In preparing for the birth of my little one, I purchased two things: a changing table at a thrift store ($20) and a car seat/stroller from a family member ($50). That’s it. Everything else was given to me in the form of hand-me-downs, shower gifts, or gift cards that I used for whatever I didn’t get. Did I get everything I wanted? No. But I had everything I really needed. I know that because even though there were several things I didn’t get from my registry, I can’t even remember what those things were anymore. The only things we’ve had to buy is diapers (starting at around 3 or 4 months) and childproof cabinet locks (at around 9 months).
I made a decision to be careful about what I buy, because it’s sooo easy to overspend on your kid. Everything’s so cute! And my kid is so cute! All of this stuff is obviously made for him! And that’s why I don’t go into the baby clothes section. Ever.
E V E R .
I eagerly accept hand-me-downs from Bennett’s older cousin, and grandparents often can’t resist giving him the occasional outfit. This is great. He has everything he needs. Sometimes, I have to do laundry a little more often than I would if I just went out and bought a few more outfits for convenience, but I must remind myself that he’ll just grow out of those clothes in a month. I’d have to buy a bunch more to replace them, and then a bunch more, and then a bunch more… I think I’ll just do a load of laundry instead!
And recently, my boy needed a haircut. Now, I don’t know about you, but just about everyone I know takes their kid to the salon. It’s a whole big deal, with some sort of dinosaur or car they get to sit in; with cartoons, superhero capes, and suckers; and with a professional hairstylist who can make your kid look Abercrombie in 7 minutes flat. It’s pretty cool, really, and the kids do end up looking pretty swag! I love it! But for some reason, these fancy haircutting people ask for money. So I decided to do it myself.
It was a whole big deal, with a high chair, about seven graham crackers, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and a new mom who’d never given a scissor cut in her life, much less to an infant. And I made my kid look like a military recruit in 45 minutes flat. And I think he’s awfully cute. 😉
I’m no pro at this minimalist mom thing, by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m learning. I really don’t have a lot of advice here, except to make “don’t buy it” a general rule. I put things in my cart at Walmart all the time and then put them back.
Like the green umbrella stroller with Mike Wazowski on it. It was cute. It was only $20. I would love to have a lightweight stroller instead of the monstrosity I do have. But the bottom line: I have a stroller. It is huge, but it works. It holds my baby and my bag, and it rolls. End of story.
I already talked about clothes, so let’s talk toys. I don’t buy those, either. I bought him three gifts for Christmas, and only one was a toy. (The other two were books and flashcards.) After seeing how much loot he got from family, I got to thinking that I didn’t need to get him anything at all! A baby just doesn’t really need a room full of toys. (What is mine playing with right now? The kitchen rug, a skillet, and some plastic containers.) If he has a grandma (or three of them, in our case), he will have plenty of toys.
Babies need so much less than all the websites and the commercials and the stores say they need. The people behind this are not concerned with teaching your child to have treasures in heaven (shocker!), but rather with making money by taking advantage of new parents who want the best for their children. That’s it. The irony is that by falling for their advertising, we’re doing exactly the opposite of what’s best for our children. The more we buy, the more we encourage materialism in our kids and welcome idolatry into their lives. While minimalism itself is not the answer to this problem — because anything can become an idol, even this — for me, minimalism is a step away from the clutter crowding my heart, and so then it is easier to see Jesus.
That is why I’m drawn to minimalism.