Why I got started with minimalism
My first born daughter, Mia, was born in August of 2015 and with her birth came the presents. She was the first grandchild from both sides of the family so it was inevitable that both families wanted to gift us everything we needed and more.
We had absolutely everything we needed, the latest baby gear and chests overflowing with toys within months of her birth, not to mention everything my husband and I had bought for her.
And yet somehow, even with all the toys and things most days she would whine and whine until I would pick her up and she would barely play with any of her many toys. As she got older, in her early toddler years, she would take every toy she owned out of her toy chest and on to the floor it all went, still never really playing with anything.
So every night I would spend hours cleaning up all of the mess, all of those toys. Our house looked like a colorful toy play-land. How can she have so much and never want to play with anything? I was getting so tired of cleaning up. I was told 'it's just the way it was once you had children'. But I knew there had to be a better way. I couldn't believe that for the next 18 or 20 years I would have to spend a big time of my life cleaning up all this junk.
At the time my husband was working late hours and so I would frequently visit my-in-laws who lived close by. My father-in-law is a fire-fighter/paramedic, and his schedule consists of 24-hour shifts and 48 hours off. So we would visit him often on his days off.
In his house there were no toys and he very rarely watches TV. He is the book reading, radio listener type of person. So when we would go visit, Mia only had one thing to play with, an old TV remote with no batteries in it.
Amazingly, Mia would spend hours playing with absolutely nothing. And I noticed how much she absolutely loved visiting her grandparents' house.
Without any TV time, and absolutely no toys for hours my father-in-law would take her in the kitchen and sit her in her high chair while he cooked, or let her play with a box on the floor, or with her little battery-less remote, and she was perfectly content.
Sometimes he would even just put her on the floor while he peacefully read his books as she babbled and played with her toes.
I could not believe it. At home, she would never show this type of behaviour. I could never just sit and read because she would whine and whine until I took her out of her play pen, which was full of every toy I could try to put in there so she would have something to play with.
I slowly started noticing that my daughter was thriving in her development through our visits.
That's when I stumbled upon the term Minimalism online. Getting rid of the unnecessary excess and living with less. Amazingly my daughter was showing me this concept of living was working for her.
At around my daughter's 19 month birthday my husband and I got a work opportunity that would move us to New York. Instead of taking all of our possessions we decided to start fresh.
In our time there we only bought our daughter a few toys, and by few I mean like 5 toys and 4 books. I wanted to test out this theory. I wanted to see if my daughter could really learn to play with less. And to my amazement with just a few toys my daughter was absolutely content. She continued to grow in her milestones beautifully, and slowly but surely she started playing all by herself.
Fast-forward to now, with a new addition to our family, my baby boy, and moving back to our home state, I found that having a few beautiful toys works for our family. My daughter is much more content, more imaginative, and she is learning so much so fast. I am now a true believer that this way of living does work and I see it even with my youngest son, who also plays contently with less at only six-months-old.
I hope you can join me in this journey as I learn to live with less and what that looks like for our family.