When you get excited to simplify and declutter and your family isn’t all in, motivation can wane and momentum may slow. How can you get everyone on board, on the same page, wanting exactly what you want?
1. Host a simplicity summit.
Organize a family meeting with kids or without to talk about how you want simplicity to work in your family. Bring big questions and open ears and hearts to the table as you discuss things like what’s complicated in your life and how simplifying it would improve relationships and family dynamics. If kids join the summit, keep the topics lighter and save the heavy hitters for partners only. You can read about my first simplicity summit here.
2. Start with your stuff.
It’s much easier to direct your focus to the clutter your kids or spouse create, but start with your own stuff. Lead by example and simplify your personal belongings before moving into shared items or other people’s clutter. That might be just enough inspiration for family members to take a look at their stuff.
3. Give freely.
Unless you are selling your stuff to pay off debt, give it away. The opportunity to give provides incredible motivation to let go. Giving feels good and is a great practice for adults and children.
4. Talk about the why.
Why do you want to simplify your life? What are the benefits? If you want to be debt free so you can make a career change, or live in a smaller home so you can spend more time traveling, share that with your family. Don’t leave out the little whys too like the fact that without clutter, cleaning is easier, and there is less to keep track of. If you are paying less attention to stuff, you can give more attention to everyone around you.
5. Read Clutterfree with Kids.
My friend Joshua Becker just released a new book to help families simplify together. My favorite chapter is Parenting over Possessions where Joshua writes, “We can trade our finite resources for the desires and values held deep within our hearts—the purest passions unspoiled by the culture around us. We were created to live for pursuits far greater than comfort, luxury, and competition. We were created to trade our lives up, not down. And this decision holds benefit for us and our kids.” Read Clutterfree with Kids.
6. Announce a challenge.
Make simplicity fun in your home by announcing a collective challenge. Instead of competing with each other, encourage collaboration by offering a fun prize like pancake picnic for dinner or a family outing if you donate 50 things together. Join this challenge or pull something from Mini-missions for Simplicity to make the process less of a chore and more of a celebration.
7. Put relationships first.
Even when your family isn’t as ready as you, or if they aren’t ready at all, they come first. Gentle encouragement, leading by example, and demonstrating the benefits of simplicity will help, but recognize when your actions are getting in the way of what means the most. Use simplicity to bring your family closer.
Small actions, compassion and love are so much more important than getting everyone on the same page. Just leave the door open and be waiting with a hug when they are ready to come aboard.
Slowing down and simplifying life with your family will allow for better connection. Life is short, but the time you have when your children are home is even shorter. Remove everything that gets in the way of enjoying every moment.