Minimalism with a baby?! I know what you must be thinking..Those words can’t possibly go together! Well, I promise it’s really not THAT crazy or as impossible as you may think!
Maybe it’s the word “minimalism” that trips people up. We imagine looking in their closet and seeing one pair of pants and one sweater, or opening their cupboard and seeing one glass for each person in the home, but that’s not really what I’m talking about here.
My Journey To Living with Less
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you may remember me mentioning that this year my word is “less”. I feel like there is so much clutter in my life, whether that be physical things or even commitments.
I want to spend my time enjoying my husband and our baby girl! So, I like to think of the word “minimalism” as more of “living with less” both physically and emotionally so that we can enjoy what we have!
My husband and I are actually moving into a 40ft fifth wheel, so I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to live with less. Adding a baby to the mix is definitely making things more complex! I’ve noticed since we started downsizing, that babies don’t need quite as much as Buy Buy Baby would like us to believe.
So, I want to share my journey of how we have learned to live less with a baby!
Can You Be a Minimalist with a Baby?
Yes, you may not be able to live with one sweatshirt anymore (thanks to baby spit up), BUT you can definitely live a more minimal life!
As we’ve embarked on this journey, we’ve come to learn that a lot of the things on all of those “baby registry must-have” lists aren’t actually “MUST-HAVES”. Maybe they are “nice-to-haves” or “helpful-to-haves”, but when you get down to it babies, in particular, don’t really need a lot! Every baby is different, so it’s all about prioritizing what works best for your baby and your family when planning for minimalism with a baby!
How to be a Minimalist and Have a Baby
When you have a baby, things start to just pile up! They grow out of things quickly, lose interest in things quickly, and, quite frankly, have some items they didn’t even need in the first place! If you’re looking for a place to start, here are my three biggest tips for achieving minimalism with a baby…
1. Don’t OVER buy
Oh, the baby section!! Filled with adorable outfits that you just feel like you have to buy! Whether it’s Buy Buy Baby, Children’s Place, Target, or even Amazon, once you start looking for baby items, the feeling of needing to buy more is overwhelming! What baby doesn’t need another adorable outfit or bib to match the season?!
Well, I always like to think of it as quality over quantity! While it is so tempting to buy a lot of things for your baby, try to pick pieces and items that are better in quality and will last longer so that you don’t end up with drawers overflowing.
2. Donate what you didn’t use
Like I said earlier, babies grow out of things QUICKLY. Oftentimes, there will be items purchased that they didn’t even get a chance to wear or use! Unless you are planning to have more children, I strongly suggest donating your items to save space. If you’re in need of some extra income, you could even look into consigning your items. But once your baby gear isn’t being utilized anymore, try and let someone else enjoy it while you enjoy the eliminated clutter!
3. Buy what you NEED when you need it
Planning ahead and being prepared is an amazing skill! A lot of moms and moms-to-be are big on planning and preparing, but if you’re wanting to be minimalist with a baby, it may not be the best thing!
If you’re preparing for a baby and creating your registry, only register for things that your baby will need upon arrival. For example, registering for utensils, plates, and cups really won’t be necessary until your baby is well over 6 months. That means you are having to store those items for months and months, just letting them take up space in your home.
Or, let’s say you buy clothes ahead of time. But because all babies grow differently, you might buy ahead and when it gets to the particular season you bought for, the clothes may not actually fit!
Be present with the current season of your child and try not to plan ahead too much. Of course, it’s great to have things ready to go, but your baby is constantly changing, and you’re going to be using too much space if you’re prepared for everything. Buy what you need for your baby when you need it and you will save a lot of space and potentially a lot of money!
What is Essential for Your Baby?
If you’re trying to plan on registering for a baby while also wanting to live minimalistically, it can be really hard. Every baby is different so knowing what is absolutely essential for every baby is almost impossible. For example, breastfeeding moms will have different needs and necessities than formula babies, and you may not know what you’ll need until your baby gets here and you start feeding him/her.
Your lifestyle will also dictate what is essential for you. I, personally, love going on walks with my family. I knew that this was going to be something that I value, and because of that, I registered for a really nice stroller. But, if you live somewhere that isn’t necessarily walkable, you may not have a need for one.
My best advice for a mom or mom-to-be who is trying to prepare for a new baby or a newly minimalist lifestyle is to consider what you as a mom value in terms of your lifestyle. Where will you be living? What activities do you value as a family? How much time will you be spending at home? All of these things and more will help guide you and help you to determine what is essential for your baby while trying to become more minimalist.
My Tips For Living with Less:
1. Don’t put EVERYTHING that you “might” need on your registry.
Everyone’s must-haves are different! Once you’ve determined what is essential for your lifestyle, only register for those things! I know that this can be difficult, but as you are creating your registry, think to yourself, “Is this a need?” If it is, register for it! If it isn’t, then wait. Maybe it will become a need in the future, but only register for things that you know you’ll need!
2. Declutter BEFORE baby comes.
Achieving minimalism with a baby doesn’t just start with the baby! As humans, we are also prone to collecting items and keeping items around that we don’t necessarily need anymore. Before your baby arrives, take advantage of that popular nesting phase and declutter!
Are there clothes that you won’t wear once the baby arrives? Do you have too many novelty mugs in your kitchen cabinets? Do you have too many junk drawers? Look around your house, find items that you will no longer need, and free up some space for your baby! You’ll be surprised at all of the items you will find!
3. Set BOUNDARIES with your family/friends about gifts and clothes.
For some people, their love language is gift giving. They are simply giddy over the arrival of your baby, and they want to shower him/her with anything they could ever want! While this is so thoughtful and sweet, it’s important that you set boundaries and expectations when it comes to gift giving.
If you have family members who are insistent on gifts, there are plenty of alternatives to traditional gifts, such as gifting experiences like zoo passes, that you can direct them towards. At the end of the day, it is your child and your space that all of the gifts will be taking up!
4. TOSS clothes that are stained.
Babies are messy! Your baby is going to ruin some of the cutest little outfits, and you may find yourself having a hard time letting them go! Well, I’m here to say you’ve got to do it! No matter how cute, if an outfit is stained, you’re not going to be able to donate or resell it, and chances are, you won’t let your next baby wear it either. So, ditch the stained clothes and save yourself some space!
5. Keep in mind future kiddos, but only KEEP what you actually used.
If you didn’t use it with your first baby, chances are, you won’t use it with your second! Even if it is in the best of condition, if it didn’t work for your lifestyle and your family, let it go and give it or sell it to someone who will use it and love it!
6. Stick with NEUTRAL clothes and accessories.
Having clothes that coordinate and can easily be mixed and matched will really help keep things minimal! Because your items are mostly neutral, you can create different outfits and achieve different looks, giving the illusion that you have more clothes than you actually do!! So, not only will you have fewer items taking up space, you’ll be saving a lot of money doing so!
Preparing to be minimalist with a baby can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are preparing for your first, but it’s totally doable! By breaking down your family, your values, and priorities, you’ll be able to live a lifestyle with less clutter and more space to do the things that you actually love!