If you haven’t heard the word minimalist yet, you may be living underneath a rock. It seems to be booming lately although this is indeed not a new craze at all. If you follow my FB or Instagram then you would know I am indeed a fan of Joshua Becker, Courtney Carver, Allie Casazza and of course The Minimalists to name a few.
It seems more and more people and families are embracing a less is more approach to life, so I thought I would post about how we do it, due to the amount of comments we get about our home with 3 going on 4 kids.
Technically I have been doing this since my early 20’s, so it’s more just the way I am and has been adopted into our family home organically, rather than making a huge change in one go. I will freely admit I am constantly working on it and so often catch myself out with accumulating unnecessary stuff for everyone. After having kids I found a massive shift in the amount of things we had ( like many). It began to weigh me down and honestly gave me a deep sense of unhappiness. I began to give to much emphasis and energy towards what we had. I compared, I got anxious that it wasn’t as good as someone else on social media, I questioned myself as a provider for my kids.. did they have enough or was I spoiling them. The end result was it was taking up way too much of my time and energy. which in turn took up too much of my families energy.
So this is and most likely always will be a constant work in progress for me as we grow and change but that’s ok. I’m aware and I hope continue to be.
When people look through the kids wardrobes or toy boxes, usually they comment how neat or bare things are to what would usually considered normal for a growing family. I do disagree, I still feel we have more than enough and I’m by no means drastic on having everything cut back to a bare minimum with only beds and a chair. But, some super simple and easy to do things that don’t feel like huge changes can declutter the home and have you feeling less held down by non essential items.
It’s important to love the space you are in. So the choices you make to furnish your home and choices of quality and love. Absolutely love the things you surround yourselves with and it will give you joy. Don’t give time and energy to anything that you question.
Firstly with kids, before Christmas and any birthday we go through what we have toy wise and either bin or donate. Broken toys happen as a common occurrence in all homes. So staying on top of that immediately helps keep junk at bay. Toys that haven’t been used or outgrown the kids have a choice to pass on to the younger siblings ( rarely happens) or we donate. This is slowly rubbing off on the kids in a great way. Understanding that donating good quality toys if they are not used, to someone who will, teaches children more on the value of kindness and less on the importance of materialistic things. It’s a hard one… they are surrounded by consumer driven businesses every minute, especially on kids YouTube. But.. it does counteract some of it … hopefully. I have heard the idea of rotating toys every 6 months. Put some away and swap them over. Ultimately, if it hasn’t been asked for, needed or missed than absolutely no point. You are only storing unwanted items and adding to the clutter.
Use what only fits in toy baskets!
We have toy baskets for each kid and one communal one. Only what fits in ya toy tub , stays!
Birthdays and Christmas gifts have been stripped back since the girls arrived. It’s more common for money in accounts from family rather than gifts which helps so much and the focus on one large gift rather than a billion little ones from us. Yes… there will always be surprises, that’s ok. But weekly visits to Kmart for cars, dolls or useless panda heads all adds up and in the long run… not great for the mindset of anyone. It’s just not needed.
Furniture and kitchen: Basicaly only what we need. This is the real trap of millions of plates, cups, Tupperware, shit you collected from fast food joints, millions of cooking contraptions you used once, that ninja bullet for the one week you decided to be “healthy”, the list goes on. Use what you need and invest in quality rather than quantity ( blah that old saying)
Do you need 6 different sets of glasses, plates and bowls?
If it hasn’t been used or thought of in 6 months… goodbye.
Clothes: My girlfriend recently did a massive clear out on all her clothes. And this girl had the best ( still does) wardrobe. My go to, to find a dress if I had nothing. She had recently read ‘The life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo’, and had made the shift to move things out of her life that didn’t “spark joy”. It went across the board for her whole home but what was very powerful, was we then went for coffee and a window shop to catch up and her whole attitude towards buying anything had changed. The rule of if it didn’t spark joy she moved on also carried through with her purchasing. And this is the BIGGEST thing. Buying unnecessary stuff, even, EVEN if it’s on sale may not be worth it. That 5 dollar top you saw at HM…. will you wear it every week or is it simply the price that’s actually appealing?
She was actually rewarded by a pair of shoes she wanted about 3 months earlier that were still sitting there but now half price. She still loved them, so it was worth the wait, price and purchase. It sparked her joy and she was so happy. I was happy. We ate buttery baked goods and all in all had a great day!
This is such an excellent way of really only allowing in what you really will use. Patience is a virtue.
I have personally now embarked on project 333 that was created by Courtney Carver with the help from my girl Katherine from White Brick Co. She has helped me declutter and restyle myself in simple and effective uses of the pieces I already own, while culling my wardrobe down to 33 ( I got down to 28) seasonal peices! Yep, you heard correct! And on the first day of my decluttered and newly looked at wardrobe, I got 3 complements from strangers on my outfit! Amazing!
Katherine will be sharing more on the blog soon on who to make your wardrobe easy and sparkly again! I can’t wait to share her advice with you all!!
Bathrooms: This can be a massive one! Do you hoard makeup, soaps, hair products, skin care items but rarely use them? If you open your cupboards and it’s choc full of these items then it’s time to throw stuff out!
Not only can impulse buying this type of thing can damage the back pocket… a lot of the time this stuff is truely unnecessary to your life. Keep the few products you do use every day and ditch the rest.
After one of our many moves we did over the last few years, I noticed how much crap we had under the sink and literally boxed it up and donated it. Most of the stuff was freebies we just had never touched and was just going to waste. Now the bathrooms are very stream lined to only what we use and then we squeeze every last bit out before buying more. Too add… when you have two little girls that love to go through everything you have, it’s easier to have less of that sort of stuff for them to cause trouble with .
Purchasing: I usually now only shop online and will mull over a purchase for at least 4 weeks before I buy.
And here is the big one… I do a ‘shave cull’ as I call it every 3 months. Basically this is just where I do a quick whip around with one bag and see if there is anything we don’t use or I haven’t event noticed in wardrobes, cupboards and drawers. Sometimes you get a lot, sometimes hardly anything but it keeps me onto of it all and is a lot less overwhelming.
My husband and I usually wait sometimes up to 6 months for big household items and if it’s wanted and or needed then we buy… and usually in cash. The credit card is a trap for getting used for uselessness. It’s not there for whim purchasing.. it will haunt you big time! We also buy a lot of furniture second hand. If we find something we love or a certain style, often we can find excellent condition second hand versions at an absolute fraction of the price. And to counteract the spending we are never afraid to gumtree items that are unused or not needed anymore to help pay for the new purchase. It’s kind of like… if something comes in then something may go out. So far it’s balanced really well.
Spending to make you feel better or reward yourself can also end up biting you in the backside. Really think about what you need mentally before you go to any shops armed with the idea of “treat yo self”. It may actually be not what you need at all. I would personally feel better without the hole in the pocket or owing the bank back money on something I most likely won’t love in a month. A trust me when I say… I have fallen prey to that a lot in the past.
Digital Clutter:This one is hard and you need to stay on top of. Honestly it gets me every time. I try to clean out emails, random photos and junk from my phone in order to stay on top of what I do need to do but in time, it can easily runaway with you. If I am good with it, I often find I am more on top of my work, emails and articles because everything is clean, in order and only what I need to do is presenting itself. Photos are downloaded onto hard drives but probably not often enough. We are working on that!
But on another note when it comes to papers, files and books, that too needs to be kept in order. Recently I culled back all my uni things I had kept for 15 years. I had a sentimental idea of holding onto it in case I needed it again. Truth be told after reading through it I knew it was slightly out of date, good for a laugh at myself, walk down memory lane but in the end I bid goodbye to over 7 kilos of papers and folders. It felt good!
The mental part is the biggest thing with letting go of things. It takes time if you have put sentimental value on things but a lot of the time we put it on things that really aren’t as important as the memories attached to them. And that is something you cannot throw out. Admittedly I have my wedding dress still in my cupboard…. but it’s there purely to see if I can fit back into it after this baby….really…. it’s a challenge…. all women do this…. right??
I could go on and on about declutter and the home. I’m a bit of a home admin nerd. But truely once you cut through some of the clutter.. the feeling it brings you is so worth it.
Remember once you declutter, don’t run out and replace things. Sit with less. Eventually you sees small changes in your spending, wants and back pocket!
Not only that… there is more room to breathe, less to clean, less to worry about, less to take up in your life. Your kids have more room to play, create and explore. And you definitely get more sainity and peace in return.
It can impact your life in more ways than you realise.
Start small and see how you feel.
For some great inspiration follow these guys on Instagram