The Minimalist Lifestyle with Kids

I had the minimalist thing down five years ago. I LOVED the state of my house, felt proud of the organization and lack of unneeded stuff.
Then, I got pregnant, and had multiple baby showers...

Suddenly, my lovely perfectly set nursery was overtaken by ALL THE STUFF that comes with babies. I remember sitting in the midst of all the bags and boxes feeling both blessed and overwhelmed!


See! Look how neat and minimal : )


And we all know that you don't get less as the kids get older.

So how do you survive kids with a minimalist mindset?
How do you start teaching kids to be content with less?


I have only been at this parenting thing for about five years, but here are some of the strategies I have tried:

1) Communicate and Model
I try to talk with my kids a lot about being content and having "enough." I go through belongings WITH my kids when contemplating what to keep and what to give away. Asking questions like:
a) When did you last use this?
b) Why do you like it?
c) Do we have something that is very similar?
d) Do you think other kids would enjoy it more often than you?

The thing about this communication is that you it must be lead by the kids. Don't try to convince them to get rid of something because YOU want it gone. It's hard, but if it's ultimately your decision, the kids will react negatively. In the words of a Disney princess, "Let it Go," and by let it go, I mean keep it.
You also have the responsibility to model minimalist behaviors to your kids. I have a visible box in our porch closet specifically for items to donate. If I come across something, I will stop what I am doing (or set aside a time) to ask the kids to put something in it for me. Usually, they ask why I am giving something away, and I can explain that I don't use it, don't need it, have something else like it, or just feel like it's cluttering our home. 

2) Re-Gift
Sometimes, the kids get something as a gift that they already have. It's really tempting to return it or exchange it, but then... you are still getting more stuff. So, I have a re-gift bin. Gosh! I love my re-gift bin. It has bailed me out of many last minute gift runs.

3) Take Photos
My kids, especially my four year old, LOVE to create. I can't even imagine the folders and bins I could fill of their crafts and creations. The camera is the perfect solution. I take photos of their projects and then, into the recycling they go. Some are special enough to be on the fridge for a bit, but after a season, they also come down. Gwenyth loves the camera for recording her creations. Not only do we take photos off all her crafts, but she's realized all of her "set-ups" can last forever with a picture as well!




This is one of her "set ups." She loves to arrange. She is her mother's daughter : )

4) Swap Stuff
Find some like minded friends who would be willing to exchange stuff. Each family gets "new" stuff without buying more stuff. This is especially great for books that you are sick of reading over and over and over and over and over...

5) Use the Library
Speaking of books, the library is the most amazing place! There is so much more to check out than books at most libraries. One of our local libraries has big huge themed bags full of toys, books, and videos to check out. New FREE toys and experiences... that you can't keep! : )

There is no doubt about it, with kids comes stuff. Hopefully, these tips will help keep that stuff from taking over. What are some things you do with your kids to keep the stuff to a minimum? Share your tips in the comments!

14 comments:

  1. These are such wonderful tips! We're on a journey to minimalism and I'm realizing how tough it is with a kiddo!!!

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    1. It is SO tough with kids. I get it. BUT... hard work now will pay off later (hopefully!)

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  2. Such great tips. We have way too much stuff, and need to start doing more of these. We do use the library a lot, and I also take pictures of the art creations so we don't have boxes and boxes. The toys are overwhelming though, so we need to go thru and donate.

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    1. The TOYS! The TOYS!! AND I can't get over the little tiny teensy toys that come in sets...ugh!

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  3. I hate clutter so I love the idea of re-gifting stuff to prevent from getting MORE stuff. And swapping with friends is great too!

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    1. Just did a book swap this weekend. The kids LOVE having new books and haven't mentioned anything about missing the old ones : )

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  4. Love this! We are getting overrun by things in our house! I am definitely in desperate need of a big purge!

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    1. I hope you find some time to purge. It will refresh you!!

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  5. I love this! I take pictures of my daughters art projects as well and keep them in scrapbooks. I still have too much "stuff" though, needing to go through things :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Stephanie! I hope you find some time to go through things. It feels so good!

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  6. I loved this! having minimal items is great! the kids appreciate things more

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    1. I totally agree! The kids AND myself : )

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  7. Great ideas!! I'm still sifting through things I never use from our baby shower which was a year ago! I need to follow these rules.

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  8. It really almost takes that first year though to figure out what exactly you need. I get it.

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