Living With Someone Who Isn’t A Minimalist

Sharing your space with anyone has its challenges, habits can be bothersome and living with a minimalist can quickly become a huge irrita...

Living With Someone Who Isn’t A Minimalist


Sharing your space with anyone has its challenges, habits can be bothersome and living with a minimalist can quickly become a huge irritation if not handled carefully.

I’m very fortunate the person I live with is very accommodating to my minimalist ways, he doesn’t get irritated with my constant downsizing and decluttering of our apartment despite not exactly being a “neat and tidy” person by nature. I leave his half of the wardrobe, bedside table, and drawers well alone; I purge, declutter, and overhaul our shared spaces with abandon and it’s largely welcomed. It works because we respect each other’s tendencies: his habit of flinging things onto countertops is complemented by my habit of filing everything away out of sight. Both can result in frustrated searching for things we would have known where to look if the other one hadn’t moved it.

My relentless attempts at streamlining and downsizing the amount of stuff a couple collects over a lifetime together in a small apartment has slowly infiltrated the way we live our lives. His carefree attitude has rubbed off on me and I no longer mind a bit of mess (occasionally) while he now tries harder to keep things a little more organised. Ultimately, we’re on the same page: we both agree everything looks nicer when it has a neat but lived in look.

Making a home can be a lot tougher if you’re living with friends or housemates, people you might not necessarily have an intimate enough relationship with to call them out on their hoarded mess. If you live with a partner who is sceptical of a minimal lifestyle or outright messy by nature, there are a few ways to deal with the situation to make life more comfortable for the both of you.



Show, Don’t Tell

Start small, declutter communal spaces: kitchen cupboards, bathroom shelves, coat hooks and window sills. Show how your living space can be improved by a little streamlining here and there. Telling someone how good a space will look is never as good as showing them, it’s a persuasive tactic that is subtle yet effective.



Respect Each Other’s Space

In every home there are communal areas and private spaces, these private spaces may be whole rooms or lone drawers but they very definitively belong to someone in particular. Don’t go decluttering someone else’s personal belongings, steer well clear and focus on your own space and shared spaces. Respecting the way someone else wants to deal with their stuff will prevent unnecessary conflict and strife.



Find A Balance

How you want your space to look may not be the same as how the other person wants their space to look, it might not even be possible to live as minimally as you would like to in the place you currently live. Compromises will have to be made and your life will be richer because of them. Work on what you can and let go of the rest.

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