What to do about the partner that loves clutter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 12-28-2010, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a neat freak and a minimalist. On the complete other hand, dh loves his clutter and stuff.  It is everywhere!!!!!!  I try to get him to get rid of things and papers especially, and he says one of two things,

"we may need it some day" or

"Quit worrying about my stuff and deal with your own."

Errrg.  But he wants to hang on to everything.  How do you deal with clutter when it isn't your own? 

 

How to deal with - when I get rid of something, dh later says "where is that old kitchen beater (for example)?" but I  got rid of it cause it was mine and I would never need it, but a year later dh really needed it, and doesn't like me to get rid of anything.

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#2 of 13 Old 12-28-2010, 10:32 PM
 
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I totally understand. I can't stand massive amounts of stuff but DH is very sentimental and "we might need it oneday" "save the box" "that's really important"

 

I really don't understand it but I guess he just thinks differently than I do. I understand the sentimental stuff that was from his mom or belonged to his mom since she just passed away in April this year. I managed to get it all together in 1 box so at least it's not all over the house. I know he will eventually part with some of it but for now he is still grieving.

 

As for the boxes, I tend to "accidently" crush them and they get tossed out. I have managed to convince him to organize his stuff better so it's not just randomly all over the place. And every once in a while he will go thru stuff and toss things out.


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#3 of 13 Old 12-28-2010, 10:41 PM
 
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We live in an incredibly small space. Take all of this with a grain of salt as dh was gone for 7 months with the military and can be gone at a moments notice due to emergency deployment.

 

What i tell dh is that I spend the majority of a 24 hour period inside our home raising and caring for our children, therefor i need minimal clutter. I don't do well with clutter or hoarding. If he wants to save it or box it up and save it for later he is more than welcome to box it up and take it himself to storage (which is a monthly payment and means our disposable income is lower). If he cannot do so, within 48 hours (aside from his military issued items) i will toss it. If it is important (his military stuff) i will box it up for him and then he must either put it in his own vehicle or take it to storage.

 


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#4 of 13 Old 12-28-2010, 10:57 PM
 
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My husband is the same. We do not have much space, but I have `given` him a whole room to himself. This room is an absolute pigsty, but I am not allowed to touch it or throw anything away which is in it. It keeps the rest of the apartment from being taken over. We have two bedrooms, and two children. I sleep with the kids or in the living room. The biggest room is taken up by  him and his trash.

 Everything that belongs to him goes in there. I shut the door on it, and bite my tongue to try and not end up divorced from him. Apart from being messy and a horder he is not a  bad guy.

 

Every time I go in there I wonder how he can sleep or even be in that terrible room. It upsets me even thinking about it!

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#5 of 13 Old 12-29-2010, 12:00 AM
 
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Stuff gets thrown away.   


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#6 of 13 Old 12-30-2010, 08:48 AM
 
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I see this a lot. This sort of divide broke up my parents. I won't let stuff get between DH and I. 

 

What I want to know is why the way called a "freak" is somehow morally superior to other approaches to stuff. In the OP he was right, he did need it again.  

 

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#7 of 13 Old 12-30-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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That's my husband too! Ahh! Honeslty I just go through the stuff when he's gone and donate it if we aren't going to use it. And before someone jumps on me saying I'm disrespecting his stuff, we're talking about clothes that he has had (and hasn't fit into) since he was in middle school (he's 24 in May) and paperwork from a car that he hasn't owned since 2007 and that has since been stripped for parts.

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#8 of 13 Old 12-31-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masel View Post

I see this a lot. This sort of divide broke up my parents. I won't let stuff get between DH and I. 

 

What I want to know is why the way called a "freak" is somehow morally superior to other approaches to stuff. In the OP he was right, he did need it again.  

 

 

In what way is taking over the entire house with stuff, so that the rest of the family cannot be comfortable in their home, morally superior either? People who want space and room to do things are not morally inferior to people who want to devote their home to storage.

 

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#9 of 13 Old 12-31-2010, 12:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdmama1 View Post
 How do you deal with clutter when it isn't your own? 

 

How to deal with - when I get rid of something, dh later says "where is that old kitchen beater (for example)?" but I  got rid of it cause it was mine and I would never need it, but a year later dh really needed it, and doesn't like me to get rid of anything.


I would suggest territories. Your space, his space, and family space. You keep your space how you please, he keeps his space how he pleases, and family space is tended so that the family, _not_ just the hoarder, can use it. I realize that this is probably not how it is now, but I would suggest slowly making it that way, reclaiming one space at a time - one chair, one table, one drawer - from the hoard. Start with your spaces - your bedside table, your closet or your half of the closet, half of the couch, half of the coffee table, one of the bathrooms if there are two, and so on. If there's a desk that's all his and he makes it unusable, clear space so that you have a desk, too. And so on. Every time he puts junk in cleared spaces, move it to uncleared spaces, as close to instantly as you can - make it as if the cleared spaces repel junk automatically.

 

And then start de-hoarding the shared spaces, and do the same thing there, just a little more gently - he's entitled to use the shared spaces too, but junk sits on them while he's working with it, and perhaps for a few hours after, but every evening or every other evening, it gets moved too. If he claims that he can't use a space unless his stuff is allowed to litter it indefinitely and prevent everyone else from using it, I'd say that's just too bad. If he wants a workspace where stuff sits indefinitely, he does that in _his space_, not shared space.

 

You'll have to do this yourself. The hoarder will most likely _never_, under any circumstances whatsoever, actually help clear things. You'll have to do it whether they like it or not.

 

Re the kitchen beater, _if_ it was shared property, and if your DH wanted to keep it while you wanted to get rid of it, he should have kept it in his space - his den, his bureau, his part of the garage, whatever space was allocated to him as his space. But if it was yours, not shared property, then I'd say that it's absolutely none of your DH's business whether you keep it or get rid of it.

 

The hoarder does not get to take control of every object, and every space, in the house. The house is not solely the hoarder's home, a place where other people are allowed by sufferance as long as they don't mess with the stuff. It belongs to the whole family, and he's going to have to let the family live there and be productive there, whether he likes it or not.

 

Yeah, this is a little bit harsher than my usual posts on this subject. :) I'm feeling a distinct lack of patience for hoarders just now. But my advice would be precisely the same in any case, I'd just put it more gently.

 

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#10 of 13 Old 12-31-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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Thanks, Cray. This stuff is always helpful for me to hear. I told that if they 4.5 foot stack of white paper doesn't get given to the school (who will get some kind of money for it) by Tuesday then it's going out in the recycle bin. I've been asking for it to leave since last June! 


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#11 of 13 Old 12-31-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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My DH is a sentimental hoarder, and a "but we may use it someday", "lets keep the box" guy. He has completely cluttered up his office and the garage. The problem really is - he doesn't like being in the clutter, so he moved out and is working in the living room but he is too unmotivated/preoccupied with other things to organize. I negotiate, and eventually we will organize the office. But he really needs to get rid of about 1/3rd of his stuff to make it fit.

The worst part - DH doesn't like putting things away. The "I'll put it away when I'm done, I still need it" policy has kept a bunch of screwdrivers on his desk for about 5 months now. eyesroll.gif

I love him to pieces though, and he is a great partner and father.


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#12 of 13 Old 01-01-2011, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes thanks Cray!  I need that prespective. 

 

So happy to share, dh and I gathered together the loads of cardboard boxes he ws saving, "just in case", and we make a giant New Years Eve bonfire!  So glad to have those gone.

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#13 of 13 Old 01-02-2011, 05:11 PM
 
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We've been married for 3.5 years, and only just now has he started to agree to get rid of things without a fight. And I'm beginning to think that he only cooperated thus far to shut me up, because most of what he's agreed to get rid of has yet to actually leave the house. He did go through his books and got a big bag together to take to the library, though. He discharged from the army two years ago and still has all the gear. most of it is packed up in the attic and I'm playing the Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind game with that, but he's got five pairs of boots just sitting out and he NEVER wears them. The man has more shoes than I have. They're just taking up space on the shoe rack while the shoes he actually wears are all over the floor. I finally got him to agree to get rid of three pairs, but he hasn't done it yet. He also has five jackets of similar styles, all of them are black. He agreed to get rid of two and was going to take them to work and offer them to someone there, but then he put the in the back room and forgot about them. They're still there. If he doesn't take them to work tomorrow, I'm taking them to the thrift store. He has more toys than a kid. And I don't mean adult toys, electronics and stuff, I mean toys. Every cartoon he ever watched as a kid (and he was pretty much raised by the TV) he has action figures and t-shirts and anything else you can think of. They were all in a box from our move to this house, and the last time I said "Can we do something with all of this?" he said "Sure, honey," and put up a shelf and put them all on the shelf. Great, now our bedroom looks like a ten-year-old boy lives here. I mentioned a few months ago that things were getting cluttered again and he suggested getting another shelf. Um, no, not quite what I had in mind. The thing that irritates me the most, though, is his socks! He has enough socks to outfit an army. They don't fit in his dresser. I gave him a basket for them that's about the size of a small wastebasket and it's overflowing. He doesn't wear them all. When it's time to do laundry his sock basket is still at least half full. He insists it's because he has socks he wears in the winter and socks he wears in the summer, but they all look the same to me, and somehow the same socks are always on the bottom, no matter what season it is. I have a lot of other things to say about our differences of opinion regarding socks, but this is not the place for it. :) His reasons for hanging on to things: "I like it", "It's cute", "We'll need it", "It's still good". But he won't eat leftovers. Go figure.

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