If you are looking to live a more simple life, a minimalist lifestyle might be the way to go. But can you be a minimalist and still have a family? In this post we will explore ways you can be successful with your goal of becoming a minimalist family, with tips to help you transform your household.
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Minimalism With a Family, Can it be Achieved?
When you think about minimalism, do you picture the single guy, with few commitments, living in a tiny home? Maybe you think of the girl backpacking through Europe with all of her worldly possessions in one bag?
But what if you aren’t single? What if you have a spouse, children, or pets? Is it even possible to have a minimalist home and have a family? We believe you can!
Whether you have a large family, or small, here are some steps to help you and all of your family members on your minimalist journey.
But first, let’s get everyone on the same page. It is hard to make a big change in your home without a common goal and understanding. So, why would you want to be a family that practices minimalist living? Let’s find out!
Benefits of Being a Minimalist Family
- Simpler lifestyle. You know you have the desire to live a simpler life. Having more money, and less things to worry about can make a huge difference moving towards that simpler existence.
- Less Stress. A minimalist home has fewer things to maintain, making it a less stressful environment. A cluttered home has been shown to cause the homeowner stress. As your declutter your space, it helps you get rid of the mental clutter as well.
- Easier to clean. A more minimal home is easier to clean and maintain. Everything has a place. You don’t have to take as much time clearing surfaces before you can clean them.
- Time for Things that Matter. When you don’t have to spend as much time cleaning, organizing, and maintaining your stuff, you have more time for things that actually matter, like your family. This can give you a more fulfilled, meaningful life.
- Great for the Environment. When you buy less, less things have to be manufactured, less trash is made, and less resources are required to make your things. Once you become more aware of the way your choices impact the environment, you look for even more ways to help the planet and your home health. You might buy second hand items, and use products that have more natural ingredients.
- Be More Productive. When maintaining your possessions takes up less time, you not only have more time for your loved ones, but to pursue your passions. Practicing minimalism as a family can free up time, energy, and money to accomplish other goals in the future.
- Happier Home. Once you own less, and have less debt and stress, your home will be a happier place as a result. Organized spaces without clutter are also better for your mental health. This means practicing minimalism as a family can help with your overall happiness, stress levels, and well-being.
- Spend Less. This one is pretty simple, when you buy less stuff, you spend less money. Think about all the money you have spent on things you have eventually given away or donated through the years. Buying things with intent, that we actually need, instead of just want, can save you a lot of money. So can buying quality instead of quantity.
- Set a Better Example for your Kids. Your kids will see that you can care for your home, finances, health, and the earth better with a minimalist lifestyle. You are teaching them what is important to you through your choices.
- More Freedom. You can experience so much more freedom when you practice family minimalism. Freedom from stress, debt, and clutter just to name a few.
Steps to Achieve Minimalism with a Family
Now you and your family understand the benefits that can come from becoming more minimalist. So how do you actually achieve a minimalist family home?
While you can’t force minimalism, you can encourage change that can inspire your family as they see positive results. Here are simple things you can do to achieve your minimalist goals as a family.
Step 1. Declutter Your Home
There are lots of different methods for getting rid of material possessions in our homes. You can do the Kon Mari Method, a slow and steady room by room purge, or find a decluttering challenge like this one Minimize Your Life in 30 Days.
Pick any way that works for you. Just make sure you start your journey towards minimalism by going through your entire house. Decide what items are important for you to keep and what ones you can let go of.
And don’t forget when you do get rid of your things, donate items that are in good condition. There are lots of places that take second hand items; charities, thrift stores, and even homeless shelters.
Involve your whole family in the donating process. Knowing they will go to benefit someone in need can often help your children let go of items.
If you can use a little more help decluttering your space, these are two of my favorite books on the subject, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White.
Step 2. Everything Has a Place
Every single thing in your home should have a home of its own. This is a great first step towards having a less stressful, more minimal home.
Every remote control, decoration, and office supply should have a known place where it goes. This helps you save time and energy because you won’t be looking for misplaced items.
It also makes it easier to tidy up your home quickly since you don’t have to spend time finding a spot for your items. This also gives you boundaries. If the office supplies no longer fit in their designated drawer, it might be time to go through and declutter your office supplies.
Step 3. A “Not Yet” Box
When you are decluttering your home and you have an item you just aren’t sure about, have a box where you can put these items. Give the box a time limit, like 3-6 months. Once that time is up, if you haven’t missed or used the items in the box, it is time to let them go.
Step 4. A Keepsake Bin
Allow each member of the family a keepsake bin. Here is where you will put non-essential items that have sentimental value. This is not a place for journals or scrapbooks that have family history. It’s a place for a favorite stuffed animal, old medals or trophies, art projects, a baby blanket, ect.
This is where you put bulky items that have sentimental value. Each family member gets one bin. They can decide what to keep as long as it fits in the bin. It gives everyone a little bit of individual control and the ability to make their own decisions.
I personally love under the bed storage as keepsake bins. They keep your keepsakes from cluttering up your space.
Step 5. One in One Out Rule
This rule comes into play once you have decluttered your home and are happy with your space. If you decide to bring a new item into your home, one item has to leave. This will help you keep your physical space the way you like it because you won’t have to find new homes for similar items, instead you exchange them.
Step 6. Capsule Wardrobe
Having a capsule wardrobe helps you keep your clothing in check. This helps keep the amount of time you spend picking out your clothes and doing laundry down. Plus you will spend less money on clothing in general.
If you want to learn how to create and maintain a capsule wardrobe, this will be a tremendous help, How I Cut My Wardrobe In Half and Why You Should Too.
Step 7. Shop with a List
Always shop with a list and don’t let yourself be drawn in by other items. Go shopping with the goal to stick to your list and timeline. Get in, get what you need, and get out. This will save you money, time, and maybe even a little sanity.
Step 8. Don’t Shop as Entertainment
Shopping as entertainment can be a very dangerous thing. You might think you are just going to look, but suddenly you have a cart full of stuff you don’t need.
Try finding other ways to fill your free time, like working out, playing games, or hiking outdoors. Maybe even stay in, pop some popcorn, and have a family movie night.
And shopping as entertainment includes window shopping on your phone. If you need to order something specific, go to the site and order it, and then close the window. Don’t use your needed purchase as an opportunity to browse for more that you don’t need.
Step 9. Toning Down Birthdays and Holidays
Birthdays and Holidays seem to get bigger and more out of control all the time, and the pressures of social media don’t help. The night before Christmas pictures on places like Facebook are now just a competition of who has the most stuff under their tree.
The problem is, this is not making us happier. Instead our families are more stressed, and more in debt because of it.
Try toning down the things like the number of items under the tree at Christmas, or the amount spent on a birthday party every year. It can be fun to get creative and look for ways to involve the whole family without acquiring more junk or going into more debt.
This next year, try getting your child a single toy, and then something they might need, like new shoes.
One new trend to tone down the amount of things you are getting your kids and teens is to get them 4 things; something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. This can rein in birthdays and holidays, but still make sure you are giving one item that is purely for fun.
Step 9. Experiences Over Possessions
When giving gifts try to give experiences instead of more stuff that will turn into clutter. Maybe do a fun service project over winter break to bring on the Christmas spirit?
What about spending your Christmas budget on a family vacation that will give your children a lifetime of memories, instead of buying you kids new toys the won’t play with after the first day or your teens new tech that is making them depressed?
If this concept is new to you, and you need some great ideas, this post can help, Unforgettable Experience Gift Ideas for Your Loved Ones.
Step 10. Shop Secondhand
Look for opportunities to shop second hand. Not only will this save you money, but it makes it so new resources are not used to make you an item. You are saving your wallet, while also saving the planet.
Plus shopping secondhand can be an adventure. My sisters and I have been known to spend hours in a thrift shop looking for treasure.
Just remember, even when shopping second hand, make sure to have an exact item you are looking for, and don’t shop without a plan. Yes, those high heels at the thrift store might be really fun, but if you never wear high heels, then they will still be a waste of both money, and valuable closet space.
Step 11. When Buying New, Go for Quality, Not Quantity
If the item you are looking for is not something you could get second hand, then make sure you are buying a quality item that will last.
Buying shirts at 2 for $20 might seem like a steal, but if they look a mess after just the first wash, and you never wear them, did you really save money? Buying high quality items just like buying secondhand items can save you money in the long run, and keep waste out of the landfill.
Step 12. Set a Budget
The simple act of looking at your spending over a month can make a big difference in the way you look at your money. When you actually see where your money is spent, you can see where excess is and where it is wasted.
You are able to see how much those small but repeated expenses really add up, and if there are ways to make better choices.
For example, when you see how much you spend on your daily iced coffee from Starbucks added up over a month, you may be surprised how much that is really costing you. Then you can decide if it is wiser to kick the habit all together, or save some money by making your own iced coffee at home.
Step 13. Refuse Things You Don’t Need
We don’t even realize how often we are just given stuff we don’t need. A flyer, a pen, a sticker. They all seem small and harmless, but add them up and they are clutter, time, energy, and resources. It is okay to say no to items we don’t need.
This includes junk mail. If you want to be more minimalist, it might be time to get your name off of junk mail lists.
You can also apply this to digital junk. Unsubscribing from email lists that just tempt you to spend money on more stuff you don’t need seems like a great place to start.
Step 14. Move to a Smaller Home
I know that is an extreme one, but if you are really serious about becoming a minimalist family, and are struggling, this one thing can really help you with that goal.
House sizes have increased significantly over the years and at the same time, so have the number of items in our homes. This is not a coincidence.
In the 1950’s the average American house was 983 square feet, while today that number is 2480 square feet. And we are filling those larger homes with an excess of items, an average of 300,000 to be exact.
And even with these much larger homes, some of us still can’t even contain all of our stuff. That is why the offsite storage unit business is now a $29 billion dollar industry (and growing).
Downsizing your home can force you to downsize your stuff. And many people that do downsize realize it can be the best way to have less debt, to spend less time doing maintenance and to have more quality time with their families.
Minimalism with a Family
Minimalism as a family can be hard, but it is not impossible. If you can make a common minimalism goals and implement even just a few of the ideas we have given in this post, you can be on the road to having a more minimalist home.
Simple living comes from choosing a simpler way of life. Making the choice to practice minimalism as a family, just might get to you where you want to be on your journey.
Have you tried any of the steps we are suggesting in this post? What step are you excited to try next to help your family live a more minimalist lifestyle? Let us know in the comments, we love to hear from you!