In a world of excess, it’s easy to get bogged down with clutter–not only in our homes, but in our everyday life. Checking multiple apps each day, keeping up with every single breaking news item, buying possessions we don’t need but feel pressure to buy – it’s a lot. And it’s no wonder that many are saying enough is enough, and turning to a more minimalist lifestyle.
However, is minimalism realistic when you have a family? The experts say yes. First of all, minimalism doesn’t mean getting rid of all of your belongings and living in an empty box. According to The Minimalists, “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” Sounds pretty good right? Here are a few tips from minimalism experts on how you and your family can live a more simple lifestyle.
Communicate with your family about minimalism
“Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of all your stuff and living with barely anything. In a family, minimalism is really a conversation about what’s important. What’s necessary. Why we own things and do things. A lot of times, a family never really has this conversation — it’s all just implied in the way we live. But minimalism is about bringing this out in the open and talking about it.”
-Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
Focus on experiences instead of stuff
“Since we try to have less stuff, but don’t want to “deprive” our children of the wonder that is life, we focus on experiences. We take them to parks and playgrounds a lot. We go to concerts. We go on short trips. We “do stuff” instead of “buying stuff.” They love it…and so do we!”
-Kate, Modern Alternative Mama
Choose your purchases carefully
“Children will outgrow their clothes, their toys, their school supplies, and their sporting goods. They are not going to stop growing and developing. You are absolutely still going to buy things going forward… you are just going to put more thought into your purchases than you did in the past. Replace “Do I want this?” with “Do I need this?” And help your son or daughter ask the same question. It’s one of the most important lessons they will ever learn.”
-Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist
Don’t try to change everything overnight
You didn’t create the life you are living overnight, and you won’t create a new one overnight either. If you are interested in using minimalism to reduce stress, keep that in mind with your approach to change. Fast and furious change may add stress. Slow and steady change is sustainable. There is no rush.
-Courtney Carver, Be More with Less
Help kids clean out toys regularly
“Teach kids to make space for anticipated new belongings by passing on old items before the new stuff arrives. We do an old toy, stationery and clothing cull before Christmas and birthdays. The kids see this as “making space” and look forward to what might come to replace the old, outgrown items!”
-Lee, Simple Living wit Kids
Be present with each step
“The most important thing isn’t the changes you make — if you focus on the outcomes, you’ll get frustrated, because you don’t completely control your family members. You might influence and inspire them, but you can’t force change, you can’t force opinions to be different. Instead, you can be present each step along the way, learn from each step, enjoy that step, and be the mindful example of change for your family.”
-Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
In conclusion, it is possible to practice minimalism with a family! These tips from the experts should give you some guidance to get started.