Minimalism, it’s all about having a sparkly white house full of nothing. No sentimental items or knick-knacks to show off your personality. And god forbid if your kids have any toys scattered on the floor.
Everything in your house should be pristine and you should be ready to show off your home to some glamorous magazine at any given time.
Right? Wrong, thankfully, this is wrong.
The idea of minimalism isn’t new but the way we have been taught to think about it is sometimes askew to the real meaning of it.
It’s not purely about aesthetics or living with the bare minimum. It absolutely can be, but most of us like to think that minimalism is a conscious way of living and thinking that helps us take care of ourselves, our home and our loved ones in a more stress-free and relaxed way.
As a mother of four kids ages 0-8, I have come to appreciate routines, good organization and most importantly; quality time with my family.
In this article, I give you the best reasons why anyone and especially large families should consider living a more simple life with minimalism.
Benefits of Minimalism
- Other Benefits
Clarity of Mind
We think more about our stuff than we know we do. Our subconscious mind notices everything around us even if our conscious selves don’t.
The clutter in the corner of your living room might seem harmless and you don’t really pay any attention to it. But your subconscious picks up everything around you, all the time.
So that corner will have your subconscious mind working with trying to organize and remember every little detail and giving it meaning.
You will essentially go around carrying that mess with you everywhere you go. Your subconscious will not let it go.
Therefore it is essential that you clear out any clutter you have in your home and any space that you use.
Your mind will thank you for it and you will find a new sense of inner peace with every new clear space you get.
Letting go of things you keep “just in case” and “in worst case” is hard and goes against what we have been taught by our parents or just by marketing.
I’m guilty of keeping odd things around the house because I think that if I don’t keep it now something will happen and I won’t be able to fix it and the world will end.
Of course, that scenario almost never happens and I wind up keeping unnecessary things for way too long.
The sheer act of letting go of that Tupperware set of mismatched bins with or without lids or that pair of jeans that don’t fit you and you really don’t like but you keep just in case something out of the ordinary would happen, shows your subconscious and the Universe that you have trust and faith that everything will work out just fine for you.
The right tools or clothes or what have you will appear at the right time for you anyway.
Letting go of things means that you move from a lack mentality to an abundance mentality. And that shift can really open you up to seeing things from a new perspective.
One of the struggles I have when it comes to decluttering and letting go is that I sometimes get too attached to an item. I feel like I have failed to give the item a purpose in my life and not taking care of it enough.
But then I read somewhere that “If you don’t need it, love it or use it – let it go and let someone else do it.”
That helped me release some anxiety and I was more easily able to pass things along to someone who could love it and use it better than me.
And as Marie Kondo says that you should thank your things before giving them away and acknowledge that they have been a part of your life. That too helped me to not feel as though I was just throwing stuff away but instead giving them a new chance.
What’s really important?
You are not your stuff. You can say that an item reflects your personality but you are still you even if that item was gone.
Imagine that all your items would go up in flames, what items would you really miss? Which ones could you live without? I wouldn’t be surprised if you find that you wouldn’t miss all that much of your stuff.
We tend to keep much of our stuff because of the wrong reasons. Like sentimental reasons or money reasons. We think that someone else might be offended or hurt if we choose to not keep an item or that we have wasted money if we give away something we thought we could use at some point.
Becoming clear about why we keep an item gives us the power to decide for ourselves if it should be a part of our life experience or not.
Cleaning & Organizing
Another big benefit of Minimalism is the fact that you don’t have to spend too much time cleaning and organizing. Once you have decluttered and found a home for everything in your home, cleaning and tidying up is a piece of cake.
When you have decluttered and given the items you want to keep a proper home, you don’t have to stress out about not finding them in the morning for example. To me as a mother of four that is invaluable and keeps my mood and patience up.
The topic of decluttering is a big subject and I will write a blog post about that soon. But the major takeaways from decluttering your home and life are that you feel less stressed and can relax more in your home.
You will also find that you have more opportunities to be creative and expressing yourself when you have space and a clear mind.
Weight and fitness
When you surround yourself with only the things you love and need you will find that you actually want to take care of yourself better too.
You will have more time and space to do exercise or meditate and enjoy your new space.
With less stuff, you also have more room to move around and do that workout that you keep pushing off because you don’t have enough floor space or time after constantly cleaning and picking up stuff.
If you also have cleared out your pantry from junk food and sweets you will find that you don’t actually need to snack when you feel less stressed about your life.
A mindful approach to life also leads to more conscious eating habits.
Another huge benefit for me and my family is that with less stuff I can clean my house much easier and get rid of dust that otherwise would have lurked away unnoticed behind and on stuff for too long.
This gives us much better air quality and we have benefitted hugely from this.
With two of our children having some sort of infection-related asthma that they would usually get whenever they got a severe cold. And I developed some kind of adult asthma that the doctors couldn’t really figure out what it was.
But since we decluttered and cleared the air from old dust particles we haven’t had one episode either one of us. Knock on wood.
Together with decluttering we also got a humidifier that showed that our air only had about 35% humidity. No wonder we were coughing all the time.
When you become more conscious about your spending habits and bring less stuff into your home you can actually find that your bank account seems to do better as well.
Have you ever sat down and done a budget? If you have, did you follow it?
Most of us have at some point made a budget, often when things look dire financially. But having a budget and sticking to it is probably the most efficient way to save money.
When you’re doing your budget try to calculate all your expenses and categorize them into necessary and unnecessary purchases. You will most likely be amazed at how much money you spend on things you don’t need.
Think about all the money you now will be able to save or invest or to pay off debts.
Being mindful of your spending habits means that you don’t have to buy everything that our friends, neighbors or some influencer have to feel great about ourselves.
Keeping up with the Joneses is a sure way to lose self-esteem. Be the decision maker yourself, don’t let anyone else tell you what is right for you.
After a while of detoxing your life with the help of minimalism, you will not be so easily persuaded by media and advertisements anymore.
Automate your expenses
I have started doing most of my shopping online and try to automate as much as possible to break the bad habits of impulse buying.
When I sit at home and do my grocery shopping I tend to only buy the things that are on my shopping list and not the things that in the store would catch my eye or that I would buy because I was snackish.
Sell your stuff
You can even make money or rather cut the loss, by selling your unwanted stuff online or at a garage sale or similar.
When I purged the most I just wanted all of the stuff out of my home and I didn’t have the patience to try to sell anything. I just gave it away to our local charity.
In retrospect, I know that I could have sold our clothes and some other random stuff but I feel that having that space cleared up is totally worth the lost income.
As a fan of the minimalist lifestyle, I’ve often come across the tip of downsizing to save money on your living expenses.
That is a valid tip and for a lot of people that make financial sense.
But for me and my big family, we can’t see ourselves living any smaller than we already do for much longer.
We currently live in a 753 sqft (70 sqm) 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, one-floor rental terrace house. Yup, all six of us. And two guinea pigs.
As a matter of fact, we have found that we actually could live cheaper if we bought a house. A proper big house that is.
And that is our dream, to one day be able to pack up our little house and move to that big yellow house with all of our kids and live happily ever after.
So we have sat down and discussed what we want to do and have in the near future and tried to figure out how it could happen.
Then we wrote out an action plan which we taped to our hallway mirror so that we could see it every day.
We also keep regular update-meetings to see how far we’ve come towards our goals and if there is something we could do differently.
This definitely keeps us on course.
I have noticed that whenever I cleared the main play area in our house, which also is our living room, the kids seemed to be happier and more keen on playing with each other or with certain toys than before.
At first, they would run around like crazy people loving all the newfound land to play on, then they would settle down and play with Lego or MagnaTiles.
How many toys?
It is easy to think that kids need a lot of toys in order to be happy and creative. I have read a lot on the subject and talked to parents who have come to the same conclusion.
That kids actually don’t need that much. As long as they feel loved and safe they thrive with what they got.
A lot of parents my age say that they have tried to give their children everything they never got when they were little. I was the same when I had my first.
It was like we were mad at our parents for depriving us of all the fun we could have had with the toys that we never got.
Memories over stuff
But when you think about it, what do you remember most fondly about your childhood? Was it the gifts that you received or the fun times you had with your family playing games, going on holidays, making memories?
I know it’s a cliche, but I really mean it. Take care of every moment with your kids, sooner than you care to think about they will be leaving you, going out on their own adventures in life.
It’s way better to collect memories than things.
I’m currently reading a book about Spirited Children because I think I might be the mother of one. And seeing that he is responding so well to my decluttering efforts is one of the most profound reasons for leading a minimalist lifestyle for me.
Being a spirited child means that he can get sensory overload if there is to much stuff like toys around him. He can’t decide what he’s going to play with and gets frustrated. This frustration often leads to him being physical with his brothers.
But after I removed much of the toys and put the remaining ones in bins that store nicely on a shelf I have noticed that he is much calmer and doesn’t get upset as quickly as before.
What to keep and what to let go of?
I’m always trying to improve and optimize our home so that our kids can have some space for themselves and just be kids.
And by adopting minimalism and being more mindful about the things I keep and value I set an example for my kids to actually take care of the things they want to keep.
I have for a long time kept all of my children’s artwork, even if it’s just a scribble with a crayon, I kept it.
Now I have begun to periodically go through the artwork collection and actually asking them which ones they would like to keep. To my surprise, they weren’t as attached to them as I thought.
That gave me something to think about. I was the one clinging on to things that they had made while they had long moved on.
Why did I cling on so hard? Was it something I had learned from my childhood? Apparently I hadn’t rubbed off on my kids with this bad habit. And I’m really grateful for that.
Show your kids that you value the planet we all live on and therefore their future. Consuming less means a lesser impact and burden on the earth.
When you spend your hard-earned money on quality things and no longer on quantity you don’t have to shop as frequently and as much. And thereby giving your bank account and the planet a well-needed break.
And let’s face it: Fast fashion is so last decade.
Time to improve yourself
I’ve found that when I don’t have to constantly pick up things and clean and organize I actually have time to think and to do things that are just as important as household work, or maybe more important, like self-improvement and self-reflection.
Setting goals and achieving them
My biggest dream and goal besides having a big yellow house is to be able to work from home, being financially independent and most of all having time to be with my children.
Not having to commute up to two hours every day, coming home after everyone had dinner and just crashing on the sofa because I’m so tired.
I’m currently educating myself on investing and passive incomes so that my goal can come true.
Becoming more productive is another benefit that comes from sorting out your life and removing excess clutter from both your home and mind.
I hope you got some useful information out of this article that can help you on your way to becoming a minimalist.
This year has been full of big changes in my life.
In June, I gave birth to my third son and a few days later when I got home again to my family and settling in with my little one I had a meeting with my business partner where we finally split up and went our separate ways.
We had an accounting firm together and we were quite successful. But only a short time after we opened shop in May 2016 I got pregnant. When I realized this in November I was afraid to tell her. I knew this wasn’t her idea of being professional.
Anyhow, we concluded after many meetings that I wouldn’t be able to work as much as I needed to actually get an income from our business.
And after I got home with my little one from the hospital I could only concur.
The little time I had for myself (when the baby slept or could sit happily in his baby sitter for a while) I would be running around the house making sure that the laundry was being done, the floors were decluttered from toys you could easily trip on (I actually fractured my foot tripping over a shoe in the hallway while pregnant and carrying my second child on my hip) and cleaning up the kitchen. And much much more.
There are times I realize I haven’t sat down for like four hours, just running around doing stuff all the time. So having a business where people could be calling or e-mailing you demanding answers right away at any time wasn’t really ideal for me.
But I couldn’t stay away from creating something of my own. My fingers were itching for the creation and exploring something new.
Along came My Big Yellow House.
My desire to learn new things and passion for being able to work from home got me to quickly learn the basics about blogging and I read a lot of other bloggers’ guides and tutorials about creating an awesome blog.
I could work when I did have a little time for myself, like in the evenings when all three of them slept. And I could take pictures during the day when my older boys were at kindergarten.
I have so many ideas of topics I want to explore and share with you. Everything from Mom Hacks and DIY to Parenting Tips and Mom Beauty Tips.
If there is something you would want me to write about, please write it in the comment box below.
Decluttering my life
While I was pregnant I felt an overpowering urge to nest. This happened with all my pregnancies. My home was suddenly the main focus of my life. I scrutinized it from top to toe and the amount of stuff I had amassed over the years came into light and bugged the heck out of me.
My sister who also has three boys had talked to me about minimalism before and I thought it sounded boring, stale, lifeless and couldn’t be applied to families with more than one child. So I had forgotten about it until I came across Marie Kondo on Pinterest. This changed my life!
I read everything about her method and saw endless before and after pictures of people’s homes. There were actually people with more stuff than me who pulled this off.
I ordered her book and read it all in just two days (that’s impressing considering my limited time) and started to visualize how my home could look and feel without all the clutter and mishmash.
The visions I had were enough to make me want to jump the gun right away. However, I had just given birth and my other two kids were home from kindergarten for four weeks. This wasn’t really the perfect time to start a deep cleansing of our home.
As soon as the kids went back to kindergarten I immediately ripped out all of my clothes on the bed and thought that this was going to be easy. I didn’t have that many clothes anyway and that an hour or two would be sufficient time… boy was I wrong.
I had no idea where to start.
I just kept starring at this huge pile of clothes on my bed. I tried to pick something up but quickly dropped it because it was too hard to decide then and there. I panicked a little I admit. My baby was laying on the bed looking at me and probably wondering what on earth I was doing.
Finally, I decided to start by picking up the clothes that I knew beforehand that I would get rid of. Just to get some momentum going. And just when things started to work I had to pick up the kids.
That night I actually slept on the covers on a tiny free space surrounded by clothes. And I am ashamed to admit that I slept that way for over a week until I had finally sorted out my clothes and got them back in the rearranged wardrobe again.
The result was two overfull garbage bags of clothes that I will give away to charity. I thought about selling some but that takes up a whole lot of time and I have had bad experiences trying to sell clothes on our version of eBay, Tradera.
But now I have space in my wardrobe and I can see every piece of clothing I own. It’s absolutely wonderful! I can finally find my own style and not having to feel obliged to accept all the clothes that well-meaning people give to me.
Over the years I have been given a lot of hand me down clothes from family and even though I didn’t really like them I smiled and accepted them just because they were kind enough to give them to me and how could I be so ungrateful as to say no? So my wardrobe was full of someone else’s choices and style. Where was my style?
With the physical decluttering came a mental decluttering as well.
I have always bought things on sale, whether I wanted or needed it. It was a bargain and I just had to have it.
Now I can see that if I just slow down and don’t rush to make a decision I find that maybe I don’t actually need three pairs of ill-fitting pants in the wrong colors.
What I do need and want maybe just one pair of a higher quality and that actually suits me. The price might just be the same but my thinking before was that I got more money’s worth if I bought as much as possible for the same amount. Quantity over quality.
I never gave myself anything of high quality. I thought it was a waste because it eventually always ended up dirty or ripped or pink from the new red t-shirt in the laundry etc. etc. So what was the point in giving yourself something nice?
That way of thinking is detrimental in all areas of your life. For many years, almost as long as I can remember, I have always thought that I wasn’t really worth the finer things in life. Regardless of what it might be. I settled with what I got. Whatever it was.
But since I started on this journey of decluttering my home, I can really feel the magic Marie is talking about. She says that by removing unwanted things from your home you are clearing up space for something new and exciting.
Living the Law of Attraction
I am a huge fan of The Secret and everything about the Law of Attraction and Rhonda Byrnes says for example in one of her books that if you want to meet someone you have to take certain actionable steps to make that happen. If you sleep in the middle of the bed there is no room for your partner to be, if you have filled up all of the wardrobes with clothes, then your partner to be has nowhere to put his or her clothes. The same goes for your car, if you have a double garage, park your car to one side so that your partner to be can park next to you.
I am so excited to see what comes out of this journey of decluttering. I am sure that only good things will come.
Merry Christmas to everyone!
It’s Christmas time again and Dear Santa, I promise I have been nice all year 😉 So I really hope that he shows up with some of the things on my wish list. Otherwise, I have to wait until my birthday and that’s several months away. No can do.
But because I know my spouse and how he works, I will have to check those things off myself. But hey, as a Girl Boss I do stuff like that all the time.
Here is my wish list for Christmas 2017
This list contains affiliate links.
Wool Dryer Balls – Drop a few drops of essential oil on them and your laundry will get dry faster and smell wonderful at the same time.
The Dyson V7 Motorhead – A sleek, lightweight and efficient cordless hoover. You have probably seen it around, I sure have. And it seems so easy to just grab and vacuum whenever you need to. Perfect for families with toddlers and/or animals.
The Shark Klik n’ Flip Steam Mop. Because we all want clean floors and it is so satisfying to see those spots of dirt magically disappear. The bathroom floor will surely thank you for it. As the only girl in our family of five, I would love to see a spotless tile floor in there. It also works on vinyl which is perfect for our kitchen.
Purest Naturals Essential oil diffuser. Like having your own spa at home. You can put any fragrance of your choosing in there and it will help with everything from cleaning the air to help you sleep better. And it has an awesome design too.
OontZ Angle 3. A portable Bluetooth speaker that lasts up to 12 hours. My house is lacking in the music department and I would love to listen to more music, especially in the kitchen when I’m cleaning away. At least I can’t really get my cleaning groove on without the right tunes playing.
A dreamcatcher from Dreamica on Etsy. I’m in love with those handcrafted dreamy looking dreamcatchers. If you go on Etsy and search for dreamcatchers you will get blown away at how many beautiful pieces there are. I want to fill my walls with them. I’m just kidding, I will not go crazy dreamcatcher-lady on you just yet. But I do want at least one to hang over my bed and the crib. The only problem is finding a design that works with my blue walls and green floor…(rental house).
As I was writing this list I realized that this could also be my online vision board and I can check them off as I receive them from the Universe. Because I have yet to actually make one and hang in my home for real. But as a new year’s resolution for 2018, I promise myself to make one as soon as I can in January.
Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas to you all!
If you are anything like me, you don’t like to spend money on any cleaning product that you just as easily could make yourself. After learning this easy and cheap trick to descaling your kettle you will never have to spend another dime on industrial and environmentally bad solutions with perfume and harmful chemicals.
This easy method only takes a couple of minutes and works wonders.
It’s good for your family, the environment and your wallet. Win, win win!
This is how you do it:
- Fill up your kettle with about 1 liter (34 oz) of water.
- Add about 1 tbs of vinegar. (I use 24%, but you can use 12% or even 10% ,but then you may need a bit more)
- Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Empty out the kettle and wash a few times with water to get all vinegar out.
- Enjoy your clean and fresh kettle!
Before: a not so clean and inviting water kettle. And I really wanted a cup of tea..
Step 1 – 3: Fill up with water, add vinegar and bring to a boil. You can really see the difference here.
Step 5: Lo and behold, it’s so shiny! Enjoy your sparkling “new” kettle. I’m gonna get me some tea now 🙂
If you liked this tip you may want to check out my post on how to get rid of fruit flies. I have tried and had great success with 5 different methods of getting rid of those little buggers.
Have a great day and I will see you soon with more homely tricks and tips.
Ps. If there is something special you want me to write about or if you have any awesome ideas you want to share with the world, please write them in the comment box and I promise to answer you.