Minimalism With Kids: The House

Minimalism and kids – is that even possible?
Heck yes! It just definitely won’t look quite the same as minimalism without them.

Minimalism means different things to different people. I’m sure there are plenty who would say me having 4 kids is anything but minimal. πŸ˜‰

For me as a mother, minimalism is about living simply, with intention and thoughtfulness. It means living with less clutter, both physical and emotional, so that I have more space for what I truly love. It means spending less time each day on cleaning “stuff,” and more time living my life with family and friends. It means having room – both in my house and in my heart – for finding joy.

We have tweaked things along the way, and I’m sure will continue to do so, but our basic goal remains the same: that our children experience the beauty of life over stuff/people over things, and have respect for their home and belongings.

If you’re someone who believes that having young children guarantees several years of chaos and piles of toys in your home – this is probably not for you.

If you’re looking to simplify your lifestyle, or already see the benefits of doing so; if you are someone (especially a parent) who is more at peace in a neat space; or if you’re just always wondering if Anna is one of those people who hides the mess before she takes any photos πŸ˜‰ – this might be for you!

In this series we’ll be covering topics like toys and clothing, activities, room-sharing, meals/snacks, holidays/birthdays, and more – all from a mindset of minimal, or as I see it, simplified living.

Short answer: if you want a peaceful, pretty home while parenting little kids – have less stuff!! πŸ˜‰Β 

All the organization tips, minimalism groups, and Pinterest closets in the world aren’t going to help anything if your house is piled full of belongings. “Less” might look different from family to family. In our home, we aim for a peaceful balance between empty and cluttered.

Anyway. Less talk, more photos, amiright?! πŸ˜‰

Here you go: in our home, life with 4 kids ages 6, 4, 2 and 10 months looks like this!

Kitchen:

Living room:

Hall/Linen Closet:

Baby’s room/Play Room:

Shared Kids’ Room:

Bathroom:

Master Bedroom:

For the purpose of this post, IΒ  just walked through each room snapping photos. No artsy rearranging. (I did make sure I washed the dirty dishes first, though! #keepingitreal) We currently rent our home, and our actual living space right now is about 1300 square feet. (We use the washer/dryer in the lower level, and have a crawl space storage that I’ll cover in another post.) But in terms of daily life, this is our space.

And yes, my kids play in these rooms. πŸ˜‰

This is where the less-is-more idea is so extremely beneficial to young children. To be honest, I could probably remove more than half of what they have right now, and they wouldn’t even miss it. And yet, many people would probably consider our house lacking in toys or somehow unrealistic as a family home. πŸ˜‰

As it is, any mess that is made during play time, can always be cleaned up in 10 minutes or less, with little parental involvement. The toys they have, they truly love and use, and they are constantly coming up with creative ways to mix and match as they imagine new ways to play.

Toys, clothes, dishes, art supplies etc. all have a space to be, using separated bins and labels. (We’ll go into more detail on that another time!) When they are not being used, they go back where they belong.

Such a simple concept, but as you can imagine, with 4 little ones and 2 adults in a small space, it eliminates a huge amount of aggravation in day to day life! (I still end up with a sink full of dishes, there are still days that I trip over toys or curse that random lego that always finds my toe, and the laundry never really goes away, but hey -that’s just life! haha)

The toys, our family rules, our expectations for ourselves and our children – each part plays a role in a simple, somewhat minimal lifestyle, that has left us so much more room for appreciating the things that matter most.

Do you live minimally or have family goals as far as material goods? Share in the comments!

 

 

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17 Comments

  1. I love this! Your home is beautiful! We try to live along the same lines. Four kids, three bedrooms! So many people I know have whole basements or rooms full of toys! They appreciate things so much more when then have less to deal with. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  2. I love this. Nice to see it is a reality that’s achievable. We don’t have many toys compared to other families but it still makes me wantt to purge even more! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love this post. Thanks so much for sharing! I, too, have four children (6, 5 yr twins and 1) and am married to an NYPD sergeant! My house is overrun with toys! And it’s not from me! It’s from especially generous family members. I ask them not to buy my children toys but they don’t listen! Any tips you can share are totally welcome!

  4. Your house is lovely! We live a simple life, but I’ve been working on simplifying our stuff over the last year or two and feel like I’m slowly lifting weight off my sholders, it is a good feeling. I wish I would have been in this mindset before kids, it would have made those baby and toddler years a lot less stressful for me!

    1. Thanks so much, Melissa! Yeah, all the added stuff definitely adds more stress to parenting, in my opinion. πŸ˜‰ I’m so happy for you that simplifying in the house is working out for you!! So much more room to breathe, right.. literally and figuratively! πŸ˜€ xoxo

  5. I live in Canada but I wish you could come help me organise my house like this! I dislike how much of my day is spent tidying up clutter but haven’t made the effort yet to go through and get rid of some stuff.

    1. I did a basic version of the Marie kondo method a year ago and haven’t gone back. I love being clutter free. Her book is for sure a little kooky but the basic principles work for decluttering!!

    2. Organizing it is the fun part! Once you go through and purge, you’ll never look back! You can do it! Some people like specific systems to get started… for me, I basically just go through each room and think about what hasn’t been used in several months. If it hasn’t, out it goes! (Usually! haha)

  6. Our happiness has certainly increased as our stuff has decreased! We love clean, tidy, organized and our kids thrive on it too. I’m looking forward to your next posts because I could use step-by-step, product-by-product guides to organizing the linen closet and coming up with a better clean up system for the toys and crafts. Thanks!

    1. I can definitely do that, Katie, thanks for the feedback! We’ve been using the same toy and linen closet system for a few years now, so safe to say it works well for us! haha I’m happy to share. xoxo

Comment and share your thoughts!