How To Motivate Your Husband To Declutter His Stuff.

You meet a guy, you go on a date night, you fall in love, you talk about babies and marriage, you move in together, and boom, you discover he’s a borderline hoarder. All you can think about is how to motivate your husband to declutter his stuff.

Marriage is a two-way street. You come with your stuff, and your spouse comes with his.

But what happens when he’s got so much stuff and won’t throw anything away?

It can be frustrating when you are overwhelmed with your spouse’s clutter. In this post, we will discuss how to motivate your husband to declutter his stuff.

The questions I’m asked all the time are:

  • How do I declutter when my partner isn’t on board?
  • How do I get my spouse to declutter?
  • How can I declutter when my husband won’t let me throw anything away
  • What do I do when I live with a packrat?
  • How can I get my husband to embrace minimalism?
  • My wife is a hoarder how can I get her to declutter?
  • My family won’t let me declutter how can I get them on board?

It’s fairly common that a lot of would-be minimalists live with packrats, and I’m talking from experience when I say,  there’s nothing more frustrating! 

Knowing how to motivate your husband and inspire him to declutter can be pretty complex. But with a few simple steps, you can learn to live with your spouse and all his stuff!

 What to do when you live with a packrat.

Throw away their stuff and hope they don’t notice? Nag them constantly until they comply? Argue with them about their clutter?

Of course not! None of those methods are going to work. Believe me, I’ve tried!

How to motivate your husband to declutter

Getting your husband to help around the house

  1. Concentrate on decluttering your stuff first

    Firstly concentrate on your clutter. You will soon realize that other people’s stuff is not entirely the problem. Make a decision today that you will only focus on your possessions. For the time being, don’t worry about anything else.
    To learn more about finding the motivation to declutter, read this post.

  2. Be honest with yourself. 

    Imagine you live on your own. Would all the possessions you own right now be conducive to a minimalist lifestyle, or are you hanging onto tons of stuff you don’t need? 
    Have you been so hung up on all your husband’s clutter that you failed to realize how much stuff you need to declutter?

  3. Go through each of these categories:

    I want to bet that you have plenty to declutter from the following sections:
    ✔️ Clothes,
    ✔️ Miscellaneous,
    ✔️ Paperwork
    ✔️ Kitchen 
    ✔️ Beauty products and cosmetics
    ✔️ Sentimental items and photographs
    ✔️ Ornaments
    ✔️ Jewelry
    ✔️ Accessories
    ✔️ Gadgets
    ✔️ Old phones and iPads
    ✔️ Electronics
    ✔️ Books

  4. Get rid of your unwanted stuff

    Take it to the charity shop, give it away or sell it the choice is yours, just get rid of it!

  5. Concentrate on being tidy and organized.

    Create spaces in your home that are clean, tidy, and organized to encourage others to do the same, this is how to inspire your husband and family to clear up after themselves.

Be honest, does your spouse have more clutter than you, or are you just blind to how much you own?

If you are wondering where to begin decluttering, start with clothes. Clothes are the most straightforward category to declutter because you are less attached to your clothes than sentimental items. Making sentimental items the last category to declutter, you should find it much easier to part with your possessions than when you started. Read about creating a basic capsule wardrobe in this post to begin reducing your closet!

How to start decluttering.

  Starting with your clothes, pile everything from each category on the bed, then hold each item. If the garment brings you joy, you keep it. If it doesn’t, get rid of it’s as simple as that.

Rules for decluttering, how to get rid of your stuff.

Follow these rules to start a quick declutter of your stuff.

Get rid of:

  • Anything which is  broken
  • Clothing which doesn’t fit, is uncomfortable or needs altering
  • Clothing which has never been worn
  • Beauty products and gadgets which have never been used
  • Duplicate items
  • Unwanted gifts
  • Items you don’t love
  • Items you don’t use
  • Old gadgets and phones
  • Unused DVDs and CDs
  • Unused books and magazines
  • Unneeded paperwork
  • Unused candles.

Focus on decluttering your stuff instead of getting rid of your spouse’s!

Getting your packrat to declutter is not the way to tackle things at this stage. Start on your stuff, move on to the kid’s stuff and watch how the whole house seems to get tidier as people notice the empty spaces!

To my surprise, I learned that if I kept my stuff in order, everyone else did too!

It wasn’t long after I started following this method of decluttering that I quickly became hooked

  • I discarded or donated approximately 70 % of my stuff.
  • I only kept approximately 30% of my original possessions.
  • Everything that I decided to keep was things I loved, which made me happy.
  • I started to enjoy the empty, space, clarity, serenity and tidiness I created every time I decluttered an area.
  • Then, I began to notice that everyone else in the house kept the new, empty, clean spaces tidy and stopped piling stuff up in those areas. It was as if I was setting the standards of how I wanted our home to look and they just automatically fell in with that.
  • People stopped leaving their stuff lying around.
  • My spouse and the kids seemed to start to declutter their items without being asked to. I would find my husband decluttering his stuff, which was totally unheard of, it was as if he felt he needed more order and space with his belongings and had come to this realisation on his own.
  • Due to the fact that there was much less stuff in our house, the kids had more space to play and the toys only took a few minutes maximum to tidy up each evening before bed. To read more about decluttering toys and starting a toy rotation click here.
  • Cleaning the house was quicker and easier so we spent more quality time as a family. To read how to speed clean your house read this post
  • We stopped buying stuff we didn’t need,  and started saving for emergencies.

Tackling your husbands stuff.

Once you’ve dealt your stuff, you can decide how to motivate your husband to declutter. Sounds easy, right? Not so! There are usually two types of spouses, those who are open to getting rid of their stuff and ones like my spouse, who won’t throw a damn thing away!

If your spouse is happy to declutter his stuff then roll up your sleeves and get stuck in!

If your spouse is not so keen, any coercing or nagging will only make him dig his heels in further and be closed to the idea of simplifying. You can do a few things to help you co-exist with your clutter bug:

I would never tell my spouse what to wear and I wouldn’t expect him to tell me what to wear either!

  • Create boundaries with space, set areas in the house where no-one is allowed to leave their stuff, including you! This rule helps you control your spouse’s stuff from taking over the whole house! Encourage all family members to keep it a clutter free area.
  • Create an area for your husband’s stuff and clutter. This is a tricky one but sometimes the only way to deal with your husband’s clutter is to contain it to an area you never visit.  A cupboard, a room, a shelf,  it doesn’t matter how big it is, as long as it’s contained in an area which is non-communal and you don’t have to sit and look at it when you’re trying to relax or sleep!
  • Help your husband organise his stuff create a practical area for your husband’s things so he can enjoy his collections and possessions the same way you enjoy yours.
  • Remember it’s his home too. Something to remember is that you share your home. You have your stuff and you would not want anyone trying to limit your possessions or trying to control the amount of stuff you own, so try not to stress too much over your husband’s action figure collection! Try to find ways  to co-exist with your husband’s stuff the same way he tolerates all your possessions.
  • Send an encouraging text to your husband when he does declutter some of his stuff, it may help to lift his spirits and encourage him to declutter more frequently.

If you feel that you or your spouse have hoarding tendencies, please seek help at 

Frequently asked Q&A

When my husband tells me to keep clothing I don’t like or wear because he likes it, what should I do?

This question is a tricky one and one only you can answer. However, my rules for this would be to donate if:
✔️ It doesn’t fit
✔️ It is uncomfortable in any way.
✔️ It doesn’t make you feel a million dollars
✔️ It is old, worn, and generally done.
✔️ You don’t love it!

I would never tell my spouse what to wear, and I wouldn’t expect him to tell me what to wear, so it’s an easy one for me! Luckily my other half doesn’t notice what goes in and out of my wardrobe, which helps!

How do you motivate your husband?

I try to lead by example, hoping that he will see how nice it is to have a clutter-free home. He does have a clear-out some days, but that only happens once a year in February near his birthday and September when he needs to make room for his winter clothes. I never touch my spouse’s stuff other than to keep it clean and organized.

How do I motivate my husband without being pushy or dominating?

Knowing how to motivate your husband positively is the key to getting him to declutter his stuff. 
Put yourself in his shoes and figure out how you’d like him to speak to you if it was the other way round. Be patient and kind, and most of all, motivate your man to declutter his stuff by leading by example!

My family won’t let me declutter. How can I get them on board?

You can’t convince anyone to get rid of their stuff. You can only lead by example and keep the communal areas of the home clutter-free and welcoming in the hope that other family members will follow suit. Keeping laundry to a minimum is critical to keep clutter at bay. Follow my laundry steps here if washing is taking over your home. Keeping the family’s clothes to a minimum and creating a kids capsule wardrobe helped me stay clutter-free and reduced the amount of laundry I had in the home and kids’ rooms. You can read how I created a kids capsule wardrobe here.

Do you live with a packrat, or are you the clutter bug? What tips do you have on motivating your husband to declutter? Leave a reply in the comments!

3 thoughts on “How To Motivate Your Husband To Declutter His Stuff.

  1. Kate Yare says:

    Actually, if you live with a true pack rat, throwing their stuff away and hoping they don’t notice works quite well. The pack rat never really knows what they have or where it is – their life is filled with stuff even they don’t really value. So if and or when it leaves the premises, they are none the wiser.

  2. Melinda says:

    None of these tips really helped me. I worked on decluttering my stuff and am much happier for it. The problem is my husband won’t let me throw anything away! Taking a box of old kid books to the goodwill? Forget it! He has to go through the box and won’t let me. Do it when he is gone? Another fight there too! It is to the point that my best friend calls me a hoarder, even though she knows it is all his stuff. It hurts, especially when there are no other marital problems, and no other fights. A messy house makes me miserable, yet we cant change our spouses. Grrr.

    • Clare Davison says:

      Oh no, sorry none of the tips have helped you, Melinda. My spouse still struggles to get rid of anything he owns, but he doesn’t stop me from decluttering elsewhere so that must be tough. It sounds like he may be struggling to let go of things, which affects a lot of people.
      You could try saying to him that you will both need to limit the number of new things you are buying for the house until you can create some space, and ask him if he’d like to be in charge of sorting out one area. He may feel more in control if he can declutter a small space by himself? My spouse is very, very untidy and it drives me mad, and I bet I drive him mad too! ?

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