The idea of getting rid of excess in every area of my home and life has always appealed to me. My mom refers to me as “The Most Throwingist Away Child” and yes that is exactly how she phrases it. So what is minimalism anyway?
Minimalism has many definitions depending on who you ask. But at its core, minimalism is about intentionally subtracting everything from your life that distracts you from your mission and your calling.
Often, clutter and noise hold us back from serving God fully. We can’t host a Bible study because our homes are too cluttered.
We can’t take time to go out for a coffee date with a friend in need because we’ve overfilled our to-do lists.
We can’t give as much as we want to our favorite charities because we’re busy paying down massive amounts of debt.
When we come up against these problems, we tend to assume they’re unmoving.
Personally, I can’t function in a messy home, dirty kitchen, or office space. It drives me crazy.
Literally, it is all I can think about until I get up and do something about it. Clutter is a no go in my home.
Just as my mom calls me the most thowingist away child ever my husband now understands why she calls me that.
If something hasn’t been used or worn in 6 months it goes in the trash. If I have to pick up after someone it goes in the trash.
As a mom it is so easy to get overwhelmed with everyday chores especially when you work outside the home. Honestly, I feel sorry for moms who stay at home because their job never ends.
Before learning about minimalism I thought maybe I had a de-clutter problem going on. But I see it is actually helpful for us especially as Christians.
Why Minimalism? And Should Christians Care about It?
We resign ourselves to cluttered homes, busy lives, and unfulfilling relationships because we’re not sure how to make a change.
But what if you challenged that belief? What if you took a hard look at the obstacles that are keeping you from living out your faith fully?
How would your life look different?
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For my husband and I we paid down some debts and got rid of accounts we didn’t we need.
I know so many people who have gym memberships yet they never go to the gym. Why not cancel it?
Or what about Amazon Prime? Do you really order enough every month to save on the shipping? Would it really be so bad to not get your item in 2 days or less?
And look at all the Streaming available. There is Netflix, Hulu, Sling, Vudo, and now Disney+ just to name a few. This list doesn’t even include the local cable company.
Seriously, what is the since in having more than one streaming service? Yes, we are guilty of this as well.
We have Sling which we pay $29.99 a month. It would only be $24.99 but we added the Outdoors package which we rarely watch anymore.
My theory on throwing stuff out if it hasn’t been used in 6 months applies to everything. Therefore, I will be cancelling the Outdoors package, I just have to wait until my husband isn’t around, haha.
We also have Hulu but we got it free with our Cell service. Netflix is also a must in our home but we don’t pay for that either, my daughter does. It’s the least she could do since she lives with us rent free.
Christians especially should care about minimalism because it is a way renew your mind daily. Cleaning out the clutter makes room for what really matters. Too often I hear fellow Christians say “I don’t tithe because I don’t have the extra money.”
I know this may offend some but it is the truth and the truth is what I promised to share.
Look at your checkbook and credit card statements. They will show you what’s most important to you.
You may be surprised to see it isn’t God. So, what are some things you can cancel that you can do with out?
Check out my 7 Day Journal – Minimalism and Christianity
What If I Love My Stuff?
You love your things and I get it. I love shoes. And maybe it makes you happy to own 100+ pairs of shoes.
While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labors, the truth is these items are just temporary.
Consider the parable Jesus shared in Luke 12:13-21. The rich man has everything his heart could desire and yet he’s running out of room. So, he decides to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. Yet before he can accomplish the task, he dies in his sleep.
Jesus begins the story with a solemn warning.
Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own. (Luke 12:15, NLT)
If you find yourself measuring your life and worth by how much you own, don’t feel bad. We live in a society that is conditioning us to believe our value is directly proportionate to the number of likes we get on Instagram or the label on our jeans.
Yet you are God’s child (John 1:12), His precious masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). You have incredible value and worth because God says so.
By sending His Son to ransom your life, God paid a dear price for you (John 3:16). He redeemed you at an incredible cost to Himself.
Learning that your identity rests in God’s love and not what you own can be incredibly freeing.
But it does take time to let these words sink in and take root. You may find it hard to let go of things.
As you begin your minimalism journey, you may find yourself having to remind yourself of these truths often.
Isn’t Minimalism Boring?
Maybe you’re thinking minimalism isn’t for you. You may have seen pictures online of “minimalist homes” that feature no furniture or minimalist families that only own 100 items.
While you can certainly do minimalism that way, you can also customize it, so minimalism works for your family and your lifestyle.
When some people first hear of the idea of minimalism, they think in terms of “less”. They think they’ll have less joy, less stuff, less confidence, and less energy.
But you’ll actually find the opposite is true. When you embrace minimalism, you’ll find that you have more fulfilling relationships, more intentionality, more savings, more fun moments with friends or family, more time to pursue passion, and more room to grow your faith in exciting ways!
A couple weeks ago my husband and I cleaned out our bedroom. For me it was so freeing to have more space.
I no longer felt claustrophobic. Since I have even noticed my husband has been less stressed. Why? Because he can now find his work clothes in the morning without having to search through a junkyard.
Minimalism? Where Do I Begin?
Is the idea of minimalism sparking a fire in you? What about the thought of owning less is it filling you with dread — or is it filling you with joy?
Are you actually breathing a sigh of relief when you think about having your home and life organized? But you’re instantly overwhelmed and don’t know where to start?
You want less stuff but with so much stuff, how do you pick what needs to stay and what needs to go?
There are so many methods to declutter and begin your minimalism journey. Understand that there’s no wrong or right way to do this but there are a few techniques that might be helpful.
You’ll want to choose the one that sounds like it will work best for you and your family.
Declutter by Category. In this style of decluttering, you minimize by gathering all of your like objects.
For example, you start by putting all of your clothes into a pile in the living room floor.
You may be shocked to discover you have 25 t-shirts you don’t even like or that you’re still holding onto the bell-bottoms from high school.
Sort through the category by making three piles: one for things you love and want to keep, one for things that are old and need to be discarded, and one for items that you no longer want but may be able to donate or gift to someone in need.
Try the 100 Items Challenge. This type of decluttering works well if you have a busy schedule or are too overwhelmed to start sorting things. Grab a large basket and challenge yourself to find 100 items to donate or throw in the trash.
This is a challenge that I haven’t done but I want too! Of-course, I will yet again have to wait until my husband isn’t around (wink).
This method is most effective if you stay in one room at a time.
For example, remove 100 items from the family room before you move on to removing 100 items from the bathroom. Chances are you’ll have a trunkful of items to donate by the time you’re done with this approach!
Do It Room by Room. If the category approach or the 100 items challenge doesn’t appeal to you, then there’s nothing wrong with choosing one room in your house to declutter and starting there.
Of course, you want to choose the right room to start with. Some spaces are much more difficult to organize than others. A few easy spots to begin your decluttering journey include: your closet, the bathroom, or family car.
Just like a clean home I like a clean car too. My glove box tends to get full of clutter rather quickly because we are constantly shoving junk mail in there.
I do my best to go through it once or twice a month.
Check out my 7 Day Journal – Minimalism and Christianity
How Do I Get My Family to Join In?
You’re pumped to begin your journey toward minimalism. The thought of having extra space in your home makes your soul breathe a happy sigh.
The idea of creating time to chase your dream excites you. The thrill of becoming debt-free and in control of your spending calls to you.
But there’s just one gigantic problem in your way: your family. How do you get them on-board with your new plan to minimize?
Well, you could nag, complain, and until they agree to help you.
If you value your relationships and don’t want to resort to the tactics above (yay for you!), then there are still a few things you could do…
Lead by example. (This is what I do and it works for my family) You don’t necessarily have to say anything about your new practice. Instead, just begin by minimizing spaces you control.
For example, clean off your nightstand but leave your spouse’s untouched. Organize your side of the closet but don’t go through a family member’s clothing.
Share the benefits. If you’re experiencing the benefits of minimalism, tell others about it. Do this in a kind, friendly way.
For example, your spouse might complain they can’t find what they want to wear in their overcrowded closet (Ugh, I used to listen to this every morning! Until I got my husband on board to minimize our closet).
You might say, “Since I’ve minimized my wardrobe, I save so much time in the mornings. I could help you if you want.” (Remember to be charming when saying this)
Extend the offer then leave it be. Chances are, your loved one won’t take you up on it. At least, not at first.
The goal here isn’t to get an instant “yes”. It’s to introduce the idea of minimalism and let them think it over.
In time, they may be more open but let them warm to the idea first.
After all, you’ve most likely been thinking about minimalism for a few weeks or months before diving into it yourself. Give your family that same courtesy as well.
Be enthusiastic. If your kids are young, now is a great time to begin teaching them about minimalism.
(Just keep in mind this doesn’t work for children. As I mentioned earlier I have always been a minimalist but my adult daughter, well her room embarrasses me.)
There’s a huge difference between telling your child,
Nope, you can’t have that. We have too much stuff already.
Hmm, if you get that toy, you’ll need to give away one of your old toys to a little boy or girl who doesn’t have as many toys as you.
Pay attention to Love Languages. In his book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman shares that people communicate their love in one of five primary ways—touch, quality time, acts of service, receiving gifts, and words of affirmation.
Knowing which love language each member of your family speaks can be helpful in your minimalism lifestyle.
For example, a child whose primary love language is “giving and receiving gifts” may have a much harder time letting go of toys than his brother.
A spouse who’s love language is quality time together may be more than happy to minimize, provided you turn it into a fun date together. (I think maybe this is why my husband was on board so quickly)
You could even subtly point out how minimizing leaves more time for you to be with each other.
The point here isn’t to manipulate your family based on the love languages they speak.
Rather, it’s to take their love language into account as you minimize so you can make the transition easier on everyone.
Check out my 7 Day Journal – Minimalism and Christianity
Minimalism Is a Journey
As you begin minimizing your possessions and decluttering, keep in mind that minimalism is a journey, not a destination.
You’ll always be finding new things that you can organize, declutter, and simplify. At least I know I do. My days off don’t always feel like days off.
Don’t be afraid to experiment as you go.
You may find an organizing tip that works wonderfully for your friend but doesn’t work so great in your house.
And that’s okay that’s the beauty of minimalism — it’s not about a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about finding what works for your family and faithfully serving Jesus together!