Family Minimalism – Have Fewer Things and Share More Love

Minimalist lifestyles are not just for singles or young married couples without children.  Keep reading to find out more about how you and your family can start taking steps to declutter and simplify your lives with family minimalism.

Minimalism is a unique way of life that focuses on simplicity, experiences, and happiness. Family minimalism involves the whole family, even kids, in decluttering and simplifying a household and embracing quality over quantity. When everyone shares in the joy of this lifestyle, it benefits everyone in incredible ways.

Have you ever wanted to simplify your home or your life?  Felt like everywhere you look there are kids’ toys and you’re drowning?  Perhaps I can interest you in learning about family minimalism.  Read on to see if family minimalism is something you’d be interested in!

What is Family Minimalism?

Minimalism is a life defined by simplicity and fewer possessions.  Therefore, family minimalism is the practice of a simpler life by intentional ownership that includes all members of the family.

Family minimalism is an approach to simplifying and decluttering family life. It involves prioritizing meaningful connections, experiences, and well-being over buying material possessions. It is a lifestyle that emphasizes the value of simplicity, intentionality, and creating a nurturing environment where families can thrive and focus their relationships with each other.

Minimal desk in family bedroom - Family Minimalism - Gone Minimal
Minimal desk in family bedroom

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is an approach to living that focuses mainly on happiness and experiences. It often involves getting rid of clutter, focusing on quality over quantity, experinences over things, and a general preference for clean, simple spaces.

What Is a Minimalist Person?

A person who practices minimalism lives simply and intentionally through less possessions and more passion for life.  They prefer to spend more time and energy on people and family members than smartphones and laptops.

What Is the Value of a Minimalist Lifestyle?

The minimalist lifestyle is one that does not accumulate clutter, prioritizes quality versus quantity, and focus on the right things in life.  You might even say it is an emotionally fulfilling lifestyle rather than a life of luxury.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Minimalism?

Minimalism has its advantages in that there’s less possessions, less clutter, and generally less stress.  There’s potential for more money saved as well as time for the important things.

Disadvantages include being a difficult lifestyle to embrace in the beginning, there are no rules, and many people just don’t understand it as a lifestyle choice.


A person who practices minimalism lives simply and intentionally through less possessions and more passion for life. 

Why Is Minimalism So Popular Now?

We live in challenging and hectic times marked by stress and needing to own the “latest things”.  Many become tired of the “rat race” and striving for perfection that inevitably ends in failure, and turn to minimalism to simplify their lives.  It’s hip to live with less stuff and more purpose!

Are Minimalists Happier?

This is a good question that is not simply answered.  The question lies in WHY people become minimalists.  If it is done out of choice, more often than not it leads to increased happiness.  On the other hand, sometimes this lifestyle choice is out of necessity due to loss of a job, relocation, family dynamics, and many other reasons.  This does not necessarily lead to increased happiness.

How Can Minimalism Make You More Productive?

When you’re a minimalist you generally have less clutter, which means less cleaning and organizing, hence more time for other things.  This could be time for crafting, gardening, exercise, or whatever your heart desires-hence the possibility of increased productivity.

How Do I Become a Minimalist?

It all starts with decreasing the clutter.  You don’t need possessions for happiness, so pare down the stuff.  Consider moving to a smaller house or apartment, or even cutting ties with cable tv.  Think about all of the things in your life you can live without and do away with them.  There are no rules-you get to decide what to keep and what to donate/sell/discard.  If it makes you happy and decreases the stress and chaos in your life, embrace it!

Minimal kitchen - Family Minimalism - Gone Minimal
Minimal kitchen

Applying Minimalism to Family Life

There are many ways that a minimalist lifestyle can be paraticed within families of all sizes. The joys and benefits can be shared as the habits formed through minimalist living can last a lifetime.

How Do You Become a Minimalist With a Family?

Kids (and babies) can make this a challenge-but it is possible!  Especially with first time parents and babies, you have to learn what you actually need to safely and effectively care for infants.  Talk to other parents (before you register for everything in the baby supply store!) about what is necessary and what is fluff.  Then as your children grow, teach them the difference between “need” and “want”.  

How Do You Simplify Family Life?

It has to be a team effort with all members involved.  Begin by getting rid of the things you don’t need through garage sales, donations, or trash.  Cut the cable cord and focus on quality family time.  Try less physical gifts and more experiential gifts (i.e. tickets to movies, bowling, vacations, etc.).  

Large vs. Small Family Minimalism 

Becoming a minimalist family is challenging with a small family, but even more so with a large family.  It’s imperative to have all members actively involved and in agreement with the initiative to be a minimalist family.  As parents, be sure to set the example with organizing, decluttering, and talking to the children about the process.  It can be done and you’ll find it’s worth it!

Small Changes Minimalist Family

Like anything in life, change can be hard.  So it’s important to start small.  Try using categories to start the process:

  • Papers
  • Toys
  • Clothing
  • Sheets/blankets
  • Closets
  • Bedrooms

Notice how even the categories start out small and expand!  Try this in your own home and see how it works.  You may even find that only a few small changes make the improvements in your lives that you and your family are looking for!  

The Minimalist Family Home

Minimalist does not necessarily mean blank white walls with barely any furniture!  Different families have varied tastes-and what means minimalist to one family does not mean the same to another.  The most important thing is putting more value in quality than in quantity.  The minimalist family home has the necessities as well as some extras, but you’ll find way less clutter.  And less clutter means less cleaning, less stress, and more joy!

Minimal style home - Family Minimalism - Gone Minimal
Minimal style home

Minimalism with Kids

Minimalism and Mother/Fatherhood

Raising children is a challenging adventure, and surprisingly minimalism doesn’t make it more challenging!  Minimalism can also increase that quality time that we as mothers and fathers need to spend with our children.  If anything, raising children in a minimalist home can be much easier due to the fact that there’s less clutter to mess with!  

Why Minimalism is Good for Kids

Kids who are raised in the typical household learn to place more value on quantity over quality.  When you start early with teaching children minimalism, you raise a child who is more in touch with what is actually important in life-family.  They grow up having more appreciation for experiences and adventure rather than always having the latest and greatest technology at their fingertips.  Besides that, who doesn’t want more well-rounded kids who don’t ask you to buy everything under the sun?

Minimalist Child Rearing

If you’ve had children, you know babies can need what feels like a great deal of stuff.  There’s the crib, playpen, Moses basket, port-a-crib, highchair, booster chair, changing table, and on and on!  In the grand scheme of things, much of that stuff is simply not necessary!  You probably figured out over time that you really just needed to get rid of all of the clunky baby stuff, not buy 57 summer onesies, and put a pad on your bed to change your baby’s diapers.  Then you could find you spend less time cleaning and more time teaching your child the ways of the world.

How Do You Simplify Your Life With Kids?

Start with the small stuff.  Kids don’t need a great deal to be happy-and you set the example.  Turn off the tv so they don’t see the commercials for the latest automated toys they just don’t need.  Teach them the value of money and what buying stuff does to it.  Demonstrate that spending time together is more fun and rewarding than owning all of the action figures, playing video games, or even watching others streaming themselves playing video games!

Minimalism with a Baby/Toddler/Teenager

When raising a baby as a minimalist, you will figure out that the diaper bag, the bag for baby food and bottles, the bag for toys, the fancy stroller, the jogging stroller, and the bike stroller are just not needed.  You pare down all of the belongings and supplies to what is absolutely required-the basics.

Toddlers need surprisingly little to maintain happiness!  Don’t give in to the tantrums-those too will pass.  Distraction is key to maintaining minimalism with toddlers.  In many cases they would prefer playing in the sandbox than with a giant pile of stuffed toys!

If you’ve started them out young, teenagers can be minimalists with ease.  However, if you’re starting the minimalist journey with teenagers, it may be a challenge.  Social media and teenage friends can be a constant source of stress and comparison, so set a consistent example as this is the most important thing!  There will be pushback with teenagers, but it will be worth it in the long run.  Show them how to budget and save, declutter and organize, and simplify and it will benefit them greatly in the long run.

Three Major Benefits of Family Minimalism 

  1. More Time – When practicing family minimalism, you’ll find you have more time.  This is because less clutter, less belongings leads to less time spent cleaning and organizing everything!  You may even find that less purchases means less work time needed to support your lifestyle-which is a bonus!
  2. More Money – If you’re practicing minimalism, you’re spending less money on “stuff”.  This means more money in your pockets and more potential for fun things like experiences and vacations!
  3. Less Stress – Minimalism means less time worrying about cleaning and organizing your home.  You will find you have more time to spend enjoying your family rather than tidying up every day!

Minimalist Benefit Potential for Families

Potential Time Savings Per YearPotential Cost Savings Per Year
One vehicle instead of two – carpool/work from homeUp to 500 hours (based on 1 hour commute one way)$1,200 average yearly savings on liability insurance, $1,500 average yearly savings on fuel costs
Buying food in bulk15 hours$230 (*based on a family of 3)
Ditch the fancy coffee50 hours (based on commute and wait time)2 fancy coffees 5 days a week can cost $3,640/year
Gym membership52 hours (based on commute 3 days per week)$500 per year average yearly savings
Gently used clothingAverage of 50% savings when purchasing used baby and children’s clothingAbout $600 annual savings per child and 20 hours per year (based on 2 children)
Forgo the credit debt12 hours (reviewing bills and budgeting for payments)Average $600 annual savings in interest payments

Helpful Insights:

Kids learn more with fewer toys than with more.  Your kids will become more creative, healthier, and develop more meaningful relationships with others when they are not surrounded with toys.  This will help them be better friends, team players, and people in general with a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalist families have better relationships with each other utilizing this lifestyle.  There is less concern around cleaning, organizing, and owning stuff which leads to less stress.  Happy kids equals happy parents which means more quality time and fun activities!

Families who adventure together have stronger bonds.  Don’t spend your money on extra clothing, a television in every room, or multiple video game systems.  Save that money and go on a family trip to create memories.  These will last a whole lot longer than that brand name purse.

Minimalist families have better relationships with each other utilizing this lifestyle. 

Tips on Decluttering

Minimalism and Decluttering

Minimalism may not be for everyone-but you can start with decluttering.  You’ve probably got some things around the house that just take up space, which could be considered clutter.  Start with identifying the clutter and deciding if you really need it.  Decluttering is the first step in the journey that is minimalism.

What Does Declutter Mean?

To declutter is to rid yourself of the possessions you have collected over the years because it reminds you of something or someone.  It’s paring down the stuff that doesn’t serve a purpose in your life other than to sit on a shelf and collect dust.  Decluttering also means clearing your mind of the negative thoughts, focusing on the now, and being present in the moment instead of distracted.

What Happens to Your Brain When You Declutter?

Decluttering means less chaos, less responsibility, less cleaning, and more peace.  The brain can focus better on what is important in life which leads to less stress.  Mental peace is much more beneficial than clutter!

Why Is It So Hard to Declutter?

It’s difficult to declutter because we tend to collect things that have personal meaning.  We assimilate feelings and emotions to certain belongings, which leads to feelings of fear of letting go.  If I donate the teddy bear my grandmother gave me when I was 5, I risk losing that memory of her, right?  Not at all!  You can retain memories without retaining stuff.  You can choose to hold on to fewer cherished items to declutter without emotional pain.

How Do You Let Go Of Something You Don’t Use?

Don’t hold on to things because you “might need them in the future”.  If you haven’t used it in 6 months, you don’t need it.  Remember the saying, “out of sight out of mind”?  If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t used it-so let go of it!

How Do You Declutter When Overwhelmed?

 Always start small.  Begin with a single room, one where you generally spend the most time, and throw away the old magazines and junk mail.  Once you get started you’ll find it gets easier-but go at your own pace and if it gets to be too much, take a break or ask for help.

Here is a helpful video demonstrating smart storage ideas to help declutter your living space.

Get Help From Dawn Madsen “The Minimal Mom”

Who Is the Minimal Mom?

Dawn Madsen is a blogger, wife, and mom of four young children who shares insight on how she became a family minimalist and maintains the lifestyle.

The Minimal Mom YouTube Channel

A one-stop resource for informative and entertaining videos on topics from decluttering to home remodels on a budget.

The Minimal Mom Facebook Page

A community for people desiring a lifestyle change to that of minimalism and a place to share ideas and resources.

The Minimal Mom Instagram

Photos and videos shared by the Minimal Mom to document her family minimalist lifestyle and inspire others to try it out for themselves.

Dawn’s blog with articles and photos sharing her minimalist techniques and tips as well as links to all of her social media sites.

Other Resources:

Family minimalism is a simpler way of life that can be adapted to your family’s needs and what you’re comfortable with.  It’s a change, which is scary for most, but can reap huge benefits in the long run.  I encourage you to start taking baby steps towards minimalism to see what this lifestyle can do for you and your family!

Related Topics:

What Does It Mean to Simplify Your Life?

Simplifying your life can mean many different things from decluttering your house to changing your job.  It’s getting rid of the mental clutter and spending more time doing things that really matter.  Cutting the cable cord and spending more time outside.  

What’s the Opposite of a Minimalist?

A maximalist is one who believes in living in a large home, with opulent furnishings, bright colors and decorations everywhere.  They own luxurious fabric couches, paintings and artifacts that may remind you of an art gallery.  It’s a lavish lifestyle filled with décor and extravagant beauty.

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