When you’re a minimalist but your partner isn’t.


Living with other people’s stuff isn’t easy.  Actually it’s quite hard.  You’ve spent hours if not days honing in on what material items no longer serve you and you’ve identified what you no longer want to clutter your life up with and repurchase.

Your partner may not be an over-consumer but they still lead a different lifestyle to you.  Living with someone else has its compromises anyway but add a new lifestyle or minimalism into the mix and there could be some friction.

Luckily I have a very supportive partner and he has let me have free reign in our home but with some exceptions.  He likes a clean tidy home as much as me and we share all the housework equally but he is a little bit of a hoarder…compared to me anyway.

I started by de-cluttering those items that were just personal to me like my wardrobe, desk items and drawers.  Then I moved onto our kitchen and shared spaces.  I had to be careful not to purge anything that he solely owned or bought for us.  Then I had to compromise – no I don’t like the shelves of DVD’s & CD’s or the cupboard full of speakers/dec’s/records but I have no right to tell him what he should do with them.  I can only ‘suggest’ that he downsize his collections in the hopes that one day he will.  I know he appreciates my work towards a better home and way of life.

Living with someone is all about compromise as they have the right to be happy in their home as much as we do.  I just hope that seeing our space clutter free and only full of those things that are useful and bring us joy will inspire them to do the same.  Hopefully the example you set will speak for itself.

Your partner should support you but you should support them too – however you both want to live your lives.  Show patience and refuse to let stuff separate you.

11 thoughts on “When you’re a minimalist but your partner isn’t.

  1. Andrew | Life Between 0 and 1 says:

    I’ve written about this a few times on my blog. My daughter is starting to pick up on my lead, but my wife has a ways to go. I found having my own space, off limits from my wife’s tendency to want to hold onto things, helped immensely. My office is that space, containing items that hold value to me, but is spartan in description. It’s a compromise for sure, but slowly I’m getting used to seeing “organized” stuff around the house and she is starting to let things go that truly have no value but had the “I could use it someday” label.


  2. CJ says:

    So true on the last line – support is a two way street. I’m lucky in that we’re both for simplifying but it’s great you guys found a middle ground. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Lowcountry Hippie says:

    This is us! My husband isn’t really a hoarder, but he also doesn’t really “get” minimalism. Although, he has noticed that my bathroom drawer is much neater than his and that my side of the closet is much smaller than his lol. I have free reign over most of our home since I stay home and homeschool. I will tidy his areas and suggest reorganization, but I’m pretty content being married to a non- minimalist. Great post!


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