Clutter Thresholds

Podcasts have become my jam. When we lived in DC I listened to them a lot while commuting, but since moving to Charlotte, I didn’t have a space where they made sense. Until we got Maggie! Now I listen everyday on walks.

Young House Love (a blog I read a while ago, but is no longer updated) just came out with a podcast and its been pretty fun. They are still finding their groove a little–they are only three episodes in–but I think its a keeper.

Back when I started this blog, a dear friend asked me to write a post on what to do when a couple is on totally different pages about clutter. I struggled and couldn’t really figure out what to write. Clay and I are on similar pages, though my threshold is definitely lower. He keeps up with me to keep the peace (most of the time). Or I just take care of it, because he is naturally on the neater end of the spectrum and I can keep up with it (and he lets me, which is key). And I don’t mind doing it, so that helps.

Celebrating 7 years of navigating clutter thresholds 😉

On my walk this morning, I listed to episode #3 where Sherry and John addressed clutter thresholds–though they are also on the same page, so didn’t really have a solution. They referenced a post by Gretchen Rubin on clutter blindness (she is new to me, I’ve only vaguely heard of her books, but I’m looking into her stuff–could be interesting). Rubin says that some people are clutter blind and just can’t SEE it.

Rubin gave this example from her friend:

“My husband never notices anything. As an experiment, when we got back from a trip, I left a suitcase full of his dirty clothes right in front of the front door, so he’d have to step over it to get in the house. I wanted to see how long he’d put up with it.  After a month, I called off the experiment and dealt with the suitcase myself.”

Ok, I have anxiety around clutter, and just READING this made me feel nauseous. And that brings up something interesting that was mentioned in the podcast, this post, and previous posts I’ve written–people have strong reactions to clutter. Some people need it (?), some can’t function with it (like me). Some of it is a control issue, some a creativity issue. But a lot just comes down to personality.

I never really considered people functioning better with clutter (and I’m not convinced that true) but I am totally on board with the idea that people don’t see it in the same way I do. I’m just lucky I’m not married to that type of person, or I would have a lot more panic attacks.

Rubin ends the post with:

“In my limited observation, such folks often just can’t be changed. They’re not thoughtless or rude; they simply can’t address clutter because they don’t see it.”

When my friend and I talked about couples struggling with clutter threshold issues, the only thing I could come up with was communication, grace, and compromise. And from reading the comments on the clutter blindness post, I think that is the best people can come up with…so, if you have this issue I recommend reading the comments. They are definitely the experts.

I know, who EVER recommended reading the comments on the internet!

In all seriousness, the commenters give some good ideas, and at the very least some catharsis. Lots of couples deal with this and figure out some give and take solutions to live together in (relative) peace.








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