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Please help...I live in the belly of a beast!(rant)

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
So, I want to organize my home...little background...in my previous marrige (and pretty much my whole life prior to that) I have been pretty anti clutter...and though not always white glove worthy, everything was clean and had a home and it felt good. Fast forward to when I moved in w/ SO, about 4 years ago...he is a PACKRAT....he won't get rid of anything, he keeps boxes that things come in 'just in case it has to be returned'....since I have been with him I have never completely unpacked, and I am uncomfortable in my home.
He says, You look at our home like it's a monster that you can't get control of...I told him that when I want to start a project (cleaning/organizing/etc), I start to look around, my heart beats fast, I get a lump in my throat, and usually burst into tears. I am paralyzed by my home. I am so overwhelmed that I don't even know where to start.
So, today, again, I try to start, he has a break at work and calls me, I start asking him, do you need this box, do you need this jacket (that has had a broken zipper for 8 months)...he says the box is 'just in case' (even though there is no warrenty on the item) and he wants the patches from the jacket and the jacket has too many memories to get rid of it. I tried to take the patches off and they are ironed AND sewn on... (btw...I have tried to do this stuff with him here and have the same result, usually worse because if he is right there, he can SEE what I am throwing out).
I cannot just go through and get rid of HIS stuff because what if i throw out something that his grandpa gave him when he was little, he has so much stuff, I don't know what is legit crap and what SHOULD be saved.
I hate this, I am angry all the time, I can never find anything, I end up throwing away MY stuff even if it is sentimental because I just can't take it.
Nobody will lift a finger to help me, if I ask ds to clean up his room, or SO to take out the garbage they both act like I;ve just asked for a kidney.I feel like I have 4 kids, two that are legit children, one overgrown, and one furry...I am at my wits end...what do I do??? Please help before I run away from my own house.........I am miserable....
post #2 of 45
*smiles* I can smile only becuase after being my dh for 10 yrs, he has just recently seen the light. I took all of his needed stuff and put it smack dab in front of his computer so that he couldn't get to it and all of a sudden, he could care less for the stuff. *laughs*
O.k. that was a bit extreme and it took alot of my energy but guess what? It is now out of the house!

If he wants to keep it, he has to have a place to put it. Once that place is full he has to get rid of something to put something new in its place.

Now, the kids are another story...can't help you there, I am working on that. :
post #3 of 45
Can the boxes be folded flat so they take up less space?

Can the patches be cut out of the jacket?

Can you give him an ultimatum? ie "You have until April 15th to clean out your junk or I'll clean it out for you."
post #4 of 45
I absolutely *KNOW* that none of the previous suggestions would work with my DP (aka- the pack rat!). He loves his stuff. He has a storage unit (which is full of course). When I first moved in with him it was AWFUL. I couldn't throw anything out and he pretty much refused to see that it was driving me insane. His house was literally so full of stuff that you couldn't walk through the "spare room" (which was the larger room). In addition, it all was covered in dust!

My solution?

We moved. I was an absolute B*TCH about ensuring that everything that came into the house had a home and was clean. The result is that the garage is stuffed with crap, but my house is now liveable for me. We had many unhappy moments while moving, but it was SO worth it.

Any way that you could engineer a move? I really don't think it would have ever happened otherwise- it's a bummer too as our new place is $400/month more... We could have happily co-existed in the other place if he'd been willing to reduce his stuff.
post #5 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brendon View Post
*smiles* I can smile only becuase after being my dh for 10 yrs, he has just recently seen the light. I took all of his needed stuff and put it smack dab in front of his computer so that he couldn't get to it and all of a sudden, he could care less for the stuff. *laughs*
O.k. that was a bit extreme and it took alot of my energy but guess what? It is now out of the house!

If he wants to keep it, he has to have a place to put it. Once that place is full he has to get rid of something to put something new in its place.

Now, the kids are another story...can't help you there, I am working on that. :
I will not make it another 6 years...since he has so much crap on the desk (that in now in the great room since we had dd, and she needed a room)and he has the dining table covered, so we cannot eat there, and he has the entertainment center that I am selling covered, and our bedroom has an 8 ft. pile of stuff on his side as well as clothes everywhere, and you cannot walk in our 'walk in' closet', and our little storage room is filled floor to ceiling....where would I put the stuff so that it would be inconvienient?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
Can the boxes be folded flat so they take up less space?

Can the patches be cut out of the jacket?

Can you give him an ultimatum? ie "You have until April 15th to clean out your junk or I'll clean it out for you."
I could try to flatten some of the boxes but most of them are electronic stuff boxes that don't seem to have an easy way to flatten, not like a moving box, kwim?

I swear, one of these days, I am just gonna start throwing things out. I even tried having a garage sale...it was not so great...and I have some things (like the entertainment center) that I feel compelled to sell bcuz SO spends so much money on things (like the new tv, xbox 360, hd dvd player, etc) that I just want to recoop a portion of what we had previously spent...

Thanks, maybe I will cover the bed with stuff, I sleep on the couch anyhow....
post #6 of 45
I would suggest starting by throwing out the boxes from any electronic equipment that's more than 2 months old.

Could you convince him to get a storage unit away from the house, and get him to put all his junk in there, so it's out of the house? True, it's a waste of money but at least the house would be livable! Plus, you can then say "well, if it's important to you, it would be in the storage unit, so since it's in the house, I have free reign to throw it all out!
post #7 of 45
I am a reformed packrat. My life is so much better now.

My DH (back when he was BF, before we were living together) was the person who made me understand that my stuff was interfering with my relationships with people.

I think this is similar to an alcholic acknowledging that s/he has a disease.

You need to make it clear to your DH that you can accomidate (enable?) his problem no longer.
post #8 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I would suggest starting by throwing out the boxes from any electronic equipment that's more than 2 months old.

Could you convince him to get a storage unit away from the house, and get him to put all his junk in there, so it's out of the house? True, it's a waste of money but at least the house would be livable! Plus, you can then say "well, if it's important to you, it would be in the storage unit, so since it's in the house, I have free reign to throw it all out!
At one point we had a storage. He pretty much never paid his 'half' even though it was all his stuff. Now that I sahm we cannot afford a storage. btw...he is also using about as much space as he can take up at his grandma's house with his stuff (his brother lives there and is the same D@MN way).

The suggestion about moving, well, I wouldn't mind that BUT, the house is in my name only, his credit is shot, and he is the only one w/ an income. It would be pretty much impossible for us to move to anything but a rental...no thank you. It took me YEARS to own a home and I really would feel awful if I had to give that up, ykwim?

I think I am gonna find a friend with a truck and just take a load of whatever to the dump. Even if it costs me the relationship, I have been walking on eggshells for years, afraid to get rid of stuff....and I think my sanity is becoming number one on the list rather than last.

Sorry I keep b!tching, I am just really upset about it today.
post #9 of 45
Do you have homeowners/renters insurance? And a can of gasoline? And a box of matches?
post #10 of 45
have you suggested counseling? maybe that would help? it sounds like a very serious problem.

i wish i could find this link, it was of a ladies house that was just stacked w/@#$@ and seeing it REALLY was an eye opener, even tho most other people's houses arent THAT bad, maybe if he could SEE it kwim, then he would realize the extent of the problem, could you take pictures? and show him? i mean i know that sounds wierd, but whenver i think of taking a picture of my mess, i can always so clearly see how bad it is kwim, you get so used to seeing all your stuff for so long it almost becomes invisible, so to SEE it, is REALLY helpful, if he coudl REALLY SEE it he may be willing to get rid of most of it, just a thought hugs btw, that has got to be really hard, and you have obviously been VERY patient
post #11 of 45
I would suggest a no-throw-away policy for a weekend. It's pressuring to be asked to chuck stuff when you have an unhealthy attachment to it. If it were easy for him, he'd do it already, no?
Anyway, come to an agreement that nothing, absolutetly nothing goes away and with that agreement, sort the stuff into boxes. It will take up less space when all the alike things are together. Get some nice boxes that are all the same size (I like cardboard file boxes from Costco, $8 for 6). Take a marker and label each box. Getting those vacuum bags helps if you have lots of clothing - vacuum it flat and put it in boxes, too. If you put the bag in the box first, it assumes the dimentions of the box, that helps.
You can often get agreement from a saver by suggesting that his valuble things are being lost because they are not well cared for. Sorting and boxing will help out.
Restrict the saving to one room, like the dining room. It'd be better if it had a door and you didn't have to look at it...but you're already not using the dining room and you're short on space. Get the stuff out of your bedroom closet, the garage, all the other places in the house.
post #12 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Sweeties1Angel View Post
Do you have homeowners/renters insurance? And a can of gasoline? And a box of matches?
Yes, No, Yes
post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 
So here is what I did today, and what I will propose this evening....I decided to clean the entry way closet. I got two plastic bins (the med/large ones) and one has my (and kids) stuff to sell, or giveaway. The other has his stuff. I am going to tell him he has 48 hours to go through, and either find a place for (neatly) or get rid of the things in the bin. If he decides to ignore me, I will throw it away. I will continue to fill bins for him to go through until either I have a house I can live in w/o losing my mind or he starts helping me with it or he leaves (and takes all his crap with him).
I am also going to pick a date for a garage sale (I'll have it at his gma's home, she lives in a better neighborhood for it, mine seemed to bring out all sorts of scary people who had less than a dollar on them ). He can put things in a bin to go into the sale, and I will give him whatever he 'makes' from it. Same for ds.
Does that sound remotely reasonable to any of you?

ps...now I have two big bins of stuff in my kitchen...but my closet is clean :
post #14 of 45
I agree that counseling might be a good idea. Either he doesn't understand how important this is to you, or he doesn't care. I'm guessing it's the first one: he doesn't REALLY get it. Don't assume it's the second option. Do whatever it takes to help him understand how this is causing you so much grief that you are considering leaving the relationship. Find out why his stuff is so important to him (beyond just "it might come in handy someday"). Focus on finding a way that the two of you can compromise.
post #15 of 45
Apply to be on clean sweep.... Heck, I would give it a try if I were in that situation...

Perhaps you can sit down and reason through it with him. Does he like having the dining room covered in stuff? Is that what he envisions the space to look like ideally? If he agrees its not what you want, then you can say - look lets figure out how much space we can happily use for stuff (Sounds to me like the storage room is an ideal candidate) - and get him to agree that he can keep what fits in that space only, before making him decide on a single item.

Another thing I would do is maybe work in categories. Pull out every empty box you can find and count them - Ask him - is storing 100 boxes just in case worth it? Agree on a reasonable number to keep, and a reasonable amount of time to keep a box for a new purchase (maybe 3 months), etc. I think setting ground rules is much easier than going piece by piece, and he may not realize how much he's keeping 'just in case'.

Another thing to consider is that if you come gungho with all this 'throw it all away', he may be pushing back because he feels threatened. If you seem like you are willing to compromise. e.g. he can keep some boxes, just a reasonable number, he may be more willing to do it.

I liked Peter Walsh's book 'It's all too much' - you might consider getting that and asking him to read it. He even acknowledges in the book that the reader might have been asked to read it by someone else - its a lot more about convincing someone to let go of the stuff than it is about specific organizing systems.
post #16 of 45
Another thought - any time he says he needs to keep something just in case, write a note inside with the date 'Kept this just in case, if you used it, sign here and write the date'. When you drag it out two years later, you can say 'Hey, I wrote this note on this item 2 years ago, you haven't used it or looked at it in all that time, maybe its time to get rid of it?'
post #17 of 45
I wonder if he realizes that he's abusing you by holding on to the stuff? I wonder if he realizes he's abusing himself?
post #18 of 45
Can you get a storage unit, or shed? Somewhere not in your home to store the stuff he won't get rid of but has no use in your home?
post #19 of 45
It's not an immediate fix, but maybe pile everything on one side of a room and over a set amount of time, if it gets used it stays and goes on the other side to find a home. Take pictures of sentimental items, like the jacket...have him take a pic of him wearing it. Then he can have a pic, a smaller form of the memory than the actual item itself.
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma of monkeys View Post
So here is what I did today, and what I will propose this evening....I decided to clean the entry way closet. I got two plastic bins (the med/large ones) and one has my (and kids) stuff to sell, or giveaway. The other has his stuff. I am going to tell him he has 48 hours to go through, and either find a place for (neatly) or get rid of the things in the bin. If he decides to ignore me, I will throw it away. I will continue to fill bins for him to go through until either I have a house I can live in w/o losing my mind or he starts helping me with it or he leaves (and takes all his crap with him).
I am also going to pick a date for a garage sale (I'll have it at his gma's home, she lives in a better neighborhood for it, mine seemed to bring out all sorts of scary people who had less than a dollar on them ). He can put things in a bin to go into the sale, and I will give him whatever he 'makes' from it. Same for ds.
Does that sound remotely reasonable to any of you?

ps...now I have two big bins of stuff in my kitchen...but my closet is clean :
It sounds like a good system to me. He's only got 1 bin of stuff to deal with at a time, which should be more managable for him. It also gives him a chance to see/ you a chance to show him that you DO mean business by throwing away a portion of stuff, without him "losing" everything at once, or you being tempted to chuck everything at once!

One little suggestion: move the bins to the dining room insted of keeping them in the kitchen!
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