We often encounter small setbacks, no matter what path we choose to follow. I had a couple of setbacks this month on my path towards minimalism, and I’m sharing them here. The first was the addition of a china cabinet, you can read about that in part 1.
The second setback was the addition of too many clothes for my daughter. We didn’t really do much back to school shopping, as my daughter already had enough clothes for the upcoming year. Earlier in the summer, I helped her declutter clothes from her closet and dresser. By the time we were done, we had a neatly organized dresser with room for all her clothes. We also replaced her child sized hangers with adult sized ones the better fit most of the hanging items in her closet. The hangers were nice felt covered ones that were a gift from my mother after some of her own decluttering, and they worked nicely in my daughter’s closet.
My wife and daughter went out and did a little bit of shopping last month. My wife loves to shop for little girl clothes, and gets caught up in the cuteness. She only brought home a few things, so all was good.
Fast forward to last week, and our niece was staying with us for a few days. Her parents picked her up one evening to do some school shopping, and they invited my daughter along. I thought she was just along for the ride but they ended up buying her several more outfits.
The next day, my mother came to visit for her yearly back to school shopping trip. When they returned they had three pairs of shoes, and that was it. Sounded good to me. It was much less than in the past, but I think that was due to my mother being recently retired rather than any embracing of minimalism.
My wife felt bad for my daughter that she got so little from her grandmother, so she took her out and bought some more clothes. This was an emotional response due to some bad history with my side of the family, and I can understand the reaction even if I don’t agree with the outcome. She does not like to see her little girl slighted, and seeing her return with just a few things made her feel that way.
At the end of the week I was so frustrated with the whole thing. It’s not even the money spent, it’s the excess of things that she didn’t need or want. Before any of the shopping started, my daughter told me she didn’t need or want anything else.
I counted the items in her drawers before any of the shopping, and she had 30 shirts. That’s enough to last a whole month, and even that is way more than she needs. We’re going to need to do another decluttering soon, just to get all the new stuff to fit in her dresser.
The best I can do is to maintain my own minimalism while encouraging others in my family to follow suit. That’s one of the hardest lessons to learn as a minimalist. You can set the example and offer encouragement, but you can’t force others into it. They have to discover it for themselves. It’s frustrating when it’s family members that are going against your life philosophy, but you can only control you, you can’t control everyone else.