Minimalism

It’s been one of those weeks, or months, really, that made me think about the way we live.
There are many things that are important to us, but nothing is more important to us than our family’s happiness.
One thing that I have been thinking about a lot recently is how much stuff we own, and worse yet, how much stuff we buy. I have been talking to my best friend Rosaleen about this. Rosaleen is a fantastic person and has inspired me to embrace minimalism. Over the next few weeks, months and probably years I will be trying to rid our home of as many unnecessary things as possible, hopefully donating most of them to charity.
I was surprised just how many broken things I had stored with the intention of fixing them later, or things I had put away just in case and completely forgotten about.
We started this journey a little while ago already, but not with the goal of minimalism in mind, and we definitely have a long way to go still.

I can feel the positive impact minimalism is having on our life already, opening a drawer to find it almost empty with just exactly what we need is a fantastic feeling,

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and the time we save by not dealing with all these things we spend reading together.

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One thing I will not be able to declutter and minimise, though, are the children’s books.
I know we have a whole lot of them, but the truth is that I strongly believe that you can never have too many books.

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It will be an interesting journey , finding out just exactly what to keep and what to give away, and I would be honoured to share a part of this journey in this little space here.
If you are on a similar journey towards living with less I would love to hear from you, and any advice is always appreciated.
Have a beautiful day!

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23 Responses to Minimalism

  1. christine says:

    We’re on this journey too : ) I have similar feelings about books and it has been difficult making decisions. In our house we decided to make three piles- keep, donate/give away, and put away for awhile (and decide later). We put many books in boxes and stored them away and decided to re-visit them in a couple months or when the moment was better. In my case, some days it is easier to let go of things than others days- I try to “take advantage” of the times I’m feeling especially willing to part with stuff!

    • Hey Christine, I love that idea to put things away for a while, that gives you a bit more time to decide! Thank you! I think we will end up doing that with quite a few things. I, too, take advantage of days when I feel like letting go and try and fit in as much time to clear things out as possible. One of the biggest things for us will be resisting the urge to buy more, especially for birthdays and holidays.

  2. Sue Reed says:

    I agree totally with everything you say here! With the children at home we have soooo much craft stuff, books, stuff stuff! I cannot purge books as they are always worthwhile. I do get rid of some once in a while or store baby books I have loved in the loft for future generations! Trying to declutter is hard for the children though – they get so attached to “things” and don’t want to get rid of them! Any tips on persuading those hoarders in our midst?
    Sue

    • Hey Sue, lovely to hear from you! I must admit that I did not involve the children in the initial clear-out of toys, but those toys were either toys that were stored away or broken. We have always been putting un-loved toys into boxes to donate, and Emily understands the concept of donating things, so I am hoping to build on that. I have heard from others that they use “one in – two out” when it comes to toys, and I think that to a degree it is a good idea, however I don’t think I will be forcing my little ones to get rid of anything they want to keep, in the end it is their property and I need to respect that.
      Today I have looked through our bookshelf and thrown away all the broken ones and put a few aside that I think our friends will enjoy more than we do.

  3. Marta says:

    I am with you! I strongly feel we have too much…of everything! Now, I try to buy only what we really need, give away what we do not use and I am so obsessed with old things, things with history, things you can get cheaper. There is no need to have for me any more, I just feel I do not need to have any more. I have what I need, I have my family, I have us and it is just enough for me!
    But books…..that hurts….I am not able to give them away….

    • Marta, what a beautiful thing to say!
      I am so glad that I am not the only one who has trouble letting go of books! Many of our books used to belong to Anthony or me, so it is even harder.
      I,too, love to hold on to things with a history : Old quilts, doilies, old teacups and toys especially. Donating handmade items, including 54 pairs of handknit socks, is what is hardest for me, but I know in my heart that I do not need all these things. Just like you I feel that as long as I have my family I have all that I could ever need.

  4. Lora Wright says:

    Currently we are dealing with the same situation. We have too much stuff cluttering our house. Much of our time is wasted rearranging our stuff or sifting through excess to fund what we actually need. While out to dinner last night, our four year old, out of no where, stated that he had too much stuff and needed to give some things away. I guess its time to do some de-cluttering and simplifying in our home. And yes, as a family of readers, we will be holding on to our large collection of books! :-)

    • How lucky to have your son on board with the de-cluttering! I’m glad you are holding onto your books,too. I was a bit worried about sharing that, we have a lot of books, so I am really happy to hear that we are not alone with that!

  5. I too have trouble parting with books. I’ve taken to donating old books to our local library. I also now frequently check books out from the library; our Munchkin loves it and it keeps our reading time fresh (we tend to get stuck on the same book for awhile).

    • I wish we could use the library more, but our little ones tend to get quite attached to the books and we end up buying them! ;)
      I am just hoping to find some good homes for some of our books, it won’t be so difficult to part with them if I know that they are being read.

  6. Su says:

    Instead of donating to charity you could always do giveaways! Something your children have outgrown or that you have spares of can be a real treasure to other family. Waldorf(ish) toys and materials are so expensive and difficult to find that I’d even happily pay for the postage fee!

  7. kelly says:

    When we moved last year, I saw it as a great opportunity to donate all kinds of things. It was easier than I thought, especially since I knew I only had a limited amount of removal truck space.

    After Christmas I noticed things had built up again, so when my husband took the children out, I stayed behind and sorted through. I managed to find another six bin liners of things to donate! My youngest boy is three and loves toy cars. He mostly has wooden ones, but no child needs fourty of them, so I kept the ones he plays with the most, and donated half to the local charity shop, and he hasn’t noticed.

    My biggest weakness is craft supplies, board games and books. I’ve limited my craft supply habit to one shelf and one cupboard. I can only get more if there is room in the cupboard! The board games and books…..well, they’ll always be my weakness!

    • Moving is such a great opportunity to clear out, isn’t it? Our little ones get send a lot of presents by family who live abroad, and a lot of times even three of the same toy, as we have three children. I think giving toys to charity shops is brilliant, especially if you have so many. I know that I am not only helping the charity but also families who can’t afford to buy these toys in the other shops.
      It’s great that your son didn’t even notice, that saves arguments, and it also shows you that you were right to donate them!
      I, too, hoard craft supplies and boardgames, but I am going to find a way to get through that board game addiction, the truth is that I don’t need three different chess sets and probably won’t ever play “risk” again, so maybe it is time to say goodbye to them, even though it will be difficult!

  8. Kim says:

    Yay for simplifying!!! I am a purger by nature, I love packing up boxes of “stuff” we don’t use or don’t need and passing it on. My husband on the other hand, not so much. I usually find the “stuff” I packed up in his workshop a few years later :) At least it isn’t in the house.

    Good luck with the purging, it is so good for the soul and your home.

    • Kim, that made me laugh out loud! I love the idea of you working hard to sort through your -stuff- just to find it packed up in your husband’s workshop!
      The more space I clear in our home the more Anthony is starting to agree with the “less is more” philosophy, it does make it easier to have your husband on board, even if he likes to hold on to more things than I do!

  9. Natanya says:

    Wow, and I thought we had alot of books – this doesn’t make me feel so bad now. I also can’t bear to get rid of children’s books, and am soon going to have to make room for more shelves. I think some of my books need a good sort out though. Can you reccomend any good books for helping to learn young children to read xxx

    • Hey Natanya!
      Emily taught herself to read so I can’t really comment on this, but when she first started out she enjoyed reading the “That’s not my..” books, especially “That’s not my dinosaur” and “That’s not my puppy”.

  10. Valerie says:

    I would rather spend money, time more meaningfully.
    I realized I needed to declutter all the “Free stuff” and all the “broken cheap” stuff I have.
    I never spent much money but it all added up.
    I could use that to get fruit, or art, or ingredients for cookies.

    I’ve replaced many things like timers, and books, games, movies, and coloring books with virtual versions.
    DVDS can be replaced with netflix so I can get what I really want instead of the “Hot movie” that I end up hating. This has saved money.

    I’ve been Making play dough.

    I want less.

    I stopped buying my weekly convince store trip. I took my kids so we could have a trip and while it was fun it brought too much junk in the home. I have a planned to buy some convince items in a few months but it’s no longer weekly. Its only when I truly need something.

    • Hey Valerie! I like the idea of buying ingredients for cookies instead of buying -stuff-, I think Emily would enjoy spending her pocket money and that , too, thank you for that suggestion!

      Replacing things with virtual versions is a brilliant idea, it is definitely something to work towards, as well as maybe going completely paper-free , having virtual copies of bills and other things like that.

  11. We started doing this about 18 months ago, and it is a very strange experience. The more we do it, the more we find decluttering liberating. I also had a hard time getting rid of books. In the end, we sold a lot of them, and we gave away the rest. We kept about 20 books. And we got rid of about 20 BOXES of books. I’m not sure how many in the end, but certainly hundreds of them.

    I’d like to say that our house is now clutter free, but that’s not true – instead it is filling up with toddler toys. I guess those are next on the list of things to tackle for decluttering. :)

  12. Claire says:

    We are doing this too! And I have real trouble getting rid of books, I just cannot do it. I was given a Kindle for Christmas, and I thought I would replace my books with a Kindle edition, but I love books as an object. I love the smell of old books, and I think they are beautiful (which is just as well as all our bookshelves are full and I have a ‘pile’ on the floor next to my bed!) We are starting to work our way through the kids old stuff – with four children I have often tried to be frugal and hang on to stuff in case a younger one needs it, but I am starting to realise that there is not much they really need. However – we still have too much stuff – so I am using your pictures as an inspiration (to shame me into getting on with it!)

  13. We had too much stuff too! It was getting so bad, that it started consuming me. Got to the point that hubby didn’t enjoy coming home because there was stuff everywhere, and my kids and I were arguing all the time about picking up after themselves. For months, I felt so overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start.

    Then we bought a house and I had to start packing. I decided that I was only packing what was being used, and what would have a space to be put away properly at the new house. I filled up 7 large boxes of things to get rid of so far, and have another one started.

    Now I feel like we are going to start a fresh new beginning in every possible way. It will feel so amazing. We are 2 weeks away from our move, there are boxes in every room, yet I don’t feel cluttered because I already got rid of most of the clutter. It feels so good! As for the kids, I explained to them that I would prefer if they only kept things they actually played with/used, and would have space for. They did an amazing job de cluttering, especially considering their age (5 and 6). Now I think they key will be to make sure we stay on this path :)