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How do I get DH to start decluttering?

(27 Posts)
lemontwist Thu 18-Apr-13 21:58:44

DH and I have lived in our house for about a year and a half. We have two DC under 3 and the house is pretty messy most of the time. I clean up but there is so much stuff lying around and most of it is DH's.
He has so many hobbies-he plays various musical instruments, is into computers, does loads of DIY, brews beers and wine - and every one of these thing involves loads of stuff! He's a pretty handy fella to have around but is just so messy messy with it all angry
We have a converted loft which should be our spare room but its full of boxes. He also has a shed full of his things and bits and pieces lying all round the house because he has no room for them.
I have clear outs of my things and try to suggest things for him to get rid of but he genuinly struggles to throw anything away. Ha has a stack of tye dye throws for example, from his student days (he's 33 now) but he couldn't bear to get rid.
Some one help me please before I just hire a skip one day when he's out [evil grin emoticon]

jkklpu Thu 18-Apr-13 22:24:01

Tell him that if he doesn't do 1 box/week, you're going to throw out an identified 6 boxes from the loft. Then, after 6 weeks, identify another 6, or whatever number. Once the loft is clear, you give him a week/other identified box/area of the floor/room. Follow through once and he'll probably get the message. Alternatively, put some items on eBay and send him the links.

SlatternismyMiddlename Fri 19-Apr-13 10:04:46

Have you tried relocating a few items? See if he notices they are gone. After a suitable period of time you can either tell him and hopefully he realises he can live without, or just get rid of it yourself.

mameulah Fri 19-Apr-13 10:34:26

I really hope someone comes up with a magical solution for this. I have the same problem and agree it is a total pain in the ass. I have learned the hard way that if you do it in a bossy 'do as you are told' kind of way that it doesn't make them more motivated to get rid of their things. Maybe suggest a car boot sale and then at least you have a cash incentive?

BeCool Fri 19-Apr-13 14:11:15

Ask him to restrict all his hobby crap to one part of the house - the shed would be prefect or the loft. Point out how unfair it is for one person's crap to dominate a house where 4 people live.

have a box that you can just chuck anything that belongs to him into that is lying around. Then you don't have to deal with it beyond putting it in the box. And he can deal with sorting the box out.

lemontwist Fri 19-Apr-13 16:08:29

Some good ideas thanks. He just can't bear to throw anything away. There are so many things that he thinks might come in use one day, or he has attached some strange sentimental value to. I like the idea of hiding things away to see if he even realises.

BeCool Fri 19-Apr-13 16:35:00

I think that is a good idea.
I am/was a hoarder and now I am enroute to becoming a family minimalist - I can honestly say it's an internal change HE needs to experience.

Would he be up for motivational reading along decluttering lines? That has really been helpful to me. But if someone started to want to throw away my treasures crap, I would have got very upset and resisted. But its unfair you all have to deal with it.

I would be isolating the crap, keeping 'family' areas clutter free and passing wee snippits onto him to slowly work on his internal voice/attitude.

wendybird77 Fri 19-Apr-13 17:37:07

I have this problem. Over years time I have started designating spaces for each persons stuff, bookshelves, hooks on doors, drawers in the bathroom, etc. If I don't do this he takes over all the space. I do tell him he has too much stuff, but have never gotten rid of anything of his without him knowing. Usually I present it as helping create a purposeful space for whatever thing I'm trying to contain - boxes for magazines, etc. I always ask how many he needs and he always underestimates. I honestly think he just has no idea how much stuff he has and how much space it takes up. He is fair-minded, so can't argue when he has the same (or more in the case of our wardrobe and the bookshelves) space as everyone else. However this won't solve all problems - even things like glasses / bottles / pans become an issue as he won't get rid. Maybe Iyou should LTB? grin

lemontwist Fri 19-Apr-13 18:46:21

Ha ha Wendy if I LTB I would certainly embrace the minimilism but to be fair he's not all bad smile. I just don't think he sees the problem and constantly blames lack of storage/awkward room layouts etc instead of having too much stuff/not tidying it up. Like the idea of having designated spaces.
BeCool its good to know that a hoarder can change their ways. Good on you. I totally agree that it's got to be him changing his mindset. However tempting it is just to chuck things of his I think he'd be really upset.

lemontwist Fri 19-Apr-13 18:51:09

Any suggestions for motivational reading BeCool? I don't really think he'd read it but I'd be interested to have a look myself and maybe throw a few snippets his way.

CreatureRetorts Fri 19-Apr-13 18:51:30

I'm your DH (not actually, but ykwim).

I'm terrible. DH now tidies up but leaves my stuff in a pile. I get incredibly defensive and take it personally if he wants to chuck my stuff as it feels like he's somehow belittling me. Messed up I know.

I've slowly come to the realisation that it's not on and I'm tackling bits in stages as too overwhelming.

Talk to your DH and keep it non accusatory. Ask him what he wants to do with the stuff. Put it in one place and have designated "clear zones" where no mess is tolerated. Again we do that here and it helps.

Imlostwithoutahope Fri 19-Apr-13 18:52:27

My dh is the same but I'm not as kind as other posters. He's got wardrobes allocated for his stuff which are full and then he's taken over the garage and loft. He likes keeping things because'you never know when you'll need them' so he keeps stuff for him ie magazines, clothes and then any old crap like empty ipad boxes, receipts, old radiators etc. i normally keep them for a while and when he isn't here take them to the skip. He doesn't even notice they've gone. I wouldn't do it for the things I know are sentimental but old clothes, tv, books, boxes, bags etc get binned.

CreatureRetorts Fri 19-Apr-13 18:52:56

BeCool do you have any reading you can recommend?

Chesterado Fri 19-Apr-13 19:03:25

Very similar dh here too. Finally instigated a major clear out of his 'study' last weekend as it will soon contain a new baby and his 'treasures' included a whole box of pebbles from new Zealand ten years ago, pay cheques from 15 yrs ago and tonnes of broken biros.His whole family is like this and e thinks it is quite normal. Best strategy we have found is agreeing a time and date for a clear out in advance, that he knows he has to stick to, agreeing that he can keep say one box worth of 'important stuff' crap and then a treat ie trip to pub after.

He is gradually getting better and I have to remind myself of this everyone we go to the inlaws and sit surrounded by towers of crap important back copies of Which? Dating back to the 1990s and broken pieces of furniture that they have been about to fix for the last nine years. Argh.

Chesterado Fri 19-Apr-13 19:04:55

I also put loads of his old clothes in the charity bag. He has never, ever noticed.

wendybird77 Fri 19-Apr-13 19:31:27

Clothes is a tough one in this house as they are sentimental to DH. All 200 or so t-shirts (not joking). He also has lots of 'joke' clothes that he won't part with in case that perfect occasion arises for the plaid 70's cabana wear or the polyester shiny neon shirt that has a repeat pattern of a hamburger. We've moved recently and our new wardrobe came yesterday - he gets 3/5ths of it including 5 drawers. Unsurprisingly his clothes don't come any where near fitting in. I have no idea where he is going to put the rest. Sigh.

BeCool Fri 19-Apr-13 23:18:40

Lemon I'm on my phone. But I've out some links up on the " out with the old in with the NOTHING" thread.

BeCool Fri 19-Apr-13 23:20:45

Chesterado - your DH's collections has given me a great laugh grin.
(Could be me if I let myself go!)

lemontwist Sat 20-Apr-13 09:11:48

Thanks BeCool I'll have a look.

Horsemad Sat 20-Apr-13 22:40:18

Is hoarding a predominantly male thing? And does anyone know why people hoard?
Have seen it written that it can be a MH issue, but what causes it?

CocktailQueen Sat 20-Apr-13 22:45:04

I think a lot of hoarding is a generational issue- older people hoard stuff so as not to waste money and because they're used to it ... For younger people, no idea! Though it is a constant struggle against stuff in a house of kids!

AdoraBell Sat 20-Apr-13 23:37:51

I don't think it is predominantly a male problem, and in my experience - as in me and every other hoarder I've met- it comes down to insecurity, for whatever reason.

I'm also reformed, but the only thing that got my OH motivated was his new plan of returning to the UK after shipping 2 (count them) containers over here. To re-import it all we'll not only have to pay shipping costs, but VAT too. On crap stuff we've already paid VAT on when we bought it in the UK, before shipping it. So, that and an brutally honest estate agent telling him straight that he'll never sell the house "looking like this, you need to clear the clutter out" did the trickgrin

I think the carrot and stick approach could be a good way to start.

whenwilltherebegoodnews Sun 21-Apr-13 07:44:37

My DH sounds exactly the same! I have recently become ruthless with decluttering and his stuff depresses me.

I have a two pronged attack. Firstly I rave about how much better I feel about clearing out my wardrobe, how easy it is to find my paperwork etc and this has rubbed off a bit and he's had a small clear out. And he got involved with clearing out our books, especially when he realised there could be some cash to be made out of them.

Secondly, I have put a few of his things into storage periodically, and some others into the charity bags when I'm having a clear out - and he has yet to notice! If he does look for anything I just say it must be lost deep within one of his piles of crap wink

notcitrus Sun 21-Apr-13 08:50:12

Generational issue is certainly part of it - my parents and particularly ILs had to save everything they could as they couldn't afford to replace it. Now space is really expensive and stuff is cheap and we're both fighting our upbringing and "helpful" gifts from the in-laws. Taking stuff.away from the ILs is what stops them ending up at telly hoarder levels.

MrNC is a lot better than he was. I refused to move in with a man who had over 100 T-shirts. Pointing out how much rent we pay per square metre motivated him well, ditto needing to empty a room so we can do up part of the house. Problem is similar to yours though, lots of stuff he does actually use and would be expensive to replace, so I try to keep it out of the living room.

We're soon going to have a lodger for a couple months so the spare room needs to be emptied. He's willing in theory to ditch a lot of stuff now but it's just making the time.

Chesterado Sun 21-Apr-13 20:30:10

Ps for motivational reading the 'life laundry' is quite good. Book from a tv series a while back.

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