Clutter

My Wife Is Too Attached to Her Stuff

“Whenever I suggest throwing anything away, my wife always finds a reason why she doesn’t want to part with the item. Our closets are all overflowing!”

a woman with ADHD who's a "sentimental hoarder" guarding an overflowing wardrobe/closet
a woman with ADHD who's a "sentimental hoarder" guarding an overflowing wardrobe/closet

Some people are “past-oriented”; every possession is associated with a memory or a person. Others are “future-oriented”—items will “come in handy someday,” “go to the grandchildren,” or “look great in the next house.” Holding on to a bit of the past and planning a bit for the future are fine, as long as they don’t clutter the present.

For keepsakes, I recommend a memorabilia box no larger than a small microwave oven. The size of the box creates a visual boundary that forces you to consider size as a factor when deciding which items to keep for sentimental reasons. So keep Mom’s brooch, but donate her sleeper sofa. For larger items, find creative ways to make a handful of them useful. For instance, an old gymnastics trophy can be used as a doorstop. Or newer items can be swapped out for an heirloom. So get rid of your dining table and replace it with Grandma’s, but only if her table is more attractive and functional. Boundaries and creativity will allow your wife to respect the past while living in the present.

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