The struggle I hear most often from people trying to simplify their lives is that their spouse/partner/family/friends won’t simplify with them. How can you encourage loved ones to simplify their lives without being annoying?
Because we can’t convince people to live more simply, eat a healthy diet, or do anything else they don’t want to do, I suggest having fun while encouraging loved ones to simplify. In this one minute video from the Tiny Wardrobe Tour I explain how my husband and I have encouraged each other to let go.
Other ways to encourage loved ones to simplify (without being annoying)
Here’s the thing. Real change won’t occur in someone unless they want it. If they do it just to make you stop nagging them, it won’t last. Here are a few other ways you can encourage loved ones to simplify …
Let them hear it from someone else.
Several people have told me their significant other or family member became more interested in simplifying their life after watching Minimalism, a documentary about the important things, or listening to a podcast about simplicity, or getting inspired from someone other than their partner.
Appreciate the little things.
Notice the little things and make sure you appreciate the tiny steps that your partner is making, even though things may not be happening as fast or going in the exact direction you had planned. Be encouraging and gentle. Slow progress is still progress. If his/her attempt at simplifying is met with your suggestions for doing it better, there will be little motivation to continue.
Give them time.
Keep walking the walk and be patient. A women I work with shared this story, “The Project 333 webinar was at 9pm. I told my husband about it and how I was planning to watch it in bed. I fell asleep before the webinar started but when my husband woke up this morning, he told me that after I fell asleep he had cleared out all his clothes, had it down to 35 items and had put all the clothes he doesn’t like, don’t fit or have holes in a box to donate. I have been pursuing a slower pace for 3 years now, and while it is still definitely more my thing than his, my husband (who was a total hoarder in the beginning) can see the benefits, helps with decluttering, and even admits that his bike room/play room/man cave is much nicer to be in now that it has been decluttered and is kept tidy.”
Letting go can bring up some powerful emotions. If you are tackling debt, clutter, busyness and other elements of a complicated life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and take things too seriously. Don’t forget to laugh along the way. Remember to enjoy the time and space you are creating together.
Make room for love.
While cleaning out the garage might not sound like a fun way to spend the weekend, when you focus on the why, instead of the how or when, your partner may be more inspired. Remind your partner that when you don’t have to focus on clutter and debt, you will have more time and attention for each other.
I am sure that in my excitement to let go and simplify, I’ve crossed the line from encouraging to annoying from time to time, but knowing that what I want isn’t a simple life, but a life full of health and love instead of stress and stuff reminds me to be patient, gentle, and not to take things too seriously.