How to be a minimalist parent
Is minimalism with kids possible? The idea of embracing minimalism as a parent can be daunting. Other words that come to mind are impossible, laughable and downright absurd.
But is there a way to be a minimalist parent? Can you run a minimalist family household? The answer is yes, it’s possible – but to understand how to go about it, you need to first understand what minimalism is.
What is minimalism?
Minimalism as a lifestyle, as opposed to ‘minimalism’ the artistic movement, is not a new concept. In short, it’s a philosophy thatencourages people to own less stuff – with the goal of gaining more time and more happiness.
Which sounds great, right? But is it possible to be a minimalist parent?
How to be a minimalist with kids
Most people don’t realise that to be a minimalist, you don’t need to get rid of all your stuff. It’s more about consciously collecting the things you need while getting rid of the things you don’t.
Here are some minimalist techniques parents can try.
Choose products that grow with your child
Kids grow so fast, so keep an eye out for things that can grow with them.
- cots that turn into toddler beds or desks
- ride-on carts that turn into scooters
- rollerblades and skates that have adjustable size options
Buy good quality, unisex products
No matter how minimal you try to be, kids need clothes, shoes and toys. And it can be frustrating when they grow out of all these things quickly.
But, if you buy good quality items, they can be passed onto your next child and also their cousins or friends.
Meaning less waste and more joy-per-item.
Start by creating a minimalist kids bedroom
It can be overwhelming to try and create a minimalist house with kids – they just have so much stuff! It can be a good idea to start with the bedrooms.
To do this, remove anything that is broken, doesn’t fit or doesn’t need to be in a bedroom.
Then, if you have somewhere else to put them, move all the toys into a different space in the house. Let your child experience a calm, easy-to-keep-tidy room, free of clutter and chat to them about what it feels like to spend time in there.
Editing belongings is a great routine for kids to get used to.
How to navigate gifts
You can’t talk about minimalism with kids without touching on Christmas and birthdays. For many grandparents, buying their grandchildren gifts is a non-negotiable, but it doesn’t need to cause tension.
There are lots of gifts your child can get that don’t add to the clutter, such as:
- tickets for events or experiences
- financial contributions towards classes or sports
- anything that encourages children to play in nature
- gifts that don’t hang around, like bath bombs or chocolate
- things they need, like new soccer boots or fun pyjamas
- if grandparents really want to buy toys, suggest they become ‘grandparent’s house toys’
Chances are if you’re embarking on a minimalism journey with children, you're looking for a way to make managing your family life easier.
Try to remember that your kids probably care more about the marble track that has 107 pieces than your sanity.
For parents wanting to embrace minimalism, start small instead of aiming for a sparse, clutter-free home. Recycle or rehome what isn’t needed, be selective about what’s brought into your home and read the guide on how to declutter a house.
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Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board August 2021.