Minimalism is different for everyone. My practice of minimalism is not going be the same as anyone else’s. To me, minimalism means finding the right amount of stuff for me, an amount that doesn’t feel overwhelming. It doesn’t have to mean having a certain number of items. It’s having what you need and what you enjoy but not an excessive amount — not having more than you need and use. I aim for that but that doesn’t mean I practice it at all times. Do I make impulse purchases sometimes? Sure. Do I hold onto some sentimental items? Yes. But my goal is always to minimize consumption and teach my kids that life is not about posessions.
What I have learned about practicing minimalism as a parent:
- Value experiences over possessions. I have no problem spending money to go to attractions in the city or to travel rather than go to a store to pick out a new toy to entertain my girls.
- Teach the joy of giving to others. Our goal is to show our girls that other kids do not always have what they have and that it feels good to give toys or clothes they no longer want or need to someone in need.
- Regularly analyze your belongings. I am always asking myself if I (or we) need items, and if the answer is no, it goes. This sets an example for my children that I hope they will want to emulate.
- Try to find a home for everything. This can be tricky for certain belongings, such as baseball memorabilia, but we plan to create a home for those things when we finish our basement. Everything should have a home; it makes it easy to find what you need and helps disorganization, which can be overwhelming. Teach kids where things go and help them return things there after playtime.
- Possessions will creep into your home in the form of gifts. The gifts are always appreciated, of course, but rarely do people consult with parents about whether a child needs a certain item. Our girls have enough stuffed animals, for instance. I try to manage the best I can and find a home for the gifts. Just like all other toys, though, if they stop being played with, are duplicates or fall into disrepair, they will be decluttered.
- It’s a practice. I am figuring it out as I go. I don’t have all the answers to have a perfectly minimalistic and tidy home at all times. I am just sharing what seems to be working for me.
The point is not to have nothing. It’s not to have too much. What constitutes too much varies from home to home. I measure my success by how overwhelmed I am with my belongings. I would rather spend my free time doing what I love than picking up unnecessary things.
Do you practice minimalism? If so, what does it mean to you?