What is a minimalist dick? Someone who has embraced minimalist living, but is super pushy, judgy and rude to people who are not minimalist or just starting their journey of minimalism.
I love minimalism. And would hate for someone to not embrace minimalism because of a few mean people saying “that’s not minimalist enough.” Simplifying your life is hard. You’re going to have to make hard choices about what you want in your life and what you don’t want in your life. But with practice, these choices get easier and easier. However, after a while, we can forget about the struggles we had in the beginning.
The purpose of this post isn’t meant to bash anyone. It’s meant to inspire people to be more compassionate to people who are just starting their minimalism journey. And it’s meant to give a minimalist living with a non-minimalist tools to be more understanding.
How not to be a minimalist dick
1. Share your experience, but don’t lecture.
No one wants to hear what you think they’re doing wrong in their lives. Go ahead and share your amazing journey with others. Share what minimalism means to you and how it has helped you. But stop there. No “you should’s” “you gotta try” “you need to’s.” Unless someone asked for help, don’t force your minimalist beliefs on others. If someone does ask for help, don’t launch into full minimalist mode. Suggest small things they can do to get started.
Minimalism is so much more than just decluttering. It takes someone to shift their mindset. You can’t do this for them. They need to see value in minimalism to even starting thinking about changing.
2. Accept gifts with grace
People will always want to give you stuff. It’s just what people do. Simply accept the gift and rehome it later. Don’t cringe or roll your eyes. You don’t want to risk looking unappreciative. Giving gifts are a way some people express love. Be mindful of this and accept gifts with grace. There is no need to tell someone you don’t want their shit. If someone asks you what you want, then express your wishes. Don’t be a dick, if the person chooses to still get you some unwanted niknak.
Now if someone is just trying to pawn off their crap to you. You’re going to have to put your foot down. That shit is not cool.
3. Be a minimalist with your criticism
Don’t judge others. You don’t know their experiences. Hoarding is a mental illness and rarely has to do with the stuff. You don’t have to be hurtful, even if their house gives you severe anxiety.
If someone asks you for help with getting rid of stuff, don’t get pissed off that they aren’t doing it right. Your idea of the right way and their idea of the right way might be completely different. Help them at their pace, not yours.
Don’t tell someone “that’s not minimalism”. It could be to them. Don’t judge. Support their progress. Celebrate their accomplishments.
This also goes for criticism you will receive. At some point in your minimalism journey, someone is going to criticize you. You will be tempted to get pissy at people who call your house empty, shocked you don’t have a car or whatever they want to nitpick about. Remember your minimalism goals. This is your life, not theirs.
4. Focus on what you can control
Stop trying to convert the people around you to minimalism. You can only control your own stuff. Your spouse, your kids, your parents or whoever that is close to you may never have an interest in simplifying their lives. It’s like trying to convince someone to adopt a healthier lifestyle. You know that eating better will serve them better, but they’re the only ones who can make that choice.
Instead, focus on leading by example. Let them see how peaceful your life is without excess stuff. How easy it is to clean your house.
What if you live with a non-minimalist person?
As humans, we are supposed to evolve and grow. Maybe you were always a minimalist or maybe you just embraced minimalism in the last few years. Whatever the situation is you and someone you live with are having different ideas about your shared living space.
You need to express your needs. What do you need to feel comfortable in your home? Spend some time thinking about this before chatting with anyone. Communication is critical in these types of situations. Don’t stew on things. Maybe the other person has no idea that their knitting hobby that has taken over the living room is giving you a panic attack.
Try to set boundaries. Agree to clutter-free zones. In college, I was super messy but as long as it didn’t spill out my bedroom door my roommates were happy.
Pick your battles. Not all battles are worth fighting. Make sure that the battles you pick are really worth it. What can you live with? Does your partner need 20 hammers? No, but they’re stored in the garage where you don’t see them on a daily basis. So ya, maybe you can live with that.
Remember to put on your patience panties or your understanding undies because you are going to need them with your spouse and kids. And especially with your aging parents.
5. Do be a mooch
One of the common tips for people embracing minimalism is to borrow an item instead of buying it. But if you constantly are borrowing something from a friend. It’s going to get old quick. Simply just go buy one.
Now if the friend truly doesn’t care, because they hardly ever use the item. Then you should offer to purchase it from them. Remember, some people are just too nice to say that it bothers them that you keep borrowing the item. And over time they might feel used.
How to borrow an item without being a mooch
- Return items in a timely manner
- Replace items if you break them.
- Return items in the same shape you got it.
- Offer something in return. Let them know that you’re willing to house sit, walk their dog or shovel their driveway in return.
- Show gratitude. Return the item with a handwritten note expressing your gratitude. Or bake them some cookies.
Finally, don’t compete with other minimalists. It’s not a pissing contest to see who can live with less stuff. If you are truly interested to see how little stuff you need, compete with yourself. Or better yet go on a backpacking trip through Europe. Living out of a bag for a month or so should satisfy your interest.
Minimalist Living Tips
Nice ways of saying NO to unwanted crap
Thanks, but I just don’t have room for it right now.
Thanks, but I’m really trying to minimize my belongings.
Wow, that’s so generous of you but I really don’t need another (Fill in the blank)
Maybe (Fill in a name) could use it. I already have one I love.
Oh, that’s just like the one I have. I really don’t need another, but thanks for offering.
Suggestions for small ways to embrace minimalism
- Wear clothes till they’re worn out.
- Find clothes that you absolutely love and wear them out or until you’re so bored with them.
- Use up products before you buy more.
- You know when you get down to the bottom of the shampoo bottle and you buy a new one so you don’t run out. But you’re so excited about the new product, that you try it before using up the old one. Then the old one gets put in the cabinet with all the other almost finished bottles of crap. However, if I had just waited until I had actually finished to bottle, I would have this issue.
- Start meal planning to prevent overbuying food.
- Get rid of a few things every week. Start small. Have a box in a closet and when you come across something you don’t need, pop it in the box. Every week drop off the box at a donation center.
- Make of bucket list of activities to do on weekends.
- Plan experiences that don’t include the mall. Learn to shop for purpose, not pleasure.
- Go to the library, instead of buying books.
Suggest to a newbie minimalist that they start by saying “no” to something small. Last time I was at the dentist, I said no to that little bag of free stuff they give you. I know what you are thinking, Who doesn’t need a new toothbrush? But a week before I had clean out my bathroom drawer and found three new toothbrushes. So ya I didn’t need a new toothbrush.