Are you ready to downsize? Prepared to kick the clutter? Happy to let it all go? Desiring to reclaim your space? Hoping for minimalism for the entire family?
So often it seems that just because one person wants to embrace this new life, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone in the home feels the same way. So how can you get everybody on board? Is it even possible?
Well, let me start by saying that first things first, you can start this journey alone and lead by example. Allow them to watch you make difficult decisions about what to part with. Be diligent in your efforts in weeding out your own personal clutter. As you move in a forward direction, this will give the other members of your family an opportunity to become inspired.
But beyond that, what are some other things you can do to include your entire family in your minimalism efforts?
1: Give Experience Gifts, Instead of Physical Gifts
This is a super easy way to avoid bringing extra stuff into your home without making your loved ones feel left out. Instead of indulging the latest, greatest toy or gadget, splurge for tickets for an outing such as the zoo, an amusement park, zip-lining, a museum, a concert, or other such activity. This has the added benefit of creating beautiful memories and leaves you one less thing to toss later on.
2: Put Together Hand Me Down Bags
This is a great way to involve your kids in the process of downsizing their clothes and toys. First, encourage them to figure out what items they have outgrown. Then have them decide if they would like to pass on their items to another family or to a local thrift shop so that other children can use and enjoy the items that they are too big for or finished with. Many times kids respond really well to this process as long as they are included in the process and have some control over where their items are going.
3: Go Down Memory Lane
Take the opportunity to sift through your family’s keepsakes and mementos and talk about what items are important to each person and why. Offer to take digital photos of items that are bulky and difficult to store, such as old art projects or sentimental objects. Give everyone the choice to let their objects be purged as long as they have photos to remember them by. Your mileage may vary, but oftentimes, this exercise may be just what they need to be ready to say good-bye.
4: Hold a Yard Sale
This is a fun family-centered activity that can really get everyone excited about getting rid of stuff. It allows everyone the chance to turn their unneeded items into cash and that is a hard temptation to resist. This works with spouses and children alike, so use this to your advantage. As everyone chooses which treasures to part with, explain that they need to price their items to sell, because whatever is leftover will be donated to a worthy cause.
5: Encourage Organization
Now obviously, in true minimalism, it is most important to actually reduce the amount of things you own. But executing that may seem overwhelming without the addition of learning to organize what do you keep. Purchase cubbies, bins, baskets, or other plastic containers with lids for each member of the family. This way they have an individual and unique way of handling their own storage. Help them see the fun in challenging themselves to only keep what fits into their allotted storage space.
6: Showcase Your Efforts
This comes in the form of choosing at least one common-area room that is fully minimalized. Let this room be an example of what it feels like to live without excess clutter. Guard against letting stuff accumulate in this space, so that it serves as a shining example to family and friends of how peaceful and relaxing this type of space can be. Before long, you will find that it will likely be considered one of the most inviting spaces in your home.
Hopefully after going through these steps you will have success in influencing everyone to embrace minimalism for the entire family. Go slow and don’t expect too much too soon. This is a process that may take a fair amount of time. But with patience, kindness, and persistence, you stand a great chance of having everyone join you in this wonderful journey!
Melanie is mom to five energetic kids, including a sweet little toddler. She enjoys homeschooling her children from a peaceful parenting perspective and traveling with her family whenever she can.