How to live a minimalist lifestyle with a large family

Do you have a large family but find yourself dreaming of a simpler, less hectic household? Do you constantly feel like you are whipping out your credit card, bending over to pick up toys, or spending every waking moment doing laundry? Parents of many kids know the struggle of trying to keep a home minimal and tidy, while dealing with many children running around, toys everywhere, and what seems like constant requirements for spending money, outings, and endless expenses. You might think to yourself that it’s next to impossible to live a minimalistic life with a large family – but fear not, you too can live minimally, even if you are raising your own modern-day Brady Bunch.

Minimalist living refers to living a purposeful life. It means that you take actions with actual intentions, are mindful of your purchases, and apply gratitude to what you already have. As a large family, minimalist living comes in handy because it is a great way to cut down the costs you incur, and the unnecessary efforts you output. It encourages you to take stock of what you have, what your family wants, what your family needs, and what you truly can live without. For many people, minimalist living isn’t just about saving money – its about cutting out the unnecessary ‘stuff’ so you can live a life with more clarity and gratitude. 

Less toys = more time!

Lots of little people in a household means lots of messes. The fewer things you have, the fewer items there will be to clean and put away on a regular basis - this equals more time. Consider how many hours you spend per week tidying up toys – probably a lot! You can get them involved by encouraging them to see the bigger picture too – less time tidying their own toys means more time for play. Have them pair down what they truly love with the stuff they can live without. Giving their unwanted toys to children in need is something they can appreciate – it's all in how you frame it.

Reduce gifting your kids "stuff" when you want to reward them.

Kids don’t need the hottest new “thing” – they may want it, but they certainly don’t need it. What children really want and need is time and affection from you. Rather than resorting to giving them a physical gift when you want to reward them, think of non-tangible ways you can reward them instead. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that children who receive more material rewards end up being materialistic. Makes sense, doesn’t it?  So, to avoid that, start thinking of ways you can show them praise and affection that doesn't involve making a purchase. Take them to the library, cook with them, do some fun low-cost crafts, or just go outside and PLAY! 

Cut down on clothes and consider capsule wardrobes.

Chances are good that if you have a large family, you’re probably already doing a lot of hand-me-downs. If you’re not, then you absolutely should. Assuming clothes are still in good condition, there’s no reason that they cant be reused. Cutting out unnecessary spending on lots clothes is a quick way to reduce financial burdens of buying new outfits for each child, each season, and it also reduces the the cost and time of doing laundry - thats a WIN WIN! A new trend we love is capsule wardrobes for children - to learn more about what this is and how to apply it in your large household – read this blog here

Less expensive outings, and more family time in nature. 

Living minimally happens inside the home, and also outside. If you are planning a large family vacation this year, perhaps instead of taking your children to Disney World you could go on a camping trip instead. Camping is an excellent way for a large household to 'getaway' without all the trappings of an expensive vacation.  They'll connect with nature, appreciate the truly important aspects of life, and you'll build family memories for a lifetime.

Once you start applying these small changes you will notice an immense difference in your quality of life and your families. You'll see how little sacrifice it is to really pare down to the essentials, and how those things didn't bring you or your children real joy. Your kids will be happier because they'll see you more happy - and that really is what minimalism is all about - cutting out the 'stuff' so we can find what makes us truly more happy, grateful, and content with what we have. 

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