Dear Minimalists, Some People Need the Stuff. There, I said it.

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When I first began my minimalist journey, I was hanging out in a lot of minimalism centered Facebook teams and one of many big conversations that would stir inside these teams were frustrations with household members who would purchase gifts for them or request gifts. Since we’re inching nearer to Christmas time as I write this article, I felt like I desired to place in my two cents on the matter — because that’s what the web needs, extra people loudly stating their opinions. (JK) My hope is that this will give you a barely shifted perspective on gift giving, stuff, and being affected person with how others select to live and give.

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We all make up our personal rules

First and foremost, I think it’s superior that you’ve determined to live extra minimalist (that is that if you are in fact a minimalist studying this and by no means somebody who hoped to learn an article and discover some good ‘ol fashioned minimalism bashing — that won’t be happening here. Sorry). My goal is to first and foremost use the web to share positivity and hopefully encourage us to see every different in a whole new light.

If you’re a practicing minimalist, I’m sure you have your causes for selecting to live with less, and no doubt a few of your causes align completely with mine. In fact, one factor I have come to discover is that lots of individuals start practicing minimalism after a main life occasion that causes them to shift away from stuff.

Read: Traumatic Events That Create Minimalists

That being said, nobody else resides your same life experience. No one is translating the world inside the identical way you are, so it’s actually foolish to think that anybody else goes to see issues 100% the identical way you do.

As a whole, our world has sufficient division happening currently and if you are one of these minimalists who aim to worth people over things, I think you might agree with me when I say we shouldn’t be utilizing our minimalist lifestyle as a way to create division amongst people we love. That defeats the purpose.

Some people like their stuff

Some of the people you love the most are strolling through this world loving their things. It’s true, some could also be struggling with hoarding tendencies — and if that’s the case, please consider that that is an indication of a hurt person. They believe they’re getting one factor from their stuff and their struggle to detach is very, very real.

Beyond the world of hoarding, however, there are a shit ton of causes why people might enjoy their stuff.

Stuff can be:

  • A type of self expression and creativity
  • Used to create consolation and stability
  • A love language

Read: How to Decorate Your House with Sentimental Stuff You’re Not Ready to Let Go Of

Love Language #3

Ok, I don’t know if it’s actually Love Language #3, however Gift Giving is a way that some people really feel love and connection from the people of their lives.

I have a girlfriend who has this Love Language and I simply ordered her a customized mug for no reason. Shh, don’t tell.

I didn’t realize this was her Love Language (or that that was even a thing), however when she first began dating her now husband she would get mad if he didn’t get her flowers or gifts for main days of the year, like her birthday and Valentine’s Day. I would sit there stupefied listening to her complain because I personally couldn’t care much less about getting flowers or chocolates on any main holiday.

At the time, all I could think was, I would rather exit to dinner at Red Lobster so I could stuff my face with biscuits and something however seafood.

Why? Because my Love Language is Quality Time and one of my favourite methods to spend high quality time is consuming amazingly scrumptious meals whereas talking and laughing over dinner with somebody I love.

My Quality Time Love Language is closely nuzzled with the Words of Affirmation Love Language. If you’re not telling me I am beautiful and amazing each time I have a dialog with you, I basically think you hate me. Talk about needy and yet, right here I was judging my girlfriend for wanting some overpriced roses on Valentine’s Day whereas casually side stepping the reality that I was anticipating somebody to drop $100 at a seafood restaurant whereas I chowed down on the free biscuits and cajun chicken pasta. Drool.

Knowing one another’s Love Language

We all really feel love differently, and knowing and accepting one another’s Love Languages is one of many best methods to create healthy, respectful relationships whether or not you are romantically concerned with somebody or not.

Learning this about my friend, (she’s the one who told me about the Love Language book BTW), helped me see her in a brand new perspective and now when her birthday rolls around, I know she will really feel loved if somebody plans a dinner and gives her a rattling present. PS I’m horrible at remembering to get her one. I’ll blame my undiagnosed ADHD for that.

While I don’t always remember a gift, I promise I try and when I do remember, I love knowing that I am making her really feel loved in a way that works for her.

Be straight forward

I simply compromised on shopping for Secret Santa gifts this year with my family, which is what prompted me to write this post.

My mom clearly stated that she would like everyone to get a present when my brothers and our households all join collectively for Thanksgiving / Christmas this year. She said this after I had suggested that we solely do Secret Santa with the kids. In no unsure phrases she made it clear she wanted the adults to have gifts too.

Instead of playing my worn out mantra of, Ugh, OMG how annoying. I can’t believe they’re making us purchase gifts. We are all adults. I don’t want something wah wah wah…. I thought to myself, Ok, this should be important to her. How can I make this occur in a way that works for everyone? …or at least fits higher with my very personal boundaries because, let’s face it, there’s no pleasing everyone. Sometimes we simply have to compromise.

Stating your boundaries

Because we’re a household engaged on a budget, I texted our group chat to request a $20 spending cap for every Secret Santa gift and I requested that we every make a list of what we want and STICK TO IT.

My texts almost stopped there, however I nudged myself a little additional (because I’m engaged on that whole talking my thoughts thing), and I felt it essential to share the explanations behind my requests.

I texted this: I appreciate people wanting to get me gifts however I hate getting one factor and having it go unused. It makes me really feel like terrible, like one other person threw their money away on me.

My mom agreed, we would stick to the list. (For anybody who thinks I was being kind of snotty — belief me, people don’t always stick to the list. Like hardly ever. And because I actually don’t want something new, most issues would go unused.)

Let the gifts come

As a lot as I’m sure my mom appreciates me throwing her and our household under the bus, the reality is, we have confronted gift giving issue with Tom’s household inside the previous as well.

His mom LOVES to purchase gifts. Every Christmas Eve we would attend the annual Christmas Eve party at his grandma’s home and on the finish of the night, his mom would load our car with three rubbish bags filled with toys. Our tree would actually be overflowing with gifts that poured into the center of our living room.

This is a hot button topic for lots of minimalist families…they don’t want all of the stuff. They attempt to inform their parents or in legal guidelines that they don’t want their kids to have toys. If that is you, I really feel the necessity to inform you, this most likely simply provides fuel to their “Oh my gosh, my poor disadvantaged grandchildren,” fire.

Now, I know it’s not conventional, or easy, however here’s what we did…

Read: What to Consider If Grandparents Are Buying Too Many Toys

We determined to be straight ahead and shared the subsequent with his family:

  • We (the adults) no longer wanted gifts, not even gift cards, because we couldn’t afford to reciporicate
  • Many of the toys the kids obtain go unplayed with, so they don’t want as many
  • The quantity of toys we get caused us a lot of overwhelm having to clear up after

We laid out our truth in black and white and determined to let the chips falls the place they may. The subsequent Christmas, most of his household members stopped shopping for us grownup gifts however continued to over-run the kids with presents.

State your case and keep calm

After this, Tom and I let go of any guilt round eliminating unused toys, sweeping all of the little items of scattered, un-cared for toys into one big pile and dumping them into the rubbish can. It’s true, I would have preferred this not happen, our landfills are overflowing because it is, however at least I had made it known.

We had stated our case and warned these household members that the toys were being unused and were difficult for us and the kids to manage. This was partially done inside the hope that they would decelerate their gift giving, however they didn’t. That’s fine, we could respect their desire to give so lengthy as they could respect that it was now as a lot as us how we would handle these unused toys.

Let me start by saying, we truly paused for a month or so to see what our kids were having fun with of their new slew of toys. (And we did a main declutter session in preparation for the brand new onslaught of gifts.) We didn’t Scrooge-up and take away something we, because the parents, felt was excessive.

I was a child who grew up with a lot of toys and I know they can add to a child’s creativity which is why I desired to permit my kids the chance to enjoy something that they were given.

Sometimes they catch on

Now, my mom and father in law go for money gifts rather than toys. Not because I bitched sufficient to make them change their ways. (Why does anybody think this will work?) Instead it was because I allowed them to present our kids love how they felt called to and some years later, they wound up having a grandchild live with them.

Their grandson, my nephew, was constantly gifted overwhelming quantities of toys from well-meaning household members and now their home was filling up with stuff they couldn’t handle anymore. Suddenly my big-hearted mom in law understood what I was talking about.

Why be mad about love?

At the finish of the day these are individuals who were showing as a lot as love the children of their lives the best methods they know how…so, why be mad about it?

We are so fortunate to have individuals who want to graciously gift our children in methods they believe will bring them joy.

True, when my in-laws were shopping for tons of gifts, their gift giving didn’t align with my lifestyle, however they aren’t living my lifestyle so I guess that’s the finish of that. While it’s true, I have to handle my home and the toys my children bring in, the bizarre factor is, I have actively labored to not force minimalism on my kids either.

Read: Why I Am Not Raising My Kids to Be Minimalist Even Though I Am

It’s by no means about the stuff

At the finish of the day, all you are able to do is handle what you can and cease attempting to management different people. Most of us minimalist began this lifestyle because we no longer desired to make our lives about STUFF and yet, with out realizing it we can simply break relationships, and destroy our personal inner peace over a battle about STUFF.

Kind of backwards, right?

At the finish of the day, we can secretly know that nothing is ever about the stuff. Not for the hoarder, not for the friend who loves gifts, and by no means for the grandparents who over-spend at Christmas.

What it boils down to is love, connection, and the longing all of us have for both.