This is, in no way, going to be a “one size fits all” guide, but I know it will help you get started on your minimalist journey! But first I want to tell you why after twenty something years we decided minimalism was for us.
My husband works long hours every three months at his job then goes back to a normal forty hour week. So during the long hour time frame I am basically outnumbered by four beautiful, wonderfully made, creative little people. To say I’m busy is an understatement. The kids do have chores but I remember feeling like why do we even bother. The older ones would fold the clothes just to have their younger sister throw them back into a pile. Don’t even get me started on the toys. Oh my gosh the toys. Having four kids I know there has to be some form of indoor distractions, but we had way too many. Many of which they didn’t even play with. I had just accepted that there had to be a mess just because we have small children. So I would exhaust myself in the evenings tidying my home back after they went to sleep because I’m the mom that can’t sit down + relax until everything is done. This left me tired, my husband tired from 14 hour days, and ultimately my kids tired because we were always re-cleaning everything we just cleaned. I told my kids it’s time to live with less. It turns out less isn’t just less “stuff” it’s less stress, less anxiety and more time spent together learning + playing. We turned our “stress” into blessings for others. It really feels better to give than to just receive all the time.
Everyone’s minimalism looks different. Especially when kids are involved. We went through the dresser drawers of clothes, the buckets and boxes of toys, the old DVD’s (we don’t even use these because who doesn’t stream everything nowadays?) The closets, the old electricity bills from before we went paperless, the “junk drawer” in the kitchen. Literally, everything. it was 58 bags of things we donated, and if I’m being honest, I don’t really remember what was even in those bags. I don’t miss any of it. We still have quite a bit of “stuff” though. You wouldn’t walk into my house and say “Wow, you must be a minimalist!” We kept the things that we needed and a few things that we love. Minimalism is about having enough. We don’t need 37 pairs of shoes if we only really wear 3. The clothes and the shoes we hadn’t worn in at least 6 months was donated. Pretty much all the stuff we gave away wasn’t used in way longer than 6 months.
Peace is something I have to have at the end of my day after homeschooling four kids. What I want is simple, really. A clean house, peace + quiet, & time with my husband after the kids go to bed. Since cleaning out and minimizing our stuff, I fell less irritated, less anxious, less tired. So if you need that in your life, I would recommend going down this checklist, even just one thing a day will make a huge change. Bless someone else with your things while giving yourself peace. So I hope this list helps you find peace in your home and more time together as a family!
Room By Room Declutter List:
Bathrooms– After going through my bathroom cabinets I discovered I had been over buying on things like q-tips + shaving cream because I couldn’t tell what I actually had anymore. I started with toiletry items like that and went through all my makeup and threw away the ones I didn’t use anymore or empty lip glosses etc. I folded all my towels, if they were worn out, they were thrown out. I cleaned the clutter from the counters in their too, my husbands razors, deodorant, shaving cream, electric razors, toothpaste etc and created more space under the sinks for these things. Keep the necessities and chunk everything else. You’re not going to use that lotion you bought three years ago and never opened.
Closets– This is one that took a while at our house because we have so many clothes. We had too many that just sat in the closet. I don’t need 18 sweaters living in southeast Louisiana. I realized alot of what we buy was impulsive. Now we all have a few casual outfits, a dressy one or two outfits, jeans, and one pair of flip flops, one pair of tennis shoes, + one pair of dress shoes. It’s way easier to keep everything organized now. What’s important in being a minimalist is that we are smarter with our purchases in the future. Ask yourself, do I really need this? Do I have something similar? Can I get it at a better price somewhere else. Use the money you save from impulse buys to pay for your next vacay instead. I’ll be sharing how to travel on a budget in another blog post!
Bedrooms– This took a while. Books, important papers, pictures, records, more books. It was alot of stuff. We donated the books to the local library and put the important papers in a binder. Records were sold and pictures were stored in an album. We don’t print many pictures nowadays anymore so this shouldn’t be a recurring issue. Our daughter has a polaroid camera we use on vacation (+ our smart phones) and we scrapbook our travels in one scrapbook. Everything else is digitally stored.
Kitchen– Oh the gadgets they sell for the kitchen. Slicers, dicers, mincers. We had more plastic spoons than I could count. We kept the basic things like a good knife, steak knives, pizza cutter, one whisk (of the 8 we had) a spatula, our silverware for each person, one set of plates and two cups per person. We got rid of all the unmatching plates, cups, bowls, mugs. The spice cabinet was filled up. Now we can actually see what we have and use. I had seasoning in the back that expired in 2010. We love cooking so we go through seasonings + ingredients fast. We try to shop locally + support the local farmers. We also love shopping at Whole Foods. If you’re interested in what we’re cooking up in our kitchen + on the road, follow us on instagram + sign up for our newsletter!
Living Room– This room took the least amount of time at our house because it was mainly DVDs and our rug and ungodly amount of blankets we had. The rug went bc my daughter is still little and loves to run around the house in her walker. But she couldn’t do this with the rug so we would roll it up everyday. What’s the point of keeping something you don’t use? When she’s older and walking and all the baby gear is gone, I’ll consider getting a new rug then.
Gifts– My husband + I love to travel. We decided that instead of gifting things to each other that we would give the gift of traveling. We want memories of us + our kids instead of a house filled with things we won’t use. We didn’t include our kids in this because we will still buy their Christmas + birthday gifts, but with a new system in place. When a new toy comes in, an older one must go out. That will keep the overload of toys from building up again.
Emotional Clutter– This is just as real as physical clutter. If we bottle things up or never stand up for ourselves, it becomes emotional clutter. I use yoga and prayer to declutter mentally. I take a walk outside with my kids and pick flowers. Anything that brings you peace. This is important because you are important. You can’t be the best mom, when you’re not the best you mentally.
I hope you enjoyed our minimalist ideas + declutter list! Are you interested in living a life full of experiences over things?
XOXO, The Morse Family