How do I talk about my minimalist lifestyle to my friends and family?
This is a question I see frequently in minimalist forums. When choosing not to conform to a consumerist and materialist mindset, it can be hard to explain to the people in your life that you want to make a change and that you're not selling all your stuff because you're broke.
If you live with others, having a conversation with the people in your household is required. You can’t go tossing people’s things without talking to them.
Last time we talked about the fear of letting go and your household members will share those same fears.
Talking to the people who live in your house:
- Call a house meeting.
- Propose the idea or let them know what you've been up to.
- Explain your why.
- Explain how it benefits everyone.
- Promise that you will consult them when you want to toss something of theirs. Some people may get rid of their family’s stuff and they never miss it, but I think it’s a common courtesy to let them know if they are old enough to understand what is happening.
- Get your household on board (if you can) and involve them in the decluttering process.
- Be prepared for them to resist the idea, sabotage your efforts, or ignore you all together. Return to numbers #3 and #4.
- Be consistent in your efforts and set the example for your household to follow.
Talking to people who don’t live in your house:
- First, if they don’t live in your home, it’s really none of their business, but you may want to share what you’re doing or they might ask questions.
- Do number #3 from above.
- Talk to them about giving gifts and other things to you and your family.
- If they resist, ask them to respect your choice and remind them that it’s your business what you do. If they continue to give you stuff, politely, but firmly decline, return, or donate it.
- If you don’t tell them about your lifestyle change and decluttering, don’t be annoyed when they give you stuff, but take the opportunity to educate them.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of your relationships and if you want to be successful on your minimalist journey you need to be clear with others about what you're trying to achieve.