Minimalism in a Maxi-Mom World

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I am not a minimalist. 

If you told me ten years ago that one day I would write a blog post about minimalism, I would have taken your temperature. 

Sentimentality has never been a foreign concept to me; I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have an overabundance of things, kept and never used. As a kid, we had to “spring clean” regularly. We de-cluttered, we donated. Year after year. My mom was right to make us get rid of it. But what we really needed was a change in our buying behaviors.

With marriage and children come an even greater hodgepodge of stuff. Clothing is a big one. Medicine, home decor, broken parts and pieces of things you convince yourself you’ll fix one day. Clutter. That’s how it happens.

I know I’m not alone. Clutter isn’t just a byproduct of sentimentality- materialism is so ingrained into our culture, the word “minimalist” almost sounds like an act of protest. You’re stickin’ it to the man.

In truth, you kind of are.

So, I’ll say it again :: I am not a minimalist. With six kids between us, I’m a maximalist. 

I simply want to break the pattern of buying, saving, and then purging extras and unused items. I crave simplicity and I knew I wouldn’t find that in a house crammed with junk. One day, a Pinterest article about minimalist cleaning caught my eye. A few youtube videos later, I was inspired to try it. Since then, I’ve learned a few things. 

Minimalism is Not a Look

Minimalism is more than just a soothing aesthetic. It’s a lifestyle and practice. You don’t need totally clear surfaces or empty rooms to achieve that peace. It doesn’t look a certain way. If you walk into my house, you’ll find a mixture of antiques and contemporary pieces. I have art galore and, at one time, books literally lining the walls. It’s less about clean lines and bare coffee tables, it is a concept of simplicity.

Six months after starting to learn about minimalism, I still have knick-knacks and extras. They’ve just been pared down to what I truly value and actually use. 

No System Required

The internet has no shortage of tips, tricks, and systems for practicing minimalism. You don’t need a system to achieve it…but it helps. I pretty much love everything about the Marie Kondo method but I didn’t follow it. She recommends to begin with your closet because it is typically less sentimental than, say, home decor.

But for me, that just isn’t true. My closet represents every weight struggle and body acceptance issue I’ve ever had so the thought of beginning there made me want to not begin at all. Instead, I started with my kitchen. Read up on the different methods, for sure. Then create a system which works for you.

Everyone’s Included

Take a deep breath and repeat after me :: I can not de-clutter for my kids. I know what you’re thinking- Oh, YES I CAN! It’s your house, after all. However, the whole purpose of this journey into minimalism is to change your relationship with purchasing.

Throwing away someone’s stuff without allowing them to engage in the process just means they will go out and collect more. Your kids {and spouses} need to internalize the idea of owning only what you need, use, and value. That’s how they learn for themselves what is a priority and what is not.

New Money Rules

To change how, when, and why you buy things, you must create new rules for purchasing. Whether it’s a one-in, one-out rule, creating a hard-and-fast budget, or only buying clothes twice a year, a system for shopping will keep your from buying in excess.

The rules or processes you create don’t matter, as long as you stick with it. If it works, keep it. If it doesn’t, change it. For our family, we always hit up the thrift store first. Unless it is for a special occasion or something in particular we are looking for, we buy second hand then take stock of what we have and what we need. It keeps us from overspending and over-buying.

You Can Always Buy it Again

I know, I know, this sounds like anti-minimalism. After all, living simply is all about reducing consumerism and your carbon foot print. But, hear me out.

I’ve always wanted a full on chef’s pantry so I would regularly browse for new, exotic recipes, use one- quarter of the ingredients, then they would sit in my spice cabinet for ages.

Pro-tip :: Spices don’t keep. Not for as long as we think they do.

So, clean out that spice cabinet. Keep anything you use on a regular basis and throw out the rest. If you decide you want to try that recipe again later, you can always buy more. Don’t just buy less; buy smaller. Your spices will be fresher if you’re using them and replacing them often.

Minimalism in a Maxi-Mom World | Houston Moms Blog

The practice of minimalism is actually a process which never really ends. Kids grow out of clothes, styles change, projects come and go. Not to mention, there will always be the temptation to buy more than you need. You will not purge once and be done with materialism. 

We’re still de-cluttering. I can’t seem to clean out that closet. I feel like it will never be enough. But I’m committed. For us, learning about minimalism has made cleaning easier and faster, and given more purpose and value to the things that we own.

But finally, we see what it’s like for our things to no longer own us.

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One Response to Minimalism in a Maxi-Mom World

  1. Alissa
    Alissa June 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm #

    I totally agree with this! Thank you for sharing! I can already tell I’m going to love this series!

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