How do you simplify with an uncooperative spouse? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 07-03-2006, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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About every 2 months, I go through the house and declutter. I have no clue how it gets so cluttered between 2 months as we really don't buy that much aside from toys, but what I am decluttering mostly is clothes! Freecycle loves me!

Anyway, the kids don't care. They are used to it. S/O on the other hand, throws a royal fit! He has to hold on to stuff even though we don't use it!

Now, we have an entire basement which we rarely use. Included in the basement is his t.v/game room. I told him last night anything he wants to keep (a huge mirror, a dresser, etc. that we don't use and I have no idea WHY he wants to keep them!), he can keep in his t.v room. As long as I don't have to see it, I won't get rid of it. ROFL That's the only "compromise" I can think of that won't make us both crazy.

The main level of the house I want to stay nice and clean and organized and unneccersary clutter and things that we don't even need does NOT contribute to that.

S/O has off this week so I am going to take advantage of him spending time with the kids to do a serious declutter and clean out. I cannot even feel any sense of calm at all when my house is a crazy cluttered mess!

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#2 of 15 Old 07-03-2006, 05:55 PM
 
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I know how you feel. When I have trash to throw out, my DH will actually go through it to make sure I don't throw out something good , useful, or "I paid money for that" It gets very irritating sometimes.

I try to have people from freecycle come during my DH work hours. If it is something that I know he will feak out about, I save it and tell him that I am getting rid of it unless he finds a place for it and actually uses it. Otherwise, it goes.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" --Leonardo Da Vinci
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#3 of 15 Old 07-03-2006, 06:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher
Anyway, the kids don't care. They are used to it. S/O on the other hand, throws a royal fit! He has to hold on to stuff even though we don't use it!

......I cannot even feel any sense of calm at all when my house is a crazy cluttered mess!
Asher,
True confessions time. *I* am the one at our house who is like your DH. You and my DH would get along fine. I wish I had some brilliant advice for you. It's a constant bone of contention b/w me and DH. I don't necessarily want to be this way, but I swear it is in my blood. I can't change simply by *willing* myself to change. Wish I could. But it's not just a matter of "wanting stuff" but a whole way of thinking that I must work at changing.

I think it might be helpful to get him to look at the reasons behind why he acts as he does. I know it helps me to do this b/c then I can sometimes successfully counteract that thinking.

For example, I grew up in a divorced household where we were really short on money. Mom went back to school, but it took years to get a degree and sometimes we had to live with relatives, other times we were on food stamps (which mom was so mortified about that she would drive to another city to use them so noone would see her). She used to shop really savvy in order to find super bargains and clearance mark-downs and stuff. She didn't shop at the cheapest stores unless she had to. More often, she'd hunt for the super bargains at better quality stores and would come home all excited when she found a $50 sweater for $5 or something like that. And when she hit the bargains, she'd buy a bunch at once and I remember us girls looking through bags of stuff like Christmas time and mom beaming that she got us both whole wardrobes for $100 or something. So, I tend to think that way, that I need to find bargains and that I need to snap them up when I do. A really great sale on something is near impossible to resist b/c I feel like I need to "get it while I can". If I find that elusive $50 sweater for $5, I feel like I need to buy it. Or better yet, buy three in different colors. Whether I need them or not. Ykwim?

And likewise, it's hard to get rid of anything b/c even if it doesn't fit, it might fit later or fit someone else. Or it doesn't match anything I own, but I might find something that matches. Or maybe I can cut it up and make something for the kids. Or a scrappy bag or skirt. Ykwim? I have such a hard time parting with things b/c my mind is always full of ideas for how I could put it to use. It doesn't seem *frugal* to me to throw away items with life left in them. This is one place where freecycle has helped me. I find it easier to part with items to real people rather than our Goodwill (which never seems to care about getting stuff anyway and sometimes I have seen them toss boxes of glassware on the ground so it shatters!) Learning to change my thinking from "this thing is still useful so I should save it" to "this thing is still useful so I should pass it along to bless someone who can use it now" has helped me.

Another problem for me is that I have ADD. My mind is always swirling with a whirlwind of activity. I take "multitasking" to a new level. And unfortunately, I am not nearly as good at completing tasks as I am at beginning them or even just dreaming them up and planning them. So, I have all these wonderful creative ideas and plans and cannot part with anything I need for my oh-so-important plans. But the more plans and projects I get going (if even only in my imagination) the more flustered I become and the less I get done. So simplifying would help me. And I need to slow down and recognize my limits, in terms of time, energy, etc. Let go of some ideas and projects. Stop thinking of and buying for and planning new projects until I focus in and get some done.

Not sure if any of this applies to your DH. I'm not suggesting that he's the same or that all people who are cluttered or can't part w/ stuff, etc, have the same reasons/motives. Just giving some examples of how, when I study my own feelings and motives, I uncover reasons for why I behave as I do. And doing that helps me find ways to change.

I hope that helps. I'm a long way from success in simplifying and uncluttering life. In fact, I'm just barely beginning. I have gone in spurts in the past where I tried to do this and then fell back into the old ways. Now I am trying again, which is why I'm subbing to some of these threads on this board.

Good luck with your DH,

another packrat...
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#4 of 15 Old 07-05-2006, 04:07 AM
 
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Here is what I do and it works very well for me. In fact, the one thing I can say about myself is that my house is spotless. I LOVE to keep a clean clean house. I too have a husband who would freak out about me throwing stuff away. I started out just throwing out stuff while he wasn't around. If he goes through the garbage, just drop it off at Goodwill when he's not around. After fighting with him about this so many times, I went this route, and he almost never noticed that such and such was missing. When he did notice something and ask where it was, I'd just say "I don't know..." or "It's somewhere in the basement." After awhile of this it cured him. Now I pile the pickup truck with goods to go to be donated and he dosen't bat an eye. It somehow cured him. I swear by this.
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#5 of 15 Old 07-05-2006, 11:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jillkuster
Here is what I do and it works very well for me. In fact, the one thing I can say about myself is that my house is spotless. I LOVE to keep a clean clean house. I too have a husband who would freak out about me throwing stuff away. I started out just throwing out stuff while he wasn't around. If he goes through the garbage, just drop it off at Goodwill when he's not around. After fighting with him about this so many times, I went this route, and he almost never noticed that such and such was missing. When he did notice something and ask where it was, I'd just say "I don't know..." or "It's somewhere in the basement." After awhile of this it cured him. Now I pile the pickup truck with goods to go to be donated and he dosen't bat an eye. It somehow cured him. I swear by this.
I have been very, very tempted to do this many times, but the dishonesty of it bugs me.

I can very much relate to the OP. The clutter and stuff we NEVER use is driving me crazy. I want a calm, neat, simplified house. DH grew up in a different culture without much and I think he just cannot let stuff go. We are planning to finish our basement and I told him that we need to be sure to reserve some of the space for storage. He said, "Why? So you can have a trash room?" WHAT??? I'd go through and purge almost everything in the house. It is him that won't get rid of stuff. At least if we can have a closed off area in the basement to put it all I won't have to look at it!

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#6 of 15 Old 07-05-2006, 11:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jillkuster
Here is what I do and it works very well for me. In fact, the one thing I can say about myself is that my house is spotless. I LOVE to keep a clean clean house. I too have a husband who would freak out about me throwing stuff away. I started out just throwing out stuff while he wasn't around. If he goes through the garbage, just drop it off at Goodwill when he's not around. After fighting with him about this so many times, I went this route, and he almost never noticed that such and such was missing. When he did notice something and ask where it was, I'd just say "I don't know..." or "It's somewhere in the basement." After awhile of this it cured him. Now I pile the pickup truck with goods to go to be donated and he dosen't bat an eye. It somehow cured him. I swear by this.
I do this as well, but when he asks I tell him I gave it away. He's never been angry, because he's realized that we really didn't need it. Plus out of all the times I've done this, he's noticed all of twice.
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#7 of 15 Old 07-05-2006, 11:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zenenlightened
I know how you feel. When I have trash to throw out, my DH will actually go through it to make sure I don't throw out something good , useful, or "I paid money for that" It gets very irritating sometimes.
My dh does that too. He'll pull out a single lego and insist we keep it.

Right now everything is in the basement. I'd like to use the space but there's no room now because there's so much stuff.

I know if you tortured him he couldn't tell you what's there but he insists we keep it. Grrrrr.
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#8 of 15 Old 07-09-2006, 12:57 AM
 
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This is definately a thread that I needed to read. I now realize that I can't wait for him to "sort through his stuff with me." It always ends with me not being satisfied because he finds a reason to keep almost everything. Books from college, old uniforms, old day planners....you name it. My DH had 45 pairs of shoes!!!!: I finally went through them with him today and he is left with 25---vast improvement here..the new rule is get rid of as much as he'll allow and if he still hasn't used it in 6 months, out it goes!!! I feel bad throwing stuff away when he isn't looking because he goes through the garbage and FINDS IT!!! I wish I could just throw it away and he wouldn't bat an eye, but that just isn't the case. I guess we'll have to take baby steps...it's sooooo hard!!!

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#9 of 15 Old 07-10-2006, 09:39 AM
 
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My dh is also like this. It's something I don't understand. Most of the time he says "why throw it away or donate it when we can get money for it?". Well, let's see, because if we sell it it will be sitting around here for god only knows how long and I can take the load to GW today. I'm all for selling the big stuff, but the stuff we're only going to get 5 cents for at a yardsale isn't worth it to me. I'm not sure about the psychology behind why he is like that.

I know I tend to buy alot of stuff when I get it cheap (like at gw or yardsales). But I binge and purge. I get rid of alot of stuff because I just can't stand the clutter. I know that I buy so much because growing up we didn't have much. Our living room was probably 15'x12' and all that was in it was a hopechest with a tv on it, 1 wooden chair and 1 couch...nothing on the walls. It always looked like we were in the middle of moving and I just don't want my home to look like that (so maybe I won't try raising a family of 8 on less than $10,000 a year ). But I can't stand clutter.
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#10 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 08:58 PM
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yeah, my SO comes from a family of notorious hoarders. when we first got togehter, he left a piece of music that he was working on in the basement for so long it got stuck to the floor with mold. First lesson: do not throw out anything paper because it might be VERY important, but look like a piece of moldy paper.
Our house is still full of paper, but after 13 years together I'm starting to figure out what I can get away with tossing or taking to GW. he practically breaks out with hives if I pressure our daughter to get rid of toys, so the poor thing is completely conflicted -- she loves to have a clean room, but gets nervous about getting rid of anything. I know I shouldn't, but I sneak things off to GW and they never notice. But never the pieces of paper.
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#11 of 15 Old 07-12-2006, 09:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mor
First lesson: do not throw out anything paper because it might be VERY important, but look like a piece of moldy paper.
I think I'm married to your SO.

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#12 of 15 Old 07-13-2006, 10:05 AM
 
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((((HUGS to you all)))) My dh was pretty non understanding in the beginning, but as other areas have improved, he's gotten lots better. He still needs me to "hold his hand" to help him get rid of things, but he's willing to do it.
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#13 of 15 Old 07-13-2006, 07:03 PM
 
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Asher.....my SIL could have written your post.

Her DH is a horrific packrat and they made the same compromise several years ago - the basement is his domain and the rest of the house belongs to her. It was so bad that there were pathways through the stuff that was piled to the ceiling. Crazy full.
We went for a visit last fall and their sewer line back up. :dead: Can you guess what happened? ALL his crap in basement was coated in several inches of raw sewage. uke: We all chuckled under our breath because we make fun of all his stuff and he didn't have any fun going through it all. I don't think he's changed his ways, but it's given him something to think about.

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#14 of 15 Old 07-15-2006, 12:44 AM
 
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Mine wants to itemize everything we give away for tax write offs...this takes forever and slows things down to a crawl.

And he loves gadgets...new electronics stuff...kitchen gizmos...

And he has too much old stuff from a bazillion years ago.

We are working on it.

Our basement flooded tonight...hoping he will see the light!

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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#15 of 15 Old 07-15-2006, 10:00 AM
 
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i agree with jilltucker! I have been putting 10 old books a fortnight into the recycling bin and dh will never notice. He has an electric razor he won't get rid of although he has had a beard for 32 years! Men are strange creatures!
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