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Getting Rid of packrat's Stuff on the Sly - Page 2

post #21 of 51
I do this to my mom when I visit her. She goes out on an errand and I fill trash bags as fast as I can. I've been known to fill an entire polycart in two hours. There is so much junk left when I'm done that she doesn't notice, so maybe it isn't doing her any good, but it makes me feel better.

And yeah, I'm only throwing out expired food, old phone books, other stuff that is trash. I don't chuck anything valuable.
post #22 of 51
This thread is making me feel so much better about doing this!

We just moved into a house about half the size of what we have been in. DH had about 5 boxes of office "stuff" that had been previously living in an very disheveled office supply cabinet. No room for the cabinet, everything needs to fit on 2 book selves.

I volunteered to go through the boxes (he was avoiding them) and organize. I threw out old pens, pencil stubs, post-it pads with 3 dirty pages left, old Elmer's glue bottles, bent paper clips...you get the idea. In the end it all fit back into 1 box and I had 3 kitchen trash bags full.

DD took the trash out and evidently looked through to see what i had chucked out. He came back in so upset about the 3 old dried up Elmer's glue bottles. I had to remind him that he has not used the glue in more than a year (at least) and if we needed some we could go get it for $1.

It's probably good for me that I did not chuck out any of the 5 boxes of crayola colored pencils. I think he might have had heart failure. Looks like DD (about to turn 4) will be getting some new art supplies to burn through. Maybe the pencils will be a great thing for her to learn about the pencil sharpener with.
post #23 of 51
i think what u r doing is totally fine. you have been together long enough that u really know what is important to him what will u say if he notices?
post #24 of 51
There are some things that I force my husband to sort through (garage stuff, his personal papers, etc.), some things that I just store without a battle (boxes and boxes of poorly stored photographs, an entire collection of PC Gamers), and some things that I quietly, furtively make go away (two drawers full of socks in the basement became half a drawer of socks). I'm not proud of it, but he's never noticed it and we need the space more than we need 36 pair of socks.
post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Upside View Post
SO here's where it gets sticky, in the dozen years we've been together, he has stopped accumulating so much (thanks to my influence, I think) but every so often, I go through one of his boxes and get rid of 3/4 of what's in it. I don't randomly throw out a box, I'm sentimental too, and I keep what's worth keeping. I throw out billions of old receipts for gas or junk, computer parts for computers we don't have anymore, old rusty guitar strings, disgusting stiff old t-shirts and I keep his old letters, photos, boy scout uniform, stuff like that. But I don't tell him because he would not let me get rid of anything!
We are married to the same man-or at least they were separated at birth

I have to do the same thing.
post #26 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbieB View Post
l.

DD took the trash out and evidently looked through to see what i had chucked out. He came back in so upset about the 3 old dried up Elmer's glue bottles. I had to remind him that he has not used the glue in more than a year (at least) and if we needed some we could go get it for $1.
Please, my back is killing me-it hurts when I laugh

I can relate. My dh would do the same thing.
post #27 of 51
So glad there are others like my DH
Aug de-clutter challenge may help I will tell him about it and maybe he will play too for a few days...
post #28 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by sageysmom View Post
So glad there are others like my DH
Aug de-clutter challenge may help I will tell him about it and maybe he will play too for a few days...
Do not tell packrats about any decluttering challenge you're participating in!
It's best just to do it on the sly, otherwise, they'll be near a heart attack for most of the month just thinking of what you could be throwing away! That was my DH, and my mom (who lives in the same house).
post #29 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Upside View Post
Oh good, no one thinks I'm the devil. The best is when I find my husbands stashes in the kitchen. He knows I don't allow him to keep ketchup and soy sauce packets and other left over mini condiments, so he squirrels them away in a high cabinet behind everything. Forget that we have nice sized bottles in the fridge and he has never once complained that we ran out of ketchup. When I find these, I gleefully force him to watch me throw the packets in the trash one by one.
I make dh watch me throw out all the stupid stuff he brings home if we stay in a hotel... lotions (he hates lotion), shampoo and conditioner (he is completely bald), soap (he doesn't even use this all that often, ). I have no idea why he does this. He is not cheap and doesn't try to get deals and even often loses money. I think it is from when was a kid. They were always on a tight budget so I guess anything for free was a bonus.
post #30 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma earthical View Post
My dh is a packrat too. It drives me nuts. He has boxes of unopened mail from the 1980's!!!! When I challenged him about keeping it he said there might be addresses of importance in them - as if he would squirrel through 8 boxes of old mail to find an address and not do an internet search first! I haven't managed to throw any away yet, they are stored in the garage and I'm waiting for the mice to do their best first, then I can be righteous about getting rid of them!
OMG. You and I are married to the same man! My Dh refuses to get rid of letters and directories from high school and college because the addresses might be useful. Dude, you graduated from college in 1984, these were your friend's parent's addresses - and I'm sure most are invalid after 20+ years. Dh disagrees. :

He also still has all of the posters that graced his college dorm walls. Velvet blacklight and all...
post #31 of 51
I cannot live with junk. I was a packrat, and once you are clutter free, it is damn near impossible to go back. I would do whatever you need to do to maintain your home, frankly. If your DH has a fit, ask him what is more important : You, or that stuff you tossed? This is the question that reframed my behavior.
post #32 of 51
i'm peeing my pants over here!!! My husband is definately just like yours! I've stacked boxes of his random "junk drawer" crap against our bedroom wall (it used to be stacked in every room of the house) i slowly get him to go through a box or two at a time with me and i've noticed that he still keeps the most random things : all he does is throw away the old q-tips, kleenex, etc. he must have every receipt from the last decade- yes, he owns his own business, but if the IRS came - i honestly believe they'd laugh at him. i just decided that tomorrow, i'm going to do him a favor and go through those last few boxes and TOSS IT ALL!!! after that, i'm making my way to the attic to get rid of more of the junk - it drives me crazy. his mother is a hoarder and he has a difficult time letting go himself!
post #33 of 51
The only place I have a hard time doing this is the garage........I truly don't know what he needs and doesn't need out there.
post #34 of 51
I want to speak up here. I'm not married to a hoarder, I am the hoarder. If you were my spouse and presented me with a box of trash to go through, I would agree to let you throw it out--which would be the first thing I'd suggest. If he has an issue with that he's got even more of a problem than I have, but I can still have empathy for why he'd want to keep it.

This is a psychological problem that needs psychological help before it will change. Some of my issues with it include: having lived in poverty, I fear if I throw something out, even $1 glue, I won't be able to afford it later; all of my close extended family is dead or in nursing homes, their belongings, even grocery lists in my grandmother's handwriting, or my grandfather's coffee cup, now broken, are links to those people; with no one left to come to family gatherings, I can use my house as a reason to avoid thinking about how everyone in my family is dead or dying; I was raised by people who grew up in the great depression, I'm failing their expectations if I waste anything; my mother was bi-polar and I totally took care of myself growing up, not cleaning was my one rebellion that I wouldn't totally take on her role.

Shaming them by making them pay for storage, or throwing out their ketchup packets while they watch is cruel. (No one would joke about their partner's irrational fear of heights and how they took them to the top of the Space Needle just to prove there was no reason to be afraid.) I'm already ashamed of my habits, having a spouse who mocked me would only make me feel worse. Would I divorce him for it? No, because it would also shame me into thinking 'who else would want someone like me'.

I've had one session of hypnotherapy and it's helped a lot. Now I'm doing better, but I'll probably see her a couple more times before I get my house to where I would like it to be. I just finished my own training in hypnotherapy, and really would like to help people with this issue. It's not recognized as a psychological problem like a phobia is, so we're shamed into not speaking up--and I think it's a lot more common than people realize.
post #35 of 51
Thanks for giving the hoarder's perspective. My dh definitely has a stronger case than you do -- he would never throw out things. I found that the easiest and most effective way to handle it is to simply go through his stuff and throw things out. I can't let my children live in a home where there are so many boxes of stuff that a room is not accessible or where there is a fire hazard. So even if it seems heartless, his stuff has gotta go.
post #36 of 51
I've had to do this too. When my DH and I first started living together, he had something like a dozen pairs of jeans. See, his mother sends him underwear, socks, and jeans for his birthdays and Christmas; cheap ones that fall apart quickly (Wal-mart). They were all nasty: holes in the knees, faded, frayed cuffs. And he'd wear one pair, throw them on the floor, then wear another (Hey, it's how we do laundry around here!)

So I started quietly hiding his jeans from him. After each trip to the laundromat I'd have 6-7 pairs of nasty jeans. I'd take the two or three worst and tuck them away, until all he had left were the 3 best pairs of the lot. Then I bought him one pair of nice (dark, well-fitting) jeans, and got rid of the others.

As far as I can tell, he never noticed!
post #37 of 51
This is great! I feel so not alone! My DH has a night stand and I can't even get the drawer open. I did pry it open once and I could not believe my eyes. Old receipts, gum wrappers, brochures for places that don't even exist anymore... if he emptied out all that crap he would have room for all the new crap on TOP of his night stand!

Honestly... (grumble grumble)
post #38 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treasuremapper View Post
Thanks for giving the hoarder's perspective. My dh definitely has a stronger case than you do -- he would never throw out things. I found that the easiest and most effective way to handle it is to simply go through his stuff and throw things out. I can't let my children live in a home where there are so many boxes of stuff that a room is not accessible or where there is a fire hazard. So even if it seems heartless, his stuff has gotta go.
I'm torn between wishing my dh was like you, and feeling sorry for your dh. I still would suggest professional help if he's open to it and it's in your financial capabilities.
post #39 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gendenwitha View Post
I want to speak up here. I'm not married to a hoarder, I am the hoarder. If you were my spouse and presented me with a box of trash to go through, I would agree to let you throw it out--which would be the first thing I'd suggest. If he has an issue with that he's got even more of a problem than I have, but I can still have empathy for why he'd want to keep it.

This is a psychological problem that needs psychological help before it will change. Some of my issues with it include: having lived in poverty, I fear if I throw something out, even $1 glue, I won't be able to afford it later; all of my close extended family is dead or in nursing homes, their belongings, even grocery lists in my grandmother's handwriting, or my grandfather's coffee cup, now broken, are links to those people; with no one left to come to family gatherings, I can use my house as a reason to avoid thinking about how everyone in my family is dead or dying; I was raised by people who grew up in the great depression, I'm failing their expectations if I waste anything; my mother was bi-polar and I totally took care of myself growing up, not cleaning was my one rebellion that I wouldn't totally take on her role.

Shaming them by making them pay for storage, or throwing out their ketchup packets while they watch is cruel. (No one would joke about their partner's irrational fear of heights and how they took them to the top of the Space Needle just to prove there was no reason to be afraid.) I'm already ashamed of my habits, having a spouse who mocked me would only make me feel worse. Would I divorce him for it? No, because it would also shame me into thinking 'who else would want someone like me'.

I've had one session of hypnotherapy and it's helped a lot. Now I'm doing better, but I'll probably see her a couple more times before I get my house to where I would like it to be. I just finished my own training in hypnotherapy, and really would like to help people with this issue. It's not recognized as a psychological problem like a phobia is, so we're shamed into not speaking up--and I think it's a lot more common than people realize.
I just checked on this thread again and didn't realize there had been more responses. What you said above has made me think and actually do some reading about hoarding and I don't think my husband has an actual hoarding condition. It's more of a clutter condition and a feeling of never having "time." In my defense, he does laugh when I find his condiment packets and it's now sort of a game for us. I would never intentionally shame DH, I love the guy, but making jokes about it here seems like a safe place to let off some steam. I do wish you success in overcoming your hoarding.

On another note, a serious reason I try to declutter is I don't want my children to learn packratting from us. I want them to be able to remember enjoying a movie without having to have a 20 year old ticket stub to prove it. A few boxes of momentos, photo albums, journals are great. Those are the things their children will be interested in, not instruction manuals and gas receipts, you know?
post #40 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gendenwitha View Post
I want to speak up here. I'm not married to a hoarder, I am the hoarder. If you were my spouse and presented me with a box of trash to go through, I would agree to let you throw it out--which would be the first thing I'd suggest.
Honestly the fact that you say that makes me think you're not very much like my spouse or some of the other DH's being discussed here. NO WAY would my DH say, "Okay, just toss it," if I presented him with a box of clutter/trash to go through. Sheesh, if it were that easy we wouldn't have a problem.
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