Minimalism for Moms: 7 Realistic Ways to Do More With Less

Minimalism sounds interesting, but you’ve always thought there was no way it could apply to you. You’re a mom. You’ve got kids… and with kids comes stuff.

Sure, it’s easy to be minimalist when you’re a single guy living in New York. All you need is a bed and a laptop; you dash out the door for whatever else you want.

But minimalism for moms is possible too. It’s not about having fewer possessions than anyone else. City guy will always need less than you. But you can still have everything you need and nothing more.

woman and child walking in green garden.

Let’s explore how you can make simple living work realistically for you.

1. Get rid of some of your stuff

Everyone knows that this is at the heart of minimalism. The hard part is getting there.

Take a minute and think about why you have so much stuff in your house. Was it given to you and do you feel guilty throwing it away? Are you holding onto it in case you need it someday?

organized and spare storage shelf in sunny room.

Are you good about decluttering, but you always fill your home back up with new purchases? The answer is different for everyone.

It’s time to get comfortable, very comfortable, with throwing things out. There are so many things you’re holding onto that are weighing you down. Here are some things to start throwing away:

  • Stained clothing you say you’ll wear for “outside work.”
  • dumb books you’ll never read
  • makeup you hate
  • Kitchen stuff you won’t use, like cake decorating supplies
  • old plastic cups of leftover containers with no lids
  • Those extra sheets and towels you have “just in case.”
  • old electronics

Don’t put them in a box or pile for later. If you have someone specific who would want them, give yourself a deadline of one week to give them to that person.

Throw them away.

2. Digital decluttering

Take a look at your phone. What a mess. Full of weird videos your kids accidentally took and apps you downloaded that you never use? Set a ten-minute timer and start deleting anything that’s just digital junk.

That’s better.

Now, let’s make a plan for the future. A lot of people’s most important pictures and videos are on their phones, and you want to make a plan to store these things thoughtfully. Set a day once a month to go through your photos and videos and transfer them to a hard drive or a place like Dropbox. This becomes overwhelming when you wait too long. Once a month is just right.

This way, you don’t have to keep upgrading your cloud storage and filling it up with nonsense. And if you want to get pictures printed or make a photo book, everything is organized and easy to access.

Next, take an hour or so to evaluate all the digital subscriptions you have.

Finally, commit yourself to limit your time on your phone. Avoid checking your email or social media until you’ve been awake for at least an hour. It’s a terrible way to start your day.

3. Do fewer activities

Once your kids are school-age, driving places takes over your life. There’s the school itself, sports practices, clubs, social events, and so on.

Now, some of this is fine and is just a part of parenting. But sometimes, it feels like too much because it is too much.

Take a look at all the time you are spending taking your kids to different activities. Most times, the hours you spend per week doing this are comparable to a part-time job.

How would it feel to cut back to one activity per child? How would it feel to leave super intense and competitive sports and go to some that are more relaxed and less of a commitment?

woman and child playing on wooden floor with sunlight streaming in.

Sometimes, the sacrifice is worth it if a child truly loves doing something or has an exceptional talent that needs to be developed. But for the vast, vast majority of children, these activities are supposed to be fun. Are they fun? Are you sure?

At the very least, try to make the best of the time you spend trapped in the car or on the sidelines at practice. Listen to good audiobooks on the way there, and do something other than mindlessly scrolling your phone while your kids practice.

4. Less stuff for your kids

We tackled your stuff first, and now it’s time to tackle the kid’s stuff. If you’re like most families, there’s a lot of it.

I’d recommend throwing out much more than you think is “right” or even “normal.” If your kids are over 5, they probably have special things that look like trash to you, so ask before tossing. For little kids or when dealing with stuff shoved in a closet, get the trash bags out and throw stuff out.

child's bedroom with lots of windows and quilts.

Here are good things to get rid of:

  • board games or card games with missing pieces
  • toys that don’t work
  • toys that make annoying noises that you hate
  • toys with missing parts
  • leggings with holes in the knees
  • mismatched socks
  • free tote bags from dumb events
  • moldy bath toys
  • dried out markers and glue
  • baby stuff from other people that you don’t like
  • itchy sweaters that never get worn
  • waterbottles or sippy cups with no lids or straws

Again, don’t donate; don’t put in a pile to give to someone else. Throw it out. It’s trash

5. Implement minimal routines

My friends, we’ve thrown out so much stuff. Maybe your house is starting to look better. Maybe it’s not. (It took me a few decluttering sessions before I saw any progress; you might be the same way.)

And now, let’s take a look at our time.

woman writing on notepad surrounded by plants.

There’s so much to learn about implementing routines as a mom, but let’s start with some quick wins that you can do right now.

  • make one day of the week leftover night and stick to it
  • wake up 30 minutes earlier than you usually do to enjoy a quiet house
  • make sure your kitchen is clean every night before you go to bed
  • set 1 hour per day for screentime for young kids rather than having it on in the background constantly
  • do a load of laundry, start to finish, every single day

Pick one of these habits and start with it. If it’s helpful, stick with it and pick a new one. The more you systemize your home life, the easier it gets.

6. Stop the shopping habit

This might not be your first experience with decluttering. You’ve probably done it before and somehow…mysteriously… ended up with a house full of stuff again.

The truth is, there’s no mystery. All those Amazon boxes have worked their way into every corner of the home, the corners you worked so hard to empty.

There are a lot of deep reasons that we shop for stuff we don’t need. For now, let’s focus on how it hurts our minimalism efforts, not dive deep into our hearts.

Here are some little tricks to stop you:

  • before you buy something, know exactly where you’re going to store it
  • commit to throwing out one thing for every new thing you buy
  • every time you buy something, you say, “I don’t have enough in my house.” Is that true?
  • wait 24 hours before buying: if you still want it, then you can get it

7. Fill yourself up with what matters

So you’ve thrown out a bunch of junk. You’ve created more time in your life by cutting what’s not important to you. How do you keep from refilling it up with more time-wasting and money-wasting habits?

Well, you must fill your life with good things that matter to you.

children's book and toy shelf in sunny room.

Here are some positive habits to schedule into your day, every day.

  • getting outside for fresh air to read or walk
  • spending screen-free time with the kids
  • going to the pool
  • learning a new hobby
  • reading a book you like

More simple living resources

  • “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo – A bestselling guide on decluttering and organizing your living space.
  • Becoming Minimalist – A blog that offers inspiration and advice on simplifying life and embracing minimalism
  • Free The Decluttering Checklist – A printable checklist to help moms declutter their homes systematically.
  • Out of Milk – An app that simplifies grocery shopping and ensures you only buy what you need.

Remember

There are so many nice things in the world that don’t cost money or require you to accumulate stuff. I hope that minimalism helps you find the time and space to enjoy all the ones that matter to you.

Minimalism for Moms: 7 Realistic Ways to Do More With Less

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks! A great article. I love useful information (that can help me). I did try to get the decluttering checklist – but the link had nothing on the end I opened, tried a few time, so not sure what’s up with that. But thank you for the article. It’s helpful.

  2. I have been busy doing this very thing. Kids are grown and then grandkids, it all takes time and steps to take as the years go by. I retired and had to live in the mess and that has helped! lol! Thanks for this post, it’s a good one.