The Ethics of Decluttering When You Live with a Packrat - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 20 Old 02-22-2008, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
Turquesa's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,050
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
As a strategy, I declutter only when DH is out of the house--easy to do as a SAHM. This way, I don't get the usual rounds of "You're getting rid of THAT?!"
(That's just with MY stuff!)

Here's the problem. He'll come up with a reason to keep ANYTHING. Sometimes he rationalizes it with the usual cliches of "just in case" and "come in handy." Other times it's a wide stretch for sentimentality and nostalgia---that stick came from summer camp, and he had fun at summer camp. Other times it's family politics: "My mom got that for us, and what if she notices it's missing?"

The thing is (confession time coming) I've sneaked some stuff out--both shared property and his own--that he hasn't missed in over two years. :

So where's the fine line? I want to respect his cherished belongings. But what about those cardboard boxes we're storing in the garage "just in case we need them?" I mean, come on!

Any insights?

In God we trust; all others must show data. selectivevax.gifsurf.gifteapot2.GIFintactivist.gif
Turquesa is online now  
#2 of 20 Old 02-22-2008, 10:11 PM
A&A
 
A&A's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 16,858
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
This book:

http://www.amazon.com/Its-All-Too-Mu...3729067&sr=1-1

has a section for you to show your dh.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
A&A is offline  
#3 of 20 Old 02-22-2008, 10:18 PM
 
Aubergine68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: in the soul's garden
Posts: 2,942
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I just read It's All Too Much and enjoyed it. I agree that ethically you pretty much have to convince him rather than getting rid of his stuff on the sly.

That said, my aunt was widowed a few years ago, and her husband was a packrat. She used to sneak stuff out of the house and as far as I know, he never noticed.

I've heard her say "He passed away at the age of 80, probably still thinking that his high school science notes were in a box in the top shelf of the hall closet..."

I think it would be wrong to flood the garage with water just to cause damage so you'd have to get rid of the "just in case" boxes. But not wrong to pray for a big rainstorm...
Aubergine68 is offline  
#4 of 20 Old 02-22-2008, 10:23 PM
 
malibusunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 549
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm the packrat in my family.
This is the thing-- I can't get rid of my stuff. And some of my stuff is truly, really important to me. Like, I would have trust issues for the rest of my life if K got rid of it without my permission.

However, there is stuff that could be gotten rid of because my reason for keeping it is that it is "useful." I'd be annoyed if I wanted to use it and it was gone, but it's all replaceable.

So, my vote would be that you could get rid of the cardboard boxes and it wouldn't be a big deal. But the stick from summer camp needs to stay.
malibusunny is offline  
#5 of 20 Old 02-22-2008, 10:32 PM
 
lucyem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,262
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I hope this makes sense but this is what I do. I pay attention to what I am getting rid of. The ugly green shirt he is keeping just in case can "disappear". The first pair of shoes he wore as a baby must be kept if he wants them. Thats kind of how I look at it. As for family politics stuff, well its similar. If its a horrid framed photo of a john deere tractor and puppies then it too "disappears". If anyone asks I am pretty good at keeping a concerned face "hmmmmm, that must be around here somewhere" as I start looking a tiny bit. But if it is a family heirloom of my DH's then I keep it in storage because it is up to him to keep or get rid of it.
lucyem is offline  
#6 of 20 Old 02-22-2008, 10:36 PM
 
malibusunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 549
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yeah, that seems fair.
malibusunny is offline  
#7 of 20 Old 02-23-2008, 12:34 AM
 
bwylde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 2,842
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have found that as DH sees how much stuff we can live without, he has been more open to the idea, even encouraging it (as long as he doesn't have to do it, lol!). Most of the stuff I have decluttered was baby stuff, my stuff, old papers of no good to anyone, garbage, boxes we never got around to putting out, things which were ours but that he didn't have any attachment to. It has taken years to get to the point where DH could care if it all went, lol! ETA: I never get rid of anything without his permission (unless it is something that is beyond use, like the t-shirt which was barely holding on by a string, for example ).

For just about anything, it is easy to rationalize keeping it just in case, but there is a lot of freedom in letting things go. Most things are easy enough to get, sometimes free or cheaply. It's not forever (unless it's a one of a kind thing, which some may not get rid of anyway ).
bwylde is offline  
#8 of 20 Old 02-23-2008, 02:16 AM
 
Neva's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 362
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
MY DH is a packrat and a neat freak. When things get too messy (and they do as he is now the stay-at-home-parent) I tell him we have too much junk and then I have a small window to get rid of stuff.

I NEVER throw out anything of his. I word things nicely and ask his permission to throw out his crap. ie. Honey these clothes are a little out dated, do you mind if I consign them? And I show him the good dress clothes he still has so he knows he is not stranded without a dressy outfit if needed. or I tell him "I just cleaned out and consigned 20 items... do you think I can get rid of these few things"

I find he does better with baby steps and I work at a consignment shop so it is easy to just take it to work and donate it if I know it won't sell.

His mom used to declutter his stuff when he was away at work and he would be crushed to find things gone. There is no way I can do that to him. Just when he tries to keep somethign I ask if it really in nessicary.

Megan ~ mama to the Mountain Man (05.30.05) and married to the Rad Man
If I'm not riding my bike I'm reading. Still trying to put the best of both world together.
Neva is offline  
#9 of 20 Old 02-23-2008, 05:20 AM
 
Surfacing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: stuck between a rock and a hard place
Posts: 6,734
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
:

wash.gif  Me  + bikenew.gif Dh =  broc1.gif  Dd1(9 yrs) + hearts.gif  Dd2(6 yrs) and blowkiss.gif Ds(3.5 yrs)
Surfacing is offline  
#10 of 20 Old 02-23-2008, 05:36 AM
 
Selene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Disclaimer: I have not read the other replies, so this could be utterly useless.

With his permission, try some of these strategies:
For the nostalgia: Take pictures of the items and make a small photobook with a bit of text on each item. Shouldn't take long, is farly inexpensive and takes up a lot less space than all the crap. (Or even store the pics online and keep them there for those nostalgic moments.)

For the could-possibly-need-at-some-point-stuff: Give it to somebody you know, and ask to borrow it whenever/if the need arises.

For the guilt stuff: Would people want you to keep things out of guilt? Keep some small items that are usable, give the rest to somebody who needs and would enjoy it.

As for things that can obviously be replaced inexpensively should you need it: Do you have to be a warehouse? No. Should you need cardboard boxes you can find used ones, etc. No need to be your very own mall. Books go to the library, you can borrow them when you need them.
Selene is offline  
#11 of 20 Old 02-24-2008, 10:26 PM
 
Maddy123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 135
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm not sure my DH is a true packrat, but he is kinda messy and doesn't take the time to deal with his things. He will leave them everywhere. He is busy with work and other activities and it is hard to find time to sort. But he could if he really wanted to, and clearly he doesn't.

I put things that seem to be junk in "limbo" in the garage. I put them in bags or boxes and tell him "There's a box of old cassette tapes in the garage; they are going out on March 15 (or whatever). " I mark the calendar and give him a reminder as it draws near. He can go thru it if he wants, but he knows "Keep everything" isn't an ok response. So if he wants to pull things out and preserve a few things, he can. I usually run a bit late and don't get things out quite on the date. But I try to hold firm and get the stuff out. Usually he doesn't look through it at all.

It is not ok with me to have a super cluttered house. There is no way my kids or my spouse are going to be as into decluttering as I am. So I do allow a lot more junk than I would like to have. But I have limits and try to keep things running in the household.
Maddy123 is offline  
#12 of 20 Old 02-25-2008, 02:23 PM
 
Mavournin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 3,570
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I throw things away. In all these years Dh has noticed maybe only that only two things were missing. I do very little at a time and not on a consistent basis (hence my entire basement of his crap) but I do just chuck things. My dh is a hoarder and there are things that he has saved for 20+ years that could only be classified as garbage by anyone. Asking him to sort through it - alone or with help - is useless. He simply can't let go. So I do it instead.
Mavournin is offline  
#13 of 20 Old 02-26-2008, 02:28 PM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I slowly get rid of some stuff. Dh is constitutionally unable to part with anything. Dh and I have been married for 26 years. He has t-shirts and vinyl record albums (no, they are not worth anything) that he had before I married him. That's the kind of thing that I'm geting rid of. So far, he hasn't noticed.
EFmom is offline  
#14 of 20 Old 02-27-2008, 01:07 PM
 
Jane F's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Please click one of the Quick Reply icons in the posts above to activate Quick Reply.
Jane F is offline  
#15 of 20 Old 02-27-2008, 01:17 PM
 
Jane F's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Please bear with me, I am new to using this forum. I am a 47 yr old living with hubby of 18 yrs, and raising an 8 yr old grandaughter. For 18 yrs I have tolerated my husband being a slob and pack rat as long as my living environment was fairly clean and organized! However, now his "stuff" has spread to not only the FULL 2 car unusable garage, to 3 FULL rooms in a large basement, to some empty rental properties we have, to the yard, a shed, and even UNDER the house. I am seriously getting ill from the clutter and mess. Maybe depressed is a better term. I do work full time, and do not have the energy to keep up any more. My grandaughter also loves arts and crafts, and leaves a trail of clothes, toys, shoes, markers, staplers, tape, paper, YOU NAME IT behind her. This includes every single room in our 5 bedroom home! My husband and I purchased an add on sunroom (never been attached to a house yet) 13 years ago!!! It's STILL stored under our home. I say get rid of it! He hoards everything you can imagine, and says...I might need that for something. I have taken WEEKS at a time to help him organize 2 rooms of the basement, thinking I could show him how to get in order. Within a month or 2 it was right back to the trash pit it was, if not worse. I know I may sound like a whiner, but I told him I cannot live with this any more, and if this cannot be cleaned up, I will have to go rent my own place to have peace of mind. I even come home to a living room full of food, dirty dishes, pop cans etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Jane F is offline  
#16 of 20 Old 02-27-2008, 03:38 PM
 
Rhiannon Feimorgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Diagonally parked in parallel world
Posts: 5,018
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would say clear out one of your ental properties and live there!

That sounds like it has gone beyond andy way to do it nicely.

As for the OP, it's my kids who are the packrats. Every few months I go through their stuff and pull out everything they don't seem to be using. This goes into a box in the bacement. I'f they ask for a specific item, i will go and get it for them. The stuff that's still in there after 3 months goes to the thrift store or get's thrown out whatever is most apropriate.

My kids know about the box but know they are not alowed to go through it and pull out everything. So they have to remember and want the thing to keep it.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.)0(
Rhiannon Feimorgan is offline  
#17 of 20 Old 03-01-2008, 09:44 PM
 
womenswisdom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: in my skin
Posts: 939
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
nak

Jane F, could your husband be a hoarder? Like in the true, psychological definition? What you're describing sounds way past "packrat" status. Some people have a compulsion to keep everything, to the point of endangering their health, relationships, etc. Such people need counseling to deal with the issue. They just cannot let stuff go because "something bad" might happen - the same as people who perform rituals compulsively because "something bad" might happen if they don't. Just a thought...

Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s ribboncesarean.gif 12/04) and S hbac.gif (12/07), angel3.gif m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 stork-suprise.gif.

womenswisdom is offline  
#18 of 20 Old 03-03-2008, 09:40 AM
 
EdnaMarie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
I've heard her say "He passed away at the age of 80, probably still thinking that his high school science notes were in a box in the top shelf of the hall closet..."
That is going to be me, though God willing my DH will live longer.

Jane F- Even my DH is not that bad and I am inclined to agree. Your DH might need help.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
EdnaMarie is offline  
#19 of 20 Old 03-10-2008, 11:43 PM
 
Erin+babyAndrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 574
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i haven't read the other replies yet..

dh has come a long long way over the years, we've been together for 9 years now. he has learned the value of letting things go, but it has taken time. Back in the early years when ds1 was tiny, our home was FULL of dh's "junque" as I called it. It was so hard to get through the day in any sort of peace because I was continually working around his junque and trying to keep the baby safe from it. I did a LOT of decluttering when he was not around. We came to a deal that I would use proper judgement when decluttering and I would ask him if I was unsure of anything to get rid of. The other part of that deal was that if he ever misses something that I decluttered, I would buy him a new whatever it was. So far, he has never missed anything and he is enjoying our simple lifestyle.
Erin+babyAndrew is offline  
#20 of 20 Old 03-10-2008, 11:43 PM
 
Erin+babyAndrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 574
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i haven't read the other replies yet..

dh has come a long long way over the years, we've been together for 9 years now. he has learned the value of letting things go, but it has taken time. Back in the early years when ds1 was tiny, our home was FULL of dh's "junque" as I called it. It was so hard to get through the day in any sort of peace because I was continually working around his junque and trying to keep the baby safe from it. I did a LOT of decluttering when he was not around. We came to a deal that I would use proper judgement when decluttering and I would ask him if I was unsure of anything to get rid of. The other part of that deal was that if he ever misses something that I decluttered, I would buy him a new whatever it was. So far, he has never missed anything and he is enjoying our simple lifestyle.
Erin+babyAndrew is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off