A Brief Introduction to Large Family Minimalism

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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.

Photograph 066 by Ashley Schweitzer found on minimography.com
Photograph 066 by Ashley Schweitzer found on minimography.com

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.

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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!

You in?

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Recommended reading: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

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15 thoughts on “A Brief Introduction to Large Family Minimalism”

  1. I have 4 kids and have actually successfully only kept one set of sheets per bed. When my kids get the bug they either lay on a towel on their beds or the floor!! We do keep extra blankets in a hall closet though.

  2. I’m working really hard at this. My 16 year old daughter is an organizer, and helped me go through my closet the other day, purging out on Large garbage bag full, and one 13 gal garbage bag full. It’s always easier to throw once I start. Hoping next year will be a year of minimalism. I have 4 kids and we don’t have a lot of storage!

    • That’s great to have your daughter on board! And congratulations on a huge clothing purge. It’s definitely easier to keep going after you’ve gotten yourself in the groove.

  3. So glad to find this site! We are a family of 5 and after failing at organizing we finally started getting rid of so.much.stuff…it has been so amazing I feel like I have time back but there is always more to learn so glad to be here 🙂

  4. I LOVE this! I went through a season of minimalism for our family, and have since let a lot of things creep back in, and I’m miserable, and it’s making our home into something that does not bring peace, but disorder and chaos. So I have renewed my vision for large family minimalism, and am praying that we will be able to find that wonderful peaceful environment we crave! I look forward to your posts!

    Sara

  5. I’m a mother of eleven and learned minimalism after child number four but I’m always looking for suggestions and ideas! Can’t wait to see what you have!

  6. I’m in, too! Nine kids (8 at home still), and just daily upkeep can take so much of our time. I’m a minimalist at heart…just need to move to action!

  7. Just went through the “grow-into” containers and left just enough for each size. Now we have 3 empty ones to store our favorite outgrown books! Your girls are close in age, so it’s worthwhile to save the clothes. With ours 9 years apart, it doesn’t work so well anymore. I’d rather not have to endure the complaints!

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