Hey Red! My Husband is a Pack Rat.
My husband is a pack rat. I can't throw away his things, so I have to try to organize the mess. When things get away from me, it gets messy around the house, and he gives up on it, too. I spend lots of time picking up after him. How do I deal with this?
Husband Help Please
Dear Husband Help,
When you live with someone with a different clutter threshold it can be SO frustrating. This is easily a challenging thing to deal with in a relationship.
It's a delicate dance, but with some compassion, compromise, and these tips, it can work.
Explain why you need less clutter.
While doing your best to not nag - which can be a challenge if you've had this conversation multiple times already - explain why it's so important to you. Is it that you think clearer or happier? Whatever the reason(s) is, tell him. Acknowledge his ability to still function well in the clutter (if he is), but that you need less clutter to do well. Also, ask him why he is reluctant to let things go.
Understanding each others' reasons helps to empathize with each other.
Determine the common level of clutter that you can both manage.
It can be different per room. For instance there are some areas that he can clutter up to his heart's content and you shut the door and ignore it. Other areas remain tidier because they're common areas guests will be in or whathaveyou. Honor the decided upon levels.
(In other words: if you agree to let him clutter up a "man cave" then let him and let it go.)
Make a pact to each do your part.
Doesn't have to be in blood, but you do both need to each honor your part and commitment to the home. However, remember that life happens and things will slip. When they do, don't beat yourselves up. Merely reset everything and start fresh again.
It will take both of you to understanding and empathizing with each other's clutter threshold while coming to an agreeable solution you can both live with, but it can be done.