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On Decluttering & Compromise

Yesterday, I had a coffee/work date with my husband, Logan, at Zephyr Books & Coffee (my favorite writing haunt in Yreka, CA). While I drank coffee and ate a slice of coffee cake, Logan zipped through a personal creative project, and I was on the struggle bus because I couldn’t decide what to blog about.

Before we left I asked Debbie—baker extraordinaire at Zephyr—what she’d like to read about on the blog. She suggested writing about my favorite books, decluttering, and minimalism. I appreciated the feedback because my daily blogging project is fun and challenging!

The decluttering topic interested me because readers often assume that Logan and I are decluttering experts. In reality, we still struggle with the inflow and outflow of stuff in our lives. For example, we’re prepping to sell our tiny house in the spring, and last weekend we did chores at our wee abode. While I deep cleaned our home, I found a bunch of random belongings we left behind when we moved out including:

  • Books
  • Garden supplies
  • Extra blankets
  • Folding chairs for outdoor adventures
  • Logan’s ranch boots
  • Pictures
  • Four plates
  • Two bowls
  • Knives
  • The original boxes for our computers
  • Odds and ends in our junk drawer like small tools, screws, etc.
  • A small wheat mill

We haven’t used these items in six months (or longer), and I’d like to give the stuff to Goodwill. Before that happens, Logan has to sort through the box of goods in our living room. He’ll decide what to keep, what to giveaway, and then we’ll find a home for the stuff in our apartment.

Over the years, I’ve learned not to nag Logan about his stuff. He can decide what to keep and giveaway; it’s not up to me. As long as Logan’s stuff isn’t in my area—and vice versa—we’re a happy couple. I don’t love Logan’s extra stuff, but I love Logan, and the life we’ve created together.

6 comments… add one
  • Joannie February 20, 2018, 6:01 am

    Thank you for this. With Spring coming I kinda want to clean through the rooms and declutter (I moved in with my boyfriend last Summer and went from a very minimalist apartment to a condo overflowing with his stuff) and it’s hard for me not to nag him and bug him about decluttering and how much better our life would be after that… I’ll use your “not in my area” principle from now on – some of his stuff is preventing my having access to my own stuff, so that’s gonna have to be put away, but as for the rest, I’ll let it go. Thank you!

    • Tammy Strobel February 20, 2018, 8:53 am

      You’re welcome and good luck! 🙂

  • Sara February 20, 2018, 7:51 am

    I like your approach to decluttering with a partner. My husband & I have different thresholds for clutter, but I like to keep the big picture of our lives in perspective. I have plenty of my own stuff to declutter!

  • Annie February 20, 2018, 1:23 pm

    Always wise to compromise and respect each others’ stuff and wishes. My husband works at home in a small studio space I built for him. It’s the one area, besides his DVDs and clothing, that I never touch. As long as none of his stuff constitutes a tripping hazard he can do with it as he wishes. He does the same for my things. Any “community property” is discussed and a mutual decision agreed upon. It’s worked well for 21 years, and counting…

  • Caroline February 22, 2018, 7:05 am

    We have the same decluttering routine, although I sometimes go through my partner’s clothes and put aside what I think can go. He takes the final decision.
    After 12 years of storing stuff that belonged to his deceased parents, he finally was able to sort it out and say goodbye to most of it. I’ve always felt that was up to him.
    Thanks for your inspiring articles, Tammy.

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