Minimalism: Decluttering Physically & Mentally
Do you ever look around your house and feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of stuff there is to organize? I think it’s safe to say that as parents, we sometimes wonder where all of these things even came from! There’s a growing community of bloggers and You-Tuber’s out there who swear by minimalism and have shown us that they are reaping many benefits.
Being a minimalist is exactly what it sounds like; living with minimal stuff and keeping, or buying, only the necessities. It’s important to note that what one family considers a necessity may be totally different from what another family does, and there’s nothing wrong with that! The goal of minimalism is to encourage you to find joy in what you already have, and realize that the items in your house don’t define you. It can encourage you to spend less time and stress cleaning and organizing, and more time exploring and cooking with your kids. It feels like the days of children playing with sticks and rocks are slowly fading away, while screen time is quickly on the rise. It is reported that 42% of children 8 years old and younger have their own tablet devices, while in 2011 that number was less than 1%. There are definitely moments of desperation where we are grateful to be able to pull up a quick game or video on our phones. But is it really healthy that children are spending 2 – 3.5 hours per day watching a screen, either handheld or the family television? This is not to say that all screen time is bad, but moderation can be something to consider.
Our World Is Changing
We live in a world with advertisements and commercials around every corner, even in our own homes. They’re telling us that we need things such as this miracle weight loss pill, or magical wrinkle vanishing eye cream, but do we really? Not only are advertisements catering to the adult population, they are keen on gearing towards the most influential audience, our children. The newest light up plastic spinning toy, the coolest most realistic video game, the barbie doll house expansion kit… these are the kinds of items that retailers want your child to think they need. Of course purchasing things for ourselves or our children because we truly want to is very different from purchasing things because we think it will make us happier, prettier, skinnier, more popular etc.
There are different methods that you can use to work towards downsizing the amount of stuff in your home. My current method is to tackle on room at a time (and even one drawer or cupboard at a time), pull everything out and ask myself “what do I actually use?!” I immediately make a pile of the things that I know for sure I love and use on a constant basis. Then I make a second pile of items that can be sold or donated, I will host a garage sale or post things online for sale, whatever doesn’t sell within a week or two gets donated. There is a third pile of things I am unsure about, although I really try to keep this pile tiny. Whether it is something that I am truly sentimentally attached to, or I really honestly think I might use/wear again someday, I’ll label a box and store it away nice and organized. I have been finding so much stress relief in going through my house (garage included) and dividing up all of the stuff that we have. What I find helpful in encouraging myself to stay on track is when I pick up an item at the store, I ask myself am I buying this because I truly need it, or am I buying it because I have been told I need it? While I am de-cluttering my home, I am realizing that my brain is beginning to de-clutter as well, it’s almost like a detox process.
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All this being said, it is impossible for anyone to be perfect, and living minimally is a learning journey that may not happen in a day, week, month, or even a year. At the end of the day we are each our own person, living our own lives and have different family situations. What one person considers to be minimalist may not be the same as to what another person considers to be minimalist, and that’s okay! Part of being an individual is realizing that we have our own opinion, which is a good thing! The idea behind minimalism is to de-clutter as much or as little as you need to, so that you have less to think about, less to stress about and more time focusing on what really matters.
Tags: declutter your home, declutter your mind, how to be minimalist, living with less stuff, minimalism, what is minimal living?