I first discovered Minimalism when I was pregnant with Bradley. Between my late night episodes of ‘Tiny House Hunters’ on HGTV and my personal longing for a life with less bills and more purpose… I was very curious.
For those who don’t know, Minimalism in a nutshell is essentially removing any and all excess ‘things’ from your life. Living without all of the extra stuff surrounding you. No more clutter and storage boxes filling your house.
In theory, it’s WONDERFUL and here’s why:
1. By going through your house and getting rid of items you don’t NEED, you clear up a lot of space and clutter. Doing so minimizes (key word there) the amount of things you need to clean, maintain, and even just clean or move around thus freeing up time in your day from chores.
2. If you’re getting rid of items you don’t need you’re certainly not going out and spending money on new things to bring home that you also don’t need. So you really start saving money immediately! Not to mention that selling your old stuff can be an effective way of removing the clutter and filling your pocketbook all at the same time!
Like I said, in theory it is an absolute wonderful idea as less and less focus is placed on gaining items while more effort is placed on making memories and spending TIME in a more valuable way.
Here’s the sticky part:
After trying to implement this lifestyle more into my household, I realized that in order to fully commit I would need to get rid of EVERYTHING. True Minimalism doesn’t mean to have extra boxes in storage of holiday decorations, or extra toys for your child to play with. True Minimalism means creating a capsule wardrobe with a few select pieces that interchange to create a multitude of outfits.
If you do an online search of Minimalism, pictures usually depict a white room with maybe a chair and a small table with flowers on it. No coasters, TV remotes, magazines, etc.
I just don’t see it as being a honestly realistic option for families. So here’s what I’ve come up with instead:
1. Get rid of the unnecessary items that you KNOW you don’t need. That just take up space in the spare room or hidden in a closest because you haven’t been able to take that final step of getting rid of it.
2. Look at collections of items you may have and see how you can downsize. How many cups does your family REALLY use in between cycles of the dishwasher? How many pairs of socks do you need to keep on hand? Earrings? Even removing the small stuff can make life a little easier in the long run.
3. A little bit harder of a step, but what items can you ultimately do without in your house? Do you LOVE all of the decorative pieces you’ve displayed and have to dust every week? When was the last time you dug the board games out of the closet? How many of them are missing pieces and can’t even be played properly?
Maybe becoming a ‘Minimalist’ isn’t a realistic goal for families. Maybe it’s not a horrible thing if you children have a handful of toys to play with that help them learn and develop. Maybe it’s not horrible to have a box of decorations in the basement that make kids light up when they see you bring out because they can’t wait to help you decorate.
The trick really comes in taking an honest approach on whether or not purchasing an item will bring enough joy to your life to make the $$ you’re spending worth it. Sure it may only cost $10, but a $10 pallet of eye shadow that you only use on special occasions vs $10 in water toys on a hot summer day for your kids will weigh differently on life values.