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Minimalism has become one of the latest trendy things to do. Everywhere you turn you can find articles, videos, and even entire television series about downsizing, decluttering, and living minimally. But why?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can share my reasons for wanting to live with less and make the most of what we do have.
I’ve always been overly organized and have had a distaste for too much stuff and messes from the time I was young. I’ve been told that even as a preschooler I was always making sure everything was put back in it’s exact place. When opening gifts, I would take my time so as not to rip the paper, and everything had to go back in the box before I would move on to the next gift. It’s like it’s just built into my DNA.
But even though I’ve always been super organized, I still accumulated a lot of stuff. It wasn’t until my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly a few years back and left my husband and me with a house full of things he had collected over his 65 years that I began to really consider whether collecting a bunch of things was worth it for me.
My conclusion: No.
I hate clutter
Literally. I loathe it. Having papers and toys and random junk on every surface or stuffed into corners and cabinets honestly makes me cringe. I’m a firm believer that there’s a place for everything and everything has
Buying stuff can be expensive
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy nice things. But nice things are expensive. And since I’m part of a single income family with two small children, those expensive nice things don’t always fit in the budget.
I prefer quality over quantity
It’s true, I could buy more things for less money. But why? I’d much rather save money for a product that will last a long time and be worth the investment rather than continuously shelling out cash for cheap crap that I’ll have to keep replacing. If that means living with less clothes, less furniture, less toys, less gear, less everything, then great. That just makes life easier!
Organizing is a lot easier
Speaking of easier, did you know that when you have fewer things in your home it’s a lot easier and quicker to clean and keep things in order? My house never really gets out of control with mess because we don’t have enough stuff to make it that way. And that’s by design. I keep everything in our home to a minimum. We have enough place settings for the four people in our family. The kids have only a fraction of the toys that many children have. The toys they do have are not all out at one time, we have a sort of rotation system in place. Our wardrobes consist of 30 pieces of clothing each, including coats, shoes, and accessories. When you don’t have a lot of stuff, it’s just so much easier to keep everything neat and orderly.
I value experiences
When we had kids, I realized that when they are grown they won’t remember having all the best toys or clothes or gadgets. But they will remember the memories we create together. For that reason, I’ve made it my priority to always value experiences over things.
My kids are only 2 and 1 right now, so we have spent these last couple of years adding things to their collection of toys, books, clothes, etc. But I think we’re pretty close to the point where they don’t really need anymore
I want my kids to be grateful
There are a lot of people in this world, in America in particular, that suffer from the disease of entitlement. Now, I don’t know where or when that started, but I don’t want my kids to be a part of it. I want to raise my children to be grateful for the things they have and not to constantly expect to be handed new or better things just because it’s available. I want them to grow up understanding and appreciating the value of good, hard work and knowing that nothing in life should just be handed to them. Surprisingly enough, having less actually inspires the very gratitude I want to instill in them.
I want to model contentment
Having a lot of stuff has the uncanny ability to make us want more stuff. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of trying to keep up with the Jones’. But that’s not what I want to teach my children. We were not designed to live someone else’s life. We each have our own journey to go on and constantly comparing ourselves to others based on the things we do or don’t have just means we’re not fulfilling our life’s purpose. We’re too busy worrying about the next person’s purpose.
That’s not the life God intends for us and I want my children to see that in me. I want them to see that I find joy in what I have and that it’s enough for me. And I want them to see me being genuinely happy for others when they receive blessings even if I don’t have those same blessings. We’re all on a different journey and different doesn’t equal bad.
Someday someone else will inherit my stuff
The one reason that sent me on this journey of minimalism to begin with: I don’t want to leave my children (or anyone else) with a big mess to clean up. I recently heard of something called Death Cleaning. Essentially it’s the idea of getting rid of everything that is not essential before you die so that those who come after you don’t have to do it. Then I realized, this is basically exactly what I already do. I just didn’t put a name to it.
Over the last several years I’ve become more and more intentional with what comes into and what goes out of our home. Once something is no longer useful for our family, I move it along to someone else who can use it better. If something has served its purpose, it has no place in our home anymore. This practice has made me more vigilant in choosing the things that we spend our time, money, and energy on. It makes us stop and consider if an item is really worth the cost. The things we decide are worth it find their place in our family and are well loved. There will be very few things that we pass on to our children or grandchildren. But the things we do pass on will be very special and meaningful and that will not be lost on the recipients.
Are you a minimalist family? What are some of the reasons you’ve chosen the minimalist lifestyle? Share with me in the comments below!