How I Deal with My Husband's Clutter: An Honest Confession from an Organized Wife | Organizing Made Fun: How I Deal with My Husband's Clutter: An Honest Confession from an Organized Wife

Monday, August 18, 2014

How I Deal with My Husband's Clutter: An Honest Confession from an Organized Wife

My husband travels often for business. Last week, he was away on a trip and I decided that I needed to spiffy up his closet. So, I opened it up and started refolding things that had fallen over and put back "where they belong" {or at least in my world of where it belongs}. I'm not going to lie, I don't like clutter. I don't like anyone else's clutter. I love my husband - he's amazing and so wonderful. But, I REALLY don't like his clutter. How do I deal with his clutter?

How I Deal with My Husband's Clutter: An honest confession from an organized wife ::

Let me tell you what I do, and you can mull it over. I'm not saying this works for everyone's husband, only how I have learned to deal with it in being married to him for 20 years. He's not horrible - he's not a pack rat, he's not a hoarder, he's just a bit cluttered. 

  • Be willing to compromise
Marriage is ALL about compromise. I have learned to compromise by asking him about things or waiting until he's ready to clean up. I'm definitely the "negotiator" and try to find something that works so the two of us are fairly satisfied when it comes to his clutter.

  • When he's away, I may go through things but I NEVER throw anything out.
I would never be sneaky and throw out things of his because he's not around - not that I'm not tempted, because I am! I am SURE he would never notice something missing.

  • Make a suggested pile.
What I DO is make a pile. I have a pile of "don't you think this is way too old or ugly or trash to hang on to?" I try not to go crazy with a gigantic pile, but just a few things that I might question, especially if he's had it a long time and has never worn/used it.

  • I don't clean up his clutter unless it's in my way.
If it's not in my way, I try to just ignore it. Don't get me started in his workshop! It's in the basement, and when he's done with a project he is too tired to put it away so he just throws it all over. I would LOVE to help put it away, but I don't know where anything goes...I just leave it. I turn away - realizing it's in the basement and I only have to look at it a few times a day, not all day long. It's a compromise. I do my laundry down there and my overflow pantry is in there, but he makes me a path to get through and so I just ignore it and keep my mouth closed. If he asks me if there are any projects I would like him to do around the house {he likes me to keep a "honey-do" list}, that is on my list.

  • I know what's really important to him and what he may let me toss or give away.
I was tidying up his closet and I saw a big pile of sweatshirts. How many sweatshirts does one person need? In my opinion - just one! But, I know that several of them are important to him so I don't even ask him to toss or donate them. Do I like that he has video equipment in the closet that is over 20+ years old and too old to really use much anymore? No, but I know it's important to him.

  • I appeal to his sensitive side - as he is naturally a generous man.

My husband is very generous. If I hear of a homeless place that needs men's clothing or a family who needs something that's just sitting around in his stuff not being used, I usually ask him if we could donate to that family/cause. Many times he understands that he has plenty and it's much more needed by others and he will give to them. 

  • I learn to organize his stuff the way HE wants it.
I have my ways of organizing things - we all do. So, I would fold all his socks and have them all set by color in rows...and he would make a huge mess of them! I would get so frustrated - until one day he just told me "I don't need them organized by color, just throw them all in the drawer". You know what? That's what I do! I match up the socks, but throw them all in the drawer. He rifles through things and he'd rather do it that way - plus it saves me a ton of time!

  • I don't nag. It never works. 

I married this man and I knew how he was before we got married - and he knew how I was. I try never to nag him, in general. I hate to hear him say "please don't nag me" - I haven't heard it in a long, long time {thankfully} but I have learned that nagging never gets him to jump up out of his chair and run around throwing out his clutter. I don't want to be the woman in Proverbs that says it's better to live in a corner of a roof than with a nagging wife {Proverbs 12:9}.  

  • When something really aggravates me about his clutter, I sit him down and talk about it calmly. 
Now, I'm not saying I have done this perfectly either - because let me tell you, there have been days I have yelled "why in the world do we have this? Please can't we get rid of it?" This is still an area I'm working on, but have learned to be calm.

  • Charm him.
I'm not going to lie - call it what you like, but sometimes charming your hubby works. Batting your eyes, being extra sweet, giving him a massage while you talk about things can work. I'm not ashamed to say that I've charmed my husband to give up many things that I never thought he'd let go of!

Again, take it or leave my advice. It may not work for your husband. Sometimes the best thing is to just call someone else to come in and help - a third party can often work best, like a Professional Organizer. But, consider some of the things I've said here. You may have a hubby with the opposite problem - one who would like YOU to clear YOUR clutter. Have you found a great way to get your husband to clear out his clutter?

Check out my hubby's closet here:

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