How does one go about pursing minimalism with a reluctant spouse?
Okay, so I’m beginning this post with a quick disclaimer about my hubby. Austin is definitely not “not onboard” with my desire to pursue living with less. He loves that there is less furniture scattered around our apartment, loves that I have more free time, and he loves that I’m more present than ever.
But, he isn’t going above and beyond himself to pursue minimalism.
For a recap on what minimalism is and why you should give it a try read my post: What is Minimalism? And Why You Should Join the Trend
Start With Yourself
Leading by example is the best way to begin. Focus on the things that are yours. Quick note, if it is your husband’s, don’t get rid of it without his permission.
Tackle your closet, build your capsule wardrobe, clean your desk, sell small pieces of furniture you brought into the house, adjust your schedule–basically just do you. As you begin simplifying your life and surroundings, it will come up in conversations organically with your spouse, and eventually they might come to you with the idea to clean out their closet or simplify their schedule.
Then The Small Things
Our husbands naturally are typically more accustomed to living with less than we are in so many respects. Guys just don’t have as much stuff. But what they do have, they can cling to.
So start small. Offer to spend some time going through his bathroom drawers and toss out any empty bottles or duplicates. Example, Austin has 3 containers of hair gel, 1 he doesn’t use, and the other two look identical but only 1 of those is the right hair gel. In this situation, toss out both the rejects.
Offer to spend time going through t-shirts. Narrowing down the t-shirt collection is the easiest place to start in any closet.
Appeal To Their Sense of Logic
Austin and I will be moving in May when our apartment lease is up. When we move I know that I want to downsize and move into a smaller apartment. When I told Austin this, he didn’t understand. Why would we want less space?
Instead of approaching this topic from this same perspective (mine) I decided to attempt the subject again with him in mind.
Most men are money-minded, so instead of straight out saying I wanted less space, I told Austin that I wanted our next apartment to be around X amount of money per month. He loved this idea, knowing that to get an apartment for that much would require us to rent something a bit smaller.
Let Them Know The Benefits
Sometimes people dig their heels in and don’t want to try living with less because it sounds like being deprived. Which, let’s face it, most extreme minimalists are living lifestyles that are just that, extreme.
Let your spouse know what minimalism is to you. For me, it’s definitely not an all white home with no decorations whatsoever. It’s a cozy space that I love to be in, with the right amount of things to keep life fun and entertaining. How can anyone have a problem with a life like that!?
So define minimalism for you both. Then, list out all the potential benefits of living with less.
Never Push Too Hard
If your husband is just absolutely not onboard or just isn’t interested, let it go. Nobody likes nagging. In this situation, your best bet is to refer back to step 1 and take care of yourself. Your spouse has reasons for not wanting to get rid of things and that really is okay.
Minimalism is a a lot more than living with less stuff, but it is a mindset where you let go of things that waste your time, cause stress, and make life less fulfilling. Forcing a spouse to do something they don’t want to do is a waste of time and is stressful and unfulfilling.
Instead, just keep doing your thing and maybe one day your spouse will come to you and ask to tackle a step towards living with less, but let them be until that time.
Men can be very set in their ways, but we love them anyway!