Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Marriage 601, Lecture 234: Clutterers anonymous
You guys, I think the well has run dry. I don't have anything to write about that I can write about. There is stuff going on - new job, SH's projects - but it's not a good idea to write about work and husband's projects online.
Well, I guess I can write about the impact of SH's big project. Where do you guys stand on clutter? Is there a designated clutter space in your house? I have mentioned before that I grew up in a clutter-free environment whereas SH was raised by hoarders in a house where every surface except the ceiling is covered with tchotkes.
The house of SH's parents is a nightmare. I just read the book "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?" by Roz Chast. I recommend it. She talks about caring for her aging parents and the problems of getting them into assisted care and cleaning out their apartment, where they had lived for over 50 years. They were collectors. They never threw anything away. Roz had to clean it all out. Actually, she sorted through almost everything, took the few things she wanted, and then left the rest for the superintendent -
Note to those of us who have never lived in an apartment in a big city - I have learned that the superintendent is the person in charge of the building, doing repairs and whatever. This is the sort of knowledge you get from living in New York. This and knowing what a taxi medallion is. If you have not lived in New York, you do not know this stuff. In flyover country, we do our own repairs or we beg our landlord - if we are renters - to repair. In flyover country, we do not take taxis because it is too hard to get a taxi. We drive.
Where was I? Oh! She left most of the junk in her mom and dad's apartment for the superintendent to deal with. I wish SH and I had that option with his parents.
My mom has a lot of stuff, too, but her stuff is organized. Also, my mom is not the kind of person to leave her mess for other people to deal with. My mom will make sure that her house is lean and mean in 24 years, when it might be time for her to move.
NB - My sister's husband has told SH and me that "when it is time, Mom is coming to live with US." My mom is a good houseguest and does not expect to be waited on hand and foot. She entertains herself and does her own dishes. She would be a good person to have as another member of the household.
SH's parents, on the other hand - well, they expect a higher level of service.
And I have gone so far from my main point that I can't even see it any more. What I was getting at was that SH has a clutter problem. The walls of his office shrink a little more each year. It's his office - his space. I don't dictate what happens there.
But when the clutter spills into the rest of the house, I have a problem with it.
His clutter is like a virus, stealthily invading the hallway, the stairs, the guest room, the dining room, and the living room.
SH's defense is that as long as we are not having people over for dinner, the dining room does not have to be clutter free.
I maintain that the dining room should be maintained in its state as a dining room. That I should be able to look at the dining room table and see nothing but table.
He disagrees and of course he is so so wrong. He points out that our house looks better than his parents' house does and I reply that that's setting the bar really low.
So my question - what is the rule in your house? Where is clutter allowed to accumulate? Whose clutter is it? Where do you throw a bit of a fit and insist that this mess be dealt with? Is it when you find your husband's suit hanging from the rocking chair? Even though YOU HAVE A CLOSET? Is it when the pile of empty corrugated boxes in the basement falls over? Is it when you can't walk up the stairs because they are so full of junk mail and things you want to throw away but SH says he can fix?
What say you?