To go along with our New Year’s Challenge theme, I thought we’d talk clutter.

It seems to me that there are two types of husbands: those who are inclined to come home at night, look at the house, and say “what did you do all day?” because it’s a mess, and those who wouldn’t see a dust bunny until it impeded their view of the television.

I know that’s a vast oversimplification, but for blogging purposes I’d like to talk about husband #2 today.

I am quite aware that it is not always the man who is the messy one in a relationship. I think my husband, for instance, is less inclined towards clutter than I am. But picking up on some of the comments over the last few days as we’ve tried to tackle our clutter, one common theme is women who want to throw things out, and men who can’t part with them.

When we moved a few years ago, I swore that I was not going to pack up junk. So I condensed my entire life prior to our marriage to a box slightly larger than a shoe box. It held important papers, pictures, cards, etc. My husband just couldn’t throw anything out, so we have three large boxes for him.

I have a friend whose husband will not throw anything out. He’s just attached to all kinds of things that have no other name except “junk”. And he refuses to clean up his office. It’s scary to go in there. One year, in a fit of cleaning frenzy, I offered to help her clean it for him as a surprise. Our church was having a huge yard sale, and we thought it was the perfect opportunity.

So we took that old deer hoof that had been mounted, the mixer that was missing a cord, the hair dryer that was 35 years old, etc. etc., and packed them up and sent them over. You could actually see inside their storage room again (though we hadn’t tackled the office).

He found out, and early Saturday morning, before the yard sale opened, he went and reclaimed all his stuff.

So we made a big mistake. We did it without telling him, and he was sore at us for quite a while. I definitely do not recommend just throwing things out that aren’t yours. But what do you do?

I’m in favour of dedicating a particular part of the house that is “just his” that he can keep the way he wants. He is an adult, after all, and if he wants to hold on to stuff, I do think that’s his prerogative. If you’re extremely tight for space, then you may have to really talk to him about this, but I don’t think it’s fair for a wife to completely take over the house.

At the same time, there may be mess that you just can’t live with. So here’s our question of the day: what do you do with a packrat husband? Has anyone dealt with this before? Or what do you do if he’s way messier than you are? How do you find a compromise?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Just leave a comment, or write your own post and link up below.

And don’t forget, my book, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, has tons of space dedicated to just this problem: how to divide up household responsibilities and come to agreement on how the house should be kept!

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