These easy tips on achieving minimalism will help you streamline your life and gain freedom over your time.
Minimalism is all the rage! But, is it a trendy fad or a genuine lifestyle approach that can save you time and money? In my experience, minimalism should be defined as a tool that serves the homemaker. When we slow down and become purposeful in what we collect and use, our time is opened up and we can live more intentionally.
Life for a homemaking mom is full and stressful. When we have an excess of belongings, the overflow can push our already busy lives past the brink of survival! It is proven that the more stuff we have to manage, the more our cortisol (stress hormone) can rise.
Oftentimes, the very possessions we think will make us happy are actually a trap contributing to our stress!
I have never been a very organized person, so the more stuff I have the harder it is for me to manage it all! Over the years of being a mom I have kept working towards a more minimal lifestyle.
If you are new to minimalism, you can use this easy guide as your minimalism 101 course. These are my best tips for embracing minimalism when you are new to it and trying to find direction!
Minimalism Tip #1: Identify How Minimalism Will Help You
Sticking to a new plan that involves reducing clutter and becoming a minimalist is hard! It means you will have to change the way you think and act. Like any new habit, this is a challenge.
In order to do change your mindset, it helps to write down the main reasons why you want to become a minimalist and reduce clutter.
Some examples may be:
- Reducing clutter frees time to spend with our kids and family
- Becoming a minimalist saves money
- Getting rid of “stuff” reduces work load and stress
- Reducing belongings allows us to be more organized and focused
- Consuming less has a positive impact on the environment
Key Minimalism Takeaway: There are many reasons to declutter and embrace minimalism. Spending time journaling your own reasons can be beneficial in the process of embracing minimalism.
Minimalism Tip #2: Limit Shopping For Fun
Shopping can be such a stress relief (believe me I know!). There’s nothing more relaxing than heading to Target and wandering the aisles aimlessly.
We oftentimes end up with excess simply because we are shopping for fun or stress relief. Once I realized this, I tried to get more intentional about the time I spent in stores.
I decided not to wander into a store without a specific plan of what I needed to buy.
Occasionally, I will still “shop for fun”. But here’s a secret: I usually do not buy anything! Instead, I just enjoy my time out and take note of anything that looks like something I may want to purchase. If I really need the item, I can return later and purchase it.
Monitoring online shopping is also very important! It’s so easy to to order new shiny objects with just the click of a button. In order to prevent this, create a monthly budget and stick to it!
Key Minimalism Takeaway: Shopping for fun and not monitoring online purchases leads to excess. To combat this, keep an inventory list for needed items in your home and a monthly budget. Use these two tools to prevent unplanned shopping.
Minimalism Tip #3 Routinely Declutter Excess Belongings
In order to maintain minimalism, you not only have to be more intentional about what you buy, you also need to be purposeful in maintaining what you do have. And that often means getting rid of excess and unneeded belongings.
When you have children, things just tend to accumulate unbidden. Stray socks, cheap toys, lost beads (and etc) seem to magnetically find their way into our house.
Setting up a gentle decluttering schedule will help you stay on top of the excess. I have found that in just 30 minutes I can work through a small area and feel accomplished and productive.
Key Minimalism Takeaway: Set up a gentle decluttering routine. Instead of tackling the whole house, choose a small achievable area. Work with a donation bin and a trash bag.
Minimalism Tip #4 Identify What Can You Live Without
The best thing I did to help organize my life and streamline my stuff was to identity what I could truly live without. Everyone will truly be different in this area. I will always keep a healthy collection of books, but I have learned to let go of excess clothing, makeup and shoes.
I no longer buy the following items for myself or my kids and we therefore have much less to maintain:
- Fingernail polish, remover, etc (these are toxic anyway!)
- Extra make up or make up just for fun
- Unneeded gadgets for the kitchen
- Excess clothing for the kids (we use a capsule wardrobe instead)
- Excess shoes (I stopped buying shoes just for fun)
- Art kits with lots of small parts
- Décor items that I’m just not sure about
- Extra workout equipment/sporting equipment
This list will look different for everyone!
If your belongings bring you joy and serve a purpose, keep them! If you have an art collection that brings you joy, for example, don’t feel you have to get rid of that special collection. Identify the items that you truly can do without, and get rid of those.
Key Minimalism Takeaway: Make a list of what you collect as excess and don’t use. Focus on decluttering those areas. When you move to your much loved items, just streamline those areas!
Minimalism Tip #5 Create Systems In Your Home That Support Minimalism
Sometimes the problem is not how much we have a certain item but how we are storing it! One of the best ways to implement minimalism is to create systems that help you identify your belongings and keep them streamlined.
I am still working on this area in my life! In our new home we did not have a designated spot for jackets, so they ended up floating around between bedrooms, the hall closet, the car and the mudroom.
Once I designated a certain spot for jackets and coats, I could see that my 3-year-old had too many jackets and my 5-year-old did not have enough in the right size.
Storing items in proper containers helps you realize when that category is reaching it’s limit. For example, I keep just a few storage bins for toys. When those are overflowing, I know I am past due for a clean out of toys!
Key Minimalism Takeaway: When you have designated organizational systems in place, you will be able to identify your belongings and better manage them.
Mnimalism Tip #6 Identify Your Own Stuff Threshold
Minimalism does not have to look like a cold sterile room, although that is the popular modern illustration of the concept.
We can re frame how we look at minimalism in order to allow the concept to work for us. Instead of a decoration style, look at minimalism as a tool that can serve you in your homemaking journey. That tool will be used by everyone differently.
For some, a room filled with books, cozy blankets, and a bin of toys will be totally manageable. That person may have streamlined their belongings and ended up with a warm and busy esthetic.
For others, they may want just a handful of books on a table, a toy or two and a single blanket. What is manageable for one person may be unreasonable for the next.
The point of minimalism is not in the esthetics, but in how it is used to help relieve stress and allow us to focus on those things in life that we deem worthiest of our time.
Minimalism should be all about living intentionally and enjoying life more!
Think of minimalism as a tool you apply to each area of your home. How can it help assist you in your homemaking?
Key Minimalism Takeaway: Minimalism is a tool and can help you with your own personal stuff threshold. Start to identify how much clutter you can handle and how you want your home to feel!
Minimalist Tip #7 Declutter Room By Room
There are many methods to decluttering, but what has worked for me is to simply go room by room.
If I try to declutter the whole house at once, I get completely overwhelmed!
Going one room at a time is great for busy moms because you can break up that room even further into small areas. For example, I may not have time to declutter the whole kitchen, but I can easily declutter the junk drawer in just a few minutes.
Here are a few easy decluttering tips for each area of the home:
- Bathrooms: Eliminate excess lotions and potions, throw away empty containers, keep towels that are fresh and in good condition
- Kids Toys: Throw away broken toys, sort through toys monthly, avoid buying toys with multiple parts, encourage free play
- Kitchen: Keep an eye out for unused appliances, excess dishware, unneeded pantry items. Thoroughly go through your kitchen items quarterly.
- Bedrooms: Bedrooms can be overwhelming! Break a bedroom down into subsections including clothing, bedding, and memorabilia. Tackle each section separately.
- Clothing: Seasonally sort through children’s clothing. Create capsule wardrobes for each child. Throw away ruined clothing right away.
Minimalism Tip #8 Make Minimalism A Lifestyle
We’ve established that minimalism can be helpful, wonderful tool in our homemaking journey. But how do we embrace minimalism as a lifestyle? And how does a minimalist lifestyle serve us?
Embracing minimalism as a lifestyle first starts with a mindset shift, and then working on your daily habits.
Actively seek to change your mindset from a consumer based mindset to a need based mindset. Modern day culture is saturated with messages to buy, buy, buy. So, this can be challenging!
With your desire to consume less and declutter you will be motivated to combat this message with a new perspective.
Instead of shopping to have more or to enjoy life, you will start shopping with the mindset of what do I need?
Need is much different than want. A minimalist lifestyle is focused on what we need, not necessarily on what we want.
We can also examine our mindset to identify what our belongings do for us physically and emotionally. This is an especially important exercise to do with memorabilia.
Sure, we may love the collection of toys we have from our childhood. But do we need 3 boxes full of vintage toys? We may be able to meet our emotional need for childhood nostalgia by keeping one or two of our favorite toys out on display, and gifting the rest.
A minimalist lifestyle always begins with a mindset shift.
Once you’ve changed your mindset to a need based mindset verses , you can then work on your actual habits.
The habits you create are going to be what sustains your minimalist lifestyle approach.
The key to making minimalism a lifestyle is to develop habits that serve your minimalist lifestyle. These habits will enable you to spend less money and dedicate time to tasks you really love.
While these habits will look different for everyone, here is a list of habits that may be used to support a lifestyle of minimalism:
- Be intentional in what you buy. Create a list of items you need, and only shop from this list
- Make a list of items you tend to buy for fun (for me, that is books). Brainstorm how you will replace these hobby shopping habits
- Enjoy new hobbies such as hiking, gardening, bird watching, that do not have a heavy consumer emphasis
- Replace your shopping hobby with new habits that don’t produce clutter, such as hiking, travel, reading, writing, or exercising
- Dedicate specific times to decluttering and create a calendar outlining areas of your home
- Develop the habit of throwing out or recycling damaged items immediately
- Keep a box for the thrift store in your garage and add items to donate when you see them. Drop these items off once a month
I hope these tips to getting started with minimalism are a blessing to you today! Let me know in the comments why you’ve embraced minimalism and what areas of your life you are ready to declutter!
God bless and don’t stress! -Jamie