What does creating a minimalist home mean to you?
Maybe it doesn’t mean anything – because you believe there’s no way you could ever be a minimalist.
Because, you have a lot of stuff. You like stuff. And you can’t pass up more stuff beckoning you from the endcap at Target. You even have a (*stage whisper*) junk drawer. Or, you know, five or six junk drawers.
I get it. I’ve got the junk drawers to prove it.
But it’s time we take minimalism out of a tiny little white box. Because our narrow perception of a minimalist home is not really what it is about.
What if minimalism was more than white walls and modern furnishings? What if living in a minimalist home could work for you – wherever you are right now? And what if it could be a lifelong process – not only a final destination?
I’m beginning to realize that having a more minimalist home works best for my family – and for me. Right now.
And it could work for you, too. If you let it.
Working toward a minimalist home doesn’t have to put me inside a box. Instead, minimalism can give my family a great deal of freedom. It’s freedom that keeps us from being chained to stuff. It’s a freedom that gives us more financial security. And the longer we live in our new (modest-sized) home, the more I crave less stuff, less stress and less work.
Maybe the idea of a minimalist home turns you off. But perhaps it’s just because you have heard and believed one of these common myths. There was a time I believed them, too.
Myth 1: Minimalism isn’t for people with kids.
Friends, it’s time for some real talk. If anyone needs a minimalist home, it’s moms. It’s me. And it’s you, too.
Moms need minimalism.
Saying minimalism isn’t for moms is like saying coffee isn’t for moms. And that’s just a dirty, nasty lie.
Moms spend our days as the ringmasters in our very own circus. I don’t care if you work at home, at an office, or in a traveling show. I don’t care if you have one child or fifteen. Your life is crazy. And creating a more minimalist home can help.
So while you may feel overwhelmed by thinking about getting rid of so many things, start by thinking about how downsizing your possessions and working toward a more minimalist space could actually improve your life:
- By spending less time cleaning and organizing.
- By filling your life with things you actually love, instead of piles of things you don’t care about.
- By giving you more time with your kids and spouse, instead of working to buy, maintaining and cleaning all your things.
Getting the picture? Having less things – especially with kids – can truly help make you an even better mom.
Myth 2: Minimalism takes too much time.
Cultivating a home that is perfectly minimalist can feel overwhelming. How do I hide all those books and toys? How do I find the time to purge and organize?
You are already busy enough. You don’t need another to-do on your plate.
But I’ve found that embracing a minimalist home has actually given us more time in my life. It may take a bit of time to purge and declutter, but that can be done over time when you have the energy and motivation.
And that initial investment of time can create space in your life and your schedule later on:
- Because you have a system to store everything in the future.
- Because you spend less time cleaning and organizing things later.
- Because you don’t have to spend an hour looking for that item amid all the piles and clutter.
The bottom line: the initial investment of minimizing your possessions leads to more time later on. And that’s a trade I’m happy to take.
Myth 3: Minimalism means getting rid of everything.
Here’s what I think the biggest struggle is for people – and it’s also been the biggest mind shift for me.
Living a more minimalist life and creating a more minimalist home doesn’t mean doing without. Instead, it’s about bringing things into your home that have earned their place.
You probably wouldn’t let your freeloading acquaintance live on your couch forever. So why do we let our freeloading stuff do it? Maybe it’s because we’re afraid. But beginning to get rid of those freeloaders is so freeing – and it’s also addicting.
I’ve found that once I start adopting a minimalist mindset, I’m more likely to continue to purge items that just aren’t cutting it. No stress, no fuss. It just becomes part of daily life. I’m also far less likely to bring home more things we don’t need.
And for the items in our home that are still hard to give up, I give myself hefty load of grace and remember it’s just about taking it one step at a time.
Myth 4: Minimalism means doing without.
If you try to tell me I have to get rid of my crock pot because I only need one pot for cooking in my minimalist home, I’m going to tell you that you are drunk.
Because only YOU create the rules in your minimalist home.
Instead of doing without, living a more minimalist life means giving your home a little margin. This means there will be plenty of space in your home for things you love. And that means when you do need something, you can actually find it.
No more rifling through overstuffed cabinets and drawers to find what you need. No more re-buying items that you know you already have but can’t find.
If that doesn’t sound life-changing, I don’t know what does.
Myth 5: Minimalism never gets easier.
Minimalism is not natural for me. It’s not something that is hardwired into my brain. This is ‘Merica. And I want more, more, more. I want pretty trinkets and piles of books and drawers of kitchen gadgets.
But while it’s not always natural for me, it has gotten a lot easier over time. And here’s why …
Because the advantages of living in a minimalist home is about the big picture. It’s about creating a haven for your family that isn’t overpowered by stuff. It’s about forgoing some stuff for the most important things.
And when I struggle to remember why I don’t need that newer car or cartloads of stuff from Target, I read something like this that reminds me the most important things in life – and how none of those things are stuff.
The biggest reason that living in a more minimalist home gets easier for me – because we make the rules. We decide what makes the cut and what doesn’t. We decide how our home can be more peaceful and less stressful for us.
And we really see the advantages of living like this over time – including the financial and personal freedom that comes from living with less.
Myth #6: You’ll eventually be done creating the perfect minimalist home.
Reality check: For most people, living a minimalist life can take time. And it’s almost never “done.” (Sounds kind of like any home, right?)
Will it get easier? Yes. Will you see progress? Yes. Will it feel good? Yes.
But for many people, including me, creating a minimalist home means constant evaluation and fine-tuning. It means getting rid of some things and keeping other things – only to get rid of them later. It means finding pain points in your home and finding ways to solve them with a minimalist mindset.
And it means always thinking about the big picture.
A minimalist home isn’t necessarily an overnight decision or a destination. Instead, it’s day after day of making conscious decisions to live with less – whatever less means to you.
What’s your biggest hang-up to striving for a more minimalist home?
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