Minimalism and living simply are all the rage these days. But for me, it’s always been my way of life. I don’t have any specific methods or mantras. It’s just all common sense to me.
A few years ago I made a list of Baby Must Haves I Do Not Have. A cousin who is expecting their first child was wondering if I could do an updated list now that I have more children and an even stronger grasp on what we can live without. But instead of just doing a list, I decided to gather some thoughts on how we live simply and why it’s important for our family.
So here we go!
HOW we live simply
I find the accumulation of stuff often happens when you are on the search for the perfect [whatever]. And so many products out there today are created with the sole purpose of making life easier. It’s a cyclical problem. But life doesn’t have to be the easiest or most comfortable it can be. Example: I don’t use a thick warm winter liner thing in my infant seat; I just use nice warm blankets that I use for other purposes and already have. Bonus: it saves you money!
Continuity with stuff
When you have all the same of an item you need a bunch of, it is easy to store and keep tidy. It even looks visually appealing. When I think of this, my thoughts mainly go to our kitchen and the plastic kid dishes. We only have IKEA plates, bowls and cutlery, and Tupperware sippy cups. They all stack super well and keep our cupboards tidy and easy to navigate.
A place for everything and everything (75% of the time) in its place
It’s no secret I love to organize. Tidying up is probably my favourite household chore (not to be confused with cleaning – the two are very different). When you have a designated spot for everything you own (which in our case really isn’t much), cleaning up is a breeze and takes a few minutes at the end of the day. No, my house isn’t perfection when I go to bed, but it isn’t daunting to think of what it takes to get it ship-shape.
A purpose for everything
I love the look of a beautifully styled built-in in a photo on Instagram, but why would anybody need so many ceramic animals and books for the sake of books? Don’t they know they have to dust all of that?! I think I own one thing that does not serve a practical purpose. It’s a cute little bird I got at Target during their closing sales. Okay, I guess I do have a mantra…”say ‘no’ to tchatchkes!”
And kind of related…
I’m not emotionally attached to things
I know a lot of people who have a collection of Willow Tree Angels to tell stories of events that have happened in their lives, or have special items they have collected from their travels. That’s awesome for them, but for me that’s unnecessary clutter. I DO have things from places I’ve visited, but they are all useful things. I have blankets, bowls and boxes from a handful of countries around the world that all get used often. I don’t have a memory box or anything for my boys. I have no clue what they wore home from the hospital (except for Calvin’s super cute hat!).
Say “no” to unwanted stuff
I don’t feel obligated to keep a gift if I don’t like it. To whoever gave us the punch bowl set as a wedding gift, thanks for the cookie jar in exchange! Hashtag priorities. I don’t like having stuff around me that I don’t like or that I won’t use. And purging is a regular occurrence in our house. We don’t have much, but I am always amazed at what I can still thin out of our belongings.
WHY we live simply
Easy to clean up
For us AND the boys. When something has a home, it’s easy to put away when you’re done with it. I can tidy up in the amount of time it takes for Tim to tell them a bed time story. Kitchen and laundry not included. :)
The boys get into less trouble
When there is less stuff around, there is less stuff for the boys to get into. I rarely have a huge mess to clean up of stuff they never should’ve gotten their hands on.
Keeps me punctual
It’s easy to get out the door on time when I don’t have to hunt for shoes and jackets or whatever that could be scattered throughout the house. My house is clear so my head is clear to think about what needs to be done in what time frame.
I am a happier parent
When our house is in disarray, I find I get angry and annoyed at the boys much quicker. My patience is thinner and I do not enjoy parenting. You’ve all seen those images that say the messier your house is, the happier your kids are, or something like that, but I don’t think that is true for our household. When things are tidy, I can breathe easier and enjoy my time with them.
My home is more available
I think hospitality is a (very underused) gift of mine. I enjoy having people over, whether it’s family visiting from out of town for a handful of days, a friend for a day, or half the moms and their kids for a morning. I love it! And I know most people don’t care about the cleanliness status of a house they are visiting, but like enjoying my kids more in a tidy house, I can enjoy the time with others in my own home a whole lot more! And again, clean up is not a daunting task after they leave.
This all focuses mainly on living simply with stuff, and a little bit with finances. What I haven’t touched on it living simply with time. Tim and I are both big homebodies and have very little on our plates. We are not yet at a point in our lives where we are rushing every which direction for the kids’ activities, but honestly, I don’t think we will ever be at that point. I feel that with the basic principals we live by, simple living will follow us wherever we go.
But check back with me in 5 years.