Readers frequently ask me questions like:
- “How can I get my husband to declutter?”
- “How can you live a simple life with children?”
- “How can I make my wife clean out her closet?”
- “How can I convince my friends and family to live with less?”
My response is always the same.
Think about all the changes you’ve made in your life. How often were your friends and family making the same changes? I became a vegetarian alone. I started decluttering alone. I’ve lost weight alone. While my friends and family have typically been beautifully supportive, they weren’t interested in the same lifestyle changes I was at the same time. And that’s ok.
I write about living with less, living a healthy lifestyle and adding more joy to your life, not because I want to convince you to live a certain way, but to remind you that you have a choice and to invite you to live your life on purpose.
When it comes to decluttering, the most important thing you can do in a family situation is deal with your own stuff first. Don’t worry about her shoes, their toys or even shared items. Learn from experience and start with your own personal items. Once you are finished with your own items (and that could take days or months or years), enjoy your accomplishment without comparison.
Instead of convincing your friends and family to live like you do, lead by example. Demonstrate the benefits of your lifestyle choices by living fully. Answer questions without preaching, help people without focus on personal gain, and love regardless of circumstance.
Your hoarder husband may seem less attractive now that you live with less, but you didn’t marry him because of how he felt about stuff. Why did you? What do you love about him? Tell him. If your wife refuses to let go of her books, that’s not a deal breaker. Your spouse/roommate/friend/parent/child will be inspired by your journey, but they have to take the trip when they are ready.
Today, my husband eats a vegetarian diet most of the time. My daughter decluttered her bathroom and bedroom one weekend, without me saying a word and then, she said she enjoyed doing it. I didn’t run around screaming, “I knew you’d come around!” but I was so grateful.