October 10, 2012 in Creating Simple Living
The family unit in agreement (including children) seems to be a major, if not the greatest, barrier to this lifestyle.
I have written before about how the family is more important than stuff… that is what minimalism is about – people are worth more than stuff. If it is going to split people up to get rid of material stuff than it isn’t worth it.
I have also heard lots of the following ‘My spouse is on-board now and we are really excited‘, or ‘I sent my wife to your site and she loved the idea’, or ‘My husband seems to think it is a good idea‘.
There are places where a spouse, or other family member, might be totally opposed to getting rid of anything or simplifying at all… but I think that is pretty rare. What is much more common is ‘what we think’ they might say.
- Decided you want to simplify your life? Do you have a reason? Do you have a picture in your head of what you want to work toward?
- Have you simplified your stuff? Your schedule?
- Have you talked to your family member about what YOU are planning to do?
- Have you shown your family member the benefit the changes are (or will) make for you and them?
There is a good chance that everyone in the family will have different ideas of how to adopt minimalism or what kind of simple life they want. However, there is also a really good chance that they also want less crazy in the house and in the schedule. Being overwhelmed and frustrated with clutter is a universal human trait. (even though we all have different amounts we are okay with)
There is a really good chance that if you complete the 4 ideas above that your family member will be happy and interested. …I can’t prove it, but just my guess. Where people get upset and go against an idea is when they are expected to make changes based on another persons opinion. Often when I get these questions I think I might be hearing:
- ‘I like the idea of simple living but I am scared or tired and I want confirmation this is good for my life from my family member.’
- ‘I told my family about how great minimalism is and about other people adopting it and they aren’t doing anything about it.’
- ‘I told my family member that they needed to clean out ________ because it was too cluttered and that they should get rid of ________but they don’t want to’
- ‘I keep telling my family member that life will be better when we simplify but they aren’t initiating any changes.’
I get this comment/question from women the most. This is interesting to me because, depending on the household, the woman is really in charge of most of the material ‘stuff’. A husband probably won’t mind if his wife simplifies all her stuff, her cloths, bathroom clutter, kitchen clutter, laundry clutter, kid clutter and more. They might not like it if their cloths or the garage is cleaned out without them present, but most of the house they probably don’t care. (it would be a good idea to check before anything drastic is done)
When we started adopting minimalism my husband liked the idea. We both changed and grew with what we thought we needed as the process went along. However, most of the de-cluttering was up to me. I might ask him about a kitchen tool or something the kids wanted to get rid of, but he would say it was up to me. Not that he wasn’t helpful (my husband rocks ) but he really thought most of the house was my say because I was the one to live with (or without) the item in question most of the time.
So, if this is an issue for you take a look at what you have done and how you have communicated. If one item is in question and they want to keep it – keep it. However, work with them to create a vision for a simple life you both can agree on and take the steps to start moving the house in that direction.
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