Minimalism

How to Live With A Non-Minimalist When You Are A Minimalist

05.07.17

How to live with a non minimalist - Jessica Rose Williams
If you’re living with someone who doesn’t share your values for minimalism, you have my sympathies. I’ve been there and it is so frustrating. You’ve seen the light but they won’t listen, they won’t respect our new found ways, they even make fun and tell us we’re ridiculous. The last thing we need on this endeavour is another barrier, right?

When I began my minimalism journey two years ago, my husband was not on board. He thought it was one of my phases – I have a lot of phases. As the black bin liners full of our stuff started to fill the conservatory ready for donation or the car boot sale, I’m sure he thought I’d lost my mind. It was a big transition and it wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it.

Having been through this experience, I wanted to share what worked for me in the hope that it will inspire you to keep going if you’re experiencing set backs.

Don’t use it as an excuse

So many people love the idea of minimalism but because they think the person they live with wouldn’t get on board or because they have children, they feel they can’t bring it into their life . This is an excuse. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. There is nothing stopping you but you and blaming those you live with will not get you anywhere. People all over the world are living with less, many have children or partner’s who don’t share their values. It can be done. Google them and you’ll see.

Explain yourself

It’s really important to think about why you want to simplify your life and have less stuff around you. Once you understand your specific reasons, it makes them easier to explain. It can seem alien, as traditionally, not many of us like change. Explaining why you’re doing what you’re doing with practical examples like ‘I want to feel calmer’ or ‘I want to spend less time cleaning and more time doing something I love’, can go a long way. Try and communicate as best you can.

See it from their perspective

I’m the first to admit I got addicted to decluttering and minimalism in general. This was because of how happy it was making me and how much better I felt. It was hard to understand why others around me didn’t get it too but it doesn’t always happen that way. Have some empathy and try to put yourself in their shoes. It will make things a little less frustrating for you. We are programmed to have stuff and believe that more is more so flipping this norm upside down can be difficult to grasp.

Be an example

Setting an example is so important, especially if you’re living with children. If people can see what you’re doing and the benefits it’s having on your life, chances are they will want to get on board. Who doesn’t want to feel happier, calmer and have more free time to do the things they love? Be the best example you can. They need someone to look up to.

Don’t try to change them

I’m the worst one for this. I can happily throw other people’s things away without batting an eyelid, I’m doing them a favour as far as I’m concerned. But this isn’t right and I constantly have to stop myself from doing it. People have to do it for themselves and taking control of their items will only cause conflict – trust me. Surprise surprise, people can get really angry when you secretly throw their things away. Resist this urge and focus on yourself and your own clutter only.

You are only responsible for your own stuff

Once I let go of feeling responsible for every item in the house, it was a relief. I focused on my own things and made it clear that was the case. I was no longer going to be the designated tidier. When we’re responsible for something we soon realise the real cost of it. Don’t be a slave to the things other people choose to surround themselves with.

It is contagious

They will come around. As soon as I made a start I was laughed at, questioned and ridiculed. I carried on because I felt better and I knew I was onto something and sure enough the people around me started following suit. It doesn’t happen straight away and you need to be patient but it does happen. They see the benefits like you have much less laundry than they do or you have more free time and they want in on it.

Fast forward to now and said husband who thought I’d lost my mind, has a wardrobe a third of the size it was, spends less in a month than he used to in a week and when I told him I was writing this article he replied with ‘minimalism was all my idea anyway’. Just yesterday, I watched him discarding the box his new pair of running shoes had arrived in – and I didn’t even have to remind him to do so.

If you’re going through this or you’ve been through it, I really want to hear about it. Got any more advice?

Pin this for later

How to live with a non minimalist. If you live with someone who isn't minimalist when you love a minimal lifestyle, you have my sympathies. This is my guide on to how to live with a non minimalist | Minimalism | Minimalist living | Simple living | Minimalist lifestyle | Slow living

SaveSave

SaveSave

21 comments on “How to Live With A Non-Minimalist When You Are A Minimalist”

  1. Great advice! I am glad your husband finally came around. I count myself lucky to have a partner who was on board with minimalism from the moment I discovered it. Now we just have to convince our in laws to stop buying us stuff!

    1. YOU ARE SO LUCKY! I WENT THROUGH SO MUCH FRUSTRATION. THERE WAS A LIGHT AT THE END THOUGH. PHEW!

  2. Ahhh thank you! Exactly what i was looking for! i started with marie kondo’s book about a year ago and made good progress initially but stopped too soon with it. I want to pick it back up again but now live with a partner and so I feel like it will be harder! But we’ll see – I think I’m starting from a point where she’s interested but sceptical (with a mild dose of ridicule!!. So hopefully once I start again properly she’ll soon get on board!

    1. No time like the present Jess to get going again! Glad I could give you something useful. Let me know how you get on x

  3. ‘I have a lot of phases’ 😂😂 This Is eXactly the sort of thing my husband would say about Me! Like You, i really have to Fight the urge to Get rid of other peoples stuFf, but luckily mY husband is mostly Onboard. Because my kids are so little i’m responsible foR what they own anD it’s been ChallengIng trying to keep Things minimal for them wHen society REALLY wants You to buy them everythIng!! I think it makes suCh a dIfference to how they live and play when they have Less. Kids especially are overwhelmed by too much choice and i also hope it teaches them to place importance on experiences and people not things. Such a great post! Loving hearing more about your Minimalist journey x

    1. Ha ha I do have so many phases. I have no experience of having kids but I think it’s a great way for families to be. I know how overwhelmed I feel with too much choice so I can only imagine how little brains feel. So glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I love reading them.

  4. ThIs made me smile so much – i Have lots Of phases too aNd i can’kt tell you how similar you husband and my boYfriend Sound!

    1. It’s taken a long time to embrace my phases. I’m a nightmare for it but they have their place. It means we’re constantly moving forward I think, which is a great thing. Glad I made you smile! Thanks so much for letting me know x

  5. Aw Jessica, this is lovely! I completely agree. My husband has been on board with a minimal and more simplistic lifestyle from the beginning, but he had a difficult time with investing in quality goods and foods. I think I natuarlly followed your list of recommendations the whole way through. He has definitely come around and now informs others of our approach, sounding proud of our lifestyle. love your words and gentle encouragements. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You are so lucky! It’s funny you mention food, because this weekend I did a less is more shop and bought really good quality stuff but only what I though I’d need. We’ll see how it goes but so far I’m sure it’s stopped me having a take away this weekend, ha.

  6. Wow phases! Yes im defin guilty 🙈
    And my hubby n daughtervwould agree, im currently trying to declutter, sold my shabby chic dresding tsble ive had for years and lovinly painted, yesterday , and gaVe two bags of clothes to charity, so trying to build a capsule wardroBe, its a great feeling, but also quite scary! Im about to start my own blog too as approching 50 yes 50 next year , lots of change but loving the process

    1. That sounds really exciting. Change is a good thing. I don’t think anything exciting comes from comfort zones. Cheering you on with your blog!

  7. “when I told him I was writing this article he replied with ‘minimalism was all my idea anyway’.” This made me chuckle so hard! I can imagine my husband would respond with the same thing If we were in this situation. It’s really interesting to hear your story towards minimalism, both the positive and the negative. I am both surprised and also not surprised that you faced such resistance when you first started.

    I feel like my husband anD I are both, luckily, at the same place when it comes to living with stuff. We both, in theory, know we only want to have the necessities (more environmentally sustainable, less cost, etc.), but we both end up gravitating towards wanting ‘new.’ That weird cusp, where I actually wish one of us would teeter one way or the other! Again, as you said (rightfully), it’s all excuses. We are in charge with how we live, and we can only blame ourselves. And do something about it!

    Love your stories jessica — could read them all day!

    1. So glad you enjoyed this one and it resonated! Resisting the new is not easy but it comes easier with practice and time. It’s about surrounding yourself what only what you really love and what makes you happy – then you’ll find you’ve got all you need when it comes to looking at something new.

  8. hello Jessica! I just noticed your blog doing research for my own. Minimalism hasn’t quite arrived in Norway yet, but I will do my part to make it happen.

    My boyfriend actually gets passive aggressive when I start to talk about minimalism, and I think that is a good sign. He will turn around eventually.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences in such an elegant way. I really enjoy your blog!

  9. When you say you let your family know you were no longer going to be the designated tidier, how did that work? If they’re anything like my family, they wouldn’t just automatically pick up their stuff, and I could see my home quickly buried amongst piles of stuff … that bother no one but me!

    Did you have a system? Or do you just live with their clutter? How does it work?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *