to go out and make all the mistakes they’re warned not to make before they concede that IIN® was right. (I wonder how often the staff there says—or even thinks—”I told you so!”)

Being the consummate MC (model child) and rule follower, I avoided a lot of the pitfalls to some extent—or at least, I just stuck a toe into the pit but didn’t fall in all the way?

And I recently found myself taking a step back, looking at what I’m doing in my practice, and realizing that I have definitely fallen into the trap of doing All. The. Things.

Time to declutter and “downsize” in a manner of speaking, to be small and mighty rather than too big and allow the energy to disperse.

what that means for 2021

It’s the time of year when we start reflecting on the year gone by and looking ahead. As I tell my clients, if you wait until tomorrow or Monday or the first of next month or the first of the year to change, you’re not really committed to changing inside—you’re waiting for something external to magically change you. So here’s what Simply: Health Coaching will look like—not starting on January 1st but gradually easing into 2021 starting today.


  • 1:1 coaching. I will be limiting the number of people I work with in a year. Think of this as my high end service. I’m thinking a lot about equity and inclusion these days, so the VIP moniker doesn’t sit well with me in its original meaning of “very important person.” We’re all important, so I’m changing it to mean Very Invested Person—if you want to do 1:1 coaching with me, you will be investing a lot of focused energy into getting healthy, so your head had better be in the right place!
  • EAT™ | Your way to health. The next cohort of this group health coaching program for women burning out in mission-driven fields will start mid-way through the first quarter of 2021. I’m currently adding participants to an interest list and working on funding scholarships for the program
    • If you are interested in participating, please email me ASAP.
    • If you are interested in supporting an under-resourced woman with a program scholarship, please get the details here.



  • Podcast. As originally planned, the content of the episodes will be shifting at the beginning of 2021.
    • I started the podcast as the pandemic hit with a quick series of episodes on mental hygiene. You can find those if you scroll way back to the beginning.
    • Season 1 Episodes 10–29 focused on secondary foods—the ones we put in our mouths.
    • Starting with Season 1 Episode 30, I’m talking about a variety of primary foods—everything else in our lives that nourishes us … or doesn’t.
    • Starting November 2020, I’ll be posting some of the Q+As from the (Sorta) Secret Sisterhood as “from the archives” episodes. These are interviews with a wide range of practitioners—from conventional to alternative—who support women in the perimenopausal transition.
    • In 2021, I’ll be switching to an interview-based format with occasional solo episodes mixed in. Interviewees will be a mix of:
      • Women sharing their stories of experiencing burnout in mission-driven work (and maybe getting some impromptu coaching from me!)
      • Practitioners who serve women in burnout talking about the modalities they offer and more interviews from the (Sorta) Secret Sisterhood archives
      • Philanthropists, funders, and other forward-thinking individuals considering and implementing innovative ways of supporting the holistic health and wellness of nonprofit staff at all levels
  • Social. I have a love/hate relationship with social media, so I continue to tweak where and how I show up in that space. For now, here’s the plan:
    • I’ll be building out my profile and business page on LinkedIn and spending more time there
    • On Facebook, my focus will be on my private group rather than my business page
    • YouTube: yup, after years of trying to figure out why I’m so averse to video, I think I’ve finally sorted it. Maybe it’s my affinity for social connection: I have no problems doing Zoom meetings and interviews when there is at least one someone on the other end; I freeze when it’s just me staring down the camera eye. The solution? For now, I’ll be posting clips of the video version of my podcast episodes here.

that’s downsizing?!?

Hahaaa—as I look back over this list, it’s hard to believe that these commitments are actually a decluttered, downsized version of what I have been doing….

Well, to be perfectly honest, a lot is made possible by the help of two women I’m blessed to have brought onto the Simply: Health Coaching team in the past month: online business manager Kimberely Brown of Freedom Virtual Solution and virtual expert Julie Trombley of Tackle Your To Do.

Thanks to “that woman from Michigan” and a grant from the Michigan Small Business Restart program for the funds to do this! Now one of my goals for 2021 is to ensure I can afford to keep my team on board!

My word for 2020 was “alignment,” and as I begin to reflect on the year (and what a year it’s been), I feel like I may just have nailed it.

The pandemic has been one of possibilities for me—and I do recognize what a privilege it is to say this—and has helped me to achieve some long-standing goals for my business: going 100% virtual and figuring out how to make health coaching accessible and affordable to those who need it most and can’t necessarily afford it.

Paradoxically (or not, since I can hear the staff at IIN® from here), I did it by decluttering and downsizing, by working smarter instead of harder, by working less rather than subscribing to the hustle-and-grind way of doing business. (Did I mention I’m on my 5th 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle this year?)

make the connection

What area(s) of your life could use some decluttering and downsizing? Where will you start, and what will it look like? Leave a comment and let me know!

[Image by StockSnap for Pixabay]


  1. Lisa Johnson Svec

    I LOVE this line: “As I tell my clients, if you wait until tomorrow or Monday or the first of next month or the first of the year to change, you’re not really committed to changing inside—you’re waiting for something external to magically change you. ”

    So true – how many times have I said that! I did manage to declutter/downsize my clothes this weekend. I shifted my thinking from “Oh, I love that shirt.” (that I wore once last year) to “Someone else will love this shirt!”. It took some starts and stops but then I was on a roll! Thanks as always for the great tips and motivation!

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      I love that mindset shift! And yes—I think sometimes it’s just overcoming the inertia of being stuck.

  2. alignment – along with mindful decluttering sure does resonate. It still, yes, looks like a LOT!! =D

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      Counting on YOU to keep me in check, Coachie.

  3. Liza, I love every bit of this post! As you know me and ALL that I do, Meg and I also hired a team of woman to help us de-cluterr re-organize and streamline all that we are doing as well on Curry Girls Kitchen. You are such a model for me and always have been! I love everything that you are doing and I can’t wait to hear WHY you let go of The Sorta sisterhood… We much chat soon! Love Pegs xoxo

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      Awwww, thanks Momma Pegs. I’m so excited you have a team at Curry Girls Kitchen now—so important to let yourselves soar to your Zone of Genius by letting go of the daily details!

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