Would You Dispose of DP's Stuff If.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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...you knew for a FACT that they wouldn't notice?


We have made four out-of-state moves, and DH has boxes that have made the move every time that are never opened again at our new destination.  For example, he has a whole box of hiking boots.  He has "replaced" these boots many times over.


Other things too.  Like, he buys a raincoat to replace a raincoat with a hole in it, and never disposes of the old raincoat.  Fast forward a month or two, and he sees the raincoat with a hole in it again and replaces is again.  See, he has a really bad memory.  Really bad.  So now we have two new-ish raincoats and a raincoat with a hole in it.  Then a couple months later, he forgets that one of the raincoats he just bought is lined, sees the same old unlined raincoat with a hole in it, and buys yet another raincoat with lining because, you see, he needs a lined one because it's colder now.  Seriously.  Now we are overrun with raincoats.  Now imagine this happening with nearly everything he owns (fountain pens, shoes of all kinds, tshirts, sweatshirts, socks, underwear, movies, books) and you can imagine how this stuff adds up.


We also have a problem with journals and pads of paper.  He buys them in massive quantities and never uses them.  Ever.  We have about 20 large pads of art paper that I would like to donate to the art teacher at DD's school.  Same with watercolor paper.  Same with unlined journals.  Just tons and tons.  He doesn't know how many we have, and I'm positive he wouldn't miss them if I donated half of them.


I also feel that once the excessive clutter is gone, he will be able to SEE what he has already, and make use of what he has.


BUT, I can't help but feel that it would be a HUGE violation of him to dispose of his stuff without express permission.  However, if I ask him, he'll make an excuse to hang onto this stuff and again, never ever actually use it (we've been married 10 years, so I know how this goes LOL)


Would you make this stuff "disappear"?  Or should I try, yet again, to convince DH to do it himself?  Is there some other way to deal with it? (like, if you don't wear this coat this winter, it goes to Goodwill?  Or, if you don't actually start doing art within the next 3 months, we donate the supplies?)  I don't think I have the right to make ultimatums, but seriously, I'm buried here!


ETA: DH's constant re-buying if things he doesn't need and doesn't use also ties up most of our budget.  I have been unable to buy DDs raincoats for 2 years.  I don't have snow boots or rain boots of my own.  I have one light-weight coat because we never have the money to buy a "real" winter coat for me (we live in New England!).  I have no winter gloves or mittens.  So, I guess this is a compulsive shopping thing too.  It sucks.

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#2 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 09:04 AM
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I'd open the boxes up, arrange them next to his side of the bed, tell him to put away any of it he wants to keep and that I'll be going to the thrift store/arranging for a thrift store pick up on X date.


Oh, wait, he replaces things multiple times cause he can't even remember he already replaced them? Then I'd do it item by item. "Here are your raincoats, which one do you want?" "Here are 500 empty art books, we need to donate a 100 or so to dd's school, which would be best for kids?"

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#3 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 09:08 AM
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Why don't you get out all the art supplies and stack them up so he can see what he has.  Then  offer to take whatever he doesn't need to the school. thats an easy place to start.  After that go onto the clothes.  As in "I'm getting to where I have no more for things in the dressers, closet.  I heard X place is low on warm clothes.  What can we donate?" and drag stuff out to go through.  Don't push it all at once or he'll be overwhelmed.  maybe once a week pick a certain type of thing to go though.  if it goes ok bring up one of the boxes that keep moving lol, and see if you guys can go through it.  whatever he alsolutely must keep put in on box and mark keep.  whatever he isnt sure about, tape the box closed and mark on it "if unopened by X date pitch box".  if its not opened and something used out of it pitch it.

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#4 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 10:42 AM
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In addition to the above, I'd give him a set amount of money for replacing items. In cash, if necessary, on a monthly or weekly basis. I'd make it clear that going over that set amount of money would take away from his wife and children, and that he NEEDS to make it work.


Don't think of it as an ultimatum. Think of it as setting realistic boundaries in terms of what your family/home can use and store.

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#5 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 10:44 AM
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i would experiment. i would start small. and get rid of stuff like the torn up raincoat which he is constantly replacing. 


i know how it feels about the violation. 


but come on you live in a COLD area and dont have the right winter gear. <<shudder>>


i am one of those people who REALLY struggle to throw things away. sometimes it helps to have another person help me with the decision. and pointing out hey you got another raincoat. but you already have this identical one. can you return that one so i could get a winter coat. i am sure dh would be horrified to know he has 3 types of raincoats and you have no proper winter coat. 

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#6 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 12:20 PM
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I feel you pain!  Here is how I handle it (kind of a combination).


If DH buys a new thing because the old one has a hole, then obviously me throwing the old one away is helping, right?  Of course it is! 

(It can be all in how you say it IF he notices in the first place.)  I didn't just throw this stuff away randomly to be mean, I did the logical thing that I am sure he would have done had he been thinking about it and had the time.  99% of the time DH doesn't notice a bit.


And really, the stuff you are talking about, it's not old notes from his favorite grandma or something.... it's an old whatever that is used up.  So I think it's fine.


The other thing I do, is make a date on the calendar.  I bring it up slowly, like "The house really needs to be decluttered.  I can't believe how many kid's clothes we have that we don't need!"  Then work into a week that would work, and ask if he wants me to do his things, or if he wants to go thru them together.


Thankfully, DH is so much better than he used to be!  He hauled around these boxes of used cheap-plastic car models in various stages of completion (from when he was a kid) and some were just trashed.  For years, to different states, etc.  (Just one example!)  Even the boxes were dusty and old.  So finally, he built a shop/garage, and I was like, "Great!  Now you have a place to store these where they won't be in the way!"  and suddenly they were not worth keeping to him, if they were going to be taking up room in his nice new shop.  =)  So if you have a garage or something, it's also worth boxing up his clutter and moving it out there for him to go through sometimes, and after it sits there for a while, he might be much more willing to part with it... if you don't get it pruned down in the meantime.


I love to delcutter.  It makes me happy to see things simplified and basic.  We have a constant GoodWill bin going, and I toss things in it.  It only takes us a few minutes to clean out a closet, because we do it on a regular basis.  It is a process, but I am glad we got to this point.  Does your DH like to read?  "Your Money or Your Life" might help.  I also like Don Aslett's (the cleaning guy) book on clutter, and if you are a Christian, the book "Through the Eye of a Needle" by Roger Hertzler.  They have all helped us.

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#7 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 04:19 PM
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Personally if its holey it goes.. I don't see it as a violation just getting rid of something that is no longer serviceable. Unless of course theres a reason hes keeping it? Show him how many he has and see if he even realizes he is doing that. DH has a TON of clothing and it took me laying it all out on the bed for him to realize how much he actually had.

As for the other stuff, casually mention it and see if it has even dawned on him how much of whatever it is that he has. He might not even realize it, especially if hes the easily distracted type. Im bad with pens, Ill get a box and put it in the desk. A week later Ill try to find it, not be able to and go get another box. I ended up with like 60 pens in the desk because I forgot I put them there. DH started putting them in the kitchen drawer (strange I know but I always seem to do my list making in my kitchen) and I finally stopped buying pens because I realized how many I actually had.

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#8 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 09:24 PM
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If it's something he's replaced, I'd throw it away.  That's the meaning of replaced, right?  That means that the thing he replaced is trash/extraneous.


But to me it kind of sounds like your DH has some kind of problem beyond a bad memory.  Does he ever consult you before he makes some of these purchases?  My DP and I don't run every little thing by each other, but we both check in with eachother before larger purchases (over $50 I think we consider to be a "larger" purchase) to make sure it is an okay time to do so, and there aren't other more pressing needs.  


And if his memory really is that bad - perhaps he should be running things by you...?  It seems unhealthy to me that one family member's non-necessary shopping habits are interfering with other family member's abilities to get basic needed things.  Is he aware of what he is doing?

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#9 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 09:33 PM
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I wouldn't do it behind his back. I would do it with him. That way he can see "yes this raincoat has a hole in it. These two don't, we can get rid of the one with the hole."

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#10 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 09:57 PM
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Ok...so he is not only piling your home up with clutter he is wasting the family money to the extent that he's replacing his things multiple times and buying things he doesn't use while his wife and children go without the things they need?  That is a bigger issue than just clutter.  I would gather the things he doesn't use and the things he doesn't need and try to sell them to get some of the money to buy you and your children the necessary items you're missing.  Have you ever pointed out to him that he has multiple raincoats of different sorts while his children have none?  Considering his behavior I wouldn't feel the least guilty about taking control of the situation.  

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#11 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 10:38 PM
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I do this all the time, honestly.  DH is a hoarder, he simply can't get rid of stuff but if it's gone, he never notices.


Don't tell him to do it or you'll do it.  You're not his babysitter.  If he's replaced it or there are multiples of things, just get rid of them.



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#12 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 10:46 PM
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I would drag him into the declutting process. 


This rain coat is damage it goes in trash, this one goes to good will.  We keep the good new one.  


Art supplies in a box get forgotten, ruined, dried et.  He needs a new storage system.  Again keep one set pitch the rest with him.  

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#13 of 20 Old 01-20-2011, 11:01 PM
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honestly, if it were MY husband I would just make things disappear.  However I know he wouldn't care.  If he's replaced it and continues to replace it he'd be more than happy for me to step in and just start getting rid of things for him so he stops wasting money.  He trusts that I wouldn't get rid of anything he might actually want/need.


so.. it really depends on your husband.  A lot of people would have issues (I would for instance) but not all people would assuming they trust that their spouse really is getting rid of holey coats and a great deal extra paper they'll never use.

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#14 of 20 Old 01-21-2011, 08:47 AM
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If it is something my dh never wears and is holey or worn then I get rid of it. If it something that he's had for years but just never wears, then I may ask him about it......although I've tossed a selection of various ties and he's never noticed. I wouldn't get rid of books, letters, pictures, or pretty much anything that wasn't clothes. Because there have been things I've asked him about that he never used/read and it turned out they were given by "so and so" or had some emotional attachment.

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#15 of 20 Old 01-21-2011, 09:22 AM
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I've advised people against unilaterally dumping their husband's things before - yet in this case, I would just go ahead and do it.


They won't be missed. They've been replaced. You're in the clear - completely in the clear. I mean, if you found an empty soda can in the living room, you'd chuck it, right? (Well, hopefully in the recycling bin). Well, a raincoat with a hole in it that is useless is trash - no different.


I agree with the PP that there seems to be a bigger issue, though. The way I see it, you have the green light to declutter - no problem. But the multiple replacement thing, and going without while he has 3 of everything, that's a problem and I don't know what I'd do about that.

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#16 of 20 Old 01-21-2011, 08:22 PM
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Yes, I would throw/ give away/ sell some stuff if you know he won't notice it's gone.  I know I have at my house.  If he doesn't know he ever had it, how could he possibly miss it?


After much frustration in my relationship (DH is the hoarder, I am the throw-er-away-er) I have taken this approach- "Here is your space (part of the basement, 1/2 closet, etc.) and you may fill it with whatever you like, but anything else that does not fit in this space must go."  For years I tried different appeals- pointing out useless objects, pleading with him to get rid of specific things, even helping him go through items one by one- and the "your space" agreement seems to be the only one that works for us.  It's actually pretty nice and doesn't involve any nit-picking or discussion on my part.  He has extra stuff sitting around or put in places where it shouldn't be, and I just ask him to please put it away.  If he can make it fit, I don't care if his entire closet is full of crap, it's his crap and he chose to keep it over other items.  If he can't make it fit (or doesn't try), it's gone, end of story.  For fairness' sake, I also apply this rule to myself as well.  I would love that big stock pot I saw on super sale today, but it literally will not fit in our kitchen!  The house is still filled with stuff, but it's slowly improving.


As far as him buying things while your family goes without, that's really tough.  I kind of feel for you in that situation, my husband can sometimes be a borderline compulsive shopper.  Luckily, we are not in debt, but some of the stuff he buys... eeesh.  I just have to keep faith that I (and OP, too) will someday have peace in this matter :)


OP, as other posters have mentioned, for the things that you need replaced have you tried going directly to your husband with the evidence- i.e. his 3 rain jackets and your and your children's lack of coats?  Maybe that is too confrontational?  What about a tally of the money he has spent in the last month on things he did not *need*, and then a list of the items your family really is in need of?  Best of luck, OP.

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#17 of 20 Old 01-22-2011, 12:44 AM
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I'm less concerned about the stuff than the finances. Depriving his own wife and children of needed protective clothing is, well, bad.
Is he willing to cooperate in any way, in finding a solution to the overbuying problem? For example, it sounds like he is not suited to have a credit card or a checkbook; he should be on a cash allowance and you should be in charge of all purchasing. Would he agree to this?
If he _wanted_ to solve the problem, the solution would be as simple as handing over all purchasing responsiiblity to you. I'm worried that the problem is not about the stuff, or the confusion, but is a compulsive shopping problem that will continue even after that excuse is gone - that he'll just find another excuse for getting his "fix".
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#18 of 20 Old 01-25-2011, 08:27 AM
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Since there are 3 raincoats, can you try to trade one of the new raincoats for a pair of used women's winter boots? This might work on craigslist. Sounds like you have lots of stuff to trade. eyesroll.gif Men's clothing is MUCH harder to find on the used market then womens or kids, so you should have very trade-able goods. Even if you get $10 a pair on craigslist for boots, that is still money on your pocket. Books and movies are very easy to resell on Amazon if you have duplicates. Some items can even be sent in for store credit.


I "take care of" some of my husband's basic shopping needs (socks, shirts, whatever) he just lets me know what he wants, which brand and I get it. If you can get him into this mode (you do the shopping) and keep him away from his favorite shopping places it might help. I keep a list on my smartphone.


If he comes home with receipts, this could also be useful.


The raincoat with the hole, absolutely it has to go, since it triggers new shopping. You could make him a list of what he has, it could help IF he remembers to look at it. I am not hopeful there for your hubby.


If this is causing a significant financial problem, try counseling for him. Though I am not sure how counseling works with memory problems. :-(

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#19 of 20 Old 01-25-2011, 08:49 AM
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Totally this.

Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post

Ok...so he is not only piling your home up with clutter he is wasting the family money to the extent that he's replacing his things multiple times and buying things he doesn't use while his wife and children go without the things they need?  That is a bigger issue than just clutter.  I would gather the things he doesn't use and the things he doesn't need and try to sell them to get some of the money to buy you and your children the necessary items you're missing.  Have you ever pointed out to him that he has multiple raincoats of different sorts while his children have none?  Considering his behavior I wouldn't feel the least guilty about taking control of the situation.  

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#20 of 20 Old 02-02-2011, 10:35 AM
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I would do as others suggested, sell the extras on Craigslist, use the extra money to buy what you need, and seriously consider counseling.


In our house I'm constantly clearing clutter out, hubby constantly comes home with new hats.  In the shed right now there are 2 boxes full.  They've been there 2 years, next trip to the thrift store they will go.  He never notices.  Part of the reason I do this is because he's constantly putting off chores I ask him to do.  The Christmas tree sat on the front porch for a month, the garbage will sit on the back porch for weeks, he still hasn't replaced the 3 lightbulbs that are out and I need a step ladder to replace (and I don't have one).  None of the smoke detectors have batteries or are in place.  He's chosen to not take a part in the running of the household, so I do it my way.  If he were active in the process then I would give him more input.  t.  Nobody really needs 400 matchbox cars


In our case, he's spending his own free money, so he is free to do with it what he wants.  I wish he would save it for a trip or something, but he doesn't .


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