When Minimalism and Family Clash

Only you can change yourself. It isn’t something anyone else can do for you. The same is true for people in your life. You can’t force them to change to your mindset, because they’ll resist just as much as you know you would.

Where is this coming from? It’s got nothing to do with writing. I know.

Over the past few months I’ve taken on a new minimalism mindset – being thankful for what I have, keeping what’s useful and gifting/donating or storing things I no longer need.

There’s something I’ve discovered about my family recently that I think I always knew, but never quite paid attention to before. We like to hang on to the past. We’re very much set in our ways and we’re resistant to change. I include myself in that because there are some things I’m still working on in my own life.

But when it comes to physical objects, they’re just things. Someone close to me recently expressed “concern” for all the stuff I’m getting rid of and, quite frankly, I was incredibly confused. Example: there’s a neighborhood based website where one can post things for sale or free for curbside pickup, discuss happenings on the block, etc. I put a laptop desk out and came back from work to find it gone. I was happy. I thought some neighborhood kid snagged it for their room. But no. Where did I find it? In said family member’s basement.


I don’t get it. I really don’t. It’s my stuff, not theirs. I don’t understand their need to keep things I’m getting rid of. Subsequently, I shouldn’t be too hard on them either because I *thought* I already let it go. Why should it matter to me what happens to the stuff after it goes away from my house?

I try to think of what I should’ve done differently in that situation – should I have just popped the desk into my car and taken it directly to a Goodwill donation center? That way, it’ll curb said individual’s temptation to hoard the things I’ve gotten rid of? Or do I just let the individual’s piles grow in their basement till someone else gets mad about all the stuff?

And so we return to the opening line of this post: only you can change yourself. But what happens when, in the process of changing yourself, you make others mad?

Seven Single-Use Things I No Longer Buy
62 Things I’ve Decluttered or Stopped Buying

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