Going to KILL pack-rat husband...... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 08-14-2006, 03:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

I, too, am FED UP with the STUFF in our place and have done quite a bit towards clearing out what I can. I LOVE to throw stuff out! It makes me feel like I have had a weight lifted off my shoulders and can finally take a full, deep lung full of air.

I have held a gun to my husband's head (not literally) and made him go through every scrap of paper on his desk and make decisions about it. He works from home and his desk is smack in the center of the living space and is the first thing you see when you come in the front door. Most of the time you can't even see there's a desk there because it's buried under piles of......STUFF. We went through everything there a couple of weeks ago and it looked good for about 2 days. Now you can't even tell.

My kitchen is old and lacking sufficient storage solutions and needs help desperately. I have tried to re-work it every way I know how but haven't found anything that works. I'm at my wits' end on that score. :

We live in an apartment and we have a storage room downstairs for the overflow. It, too, is so full of who knows what that you can't even get in the front door of the storage room. Hopefully, next week, I am planning on taking EVERYTHING out of there, do a reassessment of what we can keep and what we can get rid of and reorganize what we decide to keep and thereby make more room for things in the house that should by rights be in storage such as the baby's crib. My Mom who is a master de-clutterizer, may come help me with this project. I know my husband is going to fight me big time over the storage room. He says it makes him feel physically sick : the thought of throwing ANYTHING away because he MIGHT need it someday or it MIGHT be worth something someday. I tell him a) to get himself to a shrink pronto and b) that I am not prepared to have this THING taking up valuable space in my life for the amount of time I would have to hang onto it until it WAS (maybe) worth something!

Several years ago we read together a book based on feng shui about decluttering and he agreed (in theory) that everything the book said was good/correct, etc. But in practice......My question is this: What persuasive arguements can I use on my husband when he starts to bodily prevent me from dealing with the disaster that is our storage room? How can I explain that just knowing it's like that is oppressive and is wreaking havoc on the flow of energy in our lives and on my moods? How can I convince him that it's time to LET GO of this burden of 25 years worth of accumulated past lives?

I'm really discouraged about it all and would love to get feedback. I know there are a lot of women out there like me who can relate!

Avigayil
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#2 of 18 Old 08-14-2006, 04:03 AM
 
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Is there any way to move his work desk into a less conspicuous place in the house? Maybe he can't keep his work area organized, but it shouldn't mess up the vibe of the entire home.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#3 of 18 Old 08-14-2006, 04:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wish there WAS a way for him to move into another area of the house. He can't because: a) he has his computer all wired up to the TV and we watch DVDs on played on the computer and viewed on the TV this way. When we moved into this apartment he had an electrician in especially to make the necessary holes in the walls for him to get this system all wired up. It's really complicated and I'm not good with these things but...... and reason b) he has been our daughter's caretaker since she was born and I went back to work. She is now almost 2 and he NEEDS to be in a central location in the house in order to keep one eye on her while trying to get some work done at the same time.

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#4 of 18 Old 08-15-2006, 07:05 PM
 
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My DH hates,hates,hates throwing things away as well.

Instead of trying to make him get rid of stuff, I've given him a few acceptable places for it. He can keep the old notebook computers on his dresser, all the accessories in a basket on the bookshelf, his papers in a box on the bookshelf. He still has all the crap, it just LOOKS organized. Waaaaaay happier with it like this. The big white box-o-crap in the bookshelf doesn't even look bad. And I totally don't have room to spare for his things to be all spread out like he'd leave them if I didn't give him a spot for them.

If he wants to keep all those papers, put some sort of basket/box on the table for him...they'll be just as unorganized, but will LOOK a whole lot better. It is also fast to clean; I don't worry about all the crud DH HAS, I just stick it all in his box. That he never seems to use it (OK once every couple of months) is really none of my business so long as there isn't so much of it that it can't fit anymore.

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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#5 of 18 Old 08-15-2006, 07:22 PM
 
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oh geez.....i can absolutely completely relate.

i knew that the stuff obsession was there before i married dh, but i really never grasped what a HUGE issue it was for him until after we were married and ready to move cross country.

our first six months of marriage, he did really well. he had his own office in our apartment and the rule was that i was to never, ever even try to clean it. i gave him four of those giant rubbermaid tubs to collect all of his "important papers" and any kind of computer cable/part/cord/piece/whatever went straight into his room. when it was time to clean the car, he had one box of things he had to be certain were truly important and the rest went into the trash.

i really thought we had this thing handled.
and then i discovered the storage unit.

when we got ready to move to austin, tx from pittsburgh (where dh had gone to grad school), i had him take me out to the storage unit to see what all he had stored and how to go about packing it all. it took THREE WEEKS to sort through box after box after box of papers, 18 boxes of books, 15 tubs full of musical and computer equipment, 5 tubs of DIRTY dishes, EIGHT 50 GALLON BAGS of clothes, and three boxes of "things he just swept off the floor."

my husband had been spending $120 a month for FOUR YEARS to keep all of this stuff and he had been adding to it all the time.

after all the sorting (which almost drove him to tears, though i tried so hard to be gentle), we loaded up a 16ft moving truck and drove to the dump. we threw away 3.63 TONS of trash.

since that fateful day, my sweet dh has done his very best to keep from having to do it all again. i don't think he had ever been truly confronted by the problem, but now we have pictures and the receipt from the landfill posted right above his desk.

Rachel. Devoted wife and joyful mama to Beatrice June(2/25/08) and Leona Agnes (8/10/10).
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#6 of 18 Old 08-16-2006, 04:56 PM
 
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Mosesface, that's amazing. (and that's my deepest fear for me...I have been tempted to get a storage unit and just stow all the stuff so many times...getting it OTD for once and for all is so much more peaceful)

Mom to DD1 (11/1999),  DD2 (07/2003), and DS (11/2012), all born at home and cloth diapered. 

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#7 of 18 Old 08-16-2006, 05:06 PM
 
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Wow. I have the opposite problem. DH makes me throw out all the stuff i want to keep. We were cleaning out our "spare" bedroom to turn it into a baby room and he made me go through all my fabric I've been hanging on to for quilting. No, I don't know how to quilt but I will someday. I'm still keeping it. I'm determined to have some kind of slice of free time someday.
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#8 of 18 Old 08-17-2006, 08:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kangamom
Wow. I have the opposite problem. DH makes me throw out all the stuff i want to keep. We were cleaning out our "spare" bedroom to turn it into a baby room and he made me go through all my fabric I've been hanging on to for quilting. No, I don't know how to quilt but I will someday. I'm still keeping it. I'm determined to have some kind of slice of free time someday.
I just Sunday gave away 90% of my quilting fabric. It was four huge bags' worth. I donated it to Project Linus. I like to quilt, but haven't had time for ages. I kept my tools (rulers, rotary cutter, etc) and a small amount of fabric. When I have time, in the future, I can always get more fabric for the project I want to do.

Making this decision was HUGE for me, a real shift in my thinking.

Mom to DD1 (11/1999),  DD2 (07/2003), and DS (11/2012), all born at home and cloth diapered. 

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#9 of 18 Old 08-18-2006, 10:25 AM
 
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Can you plan a time in your day when you can help your DH work on his desk for 15 minutes? At the end of the day or at the start of the day? If he works on it for 15 minutes a day (or really, even 5 minutes a day), it will be easier to keep it clean. If you do it with him, it will get done. And if you stick with it, he will probably even learn to do it on his own. Just make it into something, like washing the dishes, that isn't terribly pleasant but MUST get done every day?

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#10 of 18 Old 08-18-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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I might get there someday. I have a real hard time with it. I can get rid of everything else, and I'm okay. I get so attached because I bought all this stuff for projects for the kids and then I got pg with twins and haven't done anything. My life froze. I keep telling myself that I'll someday be able to pick it back up again, and I'm afraid I wont have the $$ for more fabric. I look at it and all I can see pjs, quilts, dresses just waiting to be cut out and assembled. Its not a ton of stuff, I think it could be worse. I'm very determined to have a sewing station at our new house we're building next year. So, while it doesn't have a good home now, it will soon and I'll reevaluate then if I have to.
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#11 of 18 Old 08-24-2006, 12:50 AM
 
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My husband and his family are horrible, horrible pack rats. We were visiting my MIL's house and my ds needed a nap, so I went into her room with him- barely. I had to literally squeeze through the bedroom door first then pull my son in behind me. Once there, we climbed over piles and piles of junk covering the floor- the only part of the "floor" in the whole big bedroom. The rest of the floor is covered with large, clear storage boxes- and boxes and boxes- of stuff, some stacked 5 or 6 high. We laid down in bed (thankfully the bed itself was clear!) and a tower of boxes crashed down toward the door, literally blocking us in. DH's family came running upstairs to see what had happened, only they couldn't see bc the door wouldn't open. I'm so thankful they fell toward the door and not toward us on the bed.
ANYWAY- What should/could you do about your storage unit? Send DH away to the zoo or something with your child so you can have a few hours to yourself. No need to tell him what you have planned. Then go and load your car up with stuff and take it to Goodwill. Unload. Forget about it.
I have done this with loads and loads of stuff of my DH's that he will not ever even know he doesn't have anymore. You have a greater challange since your DH works from home... Good luck.
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#12 of 18 Old 08-24-2006, 01:02 AM
 
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You know, someone posted once about hiring a Professional Organizer for one day, for about $150 and they came in and organized the entire place, took care of everything.

I know I'm seriously considering doing it myself.


Could you afford to get an organizer to come in and work half the day with your husband and half the day with you in your kitchen?



I think the extra motivation of having someone HELP with all that organizational crap (and it not being you) is what might really spur your DH into keeping things organized.
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#13 of 18 Old 08-24-2006, 10:21 AM
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my rant on this matter is two pronged:

first, that my husband is a pack rat and when we do go through things, he's very slow moving about it. LOL

and second, his mother insists that the messes in our house--due to his pack ratting--are 'not the way she raised him' and blames me for the mess. If you go to her house, you'll see that it's exactly how she raised him.

he finally said to her, no, mom, it's exactly how you raised me. your house is a complete rat's nest. this place is much cleaner, now that i'm learning not to hold onto things.
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#14 of 18 Old 08-24-2006, 10:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kangamom
... We were cleaning out our "spare" bedroom to turn it into a baby room and he made me go through all my fabric I've been hanging on to for quilting. No, I don't know how to quilt but I will someday. I'm still keeping it. I'm determined to have some kind of slice of free time someday.
Good for you! I sold my floor loom a year or so ago and have not missed it. Hard to weave with a kid around. And you can get back into quilting at any time, with just 6 fat quarters or 6 outgrown pieces of clothing. I think there is some special challenge to quilting with limited fabric, though I have lots so I don't get to do this challenge.

- sleeplessMommy
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#15 of 18 Old 08-24-2006, 10:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RiverSky
You know, someone posted once about hiring a Professional Organizer for one day, for about $150 and they came in and organized the entire place, took care of everything.

I know I'm seriously considering doing it myself.
One advantage of bringing in the pro is that you will be very motivated to fix things up BEFORE they arrive, to save $$$ or embarassment.
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#16 of 18 Old 08-24-2006, 12:54 PM
 
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I'd like a professional organizer for a day. Or I need my dh to leave for a business trip for about a week so I can go through his stuff. I did that last year. I organized his stuff (meaning I moved the stuff to large rubbermaid containers and hid it). If he didn't notice it missing after 4 months I tossed it. I never had to bring anything out of those boxes
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#17 of 18 Old 08-24-2006, 10:35 PM
 
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I think there is some special challenge to quilting with limited fabric, though I have lots so I don't get to do this challenge.
Unfortunately, I also think along these lines... So it makes me want to keep things like stained recieving blankets, stained outfits, sheets, etc so I can "make something" out of them someday.
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#18 of 18 Old 08-25-2006, 11:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kangamom
Unfortunately, I also think along these lines... So it makes me want to keep things like stained recieving blankets, stained outfits, sheets, etc so I can "make something" out of them someday.
I won't save anything unless I can make something out of it on the spot or plan something specific right then and there. No "for something". Most people who keep the old baby items to make something, keep those with special sentimental value; they make sense re-used as a quilt or whatever. Not just every stained item you've got. Those make good cloth tp

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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