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I don’t know about you, but a clutter free house sounds lovely! You mean I can walk around and not worry about what I’m going to be stepping on when my foot hits the ground?!
The idea of a clutter free house and actually getting to the point where you have a clutter free house are two separate ideas, however, and I have found that as a mother of FOUR children, clutter free just really isn’t within my reach. At least for right now.
I’ve got such an age range of kids that my 10 year old and my 3 year old have different needs and different products that benefit their lives. And I’m just not ready to part with the convenience, even though the idea of a home free of clutter seems like a dream come true.
But, I do believe that as mothers, we can strive for a cleaner home and a home that does have less clutter. Being a mother has taught me that I love simplicity. I love having fewer things to clean and put away, especially in the toy department. But my kids have needs and my kids tend to accumulate more possessions than I ever thought possible.
Minimalism has many benefits to it that are enticing to me. The cost-saving factor alone is tempting! The clear counters and a kitchen table that is only used for eating sound delightful.
I would also have fewer distractions and I would be able to devote more energy to my family.
Minimalism doesn’t have to mean physical clutter. You can create a mental clutter free atmosphere as well. Minimalism can simply mean that you want stress-free circumstances.
You can enjoy the advantages of a simpler life whatever your circumstances and philosophy. Maybe you’re simplifying voluntarily or under pressure from financial setbacks. Maybe you define minimalism as growing your own food and making your own clothes or just spending less money at restaurants and shopping malls.
As a mother, we have to change the definition of plenty of other areas of our lives to fit in with what we believe and we type of life we want for our children. Take the time to decide what works for your family.
Here are some strategies to add minimalism into your life if you are a busy mother and feel that minimalism doesn’t work for your family.
General Principles for Adding Minimalism to Your Day
Remember to slow down.
As a mother, I can easily get caught up in the hectic day to day busyness that comes with raising children. The never-ending laundry pile, the dirty kitchen, the appointments.
Calm your mind and clarify your thinking by resisting the urge to rush. A lot of this can be accomplished with planning. Make sure you know what needs to be done for the day.
By taking care to not rush, you’ll feel more creative, and you’ll accomplish more with less effort. Minimalism doesn’t have to mean that you only focus on your home. Focus on your energy as well.
Give your children the opportunity to become bored. Modern life makes it easy to go through the day being passively entertained. When they’re forced to rely on their own resources, your children will discover the power of their imagination and the benefits of unstructured play.
I’ve noticed that if I turn off the TV and give me kids no other option for entertainment that includes technology, they will go find something else to do. My kids love puzzles and coloring. My son likes his trucks and cars. Minimalism can include returning to simple methods of entertainment. Technology has taken over so much of our time, it’s nice to take some deliberate time and remove the instant gratification from TV shows and games.
Connect with nature.
The beauty and peace of green spaces enhances our mental and physical health. Take your children for a walk through the park. Visit forests and oceans when you vacation.
We plan on getting out and enjoying the weather more this year. Minimalism can be about enhancing your physical health and enjoying experiences, rather than physical items.
Watching celebrity couples with full time nannies or reading Super Mom blogs can make anyone doubt their parenting skills. Set your own standards and work at being the best version of you.
Please remember not to compare yourself to the mom with older kids who doesn’t seem to need quite so many sippy cups or diapers. Motherhood goes through its own seasons. Minimalism can be about accepting where you are at in life and allowing yourself some grace for your family’s many needs.
Network with other parents.
Make friends with other parents in your neighborhood. You can exchange advice as well as outgrown clothing and toys.
Share tips with each other on how you manage to keep the clutter down or talk about how your messes stress you out!
If you can’t talk to your physical neighbors, talk to me here or find some like-minded mothers on social media. I am right there with you knee-deep in toys and dirty laundry piles. I’m happy to talk!
Learn to manage stress.
Show your children how to set aside time for reflection and relaxation.
Try meditating briefly or taking a few deep breaths. Minimalism can be about setting aside time in which you remove all other distractions. Is the house stressing you out? Have everyone pitch in and clean up one room. Get everyone out of the house for a walk. Getting rid of some of the stressors in your life will benefit your entire family.
Specific Strategies for Adding Minimalism to Your Day
Eat as a family.
Eating as a family leads to closer relationships and better nutrition. Join each other at the dinner table for a homemade meal at least once a week.
Remove the chaos of having to cook three different meals for your family in one night. Worried about dishes or having to cook? Grab the family and go eat out for one meal. Our family eats outside the home for one meal for each paycheck. It gives us some space to not cook or clean and we all have fun eating new foods.
Divide up chores.
Learning to take responsibility prepares children for adulthood. Assign age-appropriate tasks to each family member instead of trying to do everything yourself.
Easier said than done, I know! My older kids do help out around the house. And it does help! They don’t do everything and I will admit, it’s never done to my standards. But they are learning how to pull their own weight in the home and I really do feel less stressful when the chores are divided up amongst everyone.
Read my 4 Easy Tips for Laundry Chaos here.
Run errands apart.
Use your time more efficiently by taking some time for yourself. Go grocery shopping while your spouse is at home. It will get done faster and you will receive a much needed break! If something important needs to be done, have you and your spouse split up and take turns watching the kids while errands get finished.
If my husband and I have separate errands that need done, we will all go together, but he will drop me off at wherever I need to be and then he will go do an easier errand with the kids in tow. Then we will switch when he has errands that the kids can’t come with him on. Family time and errands in one run!
It’s difficult to keep toys from multiplying, especially around birthdays and holidays. Create a system for keeping the amount of toys under control. You might want to try rotating toys by giving your child only a few to play with each week. Or, encourage regular toy donations to charities that help kids.
We have designated areas for toys and any spillover means that we need to go through toys and check for anything that is broken or useless.
Consider what other items you have around the house that you rarely use. You can clean your house faster when you get rid of clutter. Your surroundings will also feel more comfortable.
This is the basic concept of minimalism. Get rid of the clutter in your house! I’m working on it, but I will probably never be happy with it as long as I have my kiddos in the house. They simply need too many other items for the house to look truly clutter free.
This is a good idea to aim for, but as a mother, I feel like reducing clutter needs to be looked at realistically. As a large family, we simply need more items than other families. And that’s okay!
The internet can be used wisely for communication and education, but too much screen time can hinder your child’s development. Create house rules like no phones at the dinner table and turning off all devices at least two hours before bedtime.
I’ve already briefly mentioned this, but it bears repeating. Technology is an amazing tool, but it can have drawbacks. Part of minimalism can include reducing the time on technology.
However far you decide to go with including minimalism in your daily routine, you’ll be teaching your children to value a more mindful and meaningful life.
Buying and owning less stuff will give you the freedom to enjoy what you already have. While I do feel as though minimalism can be a difficult idea to reach for as a parent, the basic idea of being minimal in what we purchase, what we view as meaningful, and how we clean is an important concept to teach our families.
My Recommendations for Organization:
How do you feel about minimalism as a parent? Have you embraced it?