Minimalism is not an easy thing. It’s not easy to begin a journey to dramatically reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you own. It’s not easy to start to question why you bought that stuff in the first place. It’s really not easy to let that stuff go, especially stuff you have an emotional attachment to. And it’s definitely not easy when the person or people you live with are most certainly not Minimalists.
When I first started to become interested in Minimalism, I was so excited by this new lifestyle I’d discovered. I was filled with visions of perfect, clean surfaces, of simple, well curated decor. I was chomping at the bit to fill transit vans with possessions and donate the lot. I just couldn’t understand why my husband didn’t share my enthusiasm for Minimalism.
As I pared down my possessions, I started to grow a little frustrated. I’d got rid of so much and yet it didn’t look like I’d got rid of anything. I got stressed at the amount of ”stuff’ we still had in the house. Just how could I turn my husband into a Minimalist too?
Minimalism isn’t just about possessions. Through learning more about being a Minimalist, I’ve discovered that there are many more layers than I ever thought. Through Minimalism, I’ve started to question myself, question society, and open my eyes to bigger pictures and bigger problems. Wastefulness, money, environment… Minimalism has led me on a long journey, and I’m only just beginning.
My husband still isn’t a Minimalist. But together we’ve become more aware of our impact on the world, a path that being a Minimalist first led me to. We’re both interested in buying local, quality goods, and are hoping to improve our house using ecological methods. The green building movement is of real interest to us both. We’re learning about using Permaculture principles, not just in our garden but in our everyday thinking. Our interests cover a lot of the same ground.
I learned over time that I shouldn’t force my ideals onto anybody. If people wanted to learn more, they would ask me. It was hard to see at the time but now I understand that Minimalism isn’t for everybody.
So, how do you live with someone who isn’t a Minimalist? In my case, I learned that getting rid of ‘things’ is only one small part of the Minimalist path. After I realised that fact, the amount of stuff in our house that isn’t mine didn’t bother me nearly so much. I respect the difference between us and look at the joy and use my husband gets from his possessions. I can’t force someone else to give up what makes them happy any more than I can force myself to.
I just carry on being my best self. This might inspire some, but not others. And you know what?
That’s more than OK for me.