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Minimalism & Family: Minimizing with Kids

When the topic of minimalism comes up in my conversations, often times it’s followed by a comment that it would be so much harder to be a minimalist with kids. While minimizing with kids isn’t easy, it’s entirely possible, and maybe even more important that minimizing on your own. Here are some tips on minimizing when you have a family.

minimalism family

1. Have a Packing Party

A packing party is a fun way of saying to throw all of your stuff in boxes, and pull things out as you need them. This could work very well for kids, because they will have to ask for specific toys before you get them out of the box. After a couple of weeks, donate the toys still in boxes.

2. Explain the Importance of Donating

By telling a child what it means to donate, you are giving them the option to do something good. If you teach your children to share, why wouldn’t you teach them the importance of donating and charities? Teach the importance of giving and sharing to your children to help them learn that things and stuff aren’t the most important things.

3. Gain Inspiration

Read blogs by minimalists with families. They are out there. My favorite is Leo Babauta, a minimalist with six kids who lives in San Francisco. Other popular ones are Joshua Becker, Courtney Carver, and The Minimalist Mom. Minimalism is a personalized lifestyle, but seeing how other people do it has always been helpful to me in determining how I want to go about it.

minimalism with kids

4. No Gifts, Please

Most kids toys come into the house as gifts. By asking for something other than gifts (donations to a college fund would be a good start), you will be cutting down on clutter and giving a better gift in the long run. If you definitely want to get a toy as a gift, consider buying your child one or two toys from yourself – it’s much easier to get rid of things that you buy a year or two down the road versus things your family or friends buy.

5. Minimize the Available Space for Toys

By creating a smaller storage space for toys (for example, a chest versus an entire playroom), you will be able to cut down the amount of toys your child has. Less space for toys should equal less toys. Less toys means that cleanup and maintenance is so much more simple.

These are five simple tips to start minimizing in a family household. I’d love to hear in the comments below which ones you plan to try out!

Your turn!

  • What is your best tip for minimizing with kids?

Minimalism and Uniforms: How Capsule Wardrobes Can Enhance Your Life

Creating a capsule wardrobe and uniform has given me so much more time, freedom, and saved me tons of money. Taking minimalism to the closet can really pay off in more ways than one. Here are four benefits of creating a uniform.

minimalism uniform

1. You Don’t Have to Think About What to Wear in the Mornings

Gone are the days of pulling your hair out in front of your closet, because you have so many clothes but nothing to wear! Creating a uniform simplifies your morning routine in such a powerful way. You’ll wake up every day knowing exactly what you are going to wear – and it will be a uniform that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and powerful.

My uniform is black jeans and a basic black top. If I’m in a warmer climate, I’ll wear a black tank top and a pair of jean shorts. No matter what I am doing, my morning is easy because I already know what I’ll wear that day.

2. Shopping Becomes So Easy

minimalism uniform capsule wardrobeWhen you are working with a uniform, you’ll know when you need new clothes and when you don’t. I know that I don’t need clothes, because I have enough shirts to last me for the week, until it’s time to do laundry. All of my clothes are in good condition and don’t need repair.

When my shirts start to get holes in them, or my jeans rip in unflattering places, then it’s time to get a new pair of jeans or a new tank top. Even then, I will go to the store and buy simply that – one pair of perfect jeans, or one black tank top. The uniform prevents me from mindless shopping and saves me so much time and money.

3. You’ll Save Money

Because you won’t be mindlessly shopping, you’ll be automatically saving money by not buying unnecessary clothing. Creating and using a uniform makes life so simple. Uniforms prevent impulse purchasing. Pre-uniform, I used to spend at least two weekends at the mall, feeling like I needed some new clothes because I had nothing to wear (though I already had a ton of clothes). I would wander aimlessly until I found something I liked, then buy it, not thinking about whether it would go with anything else in my wardrobe, how often I could wear it, etc. Now, I don’t go to a store to buy clothes unless I actually need something – and now, that is not very often at all.

minimalism uniform

4. You’ll Look Put Together

By creating a uniform that fits well and looks good, you’ll be easily getting dressed in the morning and looking pulled together daily. The uniform is curated for the individual, meaning that you choose what works best for you, on your body and within your budget. In the capsule wardrobe, all of your clothes will match and go together seamlessly.

This was just four of the many benefits of capsule wardrobes and creating a uniform.

Your Turn!

  • Would you try a capsule wardrobe or uniform?
  • What would be your ideal uniform?

Minimalism & Relationships

Minimalism entails so much more than just decluttering – and applying minimalism to your relationships can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the simple life. Before minimalism, I had a ton of friends, but these were mostly surface-level friendships. I had the kind of friends that you go out for hikes or happy hour with – not the kind of situations which inspired discussions on life changing topics like minimalism. Now, I have a few close friends; these people know everything about me, and we have similar values in life.

minimalism relationships

Here is how I created relationships that became inspiring, honest, and meaningful:

1. Be Intentional

I used to forge friendships based on things like proximity – I would become good friends with coworkers, neighbors, and spend a lot of time with the people I lived with. Soon after turning to minimalism, I started to feel a bit alienated. None of my friends had the same values as me. Sure, we had things in common like work or mutual friends, but I didn’t feel like these people truly understood why I did the things that I did. Finding friends that have similar values to you will give you stronger feelings of connectedness and help you feel less alienated.

2. Don’t Be Scared of The Internet

I have no shame in saying that I’ve met many of my really good friends through the internet. Social media is a powerful thing, and there is no harm in joining Facebook groups that interest you or reaching out to someone who inspires you. I’ve met many a friend via the internet and am so happy that I did. I like to reach out to people in the same general area as me, and create a time to meet up. The internet is a magical place!minimalism relationships

3. Be Picky

Friendships can be a beautiful thing. But they can also be a disaster. I am very aware of the energy that people give off, and if it’s not a happy, positive energy, I try to keep my distance. It’s good to have friends that have the same values as you, but I like to surround myself with people who inspire and motivate me (extra points if they can make me laugh regularly).

Creating relationships that inspire and motivate us not only makes our lives more meaningful; but they help us to become the best version of ourselves. Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” By creating deliberate and meaningful relationships, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my life. I am inspired and awed by my friends daily.

Your Turn!

  • How will you start to create more intentional relationships?

 

 

Minimalism & Diet: Simplify Your Food, Simplify Your Life

After minimizing my belongings, my relationships, and my schedule, I took a look at my diet. Minimizing my diet has been one of the biggest money savers that minimalism has brought me. Here are tips on how to simplify your diet:

minimalism and diet

1. Learn Staple Meals

Learning how to cook a few simple meals is not only a beneficial life skill, it can drastically reduce your grocery budget. I have a few simple breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that I alternate between, which makes it easy to know what to eat when that time rolls around. I know that I love all of these meals, so when I go grocery shopping, I make sure to pick up ingredients for each one.

2. Eat the Same Meals Weekly

I tend to get really into a meal, and eat it constantly. By eating the same foods over and over, you’re saving money by not needing new spices, exotic ingredients, or a vast array of groceries. I like to always have staples on hand to create any of the following: smoothies, breakfast muesli, vegan sandwiches, sweet potato and chickpea curry, burritos, and my famous nourish bowls. Nourish bowls happen when I throw the following into a bowl: some type of grain, some type of protein (usually beans, as they are so high in fiber and minerals!), loads of veggies, avocado, and hummus. This can also be a really simple way to use up leftovers.

3. Keep Snacks Simple

minimalism and diet I used to be a big snacker – and I was a fan of processed, oily, junk food. After minimizing my diet, I’ve switched my snacking habits to become a bit more simple and budget friendly. Now, I snack on fresh or dried fruit, veggies with hummus, apples with peanut butter; I try to keep it as whole-food-focused as possible. Not only does this save me money, it is so much better for my overall health.

4. Try Themed Nights

One of my favorite ways to keep my diet simple and minimal, but still exciting, is themed nights. I have a few themes that I like to work around, including tacos and docos (documentaries) night, or meatless Mondays. This is a really fun way to introduce simplified diets to children.

5. Keep it Nutritious

A simplified diet is a whole-foods focused, nutritious diet. Focus your meals around whole grains, beans and legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables.  I like to get my food as close to the source as possible – this means farmers markets for produce, bakeries for whole grain breads, and bulk stores for whole grain pasta, and dried beans. By constantly having the staples on hand, you’ll be able to make such a variety of meals.

minimalism and diet

Minimizing my diet has improved my health, relieved stress, and made me a happier person. There are so many benefits to eating more simply and healthfully, your wallet and your body will thank you.

Your Turn!

  • Would you consider simplifying your diet?

Minimalism And Sustainability

Minimalism is something you can do to improve your life; but the ripple effects improve our surroundings. By cutting down on consumerism, you’re not just helping your wallet or your closet; you’re helping the planet.

minimalism sustainability

Here are 4 ways to use minimalism to become even more environmentally responsible:

1. Try A Bamboo Toothbrush

I’ve recently made the switch to bamboo toothbrushes and I love it. Plastic toothbrushes don’t ever break down – and they are creating quite a problem for landfills. It’s estimated that 50 million pounds of plastic toothbrushes enter landfills every year! Bamboo is a compostable material, so by making the switch, you’ll be saving the landfills a few extra toothbrushes every year.

2. Minimize Packaging

minimalism sustainabilityThough it’s common to use reusable grocery bags now, did you know that you can also purchase reusable produce bags? I bought two mesh produce bags, which has allowed me to do a large part of my grocery shopping plastic-free. If you aren’t ready to take the plunge yet, try just taking a look at the plastic that you do use. Is it necessary to put onions, garlic, or lemons into a plastic bag?

3. Buy Second Hand

I recently watched a documentary called The True Cost. I was not aware, prior to this documentary, of the impact that our clothing has on the environment. Becoming a minimalist vastly reduces the amount of clothing that I purchase, but after watching this documentary, I decided to start purchasing as many of my clothes second hand as possible. This documentary shows not only the working conditions of sweatshops, but it really shows the impact that fast fashion has on our planet. So many clothes are being made, bought, and discarded at alarmingly rapid rates. By combining minimalism and buying second hand, I do as much as I can to help the planet in terms of clothing waste.

minimalism sustainability

4. Consider What You Have Before Buying Something

I recently wanted to switch from using a hairbrush every day to a wooden comb. I searched for wooden combs for months before finding the perfect one. I was so excited to become more sustainable by using a wooden hair tool instead of a plastic brush that I’ve had for three years. But right before I checked out, I realized that this would not be a more sustainable choice at all.

My plastic hairbrush still worked just fine. There was nothing wrong with it, and the only reason I wanted to switch was for my own convenience (and what I thought was sustainability). Luckily I realized this before checking out, and have now decided to use my plastic hair brush until I no longer can. At that point, I’ll check out with that wooden brush. Sustainability is about creating less waste – not about buying something new because it’s more eco-friendly.

minimalism sustainability

These tips have helped me become more sustainable on my minimalist journey over the last two years. Minimalism in itself is a wonderful way to be more eco-friendly, but I love learning more about how we can help the Earth even further.

Your Turn!

  • Which tip will you try?
  • What are your favorite tips for environmental sustainability?

 

 

 

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