Minimalism: Simplifying for my Family’s Sake

Minimalism: Simplifying for my Family's Sake
Working full-time, having two small kids and a husband at home, traveling every other week and trying to maintain some sort of social life in the midst of dance classes and t-ball games makes it difficult to keep up with my ‘pre-kid standard’ of cleanliness and slight OCD behavior.
 
But I tried. I really tried to maintain our home. Every night. Every morning. But slowly, it brought out the worst of me. I wasn’t a loving, happy wife and mom. I was crazy, ‘who is this woman I married?’ and ‘where did my mommy go?’ kind of person. That was not who I wanted to be.
 
I knew something had to change. I had a couple of hours with my family after work and could feel the negativity seeping out through my words and actions. Be it the endless sighing of disappointment, frantic yelling of “put this or that away”, or discarding of my family’s personal belongings that sat idly and untouched for far too long. A tidy home was coming at the expense of my family. 
 
This journey into minimalism didn’t start out of the blue. I’ve always enjoyed purging as the seasons changed. Growing up in Chicago it was like clockwork pulling out bins of seasonal clothes that had been stashed away for months. I’d rummage through to see what fit (or didn’t), or maybe went out of style. But living in a year-round warm weather climate I don’t have that opportunity to pull out those seasonal bins. 
 
I stumbled upon a Minimalism documentary and was instantly intrigued by this approach of living with less. It got me thinking about what life would be like without so much STUFF. I started reading minimalist blogs, joined Facebook groups and followed Instagrammers to learn more about it. I then came across Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up” and that sealed the deal for me.
 
We were in the midst of moving and it was the perfect opportunity to go through every single item in our house and answer one simple question: does it stay or go? Having moved four times in the last five years there were some items that still had labels from previous moves. HELLOO?! That was a clear indicator I probably didn’t need it. 
 
While my new passion for minimalism started several months ago… I can honestly say I haven’t looked back. My life has been simplified and it feels awesome. It was slow to start, but like any minimalist will tell you it gets easier once you build the momentum. In fact, it’s liberating! 
 
If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your own home, it might be time to read up on minimalism. It doesn’t mean you have to throw everything out. There are varying degrees of minimalism and you have to figure out the happy medium for you and your family.

There’s so much to gain 

Time: Have you ever said to yourself, “I wish I had more time in the day?” Now I have it! Why? Because I’m not picking up so much stuff. Let’s face it, everything you bring into your home needs to be maintained in some way. The less stuff you have equals less time spent on maintenance and more time for the things you actually want to do.   

Money: I don’t spend as much. Simply put — I hem and haw over each and every purchase. I buy things I really love and return anything I start having even the slightest reservation about.
 
My family: Most importantly, quality time with my husband and kids. I’m calmer and more present instead of spending every free moment stressed about what toys are out, what papers need to be put away, or what clothes I don’t wear anymore and should be donated. As for the toys… they are still there, but less and confined to certain spaces (MOST days!).  

Resources to get started:

Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“. A printed copy is ideal so you can take notes and refer back; or check out a digital or audio version from your local library.  

The Minimalism documentary on Netflix. Their podcast is awesome too! 

Allie Casazza podcast: The Purpose Show. This minimalist mama is a go-to for simplicity in short audio bites.

Simplifying my life with less stuff has helped me be able to spend more time with the people I love and doing the things I really enjoy. Ironically, having less has left me with a fuller (less cluttered) life!
 

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