Why would anyone not want stuff? Why would any parent not want their child to have anything and everything they need? Don’t things help create happiness?
Doesn’t your car, your phone, your home, your bed, your clothes, your sunglasses and shoes, your tech devices and hair products and books and plates and mugs and STUFF help make you happy? Doesn’t your child’s bed, blocks, crayons, highchair, binkie and blankie, and books and snacks with their bowls and spoons and cups and bibs and hats and socks, help make them happy?
OF COURSE THEY DO.
Whoever says not having basics doesn’t make them happy is lying to you (and most likely walking around naked, mind you).
The problem, however, is when we lie to ourselves and say more than these basic needs are what we need to be happy.
Let’s face it, minimalists can put off an extreme vibe, as do many lifestyle enthusiasts. The stark white, moody images with only a rug and a wooden chair with white floorboards and a sunlit white background can be discouraging to those of us who live real lives, with little people and husbands and pets and LIFE.
You know you can call yourself a bookworm and not own a single book and only use the library. And you can call yourself a bookworm and have an entire room in your home a dedicated library.
You can call yourself an avid traveler and be a nomad, never living in one place more than a few weeks. And can love traveling but live at home and only travel around nearby states.
YOU CAN COLLECT TREASURES NEAR AND DEAR TO YOUR HEART AND STILL CALL YOURSELF A MINIMALIST. TRUE STORY.
Because minimalism is all about only having things that bring you joy and letting everything else go so you can continue enjoying life without joyless distractions. Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy. Get it yet?
You can still call yourself a minimalist even if you have lots of things that make you happy. The key is pushing against the constant consumerism pull to have more than what you actually need. (We all understand the difference between need and want, right?!)
I can tell you right now you don’t need twenty t-shirts. You don’t need fifty different pairs of shoes. You don’t need more dishes in your cupboards than what feeds your family. You don’t need to keep all the toiletries you have under your sink. You don’t need a million different paint brushes and journals and towels.
UNLESS HAVING THESE THINGS BRINGS YOU JOY.
How can you tell if something brings you joy? You don’t sneer or feel anxious or angry (or curse!) when you have to clean it, fold it, move it, update it…etc.
We homeschool. So yeah, we have stuff. We have crafty stuff and books and supplies and things the kids enjoy. We just don’t hoard more than what we need at any given time. And if I feel myself getting flustered when something is out of place or dirty or needs cleaning, I evaluate whether or not it’s worth keeping.
Oftentimes, it’s not. And replacing it with something else would just make it worse.
My little secret? I’m always picturing if we had to move into a tiny home (something we may do). What would we bring? What would we get rid of? Even better – what would we bring if we had to travel for a few months? (something we plan on doing this summer!)
These thoughts make it easy for me to sift through our stuff to ensure we’re not keeping things we no longer need.
Because nothing sucks the life out a mother than when, after taking a lovely day to herself, she walks back in to a cluttered home.
So I have couple solutions for moms looking for a little minimalist break.
1) Don’t keep stuff that doesn’t bring you or your kids joy.
Like, daily or weekly joy. Not every-other-year-you-didn’t-know-that-thing-was-there joy.
2) Sift and get rid of stuff constantly.
Stuff piles up (birthday party handouts, holiday gifts, art projects, clothes your kids CONSTANTLY grow out of). Just rid yourself before it piles up and you find yourself fighting a nagging headache from shoving it back into the closet every day.
3) Help others help you.
When I come home from a solo outing, I really don’t want to see stuff all over the floors. Keeping a minimal home eases the burden on anyone watching the kids for the day/evening/week and ensures it will look the way it did when you left, or close to it, when you walk back in the door. (Bonus: you get to experience zero onset of the “Why did I even leave!?!” headache –– yay!)
Hope you found this helpful!