“This morning my husband hung his shirts outside his closet — because he couldn’t find a place to squeeze them in. He has a very, very small closet. I went in and pulled out all the sweatshirts I could find, and he has more or as many as I do! (Not a very good use of space.) This then led me to look in the drawers which seem to hold things like old swimsuits and sweaters he’s never worn, and all kinds of things I didn’t know he owns!!
I’ve been asking him to go through his closet and get rid of things, which he’s done a bit but boy do we have a long way to go! I don’t know that he’s inspired or cares. There’s got to be a better way that I can sell him to get him on board getting rid of things he doesn’t need.”
Hi, Nicole! Welcome to the LFB fam!
I think you mentioned a couple key points:
1. He has a very small closet. Depending on your outlook, this is an advantage or a disadvantage. For those with a ton of stuff, it’s an obvious disadvantage. But I’d encourage you both to try and frame this as a positive thing. Embrace the small size and what it offers. A smaller space lends itself more easily to maintaining tidiness. And fewer clothes in a closet means less time standing in front of it deciding. So once he does get rid of some more things, his closet will be a quick stop along the way and not the burden it currently is.
2. Sweatshirts in a closet are not a good use of space. Everyone differs on how they like to organize things but it sounds like for you it is clear his current system isn’t working. Ask him if he feels the same. He might have more space than he thinks if only it was better used.
3. He’s holding on to things he doesn’t need. Maybe the best place to focus for now is on the more obviously unnecessary items. Rather than go for the abundance of sweatshirts in the closet that he sees every day, have him look through those drawers and get rid of the items that aren’t in his every day radar. He might not know he has some of those things either! This exercise will more quickly free up some great drawer space, which you can then use for sweatshirts.
4. You both have a lot of sweatshirts. I’d suggest you take a half hour together to each go through your sweatshirts at the same time. This is an area where you have common ground, and something you can do together so the hard work doesn’t all fall on him. Show him that you are ruthless with getting rid of the ones you know aren’t your favorites, and set an example for him to do the same.
5. He might not be inspired, but that’s okay. As frustrating as it is when someone we are close to isn’t happily aboard the minimalism train, it’s ultimately each person’s choice. You can encourage him and set an example, but it’s up to him to follow it or not. If he doesn’t, or not up to your standard anyway, don’t lose hope, but don’t put too much pressure on him either. Keep chipping away at the small, easy things to get rid of, which will set into motion a flow of decluttering and decreasing that overtime can make a big difference. I always like to get rid of the easiest things first, because it gives momentum and also makes the other non-essentials that much more apparent — now that you can see them!
I hope this helps, Nicole. Check back in with me on how it turns out!