Just about the time I began my work on minimalizing my life, I met my future husband. I sorted and donated books; photographed artwork then burned it; packed the most basic and essential clothing I needed for my move– He bought a 3000 square foot home.
If you let it be an issue, marrying a non-Minimalist is akin to marrying someone of the opposite political party- it will stain every conversation, make you question your partners morals, and worse, make you second guess your decision to be in the relationship.
Because I love and therefore respect this man, I have made the conscious decision not to let his differing attitude on material possessions corrupt my otherwise idealized image of him.
I try to understand where he is coming from when we have different points of view on keeping an item that may be past it’s usefulness.
I broke the tip off of an old kitchen knife the other day. We easily own 15 various kitchen knives, not including the steak knife collection. As I went to discard the broken one, (after properly thanking it for service, Kon-Marie style)- my husband cradled it, thoroughly inspecting it, and said “Oh, this is still good, we can use it for cutting up the dog’s food”.
I stood dumbfounded. Instead of trying to convince him, or plead my case, I silently watched him put the knife back in it’s drawer.
I am fascinated by his reasoning for keeping items “just in case”. Give him an object, and in minutes he can discover a potential situation years in the future that we may need that object, and then safely tuck it back in it’s home. My husband is the most logical and sensible person I have ever met. He is also frugal, but not to the point of cheapness.
We have two couches that are in great shape but 1) Don’t match our décor 2) are Cream White so the dogs and child would destroy and 3) are in the way of me and setting up my art studio. My husband’s thought on keeping them? “I hate to throw out a perfectly good couch” To his point, they are good– but they are not for us. They have other homes, somewhere out there in the world. On this point, I am trying to convince him to at least donate them to charity.
A few years ago, I was in the same mind-frame as he is now. I kept items for sentimental value, to remember memories, and again, Just in case I need it. Now, I have found freedom in letting go- I was able to move my son and I with just some basics when I married, and felt only a small amount of anxiety at leaving behind many items from my past.
But as we travel our journey in this life, now together, it really is about picking your battles, and remembering to see things from the other person’s point of view. Is a broken knife a good reason to pick a fight to break the marital peace and bliss of a home? If I had, the argument would not have been about the knife; it would have been about me trying to assert my control over his own- then becoming a power struggle totally unrelated and very much unnecessary in our otherwise loving relationship. I try to keep that in mind any time I feel upset about decisions- is it really the decision that angers me, or the thought I didn’t get my own way?