Tread lightly, minimalist! You and I might love our minimalist perspective, but it’s not for everyone.
I’d like to encourage you to tread lightly in others’ lives should you be bitten by the minimalism bug. Not everyone is interested in living the same lifestyle, and if you’re constantly telling them what’s wrong with their lives, they’ll be less likely to support you. Here are three relationships where you might be tempted to overstep your minimalist bounds:
Tempting as it is, let’s not force our children to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. Thinking back a few decades, I am mortified by how full my bedroom was as a teenager. I don’t know how my parents could stand walking past! Every square inch of the wall was covered with posters and pictures, and the closet was stacked to the ceiling with junk. Of course I didn’t consider any of it junk at the time. It was an expression of what I cared about, and that room was my haven. Eventually I grew up and learned to prioritize, organize, and more. It wasn’t forced upon me and I’m grateful. I spy similar behaviors in my kids sometimes and I’d like to save them space and stress but I’m not sure my intervention would do anything but confuse or frustrate them. Apart from sorting toys to remove broken or outgrown ones and abiding by the house rule to keep things generally tidy, I’m doing my best not to project any of my preferences in this area into their lives. They need their bedrooms to be their own havens, too.
Loved ones have their own personalities, preferences, and life experiences. They’re on a different path, and their may never intersect ours in the minimalist camp. My experience in the past 5 years of minimalist practice has been that sharing an opinion is ok, but demanding everyone to join us on the journey is not. It seems to me that the biggest conflicts can arise during holidays or birthdays when preferences can truly collide. You can get the ball rolling in the right direction by sharing any of the 30+ suggestions on my free download “Minimalist Gift Ideas“!
SPOUSES or ROOMMATES
My husband has more clothing items than I do, and I don’t love him any less. I haven’t checked, but he might have more shoes, too. No biggie. I take a minimalist approach (not buying unless I’m replacing a particular item or a true need is established) everywhere I get to act on behalf of our family and that’s enough.
Preferences can’t turn into demands unless you want to live alone on an island. Not everyone will (or has to) convert to minimalism. Tread lightly, minimalist!
Dana Byers and her family are passionate about adoption and online ministry, and they sold all they owned in 2007 to live a mobile lifestyle overseas and expand online ministry practices globally. She’s the author of “The Art of Online Ministry” and recently moved to Oklahoma to become the Community Pastor for LifeChurch.tv Church Online. All opinions shared here are expressly her own.