The hindsight of going through the process of the purge with my husband and kids a couple of years ago, honestly, saved more than just our space or the way we use our stuff. I feel like it created an opportunity to enjoy our stuff more and free our time a bit more. But the biggest surprise is how much it helped save our marriage.
My husband and I have fought over the years about all of our stuff. How our stuff gets cleaned or put away. We even fought about who was responsible for what. Neither one of us wanted to clean stuff that wasn’t “his” or “mine”. It was like we ultimately created two people who wouldn’t do anything for the other person. I feel like the purge allowed us to get rid of some of that underlying relationship clutter. The process helped to streamline our chores more, because the stuff truly became “ours” as we made more decisions of what to keep.
I also found that as we shared more stories about some of our treasured items, we began to respect the “why” behind keeping specific items. We learned even more about each other on our journey to get rid of our stuff.
Our stuff became the thing we could hide behind!
Our stuff kept us “safe”. We could hide behind neglecting our stuff, or each other, or even ourselves. It was all under the guise of having too much to do each day, so why try to tackle it all. Regardless of any effort put in on a day to day basis there was still way too much to tidy or clean. Rather than understand that more deeply, we just slowly let it eat at both of us. We each had very different ways of coping with all of the clutter, but both were damaging to all of the relationships around us.
I slowly became more comfortable just apologizing for the mess ALL of the time. And for a while we had good excuses…We just got married….we just moved….we just did a major renovation…we had the carpets redone….but eventually, the excuse was simply “we didn’t try!”
That’s when it really started to overwhelm me. I couldn’t justify the excuse anymore. It wasn’t about us being too busy, though we felt like we were; it wasn’t about us not working hard enough, because we both felt overworked at home. We just, stopped caring!
We just really had too much stuff!
After having gone through the purge, and now just over a year into all of the lockdowns through COVID, I realized that we work better as a team now. Maybe better than we ever have. It does help to be working from home, WAY less commuting time! But it’s amazing how that little bit of time makes up a big difference.
We are more on the same page with our future planning, chores, with our finances, and more in the loop with each other about parenting.
I am not suggesting that getting rid of half or all of your stuff will fix your marriage, because that’s just not true. There are still marriage issues to work through in any marriage. But it definitely helps to remove the clutter in the relationship. The clutter that fills the void of having real conversations with your partner, or that takes the place of having fun with each other.
I think we will always be on the side of having more than we need, but I think we will no longer let our stuff run our lives!
The journey has changed us in so many ways, decluttering will change you too!