Is your family driving you mad with clutter? Do you seem to accumulate stuff with no end in sight? Now’s the time to adopt a more minimalistic approach. These 5 easy tips will help you transition to minimalism.
For a mother of young children, a minimalist lifestyle can seem like a far-off dream, something that you can’t achieve. However, this is not the case. The idea that minimalists only have one pair of shoes and virtually no furniture is not the true way to achieve a minimalist lifestyle.
It’s more about not letting excess anything weigh you down or prevent you from living freely. You don’t need to chuck out all the toys, Tupperware, family photos, and the television. Instead, you need to look at what there is too much of and start getting that out of your life. Once you no longer worry about things that you don’t need, you can focus on what is important.
If you want to make the jump into a minimalist lifestyle but do not know where to start, here are five things that you can start doing right now—even with a large family:
Get rid of unworn clothing
Clothing can take up a huge amount of space in a home, and so often, it’s the items that never get worn that are the biggest space-hogs. We’re all guilty of justifying hanging on to clothes because we think “I can’t get rid of that top, I bought it on holiday” or “when I lose a bit of weight, I’ll wear it again” or even “maybe we’ll have another kid, and they can wear it”.
If everyday-type clothing is not worn regularly, it has no business being in your closet. Try to be honest about why you’re holding onto the clothing and get rid of anything you don’t need. You can sell items that you no longer need, or you can give them to charity. Both options will ensure someone else gets wear out of them.
Start being selective about toys
This can be a hard one with young children. Trying to trim down the toy selection can feel like you’re setting up for a fight with your kids. The key is to rotate toys rather than just leave everything out for them to play with all the time. You can donate anything you notice isn’t getting any love, or you can recycle or throw it out if it’s in poor condition. Also, look for toys that are open-ended and don’t have one specific use. Kids will have far more fun with them, and they’ll stimulate their imaginations.
This rule also applies to your grown-up toys. We tend to have a lot of tech and gadgets in our houses, many of which don’t get used very often. If you have a tablet or a DVD player that you don’t need, don’t let it take up space in your home.
Shop with intention
Once you’ve taken some time to clear your home of things you don’t want or need, you need to be mindful about what you bring into it. It can be so easy to see a cute toy and buy it on a whim or pick up a set of drinking glasses that catch your eye. With just a few impulse buys, you can quickly undo all of your hard work in decluttering your home.
Before you go to the shops, make a list of exactly what you need, and try not to deviate from it. This goes for grocery shopping, clothes shopping, and anything you need for your home. If someone in your family needs new clothes, work out what it is they need exactly and look for only those items. If you’re hunting for a new coffee table, don’t get distracted by new sofas or pretty pillows.
Create a schedule for decluttering
The thing with clutter is that it just keeps on building up. You might do a massive spring clean, thinking that this is it, and you can now enjoy a minimalist lifestyle. However, life gets busy and kids get messy (and so do adults). That’s why it’s important to think about decluttering regularly. This will also make the job a lot easier each time because you won’t have to deal with months’ or years’ worth of stuff.
You know how quickly things can get messy or chaotic in your home, so it’s up to you to create a decluttering schedule that works for your family. You can choose to do the entire house in one go, or rather focus on different rooms each time. It’s always best to start with the communal spaces first, so none of your children feel like they are being singled out for having too much clutter.
Work out what minimalism means to you
Aiming for a minimalist lifestyle is a good thing for your mental and physical well-being. Too much clutter in the home can be stressful—always looking for space to store things or trying to pick between things, making you feel overwhelmed. The thing is, the exact definition of a minimalist lifestyle can fluctuate.
The idea is to find what works for you and your family.
You might not be the type of person who is happy with rotating between three outfits each and having only one sofa to sit on. To your family, each child having two drawers worth of clothing and one box of toys each might be just the right amount.
Take some time to think about what it is in your home or lifestyle that annoys or frustrates you. Maybe you have too much in your kitchen for you to focus properly, or maybe there are toys always spilling out of your kids’ rooms. Perhaps you have sporting equipment in the hall closet that you haven’t used in years because you no longer like that activity. If those things annoy you, you can probably get rid of them without impacting your overall lifestyle all while making your home a happier place.
Remember, things that are a priority to you may not be to someone else. That’s why there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having a minimalist lifestyle!