Your Guide To Minimalism
Before we get into a busy mom’s guide to minimalism, maybe your life resembles this scene: You are a mom running around the semi clean kitchen searching for the missing karate belt of kid 1 and braiding the hair of kid 2 for her dance practice that starts in a half hour. All the while kid 3, trying to be helpful, just pours a half gallon of milk over his now overflowing plate of mac and cheese.
It is a beautiful life, but sometimes you wonder how life could go back to a time where things were less hectic: when you were kicking up your bare feet on the hammock swing in the back yard, on a warm spring day, reading your favorite novel.
The busyness of motherhood can certainly increase your motivation to live simply, and at the same time make it harder to cut back. You want to be a great mom, but a growing family always includes accumulating more stuff and an understandable commitment to add more activities.
While this busy mom’s guide to minimalism will direct you to ways that will help you save money, there are other benefits that may be even more important. You will likely have fewer distractions and more time and energy to devote to your family.
You can enjoy the advantages of a simpler life whatever your circumstances are. Maybe you want to simplify voluntarily or maybe you are under pressure to simplify because you need to live on a tighter budget. This busy mom’s guide to minimalism has something for everyone.
How do you define minimalism? Maybe you define minimalism as growing your own food, decluttering your house, spending less time running around the city taking kids from place to place, or just spending less money at restaurants and shopping malls.
As you’re deciding what works for you and your family, check out these principles and strategies for minimalist mothers.
General Principles for Minimalist Mothers:
- Calm down. I know, no one wants to be told to “calm down”. After all, you aren’t throwing glass vases at the wall, while shards of glass soar through the air. But calming your mind and clarifying your thinking will help you resist the urge to rush. You’ve got this. Slowing down will help you feel more creative, and you’ll accomplish more with less effort.
- It’s OK to be bored. Give your children the opportunity to become bored. Life today demands instant gratification and constant entertainment. When kids are forced to rely on their own resources, they will soon discover the power of their imagination and the amazing benefits of unstructured play.
- Connect with nature. The beauty and peace of green spaces increases our mental and physical health. Take your children outside to play. Go for a walk through the park. Visit forests, oceans, and parks as much as possible.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Watching celebrity couples with full time nannies or reading super mom blogs can make anyone doubt their parenting skills. Don’t bother yourself with those people. You just work on being the best version of you. You are enough!!
- Network with other parents. Make friends with other parents in your neighborhood. You can car pool, exchange recipes, share outgrown clothing and toys, and give each other advice on shopping deals.
- Manage stress. Show your children how to set aside time for reflection and relaxation. Try meditating briefly or taking a few deep breaths.
Specific Strategies for Minimalist Mothers:
- Eat at home with the family. As a mom of 4 kids, I know how hard this can be. But try to do it as much as possible. Staying away from the drive-up window will save money and keep your family eating healthier. Make a menu plan including freezer meals for those days you are super busy. (You can get a menu planner here.) Eating as a family also leads to closer relationships. Have the kids help with meal planning and preparing.
- Divide up chores. I know you like things to be done right. As the saying goes, when you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. You must stop that thinking. Teaching kids to take responsibility prepares them for adulthood. Assign age-appropriate tasks to each family member instead of trying to do everything yourself. Dusting mittens are great for the little ones to go around baseboards and casing.
- Limit toys. It’s almost impossible to keep toys from multiplying, especially around birthdays and holidays. Create a system for keeping the total volume under control. You might want to try rotating toys by giving your child only a few to play with each week. Or, encourage your kids to donate toys to charities that help kids. It will allow your children to help other children and become more charitable adults.
- Reduce clutter. Consider what items you have around the house that you rarely use. Do you have a closet full of clothes in a smaller size that you hope to “someday” get to wear? Get rid of them. Do you have 20 cake pans, 30 serving spoons and 6 can openers in your kitchen drawers? Get rid of the excess. You can clean your house faster when you get rid of clutter. Your surroundings will also feel more comfortable and look more beautiful.
- Monitor technology. 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. This will encourage kids to be creative with their time and more productive, like reading or learning to play a musical instrument.
- Buy Less Stuff. Buying less stuff will prevent clutter and will save you tons of time and money.On the website Good Financial Cents, Miranda encourages us to ask ourselves 5 questions before making ANY purchase….even that Snickers candy bar at the cash register.
1. Can I Really Afford It? You will want to make sure that the purchase isn’t going to land you in debt. Is purchasing this item going to keep you from getting something that you really need?
2. What Will I Do With It? Will it help you move forward with a specific goal you have? Will using it contribute to your overall quality of life?
3. How Often Will I Use It? If you are buying something that you are only going to use a couple of times, does it make sense to buy it? There are other ways you can get what you need for a one-time use.
4. Can I Borrow It? If it is something you won’t use often, perhaps you can borrow it from family member, friend, or neighbor. When it comes to books, I like to borrow books from friends or check them out from the library.
5. Do I Really Even Want It? Do you want to buy the item because it is on sale? Are you trying to impress someone? If you are making a purchase
After reading this guide to minimalism, let us know in the comments below how you have simplified your life and how it has helped you.
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