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,  I get that, you come with your stuff and he comes with his stuff, but what happens when he’s got so much stuff and wont throw anything away?

It can be so 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 quite 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

How to motivate your husband to declutter his stuff

  1. Concentrate on decluttering your stuff first

    Firstly concentrate on your own clutter, you will soon realise that other people’s stuff is not entirely the whole problem.  Make a decision today that you will only concentrate on your own possessions, for the time being, don’t worry about anything else for now. To read 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 realise how much stuff you need to declutter?

  3. Go through each of these categories:

    I would like to bet that you  have plenty to declutter from the following sections:
    Beauty products and cosmetics
    Sentimental items and photographs
    Old phones and iPads

Be honest, does your spouse really 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. This is the easiest category to declutter because you are less attached to your clothes than you are sentimental items. By making sentimental items the last category to declutter, you should find it much easier to part with your possessions than you did when you started. Read about how to start a basic capsule wardrobe in this post to start 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 item 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.

That’s a lot of stuff for you to focus on decluttering instead of getting rid of your spouse’s stuff!

Getting your packrat to declutter is simply 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 learnt that if I keet my stuff in order, everyone else did too!

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

  • 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 like they used to. 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.
  • No one left anything lying around like they used to.
  • 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 with all your excess stuff you are now in a position to think about how to motivate your husband to deal with his stuff, sounds easy right? Not so!  There are usually two types of spouses, ones who are  open to getting rid of their  stuff and ones like my spouse who just 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 heals 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 its 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 own 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 

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

Frequently asked Q&A

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

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 grotty
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 its an easy one for me! Luckily my other half doesn’t notice what goes in and out of my wardrobe so that helps!

How do you motivate your husband?

I try to lead by example in the hope that he will see how nice it is to have a clutter free home. some days he does have a clear out 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 spouses stuff other than to keep it clean and organised.

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

Knowing how to motivate your husband in a positive way 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 wont 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 members of the family 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. I find that 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 how to motivate your husband to declutter? Leave a reply in the comments!

Buy the book which started me on my journey to minimalism!

how to motivate your husband to declutter
how to motivate your husband to declutter

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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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