First-world Life Challenges: De-cluttering with a hoarder partner

Retirement is a perfect time to reduce the stuff that crowds your life – whether it’s your environment, your schedule, or your mind.   You would think that the simplest would be to de-clutter your environment.   Get rid of the extraneous stuff that has accumulated.

But what do you do when you live life with a hoarder partner who firmly believes “he with the most stuff wins”?   Even the simplest of de-cluttering can be a minefield.

So with that mind-field in mind, I needed a personal coaching session for inspiration this winter.   So here it goes:

My Blog Is My Life Coach: Winter De-cluttering

Is it beautiful, useful, well-loved?  If you don’t love it, if you don’t use it, if it no longer fits your lifestyle, if it no longer fits….get rid of it.   You will not begin to love it, you won’t use it, and in reality, if it does fit in the future, you’d rather treat yourself to something new anyway!

You will not use that soup tureen, that silver-plated pitcher & serving dishes, those brandy glasses, nor that punch bowl.  You haven’t in 25 years since you got them as wedding presents!  It is time to let them go.

Get rid of the former work clothes.  No, you will not ever wear those jackets with blue jeans…. no matter how often you look at the Talbot’s catalogue for inspiration.

And old sports gear and dinghy sports attire.  Yes, I have 25-year-old skis and I know I will never, ever use them again.

And bookshelves of books, cases of CDs, DVDs, even vinyl – there are not enough years to re-read and listen to all of that.

A garage full of tools and toys – including old tools we inherited.  Really, who would ever use a hand scythe on an urban postage-stamp lawn?   Why do we have a baby swimming pool?   And a basket of old volleyballs that don’t stay inflated?


So which of these items can I get rid of without the minefield of hubby screaming “you’re killing me– I need that – it’s mine”.   We shall see… But I’m now inspired to de-clutter this winter!!

What are you de-cluttering from your life in retirement?


Picture Credit: MorgueFile

10 thoughts on “First-world Life Challenges: De-cluttering with a hoarder partner

  1. My favorite topic ~ organizing. Oh, boy . . . I did not marry a hoarder and I’ve said no to family members when they’ve wanted to store boxes of their stuff at our house. I am always going through and ridding this house of this and that and am regularly accused of tossing when something gets misplaced. It helps to distinguish ‘my’ belongings and then I can do something about them and hubby does pick up on the hint. Be a role model and begin with your stuff like your old skis you referenced, above? OR Is there a way to organize ‘stuff’ so that it is more pleasing to the eye if hubby becomes upset that things leave your house?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am definitely focusing more on the things that are “mine” and hoping he will take the hint! It’s an ongoing battle between us, good natured in most part. Not sure how to make the clutter more eye-appealing, but that is an interesting challenge!


  2. You can have my tools when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers. Ha ha. I am afraid I am a bit of a pack rat, OK, I’m a massive pack rat, but when one is a woodworker and an engaged DIYer, one needs a lot of tools! I do only have one of every power tool (except drills), but I have a lot of duplicates in hand tools. I also have enough paint trays to equip a battalion of painters. I think they multiply in the dark……..

    That said, I have been eliminating all of the stress and pressure that built up over 30+ years. I have learned a LOT about the impact of nutrition on health. I eat much better, I get a reasonable amount of sleep (compared to the 4-6 hours per night that I subsisted on for a couple of decades) and I don’t put myself in artificially stressful situations.

    We have also done a reasonable amount of physical decluttering around the house, but still have a lot left to accomplish before we are satisfied. 36 years worth of stuff does not vanish overnight, maybe not even in a year without a concerted effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, I didn’t even mention the tools as those are completely in his domain. My question is.. how many screwdrivers do you really need? Or hammers? or wenches? NO, not the different sizes or shapes (understand that)… the same size and shape. You only have one hand! If a tool breaks, you go buy another. I know that’s doable because any project requires 2-4 trips to the hardware store. 🙂
      Now he’s discovered Harbor Freight where he gets “disposable tools” (cheap, use once) or “You never know when you might need a …fill in the blank” tool. Ack! Stress on me!

      Seriously, I am physically decluttering slowly. I just wish it would rub off on hubby a bit!


  3. Hi Pat,
    I’ve been decluttering since I retired about a year ago. I gave away clothes, books and all sorts of things that I hadn’t used in a long time. I realized that I had made some definite progression when I gave away a few things with deep sentimental value. I knew then that “stuff” is just stuff and that I only want to surround myself with the things that bring me joy and don’t weigh me down, useful things or pretty things that make me smile. That is my criteria.
    Good luck on your decluttering journey Pat. And, by the way, I enjoy your blog tremendously!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment and the encouragement. I’ve started putting clothes on the give-away pile if I put them on and then take them off “because”… a sign now that they don’t bring me joy. Round two on sentimental stuff is next – some of those wedding presents! Last summer I did 4 months as a “antique dealer” at a local place and did get rid of quite a few sentimental things… mostly things handed down from mom or mom-in-law. Books will be a tough one a well. I grew up with very few books – they were a big deal in my house. So giving them away will be tough… but really, I never look at those “coffee table” books, ever!


  4. Once again we are on the same page, Pat and Janis! I have been decluttering this week too. For me, if I am confident that we really are not going to use the items again, and that my husband won’t notice that they are gone, I get rid of them. I don’ t share this process with my husband — or we would never get rid of anything–seriously, nothing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately mine does notice many of the things. And yes, complains quite loudly. I feel a sense of accomplishment if I get 2 of the 3 things placed to go actually out of the house! Last week, the wedding gift punch-bowl didn’t make it out, but both crystal /silver plated serving dishes did. Woohoo! I think I’m tackling books next…. my local library will take them and with a donation receipt! Again, I’m targeting 2 of 3….wish me luck.


  5. What good timing! Just this morning, my husband and I decided to FINALLY get rid of our jacuzzi. It’s been sitting out on the patio unused, but using energy, for at least a year. I keep thinking we will start enjoying it again (and it is REALLY nice to sit in on a cold winter night), but I have to be realistic. Also, another big load of clothes and household items is ready to be delivered to my favorite charity second hand store. Good luck to you too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love that phrase… “be realistic”. I will continue to slog through and de-cutter, and saying that phrase repeatedly! Actually, my clothes closet is no longer jam packed – I noticed this year on closet transition. [I have a spring/summer and fall/winter set of clothes in two closets – our older home has very, very small closets (the width of single door).] So I’m making some progress, but more is needed!

      Liked by 1 person

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