So you’re thinking about altering your lifestyle and becoming more minimal? Maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a while. Maybe you feel the need for a change, but also know that change can be scary. Maybe you’re actually thinking ‘why on Earth would I want to turn our family minimalist?!’ Read on and I’ll share with you 6 amazing benefits of living as a minimalist family.
18 months into the journey of minimalism and we most definitely aren’t ‘there’ yet. To be honest, I don’t really think there ever is a ‘there’ because living simply or minimally, is a journey rather than a destination. Sooo cliche, but 100% true. However, 18 months in, and I can hand on heart say that there are some clear benefits to living this lifestyle.
I really didn’t understand my habits and behaviours when it came to shopping and consumption, until my second babe was born. Pre kids, I would eat takeout a lot, buy a new outfit each weekend and just generally fritter my money away. When I was pregnant with Miss F, we bought everything because that’s what you do, right?
We didn’t use half of it – she lay in her cot maybe once or twice while I put her clothes away in her drawers lol. She never slept in it. So when Master H came along, I knew I would approach some things differently. But, don’t get me wrong – I knew I wouldn’t buy a cot this time around, but I was still out buying a ton of shit for our house!
It was around the time that Master H was four months old. Sitting up, and hanging with his older sister. They would just throw each toy into the hallway, one by one. Maybe they were in the ‘trajectory’ stage of development for play, or whatever it’s called – that’s what I reasoned anyway. But as time went on, and this became more common – I realised, they literally had too much stuff that the weren’t engaged in any of it. How does this even happen? I couldn’t figure it out.
This led to some great storage solutions and a weekly rotation of toys. They were much more engaged in what was out for them to access, which was cool. But it did get me thinking – maybe they just had too much shit. And so the journey stepped up a notch.
As I said earlier, we are 18 months in and still have a long way to go. But, I can already see some massive benefits of living minimally.
Here are 6 Benefits to Being a Minimalist Family:
- Creativity and Imagination
When you don’t have a lot of toys – and I particularly find this to be having less electronic toys – you use your imagination more. Both our kids can spend hours playing with rocks outside, or a stick they found, or one solitary plastic animal figurine. They create games, dialogue, and fun with very little. They spend way more time wanting to read (or be read to really) books and wanting to draw or paint. The few times they are around electronic toys, they completely turn into zombies – it’s amazing to see the difference! As they get older, their interests and passions are becoming more pronounced. Master H is nearly 20 months old and it’s already clear that he is super into music, dance and singing as well as reading and animals. Miss F is just over three and she is hugely into art, crafts and playing make believe with her dolls. All of these things I don’t think would be as obvious if they were surrounded by a multitude of toys!
- Less reliant on external stimulation
The brain is a muscle, and the more we exercise it the stronger it gets. Relying more on imagination that on input from external stimuli or people, strengthens that area of the brain. My kids are rarely bored as they are so used to making fun out of little. Absolutely there are times they get ratty and need help figuring out what to do – but they’re toddlers, it’s pretty much expected. However, majority of the time, they are happy to go off and do their thing – asking for materials, help when needed, or inviting us to join in their play. What they don’t do though is rely on asking for screen time, or devices, or rely solely on particular input to be entertained.
They are so much happier! This is probably a combination of myself having a better energy when there is less shit around, and also the fact that I imagine the clutter and overwhelm would affect them too. Miss F in particular is quickly learning what activities stimulate her and which make her feel good and calm.
- They are outdoor kids!
Both kids have wildly different likes when it comes to play – Miss F likes getting messy at the beach, whereas Master H can’t stand sand at all! BUT, they’re both completely outdoor kids. They would spend 90% of their day outside – from when the sun comes up right up until bath time. And yep, this is rain or shine. They are out there every day getting dirty, messy and being kids – which is exactly what I believe childhood should be like. What’s that saying? There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing! So even in the storms, they have their raincoats and gummies on and are jumping in puddles or searching for worms.
- They value experience over things
This is much more evident in Miss F, as she is older. Her language is changing and on the weekends she will ask if we can “go on an adventure mama?” meaning let’s go to the beach or for a walk somewhere. She still does ask for things – she’s very into stickers at the moment and asks for sticker books, but given the chance she would choose an adventure over a sticker book any day.
- More of me
This is a biggie! I used to buy things for the kids or for the house – as a way to show love, I suppose. What I didn’t realise was that the more I bought them, the less of me they had. With all the tidying, cleaning, sorting, organising that comes with having a ton of stuff – I was constantly busy and unavailable to them. We do leave our kids to play until they invite us in – so this wasn’t a huge issue a lot of the time. But more and more, they would invite me to join and I would say “I’m busy, soon sweetheart,” and of course, soon never came. With less stuff, there’s less stuff to do and more of me – physically, emotionally and mentally – for them.
Have you implemented the idea of less with your kids at all? Do you want to? Share your thoughts in the comments!