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When my husband and I were married (over 11 years ago, wow!) our lives were simple. We didn’t own much of anything, we had a small place to call our own and we were happy! Not to say we aren’t still happy, we are, it’s just as years went on life has become much more… complicated. Why?
Because we accumulated too much stuff!!
Stuff will take over your life, folks. It will consume you and make you forget who you are, why you’re here, and what you want in life. It will take up your time, fill up space, and make you into a monster you never imagined you could be. These materialistic things are just that… things! They cannot replace any holes in your life, they cannot make you happy, and they cannot (nor should they) define who you are. They’re just things, and they’re all things you don’t really need.
Last year, when we were getting ready to move, we purged so much stuff. While it was far from perfect, it felt amazing. We fit ourselves, our family, and our select belongings in our tiny space. We were happy! Even living in that tiny space, with far less stuff than we were used to, we were happy. When we increased our space, we continued applying the minimalist ideals and have purged even more. If we don’t watch it our house will be practically empty!
I’m lucky, though, my husband has been on board with this whole idea from the beginning. In fact, he still says we have too many things, so I go through and purge more and more. I realize, though, that not everyone is lucky enough to have a spouse/significant other on board with the idea of ditching the materialistic life we’ve all (as a society) been encouraged to live and become accustomed to. So, I’ve come up with a few tips to get them on board!
8 Tips to Get Your Spouse to Minimize
- Remind them how uncomplicated life used to be. If you’re like we were and when you got together you didn’t have many things, remind them of that. It’s surprising that a lot of people don’t realize where they started to lose touch. I can guarantee you it has something to do with accumulating more. Look back at how easy it was when you had practically nothing… pure happiness.
- Talk to them about how you won’t have to work as hard. Seriously, this is a big one. If you stop accumulating materialistic garbage (that no one really needs anyway) you can work less. True story! All that stuff is costing you time and money, whether you realize it or not.
- Show them you can make money. All that garbage that you just had to have can make you money! Have a yard sale! Make some real, cold cash and enjoy a weekend reminiscing while getting rid of all that stuff you don’t need in your life! You can use it to remove some of that debt you more than likely accumulated when you bought said stuff.
- Lead by example. You have your own stuff, right? Let it go! Declutter, remove, stop hanging on to and just ditch it. You don’t have to get rid of their things, or the things that belong to the both of you right off the bat. Go through your own personal stuff and show them how great it can be. Then, slowly move on to things that they won’t miss much.
Related: 32 Tips on Becoming a Minimalist
Related: 117 Things to Declutter Right Now
- Be patient. Not everyone is going to jump right on the minimalist bandwagon. It takes time, sometimes. Just continue doing what you’re doing letting go of things and being positive about it. Trust me, eventually they will come around to the idea.
- Talk it over. I think sometimes, even in a fantastic relationship, we shy away from talking about things simply because we’re worried about what the response will be. Just make a comment “Hey, I think we need to scale back on all this stuff we have accumulated, it’s really not benefitting us, what do you think? We will start slow.”
- Get input. Don’t throw everything out without asking for input. It’s important that things that affect both of you (or the whole family) are put up to a vote. Don’t think you can just ditch it all without any input from anyone else, it’s a two way street. Discuss things and weigh the pros and cons together and make a joint decision to decide what is best for you.
- Be happy. This is huge. If you show how happy it makes you to rid your life of meaningless miscellany, then they will see that. It can be incredibly encouraging. You’d be surprised!
Realize that if your spouse/significant other is not on board with the whole ideal of living a more minimalist lifestyle, it will take time. Don’t let it ruin your relationship, just let nature take its course. Once you start getting rid of things, and actually discussing decisions and they see how beneficial it really is, they will slowly start coming around to the idea. One day, like you, they will wake up and decide that they’ve had enough, too. Just be positive and patient while they find their way.