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moms of minimalism

(50 Posts)
DropItLikeASquat Sat 07-Apr-18 13:24:45

Hi Ladies,
I have been practicing minimalism now for almost a year and I couldn't find a thread about this so decided to start one.
I thought we could share ideas and how -to's and just support each other in this unconventional lifestyle.
about me: Im a single momma of 8 in a 3 bed house. I sleep on the floor downstairs on a tatami mattress and my kids have the 3 bedrooms upstairs (2 boys in one room, 2 girls in another, 3 little girls in the last bedroom and the 18 month old baby boy is still in my bed.
we have a modest dresser of toys. a lego table (trofast drawers with all 'current building' projects on top) and each child has a box/trunki with their special/personal things and we have a craft cupboard in the kitchen.
We keep clothing to a minimum (unless keeping as hand-me down) and have minimised the entire house and its an ongoing project.
Our dream is to live minimally and have our spare space/time/money free to make memories together and be happy.
Anyone can join this journey. What is minimalist for one family, won't be for another so lets all share your journeys and support one another xx

orangeblosssom Mon 09-Apr-18 01:37:10


DropItLikeASquat Mon 09-Apr-18 15:26:18


DropItLikeASquat Fri 13-Apr-18 17:00:31

how many toys are too many/too little. What are good staple toys to have in the home that are great for most ages.
Blocks/legos seem to be a good choice and some basic home/ imaginative play bits like play food/ kitchen/dressingup.
some craft supplies for school projects/ a rainy day
any other suggestions??

Eryri1981 Fri 13-Apr-18 18:35:17

I'm trying to keep DD (10weeks) wardrobe minimalist, and confined to one drawer. I have been given ridiculous amounts of second hand clothes, which I am obviously grateful for, but do feel like I am drowning in baby clothes at the moment, so have tried to draw up a list and then select out pieces to fulfil this list that more or less co-ordinate. For context, we are using cloth nappies, therefore nappy blowouts are a rare thing (one very small leg breech so far) and I am putting washes on regularly. I have started to try it for my 3-6 months spring wardrobe (which she is already in!) but it is a little ad hoc. So this is my 6-12 month (summer/ Autumn) Wardrobe plan:

3 sleepsuits & 3 sleeping bags (one on, one in the wash, one just in case)
7 short sleeve bodysuits
1 sleepsuit & bodysuit for emergency changing bag spare
4 Rompers (2 short, 2 Long)
2 pairs joggers (Frugi Parsnips-they are great, comfy and very colourful)
1 pair shorts
1 pair short dungarees
1 pair long dungarees
3 Short sleeved T shirts
3 Long sleeved T shirts
1 summer dress (maybe 2)
1 Winter dress
2 pairs tights (to wear under dresses and short dungarees when it is a bit cooler)
5 pairs socks
2 Cardigans
1 fleece jacket
2 tuppence crumble star wraps (we love them, much better than blankets or pramsuits!)
Sun hat
Warm hat
Mittens on string
1 all-in-one rain suit
1 snowsuit (not sure if we will need it, but I've just been given a really nice one...which I know is a really unminimalist thing to say!!)
Bibs (how many?)
Coverall (how many?)
Shoes/ Wellies (if/when required)

It already seems like a massive and not very minimalist list...anything I can remove? Anything essential that I have missed, not got enough of? How many bibs/ coveralls will I need for weaning?

overmydeadbody Fri 13-Apr-18 18:41:26

What I struggle with are all the technical clothing and shoes that are needed as we live a very outdoors lifestyle, we surf and ski and climb, I run, DH cycles... And Eben though we are wow minimalist we have a lot of clothes, shoes and equipment to go with the sports. The kids all do too see I feel we are drowning in wetsuits, wellies, hiking boots, bikes, Lycra, and outdoor clothing for all weather...

I'd it went for that we'd actually have very few clothes and shoes.

I'm in awe of you maintaining it op, with 8 children!!! Wow. I keep making excuses that you can't be minimalists with four kids... But you've proved me wrong!

overmydeadbody Fri 13-Apr-18 18:43:41

Eryri I use muslin cloths for weaning and in place of bibs for all meal times, better coverage, easy to get on and off and easy to clean. Every other day I put a boil wash on that just contains muslins and flannels ( for wiping their faces and hands after meal times).

overmydeadbody Fri 13-Apr-18 18:47:34

I don't know if it's minimalist or not but I do eight complete outfits for each child for each season, that's enough I find with doing a wash a day.

The complete outfits is rolled up in one bundle, so for example my toddlers outfits at the moment consist of trousers, socks, long sleeved vest and jumper, wrapped up in bundles. It makes dressing them in the morning very easy, for whoever is doing it... Also just two colours for the toddlers so everything matches ( the teens don't do this though!)

DropItLikeASquat Fri 13-Apr-18 19:14:51

eryri that seems like a great plan for the boy clothing, it may seem a lot but for for a tiny baby that goes through a lot of outfits thats really good IMO what do you have for baby toys/items etc??

overmydeadbody completely get it about the sports stuff, our cupboard under the stairs is full of our activities stuff and some of our comping gear. It bothers me that its so much stuff BUT, we love it and need it for the activities that we enjoy.

I have just sorted out all of our biking/swimming/ sports stuff and have managed to get rid of excess swimming caps, excessive tent spares etc from stuff we no longer need/use.

TOOL kit! this is something I don't have. I have 1 hammer and 1 screwdriver, some nails and a few types of glue/repair kits etc and tend to borrow things as and when I need them, which sometimes means waiting for relatives to visit etc, but would like to have a small tool kits for basic repairs and decorating etc. can anyone recommend what basics I need to have in a small tool kit no bigger than a shoe box really.

Eryri1981 Fri 13-Apr-18 22:17:57

overmydeadbody we have the same problem with sports kit...minimalist on pretty much everything else but a ton of sports gear, some of which is still stored in ILs shed until we get sorted with a decent shed at our little cottage. Climbing, biking, windsurfing, running, and a whole load of guide books!!!

DropItLikeaSquat Not got very far with thinking about toys yet as at 10 weeks DD doesn't really need many (a few rattles and a couple of Lamaze hanging interactive toys). Have a toy box in the living room and a shelf for her books, and she will eventually have a nursery with another toy box (old trunk), plan will be to restrict her toys to these 2 boxes, although I may have a separate lego box for her, and somewhere for craft stuff. We also have a bouncy chair in the living room, she is not a massive fan but it is up high and somewhere I can put her down out of reach of the dog when I need to go to the toilet etc. She has a mobile over this (gift from Aunt), and she has a dinosaur sit on rocker ready for her nursery. Oh and a summer infant folding playpen, to keep her and her toys safe from the dog (I'm sure they will be sharing toys before too long). What she won't be having is a play kitchen, large plastic toys, baby walker etc. there simply is not room for them, and they are probably all unnecessary anyway.

I think the most challenging thing is going to be MIL, who is a bit of a compulsive shopper (of bargain tat). My DM gets that we have a very small cottage so simply don't have space for masses of possessions, whereas MIL just doesn't get it and is constantly presenting us with random things, and this has got worse since DD came on the horizon!

AnnieOH1 Fri 13-Apr-18 22:23:54

I'm assuming you're in UK but if not I hope you have somewhere like poundland or Wilko. You can buy the basic tools there, or if you have a bit more cash buy a ready made tool set from a DIY store.

unlurk85 Fri 13-Apr-18 22:30:31

Placemarking to keep tabs on this thread. I have a 4 yo and a 1 yo and it's toys that I'm struggling with too. Every time I try to declutter, we seem to receive more. Lego is particularly difficult to store I find. Do you store by set or by brick type? Also keeping the two kids toys separate because of choking hazards etc means two separate storage areas. I follow Joshua Becker and have also 'done' Marie Kondo which was excellent. Any further tips welcome!

DropItLikeASquat Fri 13-Apr-18 22:38:17

Annie will check out wilko tomorrow and my local £land. Great idea thanks.

eryri that sounds plenty for the baby and all stuff you will certainly use. I found the bouncer and dangly lamaze thingies really useful.
my youngest fav toy was a tube of nappy cream. I use to give it to him to hold while I was changing his nappy (was in Terry squares) and he loved it so much he still plays with it now, even though its empty. lol

I have to say, we have a play kitchen. ALL 8 of mine have loved it and it gets played with daily by my preschoolers and my 18 month old.
Its just a small table top one that folds in half so takes up really little space, I just added some £1 land wooden spoons and a small milkman that was in my local charity shop. I got some play food from my local charity and added a few of the wooden veggies that you can cut up with a wooden knife and stick back together with velcro. its one of the most played with toys in our house. Plus if we go to the beach or for a walk somewhere, they collect shells and tricks and pretend thats a meal they are cooking up.
This type of kitchen is similar to ours but ours was wayyy cheaper.

and this playfood is similar to our

the most played with toys for my older kids are legos. they have endless possibilities and some of the blocks in my kids lego set is from my childhood and has been passed through my siblings and through my cousins before coming back to me for my kids.

Charity shops are amazing for kids toys, the quality of some of it is like new, I rarely buy anything new these days. lol

hope this is useful.

Eryri1981 Sat 14-Apr-18 07:29:40

dropitlikeasquat I was thinking of trying to build a small toddler area in the garden with a mud kitchen. Our cottage is very small do just don't have the room inside.

squiz81 Sat 14-Apr-18 12:22:52

unlurk85 we lego in tower storage drawer unit from really useful storage company. Sorted by brick not colour. It has made life easier. We have the following drawers
1. Wheels
2. Flat bits/ base plates
3. Clips/hinges etc
4. Bricks
5. Interesting bits
Plus a box for minifigures that lives on top of the drawers. (We do also have 2 underbed storage boxes full of lego that are in a jumble - one day i will sort them!!)

Totsntantrums Sat 14-Apr-18 18:50:20

I am glad to have found this thread.

Mum of 5 here in a 3 bedroom. Limited clothes and shoes and just getting started on the plastic toys. I am tempted just to bag them all up without going through them. We also spend a lot of time outside and the children just don’t seem to play with the plastic tat.

DropItLikeASquat Sat 14-Apr-18 20:52:39

hi all,
squiz thats some serious lego filing you got going on there- love the concept of organisation by type rather than colour.

hi totsntantrums great to see another momma of many on here.

Ive been sorting stuff out all day and went to wilko for a few bits. I needed some drawers for my clothes as my dresser had died a nasty death over our house move. I found a set of beautifully made but a bit battered ercol drawers in local charity shop for £30. Ive been looking longingly at Annie sloan paint for the last month, but happily found wilko brand cupboard and furniture paint for £12 and it doesn't need waxing after!!! win win win.
so thats my project for next week. didn't decide on any tool box as I couldn't make it to £land so will do that next time I need to go into town.
Any ideas on how I can minimise our camping gear?? do I ned to keep everything or can you hire equipment from places. Like a stove etc?
I'm tempted to ditch the camping stove and pots/pans in favour of a trangia, so much more compact and versatile.
I stripped all my kitchen cupboards out too and found some rogue vitamins and spices in a box. some will be used up but one pot of vitamins was OOD 2017 and some tarragon went OOD in2015. shock
I'm off to bed early tonight as I'm so shattered from all of this.

Totsntantrums Sun 15-Apr-18 08:52:21

Morning all. I am completely inspired having watched the recommended documentary on Netflix last night.

It’s amazing that I am already looking around at toys that were bought at Christmas and thinking that they have never been played with.

Already thinking about next Christmas and finding an alternative to our usual routine.

mrsoutnumbered Sun 15-Apr-18 10:51:37

I like to think of myself as a 'reverse hoarder'! I hate clutter and like everything to be in its place.

I'm moving soon so it will be a great opportunity to get rid of more stuff 

@Totsntantrums what documentary is that? I couldn't find a mention of it, sounds appealing!

I am trying to get relatives to stop buying tat for the kids. I have two Trofast units and whatever doesn't fit in there, goes.

Totsntantrums Sun 15-Apr-18 12:29:34


It is called the minimalist on Netflix

mrsoutnumbered Sun 15-Apr-18 12:47:39

Thanks! I'll watch it tomorrow.

DropItLikeASquat Sun 15-Apr-18 14:53:35

My favourite documentary, alongside a few others. I think Joshua and Ryan also have a tonne of stuff on youtube too, some podcasts and they also are on a few TedX talks.
Watching that and this channel
really was a game changer for me

mrsoutnumbered Sun 15-Apr-18 15:48:19

Dh has taken the kids out and I have just got rid of a bags worth of toys they haven't been touched in about a year! 🙌🏻

Looking through it all, most of it has been bought by one particular relative. I gently hint that pocket money may be better but it's not sunk in yet. I don't like people to waste their money.

overmydeadbody Sun 15-Apr-18 19:18:55

I sorted out all my clothes Rossi and was ruthless... I noticed that I have a few clothesi love to wear and just don't wear the rest... Or wear them but don't enjoy wearing them, so I've properly slimmed down my clothes. It's made me feel a lot calmer!!

My teens pretty much only own Lego, it's all in IKEA drawers that we built their beds above (a classic IKEA hack) so it's really good use of the space we have.

I have also just built a mud kitchen in the garden so that the toddlers have a play kitchen without it being indoors. I bought cheap play pots and pans from IKEA and built the mud kitchen with old pallets and pound land metal mixing bowls.

overmydeadbody Sun 15-Apr-18 19:21:01

I also sorted out our bedding, slimmed it down to two sets per bed only, the rest is going to the charity shop.

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