kids, me and minimalism in the future

Minimalism and kids sound like polar opposites. A lot of people believe that having kids makes living a minimalist lifestyle impossible.

But does that necessarily mean that if you don’t have kids, then minimalism is easy for you? I don’t think so.

kids

At the moment, I only know what living a student/traveller lifestyle feels like. If you are either of those, then I would guess that many of my posts apply to you. Of course everyone is welcome, but if you do have kids, perhaps my version of minimalism doesn’t fit you. Of course it won’t, it’s different for everyone of all ages and circumstances.

I absolutely love kids. I teach them, I live with them, I take care of them. But as for myself, I want to travel, move around and see things before I settle down. Things are different if you have a house, a job and family commitments – your aims probably aren’t the same as mine.

But that doesn’t mean it is impossible. For the ‘other side’ of my kind of minimalism, I recommend Zen habits writer Leo who has six kids and minimalist father Joshua Becker who has written some perfect posts about this subject:

If you have a family,  I recommend you read their blogs too. They have shown me that it is perfectly possible to minimalize in some way, and that it’s not as simple as black and white – as in young people can do it but parents can’t - anyone can be a minimalist. It’s a tough truth to learn because too many people think that having kids gives them the excuse to give up or not even try.

me

It’s true that I don’t have to worry about my own kids, but that doesn’t make me a naive teenager. In fact, I have a brother who is eleven years younger than me, so I spent the better part of the last decade changing diapers, making school runs and dealing with toys, messiness and all the things they bring home from school (including the colds) in between my homework assignments, exams, clubs and social commitments. On top of that, even though I’ve been very lucky to be where I am now, it hasn’t always been easy and I’ve had to learn some harsh lessons on the way.

Just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean it was an easy ride for me either. There are things I have to worry about too. In any case, if a minimalism makes sense to you, then things like my age and where I’m from shouldn’t matter. I actually live the life that I talk about, and I have seen proof with my own eyes that my life has improved for the better. Good things have happened to me one after another because I have adopted a minimalist lifestyle – there’s no way I’m turning back now.

minimalism in the future

Will I still be a minimalist in 10 years time? Obviously I can’t predict the future, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to discard this lifestyle like a fad for a life of excessiveness, hoarding and debt. The reason I am minimalist is because it really makes my life better, and by consuming less, I have more time and money to help others in need too. These are my principles, like it is for people to be honest and compassionate – I don’t see myself ditching my morals any time soon.

Of course my version of minimalism right now will be different from what it will be in the future. It will change as I change. But that’s okay, because you’re supposed to be making minimalism fit you and not the other way around.

I have a good feeling minimalism will be with me for a long long time.

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  • http://www.chasenight.net Chase Night

    I find myself wondering about this too. We aren’t ready for kids yet, but we do want them we think, and then what? They come with so many accessories – or at least Target wants us to believe they do! Right now, I freak out at the thought of being responsible for the well-being of anything more dependent than my dogs. But I doubt that will always be the case, and I wonder how we will keep from being inundated with things from well-meaning relatives and friends who think babies need stuff to be loved.

    • Jessica

      Hey Chase,

      I think that’s so true, especially the last part about needing stuff to be loved, I think that’s the premise behind the whole Christmas and birthday present giving tradition. People feel that they need to have gifts of money or stuff to show that people care about them, but there are so many other ways to show it. And I think things like cash and toys are just objects, they aren’t a real demonstration of how much we care about our family and friends.

  • http://www.frugalveganmom.wordpress.com Frugal Vegan Mom

    Hi,

    We’re expecting our first in Feb., and so far I think the whole minimalism and kids thing is just like minimalism anywhere else in life – what extreme you take it to is totally up to you, but it’s completely possible.

    I’ll definitely check out the articles and blogs you linked to. Another one comes to mind too, this guy: http://manvsdebt.com/ they’re travelling the world with their baby.

    In response to Chase Night too – I still don’t feel “ready” for kids, some people never will, but always knew we eventually wanted them. It’s a strange experience. People do want to buy us a lot of stuff, I say just let them. If I don’t need it, I’ll take it back or sell it!

    • Jessica

      Hi Frugan vegan mom! Wow, congratulations!

      I think you’re right, there can’t be a lot of people completely prepared for having a child, but I guess the unknown is part of what makes it exciting!

      Thank you for commenting, I wish you the best of luck with the baby.

  • linda

    Greetings from the Netherlands! :)

    I recently stumbled upon your blog and must say I absolutely love it! I’m a mom of 2 myself and from that perspective I can say…. bringing kids up in a minimalist way isn’t hard IF you start from the beginning…. Since you’re living the lifestyle at the moment, I’d dare to say you won’t have great difficulty if you eventually have children. (It’s quite something different to turn kids’ behaviour around when they are already formed!)

    As for doing the things you love.. your only real obstacle are the laws around education (well, at least they are in our country, where homeschooling is illegal..) Kids need to spend so many hours at school, but in between you’re free to go whereever you want. And travelling with children isn’t half as bad as everyone makes it sound ;)

    Keep up the good work! :D

  • http://minimalistmum.blogspot.com/ Jessica Parsons

    Kids respond better than many adults to a minimalist lifestyle. While they are creatures of abundance, they don’t need to live amongst it to feel good. And like adults, they feel better in an uncluttered environment even if they don’t know why. The earlier you start, the earlier their habits are formed.

    So you’re in a great position – having discovered your passion for minimalism before having your children!

    I’ve got some great posts about minimalism and kids; check out
    http://minimalistmum.blogspot.com/2010/05/untidy-city.html and
    http://minimalistmum.blogspot.com/2010/07/top-10-tips-to-tidy-your-toyroom.html