What is family minimalism for our family?
When I first found out about minimalism I didn’t see any minimalist families. Most minimalists I saw were single or traveling couples. While traveling sounds like a lot of fun, the thought of bringing two young kids along makes it a lot less minimalist.
A few years ago we traveled from California to New Zealand with a one year old and a three year old. Believe me, just the bare necessities seemed like a lot of stuff!
I wanted to know more about family minimalism and how I could incorporate it into our lives. The only way was with a lot of research on the minimalist lifestyle. Watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading a lot of simple living books. Most of my research led me to decluttering tips and ways to simplify.
This is when I decided to come up with my own definition of family minimalism.
Family minimalism (for us) is keeping the items that you need, things that make you happy, and getting rid of the excess. It also means simplifying our lives not just our stuff.
Let me break this down into some actionable steps.
Items You Don’t Need For Family Minimalism
The items I need are obvious things. For instance in the kitchen we need pots and pans, spatulas, cutlery etc. The list goes on and on, but this is where getting rid of the excess comes into play.
When I first started decluttering I realized I had everything I need, plus a lot of extra! The kitchen was the easiest to declutter because I could clearly see we didn’t need 5 plus pot holders. We didn’t need 30 plus cups.
Family minimalism is keeping what we need and use and getting rid of the rest.
I was able to declutter our cup collection down to about 10 cups for a family of 4. Why 10? My reasoning is if we have a party we won’t need to buy plastic cups. This is where you will have to decide what is the right amount for you and your family.
Some minimalists might only keep one cup per person and that is great too. It all comes down to what is going to work for your family as a whole.
Minimalism Isn’t a Comparison Game
One thing I saw a lot of when I started researching minimalism and becoming minimalist as a family was a lot of comparison. In the comments of blog post and videos on the subject I would see people saying, “you aren’t minimalist because (fill in the blank).” Maybe these people felt the person had too many shoes or clothes.
This is the thing with minimalism, it is different for everyone! The whole point of minimalism is to STOP the comparison game and live with what you need and love. Minimalism isn’t a race to own nothing, it is just a conscience choice to simplify life so we can enjoy it more.
Watch My Family Minimalist Tips:
Keep Things That Make You Happy!
Everything that you own you have to pay for and care for. This is why I decided I am only keeping things that make me happy. Before we became minimalist there were a ton of items that I kept because I felt I had to.
I wrote a whole post on how to declutter without feeling guilty if you want to read more. I kept all of my school yearbooks! Twelve large books were stored in a box out of guilt. (side note: I never looked at these books and never felt like I wanted to) In the end I decided to cut a few things out and save my senior year book. After the decision was made and the books were gone I never regretted my decision.
Family Minimalism and Toy Clutter
One major reason I sought out family minimalism was our ever growing amount of toys. We had toys stored in our living room, the kids room, and almost every cupboard.
No amount of sorting or organizing would change the way my house looked with all of those toys.
My living room always looked like a play center and it was driving me nuts! This is when I realized we were keeping toys the children didn’t play with. Once I analyzed what my boys actually played with I was able to get rid of everything else.
We decided to store all of the toys in one location, in our boys room, anything that didn’t fit was decluttered. Now my home looks much nicer and this makes me so happy. (don’t worry, my kids still have plenty of toys)
Benefits of Minimalism and Toys
I found so many benefits with less toys. First of all, kids can only play with one toy at a time. Once I realized this fact I could easily see that we had way too much.
When decluttering these toys with the intention of becoming more minimal it was a simple process. Keep everything they use and love and declutter everything that was junk or rarely getting played with.
Immediately I noticed my boys were playing more. They finally had room to play!
They were able to focus more without getting distracted by a large mess.
Once there was less they seem to appreciate what they have more.
It is easier for them to clean up after they are done playing.
I personally have way more time, I no longer have to sort and organize a bunch of toys we didn’t need.
Getting Rid of the Excess
My personal definition of excess is keeping a lot of stuff that I rarely or never use. Before we decluttered I had 3 strainers in the kitchen, clothes that I might wear once every 3 years, and shoes that hurt my feet, just to name a few.
Decreasing the amount of excess did a few things for our family:
- We save money because we aren’t buying things until we really need them.
- There is more room in our home.
- Our house functions better because we don’t have to search for what we are looking for.
- It is easier to keep our house organized and clean.
- There are a lot less toys to be picking up and tripping over.
Family Minimalism Led Us to Simplify TOO!
Yes we simplified our stuff by decluttering, but more importantly we simplified our lives. At first I just decluttered everything. As time went on I started to simplify what we did in life too.
If we were invited somewhere that I didn’t feel like going to, I politely declined. I simplified our schedules. We only have our kids enrolled in one extra curricular activity at a time. This gives us time to focus on that one activity and have less time in the car and more time together as a family.
Personally I stopped watching TV and we only have one TV in our home. This is on purpose, it’s not because we can’t afford another TV. I found TV to be a major distraction for myself so I decided to stop watching.
I try to only go shopping for food once a week and meal plan, this saves money and gives me more time.
Living a more simplified life is the reason we became minimalist.
Benefits of Family Minimalism
There are so many benefits to living more minimal with a family.
- Spending time on what really matters to you.
- Not having that wasted time feeling after tidying your home.
- Saving money because you aren’t trying to accumulate more stuff.
- Knowing where everything is all the time.
- Enjoying more experiences over things.
- Removing the social pressure to look richer or have name brand items.
- Loving everything you do keep.
The nice thing about family minimalism is you can make up your own definition and decide what amount of items works for your family. Some people might visit our home and think we don’t look minimalist at all and on the other hand some people say our home looks bare.
This is why it is important to decide what will work for you.
I decided to declutter slow and steady for a whole year. After a year of decluttering I would revisit an already decluttered area to see if there were any other items that needed to go. Almost every time I would find at least one thing that I know we hadn’t used for over 6 months.
I like to call decluttering and minimalism a journey because it takes time to see what you are actually using and what is just excess.
Family Minimalism Research
Here are some Minimalist YouTube channels that can help to motivate your minimalist journey:
Minimalist Family YouTube Channels:
Shannon Torrens: Check out my channel, I have a lot of videos about family minimalism and our decluttering journey.
Scandish Home: Noemi talks about her simple living family and how minimalism has simplified their lives.
Messy Minimalist: This channel is exactly like her name. She talks about being a messy person while becoming more minimalist. She has a lot of videos about decluttering and shows exactly how she declutters.
Mini Mom: This mom shows her day and how they live minimalist with a family.
The Minimal Mom: Dawn gives tips and tricks on how to declutter and how to become minimalist.
Simply Mel: Lots of decluttering tips.
Small Changes: A large family living minimally.
The Minimalists: Just like they are called, they talk about minimalism.
What does family minimalism mean to you?
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