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Decluttering: When Your Spouse Isn't (yet) Onboard

You are dying to clear your home of all the clutter, but your spouse is not on board. You are done, exhausted overwhelmed, ready to start simplifying yesterday. However, your spouse, well, not so much. Maybe he doesn’t exactly mind you trying to live with less, but he doesn’t exactly help either.

It is hard when your efforts are not supported. When your spouse is not on board, it is even harder because you expect them to be your biggest supporter. Thankfully, I have good news for you, hard does not mean impossible. If you have a genuine desire to simplify your life you can still do it, even though your spouse is not on board. No, it probably won’t look exactly as you would like it to, but you can still reap the benefits of a life of simplicity.

Here are five positive ways to pursue simplicity when your spouse is not (yet) on board.

1. Share your Priorities: Ensure your spouse knows your priorities and what you want to accomplish. If Decluttering, is one of these items ensure you talk about it. Heck, if your family and or spouse doesn’t even know you have a goal to declutter there is no way they could support you! My family creates vision board annually. This has been a fun tradition that allows us to see what each member of our family would like to accomplish in the coming year. We check in frequently on our goals and work to support each other. Check out this article about vision boards if you are interested in creating for your family.

2. Lead by Example: Let the focus remain on YOU and YOUR stuff. Make certain that you’re regularly decluttering your own personal possessions. Also, it’s vital to make sure that you are not out shopping and bring new stuff in that you don’t need. Genuinely be seeking to simplify your life and accumulate less stuff. You also need to be purposeful about filling your life with the things that truly matter, to you. As you do, trust me your family is watching. They will notice the change in you and this will naturally impact them!

Let your family watch the value you add to your life by seeking less. They will see first hand, the decrease in the stress you carry. When this happens, your family and your spouse will become much more open to living a simpler lifestyle.

3. Show Respect: Respect your loved ones. If the first thing you do is chastise or nag someone for not wanting to get rid of their holey shirts, their college engineering books from the 1990’s, it's a recipe for disaster. Don’t allow resentment to set in, after all you decided that you valued other things more than your possessions… like relationships with the people you love. If that is the case, it would be foolish to allow things (even if they are your partner’s) to again come between you and your most treasured relationship. Your loved ones are just way too important.

4. Find Common ground: I love what Sandy Kreps shared in her article From: Simplicity When Your Spouse Doesn’t Get It. It is rare that a spouse or family member is completely inflexible about simplifying. Often times, it is the fear of what they might say that hinders progress. This is why an honest, open discussion about your household’s possessions, needs, schedule, and goals is so important. Focusing on what you as a couple or as a family want out of life can take the stress off of the decision to get rid of that old VCR or stack of unread books.

5. Celebrate Progress: Each step in the right director is a reason to celebrate. Give your loved praise for releasing items. Positive encouragement goes a long ways. Your support and confidence in them will motivate and keep them on the deluttering path.


There are many wonderful people pursuing and promoting simplicity. Fortunately, some of them are gifted in communication and choose to encourage and inspire us with their words. I enjoy reading their perspective. I hope you will too.

If you want to own less, but need a little help getting there, Mindfully Minimized is available to help you with your organizational needs - contact us today!


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