You’ve watched – or at least HEARD about - the documentary on Netflix. You’ve read a couple articles about this ‘lifestyle’ online. Some friends you follow on social media are even embracing it.
It’s called ‘Minimalism’. And it’s all the rage right now.
It sounds refreshing, freeing, inspiring, and as a parent…pretty much impossible.
Or is it?
I’m going to start off by saying that I’m the type of person who like things organized. I like my house tidy, I don’t like clutter, I LOVE purging drawers and closets and getting rid of stuff that is simply taking up space. So obviously, minimalism is very intriguing for people like me.
But as parents, we often think that there is absolutely no way we could live a more minimalist lifestyle because our kids accumulate too much STUFF. (I swear it multiplies while we sleep!) And in no way am I interested in getting rid of all of our stuff and living with next to nothing. That’s EXTREME minimalism. But I AM interested in the idea of it. You know, getting rid of things we don’t need, de-cluttering spaces that are filled with useless stuff, and just simply…having less. Needing less. WANTING less.
So, over the last little while, I’ve been slowly easing into it – one room at a time. With two boys and a husband who is somewhat of a pack rat, it hasn’t always been easy. But if you’re like me and you want to start somewhere, here are 5 tips I’ve found quite useful to help you get started.
- Everything needs a ‘home’ – All of your belongings should have a home. Jackets go in the closet, books go on a shelf, keys go in the dish and so on. If you give everything you own a ‘home’, YOUR home will look and feel tidier. And hey, you’ll know here everything is.
- Purge Toys – This could be a tough one but it needs to be done. Every now and then – usually when I feel like toys are taking over my house or I just stepped on a Lego – I go through the boys’ bedrooms and their playroom with a small garbage bag and start chucking stuff. You’d be amazed at how much stuff you’ll find that is completely useless and just collecting dust. I do this fairly often and my kids NEVER notice. Obviously, I’m not suggesting you throw away their favourite toys, but if it’s old toys they simply don’t play with anymore, trust me - they won’t notice.
- One Room at a Time – To start, you could take it one room at a time. De-cluttering the whole house might seem overwhelming, so start in one room. When you’re happy with that room, move onto the next.
- De-Clutter Daily or Weekly – If your house is like mine, clutter piles up pretty quick in high traffic zones. Homework lands on the counter. Sweaters get thrown on the couch. Mini-sticks and ball gloves fill the entry-way. You get the idea. So, each day, or even once a week, go around and get rid of the clutter and put things in their home. Have the kids help with their stuff.
- Want or Need? – This is a great way to keep clutter from even ENTERING your house. Before you buy something ask yourself – is this a want…or a need? By asking yourself this question, you’ll not only end up with less “stuff” in your house, but you’ll save yourself some money too!
When you start to do these things, you’ll feel SO MUCH better! We cleaned out the storage room and made some extra cash selling a bunch of things we thought were worth selling. Like a brand new ice cream maker that was never used! Who knew!
This is still a work in progress for us and will take some time, but it’s been great so far. And I get it. Not everyone is interested in embracing a minimalist lifestyle. Some people are perfectly happy surrounded by stuff. And hey, if that makes you happy, that’s awesome! But if being surrounded by too much stuff gives you anxiety and you want a change, it CAN be done!
Even with kids in the house.