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Old 09-08-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
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Oh my, I hit a nerve without even meaning to!

So I am naturally a minimalist kind of person. I don't like clutter, I don't like accumulating stuff, it's very easy for me to purge belongings. However I married my diametric opposite. My DH is a packrat and has a super hard time getting rid of anything.

I was talking to him today about POSSIBLY selling ONE item of exercise equipment. ONE, out of MANY that he has, and I suggested the one that is getting the least use and takes up the most room (treadmill). He FLIPPED out. Apparently my suggestion also means I intend to sell his bikes (yes, he has multiple and they all have to be stored IN the house, not the garage), his kayak, his scuba stuff, basically every hobby he loves. And therefore I also want to change him, I don't love him as he is, etc. I sat there stunned. I could not believe the emotional response he had. WHAT is going on? Can someone please explain? Has anyone else encountered such resistance?

He knows how I feel about stuff and clutter, but I don't get rid of his things without asking, I generally just leave it all alone. So for him to flip out seems SO over the top. I mean he was taking it SO personally.

What is going on in a person's head who is so tied to their belongings? I honestly would like to understand. They aren't going to keep you warm at night. They aren't going to smile at you and give you hugs. They aren't going to push your wheel chair when you're old and feeble. WHO CARES. Well, HE sure does!
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:33 PM   #2
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Re: Oh my, I hit a nerve without even meaning to!

Yep, my mom is the same way but she is a hoarder. I understand it is a real issue but I can not wrap my head around it really. People won't even come to her house because it is bad, she has always chose her stuff over people
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:36 PM   #3
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Yeah I feel like he is choosing his activities and stuff over everything else. I actually think it's selfish. I suppose my quest to get rid of stuff and have things the way *I* like could also be seen as selfish...

It's just so hard because his crap drives me crazy, but my wanting to get rid of it drives HIM crazy. It's so frustraing
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:47 PM   #4
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Wow that is crazy. I got into trouble with my hubs today. I tossed a junky cheapo water bottle in the recycling bin. One of those freebie #2 plastic things. It is Special Forces Re-enlistment though so it needs to go on a shelf. He never used it & was never SF so I'm not sure the reason for keeping it but whatever. Men...

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Old 09-08-2012, 07:22 PM   #5
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Re: Oh my, I hit a nerve without even meaning to!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hibiscus869 View Post
What is going on in a person's head who is so tied to their belongings? I honestly would like to understand. They aren't going to keep you warm at night. They aren't going to smile at you and give you hugs.
I wish I had an answer for you and I wish it was easier in general for different people to see the other side of the story. I say this exact same stuff all the time but feel like so many of those around me prefer stuff over people and the love and joy they bring into your life. Just today, I had to ask multiple questions b/c I really couldn't understand why my husband wanted to keep a non-weatherproof track jacket that I've never even seen him wear (we've been together over 9 years).
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:10 PM   #6
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I think DH and I are just of very different mind-sets. He does not mind having a lot of stuff, does not see it as messy or clutter. I'm the opposite. My parents have the same issue- my mother is like me, my dad is a packrat. I've seen them fight about it my whole life.

We did end up talking things over in a more quiet, calm moment. I explained where I was coming from, and he explained where he was coming from. I don't think I will ever understand that packrat kind of mentality, whatever is rewarding/reinforcing about having a lot of stuff is lost on me. But I'm trying to respect his feelings, it's not worth fighting about.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:36 PM   #7
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My DH grew up in a low income house & unstable family, so he derives a lot of security from STUFF. Especially things that could be "reused". E.g.: we had a four slice toaster and half of it quit working. I ordered a new toaster, and he wanted to keep the old one because "we could use it at some point"! Um, hello, it's broken. Broken/useless/unused things get disposed of (at least that's how I operate).
It's also part of DH's provider instinct... If he provides, say, a toaster, AND a backup, then he's done a "good job". He just needs verbal validation/affirmation from me, and then I can throw away broken things. (haha) Now to get him to stop bringing "useful" crap home from work... Hm...

It sounds like your DH just wants to be assured that he still has some autonomy. For whatever reason, he strongly associates his identity with his sports/hobbies and associated paraphernalia. I sometimes have to explain 2-3x things to my DH before he sees them "logically". Maybe just make sure he knows you still value/respect his hobbies, but you're looking at this from a logical, realistic perspective?
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KelseyH

It sounds like your DH just wants to be assured that he still has some autonomy. For whatever reason, he strongly associates his identity with his sports/hobbies and associated paraphernalia. I sometimes have to explain 2-3x things to my DH before he sees them "logically". Maybe just make sure he knows you still value/respect his hobbies, but you're looking at this from a logical, realistic perspective?
You know this is exactly what came out of our later, calm, discussion. He was a major athlete growing up, competed around the world. It was his whole life for a long time, and it's still a major part of his joy and, as you said, identity in life. And that's ok! I just don't like having a lot of 'stuff' to go with it. He said if he ever stops using any of it, I can get rid of it. But truthfully he does use it, so I'll always lose that argument.

He did say all these athletic pursuits (he's always competing in triathlons, bike races, marathons, etc.) are a major stress relief for him and it really helps him be more cheerful and happy at home. So I guess I just have to accept the clutter that goes with it. I like athletics too, but I don't do things that require a ton of equipment. But I'm a different personality! I yi yi.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:54 PM   #9
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Well, it sounds like there was some good communication! Even if it didn't end up the way you wanted - treadmill-less, haha. I have to remind myself on many occasions why I love my DH, otherwise his idiosyncrasies (like "saving" everything!) would drive me absolutely insane! I'm happy to hear you all got to the bottom of it.
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:16 PM   #10
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Sorry, I had to laugh because this sounds all too familiar. Good to hear it's not just my DH
He wasn't exactly sure what my intentions were when I told him about my purging plans (I am going through the 8 Weeks of Decluttering - or 40 Day Purge) right now. He never has a problem when I get rid of my things, or even the kids' things. He was actually quite happy when I told him about the big box of kids' toys I plan to donate.
However, he gets very emotional when I propose to get rid of his things. Funny example: I asked him to look through the kitchen items I intended to donate. The first item he pulled out was a bowl scraper. He was literally misty eyed when he asked why I was getting rid of that one. I told him it was because I had found 11, and didn't think I needed that many! I honestly thought I was going to have to take it back up to the kitchen to make him feel better, but he finally conceded....little steps...
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