If I had but only a penny for all the wonderful Interweb friends of mine I would be a rich man. But if I had a penny for all the wonderful Interweb friends of mine whom I can’t remember meeting or even how I met them…well, I’d be a rich man twice over!

Such is the case with Nina Nelson; Shalom Mama.

I remember her being a sound voice in the crowd just before Tilly Madison was born. I remember talking to her about home birth and finding out she was preparing to be a doula. But that is about as specific as it gets. Nina is a writer, a thinker, and truth-seeker. She often goes against conventional wisdom and in her own words follows Jesus, the ultimate non-conformist.

Married for ten years with four beautiful children (all born within a five year span, mind you!) Nina has great advice about not being a model of mediocrity to her family but becoming self-aware as well as aware of the world around us.

She most recently published her first eBook entitled Simple Natural Health and is our guest blogger today. We are thrilled to hear her perspective on parenting, minimalism, and the creativity surrounding modern parenting. From her keyboard……………………


I didn’t start out my parenting adventure as a minimalist. In fact, I was quite the opposite. I needed everything. I had all of the furniture, equipment and clothing that you could think of. Even though I barely used any of it.

Except for the crib. It made an excellent laundry basket.

Thankfully, after a few years I realized that all of the stuff really wasn’t that important. I began decluttering my possessions, getting rid of anything I could that I didn’t need. Man was it fun.

And then there was the kids’ stuff. If one child has a lot of stuff, you can imagine what four children have. There were two closets, two dressers and an entire play room filled with toys.

I had my work cut out for me.

I started with clothing, taking out items that didn’t fit or never got worn. Turns out there was a lot. I gave away bags full of clothes to friends and donated the rest.

And toys? That was a bit challenging. But I created a method that’s worked well for me during each decluttering session. I didn’t want my kids to feel like I didn’t care (I know what it’s like to get attached to possessions) but I didn’t want them to stay overwhelmed with their stuff, either.

Here’s my toy-decluttering solution:

1. Tell the kids that it’s time to declutter the toys

This usually happens after several room-cleaning sessions that end in a lot of frustration over not being able to clean up in a certain amount of time. If the four of them working together can’t handle picking up toys, then I’ve allowed them to accumulate more than they can handle and it’s time to simplify.

2. Start bagging up toys

I intentionally leave out the ones they use all the time because I know they love them and reassure them that those will stay. At this point three of them are helping, one is in tears. With my kids, 3/4 always do the same thing, while one likes to be different. They get that from their dad…

3. Make the promise

Here’s where I get more cooperation. I make a promise that if they ask for any specific toy, I’ll bring it back in. But they have to wait until the next day to ask. For older kids (my oldest is 7), you could make the waiting time 1 week.

4. Decide what to do with all the toys they forget about

In all of the decluttering sessions I’ve done, I’ve only brought back three toys. It may be because all of my kids are really little and forget quickly, but I think it’s because they just had too much stuff. They thought they needed it and had a hard time getting rid of it.

But after it was gone, all was fine. It’s like they were born to be minimalists.

As the mama of four kids born in the span of five years, I can tell you that it is entirely possible to raise minimalist children, even if they’ve been given a lot of stuff.

It just takes determination and a little creativity.