Minimalism – An Infectious Disease?

Minimalism The Journey #6

Since starting this journey, I’ve tried to keep the focus on “my” stuff. The things that I either brought into our marriage (most of my books) or that my wife and kids generally don’t care about (some old and if I’m honest with myself obsolete electronics).

However, all communal items (i.e. kitchen wear, towels and linens, and furniture) have not even been on my radar. I don’t see this stuff as mine to minimize, but rather ours to share and utilize.

While I may have slipped once and made a joke comparing my newly minimized wardrobe to that of my wife’s, I have generally steered clear of trying to inflict my newly discovered minimalistic ideas on my family.

I have, however, shared my goals and a few of the more inspiring YouTube videos with my wife. And I’ve had to explain to my kids why dad is getting rid of so much stuff. Their responses have been great.

Responding to a Minimalist

My wife is an open-minded person and her core values line up with mine in most areas, so she immediately understood the appeal of minimalism. She even spent the weekend minimizing our kitchen wears. Although, I did notice that all of my favorite dishes were minimized, “for the sake of uniformity” of course. But hey, fewer dishes means less dirty dishes.

My youngest son, who is more attached to his things than his older brother, struggled to wrap his six-year-old mind around the idea of giving up your stuff. But as long as it wasn’t “his stuff”, he seemed more than content to have the extra square footage to play.

My oldest son got on board right away and immediately began to sort his Pokémon card collection into three piles. The first pile was the keep pile. The second pile was the I’m not sure pile. And the third pile was the minimize pile.

When he was done, he wanted to know who he was going to give his minimize pile away too. Given his impulsive nature and my ongoing battle to get him to spend some time thinking before he acts, we agreed that he would put his minimize pile someplace he wouldn’t see it.

This would give him time to determine if he would miss these cards or if his life would go on quite happily without them (I suspect the latter). If after a few weeks, he doesn’t miss them, then we’ll find a worthy home for them.

Maybe we’ll transform this into a lesson on the joys of giving and juxtapose the happiness he gets from giving his cards to those who may appreciate them more versus keeping cards he doesn’t really get much value from any more in his own collection.

I’ve Infected my Household

Despite not necessarily intending to create a minimalistic household, I may have inadvertently infected the rest of my family. While our house may never appear on the cover of Minimalist Monthly, it at very least will be a less cluttered home.

I’m glad my family is finding value in minimalism, not just because I think it will ultimately lead to living lives that are filled with more meaning and contentment. But also more selfishly, it is allowing me to experience more of the rewards of minimalism.

Having less personal belongs allows me to experience minimalism in a very theoretical way. But as long as the other 80% of the stuff in our house remained, I’d never enjoyed the full benefits of a clutter-free house.

But now I’m already feeling the benefits of having less household stuff and getting a glimpse at the freedom minimalism offers. It is an unexpected turn in this journey, which makes me wonder what will be next?


  1. Love it lol!

    I’m looking to do some summer cleaning in August, hopefully donating some of my clothes to the homeless people in the city. I prefer doing this over donating as good will likes to charge them, yet they may not be able to afford it.

    Definitely starting to get into the more minimalist type design helping to speed up the recurring tasks in my life – less time doing them, means more time for personal finance :).

    1. While I’m still a newbie to this whole minimalism thing, I have definitely found that I have cut down the time I used to spend on laundry and dishes as a result of minimizing those items. It’s nice to gains some extra time in my day!

    1. Even without a family member moving in, it is amazing how much stuff comes into our house each week. Sometimes it seems like a never ending battle to reduce our possessions.

  2. I definitely jumped down the minimalism hole before Mr.Wow did and quickly grabbed his hand on the way down. He still has tendencies to convert back to his non-minimalist ways, but for the most part we are on the same page. I guess the minimal bug infected our household too!

  3. It’s amazing once you start everything starts snowballing and spreading. We need to get better with this and keep up the momentum. We’re pretty good about going through our closets and dressers for clothes we don’t wear. Maybe this will light a fire under my rear to go through the Kitchen. And I could always purge more clothes and shoes.

    Luckily we’re both on board, we just have to actually do it.

  4. For me, the biggest draw of minimalism is the potential for lack of clutter. I HATE clutter, more than physical dirt or dust. Occasionally I will get admonished for putting something away in a place that it should not be.

    Maybe I will be jumping on the minimalism bandwagon in the near future!

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, clutter seems to follow kids around. We need to find a better system for all the paperwork our kids bring home from school, it is insane how much stuff enters our house each week from backpacks.

      The bandwagon is getting crowded, but I’ll save a place for you.

  5. Recently we’ve moved to a new house and I was SHOCKED how many things and stuff we’ve accumulated over the course of 4 years.

    4 years ago we came with 3 suitcases and 2 backpacks. And now we had to rent a U-Haul track.

    But at the same time we are not that bad, for a family of 4 living in a 2Br apartment we used a small track that suits for a studio/1Br apartment.

  6. It’s awesome when the family gets on-board. Our oldest daughter is constantly decluttering her stuff – she’s a bit of a minimalist entrepreneur though – she takes her stuff out to the curb and sells it to the neighbor kids. It’s adorable to watch 🙂

  7. Kiddo see, kiddo do! I’m glad your little guy was so eager to get on board. It sounds like everyone’s getting used to and adapting the mentality of minimalism in their own way, and who knows what that’ll lead to in the future! Might I suggest searching for a Buy Nothing Project group in your community? Unless you’re already part of one – they’re Facebook based, but private to community members. It’s a great way to gift and receive things no longer necessary while giving those items the best chance of finding purpose in a new household!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I did try a free-cycle site a few years ago, but it wasn’t very good. I’m one of those weird people who isn’t on Facebook, but my wife is, so I’ll see if I can stoke the Minimalism fire even more and get her onto one of the Buy Nothing Project groups. 🙂

  8. This is very cool! I imagine it’s hard to be minimal while the rest of your family isn’t. Kudos to you for not pressuring them to change if they don’t want to.

    We go through our stuff every few months to declutter but don’t embrace minimalism on a daily basis. I have to admit it always feels freeing to get rid of stuff. And like I’m sure your son will experience with his Pokémon cards, I never seem to miss things too badly.

    I usually forget I even had them!

    1. It is surprising how much our stuff weighs us down and we don’t even realize it until we feel the freedom of not having it. Hopefully teaching my kids to detach from stuff will serve them well when they are older, but time will tell.

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