We’ve been hearing it a lot lately. The word minimalism has been on the tip of our tongues, gracing the shelves of our bookstores and popping up on our screens constantly. And probably for good reason. Have you looked around your home recently and thought, “How did I accumulate this much stuff?!”
With social media continually enticing us with the latest and greatest and the whole shopping world at the tap of our finger, our lives can quickly become cluttered. It’s no surprise to see so many shifting towards a more minimalist approach. Many people believe any sort of minimalism is impossible when kids are in the mix, but really, the opposite is true. Children have been shown to thrive in a more simplified setting!
Rather than thinking of your children as an excuse, see them as the reason to be more minimal. Read on for eight tips on how to live a more minimal life with kids.
1. It Starts With You
Before you get your kids on board, it’s important to see the value of minimalism yourself and start to adopt the good habits. It is a lifestyle change as much as it is a decluttering exercise. At the heart of it, minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of all your stuff. It’s about focusing on what really matters in your family’s life and that must first come from you.
2. Involve Your Kids
Invite your kids to join you and take ownership in their own minimalism. Make them a part of the decluttering process and help them see how donating those unused stuffed animals will make someone else happy. If something new comes into the home, maybe have a policy that something else then goes. Find small ways to incorporate them in the decluttering process and educate them along the way so the habits stick.
3. Prioritize Activities Over Things
Experiences trump possessions, no questions asked. The best things in life are spending time together and doing things as a family. Share that value with children and they will start to see that having “things” isn’t as much of a priority. Start by having a declutter challenge and then rewarding them with a fun activity.
4. Declutter Once a Month
For some, it’s a matter of finding the time because everyone is busy. Try carving out an afternoon once a month to declutter or doing a Sunday morning “30-minute family clean” routine. Make it a priority by having it scheduled and staying on top of it. Depending on children’s ages, everyone should participate too!
5. Designate Areas for Stuff
Establishing zones in the house for stuff can help your home become more minimal. Maybe there’s only one basket of toys in the den, the crafts are relegated to their own small table, and the front living room is toy free. When your kids are older, their rooms become their domain and where they can take ownership of their things. It’s also important to designate an adults-only space for your things.
6. Control Clutter With Bins
Make cleanup simple for kids by using bins, drawers, or baskets to place their stuff. Bonus that baskets conceal the stuff and help make a room look cozy! Try using labels to help your kids learn where things go. If they aren’t reading yet, put pictures on the labels.
7. Embrace Capsule Wardrobes
It’s easy for clothing to be a problem when it comes to minimalism. Clothing has a sentimental element that makes it hard to get rid of. A capsule wardrobe helps to avoid excess because everything works together to create multiple outfits. Plus, having less clothing will help keep you out of the laundry room and, most importantly, simplify your morning routine. We find that purging your clothing seasonally is the best approach.
8. What to Do With All the School Artwork
This is a hard one because it’s easy for parents to get sentimental about things your kids make or give you. His first drawing, her first pair of shoes…the list goes on. And while there are definitely items that should be kept, it’s important to establish some ground rules and limit the amount that stays in your home. For school-age kids, we recommend an art portfolio to keep important pieces through the years. Remember, it’s much more difficult to toss something you’ve already made space for, rather than deciding not to keep it in the first place. Ask yourself this question – in 20 years, will I/my son/my daughter be thankful I kept this?