Friday, January 12, 2007

Decluttering When Your Husband Wants to Keep It All

Believe it or not, we have already given away over half of our belongings and we STILL have enough to fill a house AND garage. Thank God for garages and basements or we would NEVER be able to move around in our house!

My husband has told me that he wants the house clean. I told him it is difficult to clean clutter. He agrees that we have too much clutter and yet, he won't let me get rid of stuff.

It would be so easy to just get rid of this stuff. He would not even miss it or know that I gave it away. I thought to myself. But would my husband TRUST me completely as the husband of the Proverbs 31 woman if I just started giving away things when I knew that he wanted to go over everything I wanted to give away.

At first, I told him that if he wanted to keep it, it had to be in his office. My husband works from home, and this made work VERY difficult for him. Even if he didn't work from home, would it really be kind to him to make his office a mess? That is not being a helpmeet in my eyes (and prolly not God's either).

Then I put everything in boxes. And I had BOXES and boxes for my husband to go through. And all that did was collect junk and SPIDERS! YIKES! Bad idea for a mom who hates bugs.

Finally in my frustration, I told my husband that I really just wanted to get rid of everything, and I shared my heart with him (the thoughts from above). It was then that he realized just how desperate I was to get RID of STUFF!

So we came up with this compromise. After the children are in bed, we would each spend 15 minutes cleaning and decluttering the house (he mostly works on his office and I work on unpacking in other areas of the house). After 15 minutes would would come together. We had to EACH have at LEAST ONE item that we would get rid of. And we could have no more than 20 (that way my husband could look at my stuff and not be overwhelmed with boxes and boxes of stuff). No matter what, he has to say yes to at least ONE of my items.

So far, we have done this for about a week now and gotten rid of a LOT of stuff! His office is getting cleaner and the house is getting decluttered. What is nice about this is that I am not getting overwhelmed! You know how it is when you get really going into cleaning and decluttering and do really really great for a day or two, but then get burnt out because you did too much too quickly? This is helping to pace me.

So maybe if you and your husband are at an impasse about how to declutter, because he wants to keep everything, maybe you could gently bring up this idea and see how he likes it. :)

1 comment:

devildogwife said...

I, like you, feel it is extremely important to honor my husband and his wishes. I have recently (in the past year) become overwhelmed with all of the "stuff" that had gathered in our home. Our garage is small and we don't have a basement. EEEK!!

Anyway, contrary to what he may say, he really does love to hang on to his things. I knew that I, in this case, needed to lead by example. I started with all of the other stuff around the house. It wasn't "his stuff", so no problems.

The house started to look better and better. He saw me giving away things that he knows I like, but no longer need/use. Hmmm... He started to go through his clothes and gave me things to donate. Now, that's a huge step.

Now, we try to clean out at least 5 things per day. Our house in getting under control and it's wonderful. Of course, we're getting ready to move again, so I'm highly motivated not to move a bunch of extra stuff into a smaller living space.

Best wishes to you and your hubby as you de-clutter your home.