If you’ve ever visited a personal development or lifestyle design site, you may have stumbled across a niche called minimalism. What is minimalism? That depends on who you ask. Essentially, it is choosing to live with less stuff to live life more fully.
Many find the minimalist lifestyle appealing for a variety of reasons. Some of these include the way it reflects their values. By choosing to live with less and buy less, a person can live a more sustainable lifestyle. Others prefer the freedom owning less gives you.
There are many interpretations of the minimalist lifestyle, including one where people have chosen to participate in the 100 Thing Challenge, where they live with 100 items or less. This may sound extreme, but consider people around the world have been doing it for thousands of years.
However, most modern minimalists who write about what they are doing are not parents, and even fewer are moms. There are so many more barriers for a parent who chooses to live with less stuff because parenthood invariably means you accumulate more stuff.
Everything from baby things to homework assignments, from artwork to craft stuff, from toys to clothes – it builds up! Before long, motherhood can begin to look like it’s more about juggling all of the stuff than it is raising children!
In an age where advertising tells us more is better everyday, taking the time to consider if your possessions are bringing you joy is a poignant way to look at your life. If living a more simple life sounds intriguing to you, then entering minimalist motherhood may be for you. Here are some steps to guide you through the process.
Talk to your family
Keep the lines of communication open. Radically downsizing can create tension and stress if everyone isn’t onboard. If you are met with a serious backlash to the idea, start with your own things and family items.
Explaining the reasons you want to downsize can help. Offering an incentive to get everyone else to cooperate helps, too. i.e. If we get rid of the television and cable, we can afford a vacation to Mexico in six months.
Step off the consumer bandwagon
Let’s forget about the Joneses. Stop buying unnecessary items, and take stock of what you have now. Remind yourself what it is you really need in life to be happy – and it is not stuff!
Decide what minimalism means to you.
Are you going to take the 100 Thing Challenge? Will your family be? What is your policy on shared items?
If counting items is too radical for you, what is your guiding purpose behind becoming minimalist? How are choosing to include your family in this journey? As a mother, you likely have control over most of the “family items,” and you can choose how you downsize rooms like the kitchen. However, informing everyone they can only keep X number of items probably won’t go ever well.
Decluttering is a major part of becoming a minimalist, and as a mom, it’s even more appealing. Imagine your house for a moment, beautifully clear of excess junk and knickknacks. Nothing on the floor. The items you have are of high quality and make you smile when you see them. It sounds great, right?
Decluttering can be an intensive process, so take it step by step, room by room, and even surface by surface, if it is that bad. Take a trip to Goodwill a week, start selling stuff on Ebay, and put up an ad on Craigslist to get rid of free stuff you want gone!
Simplify your life
How many commitments do you have on your plate right now? What about your kids? Do they have schedules activities, play dates, and sports? It’s time to step back a moment and choose what is most important.
If you have commitments you don’t enjoy, get rid of them. Life will go on, and someone else can handle it. Even if your commitment is something like your job, you’ll find as you embrace minimalism, you naturally curb spending. You don’t need as much money to make ends meet and can work fewer hours to spend more time with your family.
Focus on what you love
By eliminating excess stuff, stress, and commitments, you free up an enormous amount of time and space. Now is when you start focusing on doing more of what you love. This is the best part about minimalism! You have more time for your kids, your passions, and living your best life.
Remember, becoming a minimalist mom doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process and a journey, one you can enjoy with your family along the way. Minimalism with kids is totally possible and can improve your quality of life – with less!