Minimalist Tiger Mom

Have you ever heard of the term ‘Tiger Mother’? It’s a term coined by Amy Chau, the other of, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother which is based on the concept of strict parenting styles to attain higher levels of educating. This type of style is not new and is often enforced in parts of Asia.

I’m Asian but I am not a mother. However, I’ve been called a ‘Tiger Mom’ when it comes to minimizing.

I am a Tiger Mom of Minimalism

I am the opposite of Marie Kondo, the Netflix star and author of ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘ . She is sweet, patient, kind and understanding. I am ruthless, opinionated, a straight-shooter and I slap people in the face with reality (figuratively).

I’m not sure when I became known as a ‘Minimalist Tiger Mom’. I think my friends just noticed how I started giving a lot of things away, selling stuff online, trading things away. When I started commenting on what others should do and ‘ordered’ them to declutter as well, I became bossy. When I gave unsolicited advice of how to get rid of stuff, bossy evolved into Tiger Mom. I am not offended by this term at all. In fact, I think it describes me well.

Just as a ‘Tiger Mother’ pushes their children to succeed, I push my friends to declutter and minimize! Just as a ‘Tiger Mother’ pushes their children to perfection, I push my friends to simplicity.

Tiger Mom’s Course of Action

I’m not so great at organizing as I am with minimizing. If you want someone to go over and help you organize your things, contact my friend Sarah at Three Pines Organizing. She is the Marie Kondo of organization in Winnipeg.

I guess you can say I am a mimimalist drill sergeant. This is pretty harsh of myself to say. ‘Minimalist Tiger Mom’ sounds more exotic.

I will basically tell you what you should do and want you to do it now and I won’t be nice about it. It’s like ripping off a band-aid. Deep down you know you’ve gotta remove it and the faster you do it, the less it will hurt.

Is this the right way to do things? Most likely not. My mom doesn’t even want me over to help her declutter her closet. Apparently, she is too ‘scared’ that I will force her to throw things out that she will regret. Seriously though, I had to borrow a sweater from her this morning and OMG, the amount of clothes this 66 year old woman blows my mind.

My forceful, rude ways may not be accepted with warm arms but it will plant a seed and have people thinking about minimizing. Starting is the hardest part and I truly believe that once you start, it will be difficult to stop…especially when you see all the money you’ve wasted and could have saved.

Tiger Mom’s Pet Peeves

  • Obviously, ‘stuff’ – If it’s useful and is used regularly, that’s perfectly okay. If it serves no purpose and is in a box stored away, OMG, please get rid of it. My heart hurts just thinking about the boxes people have in their basement or storage closets that they haven’t opened since they stored it away.
  • Money spent on ‘stuff’ – when I hear how a friend bought yet another backpack even though she bought 2 last month, I go bonkers. What do you need 3 backpacks for? I get that when you make money, you want to reward yourself and that’s okay…but 3 backpacks? How about saving that money so you can retire early or go on a trip you’ve been putting off or paying down your mortgage? I am quite frugal so it’s hard for me to understand some peoples spending habits. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind spending money on my friends. I would rather do that than spend money on trinkets. Sometimes I spend money on stupid shit which I usually regret. I just don’t want to hear someone talk about how they cant afford to buy a healthy meal when they just bought a cookie jar from HomeSense. What’s wrong with keeping cookies in the package it came in? Next thing I’ll hear is you complain about your weight because you ate too many cookies!
  • A cluttered home – I don’t know how people can live with so much without feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes I’ll go over to a friends home and instinctively start organizing things. I don’t mean to do it to insult you (my apologies to anyone who I have done this to). I do it because it makes me feel better and calms me down. This ties in with the frugality issue I have.
  • Collections – why? I can see how it can be an investment…but what investing in stocks or even yourself? If I’m ever invited to your home, hide your collections or face the wrath of my judgement. Just kidding. I will quietly judge you in my head and complain about it to Mitch later. Whether it be spoons, figurines, mugs, or magnets, I think it is a waste of money and your loved ones will most likely throw them out once you die. Yup, I just said what I said.

The Minimalist Tiger Mom has some things in Common with Mrs. K

The way Mrs.Kondo and I handle situations and look at peoples lives is very different. Her quiet, sweet, nurturing voice calms the soul and creates a sense of joy and relaxation. My voice can be shrill, demanding, domineering that will make you stressed and annoyed. Maybe this is what you need though: someone to tell you exactly what to do. I can be understanding but I just want you to get shit done. Sitting on the couch thinking about decluttering is a waste of time. Just do it. What is holding you back from starting if you know you have too much stuff?

The one thing of Mrs. K’s that I have adopted into my own system of minimizing and what I tell people to do as well is to remove everything from the space you are decluttering and slowly put stuff back. This way, you will see how much you have amassed over the years and truly see (for lack of a better term) how much junk you have hiding away! I have done this to my wardrobe and washroom cabinet multiple times and each time I have found something new to get rid of. It’s truly a liberating experience.

Frankly, a ‘Minimalist Tiger Mom’ who lives a simple yet fulfilling life sounds much better than a hoarding squirrel darting from tree to tree trying collecting things to stuff their cheeks. I know I am stretching it on this one but if it gets the point across then it works.

Agree to Disagree

I am tough as nails when it comes to telling people how to declutter even if they don’t want to hear it. My methods are harsh and ruthless. I don’t have time to listen to your new purse purchase that adds another to the 30 you already own. Frankly it makes me sick. But, I’m sure it makes you just as sick hearing me tell you what to do with you stuff that you may treasure.

Consumerism is at it’s finest nowadays. People want the best of the best. The act of purchasing something new creates a ‘high’. The euphoria doesn’t last long and the cycle happens again and you are stuck with a closet full of junk. Is this what you really want?

The way I tell people how to minimize is certainly not for everyone. It can be unappealing and off-putting and that’s okay. People don’t want to hear blunt opinions most of the time. People want sympathy. You’re not getting if from me. You don’t have to read what I write ( I apologize to my friends and family who have to suffer my demands first hand). I may come off as pushy but only because I’m trying to help you get started. Don’t worry, I will only really do this if you tell me that you have too much stuff and wish you had less.

Im a tiger mom, not a cold-hearted snake.

I Just Want People to be Happy

In the past 2 weeks, I have had 3 different people tell me how they decluttered a part of their home over the weekend and they all thought of me while doing it. They also mentioned how the motions of tossing unwanted/unnecessary/useless things felt really good. Whether it’s the feeling of being a victim of consumerism, or being overwhelmed by clutter, it seems that drastically reducing the amount and organizing the things they have provides sense of relief. Has this ever not been the case? I was so proud of all of them. It made me happy knowing they were happy. Perhaps there is a place in the world for a ‘Minimalist Tiger Mom’ after all.

As you can tell, I am very opinionated with the topic of minimalism even though I am not a true minimalist. Is it so bad that I just want people to feel as liberated and free and happy with having less stuff to clutter their minds and homes as I am.

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Hey there, I'm Cristine (aka Nomadgirlfriend). I want to quit my job so I can travel more. I just need to figure out the digital world so I can start making money to feed my wanderlust with my digital nomad partner. I welcome you to join my on this journey of self discovery and new adventures!

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