I'm in my last month of nursing school, final exam is over and just putting in hours at the hospital. I'm decluttering and cleaning and organizing 16 months worth of junk and mess and old papers (the length of time I've been in school).
My only big obstacle is my dh's stuff. He is not a hoarder by clinical definition, but he has these things he hangs onto forever and they are totally taking up his side of the closet and spilling onto my side when he thinks he can get away with it. More of the stuff is in the garage. I'm talking college textbooks from 16+ years ago that are not even related to his work now in any way, files and files of papers, old cameras and computer parts that are so outdated that Goodwill probably wouldn't even take them. Boxes of clothes that he never wears but are too nice to give away. I have to respect that it's his stuff, but it's frustrating that it's getting in the way of us having a clean and organized home. And so dusty.
Not much I can do about it other than to keep dusting around it and pushing it back to his side of the closet. Just wanted to vent.
You're SO not alone. My DH has a whole room that he keeps his stuff in and uses as a computer room. It's full of VHS tapes, DVD's that haven't been watched in forever, old video games, cords, wires and the like. I asked him the other night about getting rid of some of the things and all I got the okay for was the VHS tapes.
Maybe compromise? Tell him if he gets rid of XYZ, you'll not bother him to do the dishes or you'll let him have a whole day to himself or you'll make him his favorite meal. Something like that. It's worth a try. Having said that, it hasn't worked here. :/
I've fought this battle with my DH with some moderate success but perhaps he isn't as attached to his junk as someone else might be. Every time he said he wanted to keep something "just in case", I persistently (I *tried* to be respectful...) got in his face about it - why? is it worth the space it's taking up in our tiny home? You haven't watched this/read that/worn that in years - don't you think it needs to go?
At one point DH had a collection of 40+ button-down shirts. Most in good condition but impossible to keep laundered and put away - they just wouldn't fit anywhere and some of them would go years without any wear because they were at the bottom of whatever pile in the bedroom...dusty. Ick. Anyway, I explained to DH that part of my problem with keeping up on laundry was that I had no place to put things...wedging things into the closet/drawers took so much effort and I really only ever wore the same 2 skirts and 4 tops anyway...so I downsized my own wardrobe in a big way. Then I figured out what the kids really needed and the space it had to fit in and got rid of more stuff. DH was the only one left in the house with unruly stuff. So he got on board.
I still find that I need to do a fair amount of hand-holding while he sorts through stuff as it's just too much for him to decide what to get rid of. This fall I finally insisted we put a playroom downstairs as I needed a place for the kids to be able to go and make a mess without feeling like the main floor of our 950 sq ft was constantly trashed. The room in question was, of course, filled with his junk he'd been promising to sort for years. So I did it. I told him what I was going to do and he didn't object. I mostly knew what he would really need to give an opinion on and set those items aside. The rest I tagged as garbage, donate, or keep. I gave him last check before anything went out of the house but, surprisingly, he wasn't really interested. He did tell me afterward that he *felt* much less cluttered now that the icky job of sorting and getting rid of was done.
Sometimes, if you want the stuff gone, you have to initiate the project and follow it through - as respectfully as possible.
We also no *really* limit what we buy. "Where will that go?" is one criteria we use. "We already have something that does that job." is another. Clothes continue to be a battle for him but I can usually convince him to get rid of one item of clothing for each item of clothing he brings in...
"So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton