My husband won’t throw anything away.

My husband is a pack-rat. He saves everything: movie ticket stubs, broken furniture, Styrofoam peanuts, take-out containers. Our house is starting to be full of these things and I’m scared that one day we’re going to be like those people on Oprah who have tunnels through piles of paper in their living rooms. He won’t let me hire a cleaner, he won’t let me throw anything away, and he won’t even discuss it. What should I do?

Lucky for you, it’s not 1952 and your husband isn’t in charge of you. I know he doesn’t want you to hire someone to clean, and he doesn’t want you to throw anything away, but really, who cares what he wants? I bet he wants to watch sports with his hand down the front of his pants all day on Saturday, but that doesn’t fly with you, I’m sure, so why should this?

Someone I know, who is definitely not me, on occasion will go through her husband’s clothes and throw stuff away. When this person’s husband asks, “Where did my Poo Rules t-shirt go?” this person will chew her lip, thoughtfully consider the question, and then say, “I don’t know, but I really hope you didn’t lose it! I loved that shirt.”

If your husband is just a lazy pack-rat, then you can either be self-righteous and cluttered, or you can clean it out yourself. If your husband really is a compulsive hoarder and freaks out when you get rid of his things, you might want to urge him to get some counseling before you’re buried under a pile of McDonald’s coffee cups and newspaper.

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