Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It's Wifey Wednesday over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum. Today's questions is: what do you do with a packrat husband? Has anyone dealt with this before? Or what do you do if he's way messier than you are? How do you find a compromise?
I hate keeping stuff I don't need. We live in a small house with only so much storage space. I don't like clutter. Clutter depresses me. Clutter makes it hard to relax. When you keep too much stuff it's impossible to not have clutter. So I clean out. Often. I go through closets and dressers at least twice a year to get rid of stuff. I am always getting rid of toys that the kids no longer play with. Don't get me wrong... we still have a lot of stuff... just not stuff that we don't need or use. We have kids... clutter and kids don't go well together. It just makes more stress for me.
My husband comes from a family that keeps stuff. Everything. That's ok. Some people don't mind it like I do. But because I dislike it in my house so much Mike and I have had to come to some compromises along the way.
I've taught him to actually look through his closet and pull out things he hasn't worn for two years (especially things that are long out of style now) and things he won't ever wear again. When I look through my closet I pull out anything I haven't worn for a year... so I give Mike a little bit more time to realize he really isn't going to wear it.
There are some things that are nothing more than junk that Mike just can not seem to part with. He has two bins that he can keep stuff like that in and they go under the bed. If the bin is full and he has something else he needs to put in it he has to make a decision... he has to get rid of something to make room for the new item or he has to get rid of the new item. (The funny thing is that he completely forgets what he has in these bins and whenever he tries to clean them out a little bit he always gets surprised by the things he has!)
A rule I have is that we do not keep things that do not work. If something breaks and Mike decides he wants to be a guy and mess around and see if he can fix it that is fine. I just give him a deadline. I will usually say something like "Ok but if it is still here and not working in two months we are putting it in the trash." I figure if he REALLY wants to mess with it and try to get it working he would get to it sometime in the next two months. If he doesn't it is pretty likely that it will still be sitting around untouched a year later.
Mike has come a long way in the seven years that we have been married. I remember the first time that Mike decided to get rid of some clothes all on his own. I was ecstatic! I am pretty sure I rewarded him nicely. :) I understand that it is hard to change the ideas that you have grown up with but when you get married you have to compromise and come up with new ideas and plans that work in your new family unit. We have done this. I have changed my thinking about things that were important to Mike and he has changed his thinking about things that are important to me. We have allowed these changes to happen with patience and love.
We have a happier marriage because of these changes.
For more thoughts on this topic head on over to the Wifey Wednesday post.