minimalist family

Minimalist Family Blueprint: From Declutter to Delight

Imagine walking into your living room and not tripping over a toy, an unpaired shoe, or the mysterious object you’ve meant to toss for months. 

Sounds like a fairy tale, right? 

Well, it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Because in my today’s article, I will dive into the benefits of minimalist families and how to become one.

That’s not all. I will also discuss…

  • The role of mindful tech usage in a minimalist family lifestyle
  • Three benefits of teaching kids the value of minimalist spending
  • How to incorporate minimalism into family dynamics
  • The ten biggest challenges to overcome when becoming a minimalist family
  • What timeline to expect to turn your family into a minimalist one
  • Pros and cons of applying minimalism to family dynamics
  • Four Minimalist family example videos

 

7 Benefits of Becoming a Minimalist Family

Before even considering becoming a minimalist family, you may feel slightly more motivated learning about the benefits before.

So let’s dig into the seven benefits I collected for you below…

Why Let Toys Rule the Living Room?

Isn’t it a joy to step on a LEGO at 3 a.m. while on a water run?

Now, imagine if fewer toys could lead to happier kids. That would be great.

Yes, it actually can.

How so?

Let’s believe this study from the University of Toledo.  

What did it find? 

Kids who play with fewer toys are more imaginative and focused. So, less clutter, more creativity.

Now, how about the three ladles and four waffle irons? Do you really need that many of each?

Benefiting from less of each could look like this: you find what you need instantly.

A minimalist kitchen isn’t about giving up good food.

It’s about more culinary adventures with less clutter. As an additional benefit, fewer gadgets mean fewer things to clean.  

Let’s move to the closet. Does your kids’ and your closet look like a fashion museum or a functional space?

What is the benefit of having fewer clothes? You may start to feel like you’ve more to wear.

How is that? 

When everything matches, picking outfits becomes a breeze. 

No more “I have nothing to wear” meltdowns while staring at a bursting closet. 

And there is a reason for not knowing what to wear despite owning a gazillion clothes.

It’s decision fatigue.

Now, we go to the living room, which may also be buried in toys. 

Can you find the remote control in less than 20 minutes to have a movie night without first having to do a search that replaces the actual movie night?

When you also have the living room space simplified, you can access the remote control in no time and thus creating the groundwork for more quality time together and less “where is XYZ” drama.

Could your family calendar use a diet too?

If your calendar looks like a rainbow exploded, maybe it’s time to slim down. 

Kids don’t need to be in five different activities at once. 

This report suggests that kids with more free time and less organized activities have better executive function

So, now you may have a reason to do less rushing.

Now, what about your kids’ screen time? Is it an endless buffet or a select menu?

Have you ever watched a cat video, then another, and suddenly it’s midnight? 

A minimalist approach isn’t about tossing devices and the TV out the window but being choosy. 

And guess what? 

Studies like this one suggest less screen time improves kids’ sleep and behavior

Regarding this, you may also enjoy reading about the benefits of digital minimalism.

And finally, do family vacations have to be blockbusters?

Believe it or not, kids might enjoy a simple camping trip over a grand tour of Europe. 

It’s not about where you go but the memories you make. 

What’s the benefit of this?

You will have to plan less and thus also less stress.

 

The Role of Mindful Tech Usage in a Minimalist Family 

Suppose you’re at the dinner table, and everyone’s noses are buried in their screens. 

Dad’s scrolling through emails, little Timmy is conquering virtual kingdoms, and Mom’s watching that cute panda video…again. 

Conversational topics? Pinging notifications and battery percentages.

Let’s dive into the role of mindful tech usage in a minimalist family lifestyle.

A minimalist approach isn’t about chucking all devices into the nearest bin. 

It’s rather about choosing quality interactions over endless scrolling. 

Maybe there was even a time when you used to laugh at Dad’s jokes, not memes? 

Families can reclaim meaningful interactions by consciously deciding where and how to spend screen time.

Consider digital detox days.

It may sound like a horror story to most kids and teens. 

However, a regular digital detox day can be like a spa retreat for the brain.

This study found a direct link between excessive screen time and decreased happiness. 

So, occasionally switching off might literally light up your life.

How about declaring the dining room a tech-free zone? Or the backyard? 

Designating specific spaces for real-life interaction and others for tech can strike a healthy balance. 

Not all screen time is created equal. 

Watching a documentary or engaging in an educational app can be much more fulfilling than the mindless vortex of endless video loops. 

Being selective about the content can lead to more meaningful screen time. 

Especially for the kiddos, it’s essential to impart the wisdom of tech’s impact. 

This study, for instance, showed that excessive screen time daily can negatively impact kids’ cognitive abilities. 

So, less game time means better grades. Who knew?

In a minimalist lifestyle, even tech purchases are intentional. 

Do we need the latest model, or will the old one suffice? 

It’s not about always having the newest gadget but the right ones that add genuine value to family life.

In essence, mindful tech usage in a minimalist family lifestyle is similar to a diet for your brain. 

It’s not about living in the dark ages but lighting up real-life interactions.

 

Three Benefits of Teaching Kids the Value of Minimalist Spending

Let’s continue with the value of teaching minimalist spending to kids and how it can benefit them.

Got a kid that cherishes their teddy bear more than their latest video game? 

That’s minimalist spending at work.

Kids who aren’t swamped with stuff start appreciating what they’ve got. 

Weirdly this happens to me with one particular pair of socks, and they don’t look even good anymore.

When you teach them about minimalist spending, you give them an early introduction to financial literacy. So it will enable your kid to budget like a pro.

Finally, you also help them to become more ecologically aware

So kids who spend minimally aren’t just saving pennies. They reduce the impact on mother nature.

 

How to Incorporate Minimalism into Family Dynamics

After reading about all these benefits of becoming a minimalist family, I may be able to guess what you think…” Minimalism? With kids?” 

You may picture a pristine white living room where you could eat from the floor and imagine crayon marks two minutes later. 

But minimalism in family dynamics isn’t about the impossibility of perfection. 

It’s about crafting more meaningful interactions and cherishing moments over material. 

So how do you do this?

Have family meetings, minimalist style.

Instead of letting everyone’s schedules run wild, hold regular family meetings. 

Similarly to decluttering your week, discuss what’s essential and can be sidelined. 

Share responsibilities.

When every family member (yes, even little Timmy) has a role in maintaining a minimalist home, it becomes a group effort. 

And with less clutter, you will have fewer “It’s not my job!” debates.

You also want to prioritize experiences over things.

Remember that mega toy Timmy played with for a day and then forgot? 

Instead of this toy, you may rather want to invest in experiences. 

This could be trips to the park, DIY craft days, or family baking nights. 

These experiences often stick more in memory than fleeting toy fascinations.

Have mindful celebrations.

Birthdays don’t always need mountains of gifts. 

Instead, try the “Want, Need, Wear, Read” rule – one gift from each category. 

It’s like the four essential food groups but for presents.

Also, use the one-in, one-out rule.

So if your kids want both a new toy, then for each new one, the old one has to go.

It helps kids (and adults) value what they have and think critically about what they want. Plus, it’s a sneaky way to teach them about letting go.

This whole rule on steroids would be one toy in two toys out if you like to sneak in some more decluttering.

Next, you want to use capsule wardrobes for all.

Simplifying clothes isn’t just for the fashion-forward mom. It’s for Dad’s 20 identical blue shirts and Timmy’s superhero outfits. 

As discussed earlier, fewer choices mean quicker dressing and less decision fatigue.

In addition, you want to establish tech time limits.

As discussed, screen time can be like junk food for the brain. 

So set boundaries for when and where devices can be used. More face-to-face, less face-to-screen.

Since kids are like sponges, model minimalism

If they see parents valuing simplicity and mindfulness, they’ll soak up the vibe. 

It’s less “do as I say” and more “do as I do.”

To sum it up, incorporating minimalism into family dynamics is less about having fewer things and more about having more moments that matter. 

 

The Ten Biggest Challenges to Overcome When Becoming a Minimalist Family 

minimalist family

As you may very well imagine already, when it comes to becoming a minimalist family, it’s not all sunshine and decluttered drawers…

And like adding a pet goldfish (who knew they needed so much care?), there are challenges. 

Let’s unwrap these.

“But I NEED It!” Syndrome: From the youngest to the oldest, there’s often a deep-seated belief that every item is absolutely essential. 

Today’s must-have item might be tomorrow’s forgotten treasure, but try telling that to a 6-year-old…or a 60-year-old.

Emotional Attachments: That macaroni art from preschool? 

It’s not just pasta; it’s Picasso. 

Minimalism often means grappling with emotional ties to items, and that’s a challenge, especially when everything seems to have sentimental value.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out):

Especially in our uber-connected world, limiting tech or decluttering can spark the fear of missing out on the latest trends, news, or that viral cat video or new filter making the girl appear even more like botox-injected plastic. 

“Everyone else has it!” can often become a frequent refrain.

Breaking Consumer Habits: We live in a society that often equates buying with happiness. 

The joy of a sale, the lure of the new. 

Shifting from the “buy-buy-buy” mindset can be like quitting carbs cold turkey. Tough.

Different Family Members, Different Speeds: While you might be raring to toss half the house, your partner might be more of a hoarder. 

Aligning everyone’s pace and comfort level is tricky.

Balancing Minimalism and Practicality: Sure, one plate per person sounds minimalistic, but it’s impractical. 

Striking the balance between what’s minimal and what’s necessary can lead to some head-scratching moments.

External Judgments: Friends and extended family might not get the minimalist memo. 

“Why is your house so empty?” or “Where’s all the kids’ stuff?” can be frequent, well-meaning queries that make you question your choices.

Overzealous Starts: In the initial enthusiasm, there’s a danger of going too far, too fast. 

And when you realize you’ve decluttered something genuinely needed (like the can opener during soup night), it can cause regretful facepalms. I mean, who needs cans…

Staying Consistent: Starting is one thing; maintaining is another. 

New purchases, gifts, or even freebies find their way home, threatening the minimalist haven you’ve crafted.

The Perfection Trap: Seeing perfect minimalist homes on Instagram can make you feel like you’re not doing enough. 

But remember, minimalism is personal.

Your version might have more cushions, and that’s okay…And then it’s Instagram, don’t fall for it. It’s not reality (check my article on mindful social media use).

 

What Timeline to Expect to Turn Your Family into a Minimalist One?

The whole turning your family minimalist is not a sprint. It’s… Well, a really long walk (marathon).

So it’s less “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and more “This Might Take A While: Home Series.” 

Here’s a rough timeline to set those expectations:

Week 1-2: Research and Conviction

  • Understand what minimalism is and isn’t. Spoiler: It’s not about living with one chair.
  • Discuss with family members. Expect everything from enthusiasm to “You want to take away WHAT?”

Week 3-4: Setting Goals and Priorities

  • Decide what you hope to achieve. More space? Less stress? All of the above?
  • Understand everyone’s boundaries. Hint: That ancient, ragged teddy bear might be non-negotiable.

Month 2: Tackling the Tangibles

  • Start with decluttering common areas. The joy of seeing a clutter-free living room can be motivating.
  • Hold family decluttering days. It’s like a treasure hunt but in reverse.

Month 3: Wardrobe Wonders

  • The closet cleanse. Remember, if it hasn’t been worn in a year, it’s up for review.
  • Introduce the idea of a capsule wardrobe. 

Month 4-5: The Digital Declutter

  • Tackle those 10,000 unread emails and mysterious files named ‘asdfghjkl.’
  • Set boundaries on tech and screen time. Yes, that includes sneaky peeks at the phone during dinner.

Month 6: Assess and Realign

  • How’s the journey going? More peace or more fights over the last cookie jar?
  • Adjust your goals based on what’s working and what feels like trying to fit a giraffe into a mini.

Month 7-9: Deep Dive

  • Declutter rarely used spaces like attics, garages, or that drawer you’re scared to open.
  • Start practicing minimalism in purchasing decisions. Do you really need that 15th coffee mug?

Month 10-11: Introducing Experiential Living

  • Focus on experiences over things. Weekend hikes over mall trips (you may even burn more calories that way). Making pizza over buying toys.
  • Encourage kids to value memories and moments. Their joy from a day at the park? Proof you’re on track.

Month 12: Celebrate and Reflect

  • Congrats! You’ve spent a year on this journey. Your home should feel lighter, and hopefully, so do your spirits. And to celebrate, buy three waffle irons (just kidding).
  • Reflect on the changes and plan for the future. Minimalism, after all, is a journey, not a destination.

This estimated timeline is just a general guide. 

Every family is unique. 

So, you might sprint through some stages and stroll through others. 

The key is persistence and remembering why you started. 

 

Pros and Cons of Applying Minimalism to Family Dynamics

ProsCons
Clearer Spaces: A decluttered, simplified environment can lead to a clearer mind and reduced stress.Resistance to Change: Especially from older children or other family members accustomed to a certain lifestyle.
Increased Family Bonding: Less distraction from items and tech can lead to more quality family time.Time and Effort: Initially, decluttering and shifting mindset can be time-consuming.
Financial Savings: Fewer purchases and a focus on essentials can save money.Sentimental Struggles: Deciding what to keep or discard can be emotionally challenging.
Eco-Friendly: Reduced consumption means a smaller carbon footprint.Possible Social Pressure: Feeling "different" or facing questions from friends and extended family.
Teaches Value: Kids can learn to appreciate what they have and understand the difference between wants and needs.Mistakes and Regrets: Sometimes, one might declutter something and later realize they still needed it.
Improved Focus: With fewer distractions, it's easier to concentrate on tasks and hobbies.Maintenance: Staying committed to a minimalist lifestyle requires consistent effort and reminders.

 

Four Minimalist Family Example Videos

Ending this article, I will leave you with four interesting videos of families in the “decluttering trenches.” 

In several, you can experience the before and after effect.

Video 1

 

 

Video 2

 

 

Video 3

 

 

Video 4

 

 


This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication per our editorial policy.