WAY BACK IN January I wrote about minimalism and how we have embraced minimalism in our home and with our possessions. One of the biggest questions I have heard about embracing minimalism is how to be a minimalist and have kids... Kids seem to come with a list a mile long of things they "absolutely need" and they also accumulate so much stuff over time. I am no expert on this but I do try my best to keep our kids stuff to a minimum and keep our home from feeling like baby land.
Figure out what you really need to own and what things you could borrow from a friend. When I was pregnant with Finny we were living in a small space already so we tried to choose fewer things that were really good quality that would last through a few kids. When we moved into our home in Leslieville, my goal was to arrange our home so that the kids had lots of room to play and move but at the end of the day it can still feel like an adults space.
USE MULTI-PURPOSE FURNITURE TO STORE AND CONCEAL TOYS. In our home the kitchen is where all the main action is, I spend so much time in there that I knew we needed to use the space well to make it a functional space for our family. We have an eat in kitchen and decided to create a play area for the boys where most people would put a dining table. We have this great, sleek shelving unit that has four cupboards - two of which hold kid things and the other two are used for extra kitchen storage and for things like our camera and my breast pump. In the living room one of the cupboards below the TV is used for books since we most often read books on the couch. There is also a small cupboard for toys in Finny's room and book shelves on his wall for books that are bedtime books or books that are more fragile. The general rule in our home is, if it doesn't fit in the cupboards, it doesn't stay. (more on larger items below)
Under the stairs we have a shelving unit with two boxes in it. These boxes are used for toys that aren't currently in use right now. Which leads me to my next point...
PURGE. I regularly (at least once a month) filter through the toys and books in the cupboards and put the ones that Finny has outgrown or isn't currently that interested away in the shelving unit under the stairs for when Atticus will use them. Then I toss the ones that are broken, have major pieces missing or donate the ones that he never really took an interest in anyways. This allows the house to feel less cluttered and it also helps that when Finny gets bored of his current toys I don't have to go buy new ones, I can simply swap out some of the toys for old "new" toys that he is really excited to see again.
EASY TO CLEAN UP. Following my "purging" rule helps to make clean up once the kids are in bed a breeze. My general rule is that if it takes me longer than three minutes to tidy up the toys, books, etc. that he has too many toys out and that means it is time to purge again.
CHOOSE TOYS THAT ARE BEAUTIFUL. Some toys are just too big to fit into the little cupboards. I get that. We only have a few toys that are too big to go in the cupboard we make sure they are toys that are aesthetically pleasing. We bought Finny a great little play kitchen that we all love and since it is so cute we don't mind that it can't be put away. We also have this incredible cart which is beautiful and has so many uses and we love seeing it around the house. Side note: It is arguably the best toy we have bought him - it has grown with him over the last year and he still loves it and plays with it almost more than anything else, I highly recommend it! We also have a rocking horse and a tent that can't fit in any cupboards but we love them and they are both beautiful and have strong sentimental value to us - friends of ours made the tent for Finn's birthday and the rocking horse was mine when I was a child.
These are just a few of the ways we practice minimalism with our kids. In a few months, when he is ready, I hope to include Finny in the purging process, teaching him to hold loosely to his possessions and also about giving things away to people who need them, something I myself am constantly working towards.