Minimalism is all about living with less. Having dogs can increase your motivation to live simply, while at the same time making it harder to scale back. You want to provide everything your dog needs but a growing family tends to accumulate more possessions and commit to more activities than is really necessary.
The idea behind minimalism is to get rid of excess stuff and live life based on your experiences rather than the things you own. Ideally, in a minimalist life, you’ll have fewer distractions and more time and energy to devote to your family, dog included.
Living a minimalist life will help you save money, stress less, develop happier relationships, and even “go green“, if that’s what you want to do.
As you’re deciding what works for you, consider these principles and strategies for minimalist dog moms.
A Busy Dog Mom’s Guide to Minimalism
General Principles for Minimalist Dog Moms
1. Slow down
Calm your mind and clarify your thinking by resisting the urge to rush. We live in a crazy, hectic world, but there’s nothing wrong with slowing down and living in the moment. You’ll feel more creative, and you’ll accomplish more with less effort.
2. Appreciate boredom
Give yourself the opportunity to become bored every now and then. Modern life makes it easy to go through the day being passively entertained. But when we’re forced to rely on our own resources, it’s easy (and fun!) to discover the power of imagination and the benefits of unplugging and relaxing.
3. Connect with nature
The beauty and comfort of green spaces enhances our mental and physical health, and getting outdoors is good for both you and your dog. Go for a walk, play fetch in your yard, or pack a picnic lunch and go to the local park. The sunshine and fresh air will do wonders your health and your mind. This is minimalism at its finest!
4. Avoid comparisons
Spending too much time on social media can make you start to feel really bad about yourself and your life. Remember, most people are only showing you their “highlight reel” on social media; you’re not seeing what the behind-the-scenes of their lives look like. Set your own standards and work at being the best version of you, and don’t worry about what others are doing.
5. Network with other parents
Make friends with other dog parents in your neighborhood. You’ll have someone to ask questions to, and bonding over dogs is a great way to form lasting friendships. Some of my closest friends started out as strangers with dogs.
6. Manage stress
Learn how to set aside time for reflection and relaxation. Try meditation; clear your mind and focus only on your breathing. You’ll be surprised at how that stress will just melt away.
Specific Strategies for Minimalist Dog Moms
1. Eat as a family
Whether you have a house full of kids or it’s just you and your dog, eating meals as a family leads to closer relationships and better nutrition. Make a pledge to sit down together for family dinner time at least once per week.
2. Divide up chores
Learning to take responsibility prepares children for adulthood, and it also lessens some of the burden for busy dog moms. Assign age-appropriate tasks to each family member instead of trying to do everything yourself.
3. Run errands together
Use your time more efficiently by bringing your children with you to the grocery store. They can practice reading labels. which is a great habit that will benefit their health later in life.
You can also include the dog on trips to the bank, the farmers market, or to pick up lunch. Just remember to never, ever leave your dog unattended in a parked car.
4. Limit toys
This goes for kids and dogs! Although you may have a desire to lavish your young’uns with gifts, having just a few well-loved toys at one time is really enough for any child or pet. They’ll adapt to minimalism, I promise!
5. Reduce clutter
Consider what other items you have around the house that you rarely use. You can clean your house a lot faster when you get rid of clutter. Your surroundings will also feel more comfortable and look much more attractive, and some studies show that reducing clutter will also reduce stress.
NOTE: I made over $100 last week selling unwanted items on Facebook Marketplace. I got rid of things my family no longer needs, and I made a little pocket change! Win-win!
6. Monitor technology
This is just as true for us dog moms as it is for our kids. Create house rules like no phones at the dinner table and turning off all devices at least two hours before bedtime. No one needs to be tethered to an electronic leash all the time.
However far you decide to go with minimizing your consumption, you’ll be on your way to a more mindful and meaningful life. Buying and owning less stuff will give you the freedom to enjoy what you already have, and your dog won’t love you any less!
Have you tried living a minimalistic lifestyle?
I’d love to hear about it in a comment below, or better yet, stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there!