Make a Choice to Live Simple and Experience Life vs Owning Things!
Minimalism, Decluttering or Living Simple!
Whatever you want to call it, it has become more and more popular because it has positive benefits. It could be a trend! Maybe its something that “brings you joy” (Tidying up with Marie Kondo). But whatever it is, from my own personal experience, I can say that living simple, and removing clutter, has allowed me to spend more quality time with my friends and family. I feel liberated mentally and physically. It frees up my mind to focus on more creative pursuits, brings peace to our home, and reduces our families stress load. Living simple also reduces our carbon footprint and instills good habits for our kids and future generations. Removing the idea that owning more and newer things will bring you happiness is, the first step towards Living Simple. Once that concept is removed, then it is easy to use your money towards memorable activities like traveling.
When it comes to the Kiddos
I have noticed how well my kids play when they have fewer toys. Like when we go on vacation and we bring just a couple of their favorite items (dolls, book, coloring pages), they usually won’t even play with them for very long. Instead, they engage more with their surrounding. Their creativity soars since they have to use their imagination to invent games and find other ways to play. I never would have thought that Living Simple by packing fewer toys for kids on trips would allow them to play more. What’s that saying ? “Less is more!” I believe it.
The Environment, Plastic and Where Things End up when you Don’t Need Them Anymore
Our landfills and oceans are full of “trash.” They are filled with plastic toys, stuffed animals, batteries, and so forth…. things that people throw away because it is easy to replace them with something new. Many plastic toys that we buy are not even recyclable due to there being other mixed metals and particles included. And, just imagine how much energy goes into breaking down plastic to recycle it. According to the Toy Association, The U.S market size for the total toy industry is about $28 billion dollars since 2018. National Geographic also mentions that each year an estimated 18 billion pounds of plastic end up in the oceans. That is equivalent to five grocery bags of plastic trash piled up on every foot of coastline on the planet. Yuk!
Borrow or Get Used Things vs Buying New
- Instead of buying new books, borrow from the Library. Some libraries also include toys and tool lending. Ask your library if they offer this and if they don’t maybe start one within your community 🙂
- Borrow from your neighbors. It can be a nice way to get to know each other and help each other out. Not everyone needs a lawnmower, or a drill all the time. Sooooooo see if you can share something of yours with something of theirs. It’s surprising how amazing people can be when they feel that they can help or become a part of a community
- Share a car by carpooling, use public transport, ride a bike
- Only buy what you need! That goes for food too which is a whole other topic when it comes to waste.
- Focus on small things to reduce waste. Those things add up; like bringing your own grocery bag to the market. Use cloth napkins vs paper napkins. Do not buy single-use items like one-time use straws. Bring your own cup to the coffee shop.
- Don’t believe the hype, during holidays and birthday parties, you don’t need to go out and buy things like presents, gift wrap, balloons and one-time use plastic decorations to celebrate. Make the holiday have more meaning by spending time with friends and family and eating delicious food. Give the gift of your time and friendship.
- Don’t buy new clothes just for fun. Consider how many outfits you truly need and just have that limited amount. You can buy good quality clothes that will last a while and not cheap fashion that just lasts a few washes. You can also check out 2nd hand shops for clothes that have been lightly used and sometimes even new. Consider also, having a clothing swap with friends so you can have new interesting outfits if you like to change it up here and there.
Tips on how to Declutter the Things You Already Own
Living Simple for Adults:
- Put away in some sort of storage container the clothes that are out of season but that you still want to use.
- Look at both in season and out of season clothes and decide if you have many of the same color and style of clothing. Donate or sell those duplicates.
- See what clothes you use often and the clothes that rarely gets used. If it has not been used within the last month, then donate or sell it. But you can always keep any clothes that bring you happiness and good memories.
- Go through your items of miscellaneous stuff. Like computer cords or charger to old phones that you do not use anymore. If the chord is no longer useable, or the phone not in use, or you many of the same charger, then donate them.
- I know when I go out to places like farmers markets, or a doctors appointment, I am always being handed some sort of brochures, pamphlets, flyers, business or appointment reminder card. Instead of receiving this paper that will end up in the trash, take a picture of it. Or put that important date and time in your calendar on your phone right then and there.
- Snail mail can also accumulate. Like random announcements, credit card offers and coupons sent to your home mailbox. You can recycle them. Or you can opt out of the marketing list and you won’t get those types of mail anymore.
- Random notes. Sometimes, I will get an idea and write it down on the closest piece of paper I find. Eventually, I will have many of these pieces of paper in random areas of my house. Instead, make a note in your phone or on one paper, and add your other ideas to that 1 note.
- Magazines can accumulate super quickly. Especially if you have a subscription. If you don’t plan on reading the magazine again, or just want to keep 1 or 2 pages. Rip out the page you want to save or take a picture of it. With the rest of the magazine, you can add your crafts collection or kids art section of your house for collaging and creativity. Check out this blog post about art ideas for kids; How to Set Up A Minimal and Inviting Art Space for Kids
- I used to love to collect books. Half of which I had never opened up or fully read. What I find helpful is to look at all the books you own and to get rid of the ones that you are not attached to. The ones that you have never read, or have read and wouldn’t read again. The ones that have meaningful, important information that you want to revisit. Keep! I personally donated my books to the library, since I plan on using the library often to borrow and return books. For kid books, you can donate to anywhere where kids go. First 5, playgroups, kids museums, book corners, etc. Using local resources like the public library has helped me to not hoard books on my shelf. The libraries online catalog can also be super useful in reserving books that are at further libraries, which can be shipped to yours. Lend or borrow a book to friends can be quite fun because later on, you can discuss the book you read and have meaningful conversations.
- Back in my fashion modeling days, I would use super tall platform heels of many colors. After having 3 kids, I decided that the alignment in my hips was much more important than fashion, so I stopped using these heels. I had them in my closet more for memory sake for a few years. So, guess what? I donated them and do not miss them. Now someone else can enjoy them.
- Check your shoes and see what pairs you use often and what pairs you don’t. Consider giving the shoes that you do not use, that are perhaps too big or too small, or uncomfortable for you, to someone else.
Living Simple for the Kids
In my opinion, I would rather have the kids decide themselves on wanting to not own too much, so I typically let them decide vs I removing things that they like and own. What I can do to help them to declutter and live simple is to guide and encourage them to see what they already have, and also consider whether something is a want or a need. If my little ones see something that they like, then we have a discussion about whether it is something that we need. Do we already own something like it? They generally understand this approach and are quite receptive with putting toys at the store back on the shelf.
- By limiting their clothing options to just a few outfits then they are able to use what they really like, their “favorite” clothes. It makes getting dressed in the morning super simple and fast.
- I tend to do hand me downs. Meaning, if the clothes are too small for my oldest and still in good condition, then it is given to my younger children. If it is torn, with holes and stains, then I will generally cut it up and add it to the arts and craft bin for the kids
- Kids grow out of shoes super quickly. I try to buy just one of 2 pairs at a time and when my youngest kid grows out of them, I donate them if they are still in good condition. If my oldest kids grow out of their shoes, I see if my younger ones are interested in having them. Usually, they are since they are “big sisters” shoes 🙂
- Try to have toys that can be used for open-ended play. Meaning the toy can become anything. Check and see if you have multiples of the same type of toy. If you have a play car, then you don’t need 20 play cars. By removing most of them and leaving the kids favorites, it can allow them to be creative and liberates them (and parents) from having to organize a mountain of “toys” to put away.
- This one is a hard one for us but we have managed to reduce a lot in art materials. Try to only buy things like paper and paint when you have truly run out. When our art space has too many materials to choose from (felt, colored paper, poster board, stickers, paints, colors, markers, colored pencils…) it creates a huge distraction and a huge mess. So what I do is to limit the material on the art shelf to just a few items. And box up the rest. In a week or 2, I interchange the materials so that they have what seems to be new supplies to create art with.
Do What works for you!
You don’t have to get rid of everything. Or live in a tiny house. Or only own 100 things or less. Just make small changes towards Living Simple by considering your buying habits. Saying NO to plastics and one-time use items are something I try to remember to practice every day. Second, guessing whether something is a Want or a Need can truly be helpful in not accumulating too much. If you see something that you spontaneously want to buy. Put it on hold and leave. Don’t buy it then. Most of the time, I won’t return the next day for it because it turns out that it is not something that I really need. You don’t have to live by someone else’s standards or views. Just do what works for you. Find smart ways that you can create happiness and fun memories for you and your family without having to own everything new that comes on the market.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to check out more blog posts like; “Simple Ways on How to Not let Toxic People Affect You “ (http://laurahidrobo.com/simple-ways-on-how-to-not-let-toxic-people-affect-you/) or “Why are Parents Choosing to Limit Screen Time and How to Do It” (http://laurahidrobo.com/screen-free-parenting/).
A few Interesting Documentaries about Minimalism
Here are some links below which you can watch for free if you have amazon primeS
Share Your Thoughts
I would love to hear your thoughts on how you are choosing to Live Simple and Declutter your home. Feel free to comment below and if you would like to add more ideas that I missed, please add in the comment section. Also, Check us out on Social Media and Sign up for our Newsletter to get the latest updates. Until next time 🙂 Ta Ta
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