Our attitudes around acquisition, consuming, clutter, and keepsakes can seem so different. And when others we live with aren't on board with our minimalism, wow, it can cause some irritation. It can be a source of misunderstanding and strife.
Thankfully, it doesn't have to be like that. We can remember that instead of decluttering at all costs, we can choose to simply love -- to understand those we love and accept who they are right now without trying to change them.
Winning Over Your Messy Loves
If your loves are messy, they are probably born collectors, as in the opposite of purgers. Purgers find it easy to clear space, get rid of what isn't needed, and live in the moment. Collectors tend to take joy in curating items that remind them of times past. Also, collectors tend to be inspired by clutter, instead of stressed out by it. Among creative people, some are collectors who say they are inspired by a bit of chaos around them. Other creatives are purgers who are inspired by the equivalent of a blank canvas - a clutter free room.
To win over your messy loves, you need to show that you understand them. Don't just show; do it. Simply love. Calm any fears about important things getting thrown out. Make sure your loved ones can trust you not to get rid of things willy-nilly, without regard to their significance.
Listen first, and explain later. Bring up the topic of minimalism, and see what your spouse and/or kids have to say. Listen fully, and make sure you understand all their concerns. You might start the conversation by saying something like "I'm wanting to simplify our lives by decluttering and taking a new approach to acquiring belongings. How do you feel about my becoming a minimalist?"
Once you've listened carefully to each family member, explain why you're drawn to minimalism and what you hope to accomplish. Is it a shared dream of saving money for experiences like a trip around the world? Is it because you hope to spend less time cleaning, maintaining, and organizing, and more time having fun with your loved ones?
Finally, like I talk about in Minimalist Living, your relationships are more important than decluttering. If minimalism is causing constant strife in your relationships, take a break. Simply love.
Minimalism and Kids
There are some special considerations around clutter as it relates to children that are different than those that relate to your spouse or teens. I'll be writing more about clutter and kids in the future. Subscribe to the 3-Day Decluttering Challenge to these and other tips about simple living.
Image: My toddler and I photographed by my husband