Help Needed!! We are moving & dh is a packrat!

swmboApril 10, 2007

I so appreciated all the help I received from you all with those terrific packing tips!

Back again as I REALLY need some ideas/suggestions!

The packing is going really well, I am flying through room after room! Have taken oodles of bagfuls of items to donate (ooh it feels good :)

However, my dh's domain (garage, shed etc) wow, what can i say, I would post a photo, however am not quite that brave! lol!

He holds onto so much! Tools - that he will not need again, he thinks that 1 days he might.....I mean do we really need to keep 18 hammers???? A lot of his tools were for this home we have sold that we renovated. Our new home needs absolutely no renovation whatsoever. Only tools needed will be for maintenance. Big difference!

In the past I have taken it upon myself to occasionally toss/donate an item of his here & there. Even tho the home we are moving to is larger than our current home, it does not have a shed where he can store all these items.

Has anyone else had this experience with their partner? I know I cannot possibly be Robinson Cruiso!!! lol.

Thanks in advance


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I'd let him pack it all up and take it with you. It's a man thing from his man room!! when he gets to the new place he wont be looking for that special tool you know who threw out!!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 11:19PM
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If he packs it all, he should bring it to the new house. I'd save my arguments for a different battle.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 6:14AM
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Just offering sympathy. One of DH's problems is the hardware store. He's much better now but he used to have so many bags of packets of nails and things and the next time he needed one he couldn't find what he wanted so off to the hardware store again. He kept saying he'd sort out the garage before we moved. He finally did. The night before we moved. Under my supervision. Until 5am.

(I'm ashamed to say that I've been mostly responsible for the recluttering of our garage.)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 8:31AM
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Does he realize how many hammers he has?

And has he focused on how little space he'll have to store those things?

Can you help him focus on it? Then he can make the decision.

Nobody ends up w/ 18 hammers because they ever needed them all. You need about 5, maximum (claw, ball peen, mallet, sledge, maybe some other one I don't know about). He's got 18 because he bought one when he couldn't find the original.

It might help *HIM* be willing to let go if he knew of a place that his extra hammers, screws, nails, drill bits, etc., would go. Can you locate a Habitat for Humanit? Or an up-and-coming handyman type person who would be a good "charity" for him to send his extra stuff off to (he might find it noble to help someone get started on a big project or a new career)?

Also, it's true you need different tools for building than you do for maintenance, but a power miter saw is useful always--so don't be TOO fast to insist he get rid of stuff that's move expensive than a hammer. *Maybe* he wouldn't need a reciprocal saw in the new place, but it's still hard to give up a tool, bcs that means giving up the *possibility* that you'll do those things you used to do.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2007 at 9:12AM
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This is a really touchy area, but when we moved we almost came to blows over DH's packratishness. I offered him a tip I read in "Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui" by Karen Kingston.

Clutter is defined by her as:

* Things you do not use or love
* Things that are untidy or disorganized
* Too many things in too small a space
* Anything unfinished

Using those guidelines we worked together and threw out a huge pile of stuff.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 3:48PM
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My DH doesn't keep tools as such, but he is a pack-rat of computer items. Old tv tuner cards that won't work with his newer computer, tons and tons of cables (many of them do the same job) etc. He started cleaning out his area today for our move. I decided to let him work with his stuff, and when he realized how many cables he had, etc, he threw out extras. He did keep those that are essential and a few that could be useful. Those that he had 3 or more of, he got rid of extras.

Perhaps having your husband pack his stuff will help. As said, when he realizes how many things he has, perhaps he'll whittle down to those he feels he can use.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 5:52PM
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Assigned spaces! My DH had decluttered quite a bit of stuff, put there was plenty left. In the new (very old, but new to us) house, we basically each had assigned spaces. We could keep whatever we chose, but it had to stay in that space. The DH tripped over the unused treadmill for six months before he was ready to let me give it to someone on Freecycle.

My DH doesn't have much of the traditional guy garage stuff, but he has an overload of books. Books, hammers. Makes no difference to me. If your crud migrates out to the shared living spaces of the house, it's fair game for me to dispose of the item.

Can you assign him a room in the new house and he has to keep his clutter contained to that space?


    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 2:00AM
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"Perhaps having your husband pack his stuff will help. As said, when he realizes how many things he has, perhaps he'll whittle down to those he feels he can use."

I agree with this. He should be the one packing this stuff, or at least helping you do it, together. I would not get rid of any of my husband's tools without his knowledge and agreement. 

We've recently moved long distance and you do have to pick your battles. If it comes down to the end and is still not done, just box it all up, label it so you can identify it later, and throw it in the truck. He can unpack the boxes later and maybe sort through them then. 

Moving can be very stressful so I'd try to minimize it however possible. Good luck with your move!
    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 2:25AM
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Here's one solution, but it's rather long term...

(this would be better if he did it himself, but it sounds like you're doing all the packing?)

Pack what you think he should keep in one box.

Pack what you think he should get rid of in another box.

Label both boxes well. First box, open and unpack at the new house. Second box, do not unpack. If the stuff in there is not needed within a year (or some other timeframe DH agrees to), then donate/sell it.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 7:12PM
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My husband has huge pack rat tendencies. We finally got around this when I told him that
if he got rid of something he needed later he could just go buy a new one. Amazingly enough I don't believe that he has ever had to replace even one item.
But he can if he wants.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 11:23PM
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Sherry326 I think you've hit on a key element of decluttering. If we give ourselves the permission to replace it might make it easier to let iffy items go. Sometimes I get stuck in the thought process of either KEEP or TOSS. The compromise can be get rid of it and replace if you really find you need it. Obviously this works for items easily found again and not potential "treasures"! Thanks for the insight. Sometimes the most obvious and easiest solutions are the ones that never occur to me.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 8:14AM
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