Move towards becoming a minimalist family unit
Many parents feel that to live a minimalist life as a whole family is just not doable.
If you have children how can you become a minimalist family? It is just too hard to juggle all those differing demands and convince your child that pairing down on their belongings is a good thing.
If we do become a minimalist family, does it mean we will have to live in a stark house and we will have to discard all our possessions?
If you think about the basic principles of minimalism why aren’t they in reach of parents with children?
The quick answer is that they are.
In this post, we will take you through how you can introduce minimalism into your everyday family life.
We also look at some of the barriers and steps you might have to go through to get there. It will not always be plain sailing but the benefits can be well worth it.
As a starting point for a family, it might mean that we prioritize quality over quantity as less can be more if the focus is in the right place.
If you are considering minimalism with your family here are some tips to start you off on the journey.
Explain, explain, explain …
No matter what the age of your children you need to explain to them, in as simplistic terms as possible, your decision to become minimalistic.
Tell them the reasons why you are becoming minimalistic and what you are all hoping to achieve as a family.
If they are teenagers, explain that this does not mean they can’t buy anything! It just means that before purchasing you think through whether it is really required.
Start with yourself
Don’t rush up to your child’s room, throw open the cupboard doors and start to throw all the things you feel and inconsequential away.
Start with yourself.
Start by minimizing your possessions and belongings first. Remove your clutter first.
Start with the old
As minimalism is all about pairing down when you start removing things start with the things they no longer use.
Children have a habit of playing with something for a while, and they get bored, then it ends up in a cupboard gathering dust.
Start with these items first, and they probably won’t even notice they have gone.
Start with clothes then move onto toys and games.
Don’t be sneaky though, engage them in the process and get them into looking at all their things in the same light.
Focus on positives…
As they start to de-clutter point out the positives to them.
How much tidier their room is. It is much easier to find the things they want. You are not nagging them as often to clean and tidy their room.
Choosing in the future
As with any growing children they are going to need new clothes and shoes etc. as they grow out of the old ones. They are not going to stop growing and developing.
You are still going to have to buy new clothes and sneakers.
You will just need to introduce new thought into the process.
Do I really need Nike trainers or can I get away with a non branded pair?
Do I really need this – can I wait a bit longer or use something else?
Get them to question every purchasing decision, and it is an excellent way of getting into minimalism early.
Give them treats…
One of the benefits of a minimalistic lifestyle is that it should free you up to spend more time with your children.
In turn, you should have extra disposable income.
Use it to do new things.
Try new experiences that will highlight the benefit of your new found lifestyle.
It will show your children this is all worth it and has real benefits for the whole family.
Try to be patient with your family.
You might immediately see the benefits of your new family lifestyle, but young people have a different outlook.
Give them plenty of time to adjust and not feel pushed into something.
After all, minimalism is a lifestyle that has to be embraced and believed to have a lasting impact, and it will not happen overnight.
The Benefits Of Minimalism For A Family
So you have gone through some pain to get your family onboard with the minimalistic lifestyle, but what are the lasting benefits?
Many minimalist families have identified many lasting benefits for their family members.
How many times have you wandered around the local toy shop for your child to ‘whine’ and ‘want’ that next toy or game?
In today’s commercial world, advertisers spend millions trying to convince us to buy this product because your child really “needs” it.
When you give your child ‘less’ the need or wanting tends to diminish.
You will find they appreciate what they have more and will take more care of the things they have.
Do you know what you spend on your children each year?
The average spend per child per year in the US is $371 just on toys!
In a minimalistic lifestyle, you could save upward of 50% on purchases so will enjoy more financial freedom.
Focus on spending more time and not money.
According to the latest psychological research the fewer toys there are around, the less fighting there is between siblings.
With fewer toys, there is less distraction and cooperative play then with toys in abundance.
So to conclude;
There are numerous examples of couples and families that have made a success from minimalist living.
It can be done, but you need to take a pragmatic approach to ensure that you go about it in the right way.
Try and engage your children in any discussions around why and how you are going to create a minimalist philosophy in your house.
It is going to mean change, and some might be uncomfortable for your children.
However, if you explain and include them in your decision making, you can move towards a successful minimalistic lifestyle that will eventually benefit you all.