Minimalism is sweeping the world in a refreshing wave of less. It is an idea that’s very close to my heart. Five years ago, before I knew it was called ‘minimalism,’ before there were documentaries and a thousand other blogs on the subject, getting rid of the excess in my home saved my motherhood.
Minimalism is a lifestyle of purposely choosing to live with less stuff in your home so that there’s less to maintain and more time and space to focus on what matters.
For moms, this is everything, which is why I started a movement for mothers based on this idea. I spend my days encouraging hundreds of thousands of my fellow women to ditch the clutter and the chaos and get intentional about how they are spending their mom lives. Moreover, it is incredible!
In doing what I do, there are a few things I see on a regular basis that make my heartache. One of them is when a desire for minimalism takes over and becomes ingratitude.
In a world saturated with materialism, we have to fight to live with less, and it is dang hard. I get it.
However, sometimes, in our desperate attempt to simplify and be more aware of what’s coming into our homes, we become ungrateful guardians of our domains that make other people feel like we do not appreciate their gifts. Moreover, maybe that we do not appreciate them.
I know where the passion for less comes from. It is like an internal uprising- a deep desire for a simpler way of living when you figure out what works and you have been residing in the clutter and chaos for so long, you just want out. You found a way, and you see the light, and you are not stopping for anything.
If you find yourself in this place, sister, let me encourage you to press pause.
- Why are you doing this?
- What brought you to this place of desiring simplicity?
- What is the root reason for you seeking out minimalism in your life?
The origin for most of us is relationships. Our relationships began to suffer because we were doing all the things, cleaning up regularly, running on a treadmill fueled by an endless cycle of stuff.
We want to be closer to our children; we want to stop being nagging, stressed out wives. We want time to be better friends with the other women in our lives; we want to have the time, space and focus to love others and be present for them.
Let’s not get so caught up in being the editors of our homes that we hurt those around us.
Obviously, there’s a huge difference between someone giving a gift to you or your kids and someone who is blatantly against the way you are choosing to live and continuously brings things over when you have kindly asked them not to. However, what we are talking about here is making minimalism into some legalistic law you follow to the death, no matter who you takedown in the process.
It is easy to do as we fight for the motherhood we want, so I encourage you to take a scoopful of grace if you feel like you have gone down this path.
When it is your child’s birthday, have a grateful heart.
Be honest when people ask what he would like as a gift, but don’t keep other people in your life from blessing your kids. Ask for an experience gift over a material donation, tell them how much he loves *insert child’s favorite activity*, but don’t be upset when the day comes and he receives toys you know he does not need.
Minimalism, the way I teach it and the way I believe in it, isn’t about only having what you need. Where’s the joy in that anyway?
When you get a basket of lotions and candles from your mother-in-law, give her an authentic hug. She cares about you! It does not matter if the gift was entirely obligatory or truly heartfelt- it is a gift, and gifts are exclamations of love. Value your relationships over the state of your home- that is what you came into this for in the first place, right?
Plus, I can tell you have spent years on the “other side” of minimalism with four kids… If you simplify your home and live this out day to day, gifts cannot set you back!
You do not have to fret over the little things or stress out about how many presents your kids get for Christmas. When everything else is simplified, there’s room for holidays and birthdays and tokens of love from the people in your life. It is okay.
My advice to anyone looking to implement minimalism is this: walk away from the legalism of it.
Don’t count your things, don’t guard your home against gifts like a lioness defending her cubs. Just focus on simplifying what you can control and remember what matters most in this life- loving the people in it.
Allie Casazza is The Purposeful Housewife. She is all about helping you purge the clutter that’s clogging your joy, rediscover the purpose in your days, and live with intention. Learn more about Allie @thepurposefulhousewife.