My Wife has Hoarder Like Tendencies

Trying to clear out a room in our place for the maid to live in and my wife refuses to part with anything. She previously used the room as an ‘office’ but really it was jump a dumping ground for the piles of clothes, magazines, overdue vitamins and other useless shit she has failed to get rid of during her adult life.
I’ve tried to articulate the freedom that comes with getting rid of so much useless junk, but she doesn’t seem interested, I have tried to point out how ludicrous it is to keep decade old magazines or shit one will NEVER use or gain pleasure from again, but it has either fallen on deaf ears or been taken as hostile.
I enjoy a minimalist style of living (as I think many expats do) and want my place to have clean lines and open space, luckily I still have an area of our place that fits this description, but every time I asked her to chuck something, she angrily says ‘why don’t we just put it there’ (in the open, nice space) like some kind of knee jerk reaction.

I don’t know how long I can tolerate this or how healthy it is. Taiwan is a big enough cluster fuck as is, I want my home to be comfortable.

Would love some advice.

[quote=“Deuce Dropper”]
Would love some advice.[/quote]
“Hoarder-like” is hyphenated. And “clusterfuck” is one word. :thumbsup:

How about these suggestions?

  1. Hold the purse strings, next time if she wants to buy new clothes, new magazines, new vitamins, tell her that you still have those old ones there. Don’t replace anything if you still have an old one.

  2. Borrow someone’s dog, a cute devilish puppy. When she goes out to run some errand, let the baby pee everywhere, let the puppy do the job and tear those old magazines, then the solution will be of course to throw those things away.

  3. Put some water on them, warm the room and cultivate some mold on them magazines and clothes.

  4. Invent an “accident”, go eat your dumplings near those old items and just pour the soy sauce on them. Just be sure to apoologize profusely later.

This is a personality thing…not sure how much luck you will have trying to change it in my opinion. Maybe saying that you will need to put all of that junk into storage to clear out the room (which you really need to do anyway because of the maid needing it, right?) will do it…surely she won’t want to pay out to store useless stuff!

Or, if she is willing to compromise, you could buy a couple of storage closets with the rule that she can keep whatever she wants as long as it fits neatly in the closets…anything that doesn’t fit gets chucked. That’s what I would do I think. You sound like me and I know that I would find it enormously difficult to live in a house that had clutter, even if it were in a back room with the door closed all of the time. It would always bother me.

When she goes away for a weekend start dumping the worst trash first. Bag it and bin it. Like most hoarders she will not notice at first, then complain a bit then not even care anyway as they are always collecting more trash.

I was married to a hoarder who disliked cleaning. I tried several solutions, however the only one workable long term was to get a house each.

I feel your pain, OP. My ball and chain has also filled our house, which originally felt quite roomy, with mountains of useless trash. What bothers me is not that I can barely move without knocking something over, or open a cupboard that actually has some space in it - it’s the fact that, all told, there must be NT$1m worth of shit there that’s only fit to be chucked out.

Personally I don’t think there’s a solution, except, as robert the bruce said, hold the pursestrings yourself to prevent her buying more of it. Unfortunately this never worked for me because she made such a fuss about my attitude to money, ie., not spending it on whatever piece of excrescence is on sale at Sogo this week. My current solution, sadly, is the same as Mr He’s.

btw I do like the idea of cultivating some interesting fungi. You might even get something that’s edible. Or smokeable.

I’d be willing to bet her parents are/were just as bad or worse. My wife is bad, too. But she doesn’t hold a candle to her mother or father when it comes to hoarding. A few years ago they were considering buying the house behind their own just to store stuff in because their five storey house is overflowing. The two brothers bring back a carload of shit every month to store there. They are hoarders, too, but don’t want their crap cluttering up their own houses.

Things did get better for me last year though, after my wife went to some course about decorating houses. She came home on fire and I knew I had to sieze the moment. I dropped whatever I had going on and got to work throwing stuff out. Of course, she wanted to give her mother first dibs on everything, so we ended up carting a good portion of the stuff over there.

This is rooted in reptilian brain, survival-based stuff, which makes it very hard to change. I think you’re going to have to either make it totally her idea somehow, or dump a box or two of junk each time she’s away, if you think she won’t notice.

With me it’s my daughter. Tossing a Mickey Dee’s toy from 8 years ago is an emotional battle I always wind up losing

Watch episode after episode of Hoarders until she agrees to throw stuff out.

I can’t even imagine how frustrating this is for someone that doesn’t have this natural instinct. My parents (especially my dad) are hoarders. His farm looks like a junk yard most of the time that I go home and the house (3000-4000 sq ft) is piled full of shit. In a way it was manageable (in the house) last time I was home since it was mostly surface clutter and a lot of the bulky shit was gone though.

Naturally I tend to do this also. i rarely shop but I’m prone to buying things that seem like a good deal even if I don’t need them. I moved last year and everything is sorted pretty well still. It helped that I needed my spare bedroom last week for a guest. One other tendency that I share with both parents is overflowing pantries and refrigerators.

I agree with those that suggest getting tubs/bins/closets/boxes to organize the stuff. But I wouldn’t give size ultimatums initially. Begin with a lets organize this into electronics, sewing, books, toys, for sale, trash, giveaway, and whatever other categories you come up with. Some things will naturally disappear in trash and you will actually be able to find stuff that might be useful. I disagree with anyone that says to toss stuff when she’s not looking. I would be pissed if someone did that to my stuff and it could cause a lot of relationship problems.

Speaking of hoarding… I have brought all my vacation photos back from Denmark and I am busy going thru 22 years of memiries. I am and have to dump most of them, however even though I have a bond to every one I took, you just have sigh and dump.

May I suggest that throwing away her stuff is not a nice thing to do, regardless of however ridiculous you find that hoarding? If you are lucky she doesn’t notice, or doesn’t care too much after a bit of initial complaining. But if you are unlucky, this could easily cause her to distrust or even hate you for a long time.

Unfortunately I don’t have any good suggestions for solving this besides the obvious “try to talk about it in a way that doesn’t make her feel bad”.

PS: Thanks for making me appreciate my wife even one tiny bit more for not hoarding

Looking to make room for a maid? For you and your wife? :astonished:

I can’t stand living with hoarders…I know I’m pretty intolerant but I really can’t…the messiness just drives me crazy.


Yikes! Very bad Feng shui, number 1 no no. – Will this help?

The fires I read on the Chinese newspapers scared the crap out of me. It’s a fire trap. Give a firefighter a red packet and ask him to do a fire hazard audit.

It’s Chinese New Year, out with the old and in with the new. Out with the old cloths, in with the new Spring wardrobe. (This does not work for me , I make my own money, but I can talk myself into it)

How about proving her wrong?
Taking some of the things and putting them away, and see if she fails to notice, then break it out to her if she doesn’t notice, that she doesn’t quite need them?

EDIT: tasteless joke…

There is nothing you can do. Look around you, everyone is hoarding. Wait 30 years…