I consider I’ve finally arrived during a indicate in life where we can contend … we are minimalists. (And yes, a minimalist family of 8 that homeschools.)
What does this meant exactly? It doesn’t meant we live in a sheer white residence (although we would adore that!) and it doesn’t meant we threw out all of a stuff. It also doesn’t meant any object in my residence “sparks joy.”
What it does meant to a family is that we prioritize peculiarity over quantity, given reduction can be some-more when focusing on a right things.
If minimalism with a family seems impossible, here’s a thought: don’t families with kids need it some-more than anyone else? With 6 kids and all that comes along with that, we knew it was high time to conclude a family priorities and transparent a clutter.
First, let’s get transparent about what we meant by minimalism and what that indeed looks like for us.
In Search of a Life-Changing Magic
Before we consider I’ve achieved a enchanting residence where all stays in a place, let me explain. Minimalism is unequivocally a tour … not a destination.
I’ve created before about how I’m not naturally a many nurse person. Over a years I’ve finished my best to get a days into an nurse slight (despite, we know, babies and toddlers) and generally we was flattering happy with a ratio of things to people in a house, even if it did tend to tumble detached on a daily basement around a 3 o’clock hour …
Then some-more kids came along. And a flourishing business. And no matter how many we spotless a confusion seemed to benefit a top hand.
I review books and blogs, listened to podcasts, and attempted new cleaning systems. we schooled a lot from a renouned decluttering book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up but that didn’t seem to fit my celebrity overall. (Just can’t appreciate my purse, sorry!)
While we did learn some things that would assistance for a while, as kids grew and changed by opposite stages we would eventually finish adult behind in a same (sinking) boat.
Reluctantly, we decided organized disharmony is a many we as relatives can wish for and attempted to make assent with it.
But do we unequivocally have to settle? Are all a hopes of a clutter-free home in vain?
Yes, Minimalism With Kids is Possible
While we positively took some tips from Marie Kondo’s book, it usually didn’t seem unsentimental for a family. we was happy to find this book Clutter-Free Kids by decluttering consultant and father of two, Joshua Becker, and also his overwhelming blog Becoming Minimalist.
Joshua’s life-defining impulse happened on an typical day during some weekend chores (something we can describe to).
In his words:
Our story starts in suburban Vermont while we was cleaning a garage, my mother was cleaning a bathrooms, and my 5-year aged son was personification alone in a backyard. we struck adult a unchanging review with my neighbor who commented, “Maybe we don’t need to possess all this stuff.”
The juncture was striking. Possessions piled adult in a driveway… my son in a backyard… my day slipping away… we immediately famous something indispensable to change. My effects were not adding value to my life. Instead, they were subtracting from it.
We began donating, recycling, and stealing a nonessential personal possessions. We embarked on an conscious tour to possess reduction stuff.
I unequivocally latched on to this thought that minimalism is some-more about reckoning out what’s critical as a family and safeguarding that from things that take divided from it. It’s powerful, and it can change everything.
It finally felt like a truth of that fit.
Making Minimalism a Family Experiment
We motionless to make this a family examination not usually about stealing absolved of things though with dual unequivocally certain goals in mind:
- Getting transparent on what we value as a family, and
- Identifying what gets in a proceed of that (and stealing absolved of it).
It was many easier for a kids to get behind a fun family plan than usually being told “we’re stealing absolved of stuff,” and a common family bid began.
Even now I’m no decluttering expert, though with Joshua Becker’s family-friendly recommendation to beam us we finally burst a formula and found a slight and a outcome that unequivocally worked.
How to Become a Minimalist Family (Step by Step)
Since we were rebellious this as a family project, there were a few healthy places to start:
1. Define What’s Really Important (Do Not Skip This Step!)
This step was such a profitable use and has had a many durability advantages for a family. Whatever we do, don’t skip it! Have these conversations with yourself, your spouse, and afterwards a whole family.
Once we know what is important, we will be improved means to commend a things that are not.
Minimalist Family Quiz:
Ask yourself some tough questions and spend some time meditative creatively as a family
- What do we spend time doing that doesn’t emanate many value? Could we mount to do reduction of it?
- Think of a duty we despise. Is there a proceed to get absolved of that thing and discharge a chore?
- If we had to leave your residence behind with zero though a backpack, what would be in it? (These are your essentials.)
- Once we minimize, what will we maximize? Recall some favorite family vacations or experiences. What would your family do if we had fewer chores and some-more income in a bank?
Write down a answers on a vast piece of paper and keep it on a side of a fridge or in a place where everybody in a family can see it. Having this as a visible sign and motivator was an critical apparatus for gripping us on track.
2. Cut Time Wasters
Sorting and decluttering with power takes time. We knew it was critical to make time on a family calendar if we were going to dedicate to this project. My father and we concluded on a few pivotal areas that we could simply put on reason or facilitate to giveaway adult some-more time.
We immediately cut behind on:
- watching TV (time saved: 4 hours per week)
- most of a toys (most kids in a US have 200 and usually play with 12 of them)
- clothing (capsule wardrobes = reduction time doing washing and folding)
Eliminating these time and space wasters gave us a outrageous headstart and let us get a ambience of a “reward” entrance once we finished a family experiment. These 3 areas were also easy to tackle given they didn’t engage nauseating attachments and shortening them immediately gave us some-more time in a day. I was vacant how easy it was (and how good it felt) to cut down on a few areas that were holding us back.
3. Forget About Organizing (For Now)
Repeat after me: organizing alone will not solve a problem. Realizing this done all a difference. If we have too many things in your residence (and in a garage, storage unit, etc.), no volume of organizing will solve a puzzle.
Organizing is relocating things around and determining where to store them. Minimalism is about owning reduction so we have some-more time and appetite to pursue a things we love.
Resist a titillate to confirm where things go and concentration primarily on stealing nonessential apparatus out of your home and into a hands of someone who could unequivocally use them.
I adore Joshua Becker’s observant “It is distant improved to de-own than declutter.” He explains in this post that as we go by a slight of doubt what we own, we start to see things in a opposite light:
Removing security starts to spin behind a enterprise for some-more as we find freedom, happiness, and gratification in owning less. And stealing ourselves from a all-consuming enterprise to possess some-more creates event for poignant life change to take place.
I can contend it’s unequivocally loyal that going by this slight declutters some-more than your residence … it declutters your meditative too!
4. Put Decluttering on a Schedule
What isn’t on a calendar tends not to happen. Decide on both a daily and a weekly time to persevere usually to classification and discarding/donating nonessential apparatus in a house. Put it on a family calendar usually as we would an appointment or activity, and hang to it. We started with about 4 hours a week, a time we saved by expelling many of a shade time.
Scheduling something a whole family can demeanour brazen to like an tour or diversion night after a decluttering event is a certain proceed to expostulate home a reason we’re vouchsafing go of stuff.
5. Stop Buying Things!
Ok, this is a tough one, though there’s no proceed around it: if a upsurge of products into your home is faster than a outflow, we will never make progress.
I do a lot of my selling online to save time, though during a family minimalism plan we done a agreement that we would be additional discreet about adding any apparatus that take adult earthy space and aren’t consumable. When we got a titillate to emporium (you know, that one-click grouping high), we found it helped to put a apparatus on a wish list and come behind to them later. More mostly than not, we forget about a object entirely. If we remembered it later, that was a thought it was something we indeed needed.
If we did squeeze a earthy item, we helped keep any other accountable and done certain to select something else of a identical distance from that difficulty to get absolved of.
One of a best decisions we done when commencement this slight was formulating plug wardrobes, as it has saved hours of time, hundreds of dollars, and lots of mental appetite determining what to wear.
Tips for Decluttering With Kids
While it might seem tough during first, there’s a few stairs that have done a slight easier for a family:
1. Set a Example
Suppress a titillate to start by pitching your child’s 1,000 dear pressed animals or their appreciated stone collection from a backyard. (It’s hard, we know.) Set a instance by starting with a things owned by a grown-ups in a house. (In my view, it’s usually satisfactory given we bought many of a things anyway!)
Starting with a possess closets and bedroom worked best for us and felt like a docile thing to tackle. Talk to a kids along a proceed about a slight and let them see a disproportion it makes. (Hinting that their spin is next!) If you’re lucky, we might find a kids start to adopt some of your new opinion and practices.
2. Establish a Family Donation Station
Find several vast card boxes or totes and put them in a plcae your family passes any day (on a proceed from a garage to residence worked for us). Make this a “family concession station” where family members can put any apparatus they no longer wish or need.
I posted this Decluttering Challenge printable subsequent to a concession hire to motivate a kids to give things divided on their own. The thought is to tone in a box for any object we give divided with idea of celebrating any 100 items. We even make this into a kids vs. relatives foe by regulating opposite colors … whoever fills 100 boxes initial gets to collect a fun family activity. (This is something we keep doing for slight maintenance.)
3. Gather Items by Categories
This is a tip from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up that we did find helpful. After all, we can’t unequivocally know how many of one difficulty we possess if we don’t see all it in one place. While we didn’t find it required to reason any object and see if it “sparked joy,” it did assistance to tackle things in groups (and continue to store them in one place as many as possible).
This is a sequence of categories that worked good for us:
- Parents’ bedrooms
- Kids’ bedroom (this theatre took a while!)
- Linen closet
Note a propagandize room and personal/sentimental apparatus aren’t on this list! For now, we use sealed storage to residence all of a things indispensable for propagandize and usually try for ubiquitous simplicity.
4. Define Physical Boundaries
This is substantially my favorite proceed to assistance immature kids know boundary on their effects in a certain proceed that isn’t stressful. It works like this:
- Yes, we can keep and suffer a present 25 presents Grandma gave you, though all of your toys contingency fit in this fondle box. Which toys should we present to make room?
- Yes, we can have a rock/shell/Matchbox cars collection though it contingency fit on this arrangement shelf in your room.
- Yes, we might have pressed animals though they contingency fit in this unresolved organizer in your closet.
If kids share a room, conclude a specific area where they can suffer and arrangement their personal possessions. The space could be tangible by bookshelves, a side of a bed, a side of a closet, or my favorite, underneath a loft bed. (Close it off with curtains, they see a installation and we see reduction clutter!)
By carrying a tangible space to suffer their personal things and saying it all in once place, kids can learn to use their letting-go “muscle” on a small, docile scale.
Maximizing Minimalism (Or, How to Decide What to Keep)
Stuff is not always a enemy. In fact if what we possess supports what we wish to be as a family, it’s a treasure!
An overwhelming side outcome of selecting minimalism during home is a hulk boost in thankfulness and gratification for a things we do own. We are sanctified to possess things that keep us healthy, warm, and means to learn new things.
I was preoccupied to see that during this slight my father and we started to feel some-more assured about shopping decisions given we were transparent on a family goals. These are some of a things that I’m blissful we kept or we’ve even bought some-more of in support of a family goals:
Family time outdoor in nature? Yes please! We’ve used a camping rigging over and over via a years. Camping has a ton of health advantages and is value a investment of time and appetite to store and caring for it.
One knowledge we motionless to prioritize for a family is to transport whenever we can. We finished a (crazy) cross-country outing final summer, and indeed it was a good use in minimalism. Nothing like make-up a family of 8 into an RV to assistance we confirm what’s unequivocally essential!
I’m not a fan of a lot of shade time for kids especially, though shopping Kindle Paperwhites for any member of a family was a genuine gamechanger. It’s like consolidating whole bookshelves into a small device! We still have copiousness of paper books, though a e-readers assistance us extent a volume of earthy space clinging to them and we can now take books with us when we travel. Kindle Paperwhites are good given they don’t have a lot of flashy, graphics and games that are distracting (even addictive) for kids.
Play Equipment and Outdoor Games
We still have things for a kids to play with, though we prioritize peculiarity low-clutter toys and vast play apparatus for a backyard. Yes, some of these apparatus are an investment though they support a family values of stealing copiousness of transformation and time outward for a kids. They also give us something active to do when hosting guest or carrying friends over to play.
There are copiousness of ways to have fun and learn something new but shopping a lot of element items. We adore to do online classes together that learn a useful skill, like Udemy, with classes on all from photography to personification a harmonica, or a favorite kitchen activity, a Kids Cook Real Food course.
Minimalism: The Bottom Line
In a universe where it’s so easy to buy things during a click of button, determining a upsurge of confusion into a homes isn’t an easy feat. With a small calm and use (and a lot of purging), it is probable to find a right kind of minimalism for family and get behind to what’s truly critical in life. Isn’t that a many critical ability to learn a children, after all?
- The More of Less: Finding a Life You Want Under Everything You Own
- Clutter-Free With Kids
- Minimalism for Families: Practical Strategies to Simplify Your Home and Life
- Wellness Mama Podcast 77: Minimalism With a Family to Decrease Stress and Clutter With Joshua Becker
How have we fought a good quarrel opposite clutter? Did we try a opposite approach? Please share!