This past week, I went in to turn my Talent Grant application in. At the student service desk, I talked to a very nice lady, sorry I don’t know her name. But, we got to talking about my articles and about minimalism in general. She informed me that she reads my articles and another minimalist blog. It helps keep her sane, considering she has two kiddos at home with toys all over the place.
So, it gave me inspiration. I thought I would write an article about how to start minimalism when you have a family. I will admit — I have no actual experience of this. I am not a mother, yet. However, I do read many minimalist blogs and a lot of them have little ones. And, I am definitely interested in how they make it work in their family because my husband and I want to have kids in the near future.
And guess where it starts. It starts with you!
When we focus on ourselves and not everyone as a whole, it helps makes things more manageable. Right now, I’m guessing you think your house is crammed higher than Mount Everest with some things you can’t even recognize. I promise you, it is not that full. Though, it may be very close.
To help relieve some anxiety about getting started, we are going to focus on you only.
But, before we start this little shindig party of throwing things out the window and into the trash, there is one very important step you must take. You must have a conversation with your significant other about what you want to do. They need to know that this is about you and not everyone else. They may not want to change yet, or maybe ever. But, you need this.
The second thing you need to explain to them that you aren’t just throwing things out just to buy new stuff to replace all the old stuff. I learned this one from my husband. This is exactly what he thought at first. What goes out, stays out. Nothing else is coming in — except for the occasional pair of underwear. This is a matter of hygiene not consumerism. But if your partner wants to jump right in there, you go girl/boy and raise some hell at that donation center! (I have been know to hold six cars in line.)
After this little (or not-so-little) conversation, you are ready. But, what is only yours? Well, start with your clothing. This is the easiest to identify. I wrote a post earlier about how to go through your clothing. Then, you can move onto your toiletries and cosmetics. You will soon find you don’t need 12 shades of lipstick, or even one shade. You can get rid of everything that doesn’t fit, anything you don’t use, or mysterious items. You know the ones I’m talking about, like you think you know what it is but it’s still questionable. Sorry, but why are you still holding onto this?
Slowly, you will be able to work your way into your cleaning supplies, your dishes, and then even your entire kitchen. Trust me, this won’t come overnight. There will be hard times, stalled progress, tears, and a whole lot of happiness. That’s what we really want. Happiness — like sun beams coming down all over your face in the morning saying “Hello!”
I won’t put little sprinkles on it though– at the beginning it can be really challenging sometimes, but the end goal is so worth it. Over time, you will realize that it will start extending deeper into your family. It will take lots of time though. You can’t expect to change people. Some don’t even want to change and that’s okay.
Once you figure yourself out and this whole living-with-less lifestyle, you will be able to help your children adapt this lifestyle too. Your significant other may even join in.
The one thing I want you all to remember is: don’t pressure anyone into this decision. It won’t work and they have to be ready for it. Give them time and work on yourself so you can still grow. They will catch up soon.
I do want you all to remember that minimalism isn’t all about owning less than 100 things. For some it may be, but for most it’s just finding the right balance of having what you need and limiting your material luxuries. Everyone’s lifestyle, interests and enjoyment are different. That is why there is no one definition of minimalism. I truly believe the best part of minimalism is that you get to define and make it into what you want and need.
I thought I would add these for reference. If any of you are wondering about minimalist bloggers who have adorable mini rugrats, I have listed a few blogs below that I follow and I love their content.
The Minimalist Mom – theminimalistmom.com
Becoming Minimalist – becomingminimalist.com
Zen Habits – zenhabits.net (P.S. this dad had 6 kids!)
What do you think? Could you become a minimalist with your family?