At face value, the term “Large Family Minimalism” sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Minimalism sounds like an impossible thing to achieve with a large family, but it isn’t; it’s a real life sanity saver.
‘Minimalism’ simply means paring material things down to the minimum. This can be done regardless of family size. If it doesn’t serve a purpose or bring joy, get rid of it. That means selling, donating, or tossing anything that:
- isn’t used enough to deserve the space it takes up
- has a purpose that can be fulfilled by something else
- is irreparable
- causes unnecessary stress or clutter
Toys, clothes, linens, toiletries, books (I have a really hard time with this one), craft supplies, kitchen utensils, tools, footwear, DVDs, CDs, home decor, appliances, electronics, magazines, paint cans, cookbooks, hair accessories, schoolbooks, hand bags, herbs & spices, sports equipment, gift wrap, games – there is always something to purge.
In keeping just what we need or just what brings us joy, a miracle of sorts takes place. We find ourselves with:
- less to clean
- less to organize
- less to distract us
- more space
- more freedom
- more peace
- more time
- more money
- more enjoyment of the things we have
- everything has a place
- the things you need are easy to find
The challenge with Large Family Minimalism is knowing how much of what to keep to still be financially prudent. It doesn’t make sense to donate all of our oldest daughter’s clothes after she’s outgrown them when there are two more girls behind her. It doesn’t make sense to donate all the Summer clothes in the middle of Winter, because Spring will surely come again. Nor does it make sense to have only one set of bedding per child when the stomach flu hits all seven people at the same time.
Over the next few months, DV, I plan on sharing more about what Large Family Minimalism looks like in our home by addressing one “problem area” at a time, the steps we take to pare down, what we do with excess, why we keep what we do, and how we keep it stored.
Let’s make 2017 the year of letting go of things that do not matter so we can redeem the time with those who really do. As we make our way through different areas of the house, I’ll post #largefamilyminimalism purging challenges on Instagram. It’s a fun way to keep yourself accountable!
Recommended reading: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo