Coping with maximalism as a minimalist

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

If you read some of my articles, you already now that I have integrated minimalism in my life. Though I am far from being a minimalist, I make efforts every day in terms of frugality, sustainable lifestyle, reducing objects and, most importantly, in terms of paying attention when buying something new. If you read my articles, you know that I also used to be a maximalist, mostly because I thought I needed a lot of stuff to operate properly my everyday chores and routines. Today, the same person talks about how to cope with maximalism as a minimalist.

I will give you a perfect example for this opposition: my family and I. My father is in love with shopping since forever and he is a fan of buying in bulk. That’s not always a bad thing, especially in times like these, however my father loves to buy things, often saying that: ”We might need it some day.” My mother, she is not a fan of shopping so you might think she a frugal person. Not exactly. She also likes to buy things like dishes, bed sheets, pillowcases… you got the idea.

When I moved in another city to continue my studies, I was somehow forced by the circumstances to learn how to pack less and how to live with less. But even if I left home with almost nothing, until the end of the year I would double my possessions and it would be always difficult to move back home with all the luggage and then repeat the process the next year. Every year I would promise to myself that I won’t repeat the same mistake, but guess what? I’ve repeated the process for about 5 years. It was difficult to understand how exactly to keep this promise, I thought it was because I didn’t own my house, but now I know it was only an excuse.

When I decided to move back with my parents, I had already adopted minimalism and I decided to make more efforts to achieve an easier and simpler lifestyle. But I had forgotten that my parents had another lifestyle and it was me the one who changed. At the beginning I was constantly frustrated and I still am sometimes even these days. But then I remember that I have my lifestyle and my parents have theirs. I made my choice for mine and they made their choice for their own lifestyle. Since moving back with my parents I have learnt a lot of tricks that helped me cope with their maximalist lifestyle and I hope it can help you too.

So here you have it:

  1. Expect things to be difficult and take a deep breath.
  2. Don’t try to empty their things without asking if they still need them.
  3. Understand their perception on order and cleaning.
  4. Try to accept their lifestyle as it is.
  5. Make small changes gradually.
  6. Make suggestions and don’t try to force them to reduce their things. Make their brain become accustomed to the idea of reducing possessions.
  7. Make compromises.

I learnt from my own experience that you can’t impose your lifestyle to other people, even if they are your family. Maybe I tried to do it at first, because the pile of things was just too much for the new me to handle, but step by step I learnt to look the other way. There are still days when my brain says ”Look at that pile of things” and I actually see it. But then I start laughing, thinking that I’ve been trough that a thousand times before. While our lives and lifestyles can’t be perfect, transitioning to a new lifestyle or coping with different lifestyles can’t be perfect too. It is only a matter of patience, understanding and acceptance. And time is important too. Give time to them and to yourself as well.

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