How do you talk spouse into getting rid of excess?

marti8aOctober 6, 2008

We have bedroom furniture that is nice, but is just too much for the room. Well, it fits, but then there is just a pathway through the room.

Almost every room has too much furniture in it, the garage has too many tool boxes or assorted junk that he keeps just in case he needs it for a project, and I'm just as bad with my quilting stash and craft stuff.

But I am ready to get rid of my stuff. How can I show or tell him how much better our life will be without so much junk?

I know now that we will never have a big house again. When we move next time, it will be the same space if not smaller, and I'd like to be more comfortable in this house for the time we have left in it, and with the economy going south, it could be longer than we planned.

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If you don't know how to talk to your DH about something, how on earth are we going to be able to do it? The subject (furniture) isn't the point, after all, is it? I suppose you could ask him when was the last time he actually used something old (and probably inaccessible, plus forgotten being out of sight) in a recent project? And was it something that would have cost so much new that it was worth keeping a houseful of junk for? On the off chance he really intended to (or did) go through the whole shebang just to find one of whatever it was he needed? What I and others have done in the past in similar circumstances is to very carefully, over a long time, do some sorting on our own, without saying anything (nothing like a little honesty in relationships!) of the most obvious 'junk', the oldest and least likely to be missed stuff, if we really felt we couldn't get any cooperation, but it's not necessarily something I'd advocate for you - only you can judge such things yourself, as well as how to 'convince' him to deal with it.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 5:59AM
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This is not what you are asking but.............. It is the opposite for us. Hubby is the clear it out one and I am the one to hang on.I would walk into his shop and it was so neat and clean and even I could find what I was looking for. So frustrating, time spent looking for something to do a project with for a half hour and the whole project took five minutes.

By example of you starting to clear out some of your things he might see the benefit.

On the other hand when my DH would rag on be about my stuff it made me angry. REALLY angry. There are things I am not willing to give up. When I am ready out it goes. Until then forget it.

I so agree that living in a smaller home is nice and even nicer when decluttered. Why our home now was all about ME this time. I have my own studio room.I am an artist and will always have projects going on. I needed a room to work in that I can walk out and shut the door on when it is left a mess in the middle of a project or three. Maybe sounds selfish but it has kept my projects OUT of the living room or kitchen for weeks on end culttering up the whole house instead of one room.

So if it is just the shop area maybe it is not so bad he has his stuff.

So far as the furniture. I am the collector of that. I shoe horn it all in. I do not know why. I get rid of some only to fill the space again. I am working on that by doing mosaic on a few things and then selling them. Maybe you can talk him into buying a smaller bedroom set. We do not have a set of anything here. Nothing matches here. All helter skelter stuff. Maybe make space somewhere else for some of yours and his clothes and clear out a dresser and suggest you make it one instead of two. I have re-pourposed many pieces of furniture that works for me even though not as intended for the piece.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 11:55AM
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This isn't really about your stuff at all, but about communication between you and your DH. Are you able to talk freely together and make suggestions and express ideas? If so, then sit down and tell him that you've been thinking about decluttering and you think it would be helpful to your lifestyle and ask how he feels about that and what he would be willing to do. If you're both on board with the idea, the details of how to make it happen will be much easier to figure out together.

If you can't communicate with him, or if the "stuff" is a control issue for either of you, then you've got to resolve that issue before you can even attempt to accomplish anything else.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 12:50PM
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Talking to dh. Yeah, that's it in a nutshell. We talk, or at least I talk, and he appears to listen, he nods, if he speaks at all he agrees we have too much stuff for this house, and then nothing is done.

I thought maybe some of you had a more convincing way of saying we could live better with less clutter. The first 22 years we were married, I would have argued about it, but the last 10-11, I can see it is counter productive with him, and only annoys me, so I give my opinion, let him express his and go on.

He does bring up the subject of clearing out stuff, and now that I've posted this thread and have given it thought, it started when we moved stuff out of the living room into the den. So not only do we have too much den furniture, we also have two dining tables, a couple of extra end tables, several bookcases, and a futon in here. This is the room where dh's recliner is, and every time I want to be in here with him, he has to raise the recliner to let me by. That's when he started bringing up the subject himself. Yet when I suggest moving something out, he resists.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 1:18PM
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Marti8a, I can not explain it. I think I understand it from your DH side because I am sort of there myself.Sometimes it is so hard to shed things we feel comfortable with. The decisions do have to come from within. My DH would talk to me about it and I was a deaf wall. After the flood and I thought everything had been lost some thing changed in me and suddenly I did not want as much around me. I still have lots but only about a third of the just stuff I used to have. Furniture is anther story. Sigh. I find fun things and can't part with them. Do not know why.

I also understand your frustration because I even have it with myself. LOL And THAT is bad when I make myself mad.

DH built me a storage loft in the shop where the extra furniture goes when not in use. I rotate things around as I change the house around. Since we just moved in here I am still not sure exactly what will be the perfect piece to fit where. Still working on that. But time goes on and in my experience I sometimes just feel like a change so I go out and scout through the extra pieces I have stored and make the house feel all new again.I also have some of my pieces to eventually be sold up there.

Maybe you can move some of the den furniture out into his shop area and cover it for protection from the elements. Maybe when it is out of the house and in his way he might be able to shed it easier.

I think you might talk to him until you are blue in the face and not get anywhere but angry if he is anything like I am. It is just so hard to let go of some things.A sad situation I am a hard case myself. I know I am not helping you just trying to explain how hard it is for some of us to get rid of stuff. I do do it eventually. And had to big time when we went to a way smaller house. I am glad the stuff is gone and really do not miss it. I feel lighter in the brain. OK NO AIR HEAD COMMENTS please. Not so much to have to mentally keep track of. I will admit I was a hoarder. A clean hoarder but still a hoarder. Every inch of space in every cabinet was packed until nothing else would go in. Not even dirt. I did not hoard papers and trash.Just things. So I have come a long way It takes time and the mind set has to be there before shedding things can happen.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 2:00PM
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Well then it sounds like you're talking but nothing is being accomplished. After 33 years, you know your DH best, so modify my suggestions accordingly.

I would suggest setting a clear, easily achievable goal. Perhaps something like, "I would like to clear out the den so we can use it more comfortably. Do you agree with that?" If the answer is yes, then you could ask, "What furniture do you think would be the best to keep in there for what we normally do in that room?" Then you'll get your dialog started focused on a goal, making it easy to move along in the process of achieving it.

Once you identify together what furniture you would like to stay, move on to getting rid of the excess furniture...decision time, do we keep it, give it away or throw it away? If you keep it, where will it go, if you give it away how will it get to where it's going, if you're throwing it away then how do you get it to the dump, etc. See where I'm going? It's no longer about "should we someday" it's about "we are doing this together, let's figure out how to make it happen".

Men are much better at wrapping their minds around things when they have concrete steps to follow. They're naturally goal-oriented, and if you work with that to your advantage you'll probably find things will actually happen. The key is to maintain focus on the goal and not get sidetracked, which is something we women are very prone to do! If you decide to move furniture but get sidetracked clearing out a bookshelf and moving on to a closet and then moving that stuff somewhere else, your DH will get bored, frustrated and ultimately he will give up helping you. So keep in mind what he wants to see is the goal accomplished, and leave all the parts you can do later, by yourself, for another time.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 3:54PM
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Do you have a storage shed? If not, perhaps building one and using it to store excess would work. Let him have the garage to do as he pleases, all his. You could move things randomly into the shed or pass on to someone. A complete decluttering at once might be a bit overwhelming.

I am guessing he really doesn't know how much stuff there is. Especially on the decorating front and wouldn't even know if you methodically began rearranging/reducing. Might try a drawer, clear it out and see if he even notices. Go on to a closet next. Then a piece of furniture.

My husband was the total opposite. The neat guy and heaven forbid if something was moved or exhanged. How he put up with me is beyond. I had my own space to make messes which he could totally ignore. And I adored his perfection, it kept me centered and focused on staying out of a cluttered environment. We could easily discuss changes and went through a number of remodeling, redecorating projects. I learned through the years how to creatively get him to see my direction....without his actually knowing I made the final decision.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 4:12PM
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We're both packrats, and getting ready to move into a smaller house. We're gently 'encouraging' each other to start weeding out. Small steps are probably best, as facing the whole thing is a daunting task. In the end, it will be 'tough love', as we are only making one trip in a 26' rental truck. If it doesn't fit on the truck, it isn't going!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 5:00PM
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Try moving out (or get him to agree to) 1-2 pieces of furniture at a time, into a storage area somewhere, anywhere else, for ~ 3 mos. At the end of that time ask him if he's missed whatever it is or if he's enjoying the relaxation of not being overwhelmed by it all. If he's happy, sell the thing, if not, tell him to move it into his private area (give him one!) and enjoy it there.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 6:39PM
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Wow flgargoyle, that's not a big truck! We are like you, both of us have packrat tendencies, and both of us have parents who are packrats.

We talked tonight, and have decided to start with the small furniture that was given to us by our parents because it had been in the family for years. If no one in the family wants it, I am going to list it on craigslist - if I can figure out what to call it.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 11:22PM
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Okay- There are some reasons we will get by with a 26' truck:

We aren't bringing any of our modern furniture with us- it's all just about shot. The antiques will be on the truck.

Same for our TV's and major appliances.

All of my tools and 'garage stuff' will already be there, since I'll be using it to build the house.

So, it's not as dramatic as it sounds! I'd even like to jettison our mis-matched everyday dishes, and buy new, inexpensive matching stuff for the new house.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 3:55PM
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We are fortunate that neither of us hold onto stuff that's not needed.

What's worked for us is when we tackle the 2x year cleaning of the basement & garage is we say to each other we need to get rid of 3-4 things each time and normally come up with more.

We live in a 1600 sq ft house (Us + 1 child) and refuse to put up a shed due to having yet one more place to set stuff. Our garage barely fits 2 cars which we always ensure we can put in there. Storage space becomes premium and results in keeping only what's needed.

We have a fairly decent size basement but want to keep it is open & clutter free (along with the rest of our house) as possible.

Hubby doesn't collect "stuff" and neither do I.

When in debate, we always ask the question if we needed to move to a smaller house tomorrow, would we take it with us.

If no - out it goes....

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 4:47PM
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DH is a collector and keeper of all things that he may use "someday" and I like to clear things out. I pick my battles. We compromise. We have a yard sale once a year and he usually gets on board with that. Sometimes things (junk like plastic cups from amusement parks, the zillion black socks he never wears) just disappear and he has yet to miss any of it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 10:33PM
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