by Leo Babauta
I’ve often been asked, “How can you be a minimalist with six kids? I only have two kids, help me!”
It can be pretty hilarious calling yourself a minimalist when you have six kids … but 1) I didn’t become minimalist until after I had the kids, and 2) anyone can be a minimalist, it’s a mindset not a matter of being perfect at it.
Let me repeat that: anyone can be a minimalist. It just means you’re trying to opt out of consumerism, trying to be more mindful of how you live your life, and trying to figure out what’s important and what’s not.
So if you have kids, try this:
What you don’t want to do is try to get down to almost zero possessions. It’s not recommended, and for most people who live with other people, it’s not even possible. We just can’t control other people’s possessions, and living together is always about the art of compromise.
What you don’t want to do is try to force your spouse or kids. They will resent you, you will probably fail, and even if you don’t, you’re not teaching them how to let go of consumerist desires … you’re just teaching them what a jerk you are. And possibly that they should hide their things from you so you don’t toss them out!
Instead of forcing, talk to them. Have ongoing conversations. Be patient and compassionate. Remember what it was like when you didn’t care about minimalism.
Make it a game, or a challenge, or a fun family activity, to see what you can donate to needier families, to try to have fun without spending money. Explore, play, breathe.
To be honest, my journey with my family hasn’t been “perfect” … I don’t even think that exists. We’ve had a bumpy road, but I’ve enjoyed the journey.