In 2023, it seems that more couples than ever are butting heads due to differences in how they live! Whenever a minimalist and a maximalist share the same roof, difficulties will naturally arise. However, help is on the way! Recently, experts met in an online discussion to reveal strategies that help minimalists and maximalists coexist in the same space.
1. Divide and Conquer
For many people, the easiest solution to this living disparity is to divide and conquer. Assign certain rooms and areas of the house where both people can be themselves and be as minimalist (or maximalist) as they like! For those fortunate enough to live in large enough homes, this strategy is the easiest and least stressful option by far.
2. Remove Emotions From the Discussion
Navigating through this difference in opinion can open a door that leads to many arguments, so many experts advise removing emotions from the discussion. Think about the situation you're both in rationally and the process will move forward more efficiently. “I think it's less about defining whether you're a clutterbug or a minimalist and more being realistic about the space,” explains one woman. “I think a lot of emotion and judgment get caught up in these definitions. What you often have is a small space and too much stuff. And more of that stuff is his, so he needs to find a way to part with some of it.”
3. Ask Yourself if It's Worth the Fight
Sometimes, you have to acknowledge whether this issue is worth fighting over. Perhaps it's time to look at the other person in a different light; view their minimalist (or maximalist) behavior as a quirk, not something to fight against. Many people report that after initially attacking the other person for how they perceive clutter, they realized it wasn't a hill worth dying on and dropped the subject (or at least learned not to fret over it as much).
4. Buy a Large Storage Cabinet
There's a thin line between collecting and hoarding, but if the person you are living with has clutter everywhere that is only getting worse, consider buying a large storage cabinet for them to store their belongings. “One thing to do is to buy some sort of storage cabinet, and all of their collections have to fit in that,” one woman advises. “My late husband had a lot of ‘stuff.' It's so easy to pick up stuff that can be used later, but so little of it actually gets used. The storage cabinet worked wonders.”
5. Come to a Compromise
With any living situation, a compromise may be the path to least resistance. Trying to make a maximalist into a minimalist (and vice versa) is an exhausting process. Therefore, look to compromises. Many people confess that an open line of communication leads to an end result that neither party is thrilled about, but they accept it anyway. Meeting in the middle is often the best option.
6. Maximize Storage Around the House
Sometimes, you have to think critically about your home's storage situation. Thankfully, many standard pieces of furniture can also double as storage containers! “My trick was to maximize storage in every place that would be out of sight,” reveals one woman. “I made sure I only bought nightstands and end tables that have all drawers all the way down. I use a large storage ottoman instead of a traditional coffee table. Also, I found using bed risers (or just buying a higher frame) so more stuff can fit under the bed is a game-changer.”
7. Find Creative Storage Solutions
Many people are surprised by how adaptable they are with finding creative storage solutions. Change is not necessarily a bad thing, as one former maximalist husband reveals. “Due to not having access to decent internet service, I keep DVDs around,” explains one man. “I've ditched the cases and used sleeves made to fit the inserts. For the 1,000+ DVDs I have, they now take up a few organizer boxes on a shelf. My family, who had the opportunity to see the end result, is equally impressed and shocked at how little space they take up.”
8. Rent a Storage Unit
Many people have an aversion to physically throwing things away, even if those things aren't used regularly. Many people found success in renting a large storage unit. Whether you have a husband who loves collecting junk or a wife who has too many clothes, a storage unit can be the ultimate compromise both of you have been looking for! In addition, renting storage units has become increasingly more affordable in recent years.
9. Don’t Expect Change To Happen Overnight
Adjusting your state of mind can help ease the difficulties you face living with someone so different from yourself. Change won't happen overnight, so be prepared to nudge your significant other along gently! “We can't change people or force them to downsize,” confesses one expert. “But what we can do is encourage others to look at the space they have available and be creative with where and how they keep their items.”
10. Watch Documentaries and TV Shows on the Subject
Sometimes, it takes a great television show or movie to change how your brain is wired. One woman had great success with showing her husband a specific documentary on minimalism. “My best advice is simple: Have them watch The Minimalists documentary with you,” advises one woman. It's on YouTube, and they may find it enlightening. Who knows, something inside them might finally click.”
11. Pray It All Works Out
Changing how someone lives is nearly impossible, and sometimes, all the tips in the world won't spur change. That's okay; if all else fails, perhaps a couple of prayers to the big guy upstairs is in order! Think about it like this: It couldn't hurt, right? There's nothing wrong with going to sleep each night with the hope that the person you love in the world will make a few tiny sacrifices for the greater good.
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