How To Get Your Partner To Be a Minimalist

How To Get Your Partner To Be a Minimalist


Of all the questions I get asked about minimalism, the most common by far is this: “How do I get my partner, or my spouse on board with minimalism?” ♪ Well, there are no easy answers to this question. However, there are three things that I think we can do to help get our spouses on board with owning less, and they involve the right
words, at the right time, with the right attitude. First of all, we use the right words. I find that so many conversations about stuff, and clutter, and possessions, occur when we are frustrated. We can’t find something in the house, the
closet doesn’t shut, we can’t park in the garage, the credit card statement shows up
and we open it up. And out of frustration, we get upset, and we say something like, “Ugh, I’m just tired of all your stuff around here all the time!” That is not the right way to have this conversation. Go out for coffee, have a nice dinner, have
a rational, thoughtful conversation about what is most important to us as a family,
what do we want to accomplish with our family, what would we do if we had more money and time and energy? And start making the case for owning less in a rational way. Also think through, what might draw them to owning less? The benefits of owning less that draw you
to the lifestyle might be different than what would resonate most with them. So start with the right words. The second thing is to do this at the right
time. Look, it is always easier to see everyone
else’s clutter than it is to see our own. But if you’re going to start your minimizing journey by getting rid of all of your spouse’s stuff first, I would warn you against it. That’s a big mistake. Much like I said in the video when talking
about getting rid of kid’s things first, it’s actually very unfair. We need to get rid of own things first. Handle your side of the closet, handle your garage, handle your side of the office, your kitchen, your arts and crafts room, your basement, whatever it might be. Get rid of your things first, and then, when
the time is right, start talking to them about shared spaces, and minimizing some of their possessions. So we use the right words, we approach this at the right time, and third, with the right attitude. Always, always, motivated out of love. That we’re doing this to better our family,
to better our relationship. So approach it with love, approach it with
humility, that you’re not a perfect person either. That just because you are being challenged to own less and improve yourself in that way, doesn’t mean that your spouse or partner isn’t growing in some other way, and changing for the positive in some other fashion in their
life. So we approach it with love and humility,
and third, patience. We approach this conversation with patience. I was once speaking at an event in Dallas
where I had a lady stand up in the front row and she said to me, “Look, I have been trying for five years to get my husband on board with minimalism. I’ve been modeling it, I’ve been living as
an example.” She said, “Just last week, he came to me and he said, ‘You know that minimalism thing you’ve been talking about? I think I’m finally starting to understand
why you do it.'” I think her story is important because, number one, I do believe that minimalism wins out in the end. That the benefits of owning less eventually win out at some point. But second of all, this doesn’t always happen overnight. Sometimes it takes more than a week, or three months, or even three years, for her it took five years of living this out before her spouse understood the reasoning behind it. So as you seek to get your spouse on board with minimalism, no it’s not always easy. But know that when we approach it with the
right words, at the right time, with the right attitude, we’ll be far more successful. But we lead by example, we model minimalism, we enjoy the benefits in our own life. We enjoy the benefits that half-minimalism brings to the family, and eventually, our spouses will come on board, and will be in with you on the journey to own less and live more. ♪

27 thoughts on “How To Get Your Partner To Be a Minimalist”

  1. This is so true. Once I started minimizing my things, my partner started going through some of her things. She hasn't truly started to minimize but at least she's getting rid of things that are just taking up space and not being used, and I'm okay with that.

  2. perfect timing! my daughter and her husband need this so I will share. I've been following you for 3 years and I'm still learning! Thank you! p.s. love the blue t-shirt!

  3. This video is so very timely. We are moving interstate, and I am embracing minimalism as we prepare. Growing up with less, my spouse worries at getting rid of things that cost money, despite us being able to afford things now should we need them (or at the very least, can save for them). I am being gentle, and only focusing on my own things, and asking him should they be joint possessions. I am not getting rid of his things, however as he watches me, he is now questioning his own possessions. As I talk about what I am learning through this transition, he listens and is really starting to embrace the concept. Slow but purposeful steps I say 🙂 Thank you.

  4. I think this proposed way of talking to your partner works for other difficult topics as well. Patience might be the most challenging part of it.

  5. Thank you for these wise words!
    My husband is minimal about some things and not other items. I’m thankful that since I finally started this journey he is happy and these tips are helpful as I work on my stuff.

  6. I have been a minimalist for 7 months and it has changed my life and my KIDS life😀. EVERYTHING IS GETTING BETTER. The decluttering part was ROUGH and dang near brought me to my knees😢. I HATED IT SO MUCH😤. But I knew it was necessary. Our home is about 90% decluttering snd now I’m happy to decluttering because it has brought us peace and so much happiness 😁. I love living a simple life style because it has brought me MORE of the things I value most😁

  7. This is so true! We need to start with ourselves, always. This is true in everything isn't it? Once we work on ourselves, others will see our joy and ask how they can bring more joy to their own lives.

  8. I cleaned and decluttered my own half of the room, over 13 garbage bags went. I even emptied four of my six drawers. I then went to my husbands side of the room and decluttered and cleaned it. I got rid of all the shirts I’ve ever bought him, none of which he’s ever worn. Threw out all the torn ripped and badly stained shirts and pants. Things that were too small and things I knew he didn’t like. He has less than would fill a garbage bag now and I own less than half. He didn’t seem to mind because he knew I didn’t do anything he wouldn’t have agreed to. Then the whole principal flowed over and this past two weeks he’s emptied two full sheds and is enjoying getting rid of stuff for himself now. He just needed to see the effect it could have on our home and lives.

  9. Yeah, a lot of patience is needed whrn you want to change anyone. There is no fast road to it like just putting the work

  10. Hi Joshua, the quote from 1 Peter 3:1 came to my mind, "Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives" – which can be applied to many different areas of life as well as living as Christ did.

  11. My husband and I both had very controlling relationships with past partners before we met. So I don't take his stuff away. We both know how that feels. But he has seen how much easier it is to clean the house, and he starting to see how he can down size a little bit here and there. He can be very sentimental about some stuff. I do have him on board with one in and one out, so that helps. I started my journey a year ago, but even for my things I have taken it slowly. I feel it is more successful this way, then no one is in shock over empty spaces, nor feel the need to fill them back up. Even my sixteen year old has mentioned wanting less now. It is slow, but very worth it.

  12. Sometimes it feels the less I own, the more my husband collects. When I clear an area it seems as he thinks: "Great! Space for my stuff!" It is exhausting.

  13. Minimalist life helped me to save time. You see, I used to think I m very forgetful.

    Owning less stuff and keeping stuff where they belong, helped me to find stuff faster and easier. Then, I feel good about myself. Then I realised I m not forgetful, I just have too much unnecessary stuff haha 🧐.

  14. Today, after 16 years, my husband got rid of his huge train table that he's had since he was a kid. He built it himself and was very proud of it. He hasn't used it the whole time we've been married. He has saved a lot of things that he doesn't look at or use so I talked with him about how I would feel if he passed away first. I told him I didn't want to be angry and resentful that he left all of this stuff for me to get rid of when he died. I told him that was not the legacy he would want to leave behind. I told him he wasn't honoring his stuff by letting it pile up and get dusty. He wasn't honoring me as the future grieving wife. He has finally been able to let go of some things. Today he sold his train table and accessories to a man who I know will have fun with it and honor it. It went to a good home and that made me and my husband happy.

  15. So true our spouses are growing in their own way also!
    I am so glad i saw this video before attempting to convince my husband. 😬

  16. I don't want to be attached with husband's stuff but rather want to spend quality time with him.
    I'd rather give him a good bath than sorting his stuff .

  17. What if your spouse is so far the opposite direction they even have a problem with me getting rid of things I had before I knew them and haven’t used in 10+ years. I’ve been working on minimalism for 2-3 years now.
    (He has twice as many t-shirts than I have clothes altogether. He was upset I gifted a purse to a friend even though I haven’t used it since I’ve known him and I don’t even use a purses at all to begin with.)

  18. You are so kind! I'm challenged with trying to get my husband on board. He's all for me pairing down but is adamant about me not touching his things. I'm okay with that except… I do the laundry, organizing, cleaning, etc… and whenever we move, I do the packing… There are things that are moved from place to place and never touched, even going back to when he moved out of his parents home 20 years ago. I'm so over it, but I do understand he's far more sentimental than I am. I'll try your method while advising that he'll have to manage his own things going forward. Does this sound fair?

  19. haha. ok first: THIS IS A GREAT VIDEO!!! i want to get rid off a lot of things in the last years. and this is or was really hard for me. i had three turntables and a lot of vinyl and other music equipment…after some year i knew: i dont have time any more for that, my life changed. it is frustrating me to see this stuff unused. i have to sell that. same this year with camera equipment.
    my wife says in these days: "hey you want to throw away everything!" and i just think: "you get mad at me because i don´t store things in the kitchen like you want it because I don´t see any space where i can put it in. so hopefully she understands someday that it makes everything easier for everybody. the whole cleaning and so on…what a time and energy waster if you have to do more than needed. so all the best to you and anybody who has a partner which is looking at you like you are crazy only because you want to move something out of your house : )

  20. It's been seven years for me and my partner… I don't think it's going to happen x.x it's really frustrating because 90 percent of the things in our home are theirs and they just keep buying even when there are bills to pay…

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