Are there hard and fast rules on being a minimalist? Nope. Are there some guidelines I can follow to help me decide? Yep. But everyone is different and you will make choices that matter to you and your family so don’t over analysis what you keep and don’t keep.
So what are those guidelines? I listen to The Minimalists describe what it means to them and from my own experiences as a Mom and helping other Mom’s declutter their homes I have come up with some of my own guidelines, especially when it comes to having kids in the home.
- Set a limit – Really easy to say but can be hard to do BUT you need to set a limit. For example with kids memorabilia only allow yourself to keep 1 box for each kid. This may need to be purged constantly as they are growing up and you want to change out artwork, or projects from school. Keep 1 box for all of your kids for their baby items. With toys again set a limit and if they want to bring new toys in then one must go out. If you can keep toys in a different area and only have access to a few and rotate them to keep the kids interested. Remember too many toys can also overwhelm children with choice.
- Set boundaries – When keeping mementos decide what is important to you and what you think your kids might like to look at later – let’s face it we are never really going to know what they might want to look at later in life. So think about this, they won’t have a clue about what you have NOT kept and will love the few items you have selected.With school work set a guideline like keep achievement certificates, poems and stories that they have written and any major school projects.
- Questions to ask yourself when deciding – Will my kids want this when I pass it on? this could be more to do with your baby stuff or items that you have collected. Do I want them to spend the time going through all of this just to throw it? Is it causing your stress? Is it taking up valuable space?
- Give yourself permission – So you feel bad about giving stuff away or throwing it out but you also feel bad about keeping stuff because you are trying to be minimalist. Well if you have followed all the previous steps then you HAVE kept things to a minimum. If you think you are still keeping too many items but can store them for now then do that and when you are ready go back and purge again. As we move into different stages of our lives our priorities change and our kids grow so we will reevaluate what we want to keep.
When purging it will consist of having a conversation with yourself and if you keep these in mind then you will be able to purge more items and still create space in your home. When working with clients I find that they do know the answer but when talking it out they are looking for permission to keep certain things – so hopefully now you will be able to have that conversation with yourself and not feel so bad!