Need help decluttering with a very reluctant DH...how/where do I start?

(18 Posts)

I have a 3 year old & a 7 month old. Suffering very bad depression & part of the reason for the depression is the state of the house...it's just a tip. DH is reluctant to throw anything away (his parents are hoarders too) so how do I persuade him to get rid of stuff?

I'm aware that priorities change when you have children & that you may have to get rid of things you may not want to due to space constraints but he doesn't see it that way. He just wants to keep everything confused

Also, I'm so low in mood & energy as well as looking after the children (although DS1 is at nursery today) how do I get motivated to start?

can you get rid of stuff without him knowing exactly what you have got rid of? What sort of things are we talking about? We normally have piles of stuff everywhere and every so often blitz a pile or two and get rid of most of it.

Oh there's everything, this house originally belonged to a relative of DH so there's some of her stuff here plus other odds & sods that have been dumped here that belong to DH's family. I don't want them here but feel I can't get rid of it. But, for example, on our window sill there is a brass propeller. On another window sill there is a bag of tile adhesive, a bag of grouting powder. 2 kitchen drawers & 1 cupboard are filled with I have no idea what (renovations are still ongoing & DH tells me it's tools & fixings etc); there's a random toaster in the hallway that isn't ours; a cupboard upstairs may or may not still have BILs guitar in it...it just goes on & on.

Bowlersarm Thu 09-May-13 12:19:45

Do you have space to put it into bin bags and store it for a bit. If DH doesn't ask for any of it after a certain period of time just get rid of it, he won't remember.

We don't really have anywhere to store it, the loft is fairly full & there is no way DH would pay for storage, we've argued about it many times.

specialsubject Thu 09-May-13 12:42:54

paying for storage is a bad idea unless it is for a fixed short-term.

if he shares a house and a life with you, he has to compromise, it is called marriage. Tell him to grow up and get rid of crap, or confine it to one cupboard.

tigerlilygrr Thu 09-May-13 12:43:02

Right, two ways to tackle it - either pick an area (under the kitchen sink, for example) or pick a category (kids' toys). Then blitz it. If its really really hard pick an area / category now and go and find five things you can throw away / charity shop. Start with stuff you feel you don't need permission for and when DH sees the benefits (and he will!) you can start on his stuff too.

Would he REALLY notice a few things going at a time?

Be stealthy and gradually take things with you a bag or box at a time & go to or from nursery/doctors/friends via the charity shop.

AND/OR -Pile everything that is his relatives stuff that is no longer useful, beautiful or seriously sentimental in a corner room by room and give him notice that you are getting rid unless he does as it's a health hazard for the DC's & a serious factor in your continued MH.

Does he have a shed? Could you afford to get one for him. Then HE can have his glory hole & YOU can move stuff like grouting/ tile adhesive that "might be useful" on there if he won't bin it.

Just do one cupboard or surface at a time.

<<hugs>> it is SO disheartening but as special says it's compromise a marriage & he is doing none & you are doing it all!!

Ooh just had a thought......if renovations are ongoing could you persuade him to have a skip??! grin

Amazing what you can hide under a bit of old wood/ plaster.

We have a skip, might see what I can hide in there. He has a shed but it's full already.

MinimalistMommi Thu 09-May-13 13:42:02

Is there any money for a watertight outside storage container so anything that isn't your and you can't get rid of can at least be outfo your living space?

wendybird77 Thu 09-May-13 17:04:39

Oh, I feel for you. DH has been obstructive to my decluttering efforts in the past as well. I've found the key with DH is to put his stuff in a place that is in his way, but not in my way. In his wardrobe, on his side of the bed, etc. I've assigned space to all of us in most rooms - bookcases, drawers, etc. As a gesture of good will he generally has a bit more space than I do - but all his stuff has to fit there. If it doesn't fit he has to find somewhere else to put it (of his). DH is fair-minded though, so he can see that I've given him more than his 'fair share' of space, so can't complain. The kids have space as well, as they also live here. It has taken years and lots of renewed efforts, but we are pretty much there now. I have really really had to work at it though and present him with solutions rather than waiting for him to get on-board and help.

In your position I would start by getting everyone else's crap out of my house. Go to the source, not through your DH. BIL - get your guitar in 2 weeks or it goes to charity. Is the relative that once lived there still alive? Does s/he still own the house? One toaster is enough, just get rid of that random one. Lots of car trips to the recycling centre! You are not a storage facility. Get propellers and tile adhesive outside - if it won't go in the shed then under a tarp / in a bucket, etc. Get that stuff out of your living space.

Then start with one room. I would start with kids rooms. Clear out all excess, clothes that don't fit, cull toys like it is your job. Only the kids stuff in their rooms, they have a right to space. Next do a living or dining room maybe. Something that is shared, but has a clear purpose so that DH can feel the benefits, but doesn't feel too threatened by you throwing all his junk treasures. Be ruthless with your own things, lead by example. Make sure that he doesn't take over any newly cleared space though - you have a right to equal space, even if you choose to keep your space clear.

Lastly come join us on the minimalist thread - we are very nice and supportive!

wendybird77 Thu 09-May-13 17:10:32

Also, I found that quiet determination was the way forward. I didn't confront DH (mostly), just piled his stuff up in inconvenient places for him, but out of my way. Then offered solutions for his stuff 'I think these boxes will be good for storing your records, I think 3 will fit on this shelf, but I guess you'll have to find somewhere else for these random bits of shite trinkets.'

expatinscotland Thu 09-May-13 17:13:34

I'd start throwing shit out, one bag at a time.

Roshbegosh Thu 09-May-13 17:14:47

Me too. Stealth and a look of innocence required.

Agree with that you would find the minimalist thread helpful. I'm going to go against the grain here and not advise sneaking out dh's stuff. I understand that this is driving you crazy but if he is genuinely a hoarder it will result in destroying trust and make him much more determined to hoard if he ever finds out. Wendybird offers great advice! I'd suggest taking one room where you can have total control (eg child's room) and declutter this. Corral any of DH's stuff that has found its way in there in a particular room/area elsewhere. You can even do this with your own room. Sort out all your stuff and give yourself a lovely de-cluttered side of the room/bedside table/half of the wardrobe and insist that DH keeps all his stuff on his side. Then as Wendybird says, piling stuff up in inconvenient spaces and offering "solutions" might be the way to go.

Come and join us over on the minimalist thread. Loads of de-clutterers there with less than helpful spouses!!

Khaleese Fri 10-May-13 07:01:16

I agree^^ you need to tackle the problem.

My DH is from a family of hoarders, they still have his childhood crap because i went mental and refused to have it delivered here, they need to bin it

You just have to explain it's all going, it's not healthy and you will be clearing each room.
My DH was raging when i forced him to bin stuff, it was just rubbish. No one needs five spare pairs of shoes for painting!
I allowed him space also^^ forced him to choose what he was keeping, compromised on some things. which i binned at later date

I booked a skip and filled it. Oh my god its cathartic, that was four years ago and now i keep clutter out. I also feel depressed living in mess.

coffeewineandchocolate Fri 10-May-13 07:28:28

sort stuff you wathe to throw away into bin bags.

put the binbags on a specified place.

tell him they are going to the tip 3 days later and if he wants anything to take it out and find it a permanent home in the house (chances are he will be too lazy)

take the bags to the tip.

repeat for all family members dumping crap at your house

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