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Mimimalist Mamas - Page 2

post #21 of 152
Thread Starter 

So what do you think about minimalism being pared with smaller living spaces? I get the sense that the two go hand in hand, but a teeny house isn't necessarily what I want. I like having a big yard and I want space for my kids to grow into giant teenagers and be able to have lots of friends over comfortably. But I don't want a house full of stuff at ALL. I'm just concerned that having a bigger house will inevitably mean more stuff. I'll have to work really hard to keep that from happening.

post #22 of 152

we are probably moving at the end of the year and I'm actually looking forward to it!  This will be the first move where not only do we not have too much stuff so packing will be easier, but everything already has a pre planned place because of organization so unpacking will go particularly fast.  I'm excited about how should we move, it'll be that much easier to move AND settle post move.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity View Post

Oh, and not dreading moving! I think packing will be pretty easy.



 

post #23 of 152

I think minimalism doesn't necessarily mean a small tiny space. I think an open, larger space would be nice too. I lived in a large loft and it was 1200 square feet, which is huge for just me at the time. I still kept it simple. Eventually, I would like to find an open concept home for me and my son. I want to have some gardens and give DS some space as he gets older and also, so he can have friends over. I would like him to have a room with double bunk beds, kind of like a summer camp feel and I would need a larger room for that.

post #24 of 152

agreed.  I've seen minimalists in quite large spaces.  I prefer smaller spaces myself.  Well, by local standards!  We're in 1560 square feet for a family of 5.  It's a great size for us, but I don't aim to fill it-thats for sure!

post #25 of 152

I'm loving this thread!  I've been lurking around the decluttering boards for years and years.  I'm a total minimalist who moved across the country in October and suddenly am swimming in stuff?  So I guess I'm back to aspiring, right now.  My DH and I have 6 kids, and stuff creeps back in at an alarming speed.  I'm getting ready to do a major purge this summer, now that I've recovered from the exhaustion of the move.

Our previous house was 3000 square feet plus garage and biggish yard.  Right now we are renting a house that is around 1200 square feet, no garage, and teeny yard.  I love it.  Everything is so manageable here. 

Eventually I want to post photos of our old house and new house on here.... I finally feel now like we *fit* in our space.  This house looks like someone lives here, LOL.  We had a lot of contractors in before we put our old house on the market  and the number 1 question they all asked was where to send the bill.  They all assumed no one lived there.  Didn't know whether to be proud or mortified:)

 

post #26 of 152

I have really loved reading this thread and have been crazily gobbling up some minimalist threads in teh last month. I am striving for a minimalist lifestyle, I definitely don't have one yet, but I am on my way. I live with my three boys (DH and two sons) and some days are easier than others. I feel like I have been on this path, but not getting much of anywhere. At least 7 years ago I started a simple living tribe here on MDC and since then back peddled considerably. I home schooled my oldest DS until this year (5th grade) and am homeschooling my youngest DS (5.5 yrs) for as long as it works... the homeschooling seemed to bring a lot of things into my home.

 

Well in the last 6 weeks I have gotten 3 full minivans worth of stuff out of here and I am still going. I am going through the long process of weeding out pictures, I am game to just throw most away, but DH wants no part of it. I love my boys, my hubby and my life and I want to spend very little/none of my time taking care of stuff. I have spent way too many hours taking care of it all.

 

I have made a oath to myself to not go to places like Target, unless I have a specific something I need. But what do I need, nothing really. I want to get my wardrobe down to basics and I am on my way. I have never spent much time "shopping" for clothes, I really can't stand malls and I detest folding aand putting away laundry. I love looking at the pictures I see on blogs of people who have very little... it feel "free" to me. Now how do I do it with my boys... my DH isn't really attched to his stuff, but dosn't want to give away his LP's (we don't have a record player and I can't see him ever buying one...EVER!!), he also has textbooks from college (he has been out 20 years), that he says are good reference for work... so I fret over that, but it is his stuff and as long as I don't have to move it or clean around it, I will be fine...

 

I have already been saving money. I don't buy books anymore, what is a library for? I dream though of having a nook or a kindle, I do love books.  I dream of living in a tiny space, but my boys are only going to get bigger and my DH isn't so keep on it. We will see. Next year I would love for my DH to work from "home" and take a year and live someplace that we can downsize and spend quality time with our boys in nature....

 

Well I have blah blahed  enough.... but I feel so passionate for my life that it becomes as minamalistic as it can be..... I love reading all of this. Thank you!

 

Kathleen

post #27 of 152

When yall purge, do you do yardsales? Craigslist? donate? If I can get some money for my stuff tha'd be great but I don't have a yard to do a yardsale. 

post #28 of 152

I could have spent the time getting ready for and having a garage sale when a bunch of my neighbors did a few weeks ago...but totally didn't wanna spend the time and energy on it...so off went bags of clothes to Goodwill and family. We will probably Craigslist the few salable furniture items and Freecycle the rest. The books, movies, and cd's we are listing on our blog http://brackandjulieselltheirstuff.blogspot.com and what doesn't sell there after a reasonable period of time will go to Half Price Books and I'll use whatever I can get for them to help get together my new basic minimalist wardrobe.

post #29 of 152

I'm here too :)

 

I'm a natural minimalist as well. I remember doing a purge and clear-out in my room as a kid.. as a child I loved to put all my important things in one bag :)

 

When I moved together with DH my minimalism got derailed a little bit, since I was a perfectionist and if I had to look at his crap around, why bother keeping up with my own? When I got DH into paring down too, things got so much better :)

 

Now we have a daughter and we live in 600 sf one-bedroom apartment, which I think is plenty spacious. We co-sleep but even when she wants her own bed/room, this amount of space is perfect. (The lay-out would probably not work as is though.) We rent and we will likely move out within two years, as then there will be a huge renovation in the building and we couldn't stay here while it's going on anyway. I'd eventually like a tiny house close to the sea.

 

I definitely like small living spaces and it's part of my minimalism and simple living.  It's more financially sane, it's more ecological and leaves a smaller footprint. Not to mention easy to clean, cozy etc. For wide open spaces I can go outside. There is no need to pay for, heat (cool), clean and maintain a huge empty space. And it would be empty because I'm a minimalistwild.gif

 

So I'm more into the radical minimalism and simplicity. I draw the line at still having our home feel homey and joyful to DD. I will not deny her toys and books, though we do keep a lid on accumulation and I'm teaching her about giving to others who don't have as much, or who might need the things we don't need anymore. I will also save a small box of mementos for her to look at later, including things from me, her grandma (who passed away the year she was born) and great grandma. 

 

Furniture, dishes, clothes, linens, towels, anything like that is always fair game and only stays if it genuinely deserves it's spot in our home, ie. is used frequently. We don't have a TV - but DD watches some selected children's programs over the internet. I don't drive a car though we recently bought a used car (DH wanted it) that we drive approximately once a week, visiting family. IL's live in a place where it would be impossible to go without a car, no public transport. DH bikes to work or uses public transport in the winter. I walk or use public transport.

 

I try to really think about purchases and only get necessities, and good quality, ethical, ecological stuff. 

 

I want to share something with you, I came across this today and it's just so heartbreaking, and makes me disgusted at all the inequality there is in the world. I want to cry.

 

http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/03/where-children-sleep.html

post #30 of 152

I have yardsaled twice, mostly Craigslist for the big stuff or I bundle like items as a group on Craigslist- children's toys, books, certain size clothing. The rest I have just donated. I figure it's good karma. : )

post #31 of 152

Some more questions/insights to ponder. orngtongue.gif

 

1. I have found that as I get older (approaching 40 here in a few years), I just seem to want less stuff naturally. I think I have made peace with the fact that I may never own a house (we have always rented) and the fact that I just don't have the energy nor the wish to decorate said home. I want things as simple as possible. It is reflecting in all parts of my life, from my hair (just cut it into a pixie and L O V E it, it was down to the middle of my back for years) to my clothes (less logos, more simple chic but fun) and even my spiritual side (religious beliefs and I am doing yoga consistently)...which brings me to the second part of this.

 

2. My relationship with my religious/spiritual side. I read my Bible (and y'all can insert whatever religion/spiritual/otherwise you follow here) and think about what would Jesus want me to do? Can I live a Jesus like way in this day? I look at the terrible natural disasters happening across the world and I just want to donate what I do have and be grateful. I know that sounds extreme, but again, it also goes back to #1 up there. I just don't need things to make me happy--I am all about experiences now and helping others, including myself and my son. Am I being realistic about this? How do I balance this with raising my son? That is one I am hard pressed for an answer right now.

 

Your lovely thoughts please. blowkiss.gif

post #32 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiniMum View Post

I'm here too :)

 

I'm a natural minimalist as well. I remember doing a purge and clear-out in my room as a kid.. as a child I loved to put all my important things in one bag :)

 

When I moved together with DH my minimalism got derailed a little bit, since I was a perfectionist and if I had to look at his crap around, why bother keeping up with my own? When I got DH into paring down too, things got so much better :)

 

Now we have a daughter and we live in 600 sf one-bedroom apartment, which I think is plenty spacious. We co-sleep but even when she wants her own bed/room, this amount of space is perfect. (The lay-out would probably not work as is though.) We rent and we will likely move out within two years, as then there will be a huge renovation in the building and we couldn't stay here while it's going on anyway. I'd eventually like a tiny house close to the sea.

 

I definitely like small living spaces and it's part of my minimalism and simple living.  It's more financially sane, it's more ecological and leaves a smaller footprint. Not to mention easy to clean, cozy etc. For wide open spaces I can go outside. There is no need to pay for, heat (cool), clean and maintain a huge empty space. And it would be empty because I'm a minimalistwild.gif

 

So I'm more into the radical minimalism and simplicity. I draw the line at still having our home feel homey and joyful to DD. I will not deny her toys and books, though we do keep a lid on accumulation and I'm teaching her about giving to others who don't have as much, or who might need the things we don't need anymore. I will also save a small box of mementos for her to look at later, including things from me, her grandma (who passed away the year she was born) and great grandma. 

 

Furniture, dishes, clothes, linens, towels, anything like that is always fair game and only stays if it genuinely deserves it's spot in our home, ie. is used frequently. We don't have a TV - but DD watches some selected children's programs over the internet. I don't drive a car though we recently bought a used car (DH wanted it) that we drive approximately once a week, visiting family. IL's live in a place where it would be impossible to go without a car, no public transport. DH bikes to work or uses public transport in the winter. I walk or use public transport.

 

I try to really think about purchases and only get necessities, and good quality, ethical, ecological stuff. 

 

I want to share something with you, I came across this today and it's just so heartbreaking, and makes me disgusted at all the inequality there is in the world. I want to cry.

 

http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/03/where-children-sleep.html


I hear ya'. I would like a super small place for all those reasons but I feel that while I'm raising kids it's not just up to me. My kids like having more space, especially in the summer because it's too hot to play outside. I absolutely forsee DH and I settling into something tiny once our kids aren't living at home anymore.

 

I've seen that link before, pretty sobering for sure.

 

 

 

post #33 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LVNTEXAS View Post

Some more questions/insights to ponder. orngtongue.gif

 

1. I have found that as I get older (approaching 40 here in a few years), I just seem to want less stuff naturally. I think I have made peace with the fact that I may never own a house (we have always rented) and the fact that I just don't have the energy nor the wish to decorate said home. I want things as simple as possible. It is reflecting in all parts of my life, from my hair (just cut it into a pixie and L O V E it, it was down to the middle of my back for years) to my clothes (less logos, more simple chic but fun) and even my spiritual side (religious beliefs and I am doing yoga consistently)...which brings me to the second part of this.

 

2. My relationship with my religious/spiritual side. I read my Bible (and y'all can insert whatever religion/spiritual/otherwise you follow here) and think about what would Jesus want me to do? Can I live a Jesus like way in this day? I look at the terrible natural disasters happening across the world and I just want to donate what I do have and be grateful. I know that sounds extreme, but again, it also goes back to #1 up there. I just don't need things to make me happy--I am all about experiences now and helping others, including myself and my son. Am I being realistic about this? How do I balance this with raising my son? That is one I am hard pressed for an answer right now.

 

Your lovely thoughts please. blowkiss.gif

I've been trying to find the words to respond to this because I know what you mean. For me, minimalism has created the space for me to spend more time within myself, developing my thoughts and feelings about my spiritual side. I haven't come to any conclusions yet, but the connection between minimalism and spirituality is there for sure!

 

I'm all about living my own ideals and giving my kids the space to find their own. They grow up exposed to the way I live my life and I can share my feelings about things if they are interested but I'm not pedaling a minimalist agenda or anything. I think you can donate all YOUR things to help people but still support his desire to own things.

 

post #34 of 152

Kids need a certain amount of space to play for sure, but it's the same thing as with toys, they need SOME but not TONS. I grew up in 1200 sf house with a family of five (since my sister was six and I was four, before that we had a much smaller apartment). I always thought our house was big. We did have a yard but also extreme four season climate so sometimes it was just too cold or rainy to want to play outside much. All of us kids had our own room even. Still,  I can imagine having lived in less space as a child and been completely happy. A lot of people do.

 

 

We often think we and our kids NEED this and that, and justify spending money and so forth (they are only young once..), though it's really about choices, about what you want and choose to have in your life.

If you lost your big home for some reason, your kids would adjust to a smaller place just fine.But I guess just trying to convince older kids out of the blue that it's a good  idea to downsize, might not be easy:) And I understand that not everyone wants to go super tiny.. but I really think most of "Western" world  overestimates their need for space.

 

It also comes down to whether you are minimalist for practical and aesthetic purposes, or for ecological and ethical reasons as well.

 

It's not always easy to find a good balance of living according to ones convictions in our culture. But for me, yes, keeping my religious beliefs in my mind helps. It helps me not get bogged down when losing money because of something stupid or getting ambitious about my art career or greedy for newer and bigger and better. I don't like a lot of stuff, but my issue is with wanting good quality, and the perfect thing (a flair of perfectionism). So I'm mostly working on that now and I've come a long way. But it does help me to when I actually NEED something, to go for good quality and something I really like, so it's a keeper and not a future declutter item.

 

I volunteered briefly in an orphanage, and in a way I'd love to move somewhere to do just that sort of thing. But I don't feel right taking DD away from extended family now that she is just getting to know them. She is 2 1/2 but has been very slow to let anyone besides mommy and daddy in her little world. But it might be something we'd do at a later point in life. But even if we don't have a chance to so actively help right now, we can choose not to be a part of the problem, overconsuming, living and buying unsustainably. I'm far from perfect but yes, I do think about it a lot, and strive to do better.

 

 

 

 

post #35 of 152

Thanks ladies. Very thought provoking. I was thinking about this some more last night. When I was little, I was most happy with just my Barbies and pretending to be a Vet to my animals. I would carry my Bible and some books up into a notch in my favorite tree and felt so happy. I want my son to have that same feeling and I think he does. He really doesn't ask for things. He might see something out of Oh there it is in front of me but he has never thrown a fit about not getting something. He gets more upset when he can't play long at the park or in the water- simple things. Might it be genetic??? love.gif

 

The happiest I ever saw him was when we went on vacation and stayed in an extend a stay hotel. We swam, walked, looked at the local attractions and he only had one small duffle bag of clothes and a few toys. Boy- that kiddo slept and his personality was so much better. He gets bored quickly, so I think the adventure is in his soul- it helps his soul.

 

I will be 49 when he graduates from high school. I am thinking for my 50th, I want to do something big- as in either give what I do have to DS, if he wants it or sell it or just donate it all and travel the US and I really want to go to France, Greece, Italy and the Caribbean. I don't want to have a place to upkeep- maybe something like that extend a stay in my favorite spots or even if I am still working, some other alternative- renting a furnished spot for short term lease. I would actually like to travel for my job, which I could do after DS is grown up. I would love that!!!

 

I think it would be easy for me, as I have no attachment issues. I sold my wedding ring after I got divorced and it didn't effect me like I thought it would. I have sold or donated family heirlooms (after many arguments over trying to give them back) without hesitation. When I had a home, when I didn't want something anymore, I would just sell or donate it. My only "rules" for myself are I like to be comfortable- clothing and a comfy bed (I have a down comforter that could smoosh down to fit in a bag and a nice pillow) and I like access to farmer markets for fresh fruits and vegetables. I also like to walk and swim. I think these things can be done anywhere. Oh--and I like my hi heels for work. wink1.gif I truly think this was how I was meant to live and with my son, I am being given an awesome opportunity right now.

 

When I divorced, I was a little scared because of the way I chose for us to live. But now, I couldn't be happier and I find I am not so worried anymore.

 

 

post #36 of 152

I love the book series that the link above posts to -- about how people all over the world live differently. It's amazing to me. My husband and I saw an exhibit at the Chicago airport about how families live and sleep all over the world, and we were really inspired to think beyond our modern, US ideas of what kids "need."

 

What I see kids "need" is love. And Lots of it. bedrooms, toys, space -- are all trumped by love. 

post #37 of 152
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

I love the book series that the link above posts to -- about how people all over the world live differently. It's amazing to me. My husband and I saw an exhibit at the Chicago airport about how families live and sleep all over the world, and we were really inspired to think beyond our modern, US ideas of what kids "need."

 

What I see kids "need" is love. And Lots of it. bedrooms, toys, space -- are all trumped by love. 

 

I guess this is where I jump ship because my parenting diverges from most minimalists. lol.gif I think a lot of disrespect happens in the name of love. I think kids need a lot more than to be loved. Lots of parents love their kids but that doesn't mean their needs are met. I think kids have the right to decide what they need; I think ALL humans do! I think if it's not OK to tell your husband that he needs to get rid of his cherished collection of x, y or z then it's not OK to make your kids get rid of their belongings either, or restrict the amount of things they can have. I just think 'needs' should be left up to individuals to decide, children included.

I love that I've learned about minimalism and gotten to a place of comfort with it and knowing it's right for *me*. But I don't presume it's right for everyone.
 

 

post #38 of 152

I think you missed my meaning. :)

 

In my circles, a baby needs it's own room with a crib, a changing table, storage for the toys, books, games, clothes and other objects. There needs to be a mobile, a rocking chair of some kind, and then decorate around that. You need a minivan, a stroller, a jogging stroller too. You need to have a house with a yard. You need to make sure that the kid has the following other objects: a-z. Yuo need to. . .. 

 

I have friends who have 3-4 pack-n-plays for 1 baby. One for upstairs, one for down, one at grandmas, and one in the car just in case. It's a minivan, so you can do that.

 

When I saw the exhibit, what i saw were families living in one-bedroom apartments, in yurts, in small homes, in "huts," in cottages, in standard US homes, in all kinds of ways. I saw that there were families that had far much less stuff, but what I didn't see was suffering. I didn't see Mongolian families freaking out because everyone slept in one room! and that room was sleeping quarters at night and living/cooking quarters by day. I didn't see the italian family upset that their small cottage had a room shared by two children of different sexes. No one was suffering because they took public transport and didn't have an SUV or minivan.

 

What I took away from it is that the standard idea about what a child "needs" is cultural, and that what they really need is *love*. The romanian boy in the link above lives with his family on the streets of Rome. While I work, hope, and pray that all children will have access to clean water, food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and education, I am thankful that this child is still with his parents who love him.

 

Of course, this is barring "what is done in the name of love" that is abusive, or abuse outright. 

 

But I know that I love my son dearly, and while it might be nice that he lives in the 5th Ave NYC apartment and goes to an expensive school and has every object he could ever desire for himself, it is simply not my lifestyle, nor one that I could afford. And it creates suffering for me if I design my life in a way that I cannot provide the financial security that is afforded us by living simply.

 

I do not ask my son to get rid of anything he isn't ready to let go of, and being only 2.75, he doesn't notice much. When a toy breaks, i cull it with the recent declutter, and he'll say "do you remember my truck? it broke." And I say yes and we share a memory about the truck, and I explain that it was broken and so had to be let go of. I also fix toys that can be fixed, btw. 

 

 

People are questioning how we live now -- in a one bedroom apartment -- and how we are going to move into the cottage. "It doesn't have a Yard!" and so on is the common refrain. But it's on the beach, near the park, near the kindy, near the play centre, and near many friends. Does he need a big yard?

 

I admit, If i could afford the 1.5 million dollar cottage a few blocks down, that's about 800 sq ft and has a lovely fenced yard, then great -- I would live there. But i can't. I can afford the $1000 mo rental down the street with just a courtyard and a tiny second bedroom that he will move into when he is ready. 

 

And that was my point. Ultimately, he'll design his own life. But so long as I'm footing the bill, I have to take into consideration everyone's needs -- our family's financial security is more important than how my son determines whether or not he needs a "collection" of objects. Also, I, too, have the right to live by my own designs and comforts -- which means NOT being taken over by another's clutter and collections -- this includes DH. We have to work together and negotiate how we want to live together. 

 

Hope that makes sense.

 

 

post #39 of 152

Very true seredipity. I think everyone is in their own unique situation. My ex certainly didn't want the whole minimalist thing, so I lived with my stuff, by example. Now I talk with DS alot about donating for others who are less fortunate and really playing with what he loves. Right now, he has a few things I would glady get rid of, but he loves them and is playing with them, so it's a compromise, which is a great life lesson. The most important lesson I can give him is to love those around him, be honest, be NICE and be giving. Yes, I have to do the normal parent thing of keeping him on the education track and going through the normal throes of being a kid. : )

post #40 of 152

Ok..another thought to ponder...dizzy.gif

 

Do you think minimalism is a fad or people are just doing it a temporary means to get somewhere else and will go back to their previous ways?

 

To me, no, minimalism is my life, it's in my soul, it's part of who I am. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true. It is the one of several things in my life that makes me feel so free and happy. It might be that I think non-traditionally, as compared to most people I know. I don't want the house with the picket fence, I like my career and I like to travel with my DS and I don't want to wait until I am 65 to do those things when I can live simple now and have those experiences and still have some money in the bank. I thought I would feel weird about my lifestyle until I realized that it is just one thing that is different about me from my friends. We still talk about art, music, movies, OUR KIDDOS, etc...so I have relaxed a lot about it.

 

This definitely is not about a number either for me. I am making note of everything we own but only for the fun of it and to see what we own. I am a list girl, so this is right up my alley. I think if I wasn't working in such a formal environment, I could easily purge another 85 things without thinking about it. Also, we like to be outdoors, so that accounts for a higher count. BUT I have come a long way from the 3 bedroom home that wasn't stuffed but certainly, we used all the spaces for something.

 

I don't see myself EVER going back there. I do ponder buying a small home or even townhouse (leaning toward the townhouse) but even that is changing as I get older. I am actually looking at even buying a one bedroom on the 8th floor of a building that has spectacular views. I could own it and it can be my launch pad for my future travel plans. This sounds fun to me. luxlove.gif

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