Thursday, April 19, 2007

Too Much Stuff - Answer 6

Answer #6 - Too Much Clutter

From Sue

Question: My husband is a packrat. I would be glad to get rid of a LOT of stuff, but he and I end up fighting every time I want to get rid of something. How do I get him to see that this makes our life so much harder and that taking care of his stuff often keeps me from doing the one thing I really want to do – write?

Answer: When I first started de-cluttering, my husband was a little apprehensive about getting rid of items that belonged to him or items which we shared joint ownership. Sometimes it takes time for our spouses to join the de-cluttering bandwagon, but with a little prayer and patience, it can happen. Here are some ideas you might find helpful:

* Ask him to help you de-clutter your stuff (not his) by dropping off items at donation centers.
* Share with him the specific benefits (such as increased energy, reduced stress, improved memory, etc.) you have experienced by letting go of things.
* Explain to him how your job becomes easier without the clutter in the way.
* When he does part with items belonging to him, thank him and let him know you appreciate it.
* Let him catch you in the act of de-cluttering so that he will learn from your example.

Also, determine your part as an enabler. I know firsthand that it’s easy to think that we are not part of the problem. While we can’t change others, we can change ourselves. Here are some questions to help you consider your role in this issue:

* Are you taking care of items belonging to your husband that he should be responsible for?
* How do you contribute to your husband’s clutter by purchasing material gifts for him on his birthday, holidays, or other occasions?
* Do you encourage him to buy more stuff as the supportive wife (especially when things he likes are on sale)?
* Might he perceive that his belongings are being singled out as clutter when you still have a large amount of collections that you keep?
* How might the way you communicate your desire for him to de-clutter discourage him from letting go of stuff?

De-cluttering is contagious. As your husband experiences the benefits from you downsizing your own stuff, he will be more willing to part with a few of his things. It’s a process. Don’t expect him to move at your rate. Celebrate progress—even the baby steps. In the mean time, focus on you. Continue to de-clutter your belongings. Do the best you can with what you have. And enjoy the journey.

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