While I was recuperating I sorted a massive shelf of Mr S’s clothes. 

Clothes were tossed up on the top shelf; some were in a massive removalist box that had split, threatening to spill its load on me. The threaten of physical injury was less injurious than daily injury to my sensibilities looking at this mess.

So while Mr S was away at work, I pulled everything out. Normally I don’t touch his touch. And I don’t declutter his things when I have enough issues with my possession, splinter in my own eye, log in others kind of thing. 

But I did. I touched. I tidied. I got a potential “these have to go” pile. 

He has crateloads of clothes still with their tags on, many items ordered online were still in the postpacks. From 2008!! Over 20 items from his favourite clothing supplier still in packaging. That’s about $2000 worth of unworn, never used clothing. But there was more! T shirts, track pants, underwear, clothing galore. 

And mixed in all this was clothes he wears regularly and old clothes that he doesn’t wear anymore. And some he shouldn’t wear anymore as they are like rags. 

So I sorted and folded and organised. So therapeutic. 

Being aware that they’re his property, I didn’t throw anything away. Just put this pile of clothes I thought should go to one side for him to deal with. 

I knew he’d freak. He is a hoarder. He enbues items with memories. 

And I was right. He did freak. “Oh no. This can’t go. Nothing from Gowings can go.” (Gowings was his favourite shop that shut down over a decade ago.) 

“Oh no. This has to go back. I like this shirt.” Said shirt is stained and stretched and has been unworn for years. 

I told him I had given three pairs of socks that were still in packaging to our son. “Which socks?” Ones that you bought probably 10 years ago. “Oh no, I need those. I’ve been saving them.” Stop, I say. There are more. “Oh I will just take back one pair for exercising. I need them now.”

I worked on him a bit more. “You haven’t worn these three t shirts and look you have three more worn ones still on the shelf and even more new ones in packaging. You don’t need three with worn collars, stained and badly stretched.” 

“You can’t talk,” he said. “You have too more clothes than me.” So I showed him how he actually has more wardrobe and cupboard space than me. That half of one of my shelves has our linen. And two of my shelves are for bags and shoes. 

I kept up the campaign that evening to get him to release the clothes. I explained how fashions change as has his body shape and his tastes. And pointed out how much money he has wasted. He countered claimed he had enough clothes for the next 20 years. You can’t be wearing tie dye and purple pants at 75?!?

He finally said, “You’re right. I just needed to process it. I love all my stuff.” 

Several days later, not all have been tossed. He reclaimed a pair of track pants and started wearing them. Other clothes were just moved to the floor in another room. But the top shelf still looks organised and I think he will let so more items go. And I know he won’t buy any clothes for a while. 

He even looked into his wardrobe and said he needed to toss some shirts! 

How’s that for success? 

And you? Would you declutter your partner’s property? Why is it easier to toss other people’s stuff?

6 thoughts on “Decluttering

  1. When I cleaned out my wardrobe and Reg could see the beautiful space and the order on my side of the cupboard and the not so much on his, he gave me permission to go through his stuff and have a wee cull. I made the decision about a few things, but I ended up putting all the stuff that was definitely ok back in his wardrobe and made him choose what to keep from the rest. He was pretty good – the moleskins circa 1998 went, as did the ratty old double breasted suit he bought for his cousin’s wedding in 1990 (and all his dad’s cast offs – his mum can’t throw out anything that’s “good”. I can). Some fairly revolting tshirts stayed, but eh, compared to what he had… Now to come up with something useful to do with eleventy bazillion car show tshirts.

    I’ve had a few goes at his wardrobe, and after my last cull, he ended up claiming some real estate in the chest of drawers, so that’s working out pretty well for him, too.

    • Suggestion for car shirt tshirts: cut up for cleaning rags or garden ties. Just cut up!

      Mr S’s mum can’t throw anything out either. And “good” has a very wide definition. You mightn’t look good in it but if it still fits, it is good.

      We have enough moleskin from every decade to start a retro RM Williams shop.

  2. Rom does the same thing, imbues all his stuff with memories, even regular, serviceable or worn clothing. When we organized our clothes into the new cupboards, he set aside a pile of ragged T-shirts (mostly from rock bands) and acknowledged they were sentimental items rather than actual clothing now! He has made some progress, mostly out of vanity – I had been trying to get him to upgrade from “dad jeans” (faded carpenter style) to fitted dark wash, and had some success there. He likes buying new clothes, just not getting rid of any old ones. He will stop wearing them, but not donate or discard them! More recently he gave away a bunch of golf shirts that he received as gifts but weren’t to his tastes, and some sweaters that didn’t launder well. So, small steps!

    • Small steps is the way to go. I am wearing out my own stuff. And looking at items regularly to part with one item at a time. Over a year, that is a few items out of here.

      I have one concert Tshirt I will hang onto for memories. My first Billy Bragg. I parted with two others from other concerts of his. But will keep my first.

  3. I am finding life with no partner so very simple… although my girls could well get a visit from the decluttering fairy soon.. Isn’t it good to know that in the event of a zombie apocalypse your husband will be right for pants and t-shirts for the next decade:)

    • Yes, Jo. Mr S has clothes for more than a decade. He could clothe all the adult male our entire suburb. But he may help start simplifying. He has agreed with me about needing a smaller house in about 10 years.

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