Is minimalist living with pets possible?
I always want more pets. Like many of you, I’ve had plenty of deserving “animal hoarder” jokes thrown my way. While this can be funny, I am far from a hoarder.
My husband Josh and I live a minimalist lifestyle. We like to keep life as simple and stress-free as possible as far as stuff.
Being a minimalist can mean different things to different people, but for me it means eliminating as much physical stuff as possible in order to focus my energy, time and money on more important things such as traveling, time with family, experiences, time outdoors, etc.
Owning fewer items means I spend less time cleaning, organizing, thinking about and searching for things. With less stuff, everything has its place, and nothing is asking for my attention. For example, if I know I will never read a book again, I donate it. I have one small bookshelf, and I only keep what fits on that shelf.
Clothing is another example. Everything hangs in one small area of my closet, and I can fit all my clothes in one large duffle bag. I own three pairs of pants and a couple of skirts, shorts, dresses and shirts. I have about five pairs of shoes including my running shoes, flip-flops and boots. I have just a few pieces of jewelry that I love.
We also have a minimal amount of furniture. No dresser. One couch. One TV. One small kitchen table with two chairs. One bed. Two desks that fold up easily, and a couple of shelves. We have a few pieces of art that have meaning, and no knickknacks.
Other self-described minimalists might take things to more extreme, but this is what works for us, and I love it.
So what about minimalist living with pets? How do a big, drooly mutt and two cats fit into the equation?
Pets are naturally simple. They’re already minimalists and require very little as far as stuff. They don’t need baskets of toys, cupboards of treats or 10 different outfits, collars and leashes.
Here’s what our three have:
- They each have three or four toys, which are put away when not in use. When they receive a new toy as a gift, I throw away or donate an old toy.
- They each have a bed, which they rotate and share. They also share bowls and a Furminator.
- The cats each have a scratching post.
- Ace has his leash, coat and training collars. These are all put away when not in use.
- They each have a crate, used for sleeping options and travel. The crates are always available (they love their kennels) but are kept out of sight in our utility room.
- The cats each have a litter box.
- And OK I’ll admit it! My cats each have a Halloween costume. 🙂 I couldn’t resist!
A few other tips on minimalist living with pets:
- When a pet item becomes dirty, smelly or tattered, I throw it away. I tend to buy higher-quality products that last years.
- And this is more about being a neat freak than a minimalist, but I vacuum pet hair often. I scoop and vacuum around the litterboxes each day. I keep the pet beds clean, and pets are not allowed on the human furniture unless invited. They understand the rules.
How do pets benefit from simple living?
My pets benefit from my simple lifestyle because they get more of my attention. I spend less time worrying about stuff and more time focusing on them. I don’t think people even realize how much time they spend organizing and searching through their belongings or stressing out about where to put something.
Less stress for the owner automatically means less stress for the pets because they are a reflection of us. Josh and I live a pretty relaxed lifestyle, and I think our pets benefit from that.
Money well spent
Instead of spending money on toys and other products that our pets don’t need, I spend money on experiences with them or on higher-quality food. For example, instead of buying Ace more treats or a cute harness, I take him on lots of walks and adventures in the community. He also eats a raw dog food diet.
For me anyway, pets seem to naturally fit into a minimalist lifestyle. I’m not suggesting this is how anyone else should live. It’s just what works for us.