When I first heard about minimalism several years ago, I was not interested. Pictures of minimalist’s homes seemed cold and uninviting. I thought minimalists viewed owning possession as bad and that’s all I knew about them. It wasn’t until later when I actually researched and educated myself on the minimalist way of life that I found that I had minimalist tendencies.
Here are the five tendencies that I discovered I had in common with minimalists:
- Desiring to Live More Intentionally and to Live with Less
My kids are still young. My desire is to be available for them. I don’t want to spend weekends always decluttering belongings which takes up time away from my kids. Living with less material possessions has actually made me realize how much we can actually live without. I don’t see material possessions as something bad to own but actually see the possessions we own as blessings which in turn make me thankful. And that is how I want to view my possessions: items to be grateful for. When material possessions become too many, when we can’t even remember what we own, then that gratefulness can become lost. The possessions that I own I want them to be able to meet our family goals. Possessions can help us to live more intentionally or they can hinder us from living the life we desire.
2. Experiences Over Stuff
Every time my children’s birthdays or a holiday draws near, my husband and I have the same conversations. We chat about how we want to celebrate our children or holiday. We chat how we want to make the day special, meaningful and what that will look like. We question how much material gifts we should give or how much they should receive from others. We want them to feel special. But is gift giving the only way to make them feel this way? We do believe gifts can play an important role in making our children feel loved by the gifter. We also don’t want to take away the joy that it may bring to the giver by giving a present out of love. But an excess of gifts…the love behind the gifts can get lost and soon the kids say: “is there more?”
We started several years ago on our son’s seventh birthday to do an experience for him instead of a party. My husband and his dad took our son on a one night camping and canoe trip. And you know what happened? Our son asked to do this again for his next birthday! This has become a wonderful tradition for them to do every year. These memories will be made to last a lifetime whereas material gifts will wear out and be forgotten.
3. Less Time Cleaning More Time Investing
How I wish I had the mindset I have today five years ago! Maintaining a home and caring for small children overwhelmed me! I was always tidying! Always walking around picking up after my little people! And boy can they make a mess! It wasn’t until this last year that I took serious action and took back my time. I went on a declutter rampage and got rid of “stuff” that caused the most pile ups: toys and clothes!
Whenever my regular cleaning days arrived, I always had to tidy first before actually cleaning, (sanitizing, dusting, vacuuming, ect.) and it would take me 2x as long to clean. By eliminating clothes that I just wasn’t wearing and instilling more of a capsule wardrobe meant that I had less to tidy and less to fold! I also instilled a routine that when I took something off it got put back in the proper place. This has now become a habit. I also have been instilling this routine with my older two kids regarding their clothes. Every night before bed their room needs to be tidy. Now, when vacuuming day arrives I don’t have to do double duty and take precious time away from my family.
When it comes to toys, I have also instilled a tidy routine with my kids. They know that when they are done playing with a toy they must clean it up. If this doesn’t happen I will send them back to clean up. By doing this I am teaching them that it takes more time sending them back to clean up then it is for them to clean up right away. “Do it right away, the right way, and with a happy heart,” is the phrase that comes out of my mouth most often when it comes to teaching my kids to tidy. When I think about it, I’m not only teaching them to be tidy people or even how to be good stewards of their belongings, I am teaching them time management and that time is precious and that time is a gift.
4. My Home is a Living Space, not a Storage Space
Do you remember the decluttering rampage that I went on? It wasn’t just with clothes and toys. A big portion of my decluttering happened to be home decor. I love having home decor items to switch out for each season and even holidays. I took inventory of my decor items and noticed that a lot of the items were just collecting dust. I also noticed that I had a lot of little decor items that really had no value or meaning to me. I had just bought to have. I decided that I did not want my home to become a storage space. I did not want to store home decor items but wanted them to serve a purpose more than looking pretty. I wanted them to have meaning. So I said goodbye to the little items and I kept some of the larger items that had meaning. I’ve learned that larger items make more of an impact and statement. Displaying smaller home decor items may and can contribute to visual clutter.
As I previously mentioned, I like to switch my decor up for each season. How do I go about this without having a stockpile of decor items? I’ve learned to take items from one room and do a little switch-a-roo in another room. Boom. Done. Refreshed. I shop my home, I give a space a new feel just by using items that I have on hand.
Now, I do have storage boxes for certain items. Here is the break down of the storage bins I own:
–Christmas decor ( 5 bins): ornaments, outdoor garland, indoor garland, signs, and decor.
-Summer entertainment (1 bin): outdoor plates and glasses.
–Fall/Thanksgiving (1 bin): signs, decor
-Smaller Holidays* (1 bin): 4th of July & Canada Day flags and banners
–Clothes (10 bins): Winter kid accessories, winter gear for each kid, adult winter accessories, adult winter gear, hand-me down clothes and hand-me down school uniforms. (This may seem like a lot but I’m saving money by keeping hand-me down items).
* I do not have decorations for Valentine’s Day, Halloween or any of the other smaller holidays. I’ve decided that instead of decor we would make special treats and/or craft which still makes the holidays special and meaningful to my kids.
I am always questioning the items in my home. I do feel like I just completed the beginning stages of this journey and now am headed towards the middle where I am sure more “things” will need to be purged. I’m coming to the conclusion that my home can be beautiful with less.
5. Buying Needs Over Wants
We all need things to survive. We need water, food, and shelter these being what we need the most. But what goes on the list of needs after these? How about a bed and pillow? Couch and tv? Coffee pot and mugs? Art and decorative vases? How do we figure out needs vs wants?
Here are the practical steps that I took in order to figure out what was a need vs a want and when to buy the want:
- I stopped browsing. I found that when I just browsed a store I was more likely to impulse buy. I actually went a step further and stopped going into stores without a list! This leads me to my second step:
- Lists. Lists are not just for grocery shopping. Whenever I need or want something I will create a list. And before heading out to the store I will evaluate if that is truly a need or if it’s just a want. This has helped me not only stop impulse buying but also has helped me stay within budget.
- I’ve been patient. It’s so easy to purchase the next best thing even if it’s just a kitchen appliance especially when you see it blasted all over social media. It’s so tempting to buy the next best thing but often that next best thing becomes a dust collector in a cabinet in a few months. I’ve taught myself to wait. To see if I truly need that item. I’ve questioned my desires and question whether a product will fit within my home goals: function, meaning, and/or beauty.
I have found that I am actually less stressed when I apply these principles to my life. This allows me to not have to keep up with the “Jones’”. This has allowed me to keep my home simple and free from clutter also relieving the stress of keeping home.
Do I consider myself a minimalist now? Do I put this label on my IG profile? Should I go around and promote the minimalist lifestyle? Do I need this label?
I am a wife, mom, and Professional Organizer. These labels define me. They are who I am and what I do. Labels are just that: they define and they tell. The only label that truly matters in my life is that I am a child of God. I want this label to define everything that I am and everything that I do. Everything in my life should spring forth from this label. Because of this label I don’t have to find my happiness in material possessions, I find my happiness in Christ. This label helps me prioritize my time and my intentions as my main focus is on Christ and not on myself or my home. It allows me to filter and see what is truly important and needed in my life. This label allows me to be a good steward of what I own and not to be wasteful. I think I will stick to this label as this is the foundation of my way of life.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flash nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13
When I first heard about minimalism several years ago, I was not interested. Pictures of minimalist’s homes seemed cold and uninviting. I thought minimalists viewed owning possession as bad and that’s all I knew about them. It wasn’t until later when I actually researched and educated myself on the minimalist way of life that IContinue reading “I Have Minimalist Tendencies and I Didn’t Even Know It”
I did a little series on Instagram a while back called: “A Tired Momma’s Guide to Tiding Your Home.” You can still find it saved in my highlights here: http://www.instagram.com/mycanadianhome. I wanted to do this series for a couple of reasons, first being that I once was a tired momma. Second, my friends and otherContinue reading “5 Tips to Keeping Your Home Tidy as a Tired Mom”
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