The same way that living with a hoarder can be frustrating for you, your approach to the matter may not be easy for both of you. Probably you often wonder how to make your life with a non-minimalist easier, so now I’m sharing 3 things that you need to realize in order to enjoy your differences instead of fighting them.
1. Lead by example.
This one may be a bit difficult when you’re living with a hoarder because when we think something is good, in this situation, getting rid of the things that don’t serve us, we want everyone to realize that as well. And the way we often do that is by trying to change people. In a way, forcing our views onto others. The truth is, people are never going to change because you told them to. People have a hard time dealing with big changes and they will change only when THEY are ready.
We are all at a different stage in our lives and sometimes something we hear doesn’t make any sense to us at that moment, but hearing it in a few months/years, it can be a wake-up call. If the person you’re living with doesn’t consider minimalism as necessary now, give them time and they will realize the benefits by seeing how it is changing your life. Focus on your own growth instead of pushing someone else’s. No matter how your intentions are good, by forcing someone to do anything, you’re only causing them stress, and that’s the opposite of what anyone wants.
And I know that from my own experience. As I was living with a hoarder and I was a type of a person who got rid of a bed frame because I didn’t find it necessary, so yes – two extremes living together. I was often saying to her: ”You don’t need a new bag, you don’t even use the last one you bought.” As I was being rational (from my own perspective), she was being emotional and confused in the realm of discounts and new bags and she would buy something she didn’t need one way or another.
After a few months, I realized that what I’m trying to explain doesn’t make any sense to her because she is a type of a person that DOES find happiness in things. So I stopped giving my opinion on her things and her way of life and focused on my own things. Just recently she told me: ”Thanks to you, I got rid of a bunch of stuff last week.” And she told me that that decision was influenced by the fact that my room is always clean and there is so much space even though my room is two times smaller than hers.
So to conclude, don’t force your views onto anyone. Accept other’s journey while focusing on your own.
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2. Take control over your own things and your own life.
I took me a while to understand this one. Here’s the thing: every time you clean after someone else, is the one less time for them to clean. Here’s an example from my own experience. I enjoy my night routine, and as a part of that, I always spend 15 – 20 minutes at the end of each day to clean, organize and de-clutter everything from the day. As I was living with a hoarder, she… had no such a routine. She would always leave her plates on the table, pots on the stove etc. And I would always clean her part.
But then I realized that if I’m always cleaning after her, she will in the same time get in the habit of having someone else cleaning after her. Even though it was painful to my inner Monica Geller to wake up each day seeing one side of the table cluttered with the stuff from the day before, I started to look at the bigger picture. I realized that she will also see that mess and start cleaning after herself when she realizes that no one else is going to do that for her. Now I can finally say that she also takes some time daily to just clean a bit.
If you live with someone who is messy, don’t take control over their stuff. That way you’re being stressed because you ”have” to clean someone else’s stuff (when the truth is, you CHOSE to do that). And the other person doesn’t even realize that there’s any mess (because you always clean it).
So even if you are living with a hoarder, focus on your own stuff instead of taking care of someone else’s things.
Of course, this goes for people who are perfectly capable of cleaning. Perhaps it’s too much to expect your 2-year olds to do the laundry. Although, with enough discipline… (just kidding)
3. The hoarder AND the person living with a hoarder share ONE same goal.
And at the end of the day, that goal is: to be happy. We shouldn’t judge others for their different ways of achieving happiness. If someone thinks buying a new bag is going to make them happier, don’t stand in their way. Ultimately, we’re just trying to live our lives the best we can. I am convinced that de-cluttering, cleaning daily for 10 minutes and having a tidy space will benefit your overall state of well-being. But even I would a few years ago make a big deal over something I would want to buy (but didn’t need). Or losing some cheap ring at the music festival. But I changed.
I got inspired by watching videos on YouTube about minimalism. Having less stuff in order to be happier started making sense to me. And I started my own minimalism journey. I’d like to inspire others to consider the same by sharing my message and my experience. I believe people that are now hoarders will get their wake up call. And it will happen when they are ready to receive it.
Don’t judge someone else’s journey if they’re not on the same path as you are. Accept them as they are.
You can only change yourself and your perspective. Be grateful for the amazing people you share your life with. Don’t let some small things get in the way of your happiness.
Check out my ”100 Steps Closer” eBook filled with motivational quotes, affirmations, journal prompts and action steps to get you 100 steps closer to the life you want.
Have an amazing day,