M blurted that out at me in the midst of an intense discussion. My usual reply – peace on earth, goodwill toward men – seemed a lot flippant in the moment. So it made me pause and really think about it, which was a good thing, or our intense discussion would have dissolved into one of our rare screaming mimi fights. Over nothing and because I am stressed and disgruntled with full-time job demands and drama.

At the time he asked, I wanted all sorts of s–t he insists upon hoarding keeping gone from our lives. We were in the midst of yet another decluttering event, this time much harder because it’s his stuff that has followed us around from several homes over several years. Yet it remains boxed, untouched. WHY must we keep it?

It is the same old story with us – I aspire to be a minimalist, he wants to keep every piece of trash because he might make something else from it someday. I drive him nuts with my throw away or give away attitude, he makes me crazy with his need to keep everything indefinitely. Through the years we have reached an uneasy truce for the most part – he keeps less and what is saved is stored in the garage or storage unit and I leave it alone. Only we have been renting a storage unit for a number of years, and our home is still cluttered for my taste. This night was yet another showdown.

To his credit, M tends to fight fairly. Our tastes and opinions about the appearance of our home differ, and while he would like it to be less cluttered and fussy, he is also justified in that we live there and part of living is projects he is working on and enjoys. All over the house.

IF he cleaned up his crap and put it back in the garage I probably would not be so bothered. But these projects can stretch out for months, and for months I will be looking at tools and materials on the table I like to keep cleared for my projects as well.

Hence our intense disagreement.

When I stop and really think about it, though, my work-life imbalance contributes to my personal life dissatisfaction. We have furniture being delivered on Saturday, so it requires rearrangement of the existing furnishings and exercise equipment. My beloved rower is moving from it’s present location in front of a prime window overlooking the back yard to a less desirable position overlooking the dining room. It cannot be helped; I wanted this table, I have to compromise and give up something in return. I get it; I will adjust. But I really don’t LIKE it all that much right now.

So I was thinking about moving the rower out on to the deck … which presently has no stairs to the backyard, but at least I would be able to see what I like to see and be outside during this warmer weather. M immediately throws up a bunch of reasons why I cannot do that – which is primarily this is where a lot of projects happen. And most of the time that’s perfectly fine. A lot of the projects he does out on the deck enhance our home and our lives. At the same time, a lot of useless crap is kept under the auspices of “future projects.”

For now the rower is the less happy place. We agreed to disagree for now and to revisit after the furniture delivery, and hopefully after the looming Very Big Deal at work has passed and I am in work-life balance recovery.

How did I respond to his query? I took a deep breath. I said I do not want to fight about this small-ball crap that will not matter to either of us an hour from now. I do want to address our growing clutter problem, but not tonight. Right now, I want to get the furniture rearranged so our new dining room set can be delivered without issue. The rest of it will still be here and available to be addressed once the more pressing deadline has passed.

I am pretty proud of myself. I am not always this grown-up and reasonable in our conflicts, especially when it’s me in the pissy mood and being the agitator.

2 thoughts on “What do you want?

  1. I HATE clutter! It’s been a challenge combining households with the BF who also likes to keep a lot of stuff he “might” need in the future. But I give him credit, he’s learning to let go of possessions that have no inherent value.

    1. M has gotten much better about it through the years, but we have been so insanely busy it’s hard to keep up with the decluttering that needs to happen regularly. There is still more to do before our next batch of guests start arriving in a couple of weeks.

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