Christ-Like Minimalism

Boys and Minimalism?

Before we get to the topic on hand, how’s your Lent going?

Ember Days last week was a wringer for me and oh so difficult. I can barely do the Church’s prescribed fast of one main meal and two small snacks without practically dying. Three days in one week! I’m such a wimp, but I guess I’m trying, and I made it. (Barely.)

Then, for some extra penance, last week I decided to paint my bedroom. I don’t know why I did this to myself. It’s so horrible and terribly tedious, especially the trim work. To help things along, though, I listened to Patsy Cline and sang loudly. Eventually my husband felt sorry for me and took over–painting, not singing, that is. God bless him.

And onto today’s topic…

Boys and Minimalism

Today I’m offering a tour of the boys’ bedroom for those of you interested in such things. There are three boys who share this room: a 10-year-old and twin 12-year-olds. Is it minimalistic? Sort of.

Here’s the what greets you when you walk through the door:

A Triple Bunk Bed

One of the very first things we purchased when we moved into this house was a triple bunk bed for the boys for the obvious reason that their room was the smallest. I’m telling you, if you’ve got more than two kids in a room, triple bunk beds are the ticket.

The first thing you may have noticed from the above picture is the lack of toys everywhere. That’s because the only “toy” the boys keep in their room are legos, and normally these legos are strewn all over the floor in the corner. So for posterity, I took the following picture which more accurately resembles the “everyday” experience.

Legos dumped out and beds not made.

What’s Missing From This Boy Room?

  1. The 10-year-old’s little tractors and farm equipment. One boy does have some toy tractors and hook-ups, which he keeps in the storage room. Why there? Because there’s room on the floor to set up a farm, and he won’t be bothered with the girls, for nobody likes to play in that dark, unfinished place.
  2. Their books. While they do keep their current reads in their beds to peruse at night, all other books are in the book shelves located in the basement family room.
  3. 3 Nerf guns with bullets. The boys have a little plastic tub of these items, which is also in the basement family room.
  4. Games and puzzles. All the kids’ games and puzzles are in the Game Closet, which is technically the bathroom closet. Funny place, I know.
  5. Trains and train tracks. This bin is also in the basement family room as the Little Girls actually play with them now, not the boys.

That’s all for toys. If you’d like more thoughts on that topic, however, click HERE for a post I wrote awhile ago. Not much has changed.

Moving on.

The Closet

Here’s a picture of the the boys’ closet:

What you can’t see are a few lego boxes on the left and 3 backpacks on the right of the clothes hamper. The upper closet shelf is where the twins put their jeans and pants. (Most of which happen to be in the hamper when I took this picture…)

Since the boys’ room is small, we’ve elected to put their only dresser right in the closet. On top of the dresser are three boxes. Each boy has one in which to put his treasures, like duct tape, string, baseball cards, rocks, jack knives, etc.

The drawers of this dresser are all labeled, too. This is because the boys were continually mixing everything up and not, therefore, able to find socks or undershirts when they wanted them. I’ve found that clarity makes for less chaos.

Here’s a breakdown of the drawers from top to bottom:

  1. Undershirts and underwear (They all share)
  2. Socks and belts (They all share)
  3. Shorts – 12 pairs (They all share)
  4. 10-year-old’s jeans/pants
  5. Lego directions

To the left of the dresser is where the 10-year-old hangs all of his shirts and to the right is where the twins hang their shirts. The nice thing about having 3 boys close in age, however, is that really, they can share most things.

Confusing? Here’s a specific inventory of the boys’ clothes:

10-year-old:

  1. 5 pairs of jeans/pants
  2. 8 long sleeved shirts
  3. 4 short sleeved shirts
  4. 1 suit with jacket and vest
  5. 4 uniforms for private school

Twin 12-year-olds: (These numbers are higher, as their are two of them)

  1. 8 pairs of jeans/pants
  2. 12 long sleeved shirts
  3. 12 short sleeved shirts
  4. 2 suits with jacket and vest

We try to stick pretty closely to these numbers, as it seems to work if I do their laundry once a week. Also, should the boys receive a new shirt or something for their birthday, etc., we do follow The Rule:

One Item In, One Item Out

Lastly, here’s a shot standing against the bunk beds of the opposite side of the room.

Nothing to show.

And that’s it! If you have any questions, be sure to ask.

Christ-Like Minimalism

Can a Teenager Be a Minimalist?

The short answer is yes, but I’m not so sure my teenager is. She does try, however, and today I’m going to offer a tour of her room.

The Eldest’s Room

I’d like to begin by saying that I wish The Eldest did not have her own room, for I think sharing a room with a sibling is terribly helpful in combatting selfishness and pride. This should be obvious to anyone who has had to endure this and contend with a sibling using all your stuff and leaving it all over the place. Nothing is sacred. Furthermore, it’s obvious that nothing can really be private. And for sanity’s sake, one had better have a tidy room to accommodate another person’s treasures and junk. Truly, the possibility for virtue is endless when sharing a room.

In our situation, however, sharing a room isn’t practical. The Next Girl Sibling is half the age of The Eldest and follows a completely different sleeping schedule. The Eldest gets up at 6am, showers, and joins us for Lauds at 6:20, while The Next Girl Sibling skips it all and sleeps until 7:30 am. She also goes to bed a full hour earlier. (At least The Next Girl Sibling has the honor of sharing a room with two Little Wreckers, her younger sisters, which ought to contribute to her growth in holiness and virtue…)

In any case, we’ve decided that The Eldest gets her own room for the time being, and here is a shot of it standing in the doorway.

She does try to keep her possessions to a minimal.

I’d like to point out the neatly made bed. Is it always this way? Nope. Almost never, in fact. But moving on…the two drawers under her bed are not for clothes. One drawer contains knitting apparatus and the other has all the Little Girls’ paper dolls, which they frequently play with during the day and leave all over the place. The night stand serves as The Eldest’s only dresser, and it contains her underthings.

Next, here’s a shot of the opposite wall that I took while standing on her bed:

This side of the room contains an old desk that used to be mine in college. Now normally this desk is covered with school books and piles of paper, but today The Eldest is at school and has her homework with her. The drawers of this desk contain a ridiculous number of colored pens and other letter-writing equipage, which is clearly not minimalist. (She’s a diligent epistoler and a dabbling calligrapher, so we’ll forgive her.)

Lastly, and really what everyone’s interested in, is the closet. Just how much clothing does a teenage girl in this day and age need?

Notice the lego bin on the floor. This contains all four girls’ legos and is most often dumped out and scattered everywhere…

Here is a full shot of the closet. There are no other clothing articles hiding anywhere. What you can’t see on the top shelf is only a sewing machine and a sewing basket on the left and right respectively. In other words, here is The Eldest’s entire wardrobe for every season of the year. (Remember, she does not have a dresser or chest of drawers, other than the night stand.)

Let me break it down for you.

On her shelf are four piles of clothes: (L to R)

  1. running clothes
  2. 1 pair of jeans and 1 pair of sweatpants
  3. shorts to go under skirts and dresses
  4. long leggings to go under skirts and dresses

After the piles, you can see two pair of dress-up shoes. She’s also got a pair of running shoes, flip flops, two pairs of boots, and one pair of Mary Janes for school, which in all total 7 pairs of shoes.

Her clothes left to right break down (roughly) thus: 3 dresses, 8 or so skirts, school uniforms in the middle, 14 or so long sleeved shirts and sweaters, 8 or so short sleeved shirts, 8 or so tank tops. There are a couple of items in the laundry basket below, which you can see, so likely I’m missing a few.

Now, is this minimalistic? I don’t know. For her station in life and considering that she’s got to weather all four seasons in Minnesota and Wisconsin, I’d say it’s not bad. Certainly others have and do get by on less, but I’m satisfied.

One rule we do practice in this household is One Item In; One Item Out. In other words, if grandma gives The Eldest a new sweater for Christmas, which she did, then The Eldest must choose a sweater to give away, which she did, thankfully.

And that concludes our tour. Questions? Be sure to ask.