A play room littered with toys, a calendar penciled in past the margins, and a budget itemized down to the last penny. In the pursuit of more, we somehow end up with less. Perhaps it’s time to reassess our approach and embrace a new mindset — Minimalism.
Minimalism is about simplifying your life and zeroing in on what really matters. The concept while in vogue is more than a societal trend, it’s a response to the “more is more” culture of today. Sound-bites may lead us to think that we need to consign our closet in exchange for a capsule wardrobe or hire a realtor to help you find your dream “tiny house” to become minimalist. These choices, in principle, align with the minimalist philosophy, but are extreme examples. Parents lost in the mental clutter of multi-tasking and families searching to find freedom from their schedules can adopt this approach without trading 2,000 square feet for 200. Below are five easy steps for helping your family live more abundantly with less.
- Define What Matters. The first step to de-cluttering your life is to identify what is of value and what is clutter. It could be as straightforward as a list: Keep/Discard. Do this as a family.
- Set Goals. Now that you know what matters most, create an actionable plan for achieving the desired outcomes. Ensure success by starting small and setting goals within reach.
- Liberate Don’t Restrict. Remember it’s not about putting limits on yourself or your family members, it’s about removing the junk so you can make room for the treasure.
- Remember Old Habits Die Hard. Blame and guilt will only lead to failure. Stay focused and motivated by forgiving yourself and your family member when they revert to old habits and look to see how this misstep can guide next steps.
- Celebrate Milestones. Change is good, but it can also be hard. Help with these transitions by celebrating each goal you achieve and directing the attention from what you have given up to what you have gained.
No matter what steps you take to becoming minimalist, the first step will be the hardest. So whether you are condensing your toy collection to grow your child’s imagination or living smaller so you can spend more time saying yes to your child’s invitation to play — consider each step like practice, and with practice we become stronger. You will soon begin to discern what you need from what you want.
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By: Sommer Stiles
Originally published in the January 2018 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.