Do you have issues in your house with too much stuff?
Do you struggle with keeping the house tidy and neat?
Do you want more, more, more?
Try minimizing for a simpler, more peaceful life.
If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them as half as much money. ~Abigail Van Buren
I’m not advocating for getting rid of all your stuff.
I’ve been to some homes and the people seem to have next to nothing by choice and that’s also stressful when there’s nowhere to sit and the rooms are stark and empty and echoey.
Your home doesn’t have to have a Scandinavian or Asian decor to be peaceful and clutter-free.
A home shouldn’t be sterile.
I always have piles of books – from the library, that I’m reading, that I’m going to read. I do continuously purge books as we outgrow them.
Finding a healthy balance of a home with peace and beauty while having storage for the things we love is a challenge.
I grew up with parents and my grandma buying me almost anything I wanted. But it was because that was the only way they knew how to show love. My grandma made up for the poor relationship she had with my father by showering me with gifts all throughout my childhood and I only saw her maybe two or three times a year. She passed when I was a teenager. My parents totally bought into the Big 80’s idea that more stuff equaled status and power and influence. They bought new cars every three years. My mother has shoes in every single color and clothes in her closet with tags still on them. She would hide her clothing purchases from my father. She has at least four closets full of clothing she will most likely never wear.
I blew all the money I made at my first jobs in retail and restaurants. I didn’t think about saving any of it. I never learned about good financial choices in school or at home.
I never learned the value of anything.
I spent most of my early adulthood blowing money on unimportant things, fighting debt, and learning to budget.
I still struggle. I’m still paying off debt. It seems every time we get close, there’s an emergency to set us back.
I want my children to learn the value of things better than I was taught.
We go through massive purges of our stuff every few years as we move. We’re a military family and we’re constantly re-evaluating our stuff. Our kids are growing up. They need fewer things for homeschool and playing.
We’re all maturing. We need less and less stuff to be happy. With fewer things, we’re all more stress-free. It’s easier to clean up when there’s not so much to be messy. There are fewer arguments and fewer hassles about toys and things.
I’m not into organization porn.
The gospel of minimalism, as preached by bloggers, chat rooms, and Facebook groups, is growing more nebulous as the movement of capitalist austerity—austerity as choice and aesthetic—picks up steam…Spareness is the lot of have-nots; minimalism is only aesthetic when it’s a choice. Minimalism critiques extravagance without condemning the wealth itself, making it a doctrine of the rich, for the rich. It’s the “classiest” version of inconspicuous consumption, one that at its core houses sanctimonious self-abnegation.Aditi Natasha Kini
While I like the clothes folding method from Marie Kondo, I get anxiety thinking about getting rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy” this very moment. I have regrets of some items we’ve purged over the years. I did the closet trick a few years ago and it helped to downsize clothing. I’ve also lost some weight the last couple years. It’s actually upsetting not to be able to fit into favorite clothes anymore.
I’ve watched The Minimalists. I see the rise of the tiny house movement and I wonder how long that will last. Most of us don’t come from generational wealth nor do our families own land or property where we can just park our trailer and live rent free.
Minimalism is becoming a culture clash. Westerners see the hustle and want to detach from it, somehow connect to a more Eastern mindset without doing any inner work or systemic change.
I am just not spiritual enough not to care about any material goods. I don’t really think this is a character flaw. Everyone has favorite possessions. We cry if there is a disaster and lose things. We are human.
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.William Morris
How I minimize with practicality:
Less is more.
We really don’t need as much as we have and we certainly don’t need more stuff. Having fewer and simpler toys encourages creativity and resourcefulness. Just because an item exists or all her friends have it doesn’t mean it’s needed. Having less is also easier to keep clean and tidy. Having a smaller home means cheaper upkeep and utilities. We purged most of our worthless knick knacks and streamlined surfaces.
What’s the motivation?
Buying stuff doesn’t equal love. Yeah, I know that’s supposed to be one of the love languages, but really? If it’s not useful or needed, don’t buy it. “Retail therapy” is stupid. We gave up giving greeting cards because it gets really expensive and they’re just thrown away. We don’t exchange gifts with extended family anymore either.
Quality over quantity.Get the best you can afford. Don’t get some cheap knockoff that you’ll have to keep replacing. Do your research and save up for it. We are slowly replacing the cheaper or worn out items we bought in the earlier years of our marriage.
Set boundaries.Determine some boundaries for stuff and don’t let it spill over. Have a place for everything, and don’t buy more storage just to have more stuff. Do you keep certain items only for sentimental value or for some other reason? I had to get over a lot of that, and yes it’s hard.
One in, one out.
Purge often. If you get something new, get rid of something else. This helps reduce clutter and keeps priorities straight. No one really needs multiple items in all the colors.
Everything in its place and a place for everything. A neat and tidy house is more peaceful than a cluttered home. Get a system for those cluttery places where you find family members dropping their stuff. Work with it and not against it. Find a method that works for your family. We like pretty natural baskets for toys and simple bookcases with cabinets.
Limit ad exposure.
Ads are everywhere, breeding discontent. Limit exposure to TV, social media, and print advertisements to limit wants. Unsubscribe from store and deal emails. Shopping isn’t entertainment.
Limit the gimmes by having a 3-day wait rule for big purchases. If you still desire the item after 3 days, come up with a plan to afford it. We don’t have huge gift-giving events for birthdays or holidays. We give just a few desired or needed items for birthdays and about 4 items for Christmas and nothing tangible on minor holidays. We have discussions before we go to stores about goals and priorities and there has never been any begging. Our kids have never had a meltdown in the checkout line because I’m proactive and communicate.
Have a plan.
Have a budget or spending plan and stick to it. It helps to be realistic and set aside a little each month instead of splurging and feeling guilty. Ask: Do you need it and/or why do you have it? This limits anxiety.
Practice what you preach.
If you limit your kids’ toys and clothing, also limit your own purchases. Don’t go get the newest tech gadget or new car if your others function just fine. Learn to make do. Model good financial choices to your kids.
If something cost $1,000, and it is on sale for $750, and then you decide to buy it, you did not save $250. You spent $750.
Do you struggle with too much stuff?
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