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When a Wannabe Minimalist is Married to a Collector

My husband and I have many differences. It’s part of what has made our relationship fun and interesting. We balance each other. He thrives around groups of people, I grow tired. I’m a worrier, he’s not. I don’t like yard work, he enjoys it. I love dramas, he loves fantasy adventure. I like white wine, he likes red. Balance. But there is one area balance is a constant struggle.

My husband likes lots of stuff. He likes to save everything just in case one day we need it, like a 40-year-old worn-out window frame. To him, it all looks like a treasure. To me, it looks like junk.

There is something beautiful and intriguing about the word “simplicity.” The older I get the more I love the word and concept. I keep reading about minimalism these days and it sounds glorious. After 30 years of marriage and 29 years of raising kids, wow have we collected a lot of stuff. One of my favorite things to accomplish in a day now is making a trip to Goodwill or the dump. But 30 years of accumulation is overwhelming. It’s going slowly and my husband wants to keep most of it.

I occasionally buy him trays, shelves, containers, and other types of organizers. I’ve bought tool organizers, floor to ceiling shelves for the garage, cases for his watch collection, desktop organizers, closet organizers, and more. Sometimes he’ll use them and sometimes it makes things a little better. Other times it just adds to the clutter.

Here’s how we’ve handled it thus far. Some spaces I control and other areas he controls. The garage is his. His office and desktop are his. His closet is his. The two storage rooms are his. Most of the rest of the house is mine. I can get rid of things without asking if it’s from the kitchen, my closet, my office, the kid’s rooms (for the most part), and the family room. That's the best I've been able to come up with.

If you have advice, I’m open to it.


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