Hahaha! I need to have your sense of humor about my husband's book "hoarding" tendencies.
I went through the kitchen yesterday. I ended up with a small pile to toss. I'm not sure if that means I'm in a decent spot with how much stuff is in the kitchen, or if I'm too attached with what we have.
Part of the problem is I know my boyfriend won't be completely down with pairing down too much. He saw the pile I set aside and half-jokingly said we can't throw anything out. For each thing he didn't want to throw out, I asked him when the last time he used that item and when the next time he was going to use it. He put up a fight, but when I asked him what he wanted to keep only a couple of items made it back. To be fair, what he put back aren't mine to throw away.
Partners are tricky waters to navigate. I generally leave his stuff alone, hoping I'm setting a good example, and then after a while when I suggest he clear out his things, he's more willing. But he's got a complete blind spot for books - and this coming from someone who is reluctant in her own right to get rid of many. As far as he's concerned, one should never release books back into the wild.
I'm also struggling with getting our possessions down because most items aren't mine or ours. I moved here in a car. He moved an entire 3,000 sq ft house. While I'm thankful for all of the things we didn't have to buy, I'm also resentful because our 1,000 sq ft house and garage are bursting at the seams. I still have a bit more whittling to do with my clothing, but my husband has at least 4 times the amount of clothing that I have.
Any tips for getting your partner to give up his things?
It's a tough one. As they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
There are a variety of successful strategies, which vary based on personality:Asking
. Spouse complies with a simple request. We are all jealous.Logic
. You explain to the spouse (see below for an example) of why decluttering makes sense.Modeling
. Spouse sees the joy of decluttering and free space. Spouse has their "own idea" to also declutter. You never contradict spouse on this point.Emotional
. Spouse is happy to make you happy once you explain how very
important it is. Tears may be involved.Bargaining.
You agree to get rid of your ugly broken item if he agrees to get rid of his ugly broken item.Bribes.
You offer favors (chores? NSFW favors? Get out of visiting a mother-in-law card? Remote control privileges?) in exchange for going through and culling items.Sneak
. Desperate, much like you might with children, you hide away unused items and gradually they "disappear" or are "lost" after a time passes with no one noticing.Threats
. You inform your spouse it's you or the [ugly broken item].Professional
. You call in professional help. Optional: Blast issue on a reality tv show.
As you can tell, the list devolves as you go down it. Let's call it the "CommonCents Hierarchy of Decluttering Your Partner"
Pick one area (e.g. clothes).
Ask him how much he thinks would be an acceptable amount of clothes (or space to take up). If he won't say, ask if he would agree it is reasonable that you share the closet space for example, 50/50.
Then tell him how much he has. e.g. Did you know you have 104 t-shirts?
Ask him whether you can set aside time on a weekend to go through them together to decide what is too old, worn, stained etc. (Don't phrase it as "culling".)
During this time, make piles of keep, get rid, maybe. (When going through the maybe pile for final disposition, accept he'll keep some for unreasonable sentimental reasons.)
Key to success: Asking questions, getting agreement