If there’s anything I know about, it’s being a minimalist when your partner isn’t
I’m not saying that I’m an expert by any means. We clash over things on a daily basis. It’s almost ridiculous considering everything else going on in our lives and the world. It makes you wonder…why are we so obsessed with stuff? (I’ll touch on that in a later post.)
Like I wrote in a previous blog post, living in a tiny space helps to open your eyes to all the clutter that has surrounded you. It helps you par down and keep only the most important things.
There’s only one problem with that, though.
Once you’ve gone through the process of decluttering, it’s hard to go back. Almost everything you buy or consider buying is scrutinized (do we actually need it? Where will it go? There’s no space for that!).
Now, most people would not consider that a problem. And it really isn’t…unless your partner is not a minimalist.
Most of the arguments I have with my partner revolve around stuff. Every single day I wake up, it seems like we have more stuff than the day before. I’ll clean up a space only to see it a mess one hour later. It seems what is important to me isn’t necessarily important to everyone else.
So, how does a minimalist keep their sanity when their partner isn’t a minimalist?
1. Set boundaries
One of the most important things you can do in a relationship is set boundaries. When you’re a minimalist, it’s important to express how excess stuff makes you feel. With me, it causes my anxiety to spike and I’m no good to anyone that way. If you spent all morning cleaning the kitchen, you must tell your partner how much it means to keep things the way you left them. There should be a deep understanding of what your beliefs are and how you feel when they are brushed off. If your partner cares about the relationship, they will respect your boundaries.
2. Understand your partner’s boundaries
Just like it’s important to set your own boundaries, you must respect your partner’s. If they are not a minimalist, they won’t understand the idea of less is more. A compromise must be attained. I suggest sitting down to have a solid conversation on what’s important to both of you. If they prefer more over less, maybe you can achieve a compromise. For example, something unused gets donated after every new purchase. Whatever you come up with is fine, as long as you talk it out to find something that suits the both of you.
3. Show by example
Most of the articles I’ve read on minimalism in the home touch on how their partner wasn’t a minimalist but became one after seeing how freeing it could be. I’m not saying that it happens to everyone, but if you continue to free your time and space with less things, eventually your partner will notice the shift and (knowingly or not) will start to minimalize themselves. Think about it- who doesn’t want to live in a beautiful, cozy and free space? If you have children, explain the importance of donating to those less fortunate. I was surprised by my daughter’s response when I asked her if she wanted to donate any toys. She happily offered a few that weren’t being used much. Children also pick up on the energy of a home and naturally want to feel happy and free.
It’s okay that your partner is not quite on board with being a minimalist. What matters is that you try to figure out a way to be happy with your own lives and as a family.
Let me know your tips for simple family living!