Feb 15, 2017

Motherhood & Minimalism

Throughout my path to living a more intentional life, I’ve found my biggest struggles to be with my little ones. I remember as a kid I’d hold on to everything. And by everything, I mean everything. My room was such a chaotic mess, no wonder I was a pretty angsty teen. Maybe it was the ‘teen‘ part, but one can never be sure. Now that I’m older, letting go of stuff isn’t hard at all, but it’s usually an uphill battle to work with my own children on learning to let go. Today I’m sharing a few tips that have helped me to help my little ones live a more minimal life as well.

  1. Don’t let stuff pile up in the first place. If you never buy it, they’ll never know what they’re missing!
  2. No is a complete sentence. You’ll need to have control of your own self before you can help them curb their material wishes.
  3. Do not ever go behind their back to clean out their rooms. Trust me on this one, they will find out.
  4. Work together to do a room purge with them to determine which items bring them the most joy. Start with something that is not emotional for them, like clothing. If they question or hesitate to let something go, remind them to ask themselves if they love it or use it.
  5. Lightly suggest items for them to get rid of, and ask questions together to help them decide whether to let go or keep. Some great ones are, “When was the last time you played with it?”, “Do you like it better than this other toy (a more loved one)?”, and “Do you think this toy is happy when you don’t play with it?”.
  6. Don’t force them to get rid of their collections, instead give them a special place or box. When it’s full, the collection needs to let something go before it can get something new.
  7. Teach them an easy way to organize their belongings, and help organize with them until they can do it on their own.
  8. Gently remind them that every item has a home in their room, and that the item will not be happy if it’s left out on the floor to be stepped on (cough, Legos!).
  9. Remember your end goal is not to control your children’s materialism, but to encourage them to seek a minimal lifestyle on their own. The more they learn that they can do it on their own, the less they will feel pressured and will do it naturally as time goes on.
  10. Re-visit the purge stage from time to time. As they age they will naturally grow out of items and let go more easily.

This is a learning process and will take time to get it right. The major key here is #1. You need to break the habit of buying them stuff. If you put an emphasis on cool things you can do together, I guarantee they will choose time with you over having more stuff 99.9% of the time.

Do you do anything special to help your little ones curb their maximalist kid habits? I’d love to hear!

Expand Comments

Love! Funny enough we are actually seeking a rug for our play area. Where is the one in the above picture found? Thanks! Great article.

Sometimes I am too minimalist, I get rid of things and then think of man where did that go! I need to find a healthy balance! I agree with the other moms though, my kids wont let go of anything!

This is something that I’ve really been trying to work on lately. Too much stuff really clutters my mind and I’ve noticed that it all doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Less really is more! I love your idea of involving the kids and including them in the process.

Thank you so much for these tips! I live in NYC and space is limited. While I desired to keep a very edited wardrobe and things my husband and children have a harder time letting go of their stuff. So this will definitely help.

I feel like I am going to have the same sentiments with my approach to minimalism once my kids become toddlers. Right now, I am all about “getting rid” of the useless items while my husband likes to hold onto things. I wonder what my children’s personalities will be like – perhaps somewhere down the middle? I like your tips, though! Great suggestions.

I am struggling with my son’s room. He is only 4 but he has such an attachment to his things and does not like change of any sort. I agree that if I get rid of something behind his back, he will know it. He remembers toys from our old house that got ‘left behind’. Not a good conversation with that little one…

haha love your lego statement!! great tips 🙂
Southern Elle Style

I don’t have children yet but I was wondering how you handle a minimalist lifestyle with children. These are some great tips! Thanks!

Oh I love this, thanks for the tips! Giving me motivation to help my 4 year old son! Xo, Kristi

I don’t have children yet, but I love your minimalist style and was actually wondering how you handle that with kids and their toys! This is a really interesting post and I love your tips!!

These are such fantastic tips. My little one is only 2.5 and it already feels like things are piling up!

By Lauren M

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