Today is National Pack Rat Day- a day to acknowledge all the people out there who hoard, collect or hold into unnecessary items. When you’re in love with someone who does this and you’re not that way inclined, it can be difficult to live in harmony. Here are my top tips for getting along as best you can.

Discuss how their hoarding is effecting your relationship

Discuss how their hoarding is effecting your relationship

Accept that you are different- You see possessions in a different light to your partner- they prefer to hang onto them where you like to get rid. You will probably never see their way of thinking and similarly, they will probably never understand yours. Agree to disagree.

Encourage them to organise their things better- If they are unwilling to part with their things- then try to help them develop a system that keeps similar items together and label boxes so you can clearly see what’s inside. That way they and you know where everything is and there’s a sense of order to things even if there are lots of them.

Keep on top of it- Part of their problem might be that they aren’t good at continually organizing themselves. So you might need to be the one to prevent it getting to it’s original state. This could be something as simple as filing paperwork away for them, initiating regular sort outs and reminding them of the systems you’ve put in place and why they are important.

Make the most of your loft space- If you are blessed with an attic- use this to store all of the things they won’t get rid of- but are unlikely to use any time soon. This will keep them out of the way but means they are still accessible should they want to see them again.

Concentrate on YOUR space- If you have a room to yourself in the house, wardrobe, cupboard or drawer space, make sure that it’s exactly how you want it to be. You might not have control over your partner’s things but you do have control over your things. Keep your possessions as you please and perhaps your example will filter down to your partner once they see how simple and accessible your system is.  

Encourage them to give things away- If they see simply throwing things away as wasteful- talk to them about donating their stuff to charity shops so that someone else can get some use out of them. They are doing a good deed as well as helping to clear their own space.

Talk about selling items- If they need a bit of extra cash- why not suggest putting things on eBay or having a car boot sale? Could the money buy something they really want and would use or go towards an experience that they will always remember?

Talk about how their ways are affecting your relationship- If the hoarding has got out of control- tell your partner how it makes you feel. How does it affect the way you think about them? How does it impact on your relationship? What could you both enjoy if you had more space? Do you feel ashamed to have visitors?

Compromise- When you move in together- you tend to have designated spaces in the home- a wardrobe each, a bed side table each, a drawer or two to call your own. If your partner’s things are encroaching on your space- remind them that belongs to you and they can only have what fits comfortably in their space. If that means streamlining their stuff- so be it. If you don’t take over their area- they should have the same respect for yours.

Try putting things in a box and putting the box away for a period of time- If they haven’t missed the items- pull out the box in a few months’ time and make the point that they could get along fine without them and talk about the possibility of relieving your home of said items.

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