Being a mum is overwhelming.
Not only is there always something that needs to be done, someone always needs you.
It’s really difficult to take 5 minutes to yourself to relax when all you can see when you sit down at the end of the day is toys that need to be put away, or things that shouldn’t even be in that room.
Not only are our brains full, our homes are too.
Not in a full-filling, wholesome kind of way – but in a ‘this is just too much kind of way’.
And that is why mums need minimalism.
First off, we all need to get rid of the image that our mind conjures when we think of minimalism.
Mininalism isn’t always a plain empty white room with a white chair and a single plant.
It can be if you want it to be, but my guess is, if you are reading this, that you have kids and they come with a LOT of stuff. We can triple that if you are a special needs mama.
Minimalism is going to look different for everyone.
I believe that minimalism for mums looks like having ‘just enough’. Everything you have in your home gets used often (or seasonally) or you truly love it.
Every single item in your home takes up your time.
That ornament on the mantelpiece takes up ten seconds every time you touch it. It might not seem like a lot but if you added that up for every single thing in your house over a year that’s a lot.
Every time you wipe the toaster down and put it back in the cupboard, that’s twenty seconds right there.
I’m guessing you have better things you’d like to be doing with your days than wasting time on things you don’t need or love.
Like spending more time with your family.
Or spending more time on things you enjoy doing but just don’t have time for anymore.
Or taking up a new hobby.
What everyone needs or loves is going to look individual to them.
Using the examples above, dusting an ornament doesn’t bring me joy. So I have minimal ornaments and bits around the house. I’m not a big fan of visual clutter so that works for me.
I am more than happy to spend 20 seconds daily wiping the toaster and putting it away because I don’t want it on the worktop (visual clutter) and we use it daily.
Our story with minimalism.
A few years ago when the kids were really little, we booked a holiday in a lodge in Bluestone in Pembrokeshire. It was the first time we had been and we just stayed there for the weekend.
We all loved it.
It wasn’t just the novelty of staying in a log cabin overlooking the lake, or all the activities that the kids could do.
It was the simplicity of it.
The lodge was spacious with loads of windows and high ceilings, with minimal decor and lots of white space.
We had everything we needed there, and yet there wasn’t that much there.
At the time there was a lot of uncertainty with Anest’s condition, constant hospital appointments, trying to understand new therapies and equipment and trying to navigate a completely different life than we had planned for, and that weekend where we slowed down with minimal stuff, just seemed like a breath of fresh air.
So naturally, when we got home I started googling and found that there was an entire community out there of people trying to simplify life and go minimal.
Just a quick disclaimer here. We are not minimalist. Especially not in the stereotypical version of what springs to mind when you think of a minimalist. BUT, we have created our own version of minimalism that works for us.
The last five or so years, I have frequently decluttered our belongings and now we are left with things that we do use all the time (or seasonally). This works for us.
I’d love to have less than we have now, but it will always be a work in progress.
The benefits of minimalism for mums.
If you have less stuff, you have less things to clean. Or tidy up.
It can feel sometimes like as a mum all we do is clean and tidy up toys and put things away after someone else left them out.
Having less stuff isn’t going to magically make this disappear, but it is going to mean it takes a lot less time to do.
When there is less stuff it is so much easier and less overwhelming to just tidy up as you go along, and then when someone turns up at the door unexpectedly the house isn’t the disaster zone it might have been when you had more stuff.
Cleaning our home only takes a couple of hours now. There is daily maintenance but it’s not the huge ordeal it used to be.
We get such a limited amount of time with our kids – don’t waste it cleaning.
Constantly feeling like you have got to pick up and tidy stuff up when you want to be doing something else can make us feel bitter and grumpy.
This can sometimes mean we snap at or have less patience with our family, so having less stuff to pick up and tidy can help improve our relationship with our family too.
Side note: Get your family helping too. You don’t have to do it all on your own.
When you have less stuff to tidy it gives us more time to do the things we want.
Like spending more quality time with our family.
Getting down on the floor to play with the kids instead of feeling like you are constantly cleaning up after them.
Starting a new hobby you have fancied trying for ages but have just never had the time.
Reading your book or getting a workout in.
Whatever you enjoy doing, having less stuff and more time means you can finally get around to doing these things.
Allows you to relax.
At the end of the day, when the kids are in bed and we sit down to have some time to ourselves/quality time with our partner we can actually relax when there isn’t stuff everywhere.
It’s not going to be perfect, there is always going to be the odd thing that doesn’t belong where it is, but the space is calmer and you can actually enjoy relaxing.
Or in the middle of the day, you can just stop and have five minutes with a cup of tea or coffee and not be overwhelmed by all the stuff that needs sorting out.
Have I convinced you yet?
Where do I start?
The first place I suggest you start is the bathroom.
Go through things one things at a time and get rid of the things you don’t want or need – like the half empty bottles of shampoo you never intend using again, or that lotion that doesn’t suit your skin type.
I suggest the bathroom because it’s quite unlikely that you have anything of sentimental value in the bathroom (that’s a post for another day!), it shouldnt’ take too long and it will keep the momentum going.
Make your way around your home until you’ve covered it all.
Take a few boxes with you to make it simpler:
- a bin bag for rubbish
- a box for the recycling
- a box for donating
- a box for things that don’t belong in that room
Put everything in the box they belong in and sort them out at the end of the decluttering session.
One task at a time. Don’t make it more overwhelming for yourself than it needs to be!
Decluttering your whole house in one go can be very overwhelming – spread it out over a couple of days or weeks, or get a system in place and declutter one area every week on a rotating basis.
Or if that is too overwhelming, declutter one tiny area of each room every day until you get it done. Just the bathroom cabinet today. Tomorrow the bath toys etc etc.
Small consistent steps are what will make the biggest impact long-term.
Remember – decluttering your home is a way of taking care of yourself.
Your mental health is important too and having a clean and stress-free home helps promote that!
Are you minimalist or would you like to be? Let me know in the comments!