Have you ever felt like your life is just one giant blur? It’s probably because there are too many distractions and things demanding your time. You feel yourself spinning out of control as you try to do everything at once: family life, school events, help with homework, picking up groceries, cooking dinner, and cleaning the house while maybe even juggling a job or a business.
That leaves you feeling like you have little to no time for anything else in life like activities with friends and family, vacations, and hobbies. Hobbies? Do parents have time for hobbies? All these things that are important to you get squeezed out of your day-to-day routine by the demands of caring for kids and the household.
So how can you break the cycle and regain control of your life? Learn from these minimalist mom tips to simplify and prioritize your life so you can spend more time truly enjoying it. Below are many minimalist strategies to help you declutter, free up time in your schedule, and live a simpler life for even the busiest moms.
How Minimalism Can Help Your Family
Minimalism is all about getting back to the basics. It’s about living a life with less stuff, less work, and less stress. By decluttering your closet and making thoughtful choices about what you buy for your family next, you can make this happen. Decluttering clutter from your home brings a sense of order, but it’s more than just tackling all the stuff. Simplifying will help you live life at a more peaceful pace.
The minimalist lifestyle has many benefits for families like:
- staying on budget by spending less on items you don’t need
- spending more quality time together as a family
- more easily maintaining a clean house
- feeling less overwhelmed and more in control of your life
- enjoying hobbies and spending time on activities you enjoy
- reduced stress because you don’t have so much on your plate
- the ability to focus on your true priorities
Minimalism is NOT
People seem to have a pretty funny picture of what minimalism looks like. Living a more minimalist lifestyle does not mean you have to live a cold, empty home.
It does not mean:
- Throwing away all of your kids toys
- Owning a strict rotation of cloting
- Living in a cold, empty space
- Buying expensive items that look “minimalist”
Minimalist Tips to Start With
While this post is going to outline plenty of minimalism tips, the tips below are meant to be the foundation of a more minimalist lifestyle and can carry over to many parts of your life. These simple tips will help you get into the right mindset for a minimalist lifestyle.
Pace yourself and start small
If you’re new to this, pick just a couple of minimalist tips to start with. If you’re the type that can easily jump into something new with no problems, go for it. But for most people, it can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s ok to slowly implement the tips you find here. There is no “finish line” to minimalism, so take your time and enjoy the process.
Be mindful about what you bring in
When you’re about to purchase something or bring something new into your home yourself “does this item really add value to my life?” Ask if you really need it and can’t live without it, or whether you’re just adding something else because of advertising or that fun little rush you get from having something new (which usually fades within a few days)
Simplifying isn’t just about less clutter, it’s about slowing the flow of new items coming into your home and your life and making sure that that item is worth it.
Evaluate possessions regularly
Does that book, game, or old shirt still make you smile when you see it? Or is it just sitting in a closet hogging space and taking up space in your head? Evaluate things regularly and let go of anything that is no longer serving you or adding to your life.
Kick your shopping habit
Shopping for entertainment is something that so many people do, especially if they’re feeling bored or overwhelmed with life. We can all get caught up in the “I need a new pair of shoes to feel better” mentality and have a hard time breaking that habit. When you feel that urge to buy something new, ask yourself whether it is really worth it or if you’re just shopping for entertainment. If your life feels good and happy without those items, then shopping will only bring more clutter into your home.
When we shop for fun, we often make impulse purchases of things without much thought. These impulse purchases can add up, and often end up being useful or enjoyed for a short period of time before they’re stuffed in a closet. Once you have the new item it’s very easy to let that feeling of excitement fade away and suddenly we’re left with yet another thing that didn’t really bring us any long-term happiness.
Always shop with a list
When you walk into a store, you should always know what you’re planning on buying. The jokes about going in for one thing and leaving with a cart full at Target? Those days are over! Avoid shopping without a list because, let’s face it, we’re all prone to impulse buying. Whether it’s for groceries or shoes, make a quick shopping list so that you know exactly what you need when you go into the store and eliminate impulse purchases.
Declutter then organize
Don’t get stuck in the trap of organizing your stuff over and over again. Stores like The Container Store love people who hold onto clutter because they’re just forever organizing and buying more stuff to organize their stuff! Instead, make sure you declutter and THEN organize what’s left. There should be much less of it so it will be an easier task.
Need some motivation to delcutter?
Understand what is easily replaced
Most people hold onto things just in case they’ll need them in the future. While this does make sense in some cases when you may not have the funds to replace items, in general, it’s important to realize which items are easily replaced. Holding onto extra coffee mugs or extra clothing simply because you MIGHT need it in the future is just adding clutter (mental and physical) to your life. In most cases, these things are replaceable and can easily be picked up at the store when needed.
Simplifying Your Home
Your minimalist journey begins with your physical space, so if minimalist living isn’t already a part of your life and you’re just starting out, here’s some advice to get started on simplifying your home.
Have a “donate” box ready
Ever think “I should probably donate this” and then put it back where it was with the intention of gathering items to donate later? Instead, have a designated area where you can quickly toss anything that you’re ready to pass along to someone else. When the box is full, you can drive it over to the thrift store and start a new one! This will help you keep your home clutter-free without having to put much effort into it.
Deal with mail immediately
We’ve all been guilty of leaving a pile of mail on the counter or the dining table a little too long. Instead of having the dreaded and ever-growing mail pile, only get the mail when you’re ready to come inside and immediately deal with it. Toss the junk mail, deal with any mail that will take less than 2 minutes to do, and put the mail you still need to take care of in a designated area (not a pile on the table). This will help from allowing a mail pile to get started on any surface and will also reduce the mental clutter of reminding yourself to do something about it every time you see it.
Find a place for items that get left out
Where do you typically leave your purse, laptop, or keys? If they’re not regularly in one place when you walk into the house, it’s time to find a designated area for those items. That way, you won’t be wasting any mental energy remembering where these things are.
If there is anything in you’re home that you feel like you’re constantly searching for or shuffling around because it doesn’t have a designated area, create one.
Keep fewer dishes
Having fewer dishes, especially when you have kids, can really help keep your home in order. Because you don’t have a ton of dishes that can be left out or piled in the sink, doing the dishes and getting them under control will always be a fast job. Yes, you’ll have to do it more regularly, but quickly washing the dishes and putting them on a drying rack a few times a day keeps your sink clear and prevents the dreaded sink full of dishes that you’re too tired to deal with at the end of the day.
Minimalist Mom Wardrobe
Do a closet purge
Having fewer clothes in your wardrobe makes it easier to maintain and find what you need when you need it. One of the best ways to start off your minimalism journey is to do a closet purge by getting rid of anything that doesn’t fit, is torn or stained, or that you never wear.
The best way to do a closet purge:
- Remove all clothing and put them on your bed (and on the floor if you don’t have enough room for it all)
- Go through each item and sort into must keep (put it back in the closet), damaged (put in a box or bag to take to get recycled), and then put everything else in a pile to deal with next
- The pile you have left you’ll need to go through one by one and decide what to keep. Compare each item to the items in your “must keep” category and if it isn’t something that you absolutely love, need, or wear regularly, throw it in the donate pile.
What do you do with what’s left? You can donate them, give them to friends, or even send a box of clothes to ThredUp to sell for you and make a little extra cash.
Create a capsule wardrobe (if you want)
A capsule wardrobe is a minimalist approach to having less clothing, but still look put together. It’s not for everyone so if this doesn’t appeal to you, it’s not something you have to do! What your minimalist mom capsule wardrobe looks like is totally up to you. Some people decide on a maximum number of items or a color scheme. The idea is that all of the pieces can fit together pretty well to make multiple outfits.
Go on a spending freeze
If you find that you have too much clothing and you’re constantly bringing in more out of habit, try a spending freeze. This can be a good way to just stop the spending and break that habit of buying clothing you don’t need. You’ll start to develop a more minimalist mindset and you’ll learn how to get by with what you already own.
Tips for Minimalism with Kids
Create criteria for new toys
The point of simplifying your life and home isn’t to deprive your kid of the joy of having toys they love. It’s to create more joy and positivity by curbing the onslaught of new toys and giving your kid a chance to appreciate the ones they already have.
One effective way to ensure that the toys coming into your home are the types of toys that your children will actually play with and value is to come up with some criteria for new purchases. Many parents agree that open-ended toys, especially those that are made of natural materials, are preferred and last much longer. So establishing this set of criteria that outlines what types of toys you do and don’t want in your home can help ensure only the right toys can be brought in. Including your children in these conversations is important as well.
Decide how to handle gifts
It can be tough to draw the line in what you allow your children to get from friends and family. After all, they are gifting out of love and I’m sure your children love to receive gifts. It can be frustrating when you’ve mentioned to loved ones that you’re trying to lead a more minimalist life and they’re not on board. But keep in mind that gift-giving is between the gift giver and the gift recipient (your child). Don’t rob your child of the joy of getting gifts or create negativity with loved ones over gifts.
Some tips for handling gifts as a minimalist mom:
- Mention “No gifts necessary” on birthday invitations will usually cut down on the number of gifts you get
- Create a wish list with your child that contains items that fit your criteria that you can send to people when they ask what your child wants
- Teach your children to graciously accept gifts
- Encourage people to give experience gifts
Try out toy rotation
Toy rotation can really help cut down on the toys inside the home making play time and clean up more enjoyable. It’s a pretty simple concept: You leave some of the toys out and pack up the rest to store in a closet or the garage for later. Then you can rotate out toys that your child is bored with and bring out toys from storage that they haven’t played with in a while. This can make the toys feel new without actually being new.
Provide simple clothing
Kid’s clothes are so cute, it can be tempting to have a closet and dresser full of them. However, this can add to overwhelm not just for you, but also for your children. Instead, provide simple clothing that is easy to wear, easy to mix and match, and easy to care for. Plus, this means less laundry to take care of!
Include children in decision making
While some parents like to make all the decisions in decluttering and new toy purchases themselves, it’s so important to allow your children to be a part of the process. Even young children can easily pick out their favorite toys and which toys they don’t use as often. In the end, it’s not about taking away all of your kid’s toys and it’s important to remember that although you’re the parent, these are their possessions. Being respectful of their wishes and allowing them to be a part of the process shows them that their opinions are valued.
Discuss the benefits of having less
Kids may not understand the value of minimalism or having less. To them, it seems like you’re being strict or mean when you want to donate some toys or don’t want to buy a new item each time they ask for it. Children of almost all ages can understand the benefits of having less when explained properly. Explaining that less stuff means more time playing and less time cleaning and that mom or dad will have more time to spend if they’re not juggling a bunch of stuff can really help them see the benefits.
How to handle artwork or school work
As a parent, it’s normal to want to keep every piece art or school work your child has done. However, keeping every single thing isn’t realistic and, if you have items from your own childhood, you’ll probably know that it’s not always as cherished later in life as you think it might be.
Instead of trying to keep everything, you can try out the following:
- Keep the truly special pieces in a designated area like a portfolio
- Take photos or scan pieces you don’t need a physical copy of
- Buy an art pad with nice, thick paper from the art supply store and allow your child to do all of their art in there. When it’s full you can put their name and age on the front and easily store it without a bunch of loose papers.
Minimalism can really help reduce the physical clutter in your home, but you shouldn’t forget about the mental clutter. It’s important to remember that minimalist isn’t just decluttering a house and getting rid of stuff. Simplifying your life can be applied to all areas of life including work, health habits, hobbies, spirituality, and friendships.
Create systems and routines
Avoid decision fatigue by creating systems and routines in your life whenever you can. This doesn’t mean you have to be strict or robotic in your life, but just having routines in place can really help you be more efficient and keep things in order which will reduce the stress of everyday life.
You can create routines around meal planning, grocery shopping, homework time, bedtime, and more to reduce the amount you need to think about things and simply get them done.
Figure out your true priorities
Deciding what’s important to you and your family can help eliminate things that seem like they should be a priority, but in the end, aren’t really what you want to spend your time on. Instead of focusing on what your friends and neighbors do, focus on your family’s values and the things that are important to you.
When you figure out your true priorities, you can make sure that you’re spending your time and energy on them and not on things that you don’t truly value. It’s easy to get stuck doing things or committing yourself to things that aren’t what you truly want so outline your priorities and make sure that’s where you’re spending your time, energy, and/or money.
I once read a quote that said something along the lines of “your bank account and daily schedule is a true reflection of what you prioritize”.
Let some things go
It can be hard, but it’s important to know when to let go of things. We truly overschedule and overcommit ourselves and that just leads to stress and not having time for things we truly love. Focus on what brings true joy to your life and rid yourself of the clutter that doesn’t matter or bring you happiness in life.
Limit social media
Social media can be a huge time suck. While it’s fine to use social media to connect with friends and family, it’s important not to let the amount of social media you engage in control your life or time.
If you have an iPhone, you can easily check your screen time and see how much time you’re spending on your cell phone. More than 1 to 2 hours per day? Consider what you could be doing with your time that’s better, even if it’s simply just not consuming content and filling your mind with mental clutter. If you find yourself saying you don’t have time to go the gym, work on your hobby, or play with your kids, but spend 2 hours a day scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, it’s time to reign it in.
If you’re struggling to find ways to simplify your life with kids I hope this article of minimalist mom tips has helped inspire you. I outlined how simplifying in every area of your life can help reduce stress, make decisions easier, and create more time for what’s important. Whether it be decluttering the physical space or mental clutter that we accumulate throughout our day-to-day lives, making small changes like these will really impact how much free time you have!