As you and your family enter new life stages, it’s a great time to reevaluate your current systems and routines. Make sure your home is still working for you as you adapt to the new seasons.
This kitchen cabinet went from holding ingredients for my small Italian bakery business, then I closed that chapter (for now) and turned it into a feeding / eating / medicine cabinet for the kids. As they grow and our needs change, it’s now a snack and simple crafts cabinet (I keep the more involved stuff in the laundry room). Our kitchen is long and has a lot of storage; this is right next to our kitchen table, which makes it EASY to grab and give stuff to my kids. Keeping up with those snack demands is no joke.
A few weeks ago, I finally recycled the bottles that were STILL in here. The baby stage is over for my two!
I know this will change again soon. But it’s working well and serving its purpose for now. Don’t be afraid to make changes so your home is as functional as it can be for you.
What’s working best for you in your home right now? Tell me, so we can share ideas!
No matter how much you stick to a routine or (loose) schedule at home, going out can totally throw you off - anything can happen when kids are involved!
It may sound counterintuitive, but being prepared with the RIGHT tools is an important part of minimalish living. Owning less and being more intentional ensures that you have things that add value to you and your family's life. Sometimes it's actually easier to have a few *extra* things you could need, especially when you're out with the little ones!
I carry my stocked backpack. Maybe you're extremely minimalist and only throw a diaper in your purse - but, how many times do you *wish* you had...
Math was NOT my strong suit. But minimalish math... I can definitely do that!
I recently talked about figuring out what to declutter - keep 20% and dump 80%. It may sound extreme, but that ruthlessness will keep clutter from creeping back (with maintenance, of course!).
Routines Help Kids Thrive
You can set your child up for success at home with functional areas for learning, play, care and relaxation, BUT - children thrive on routine. The “work” at home isn’t over when you declutter and minimize - it just started!
Your home can run at maximum efficiency when you establish good habits, routines and systems - simplifying and minimizing only makes doing this less frustrating and less stressful. It’s also easier to take care of and gives you time back in your routine to be more intentional with what you’re spending it on.
HELP. My child just WON'T.LET.GO.
🧸 Establish that when one toy comes in, one goes out [immediately choose one toy to leave when a new one comes in]
🧮 Discuss opening up their space to have more space to play [create a special area to display (fewer) toys beautifully (whatever this means to you!) - get your child excited to go to them]
👦 Talk about giving items that were once loved a second life to someone else who will love it too [donate, gift, sell]
⏰ Get them excited about having more time to play [and less time cleaning up or looking for things]
💙 Encourage them sharing WHY items are favorites [what's most loved about them and why are they special to your child?]
🤔 Discuss the importance of making choices [give them "the power to choose" one item versus another]
Play is the Work of Childhood
Mr. Rogers may have said it best, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
Children explore and learn about the world around them through play. And when we think of play, we often think of TOYS that drive those little explorers to absorb new concepts and provide some guidance.
Studies show that less toys equals higher quality play. The University of Toledo in Ohio studied 36 toddlers (ages 18 to 30 months) in free-play sessions with either 4 or 16 toys. In the groups who played with only four toys, toddlers played in more varied, advanced ways for longer periods of time.
Observe Your Child
So how do you approach minimalism with your children? Nervous? You don't have to be. The easiest way to figure out what you can minimize, declutter, organize and systemize is to OBSERVE. Something you probably already do all.the.time.
Teaching a child to let go gracefully and have a good relationship with their possessions is a learned skill that many young ones need help (maybe A LOT) with. By observing what they gravitate towards as you declutter, (their favorite types of toys, most-loved characters and things they go to frequently) you can do your best to avoid upset and hurt feelings. The goal is to avoid making them feel like you’re taking away, they’re “in trouble”, or you’re trying to get rid of their favorite things.
Struggles with "Kid Stuff"
Kid's stuff. The little pieces. The piles. The stuff they play with that aren't actually even toys (I'm looking at you, rocks and cardboard boxes!).
Not to mention the (very generous and thoughtful) gifts from family and friends. The (LOTS) of laundry. The kitchen supplies and utensils. I could go on, but you get it, so I won't.
I put the kitchen set (Christmas gift) in our kitchen for now, so we could "work together". Our wonderful family gifted A LOT of fake food and kitchen accessories for birthday (October) and Christmas - two weeks ago, I put a lot of it in the toy bins to see what could happen... Let's just say the current amount of fake food in the bins has been cut down by 2/3. She's still thrilled, plays with it multiple times a day, and reaches for the cupcakes, donuts and pizza instead of the veggies.
In one word, tell me, what is your biggest struggle with "kid stuff"?
Helping your children let go
What can you say (or do) to help your children learn how to let go and minimize their toys and possessions? My goal is to make them feel accomplished, proud and helpful and NOT like they’re losing their favorite things, “in trouble” or things are being taken from them.
Intro to Minimalism with Children
Nervous to approach minimalism with young children? Are you just waiting for frustration, upset and maybe a tantrum? Teaching a child to let go gracefully and have a good relationship with their possessions is a learned skill that many young ones need help with.
There are ways to describe letting go and minimizing excess in a helpful way to get your kids on board and NOT make them feel like you’re taking away, they’re “in trouble”, or you’re trying to get rid of their favorite things. Consistency is important too (but it is in every aspect of raising kids)!