Talking To Your Partner About Transitioning To Minimalism
I will be the first to admit that my journey to minimalism has been a tough one for my partner. I often oscillate between extremes, leaving him somewhere in the middle. When I first began to talk about minimalism, my past behaviors (unfortunately) affected how my partner viewed my "radical idea". When I brought up minimalism with him, he frowned. With a skeptical eyebrow, he sighed saying, "How much is this going to cost me?"
Fast-forward a year later, we are both comfortably living with less and have slowly begun incorporating minimalism into our everyday lives. We've given a dozen bags of clothes to charity, have gotten rid of furniture we don't use, and purchased a house that was less than 1500 sq. ft. That might not seem like a lot but, for us it was a real step forward. Growing and learning together was a part of the process. Here are a few tips I have learned that can open the doors to your biggest lifestyle change. If it helped us, maybe it can help you; but you both must be willing to commit to change.
Tips On How To Talk To Your Partner About Minimalism
1| Practice what you Preach
Be honest with yourself. While you are proselytizing to your partner about the joys of minimalism, are you practicing what you preach? Your many discussions about “living with less” may not be convincing if your stuff is taking up more than your fair share of closet space. The best way to demonstrate the benefits of living with less is to simply live with less. Nothing is more persuasive than action. Be the change you want to see. It is easier to convince someone one to go on a journey with you if you have already taken your first steps. Demonstrating that you are ready for change will let your partner know how serious you are and make them feel more confident about embracing the minimalist lifestyle.
2| Articulate the “Why”
What has inspired you to become a minimalist? What are you hoping to achieve? How can it improve your lives together? How will this change affect your partner personally? Important decisions should be made together. In a relationship, both partners become a team. Although, you shouldn’t lose your own individuality, taking necessary steps together helps strengthen your bond and build a lasting relationship. Truthful, thoughtful communication is key to sustaining a relationship. If you are telling your partner that you want to interrupt their lives for this change, they are at the very least owed an explanation. Be upfront about your intentions and demonstrate how this change will be beneficial to both of you.
3| Point Out Daily Minimalist Habits
Due to my husband’s upbringing, he lives a naturally simple life. He doesn’t own more than a few pairs of shoes at a time. Per his request, when we shop for groceries, we only buy food we need. He is careful about the money he spends, and would rather work in the garden than spend a night out on the town. He cares less about the stuff he owns and more about what memories we make together as a family. His outlook on life is one of the reasons why I was drawn to him, but also one of the reasons why I am drawn to minimalism. Highlight the overlap between your partner's choices and minimalism. Encourage them to continue to cultivate these habits.
4| Emphasize Declutter
You know what is sexy? Taking long walks on the beach. You know what is not sexy? Dodging heaping piles of clothes in your bedroom. For us, clutter has been a major source of contention. Discussions about clutter have turned into a heated exchange. However, once I did decide to buckle down and get rid of some of the mess, I noticed a change immediately. We argued a lot less about space. Our home felt and continues to feel roomy. Everything we own has a place. Again, it was an action that paved the way for the conversation about minimalism.
Stuff can never make you happy. Stuff will not give you the same sense of accomplishment as clearing a plot of land to grow your own food. Minimalism makes room for things that are really important. Pursuing minimalism alone can feel like an uphill battle, but having your partner by your side might make all the difference. Start the conversation. It could be one of the best decisions you will ever make.
Tammy is an Engineer by day and side-jobber at night. She lives on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and playful greyhound, Sebastian. When she is isn't trying to live with less, she can be seen at the gym or hiking outdoors. Her mission is to destigmatize talking about money. She shares her story, so others know that they are not alone.