Advice on DH's clutter -- PLEASE!


I know we already had a thread about this, but when I offered my idea of just junking the other poster’s DH’s stuff, she said he would notice.

I don’t think mine would even know they are gone.

He has SO MUCH stuff you guys, I don’t know what to do. We have bullhorns in our bedroom. Bull HORNS. Not the kind that actually amplifies a voice, but the kind that once reigned majestically from a bovine’s head. PLEASE don’t get me started on the numerous amounts of odd electronics. I think we must have 5 or 6 DVD players. I knwo we have 2 portable ones. He also LOVES to collect earphones. Last time I tried to get all the wires in one place I counted 14 sets of earphones. Ipod little ones, right up to old walkman big ones. OK get this, he loses the cords for everything. When he doesn’t lose the actual electronic component itself. He’ll then tear apart the whole entire house and garage looking for a cord (I had a cord bin that I would throw any stray cord into to help out. I have not seen the cord bin since the move. sigh.) and while doing that he doesn’t clean up the mess after him as goes desperately seeking out cords. While this is very annoying – including him putting the home’s stress level through the roof – with an attitude that nobody can do or say anything until he finds his things – it’s financially burduning since he will go out and buy whatever he’s lost, again. Which of course two of everything means more CLUTTER.

I could cry.
We have BOXES of VHS tapes that typically we have the DVD counter-for. Since he can’t put DVD’s back (last deployment I went and bought DVD cases, I got rid of ALL of our DVD cases so that the movie could go in sleeves.) Now they are in stacks. I recently forced him to clean that up, but I suspect they are in stacks in a chest in our family room. When he searches for a VHS that he MUST SEE RIGHT NOW, he’ll leave stacks of VHS tapes - not put them back. Right behind the garage door. So I can’t open it to get to my laundry room. :mad:

Please note I have three kids so I have a heck of a time following them around trying to make them clean up. Much less DH. It’s caused so much stress and arguments over the years, plus it leaves me resentful and even unwilling to clean up. While I understand that is a sort of immature attitude, it seems to be beyond my control. I just don’t want to cleanup after someone like this all the darn time.

Saturday we cleaned out quite a bit of the garage. DH has seen things he hasn’t seen in years. So he didn’t even KNOW he has it. MIND YOU: he did not bring them in the house but got very excited just to know they are in the garage. Arggghhhh! He spent a good hour sorting DVD’s (don’t get me started) while I am throwing out major amounts of just trash – un-needed paperwork, toys, little broken bits of this or that. Things I haven’t seen or used in years/months I just chucked with a solid “bye! Nice knowing ya, don’t need ya anymore!”

You guys, I have actually thought “if my house burned down while we were gone I would be so grateful to start over, with NOTHING.” Of course with no physical threat to our kids or us, but it just seems so freeing you know?

So I think I am just going to start chucking things out. My reasoning is, after witnessing his reaction to his long-forgotten stuff, he wont even know what he is missing right? What do you think? Even those VHS tapes can be sold or pawned. We need to pay for our homebirth (and I need a clutter free home TO birth in!) and have so much we can be rid of.

I am starting to drown in a sea of clutter.

Oh yeah, the sheer amount of toys in this house, they got to go. It’s rediculous. They - the kids - really only play with two or three toys. All the rest just get dragged out to make a mess. They seem to be breeding! :eek:

So what would you do? Start tossing? Or save the stuff and let them deal with it?


First of all. Thank you for your post. It makes my DH’s tiny hoarding problem and clutter spreading seem minor in comparison. Just this morning I was looking at his piles of crud around our house and wondering why I bother doing anything with them.

I would personally start targeting one pile at a time, and either throw it away, donate it somewhere useful, or sell it on Ebay. People will buy most anything on Ebay it seems. I would probably let my husband know in advance that whatever wasn’t cleaned up straightened or had a purpose within the next two weeks would be gone or on its way out.

I don’t know how old your kids are, but my sister made her kids go through all of their toys and box up what they haven’t played with in the past 2 months. Then they made a trip together to donate them to a good charity. She threw out all of the old McDonalds happy meals toys (but then later found that her husband, also a hoarder, was saving them in his closet in case they some day became “collectibles.”)


I have similar problems with my DH sometimes, but it’s not to the point you’re at (yet!) :o

I’d just tell him that you want to de-clutter in preparation for the new baby (congrats!) and that donating many of your belongings that you don’t even use anymore would be a generous thing to do for others (donate them to a thrift shop or shelter or something). If you live in a warm climate, maybe you could have a yard sale too. On those organization shows on TV, they always let the people keep a certain amount of really sentimental, important stuff, but they limit it…maybe you guys could agree that you each get to keep 3, 4, however many boxes worth of items and the rest has to go (it could work with the kids’ toys too). Just tell him that all that STUFF that isn’t really necessary, and it’s stressing you out.

Good luck!
God bless! :smiley:


My husband is also a packrat. He collects scrap metal and deposits it in our backyard, and not in one location. We now have a “redneck” yard and I yelled at him about it last week. It looks so junky. Last month he found an old catamaran on the side of the road and picked it up. Guess where it is? In the backyard sitting on saw horses. He said it would be gone in a week, it’s been a month. He doesn’t get rid of anything. He has old dirtbike catalogs from before we met. He won’t trash them because he said he might need them. He doesn’t even know they exist until he sees them in the trashcan after I’ve thrown them away. He then retrieves them. He also has about 5000 (no kidding) address labels that charities sends him. He saves every last one of them, too.

He also has a hard time getting rid of clothes. Three years ago I tried to make him get rid of a tye dyed shirt, he fought me like a 4 year old. He said I was trying to take his youth away. :rolleyes: He still has it.


Have you any IDEA how encouraging it is to know that I AM NOT ALONE?

God bless My own Born Again experience as a clean and tidy person has prompted teensy-weensy baby steps on DH’s part. He discared about 6 inches of Master Card statements from 1996-2001. After two months of seeing the kitchen floor sparkling, he realized how BAD it was and replaced it. Since heat from a poorly functioning refrigerator had discolored the old floor, he decided we needed a new refrigerator . . .

I get rid of stuff I think he won’t miss by moving it into my car trunk for a month. If he hasn’t noticed it’s gone after a month, I dump it. I’m not talking about “real” stuff, just scraps.

But although there is microscopic progress in response to my own improvements, he wouldn’t let me throw out his 30-year-old straw boater piano-playing hat. The straw is all broken up and since he shaved his head, it would make him bleed if he tried to wear it but down there on the work bench, covering up the piles of old screws, glue tubes, and wrenches, “It isn’t hurting anything.”

On trash night (one grocery bag at a time), I take stuff three houses down the block so he doesn’t see it in front of our house. I’m in good company, I know other women who carry the trash off-site so that it won’t walk back into the house when they’re not looking!


I love my junk, ther eis hope for me in that I am getting tired of not “doing” anything with it. Now my dad once owned 3 garages that he could not walk into. :eek: The real problem with us is heaven forbid we actually get use out of some old piece of junk.

If my wife ever got rid of some of my stuff :mad: not happy would I be. She is patient with me and because of this I want to make her happy and at least organize my junk.

With me it comes from loathing waste (I’m the same way with food, worse infact) I am convinced that I will someday build a robot from my old electronics.:thumbsup:

I think ideas like the cord box are good. If you help him keep organized you might see him weeding out what he doesn’t want. Yeah just don’t put stuff away where he can’t find it. Murphy’s Law and another reinforcement of the behavior.


I also forgot to mention that my husband thinks he can sell anything and everything on eBay, and that he has the time to do it. A tenant that just moved out of one of our properties left behind 3 pairs of tennis shoes. I said, donate it to charity, he said, sell it on eBay. If he finds an old magazine, sell it on eBay, old computer chair with rips and tears, Hey! Better post it on eBay! JUST GET RID OF IT!!! :mad:


Oh you guys have me giggling and make me feel good in the commraderie that can only come from being the wife of a hoarder.

I too belong to FlyLady. I send the pertinent stuff to DH at work in email. So he comes home and we do our ZONE mission together for fifteen minutes. Yesterday he had the NERVE to say “Honey you need to boogie your van” yeah he’s right, I do need to do it, but I nearly said in response: “Honey you need to do an 8 hour/2 Ton boogie on the garage.” ROFL

He does help. It does drive me crazy when he tells me to clean something up though, or makes a comment about MY desk. With his junk/DVDs on it.

StratusRose I am so sorry about the scrap metal and catamaran. SO SORRY. When I hear stories like this I think I should just resign to being GRATEFUL he mostly collects media and electronics. And – Really. Bad. Art. Seriously guys, for years we had the UGLIEST grim reaper papermache type statue painted burnt-sienna orange and carrying in it’s little skeletal hands a BASKET OF BLACK BEANS. :shrug: My MIL bought it for him thinking the punk rock side of him would appreciate this little reaper from the world of truely bad art and swap-meets. It stood about two feet tall. It was dusty, it had to go into the garage or attic because that thing was NOT sitting anywhere that I would have to look at it. Finally my eldest ripped it’s head off in a two year old tantrum of saying “Dad this thing is so ugly, it would be better without a head.” Oh I was so pleased! I kissed DD and promptly trashed it, trying so hard not to smile while saying “sorry about your grim reaper hon.” I have about four large canvas oil paintings in my garage that are ugly browns, oranges and black “slop.” They came from the mental institution his dad worked at. Not the wall art, but painted by the incarcerated and insane. I try and throw em out and he says “but my dad would kill me!” OK so let your DAD store the pictures! Dollars to donuts his dad doesn’t even remember he has insanity-art.

Oh it feels so good to vent this stuff off. Makes me laugh too because it’s SO rediculous. Although will give it to Dh he did go through his closets and got rid of a TON of clothes for charity.

I do have a few things that are ebay worthy. Half of me doesn’t want to bother though. Just take it to a pawn shop. Like the extra portable DVD player. Buh-bye. Ebay – yes people will buy anything, but it’s become such a pain in the butt it’s like I said, almost not worth it. I love Craig’s List though!

OH and between this post and the OP, I did a twenty seven fling boogie on the toy box downstairs and can now get the lid back on. I ROCK! As far as giving toys to charity–I would if the pieces were together. Since adding that third child I have given up. Just let the kids get their occassional toys as gifts or whatever, wait til the pieces are all over the place and then junk the whole thing. This is WHY I bought a shop vac, they pick up small pieces of toys. Ahhhhhh. If the toy is truely important they’ll keep it together. period. No crying later.


I have the same problem and its very bad. It is a large stressor in our marriage, and I dont think there is hope for me.

His brother told me I may have to wait until he is blind or dead before I can do anything about it.:frowning:

Best to you in getting progress in your situation.


As a single man who is a packrat I know I would be upset if someone even a DW started throwing my stuff away. My mother gave me an idea that seems to work and something I think other men could agree to.

First I do a major sorting and I go through all my “stuff”, and put them in bins and boxes. I then label the bins and boxes with the date I packed things in there. If later I have to go to box or bin and it actually contained a needed item, I put the new date on that box (It’s kind of like a stay of execution for that box). All other boxes that did not contain the item I was searched for do not get a new date.

Any box with a date over 18 months gets tossed or donated UNOPENED. The key is to not open the box. Just get rid of it in one shot.

I started this method with 12 months as the limit, but that ended when I threw away the box with all my Christmas decorations.

I would think that this could also be expanded to items in the yard/garage/basement that are too big to fit in a box. If you have a a Polaroid camera, take a picture of the pile and write the date on it and use the same method. If something was in the pile that was needed, that pile gets a reprieve.

Any keepsakes and mementos such as yearbooks and such are exempt from the rules.

This method has caused me to organize things better, and has diminished the amount of clutter I keep around.


I wonder how much I could get for those bullhorns on ebay? Shall I give it a shot? LOL Some other wife out there will go to bed hating me when her DH get’s those things in the mail. :smiley:


This is the funniest thing I’ve read since Martha posted that story about her 4 year old and the neighbor. I’m going to print it out and look at it on a day when I need a good laugh.


One of my malignant fantasies was that DH would become quadriplegic (paraplegic would do) and I would prop him up in his wheel chair on the front porch and make him WATCH ME THROW OUT THE JUNK!

But that was too mean. :blush:

I’m negotiating a truce. If he lets me clean up the two “living” floors of the house, I’ll ignore the landfill in the basement, the landfill in the garage and the landfill in the attic!


I feel bad for you ladies…nothings going to change until HE changes.

my motto is “when in doubt, throw it out.” - i keep almost nothing, you could store all my personal items in one small closet. i hate clutter, it is an organization killer.

my own system is easy, if i come across something… and i haven’t used it in 3 months. in the trash it goes. i don’t mess with ebay, i don’t mess with yard sales. into the trash. old cologne i haven’t worn in 3 months… trash. shoes i haven’t worn in 3 months. trash. I keep myself operating at all times on whats needed, not wanted.

if i need it, i’ve used in in the previous 12 weeks. if i haven’t used it, its a dust collector and needs to go.

same with clothes, if i don’t like something, don’t wear it… trash.

everything i own i’ve managed to obtain once. so i could obtain it again in the future if need be.

books, if they’re over 10 years old, or contain outdated material… TRASH. (unless the classics are involved) - the only thing worse than no information is inaccurate information.

a cluttered workspace = a cluttered mind.

hmmm, thats all the wisdom i can think of right now.

my wife gets frustrated with how easily i dispatch things to the trashcan. but deep down, she likes it.
when we got married and we moved in together, she was shocked at the ease with which i threw things away. i just do not like spaces that have stuff all over. i like simple lines, simple shaker furniture. small amounts of wonderful things rather that a mass of junk.

remember, “when in doubt, throw it out”


Nooooooooo :eek:

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:


I suppose you would recommend that we discard our 1977 Guide to Home Renovation? Or how about the Do-It-Yourself Handbook of Electrical Wiring (1951).

Man! THOSE are collectors’ items today! :rolleyes:


GOOD IDEA! There is a flylady thing about this. As far as the Christmas stuff, nope, they are safe, we have green/red bins that are clearly Christmas stuff.

I am going to mention your idea to Dh. He has a large bin in our bedroom right now that he needs to go through (with cords sticking out of it – where is that cord bin? Time to start a new one I think, he LOVED that thing. He could find anything he needed in the cord bin without driving me to the point of insanity.) and he can then decide to seal it off. So let’s say in this bin is probably the missing cord to his laptop. Also, there is a few books on cassette, but only a few of the cassettes for the set are there.

Do you find yourself putting things away together? This is where the true clutter problem comes in – he won’t put things away, or he’ll scatter pieces to one thing all over the house then get really angry and panic when he can’t find a piece. We do this so much in the house I get resentful. Not only that – it’s either rubbing off on the kids, or he’s just unfairly blaming the older kids. My son is very absent minded about where he sets things down too. Little mini-me-clutter-bug is driving me nuts with his dad. I have to follow hima round like a drill sergeant after school “put your shoes in the shoes bin, put your clothes in the hamper, good put your homework in the HOMEWORK FOLDER, put it in YOUR BACKPACK and put that by the door.” He’s already lost two new sweathshirts at school. GRRRRR.

I can’t keep up. Hence the reason I start throwing things out. When it was just us two I could handle it, heck even when we had one baby I could handle it. Now with three kids, a fourth on the way: I just have started tossing things in the trash. I can’t keep it together, because let’s say I start a box of story on cassette, he’ll go through it and displace stuff looking for something ENTIRELY different – like earphones, so I have to start over. I get fed up.

Poor guy, he even once said “After all the time I have spent in my life looking for things I have misplaced…”


Oh and of course he shoots me dagger eyes when I say “Well if you put your things away, where they belong…” because he KNOWS it.


:rotfl: :rotfl:

You guys are cracking me up! :smiley:

We live in the house DH lived in growing up, and it is literally filled with stuff from 20-30 years ago. :eek: :banghead: It drives me crazy…we rented a dumpster a year ago and FILLED it, and we could probably fill another one! We just keep doing little by little…

I know it isn’t always funny, because the clutter does get very frustrating, but if this is one of the biggest problems we’re all dealing with right now, that’s not so bad. :o At least we can laugh about it! :wink:


You are SO right.

Did I mention that my born-again effort to keep the bedroom picture perfect (it really IS a lovely room) gave him the idea (without my asking) to move a tacky cd rack down to the landfill – I mean, the basement. Not having that aluminum-tube contraption next to the 1860 marble-top dresser took 25 points off my blood pressure. And I didn’t even ASK!


Just don’t let it add to your paper clutter!!!


I seriously laugh myself into tears just TYPING out that story. That orange grim reaper with his basket of black beans…I wish I had taken a picture of it, I really do. People are hard-pressed to believe me that it actually once existed. Wonder what the rats in the landfill think of it? ROFL!!!

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