One of the biggest benefits of a minimalist mindset is how it brings a family closer together.
When one is immersed in clutter and seemingly endless activities it can be hard to see the benefits of changing. But now that we’re on “the other side”, with a freed up schedule and far less material goods in our home, the difference is really amazing.
I remember sitting with my kids and being torn, it reminds me of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof:
“Oh, the house is really a mess, I should do something about it.”
“On the other hand, I need to spend time with my kids.”
“On the other hand, I can’t relax in this pig sty.”
“On the other hand, the kids aren’t going to be with me forever.”
And on and on it would go in my mind while I tried to be present in my children’s lives.
That’s when minimalism came into my life.
And boy, is it different now! I can be present, with my children, reading books, playing games and learning together, without being distracted by all the stuff.
Less fighting all the way around- the kids play together better, they don’t freak out because they lost pieces of toys. We don’t argue about who is going to pick up. I don’t have to threaten that I’m going to suck up all their toys with the vacuum. (As I roll the vacuum cleaning toto the middle of the living room floor…)
Since there aren’t items covering the floor and surfaces are clear, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting all take less time. Much. Less. Time.
More Time to be Together
Since we freed up our schedule, we don’t have activities going on every single night. I am not rushed to get dinner made, so I can take time to have the kids help me. They love cooking with me. We have time to take walks together or ride bikes, play at the park or take off for a day hike out of town.
All the relationship gurus talk about how important it is to share a meal as a family. Since simplifying our schedule, we have made family mealtime a top priority. In fact, we’ve limited so much outside activities, we typically sit down for dinner together every evening.
Time to Talk
All of the above means we generally have more time. More time to listen. With having teenagers, I realize it’s a blessing anytime they share things. When one is too busy, we don’t always notice when something is bothering our kids, we also are crazy and frantic and they won’t want to “interrupt”. Just being with our kids helps them to open up and share what is on their heart.
Many minimalists find that once they remove all the excess material goods, they really don’t need so much space in their homes and they downsize. Having a small home means you can’t hide from each other, which means we’re forced to interact and resolve any differences. We have to learn to get along and live with each other. Here are 12 Reasons Why You’ll Be Happier in a Smaller Home by Joshua Becker.
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