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So, I spend hours and hours trying to

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
purge and tidy things up a bit. For about 1 day I feel my stress level go down and feel as if I can actually enjoy myself in a less cluttered environment. BUT, my DH's stress level probably goes up because he immediately starts "cleaning out the garage" and "cleaning out the basement" and guess where he likes to put things? On on those less stressful to me and more stressful to him cleared off spaces. Oh, yeah, "I could sell those on e-bay", "you can free-cycle that moldy old suitcase that I have stored in the garage for the past 30 years." "Can you call the thrift store and have them pick up this linoleum that I bought for the kitchen 20 years ago but never had time to install?" Oh, gee, sure -- glad to help... : What can I do about this? Don't suggest putting it all in the garbage. That used to work but now he is retired and therefore home on garbage day and yes, he does go through the garbage to make sure I haven't snuck anything out in it... And believe me, nobody else really wants this stuff.... At least he is happy now that there are no cleared off counters or furniture anymore...
post #2 of 12
He's only 42 and I live in TERROR of the day my dh retires home. So sorry!
post #3 of 12
How frustrating! Since he's retired, though, why isn't he in charge of disposing of his stuff? Why are YOU the one whom he expects to take care of it? Have you told him that you really like having empty spaces in your home, and asked him not to fill them without talking it over with you?
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Oh, he can't, he really and truly is incapable of it. I used to have a rule that if something was dropped and not touched for a year I would get rid of it. Then I needed to change that to 6 months or so. At this point we are down to a week. The house is getting smaller and smaller because we have two kids and a 4 room house. The garage and basement and one closet is completely filled with junk. He gets very upset and angry if I throw his old shoelaces and stuff away. He figures he will get to it eventually, someone might need it sometime, it is bad to fill up the landfills, there is an emotional attachment, etc. I try to be respectful, I really do! However, there just seems to be a limit and I am just sooooo done dealing with "things". I rarely buy anything anymore (except toys for the kids ). I just really want to play with my kids, go back to school, travel a bit, make music and have friends over. All of these things are limited because of the clutter. But the truth is, he does have time for the things that HE wants to do because none of the clutter bothers him. That is the real problem: he is not happy without it and I am not happy (and actually get quite depressed) WITH the clutter. I don't see any way out of this situation!
post #5 of 12
I happen to agree with him on the "don't fill the landfills up with this stuff" idea. Can you get a charity to pick it up, even if THEY end up throwing it out?

Are you sure your DH is truly "more comfortable in clutter"- maybe he's just inspired by your decluttering so he starts decluttering his stuff then gets sidetracked and doesn't finish?? Either way, it's disrespectful to you, and you need to talk to him about the way this makes you feel. If you can't get through to him just talking one-on-one, you might want to consider counseling.
post #6 of 12
So why is it better to have all this stuff in the house instead of the basement/garage/closets? Isn't that what those places are for, storage? Tell him that if he wants to keep that stuff, he has to keep it where you don't have to deal with it or look at it.

If he lives with a decluttered house for a month, maybe his comfort zone will be reset . . .
post #7 of 12
If he says get rid of it, I would get rid of it. Yes, he may find more things to get rid of and put them in your clear zones again, but eventually either he'll run out of more things to get rid of and your zones plus other zones will be clear or he'll just quit putting stuff there because he knows it will disappear.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ah, well. I did get rid of the linoleum. I tried freecycling (not a hot item!), then I tried the thrift store (they could not take it) and then I left it out with a "Free" sign. The first time we put it out for free it sat for a week. Then we tried again and someone took it! However, nobody wanted the somewhat moldy suitcases with the broken zippers. I wonder why? I do think that my dh is beginning to realize that it is better to give things away rather than let them moulder around in storage until they are so disgusting we have to pay someone to haul them away. Here's a question for you -- How many old cans of paint should one keep on hand? 30 or so (not including aerosol spray paint cans) seems a bit excessive. Especially for a man who never wants to paint his walls anything but white!
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom
Ah, well. I did get rid of the linoleum. I tried freecycling (not a hot item!), then I tried the thrift store (they could not take it) and then I left it out with a "Free" sign. The first time we put it out for free it sat for a week. Then we tried again and someone took it! However, nobody wanted the somewhat moldy suitcases with the broken zippers. I wonder why? I do think that my dh is beginning to realize that it is better to give things away rather than let them moulder around in storage until they are so disgusting we have to pay someone to haul them away. Here's a question for you -- How many old cans of paint should one keep on hand? 30 or so (not including aerosol spray paint cans) seems a bit excessive. Especially for a man who never wants to paint his walls anything but white!
There should be a place in your county that you can take the paint to--Hazardous waste recycling or something like that. Apparently it is toxic to put straight into the garbage.

I think it will just have to be a gradual mind shift for him.

I think there's a series of books written by a guy called Aslett (?) including titles like "Clutter's last stand" etc. Maybe he would see it better from a guy's perspective?
post #10 of 12
there is an actual mental discorder that can cause that kind of extreme packrat behavior. i forget which one, but i saw some special on it once. in other words, it might be more than just a habit, and maybe he needs to resolve the issue through therapy?
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greensleeves
There should be a place in your county that you can take the paint to--Hazardous waste recycling or something like that. Apparently it is toxic to put straight into the garbage.
We get a "how to put out the trash" instruction guide each year and it says for things like paint to open the can and let it dry out. They also recommend putting in clay cat litter. Of course, they're talking about mostly empty paint cans. If you have a full can useable paint a thrift store is probably the best bet.
post #12 of 12
If he's decluttering "his" space by re-cluttering your space, I'd put the stuff back in "his" space after an appropriate period of time (1 day or 2 at the most). If he is incapable of living without his clutter, that doesn't mean that the clutter must be your "roommate." Seriously. Put it back in the garage or wherever it came from until he can tolerate chucking it (or you call the charity to come haul it away). And if it's stuff that he doesn't want to eliminate, but that you don't want in your closets and living space anymore, box it up and put it in the garage or shed or his workshop or whatever. Tell him when "his" space is full of his stuff, he'll be responsible to make more room, or you'll help him declutter. I understand that emotionally it's hard for him to get rid of his things (I have a bit of that tendency, myself), but it is unfair of him to make you live with it in the family's living space. There has to be an alternative, and the garage or other storage areas seem like the solution. If necessary, you might even rent a small storage unit (5x5 is usually pretty affordable) and tell him that's his free space and anything more than will fit there has to go.

I guess I'm telling you to set limits, but also honor his need to keep what may seem like junk to the rest of the world.
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