5 minimalist tips for decluttering with kids
Minimal living can feel like quite a challenge every now and then. Everything seems to revolve around consuming. We’re always focused on the next big thing and we’re never satisfied, we live in anticipation for the next big holiday where we can go all out on decorations and food and our spare time is used for shopping for pleasure. As if trying to avoid this vicious circle isn’t enough, minimalism gets even harder when there’s kids involved. Not only does your house seem too small for all of the stuff you need for them, you also get to deal with presents for birthdays and holidays, their toys and arts and crafts and freebies they take home. Sure, it’s great for the kids, but if you are busy decluttering your home and trying to have a more minimal approach to living, it can be challenging. You don’t want your kids to miss out on anything, but you also want to keep your house clean and tidy. That is why today I am sharing 5 easy minimalist tips for decluttering with kids.
#1 Baby Essentials
I’ve shared minimalist tips for baby essentials before and I would like to share it in this article again. Babies don’t really need that much stuff, no matter what all those stores and magazines want you to think. It can be hard to resist all those cute outfits, baby gadgets and toys when you want nothing but the best for your child and you have some serious nesting urge, but just take a moment. What is your philosophy on child-rearing? What do you want and need? What will you get from other people and what can you borrow temporarily? A baby is quite expensive and you don’t want to spend money on things that turn out to be useless in the long run. Talk to parents you know and ask them what they would recommend buying and maybe even ask if you could borrow big items like a crib, stroller or high chair. The baby won’t notice the color of the blankets, the brandname on the clothing or the fact that some items have been used before.
One of the fun things you get to do when you have kids, for mothers atleast, is finding cute outfits for them to wear. I love dressing both my son and daughter in nice clothes, but it can be quite expensive if you don’t watch what you buy. When your baby is born, you will, most likely, get a lot of baby clothes from friends and family. So you will be set for the first few months. I can advise you to not spend too much money on items for those first months. Sure, you want to make sure your baby looks great, but babies look great no matter what they have on. And they will spend most time sleeping anyway. And after a while you will just be glad you have something clean to put on, no matter what it looks like, after yet another poop fest. The same goes for older kids, by the way. Okay, the chance of them pooping their pants reduces with age, but they will definitely come home with holes in their pants, mud on their shoes and weird looking stains all over their clothing. You’ll be lucky if you can wash it out. My point? Don’t spend too much money on clothing which they will grow out of in a matter of months or will be damaged beyond repair in that same time frame. See what you can find second hand and don’t buy too much or too many ‘pretty’ outfits, since kids like to play and get dirty and that is good for them.
I’ve written about decluttering and minimizing toys before, so I won’t get into it that much. I just want to say that, although we all want to give our kids the world, they end up having too much stuff. Kids these days have more toys than they can ever play with and they even end up being bored because they don’t know what to do or how to entertain themselves. When it comes to children, less is often more. The more stuff they have, the less they actually play with it. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have toys, I just want to emphasize that we could be more picky about what we offer them. They can do with less and it gives parents the chance to spend some more money on toys that are actually stimulating for the kids and more sustainable and durable.
#4 Buy Second Hand
If you are used to buying everything new in stores, you will be in for a treat once you start exploring the options of second hand shopping. There is a whole world of used items out there that you can buy for just a fraction of the original price! You can get second hand clothing, toys, chairs, strollers, cribs, playsets. Just about anything you can imagine is available if you know where to look. Second hand shopping gives you a chance to provide your kids with all they need for far less money. There are different platforms online where you can browse in your neighbourhood for items you are searching for, or you could visit a second hand store. Sometimes it takes some luck and some time to find something of your liking, but that is kind of the fun of it too. Buying second hand is also far more sustainable, since you won’t be needing something new that requires new resources to make. And if the kids don’t like something or are done playing with it, it won’t be a huge financial setback and you can just donate it to the store or to someone else.
#5 Borrow, Swap or Rent
Another sustainable option for providing your kids with clothing, toys, books and other necessities is borrowing, swapping or renting items. With the growing sharing economy, there are numerous apps and websites where you can borrow, swap or rent pretty much anything you can think of. But there are more ‘conventional’ options too. You could visit the library for a whole pile of new books every few weeks, you could swap toys with neighbours or family members on a regular basis or visit a toy library nearby to switch up the toys every now and then. There are a lot of options for being more sustainable and minimal when you have kids without your kids missing out. If anything, they will be enriched with a sustainable outlook on life, with knowledge about all these great ways of sharing, borrowing and swapping items which will come in handy when they grow older and they will have great fun on all the trips to the (toy) library.