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.
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