A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Simple Pleasures and Living Like a Princess: Life As a 3-Year-Old Minimalist

There is more to being a minimalist than getting rid of everything. One of the great things minimalism does is bring to light the simple pleasures in life that are far too easily overlooked. Life gets busy and complicated as we accumulate possessions and obligations in life. But looking at life through the eyes of my three-year-old daughter, life doesn’t seem too complicated at all.

Melody wakes up every day in an energetic happy mood. I’ve had three kids and I’m still not a morning person. To be perfectly honest, I’m in awe of anyone who can jump out of bed and be in a great mood ready to take on the world. The focus of Melody’s day is centered around one simple pursuit: FUN! She looks for fun in any place she can find it.

On most days, you’ll find Melody dressed up in her green princess costume from last Halloween. It’s getting snug and tattered after its frequent use. The golden cord has been ripped off and the matching crown is long gone, but Melody still cherishes her “princess dress” and loves to wear it as often as she can. If you ask her what her name is, she will often refer to herself as Princess Melody. It’s cute and I love that such a small thing has become such a treasure to her. When this princess dress no longer fits, I’ll find another one to replace it. I’ve even considered getting a skirt or tutu she can wear over her regular clothes. To some people, that might seem frivolous and not very “minimalist” of me. But helping my daughter happily live like a princess seems totally worth it to me.

I don’t have a lot of toys for Melody. The ones she does own spend most of their time in her room being ignored while she begs anyone she can find to take her outside. She is usually content tagging along with a sibling or one of the adults in the house. She loves books, pretending to whip up coffee and lemonade in the kitchen and serve it to her guests, and chasing the cats outside.

One of her new favorite pastimes is dancing. She loves to crank up the dance music and shake her little toddler bootie for anyone who is nearby. Watching her has become one of my own favorite pastimes too. I truly don’t know where she gets her rhythm but it certainly wasn’t from me. I included a short video clip of her dancing for her daddy the other night. I hope it brings a smile to your face like it does to mine every time.

Don’t forget to take time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, Family-Sized Minimalism or subscribing to the RSS or the weekly update newsletter in the sidebar. Thanks so much for reading.

Article originally published on 05/18/2011

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  1. Karen (Scotland) says

    Oh, this made me laugh! What a sweetheart.
    You could be describing my three year old who only ever asks to go play outside or follows me and her big brothers around.
    Although she has a collection of “pink” toys and got all excited walking through the toyshop yesterday, she ended up with a hula hoop from the outdoors section.
    And, no, a princess dress doesn’t go against minimalism – she loves it, you’ve made space for it, it is well used. Ticks all the boxes in my book…
    Karen (Scotland)
    PS Loved your other post on older kids and “clutter” but didn’t have time to comment.

    • Faith Janes says

      Hi Karen. It sounds like our girls are starting things off right. 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post on older kid clutter. Part two will be coming soon. Thanks for commenting. It was nice hearing from you.

  2. Oh Faith–that is the SWEETEST video! LOVE it! When we moved from our old house to the new–we filled a dumpster with crap. Stuff we lived with for a long time and we didn’t even SEE it because we were so used to just “having it around.”

    It was embarassing. One thing we culled was the boys TOYS…they still don’t have many-but what they have they love and use. We are ok with that. Now with the little girl we had–some new girly toys came in–but not many. We are careful to watch it.
    Smiles to you~
    (formerly Mostly Sunny)

    • Faith Janes says

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the video. I watched it like six times yesterday. It just makes me smile from the inside out.

      Toys are so hard to keep under control. People just have so much fun giving them to kids. I suppose that’s a good thing but it does have it challenges. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Melody’s got the moves! yay!
    Heehee – love it. My nearly three year old is the same, when did the world suddenly become Chinese plastic obsessed? Fun doesn’t come in a cello packet.
    Dan’s third birthday is looming, and I am going to kindly politely and firmly request specific presents – sounds ungrateful maybe but I’d rather he had one or two key things…

    • Faith Janes says

      Good luck with the upcoming birthday requests. I have found certain family members are more willing to respect that than others.

  4. Oh Faith — that is too precious! Melody can even keep the beat! I love it.

    My 20-month old loves to dance too, but I’m afraid he doesn’t have quite as many moves as Melody…yet. 🙂

    It’s funny how you mention that Melody has a toy box full of toys in her room that get mostly ignored. My boys are the same way.

    The littlest mostly plays with a toy tunnel that he can crawl through. It collapses down nice and neat so I can slide it under the chair in the family room when he’s not using it. Oh, and he likes to dump out his basket of toys so he can…wait for it…play with the basket. He climbs in and out, in and out.

    Oh, and a little tutu would be a wonderful present for a princess!

    • Faith Janes says

      She can keep the beat pretty well. 🙂 It cracks me up! My friend keeps urging me to stick her in dance classes but that’s just not something I want to dive into at this point. Just gonna keep life simple…dancing in the living room with whomever cares to stop by and shake it with her. 🙂

  5. Too precious. My 2.5 year old daughter, and her 1 year old sister, love their dress-up trunk my mom gave them for Christmas. But the rule is, if it doesn’t fit in there, we don’t keep it. 🙂 And I agree with Jo- what’s with the plastic junk? I dread gift-giving occasions simply because I know we’re going to end up with something that I need to keep for a little while just because someone gave it (but they’re the first thing to go when I go through toys again!).

  6. Simple things are always the best and when I watched my child turn 18, I was so thankful that I had remembered that concept. I don’t have any regrets with my motherhood except that I wish each of her younger years had really lasted twice as long. I never can get enough of her company even now.

    LOVE the video! She dances better than me!!!

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