Did your New Year's resolution list have goals like – reduce toy clutter, clear out closets, hold myself accountable, get more organized? These are all ways of minimizing your life. And given that our minimalist diaper bags were created by minimalist mamas for minimalist mamas (and dads!), we’d love to chime in and provide a few tips to get you on your way to a more streamlined new year.
While 2021 has already proven to be a year like no other and, unquestionably, the challenges of Covid will create even more obstacles to our big plans for renewal (as I write this my own grand plans for a detox have been so far thwarted by a smoking circuit board inside our stove and Covid shutting down our 2 ½ year-old’s daycare for 10 days), but if one of your hopes was to simplify, this might actually be the best time.
We’ve learned it firsthand and heard it from so many of you: less really can mean more. Less stuff in your home reduces stress. Less stuff in your closet makes getting dressed easier. Carrying less stuff means less shoulder strain and having two free hands to love on your littles.
If you’re already a minimalist, 2020 and its many days of quarantine may have made things more difficult to maintain. Or perhaps you’re just looking for a way to reboot your minimal ways. Use this list to guide you back on track. #1 - Give Yourself Time
Before we jump into how you can achieve your minimalist goals, it’s most important to note that depending on where you’re starting, it may take time to get where you want to be. It is very possible to get burnt out trying to minimize everything at once. Make goals that you can achieve one-by-one over time. You’ll feel accomplished as you check goals off of your list, and are more likely to keep up with them moving forward.
So step #1 is to be determined, but give yourself a break.#2 - Get Rid of Clutter – Everywhere
When you have kids, clutter can build up fast! It’s easiest to start with everything that revolves around them in order to start reducing clutter. You’ll likely find it’s the bulk of the mess!
First, look at your kids’ toys. This is usually the leading culprit for clutter build-up. Designate one area for the kids’ toys, and one easily-accessible area for a donation bin (in your garage if you have one, or elsewhere). Whatever doesn’t fit in the designated toy area goes in the bin. After you do your main clean-sweep, keep an eye out every time you tidy up in the house for excessive stuff. When you find it, throw it in the donation bin so you can maintain order.
Next, move to your car. Get rid of the garbage, and move any clothes or toys into their designated spot in the house, even if it is the donation bin! Moving forward, make a habit of collecting everything out of the car before you lock your doors. We know it’s a hassle when you’ve got a million things to move from the car to your home, especially when all you want to do is get into the house with the kids after a long day of errands and activities. This brings us to our next bit of advice: reduce what you bring with you.
The best way to start carrying less stuff is to ditch the big diaper bags or the extra bag you’re carrying in addition to your purse. Consolidate into one small bag with only the core necessities. This makes it easier to find what you need, when you need it. And it’s less stuff you have to carry around with you and back into the house. That’s why we made the Kibou diaper bag, for simplicity, reduced stress, and two free hands! You can always have one bag that you keep in the car for accidents (extra clothes, extra diapers or wipes, etc.).
When it comes to your kids’ clothes, remove anything that’s not their size as soon as you notice them in the closet or when doing laundry and toss them into the donation bin. As it comes to your own clothes, turn around your hangers. Whenever you wear an outfit, you can hang it back up facing the opposite way. This will point out which clothes you’re not wearing, and show you what needs to be donated.
Do you have a junk drawer? Get rid of it! Throw away or donate what you don’t need and organize everything else into compartments.
Open your mail next to your recycling bin and toss the junk mail as soon as you get it.
Evaluate your home decor -– limit yourself to the number of trinkets you have on your shelves and mantel tops to 3 or less. You won't have to worry about the kids breaking them, and you won’t have to worry about cleaning them as often!
As a general rule, follow Marie Kondo’s mantra – if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.#3 Set Goals - Get Organized
In order to achieve your resolution(s) of minimalist living, you’ll have to set clear, tangible goals that you can visualize and put on a tentative timeline. Don’t try and tackle all of those things at once. Start with one and try to achieve it in a realistic timeline for you – whether that’s organizing one place per day, or one place per week. Write these goals down, and check items off as you accomplish them.
After you’ve finished decluttering one place, make lifestyle adjustments to maintain your newly minimized space. Set limits to the amount of things you keep in your home. After you’ve done some trimming in your closet, limit the number of pieces you can have moving forward. If you’ve got a 50 clothing-item limit, then every time you add something new, you can get rid of something you wear less often. Take a look at your bookshelf (or book piles), if you allow yourself to keep a certain number of books that you love and will reread, the rest can go.
Finally for your bags, after you’ve done some consolidating, make a habit to organize it daily. Discard receipts you don’t need, hang your keys in the same place, pick out any wrappers or snacks that got loose.#4 - Prioritize Mental Health - Declutter The Mind
It’s not just the physical stuff we have to declutter, we have to keep space open in our minds, too. Decluttering the house will do wonders to relieve your stress and improve your mental health, because your mind is clearer with less stuff. But there are other things we can do to keep ourselves organized as well. Whether it’s using colorful post-it notes in a single spot that you see daily, or keeping a virtual task board – getting your tasks and reminders organized will make you feel less frazzled and more in control.
Finally, don’t say yes when you really mean no. This can apply to work, or your personal life. Minimize the amount of things you commit to when your heart says you don’t want to do it. Keeping a clear head space means eliminating unnecessary stressors. It’s not selfish – it’s ultimately the best thing you can do for you and your family. The less stressed you are, the more you get to be the best version of yourself.
Photos by: Dee Copper & Wild, Stil, Vanessa Bucceri, Sarah Brown, and Marten Bjork via Unsplash