Thursday: When Your Spouse is a Packrat

This Morning's Worship Song.

WHEN YOUR SPOUSE IS A PACKRAT

A Time to Clean: Day 9

So... this may be a touchy subject, but I know it's an issue for a lot of people, so I think we should talk about it. Some of us are married to people who really hate to get rid of stuff. There could be a lot of reasons - just like when we have a hard time getting rid of stuff, too. Only maybe your spouse is worse than you when it comes to holding on to things!

My husband loves a neat and clean space. It makes him happy when he walks into a room that has no clutter. In fact, I'm the messy one in this relationship. He always cleans up after himself - cleans his side of the bedroom before he leaves in the morning, never leaves dirty clothes lying around, straighten the bathroom before he leaves it.

But, when it comes to parting with other stuff... well, he has a hard time and to convince him that we should let go of stuff is a real challenge.

My husband grew up very, very poor. They had nothing. Now, I know I'm psycho-analyzing him here, but I really think a lot of his trouble with letting things go stems from that. He worries about money all. the. time. I know we don't have a whole lot of money... and as a pastor he's not exactly rolling in the dough. So, when we buy something it's a real commitment in his mind. As in - once I bring it into the house... I'm stuck with it for years or decades.

Unfortunately, this can apply to everything that isn't broken or totally unusable.

Okay, so in his defense, he's been doing much better lately as I think he's finally realized that we have too much stuff and it's invading every space in our home.

So, how have I gone from having a husband who is a pack rat to a husband who is beginning to be okay with letting things go?

5 Tips for When Your Spouse is a Pack Rat

1. Talk about stuff. It doesn't have to be a big long conversation either - especially if the topic is stressful to your husband! Over time, mention how you'd like to see things simplified. You're dreaming of a neat and clutter free home. Don't accuse your husband of being a pack rat or a slob... that probably won't work and just cause a fight. Talk about how YOU feel. Say things like, "I want our home to be warm and welcoming so we can have people over and not be embarrassed." Make suggestions as to how things could be improved.

2. Make sure you aren't hoarding clutter. In other words, set the example! Be a living witness in your own space - your personal closets, how you shop for things, and how you let things go when it's time.

3. Show your spouse how things could be. For instance, my breakfast nook has notoriously been a catch all for clutter that my husband often contributes to. Last week I cleaned the space and decorated it nice for the season. I proudly showed him how I nice it looked and said I wanted it to stay that way forever. And he agreed. So far, so good.

5 Tips for When Your Spouse is a Pack Rat... @ AVirtuousWoman.org #ATimeToClean #clutter #declutter

4. Make a point to demonstrate how you need to get rid of some things. For instance, I have way too many pots and pans. In fact, when my MIL passed away this summer, I ended up with all of her pots and pans. My cupboard was already full. Not good. So, I selected the pots that I wanted to keep and put them in the cupboard and put the ones I wanted to give away on the bench in our mudroom {that's where I put stuff that's going to be given away}. So, of course, my husband said, "Why are giving these away?" and I showed him how full the cupboard was.

Okay, so sometimes that's not convincing enough. He really hates getting rid of anything that we already own that is still in working condition. And honestly, I can't say I have always handled this in the best way. But, sometimes I will take stuff that he doesn't want to give away and put it in "his space" and tell him he needs to find a place in "his space" for it or give it away. That usually works.

5. Finally, if your spouse insists on keeping ALL of their clutter, see what you can do to organize it for them. For instance, use Rubbermaid Tubs with lids and a label maker. Or gather things in a pretty basket on the desk and ask {nicely} that when the basket is full that they clean it out to make room for new stuff. Be considerate and make sure their things are easy to find - even helping them locate items when needed and showing them how nice things are when stored away and organized.

Have Compassion

It's important to have compassion and respect for your spouse. We can have strong emotional attachments to things and letting go can be hard. Realize that there maybe be underlying reasons that your spouse keeps a lot of stuff. Pray for them, lead by example, and be gracious!

Today's Goal

  • How can you help your spouse have less clutter and be more organized?
  • Write down your thoughts in your A Time to Clean Journal about what He has shown you.
  • This week we're working in our Kitchens. Do as much as you can to fill a bag with clutter and clean your kitchen from top to bottom.
  • This week we will also begin the routine of going to bed with a clean kitchen, sparkling sink, and clear counters if you aren't in this habit already.
  • Fill at least one bag or box full of stuff to give away.
  • Take a picture of your bag. Share it in our Facebook group and Instagram if you life - use hashtag #atimetoclean
  • Do your best to wake up early tomorrow, read tomorrow's lesson and spend time in prayer.

Does your spouse have a clutter problem? How have you dealt with it?