Cohabiting couple struggle to unpack their ‘stuff’

Dear Amy: I am a middle aged man. My fiancée just moved in with me.

My family has had hoarding issues for generations. Long before Marie Kondo and the hoarding came along, I was in therapy and managed to deal with it.

I disposed of several dumpsters containing the belongings of my ancestors, in order to have room to live in the house I inherited.

My possessions give me joy.

I am a design professional with lots of experience working with clients in their homes.

I understand that hoarding is an obsessive compulsive disorder, but I also see compulsive decluttering as a big problem. I have been in houses that were practically empty because of this.

While visiting a friend who was downsizing, I realized how anxious things, boxes and clutter made my fiancée. We had to end the visit early because she was so anxious!

When stressed, she “purges” items and sometimes buys more, then returns or gives them away. Some things I cherish have “gone”.

I make room for her in our house (by removing my stuff) and she leaves the space empty, but then complains that there is no room for her stuff.

We don’t have any pictures or artwork on the walls in our room as the visual incompatibility makes her anxious and upset.

If something is not used NOW (even if needed or useful later), it disappears.


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