Is it possible to be a minimalist without sacrificing goals and experiences? As you can see from the title, you already know that the answer is yes. Like all people, I am very goal-oriented, and I like to wake up knowing I have the opportunity to get closer to my dreams. But at the same time, I want to start a lifestyle change where I can be content even without many material things.
And if you have a family on your own, too much clutter can rob you of precious family time. You’ll spend more time and energy caring for your things more than being present with your family. But can a family with children embrace a minimalist lifestyle? Don’t kids need a lot of stuff?
Living small doesn’t have to be scary and demanding. You get to see all those articles and posts, so it feels like there is so much to do and let go. And while every family might differ in lifestyle, this doesn’t mean that it will be impossible to achieve a minimalistic way of living.
Lead By Example
The thought of minimalistic living can be overwhelming, whether as a family or as a single person. For me, I prefer to introduce my children to this lifestyle slowly. And as time goes by, my children are starting to appreciate that you can live small and still achieve a fulfilling life. However, you have to be open to the possibility that they will take a long time to embrace this lifestyle change. Remember to start slowly without any pressure.
My kids are naturally observant, and I took this opportunity to lead by example. I found out that the tidier my room is, the more productive I am when it comes to working. I also spend less time cleaning, so I have more for focusing on my hobbies. This is a great example of what I mean by “dreaming big and living small.” You’ll be surprised by how a minimalistic life is sufficient and satisfying even for achievers.
Show to your family that it is possible to live a rich life even with less material things. I have a lot of opportunities in life that I want to take. I want to live a fulfilling career and start hobbies that ignite my passion. However, I am beginning to realize that material things do not control the goals that I want. And until I let go of unnecessary stuff, I know I can’t expect my children to do the same.
You can start by simply modifying your everyday routine. For example, do you really need complicated dishes with a lot of ingredients daily? Not only will they take so much time, but they will also cost you more. Over time, you can use the extra time and savings for other experiences that have more permanent effects.
Lastly, I also like to schedule some time to rest. Dedicating days or hours to rest gives you not just the recharge physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Each day doesn’t have to be filled with activities.
Dedicate Time to Declutter
Speaking of dedicating time, one of the key steps in living small is decluttering. Of course, we all start out as someone who has a lot of things. And when we choose to transition into a completely opposite lifestyle, the changes have to be drastic, as well.
However, decluttering can also mean downsizing and not immediately getting rid of all your things. When I was single, I have really big dreams. And by big dreams, I mean a lot of material things. However, as reality sinks in, I ended up compromising and adjusting according to my salary.
And when you already have a growing family, you have to set your priorities. For example, we ended up selling our SUV to get a smaller car. This change saves us gas, and the size is more fitting to our new place. And because we have a baby, we have to purchase his baby gears accordingly. This means looking for convertible car seats just like these that will fit to our vehicle. We even have to utilize our limited space in the nursery. All of these decisions are far from what we expected years ago.
By decluttering, you also get to discover that some of your things aren’t really essential at all. And removing or minimizing them doesn’t have a huge impact on your life as you have assumed. Eliminating or reducing items that are “clutter” allows you to focus on the things that you should really do. Things that in the long run, can help you achieve your dreams.
And while most of our things, including our home and vehicle, are small, we still feel contented. This might vary depending on your lifestyle, but living in a city where space is limited, we are more than happy with what we have.
If the thought of decluttering overwhelms you, start by removing the things that you don’t need or currently use. They may include clothes that you’ve already outgrown, toys that your kids no longer use, and other materials. You can put them on yard sale or donate for those in need.
Experiences Over Material Things
Ask yourself, “how do I want to see myself in the future?” Whether it’s a career or state of living, you will need to experience a lot of moments before you can get there. And most of the time, you don’t need a lot of material things in order to grow your character.
You have to be ready and prepared to achieve your goals. And the only way to do it is by doing sentimental things and fewer purchases of material possessions. The best learnings that will help you achieve your goals are experiences. Think about it, with material possessions, you’re bound to not feel fulfilled. You’ll always compare it to something better and how you want to purchase the latter.
But with memories and experiences, they are unique. And as a bonus, imagine the joy of living without thinking about debt. This means you’re also already investing for your future. However, know that a minimalistic lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean that you will absolutely not buy anything. However, before purchasing, you’re going to ask yourself, “Do I want this? Or do I need this?”