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I'm currently obsessed with minimalism :tongue_smilie: I've ready quite a few blogs, websites and a few books on the subject.

 

I've also started a few threads in the past regarding de-cluttering/simplifying that were super helpful!

 

However, now that I've actually begun the quest for minimalism, I'm having a hard time finding other large families who are doing the same.

 

I know there are a few on here who have offered helpful suggestions in the past, but does anyone know of any good websites/blogs that offer even more support/etc for large families who wish to live with less "stuff"?

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I can't speak particularly to large families, but I am taking a hard look at all the things I think I need to have, which I consider a step beyond decluttering. Decluttering asks, "Is this useful?" Further minimalism looks at what is left after a thorough decluttering and asks, "No, really. Consider how easily you could replace/find this information/use something else if you didn't have this."

 

My toughest areas to be objective about are books/materials and curriculum. :tongue_smilie:

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I can't speak particularly to large families, but I am taking a hard look at all the things I think I need to have, which I consider a step beyond decluttering. Decluttering asks, "Is this useful?" Further minimalism looks at what is left after a thorough decluttering and asks, "No, really. Consider how easily you could replace/find this information/use something else if you didn't have this."

 

My toughest areas to be objective about are books/materials and curriculum. :tongue_smilie:

 

Oh I like this way of looking at it! I have some mismatched pillowcases and other random linens that seem to take up our entire linen closet....they are mostly faded and not the greatest. I need to weed through them because I'm missing sheets to many of them. It doesn't seem like we have a lot of sheet sets yet the whole closet just seems cluttered.....if that makes sense?

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Oh I like this way of looking at it! I have some mismatched pillowcases and other random linens that seem to take up our entire linen closet....they are mostly faded and not the greatest. I need to weed through them because I'm missing sheets to many of them. It doesn't seem like we have a lot of sheet sets yet the whole closet just seems cluttered.....if that makes sense?

 

For my home, I thought through how many of each we needed, and the rest went to the thrift shop. Well, one cute pair of pillowcases that my great-aunt tatted the lace on went into the cedar chest. :001_smile:

 

I also went through the cedar chest where some quilts and such lived, and moved out a big denim comforter cover, some linen hand towels I'll never use, and suchlike. More space now for the wool blankets that NEED to be in the cedar chest.

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:bigear:

 

Sadly, most minimalists ditch the books and are heavily dependent on electronic devices.

 

I enjoy reading various minimalist blogs, but agree that most of the bloggers do not have children, or only have one young child.

 

I just glean ideas from them, and train the kids to keep their special belongings in the two big Rubbermaid sliding boxes under their bed.

 

Minimalism often collides with thrift . . . and hand-me-downs are a very substantial part of our larger family's economy. :001_smile:

 

This is a great topic for discussion!

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I've been working toward minimalism. My biggest frustration though is that my kids aren't gentle on anything. And if I only have the bare minimum of something, they break/wreck it then I'm SOL.

 

We've taken the approach of not replacing damaged items., because cash isn't flowing regularily. It gets painful around here at times.

 

Can't figure out how to make my kids more careful, graceful, thoughtful with their belongings except to allow them to wreck it and go without for as long as I can manage.

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:D You should see how much WE downsized!! It was epic. I'm guessing we own maybe 1/10 th of what we owned 3-4 years ago. We really got rid of everything. I still have a little left to purge/donate (2 closets). Because of our financial situation, we were serious packrats. We would take anything other people were giving away - and it was all piling up in our house. Also, we were scared to throw things away (we might *need* it!). :)

 

I'm actually re-reading Simplicity Parenting right now - and he talks about simplifying possessions with kids - especially toys. That's the hardest thing. He talks about simplifying their clothes, too. Hoarding hand-me-downs seemed to be a weakness with us. I don't know why I was holding onto so much stuff - out of fear? :tongue_smilie:

 

Oh, and our house does not take long to clean, either. The more stuff we got rid of...the cleaner the house stayed.

 

I wish I could post pics, but - an example - the only thing in my son's room is a bed, a dresser and a small rolling bookcart. Everything else fits in his closet. That is my goal for every bedroom. :hurray:

 

If you're interested in that topic, there are websites and books on home organization that are inspiring. One of my favorite books is Eliminate Chaos.

 

I love this topic. :lurk5:

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:iagree:

 

I have walls lined with bookshelves. I can throw out anything else without blinking an eye. But touch the books? No way.

 

I try to use the library as much as possible. With 4 kids homeschooling, we also have alot of books. We ended up turning our dining room into a library. We lined one wall with bookcases from Ikea and we're going to buy a couple of armchairs and a rug for the room. We got rid of everything else that was in the room (well, except for the gecko habitat - he's on an aquarium stand in the corner of the room).

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We have nine kiddos... I don't know if you would call me a minimalist as I have a dear friend who is a true minimalist and they were down to no beds, just a family hammock at one point. Her minimalism makes me look like I own my own store, so it depends what you're looking for. I know I've blogged on it before at True Vine. Hover over my name and then click on homepage and it will take you there. Word of warning, you will not be able to avoid Christian content on my blog, so if it bothers you, don't click.

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Minimalism often collides with thrift . . . and hand-me-downs are a very substantial part of our larger family's economy.

 

Part of it depends on how you view thrift, though, too. I try to not have hand-me-downs. Rather, I buy a few outfits per kid per season with the expectation that those few outfits will be wore out and not passed down. I manage fewer clothes and store fewer clothes which is minimilist-like.

 

I sincerely believe I spend the same amount of $ this way than if I spent time and gas money driving around to garage sales and thrift stores...or if I bought better quality clothes with the intention of passing clothes down.

 

By the time winter is over, my boys' 5 pairs of pants will have no knees left, and I will cut the legs off so they have summer play shorts. I will also buy them a couple nicer pairs of shorts from Target.

 

I do store winter coats and other gear, but I buy expensive Lands End stuff. It needs to go through multiple kids and multiple years!

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I haven't read this book yet, but I like the author. Not sure how big you're looking for, but they have 5 kids.

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/7-jen-hatmaker/1110788490?ean=9781433672965

 

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence. In the spirit of a fast, they pursued a deeply reduced life in order to find a greatly increased God. Click HERE for more info on 7. (Thanks to the good folks at Barnes and Noble for believing in 7 so much!)

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When I think of minimalism, I think of my knife drawer. We are a family of 7, our oldest is 10yo. Our knife drawer looks like this....3 steak knives, 1 paring knife, 1 chef knife, and 1 bread knife. My MIL's knife drawer is overflowing whereas I keep trying to subsitute my paring knife for a chef knife and vice versa.

 

A true minimalist would probably only have a pocket knife, so obviously everyone has their balance of want vs need.

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It does depend on how you define minimalism as well. Most larger families have much fewer possessions per person than a smaller family. It may still look like more, but can still be the bare minimum.

 

Very simple example: A set of 12 dishes for a family of 8 is very close to the minimum needed (8 plates for dinner, a few extras for serving/prep). A family of 4 with a set of 12 dishes clearly have more than they need. Yet, it looks exactly the same in the cupboard.

 

Large families also tend to get much more use out of each item before passing it along. Several kids will wear or play with something before it's outgrown.

 

Now, if we start talking clutter, no matter the family size, most of us could remove 10 things from a room and really not miss them.

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:D You should see how much WE downsized!! It was epic. I'm guessing we own maybe 1/10 th of what we owned 3-4 years ago. We really got rid of everything. I still have a little left to purge/donate (2 closets). Because of our financial situation, we were serious packrats. We would take anything other people were giving away - and it was all piling up in our house. Also, we were scared to throw things away (we might *need* it!). :)

 

I'm actually re-reading Simplicity Parenting right now - and he talks about simplifying possessions with kids - especially toys. That's the hardest thing. He talks about simplifying their clothes, too. Hoarding hand-me-downs seemed to be a weakness with us. I don't know why I was holding onto so much stuff - out of fear? :tongue_smilie:

 

Oh, and our house does not take long to clean, either. The more stuff we got rid of...the cleaner the house stayed.

 

I wish I could post pics, but - an example - the only thing in my son's room is a bed, a dresser and a small rolling bookcart. Everything else fits in his closet. That is my goal for every bedroom. :hurray:

 

If you're interested in that topic, there are websites and books on home organization that are inspiring. One of my favorite books is Eliminate Chaos.

 

I love this topic. :lurk5:

 

I have been trying to do this. Just went through my basement. I want to read more to encourage me to do this. We also have always on a tight budget with 8 kids and my DH is a pack rat. He liked the basement when it was done, but he likes to hold on to things. I will look into this book.

Thanks :001_smile:

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We are always working on this here. I'm pregnant with #4. I do however have books, although I try to keep those to quality books. I try to keep things that are useful, beautiful and that we love. I try to purge at least 2x a year. I still have areas I feel I could work on and others seem to be pretty well balanced.

 

I've not come across any online resources in regards to minimalism specifically geared towards larger families, although to me it seems an obvious way to make life easier. Although, I'm certain it doesn't look exactly the same for those who are single or with just one kid.

 

I try to eliminate as much as I can without adding extra work for myself. I try to use things in multiple ways. I try to make sure something will be used.

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does anyone know of any good websites/blogs that offer even more support/etc for large families who wish to live with less "stuff"?

 

You've probably read this one, but zenhabits is one of my favorites. If I remember right, he has 6 kids (I could be wrong, maybe it's 4, and there are 6 of them altogether?) ...I love his article on traveling light with a large family, very inspiring.

 

(And, again, not positive he fits with your definition of minimalism!)

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Another vote for http://zenhabits.net/ . I've been following this blog for several years and love it. Leo (the author) has six kids and they also homeschool, although homeschooling is only occasionally mentioned in his blog posts.

 

Leo also started up another blog specifically on minimalism: http://mnmlist.com/ . I only follow the zenhabits blog, so I haven't looked into this one but considering the source I would imagine it's very good.

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:D You should see how much WE downsized!! It was epic. I'm guessing we own maybe 1/10 th of what we owned 3-4 years ago. We really got rid of everything. I still have a little left to purge/donate (2 closets). Because of our financial situation, we were serious packrats. We would take anything other people were giving away - and it was all piling up in our house. Also, we were scared to throw things away (we might *need* it!). :)

 

I'm actually re-reading Simplicity Parenting right now - and he talks about simplifying possessions with kids - especially toys. That's the hardest thing. He talks about simplifying their clothes, too. Hoarding hand-me-downs seemed to be a weakness with us. I don't know why I was holding onto so much stuff - out of fear? :tongue_smilie:

 

That's great. Do you mind me asking what spurred you to downsize/declutter so much? Did you do it quickly or was it a more gradual process? I'd love to hear some details of/tips for how you achieved such great results. :001_smile:

 

I like Simplicity Parenting's view on toys & such for kids. (Though I wasn't fond of the author's writing style -- it was anything but simple, imo. He could have been so much more succinct. :tongue_smilie:)

 

My fave minimalist blogs (though not necessarily for large families):

http://zenhabits.net/

http://smallnotebook.org/

http://www.365lessthings.com/

http://brooks-palmer.blogspot.com/

http://www.missminimalist.com/

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

http://bemorewithless.com/

http://www.theminimalistmom.com/blog/

http://www.zerowastehome.blogspot.com/

http://www.theminimalists.com/

 

One I recently found (haven't read much yet):

http://www.iwontbeahoardertoo.blogspot.com/

 

As you can tell by the blog list, I'm trying to brainwash myself into being more minmalist. :lol: I'm slowly getting there.... Love these threads because they continue to inspire me to minimalize & declutter....

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I haven't read this book yet, but I like the author. Not sure how big you're looking for, but they have 5 kids.

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/7-jen-hatmaker/1110788490?ean=9781433672965

 

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence. In the spirit of a fast, they pursued a deeply reduced life in order to find a greatly increased God. Click HERE for more info on 7. (Thanks to the good folks at Barnes and Noble for believing in 7 so much!)

 

I read 7; Jen Hatmaker spoke at our church. 7 is a good book, but it isn't really based on minimalism per se. Just to give you an example, when she does the "Clothing" month, she selects only seven articles of clothing and wears only those for that month. So, it was something like: a long-sleeved black top, a short-sleeved top, a pair of jeans, a denim skirt, cowboy boots and whatever other two things. Although she does talk about giving away a lot of clothing in that chapter, it's not really in the true spirit of minimalism. Before I read it, I thought it would be something like paring down her actual clothing to 7 outfits, one coat and two kinds of shoe, for example. Rather, it was extreme (IMO) for that month only and only spoke to future clothing purchases in a general should-do-better-in-the-future sense.

 

You've probably read this one, but zenhabits is one of my favorites. If I remember right, he has 6 kids (I could be wrong, maybe it's 4, and there are 6 of them altogether?) ...I love his article on traveling light with a large family, very inspiring.

 

(And, again, not positive he fits with your definition of minimalism!)

 

I like that Leo guy. :001_smile: Yes, he has 6 kids.

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That's great. Do you mind me asking what spurred you to downsize/declutter so much? Did you do it quickly or was it a more gradual process? I'd love to hear some details of/tips for how you achieved such great results. :001_smile:

 

Sure! It was a very gradual process, but there was a point where I became very aggressive with the decluttering. Basically, (this is probably TMI - and I hope I don't offend anyone with this story) my uncle in Michigan passed away and he hoarded everything. He had stacks and stacks of newspapers. My dad has spent the past year driving from Illinois to Michigan trying to clean out his house. Around the same time, my parents had to place my grandma in a nursing home and now my parents are trying to go through her house, too. My grandparents had lived through the Great Depression and they saved e v e r y t h i n g. :sad:

 

So, I just started feeling bad about stuff in my own house. :001_unsure:

 

Initially, I went through the house and sold everything that we didn't need that I *could* sell. Mostly baby stuff. Then, I went through and donated a LOT. I'm still donating - donated some stuff last week. This is not for the faint of heart...but I had to throw alot of stuff away. Stuff that probably should've just been thrown away. We rented a huge dumpster for our driveway and filled it up (nasty, I know - hanging internet head in shame). We finally moved into a new house recently and everything had to pass *ahem* "the test" before I would allow it into the house.

 

Things are so much more organized now. I'm friends with a lady who jokes about how clean our house is. :D

 

Once a month, I try to pick a room and do some decluttering-maintenance. Make sure there isn't some clothing we can donate...or broken toys...or shoes that have bit the dust.

 

Oh, a previous poster mentioned a blogger who sleeps in hammock...my oldest daughter doesn't have a bed. She has a Brazilian hammock. She loves it!

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Sure! It was a very gradual process, but there was a point where I became very aggressive with the decluttering. Basically, (this is probably TMI - and I hope I don't offend anyone with this story) my uncle in Michigan passed away and he hoarded everything. He had stacks and stacks of newspapers. My dad has spent the past year driving from Illinois to Michigan trying to clean out his house. Around the same time, my parents had to place my grandma in a nursing home and now my parents are trying to go through her house, too. My grandparents had lived through the Great Depression and they saved e v e r y t h i n g. :sad:

 

So, I just started feeling bad about stuff in my own house. :001_unsure:

 

Thanks for replying. I totally understand. I think we may be in the same boat. I definitely have family on the hoarding spectrum. So, I'm trying not to go that route (esp. if there is a genetic component) & be proactive & get stuff out now (& not let it accumulate for the future). Still have a ways to go, but I've made great strides over the past year or two...

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Part of it depends on how you view thrift, though, too. I try to not have hand-me-downs. Rather, I buy a few outfits per kid per season with the expectation that those few outfits will be wore out and not passed down. I manage fewer clothes and store fewer clothes which is minimilist-like.

 

I sincerely believe I spend the same amount of $ this way than if I spent time and gas money driving around to garage sales and thrift stores...or if I bought better quality clothes with the intention of passing clothes down.

 

By the time winter is over, my boys' 5 pairs of pants will have no knees left, and I will cut the legs off so they have summer play shorts. I will also buy them a couple nicer pairs of shorts from Target.

 

I do store winter coats and other gear, but I buy expensive Lands End stuff. It needs to go through multiple kids and multiple years!

 

:iagree: Although, I do believe that much of this depends on personality and how much "stuff" you can manage to keep organized without it overwhelming you.

 

I'm finding that I personally LOVE hand me downs and having a big selection/variety of clothes for all of us. The reality is that it overwhelms me and I wind up more stressed because I have piles or bins of clothing everywhere that I don't have time to take care of (ie: wash/put away).

 

This is true for the rest of my house.

 

I have friends who have as many kids as I do and who have knick knacks, store hand me downs or outgrown clothes, keep pieces of games together and tidy, etc. This IS NOT ME.

 

If I see a lone Lego on the floor, I'm not going to take it back to it's home. It's most likely going in the trash!

 

I find that I function better with less. I can think more clearly and make better decisions when I have less choices and less clutter.

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..but I had to throw alot of stuff away. Stuff that probably should've just been thrown away. We rented a huge dumpster for our driveway and filled it up (nasty, I know - hanging internet head in shame). We finally moved into a new house recently and everything had to pass *ahem* "the test" before I would allow it into the house.

 

Things are so much more organized now. I'm friends with a lady who jokes about how clean our house is. :D

 

Once a month, I try to pick a room and do some decluttering-maintenance. Make sure there isn't some clothing we can donate...or broken toys...or shoes that have bit the dust.

 

Oh, a previous poster mentioned a blogger who sleeps in hammock...my oldest daughter doesn't have a bed. She has a Brazilian hammock. She loves it!

 

I'm of the mindset that if throwing all of that away has gotten you to a point where you are mindful of everything that comes into your house, then it all evens out in the end :D

 

I'm slowly starting to think twice about every.single.purchase I make. If it's not going to be something that I use often or that we absolutely need to live, then no...it's not coming into my house!

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I'm not sure what the criteria are for being a minimalist but our family is probably the closest thing I have seen IRL and we have five children and one dog.

 

I shared some photos of our home (well, it was our last rental) and people seemed to enjoy those.

 

Um...what did we do?

 

We pared down our wardrobes. I quit hanging onto every stitch of clothing hoping that someone else would reuse it down the road. I am very selective about what clothing is stored for future use now -- only jeans, shorts, and jackets/coats that are still in excellent condition. Everything else is donated. The kids each have, at any given time, 5 to 7 bottoms, tops, socks, and underwear. If something gets worn I replace it but I've been surprised at how little I've had to do this. They really don't need all the clothes they used to have.

 

We pared down the toy stashes. My kids didn't use it all anyway and don't seem to miss it. Now they have a bucket of legos and the little boys have one medium sized rubbermaid container in their closet. That's it.

 

I don't stockpile foodstuffs or toiletries. We shop weekly. At the end of the week the cupboards are pretty bare. This also prevents us from wasting food which is nice.

 

We only have one vehicle, which I know may not work for every family or situation but here at our current duty station it works quite nicely.

 

We try to create as little trash as possible so we use cloth napkins in place of paper, glass or plastic containers in place of storage bags, water bottles instead of bottled water, things like that.

 

We do own a few books :D...haha. We try to use resources such as the library and Netflix as much as possible rather than buying more stuff.

 

I try to reuse as much as possible; for example, a torn quilt was cut down and the edges bound with quilt binding and now it's a picnic blanket. I reuse the boxes from packages I receive in the mail.

 

We don't have tons of stuff cluttering up the house -- all of our furniture serves a purpose. We have a few pieces of art but mostly string the children's creations on art wires for decoration. I don't do knick-knacks, too many throw pillows, layers and layers of bedding on the beds, fussy window treatments, etc.

 

We have white walls, which isn't necessary, but they're easy to care for which is nice and they lend a minimialistic vibe. Anytime we have painted interior walls we've felt that the room no longer looked 'done' without the addition of more accessories.

 

I no longer shop endcaps or sales just because -- I only shop when we need something.

 

Actually, I've gotten through the entire summer with pretty much a pair of sandals, two dresses, two skirts, two pairs of shorts, and half a dozen tank tops or tees. I do throw on sneakers and jogging shorts for my nightly walk.

 

If you have any particular questions I'd be glad to answer them. :001_smile: I'd like to know which blogs you all are following related to this topic? Related is the Zero Waste Blog and that's the only one I really follow.

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That's great. Do you mind me asking what spurred you to downsize/declutter so much? Did you do it quickly or was it a more gradual process? I'd love to hear some details of/tips for how you achieved such great results. :001_smile:

 

I like Simplicity Parenting's view on toys & such for kids. (Though I wasn't fond of the author's writing style -- it was anything but simple, imo. He could have been so much more succinct. :tongue_smilie:)

 

My fave minimalist blogs (though not necessarily for large families):

http://zenhabits.net/

http://smallnotebook.org/

http://www.365lessthings.com/

http://brooks-palmer.blogspot.com/

http://www.missminimalist.com/

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

http://bemorewithless.com/

http://www.theminimalistmom.com/blog/

http://www.zerowastehome.blogspot.com/

http://www.theminimalists.com/

 

One I recently found (haven't read much yet):

http://www.iwontbeahoardertoo.blogspot.com/

 

As you can tell by the blog list, I'm trying to brainwash myself into being more minmalist. :lol: I'm slowly getting there.... Love these threads because they continue to inspire me to minimalize & declutter....

 

Thank you for these!!!!!!:001_wub: some I recognize but some I don't....great reading!!! :)

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I'm not sure what the criteria are for being a minimalist but our family is probably the closest thing I have seen IRL and we have five children and one dog.

 

I shared some photos of our home (well, it was our last rental) and people seemed to enjoy those.

 

Um...what did we do?

 

We pared down our wardrobes. I quit hanging onto every stitch of clothing hoping that someone else would reuse it down the road. I am very selective about what clothing is stored for future use now -- only jeans, shorts, and jackets/coats that are still in excellent condition. Everything else is donated. The kids each have, at any given time, 5 to 7 bottoms, tops, socks, and underwear. If something gets worn I replace it but I've been surprised at how little I've had to do this. They really don't need all the clothes they used to have.

 

We pared down the toy stashes. My kids didn't use it all anyway and don't seem to miss it. Now they have a bucket of legos and the little boys have one medium sized rubbermaid container in their closet. That's it.

 

I don't stockpile foodstuffs or toiletries. We shop weekly. At the end of the week the cupboards are pretty bare. This also prevents us from wasting food which is nice.

 

We only have one vehicle, which I know may not work for every family or situation but here at our current duty station it works quite nicely.

 

We try to create as little trash as possible so we use cloth napkins in place of paper, glass or plastic containers in place of storage bags, water bottles instead of bottled water, things like that.

 

We do own a few books :D...haha. We try to use resources such as the library and Netflix as much as possible rather than buying more stuff.

 

I try to reuse as much as possible; for example, a torn quilt was cut down and the edges bound with quilt binding and now it's a picnic blanket. I reuse the boxes from packages I receive in the mail.

 

We don't have tons of stuff cluttering up the house -- all of our furniture serves a purpose. We have a few pieces of art but mostly string the children's creations on art wires for decoration. I don't do knick-knacks, too many throw pillows, layers and layers of bedding on the beds, fussy window treatments, etc.

 

We have white walls, which isn't necessary, but they're easy to care for which is nice and they lend a minimialistic vibe. Anytime we have painted interior walls we've felt that the room no longer looked 'done' without the addition of more accessories.

 

I no longer shop endcaps or sales just because -- I only shop when we need something.

 

Actually, I've gotten through the entire summer with pretty much a pair of sandals, two dresses, two skirts, two pairs of shorts, and half a dozen tank tops or tees. I do throw on sneakers and jogging shorts for my nightly walk.

 

If you have any particular questions I'd be glad to answer them. :001_smile: I'd like to know which blogs you all are following related to this topic? Related is the Zero Waste Blog and that's the only one I really follow.

 

I was hoping you'd chime in :001_smile: I remember being inspired by your posts from a previous thread on this same topic.

 

I follow most of the blogs that Stacia listed. I also love Zenhabits!

 

I also found this one while Googling the other night: http://abowlfulloflemons.blogspot.com/2011/12/free-printables.html

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Part of it depends on how you view thrift, though, too. I try to not have hand-me-downs. Rather, I buy a few outfits per kid per season with the expectation that those few outfits will be wore out and not passed down. I manage fewer clothes and store fewer clothes which is minimilist-like.

 

I sincerely believe I spend the same amount of $ this way than if I spent time and gas money driving around to garage sales and thrift stores...or if I bought better quality clothes with the intention of passing clothes down.

 

By the time winter is over, my boys' 5 pairs of pants will have no knees left, and I will cut the legs off so they have summer play shorts. I will also buy them a couple nicer pairs of shorts from Target.

 

I do store winter coats and other gear, but I buy expensive Lands End stuff. It needs to go through multiple kids and multiple years!

 

I have had this thought many times and put it into action this year (mostly).

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I can't speak particularly to large families, but I am taking a hard look at all the things I think I need to have, which I consider a step beyond decluttering. Decluttering asks, "Is this useful?" Further minimalism looks at what is left after a thorough decluttering and asks, "No, really. Consider how easily you could replace/find this information/use something else if you didn't have this."

 

My toughest areas to be objective about are books/materials and curriculum. :tongue_smilie:

 

I found it helpful not to ask 'Will I ever use this?' but "Will I use this enough to make it worth keeping?' It's a whole different question. Also, I accept that one day I WILL want to use something I got rid of, but that risk is WORTH clearing out 50 other things that I will never miss.

 

The book thing was tough, but I'm over it. It helps to treat the library like your own, remote bookcase. I have more than enough books to keep us reading if we lose power for a week. After that, it's unnecessary to hoard more. I'm trying to only keep books I know I will read again or books that are no longer in print. I do NOT need to OWN Treasure Island (or thousands like it). I can always get it easily.

 

I still have work to do in my basement, but it's because I'm lazy, not because I can't let go. :D

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Clothing is a big part of my downfall. I have trouble sorting seasons (we have long periods of warm days, cold evenings, so that doesn't help), as well as keeping up with outgrown items.

 

Mix in the "should I hand it down" issue, along with the lack of universal sizing (can't just go by tags!) and it gets worse.

 

Add in my thinking that all stained or ripped items can be worn to play in the woods, and it's even worse.

 

Should I even mention my own size fluctuations?

 

I really need to work on my mind frame in this area.

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I'm not sure what the criteria are for being a minimalist but our family is probably the closest thing I have seen IRL and we have five children and one dog.

 

I shared some photos of our home (well, it was our last rental) and people seemed to enjoy those.

 

Um...what did we do?

 

We pared down our wardrobes. I quit hanging onto every stitch of clothing hoping that someone else would reuse it down the road. I am very selective about what clothing is stored for future use now -- only jeans, shorts, and jackets/coats that are still in excellent condition. Everything else is donated. The kids each have, at any given time, 5 to 7 bottoms, tops, socks, and underwear. If something gets worn I replace it but I've been surprised at how little I've had to do this. They really don't need all the clothes they used to have.

 

We pared down the toy stashes. My kids didn't use it all anyway and don't seem to miss it. Now they have a bucket of legos and the little boys have one medium sized rubbermaid container in their closet. That's it.

 

I don't stockpile foodstuffs or toiletries. We shop weekly. At the end of the week the cupboards are pretty bare. This also prevents us from wasting food which is nice.

 

We only have one vehicle, which I know may not work for every family or situation but here at our current duty station it works quite nicely.

 

We try to create as little trash as possible so we use cloth napkins in place of paper, glass or plastic containers in place of storage bags, water bottles instead of bottled water, things like that.

 

We do own a few books :D...haha. We try to use resources such as the library and Netflix as much as possible rather than buying more stuff.

 

I try to reuse as much as possible; for example, a torn quilt was cut down and the edges bound with quilt binding and now it's a picnic blanket. I reuse the boxes from packages I receive in the mail.

 

We don't have tons of stuff cluttering up the house -- all of our furniture serves a purpose. We have a few pieces of art but mostly string the children's creations on art wires for decoration. I don't do knick-knacks, too many throw pillows, layers and layers of bedding on the beds, fussy window treatments, etc.

 

We have white walls, which isn't necessary, but they're easy to care for which is nice and they lend a minimialistic vibe. Anytime we have painted interior walls we've felt that the room no longer looked 'done' without the addition of more accessories.

 

I no longer shop endcaps or sales just because -- I only shop when we need something.

 

Actually, I've gotten through the entire summer with pretty much a pair of sandals, two dresses, two skirts, two pairs of shorts, and half a dozen tank tops or tees. I do throw on sneakers and jogging shorts for my nightly walk.

 

If you have any particular questions I'd be glad to answer them. :001_smile: I'd like to know which blogs you all are following related to this topic? Related is the Zero Waste Blog and that's the only one I really follow.

 

What thread did you share these pictures in?

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Very simple example: A set of 12 dishes for a family of 8 is very close to the minimum needed (8 plates for dinner, a few extras for serving/prep). A family of 4 with a set of 12 dishes clearly have more than they need.

 

Not necessarily, because that might mean that they only need to run their dishwasher when it is really full, saving water and energy, which is also part of a minimalist lifestyle. So, simply looking at the number of possessions it not enough; in some situations, having more possessions simplifies life - which I think is what minimalism is all about.

I could, for example, drastically reduce the amount of clothing each family member has, but if the tradeoff is that I have to do laundry almost constantly so those few clothes are wearable, the effect is to make life more complicated, which defeats the purpose. There is a sweet spot somewhere.

 

In this sense, a large family may actually have it easier to be minimalist than a small one - clothing and toys are passed on to siblings and used up.

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I plan on going through my wardrobe today and getting rid of anything I don't wear (I did this a few weeks ago and wound up with two 13 gallon trash bags worth of donations :glare: )

 

I need to do it again because I want to take inventory and then make a list of the things that I would wear often and that would be complimentary to my ever changing shape :glare:

 

I'm going to go with white, black, navy, grey and maybe some brown. I want a jean skirt (above the knee), a black dress (casual but that can be dressed up if necessary), a few t shirts in black, white and navy, a pair of jeans and a few pairs of jean shorts ....(and some black yoga pants but I already have some :) )

 

Then I'm going to make a list of things we need for our house that will simplify life and and lend itself to a more minimal lifestyle. I know it sounds counter intuitive to go "buy" more stuff to achieve a minimal lifestyle, however, I'm buying practical things. For instance, I want to purchase some plain white towels instead of having mismatched, torn towels. I'd like to not have the visual clutter of ragged towels. Plus, I will mark them and assign each child ONE, UNO, EINS towel!

 

I'll update later with my progress :) I wish I had a camera right now :( I can try to take some pics with my laptop's webcam but the quality is carp...so we'll see

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I could, for example, drastically reduce the amount of clothing each family member has, but if the tradeoff is that I have to do laundry almost constantly so those few clothes are wearable, the effect is to make life more complicated, which defeats the purpose. There is a sweet spot somewhere.

.

 

I think this is all relative to the individual family (which is what I think you're saying?)

 

I am constantly doing laundry anyway so the more clothes we have, the faster they pile up, and the faster I'm behind on laundry.

 

It sort of forces me to stay on top of it...plus it teaches the kids to take better care of their clothes (me too ;) )

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My experience regarding laundry is that I am not washing any more often than I ever did when we each had drawers and closets brimming with clothing. I still wash with the same frequency; I just wash the same things over and over. However, my children have finally grasped the concept of wearing a pair of pants twice and hanging their hoodies in the closet when they take them off because they know that if they run out of laundry before I'm ready to wash they will be stuck washing their own or just going without.

 

We haven't had any issues with clothes looking worn or falling apart due to frequent washing, which I think is due to a combination of factors: we start out with high-quality clothes, our washing machine does not have an agitation arm sticking up in the middle, and I don't over-dry our clothing. Plus we wear many things twice before washing them.

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That's great. Do you mind me asking what spurred you to downsize/declutter so much? Did you do it quickly or was it a more gradual process? I'd love to hear some details of/tips for how you achieved such great results. :001_smile:

 

I like Simplicity Parenting's view on toys & such for kids. (Though I wasn't fond of the author's writing style -- it was anything but simple, imo. He could have been so much more succinct. :tongue_smilie:)

 

My fave minimalist blogs (though not necessarily for large families):

http://zenhabits.net/

http://smallnotebook.org/

http://www.365lessthings.com/

http://brooks-palmer.blogspot.com/

http://www.missminimalist.com/

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

http://bemorewithless.com/

http://www.theminimalistmom.com/blog/

http://www.zerowastehome.blogspot.com/

http://www.theminimalists.com/

 

One I recently found (haven't read much yet):

http://www.iwontbeahoardertoo.blogspot.com/

 

As you can tell by the blog list, I'm trying to brainwash myself into being more minmalist. :lol: I'm slowly getting there.... Love these threads because they continue to inspire me to minimalize & declutter....

 

Funny in this thread to get a post with several links on minimalism instead of a select 1-2, lol!!

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I would like to go a step or two closer to minimalistic, but we may be almost as close as we can get as a foster family and living in someone else's fully furnished home.

 

*Each bedroom has a bed and dresser/bin for each person.

*I struggle with too many clothes (thrift, garage sales, hand-me-downs, etc), but do manage to purge each season too. For example, I *know* bought too much for C-man because I can barely shut his drawers. Time to pass some on! We do keep some key items for our "stash" as foster kids usually come with absolutely nothing.

*We have a couple moderate sets of key toys (one file box of legos, a handful or two of matchbox cars, a small box of ponies, a tub of baby toys).

*I struggle with the outside items (3 jumpropes, 2 hoolahoops, bikes for each person, scooters, exercise balls/peanuts, etc). Honestly though, their fave "toy" right now is the vine growing from the other side of the fence...LOL

*We probably have fewer cups and plates than the average family of 4.

 

I like a *very* clean look. The only room that is really bad (well, except my closet which I have been meaning to get to) is the school room. We can destroy that in 2 point 3 seconds flat. Mostly it is paper mess though. Need to file and toss things....badly.

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We do keep some key items for our "stash" as foster kids usually come with absolutely nothing.

 

 

 

Yep...we have the same problem! Plus I started collecting more hand me downs to store in bins for our friends who get little ones last minute.

 

One of the reasons I so desperately want to work towards minimalism however, is that I can't seem to keep up with my house! I know that if I have less to clean, clean up, clean over, clean under ;), then I'll be able to keep things more organized.

 

My fear is a social worker popping in unannounced and seeing my house in all it's glory....:001_huh: it's not pretty!

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I've been trying to work up the guts to blog my journey to... well, maybe not *minimalism, but less. My problem is that I'm accustomed to blogs with pretty pictures. My house is not pretty, lol.

 

(Also, my camera charger is floating around somewhere in the remaining clutter! How appropriate!)

 

Me too....sigh. Definitely NOT pretty, but that is what I am trying to work toward.....pretty! And minimal. I am willing to declutter to the extreme....my family, however, will fight me tooth and nail to hand onto their stuff. It is my own personal battle, Which I wage daily....and am willing to invade stealthily:D

 

Dh's stuff is a whole nuther story:glare:

 

Anyway, My quest for simplicity and minimalism is coming from my desire to be creative and to prettify my surroundings. I just can't get to those goals if I am too busy cleaning up messes that don't need to be there.

 

Faithe

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Not necessarily, because that might mean that they only need to run their dishwasher when it is really full, saving water and energy, which is also part of a minimalist lifestyle. So, simply looking at the number of possessions it not enough; in some situations, having more possessions simplifies life - which I think is what minimalism is all about.

I could, for example, drastically reduce the amount of clothing each family member has, but if the tradeoff is that I have to do laundry almost constantly so those few clothes are wearable, the effect is to make life more complicated, which defeats the purpose. There is a sweet spot somewhere.

 

In this sense, a large family may actually have it easier to be minimalist than a small one - clothing and toys are passed on to siblings and used up.

 

 

I get needing more dishes. We're a family of four. I know I entertain more than I would if we were a family of 8. (I know MY limits. I'm not saying large families don't entertain.) Anyway, I have 8 dinner plates, 8 lunch plates, and 16 dessert plates. They get used often enough that I consider them neccesary if I want everyone to eat at the same time without handwashingdishes between dinner and dessert.

 

You lost me on the laundry reasoning too. You wear an outfit every day. You generate the same amount of laundry every day. An excess of clothes just allows you to get in a REALLY deep laundry hole. I do insist that everybody have enough clothes that I can put off laundry for one week, but an ability to put it off for 2-4 weeks is something I do NOT want to cope with.

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You lost me on the laundry reasoning too. You wear an outfit every day. You generate the same amount of laundry every day. An excess of clothes just allows you to get in a REALLY deep laundry hole. I do insist that everybody have enough clothes that I can put off laundry for one week, but an ability to put it off for 2-4 weeks is something I do NOT want to cope with.

 

This!

 

I've also found that my kids can't manage the amount of clothes they own. With overflowing closets and drawers (and hampers!), many items get rumpled, left on beds and floors and trampled on... I've wound up washing UNworn clothing just to make a poor attempt at putting it away again @@. Absolutely ridiculous!

 

If my 5 kids (and 2 adults) can't manage their own clothes, I sure as heck can't manage all 7's!

So that's going to be my goal for everyone but the youngest. If you have too much to put away neatly, you have to let the excess go.

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