Have you ever thought about living a more minimalist life, but not quite made a start? After all it’s quite hard to know where to begin and everything else in life seems to take priority.
I’m really happy to bring to you an interview with Beth from Someday Slower, who has totally nailed minimalist whilst being a mother. I find her philosophy almost like a detox for mind and I'm sure her answers below can add something to your New Years resolutions.
You say mothers more than anyone else need to simplify their lives to be more present with their children. What would you say to mothers who are not quite convinced that owning less stuff will help?
I think that mothers need minimalism more than anyone and in a world of more, more, more, we have so much to gain from simplifying our homes, our lives and pursuing a life of less.
Look at it like this; everything in our home takes up our time, every single thing.
Every pot, pan, jumper and book takes something from us and it may only be five minutes here, tidying away some books and ten minutes there, cleaning up those extra pans but if you add up all of those 5 minutes, over a day, a week, a year or a lifetime, that’s a lot of time spent, on things that we might not even need and that’s just the small items.
Our stuff is stealing our time, time that could be better spent with our families. A mothers time is incredibly precious, let’s not waste it taking care of things, that we don’t even need.
It’s a very common idea that you cannot be minimalist as a parent. I’m still getting used to this thought myself. What is your advice to parents who don’t know where to start?
Just start. I know that sounds obvious but starting is one of the hardest parts of all and once you’ve made the decision to simplify, you are already half way there. I would always advise to start with you and your things because even if you think that it’s the toys causing clutter, we only need to look in our wardrobes and kitchen cupboards to know that we have belongings that we no longer love, use and need. And once you start decluttering your stuff, most of the time - your children will follow.
What would be the best approach to have less toys in the house?
Depending on the child’s age, I would go slowly. As I said previously, start with you and talk to your child about what you will gain as a family, by simplifying. Our children copy what we do, far more than what we say, so lead by example! I also find that it’s a really good idea to have designated spaces for toys, such as a basket or shelves, as you can visually see that there is no room for more.
If your child is resistant to decluttering and is of an age that can understand, talk about donating to children who have less. Children are empathetic and love gifting their no longer played with toys to those in need, so make it an act of kindness rather than a chore.
And if they still don’t want to part with their things, I wouldn’t worry. It has taken us this long to realise that less is good for us, so we can’t expect our children to understand straight away and the same goes for partners/husbands.
And the easy answer to more coming in - is to stop buying stuff in the first place. Our children may want more things but it’s us buying it and bringing it in, no matter how good our intentions are. Once you start changing your family values a little and place an emphasis on experiences over things, you will notice a change in how many items enter your home.
How to become minimalist when working full time.
Working full time and decluttering can definitely be achieved, it just may take a little longer that’s all. Set aside some time, maybe weekend mornings, or 20 minutes a day either before or after work. Remember that any time spent decluttering, even ten minutes a day adds up and pushes you further towards your goal of less.
It may seem like you can’t find the time now but if you can’t find the time, that probably means that you really do have too much stuff. And although decluttering may seem like a chore to fit in, it will result in more life once it is done. And it is worth the extra hours now, for a lifetime of more right?!
You have been on this journey of simplifying your life for two years now. What are the most important things for yourself that you have found?
I have found myself through minimalism which sounds corny but true. You see clutter isn’t just physical items, it’s thoughts, ideals and other peoples opinions. Once you take away all that is not meant for you, you are left with the truest version of who you are - the you that was buried underneath all of your stuff. Simplifying my life has had a profound effect on me, both physically and mentally.
I not only decluttered my home when I minimised, I simplified my calendar, my commitments and my values. I have never been the mother who could do everything but I certainly felt like a failure, when I couldn’t do it all. Through simplifying I realised that I didn’t have to. I only had to keep the things that mattered to me and my family and the time that I have gained, is immense.
Minimalist is all about having less, but would you say that there are some things one definitely needs to have a minimalist life?
All you need to live a minimalist life is intention. You can have all of the things in the world, or none of the things but if you are not living a life of intention, it doesn’t matter how many items you own. Minimalism is portrayed as a life of less, white walls, hard furniture and few things but to me it is a home full of love, rather than a home full of stuff. It is a riot of colour from the places we go, to the memories we keep. And at its core, minimalism the mindset of finding the more of less.
Who has been your inspiration?
My biggest inspiration has been the Minimalists and their documentary ‘Minimalism A Documentary About The Important Things’, along with their book ‘Minimalism Live a Meaningful Life.’
How do you treat yourself?
I treat myself by accepting and loving who I am. Long baths and manicures are all well and good but if you don’t like the body that you are treating, it’s not really much fun at all.
I no longer need to buy a new dress, or more shoes to treat myself because I now know, that I am enough just as I am. And If I do want a physical treat, I curl up with a good book, or gather my family together for a walk by the sea.
Any recipe to share with us?
I am not the best cook in the world but I am good at making a traditional roast dinner for Sunday lunch. I love the idea of coming together, eating and talking over marinated honey roast carrots and peppered buttery mash. I then enjoy cooking the leftovers in a pan the next day, it’s basically a giant hug on a plate.
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