My biggest and maybe most selfish reason for minimalism can be summed up in two simple words: less mess! As a stay-at-home mom of two young children, it feels as if the messes never end. Even when my kids “help,” clean up it is a whole lot of work. Pretty soon, our two-bedroom house starts to feel unmanageable.
As a mom, less clutter means taking away all my kid’s toys. NOT! It means teaching my kids that “toys” are not everything. That nothing is permanent. It means teaching my 3-year-old about donation and really loving the things that she does have because she chooses every day that this toy or book has an intentional purpose — to be loved.
As a wife and a teammate, it means putting more emphasis on the time together: the memories we make rather than the items we give. It means being intentionally with our money and not adding extra unnecessary burden on my husband to provide things we don’t really need. It also means seeing the most value in my husband as a person and knowing that every single day, we choose each other.
Lastly, but maybe most importantly as a human: Having less clutter can free up space, not only in your home and in your heart, but in your brain. Having less messes to pick up, less laundry to do, fewer bills or less debt to think about and making more intentional choices leaves space to breathe and think about what the “best me” genuinely looks like. What do I nine mugs every day I reach for my one? Or am I happy for the space in my cabinet to hold something else I find useful and enjoy?
Giving yourself permission to stop trying to keep up with the Jones’ is liberating. Deciding that “because everyone else is doing it” is not a valid reason to need or want something is a total paradigm shift. When did the internal dialogue shift from, “If Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” to “Well Johnny is married and just bought his first house, don’t you think it’s about time you did too?”
I am not buying it, and I am also promising to only bring things, people, and energy into my life that I love and that I choose.
To me, that is the heart of minimalism, not how many spoons I have or if my kids have more than five toys. To me it is permission to myself — from myself — to only have things in our life that bring us joy or serve a purpose. It is to live intentionally and without clutter or anyone else’s priorities.
I want to live a less complicated life, less dramatic, less messy, less fighting over money and as I see it the quickest way to attain those things is to stop lying to myself about things I “need.” Air, my family, food and reasonable shelter I truly need! Everything else is a bonus, and in my opinion, too much bonus becomes complicated. There will always be a newer gadget, a newer model, a bigger something, and if you are so micro focused on those things, you are missing space in your life to truly enjoy what you have now — your health, your family, etc.
Tomorrow is never a guarantee, so decide what is actually important and cherish it today.
As the men who inspired me to take on this journey, the Minimalists, are famous for saying: “Love people. Use things. The opposite never works.”
About Britt Baysinger: My name is Britt, I am a work-from-home mom of two small kids. I am on a journey to find the healthiest, happiest, most present version of myself. This hope has led me to choose Veganism, minimalism, and home schooling. We are a little odd, but we embrace it! I work as the Vice President of The Team Lilly Foundation, a non-profit that assists families affected by childhood cancer.