Shhhh...decluttering - Page 2
That being said I donated this giant stuffed St. Bernard creature the other day. It's huge and we don't have space for it and I just didn't want to move it to the new place.
I have not thrown anything out without my partner's approval, but the temptation is always there, because I did not ask (and frequently was not consulted) for all these items to take up my living space. As I mentioned, it is an issue in our relationship and we are trying to work things out. Things have gotten better in the last little while after I put my foot down and said that there simply is no more room to store (other people's) stuff anymore. I am looking at this message board to come up with ideas to declutter...respectfully.
Unfortunately this isn't necessarily equitable, since the house belongs to the clutterer as well and they are just being confined to one room. My SIL is a low level (I believe) hoarder, and she has remarked that the "stuff" makes her feel comfortable and safe. So she would feel really stifled in the rest of her house if she was forced to keep her stuff in one place only.
But it's even more complicated than that, because true hoarding is not normal or desirable. I don't think people have an obligation to just live with drug abuse or whatever, and hoarding has clear and obvious detriments to the family in terms of monetary loss, safety issues and more.
But let's assume you're not with a hoarder but just someone who doesn't really care for "minimalism." Maybe you could start the opposite from what I described above - give YOURSELF just one clean, clear space. Your spouse agrees to not bring anything into it.
After you've had and maintained and enjoyed that space for a while - talk to your spouse. What does he think about it? You feel able to relax in there since it's clean and you know where everything is and you have space to do your activities. Does he see that? Or does he hate your spartan space? If he agrees that the room is nice, then I think you have wiggle room to maybe even convert him. Ask him if you guys can declutter another room. Ask him if you can put stuff in a storage box in the garage or basement or his closet or whatever, and if he doesn't need anything in it within a year, is he ok letting it go?
If he feels stifled by the space like my SIL probably would.. I just have no idea. Or the other possibility is that he will not care one whit about it - the space doesn't stifle him but he doesn't think it's worth any effort trying to attain. In that case he just doesn't "see" clutter at all, or care about it. In that case I would feel free to push for further clear space and package his stuff up in boxes. Having a basement full of boxed crap is not what you want (and I would NEVER pay for storage except in very specific circumstances, like you sold your home and are moving to a small apartment for a month or two while you buy a new one) but could it be a compromise?
I declutter mostly alone because the fact is, dh is at work all day and I've got things to do! I can't sit and wait to go through every.single.item with him asking permission to donate a hammer he hasn't used for 6 years. He's great about it and I do text/ask him if it's something I think he would want or miss (honey, can I donate your ____ or do you still want it?). Same with dd. I tried asking her about everything and everything would go into the 'keep' pile despite her not touching or looking at it or fitting into it for 3 years, so similar tactic with her too. I declutter on my own mostly, but ask if it's something I think she'll still wear/have interest in, etc. My husband is pretty relaxed about it and agreeable to my efforts to maintain a clutter-free home because his dad is a hoarder and he NEVER wants to get even *close* to that point. He does occasionally joke with me that if he sits still too long I'll donate him too :P
Also, the donation pile is always by the door area (it usually sits a day or two before I get it out) so DH can see what's there and veto a donation lol
It works for us
i have totally decluttered things of my husband's without asking. i don't think it is disrespectful at all. i mean, it could be, if you were just getting rid of things left, right and center without any thought to the nature of the item you're discarding, but i doubt anyone is doing that. the fact is, it's hard for some people to disengage from physical items, even when they KNOW they are useless pieces of junk. i have restrained myself from discarding dp's broken, unused TOYS (like seriously, toys from when he was a kid) that are using up my precious shelf space because they have sentimental value. i have not restrained myself from surreptitiously getting rid of old random stuff (shoes with holes, thrift store halloween costumes, gifts that have never been taken from their packages, old clothing, etc) because if i ask, he will hem and haw and in the end decide he's not quite sure he wants to get rid of it. it's not me deciding what is and isn't important, it's me realizing he isn't very good at prioritizing belongings, and we live in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment and really honestly don't have space. he already has two very space-consuming hobbies (photography and computer programming) so our second bedroom is already 3/4 filled with his equipment... i would never get rid of anything like that without asking, but when something moves from a dusty box in his mom's basement, to a box in our old apartment, to a rubbermaid bin in our new apartment until i finally unpack it and put it on a shelf where it never gets touched, looked at or thought about, it is seriously time to get rid of it.
it's not me deciding what is and isn't important, it's me realizing he isn't very good at prioritizing belongings, and we live in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment and really honestly don't have space <snip> when something moves from a dusty box in his mom's basement, to a box in our old apartment, to a rubbermaid bin in our new apartment until i finally unpack it and put it on a shelf where it never gets touched, looked at or thought about, it is seriously time to get rid of it.
This sounds like something that my BF's father describes as "playing to the strengths." He talks a lot about how it can be helpful to apportion tasks to the person in the relationship who is best at getting it done. It's more of a utilitarian and team-like, "we are one unit" approach that is rather old-fashioned (vs a strict everything is equal, you handle your stuff and I'll handle mine approach), but it does seem to work. "Make the 'executive decision'!" my boyfriend and I often say to each other about things. But we trust each other to really be trying to do stuff for the family's best interest, which is what it sounds like you are doing here.