You can encourage minimalism at home even when your family isn’t as excited to simplify and declutter as you are. When I started picturing what minimalism at home and in my life would look like, I was much more enthusiastic than the rest of my family. I realized that by rushing and trying to push them to simplify too, we would all be stressed out and not make much progress.
Instead, we made big change small, took our time and allowed the changes we were making on the outside to shift us on the inside too. This is a powerful whether you are thinking about minimalism at home for a big family, on your own or something in between. For most, minimalism at home is not an overnight accomplishment.
7 Ways to Encourage Minimalism at Home
1. Host a simplicity summit.
Organize a family meeting, with kids and/or without to talk about how you want simplicity to work in your family. What does minimalism at home look like? What does it lead to? 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. To help little ones understand the move, read them this short (and adorable) book about minimalism for kids. 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 other family members 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. For instance, before you ask family members to clean out their closets, start with yours. Clean out your closet for good, or start with Project 333.
3. Give freely.
Minimalism at home usually requires making decisions about where your excess stuff goes. Create a rule that allows to you to continue to make progress without getting hung up on what to do one item at a time. For instance, when we got rid of most of our stuff, we decided that we would sell anything that someone would buy for $50 or more. We applied any earnings to paying off our debt. Anything that wasn’t worth $50 was a donation. Once we were debt-free, we gave it all away. The opportunity to give provides incredible motivation to let go. Giving feels good and is a great practice for adults and children. If you are wondering where to give your stuff, here’s a great list of where to donate your stuff.
4. Talk about the why.
Why do you want to simplify your life? What does minimalism at home mean to you? What are the benefits and potential downsides? 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. Create a plan.
Give some thought to how you want to start your minimalism at home. What room do you want to start with? How can your kids participate without getting overwhelmed. Make a list of what’s important to you. Consider tips to help you get started. Build in time to reflect on your journey to see if you need to slow down or change direction to reduce stress and have more fun.
6. Announce a challenge.
Make working towards minimalism at home fun by announcing a collective challenge. Instead of competing with each other, encourage collaboration by offering a fun prize like a pancake picnic for dinner or a family outing if you donate 50 things together. Try a minimalist scavenger hunt or the minimalist game. You may has well have fun while you are simplifying your life.
7. Put relationships first.
Even when your family isn’t as ready as you are, or if they aren’t ready at all, they still come first. Gentle encouragement, leading by example, and demonstrating the benefits of simplicity will help, but recognize too when your actions are getting in the way of what means the most. Use minimalism to bring your family closer or to get closer to what’s important to you.
Before searching what a minimalist lifestyle looks like or what minimalism at home is supposed to look like, think about what you want. This is your lifestyle, your family and your home. Minimalism is just the stepping stone to creating time and space so you can get more out of your life. Instead of thinking only about the “less” consider the “more” too. If you do want more direction consider these ideas for a minimalist home.
Small actions, compassion and love are so much more important than getting everyone on the same page. When it comes to creating minimalism at home, leave the door open for reluctant family members and be waiting with a hug if and when they show interest.
Slowing down and simplifying life with your family will allow for better connection. Remove the stuff that gets in the way of enjoying every moment.