This is a blog about when you realize you and your significant other have significant differences in life vision for retirement. One significant difference has to do with stuff. He firmly believes: he with the most stuff at the end wins. While he is not a true hoarder, he is definitely a packrat. I’m not exactly going minimalism, but I do envision a future with the reduced complexity of stuff.
This has really come to a boiling point with our downsizing move. We are shrinking our living space by half. We are going from 12 closets to 4, literally. There is just not the space to have 45 different sizes/shapes of backpacks, 25 different winter coats, a Costco-supported pantry, boxes of board games we never play, or just-in-case anything.
I’m coming to terms with it and yes, I plan to purge more clothes and shoes. I really don’t need 20 pairs of (black) work pants anymore, nor cute heels in a range of colors. My daily reality is jeans/shorts and T-shirts and a couple of going-out outfits for each season.
And who am I to doubt serendipity – recently 2 bloggers commented about getting rid of all the old work files. In the move, I had what amounted to 4-5 boxes of old work stuff – memorabilia, reference books, and file folders full of resource material. I put this on the after-move purge as well. I’ll need to watch for the negativity elements on that (for me that’s reminders lost identity & daily relationships) and focus on the positive (the work shaped my skill development, created the person I am today).
Recently I read another blogger who said: “Holding on to something just for sentimental reasons (like the 50-year-old matches from my wedding) can weigh you down.” In this move a lot of sentimental stuff showed up in those 12 closets. Some got put in the Goodwill pile, some still managed to find its way into the 4 closets and basement storage. But I did feel the weight of it as we moved it in!
So I have been trying to de-clutter the stuff. But hubby just cannot give up his 6 computers; stacks of DVDs, CDs and albums; bikes, non-motorized water-craft, motorcycles, and all the associated paraphernalia; those 45 back-packs; or T-shirts and race awards from his running days. Yes, he has really tried to not move some things (an old TV, a second computer desk, years of magazines, clothes that will never fit again), and I can tell it is wrenching him to pieces.
I have also realized it is more than stuff – it’s also organization of said stuff.
Last week, during our multi-week move, he realized he could not find one of his car titles, and there were 5-6 boxes of office papers it “might be in” – in different rooms in the old or the new house. (At least I got him off the sidetrack to find it and back to a packing mode.) So, there was a realization I need to help him create a better system – which he’ll push back on, but I am the more organized and he did say he needs more organization. How to do this without marital fighting? A plan for November I’m thinking (after the move!), when we can stay focused on the fact it is not de-cluttering, just organizing.
So what have I learned about our differences. I cannot push him into the “do you love it, does it bring you joy” (Marie Kondo) or even “have you used it or looked at it in the last 10 years” thinking. I need to give him the space in the new house to keep his stuff – from the 2-bay garage with 8 sets of heavy duty shelving to an “attic office” of his own, also with 8 sets of storage shelving. I can appreciate him for the great traits he has, and allow him to be the packrat he is. (Although he did agree to not have a Costco-supported pantry any longer!)
And I can focus on how to minimize for me. Yes, I’m the one with the 25 different coats (I know, but my excuse is the old house had 12 closets and I had no idea I had that many coats!).
What have you been able to de-clutter in your life? Or not?
Picture Credit: Tim Doyle, Africa Safari 2017, the “say what zebra”