I am Guilty.

That’s right. I’m guilty.

I’m guilty of neglecting this blog. You got me.

So I’m here to check in with some small excuses updates on why I haven’t been around.

We all know that life gets busy. This year all three of my littles are in school, my three year old just started every day full-time junior kindergarten and at the same time I started a job! It hasn’t been an easy adjustment. I often don’t see my children until bedtime each night and sometimes less than that if they go to their Dad’s house for the weekend. It’s been an emotionally trying time for all of us. My kids are going to a sitter for the first time in their lives ever.

Our house is in a constant state of distress, because I’m mid-purge/back to school cleaning but I keep putting it on hold halfway through for work or my parental responsibilities and there is just stuff everywhere.

Which brings me to my so called journey to minimalism! Somehow in the last few months we have accumulated more stuff. I don’t really know how. It must be the stuff that was already lurking in closets, and we’ve been trying to redecorate. But why a family of four needs more than 15 bath towels I will never be able to say. (I’ve since cut that down to our three favorite large bath towels and one patterned beach towel per kid). How nice would it be, to come home from work to an orderly house each day because there isn’t enough stuff to make a mess with?! It sounds like a distant dream.

So there you have it. I’m still here, hiding around the corner and trying to keep my lid on.

Clearing Out the Toys

As I go about my journey to live a more minimalist lifestyle, I realize that it is going to have to be a slow one.

For fear of sending my children into shock, I will be purging in slow motion, going through one drawer at a time, or one shelf, and so on.

But despite this, I did an experiment. One day while my children were at school, I went through their rooms and gathered up all of their toys (before Christmas). I put it all into large bins and stashed them in the basement. At the time, this was for the purpose of clearing space for the upcoming holiday gifts.

I decided from there that those toys would stay in the basement, to be sorted through a few months later when the kids hopefully had a new perspective. Only when the holiday came, they got flooded with new things. Within a week, the house was a disaster. Broken toys, clothes all over their floors, half of what they got was lost under their beds and nothing had a place.

Tired of looking at the mess, I did it again. I went through and removed every single toy from their rooms into bins. All they were interested in was the Xbox anyway! I left them with their massive bin of Lego, and their favourite stuffy to sleep with.

And they loved it! Their rooms stayed clean, they were doing more creative activities, their attitudes improved and I was a happier Mom for not stressing out about the clutter and the “why won’t they play with all these toys?!” despair.

Over the next few weeks, they would ask about one toy or another. When they did, I gladly brought that toy back for them. If they miss it, then it must be something that they care about. Then I got sorting. Most of the toys in the bins were things that they hadn’t played with in months. What no longer held meaning, I donated or sold.

Now that they are used to having a clean room, and very little stuff, they see the value in minimalism. They will each receive one drawer for toys in their rooms, and what remains of the toys in the bins will be sorted accordingly. If it doesn’t fit, it must go. There have been fewer fights over whose toy belongs to whom, and who left what mess.

Try it! Don’t be afraid to take all of your kid’s toys away. They’ll be okay and even happier in the long run. Kids don’t need toys to be happy! They need experiences, love, and imagination. Let’s stop robbing them of their childhood with cheap plastic.

My Journey to A Minimalist Household

(But I kept the kids!)

I consider myself a relatively straight forward person; I don’t need much to be happy. So why do I have so much shit?! Minimalism is the next step for me in my life-journey.

So there I am, twenty seven years old with three children and a teeny tiny house full of lots and lots of stuff. We were buried deep in accumulated things from thrift stores or gifts, stuff that my frugal Mom picked up for me here and there, odds and ends and things that did not make sense at all.

It was truly overwhelming and I felt that no matter how hard I tried I could not keep with the picking up. The house always looked dirty and cluttered and quite honestly close to a hoarder’s house. I would move things out, but more things would always come back in. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong.

The idea of living minimally appealed to me more and more as time went by. A plan was forming somewhere in my mind, just out of reach. I started to get the travel bug, even though it is not feasible at this point in my life. Inspired by a friend who went travelling via thumb transportation from Ontario to Banff with nothing but a 30 lb backpack and left the rest behind; it really inspired me to look at what is necessary in our lives and what is not.

And there starts our journey to minimalism as a family.

Now don’t get me wrong, stuff can be good! For instance, I believe it is important to have a well stocked pantry for times of unexpected financial crisis or severe power outages and natural disasters. And when you have kids, stuff is bound to accumulate! Being a single Mom, when friends and family offer clothes and ‘hand me downs’ it doesn’t matter if they’re a size or two too big. They’ll keep well in the closet and it saves me a ton of money. However, I only keep what we’ll need.

Minimalism can be a lot of fun if you sit back and enjoy the process.