Saturday, January 12, 2013

Zero Clutter...Right

I've read several articles/blog posts about ridding oneself of clutter. They have great ideas/suggestions about how to declutter your life/house/mind---
  • figure out YOUR time line- either break it down into 10 minute increments over the course of a month or do it all in one day---don't bite off more than you can chew
  • FINISH what you start regardless of the size of the task
  • start with just one area- clean it and keep it free from clutter
  • throw away or donate to charity anything you do not use/need/love
  • throw away anything that is broken
  • make a place for everything and make it a habit to put everything in it's place
  • SORT into 3 boxes- keep, throw away, maybe
Yep. Nothing new and exciting. Nothing I didn't already know or do. But good tips.Except for one thing.

No one tells you how to be a successful declutterer when you live with someone who does not throw anything away because he might need/want it someday or because there just has to be someone, somewhere who can use whatever it is so he'll just keep it until that day arrives. Ha.

What does one do when she's beyond ready to simplify her life but lives with a junk hound and it appears to be a losing battle?

When I throw something away (OF MINE, mind you), the husband either interrogates me as to the validity of my decision or he pulls it right back out of the trash. His idea of cleaning it all up is stacking in a pile or shoving it all behind closed doors.

I wouldn't call him a hoarder because he's still living. I mean, living here. And because there's not a bunch of crap all over the house. Just in his areas. I would, however, call him, I mean call this thing about him, annoying. As hell.

So come on writers of decluttering tips Experienced clearers of space. Pursuers of feng shui. Seekers of empty spaces. Fellow lovers of simplicity...

How do I declutter a clutterer?


  1. Okay, we could start by throwing away all trash bins....and use the neighbors. That'll work.

    I gotta regale this with dear man keeps everything also. Little stuff. Like a clock breaks....I find him out on the work bench tearing it apart and saving all the parts to the clock!!! And he calls them "come in handies". I say BS!! For all the times I needed, let's say a small screw, he gets into his stash of come in handies and can't find one that'll fit where I need, off to Home Depot. And you just can't buy ONE's a whole slew of 'em in a package!!! And where do the extras go? In another come in handy container.

  2. Anni- YES! We are married to the same man! LOL Good idea about using the neighbor's trash bins. :)

  3. Oh my, you're married to my dad. (are you my mother?) He was on a rescue crew in his 20's and once salvaged 8 aviator headsets from a crashed plane. He moved them ELEVEN times--my mum was murderous over it. Then one day, during my teen years, he used the microphones out of them as hanging mikes for a church production. From the stage, on top of the ladder, he hollers, "See! I TOLD you I would use them!!"

    My poor mum.

    Yes, use the neighbor's trash, or take it all to good will--then your reasoning cannot be argued with!

  4. Chantel- That's too funny! Your poor mum is right! Rarely, if ever, does this happen with my husband's collection of crap. You'd be surprised how he argues with the Goodwill issue. When I used to let him take stuff there, he would actually take it to his mother's house and store it there. When she passed and they had to get everything out and moved, that bit him in the rear. LOL

  5. Are you sure that your "clutterer" doesn't have a brother that lives here in CT?...LOL!!! When I eliminated stuff in an effort to downsize, you should have heard the interrogation technique I was subjected to!! I do have to clean my closet and thought that doing it over the yucky weather months would be kind of fun!...:)JP

  6. Good question! Got me on that one. I never see anything new in the declutter articles I find. Oh, well- have a good weekend.

  7. JP- Ha! I'm beginning to think most of them are alike. Imagine that. LOL

    Patrice- Sure wish I could find some motivation in those articles. It's just so frustrating when I turn around and he's got it all back out again. Kind of like having a 2 year old in the house again. LOL

  8. Oh I feel like I'm dipping my toe into a tank of sharks. I might be like your husband in this. You know the saying about one's trash vs. treasure. I love taking apart old gadgets/toys. I've even gone to goodwill and garage sales to find some. Down in my man-cave basement area is a delightful area of bits and pieces of many things. It's fun hobby. Now spreading the stuff all over the house - yeah I would agree that might be crossing the line. It's not a gender thing. I recall my mother who was excellent with sewing had piles of fabric pieces, buttons, zippers, etc. I have fixed a few thing with these odd bits and pieces of parts. My suggestion would be to limit the drop zone.

  9. In our house, it has to stay in his drawers or in his space where I cant see it. The final straw in my house was when his '*#$&#()&" started showing up in the bottom of my closet, "because I had empty space". I pitched it!! AND NOW every monday morning I pitch something that is obviously junk (thats the day of the trash pick up and I leave the house after he does) SO FAR he hasnt missed a thing!! He no longer puts stuff on my closet floor, so Im thinking he did notice that that stuff was gone, but I think hes afraid to ask where it went!!

  10. I read about this suggestion. You could try it on him. It would require several boxes or plastic tubs. You would number the boxes/tubs. You would also an index card for each one that you correspondingly number. You then put all of your "junk" into each tub and write on the index card what box/tub it is in so that it can be easily found. A good way to do it is to put "like" items in the same box/tub.

    Most hoarders are afraid that they will NEED that item again and won't be able to find it. By having the index card, they will know exactly which box/tub it is in. You can then store it in the garage, attic, whatever. And you can keep the index cards in a safe place like your recipe box. Or jewelry box. Or another mutually agreed upon "safe place."

    You are now de-cluttered.

    It's worth a shot...

  11. Reading these comments, I thought I would get some tips too, but it seems we are all in the same boat... haha
    I have "one" too!!

  12. Don't ask me, I have seen stuff my husband keeps and some where down the road we will need it.
    I just throw my junk away because I do have so much more crap. I think I could become a hoarder lots easier.
    You asked about a title of a book and since I never seem to get to the email part I will tell you here okay?
    A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works

    Well have fun decluttering. I have been using the 10 minute system, Set the timer for 10 minutes and clean out drawers and cupboard. I have got so much cleaned so far using this.
    Okay, have a nice day.

  13. How about a match? Both my sister and brother-in-law are like that, and their house is pretty much covered inch by inch. I say, divide the house in two so he can do whatever he wants in his half. Obviously, you take the bathroom, the kitchen and the bedroom.....

  14. bill- The drop zone is, somewhat, limited to the family room (converted garage) but we do need to use that room sometimes. Then he shoves it all in a huge cabinet and fusses because he can't find anything when he needs it. I do realize it's not really a gender thing as two of our daughters are quite like their father in this. :) I think I could use a basement like you have. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

    Deb- Oh my goodness, you might be a genius! I just might have to give that a try!

    Robin- I'm not willing to do it for him. I've organized him countless times and he just messes it all up again. Plus, as I've told him, again, countless times, I am NOT his mother. However, I will mention this idea to him and see if he will try it. It's a very good idea!

    Betty- Oh no! Not you too! :)

    Kim- There have been times when we have made use of something he's had lying around. But those times can be counted on one hand without using all the fingers. LOL I am in another phase of throwing out my stuff. It's my third one. But mine isn't all over the place- it's contained in one room. His has a tendency to spread, but I can generally get him to put it back in his one area.

    Alessandra- Now there's a plan! LOL Ours isn't covered. I just want simplicity. I think we need a basement like Bill has. That way, I would never go down there and see any of it. But, if we did split the house in two, yes- those are the rooms I would take. :)

  15. Gosh, I totally feel for you and I have no answers. Good Luck!!

  16. I so had this problem with my boys. I finally told them it had to be cleaned up and neat or I would go through their rooms and toss everything that didn't have a designated spot. Turns out they only put away what they really cared about and I went through with the garbage bad after. While I had more power being the parent than the spouse, there are a few things you can do.

    First when you want to toss something out stick it in the trunk of your car till he's gone, or some other spot he won't go through. Then you can toss it or donate it when he's not around.

    Second, I would find a spot that he could use and out of the way then tell him you're fine with what he keeps as long as it's kept there. My grandparents did this. They had exposed rafters in the basement and stored boxes and totes labeled with what was in each. Then it was easy to find but not in the way of working in the basement and the rest of the house stayed neat, heck the basement was neat!

    Good luck to you.

  17. My husband and I are about equal in the let's get rid of the crap department. However our darling adult kids who have been asked repeatedly to remove their memorabilia seem to have continued to excell in living in The Family Circus world. Your remember them...IDA KNOW, NOT ME, JUST B CAUSE, NOBODY AND O. YEAH...
    Their mementos remain along with clothing they might want to wear when they come to visit in the old homestead. Where my husband and I differ is I'm for the you only get asked once and then it goes route and he wants to make sure they don't regret not taking the memorabilia with them.
    UGH and hey, I'm back in blogger ville...and happy to be catching up with your world other than what you report on FB.

  18. Lucy- Thanks! I need it.

    living- I've tried the trunk of my car thing. Then I ended up forgetting it was in there and he ended up being the next one to go into the trunk. Can you say, backfire? LOL No basements here. We're only 6 feet above sea level. But I sure would like to have one!

    Sush- First, it is GREAT to have you back in blogland! You've been missed! I was thrilled to see you here! Second, I have the same issue with my grown up kids. I was just thinking last night that I'm about to do some serious clearing out of that stuff too!

  19. I have the same thing with my kids, but not Hubby.
    I just regularly gather 50 things that can be dumped/donated, some I check with them, others I just go ahead. I use the car trunk idea too, you've just got to find a way of reminding yourself!!!
    I'm 5 things into my next 50...

  20. Zero clutter...that's my goal for this year. Got all the Christmas packed up and put up. It felt great and did it in record time. Giving myself permission not to blog was huge for me! I got Peter Walsh's book It's All Too Much for Christmas. (I asked for it) "An easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff" I think I'll start reading it on the plane to Texas and be all pumped when I get home! I am not a hoarder but have too much. My husband is very organized with no clutter at all.


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