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 look to be peaceful and clutter-free. It shouldn’t be sterile.
I always have piles of books – from the library, that I’m reading, that I’m going to read.
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 2-3 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 3 years. My mother had shoes in every color and clothes in her closet with tags still on them. She would hide her clothing purchases from my father.
I blew all the money I made at my first jobs in retail and restaurants.
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 want my children to learn the value of things better than I was taught.
We go through massive purges 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.
How we minimize:
Less is more.
We really don’t need as much as we have and we certainly don’t need more stuff. Having fewer 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.
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.
Determine some boundaries for stuff and don’t let it spill over. Have a place for everything, and don’t buy more storage 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.
One in, one out.
Purge often. If you get something new, get rid of something else. This helps reduce clutter and keeps priorities straight.
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 system 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 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.
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.
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.