The Unknown Effects of Minimalism
Oh minimalism, with your stark white walls and modular furniture, sharp angles and all. I avoided it for a long time. I thought it was more a decor style and it was definitely NOT my style. My first encounter with minimalism, for what I see it as now, was through Allie Cassaza. The first blog post I read of hers lit the pilot light of what would become a full blown fire a over a year later.
I started to notice that I was drawn to Instagram accounts and pins on Pinterest that were full of whites and open spaces, decluttered rooms and lightly decorated walls. I was finding myself reading blog posts describing this “minimalism” as benefiting families, parenting styles and life overall. It was intriguing.
It was when I was realizing that I was always getting frustrated by the amount of laundry needing done, constantly being on my kids about picking up toys and dreading a last minute guest dropping by the house that the pieces started to come together for me.
I dove in headfirst, starting while my husband was working out of town and he ended up returning to a house that looked much different in a few rooms than when he left ha!
As I was clearing out the clutter and looking at my home from a different perspective, aka usable and calming space, I started to notice something. The physical clearing of “stuff” gave way to mental clearing of “stuff”.
When you clean out the physical clutter, you will experience this literal sigh of relief. There is more SPACE and you can feel it, not just see it.
It gives was to creativity, enjoying your space and your home more, which leads to enjoying the time with your family more.
Minimializing with kids
NOW, be warned that getting the whole family on board with this will not always be instant and easy. If you have kids, like I do, helping them to see the benefits of clearing out toys is a process.
Communication: we talk a lot about how much easier it is to find the toys they actually enjoy playing with and how much easier it is to put them away when it’s time to clean up.
Point out the wins: point out the times that life is easier, simpler and more enjoyable without all the extra. I did this with them when I was cleaning out my own stuff. I would point out that there was less stuff, asked if they noticed, and when did they notice about it.
Binge purge when they are gone. Let’s be real. There is a point when the 534 McDonald’s toys, scraps of paper, broken crayons and baby toys (they are now 4 and 6 years old) just have to go. You know it, but they just don’t seem to know it. I keep replaying in my mind a story my aunt told me about selling some toys of my cousins in a garage sale and apparently it scarred him for life. So there’s always that.
Highlight the positive. We are the parents because kids are kids. They have to learn things and it’s our job to teach them. That is done through communication and pointing out the wins along the way when it comes to this. You can be creative and rotate out toys if you want. To me, that’s not really practical and we have just been slowly working through this process with them. It’s getting better and they are catching on. It’s worth it, I promise ;)
The Side Effects
Less mindless shopping. I only buy things that I love and serve a purpose that we need in our house. I thought I would be sad to miss my shopping trips, but now I am really intentional about my purchases which saves money AND less clutter!
Mental clarity and shifts. This is a big one. I was already on a path of growing forward, but having the physical clutter cleared REALLY sped up the process. It made me mentally less exhausted and I had more “space” to think and do the things that are important.
Physical energy. Do you ever realize how much time we spend managing and picking up or moving around stuff?? It takes a lot of time and energy! Now I have more of all that to do things I actually want to do (spoiler alert: it’s not picking up crap 24/7)
My house has become a HOME. I never could quite get things how I wanted them. The style, the placement, the colors. It was frustrating. I look back now and realize it was because I had no purpose for anything, nothing I was putting up as “decor” had any meaning or value. Essentially, it was all just clutter. Knowing that the things on the walls or sitting around mean something to me or my family, and things are arranged in a way that makes our house work for US, things started to just fall into place.
I know there are a million articles, books and blogs about this topic. I never read Marie Kondo’s book. I did read a few that were super helpful to me, they were very simple to read and understand.
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