He Says/She Says: Why is Downsizing so Traumatic?

With thoughts of future moving in our heads, my husband Randy and I face a house that needs serious purging.  I won’t name names but one of us (*cough*) has his work cut out for him in terms of streamlining possessions.  Randy and I recently started preliminary fighting dialogue on three main areas of contention…
Me:  Really?  We need to drag these moldy boxes to one more house after 35 years?  Aren’t you sick of that yellowed newspaper collection, the warped album collection, the yawn-inducing coin collection, the rusty political memorabilia collection, the who-cares baseball card collection?  What good are they?  I say sell or chuck them.
Randy: Okay, first I’m still in mourning over the stuff you made me throw away from our last move, as well as the possessions which mysteriously disappeared “Jimmy Hoffa style.” To go point to point, you’re right, who would want to keep newspapers with headlines like “Man Walks on the Moon?”
The album collection wasn’t warped until the water tank blew a few years ago.  Gold and silver coins are only metals and will never match the intellectual stimulation of a woman’s shoe armada.  As for the political button collection?  You got me.  Bring on the “Real Housewives of Perth Amboy.”  And as for baseball cards, let’s see, who needs a 1955 card of Jackie Robinson?  
Me:  Darling, the musical part of our basement would make Keith Richards faint.  There are amps, mikes, basses, guitars, drums, keyboards, doohickeys I don’t know what they are, large black boxes that emit sound, mysterious pedals that perform weird things.  What are we going to do with this noise-making equipment when we move?  Any new neighbor will see these items and run screaming for their realtor.
Randy: Dearest, Keith Richards is so grey and pale that hazy moonlight would make him faint.
Me: Oh my God.  What started as “I’ll get a few bottles of Bordeaux” has morphed into stacks of cases that would shock Lord Crawley of Downton Abbey.  What are we going to do with all this grape juice?  We’d have to have a party the size of Woodstock to drink it all. Why must everything you start to “collect” turn into a stockpiling event that could supply the U.S. Marine Corp?

Randy: Okay, my love.  Wine is an appreciating asset we have BOTH enjoyed over the years.  Since when did you join the Women’s Temperance League?

See what we have to look forward to?  But marriage is compromise.  In the way I put up with Randy’s need to… (I won’t use the “h” word but it rhymes with boarding) acquire things, he puts up with my high-strung, neurotic personality. 

Maybe in some ways, it evens out.  Randy never sweats the small stuff.  I sweat everything.  And I know I’m lucky.  My husband’s an interesting man with many, varied passions.   

However, I’m still left with boxes of collectibles, acres of musical equipment and stacks of wine cases.  So here’s the compromise.  Randy has promised he will address these issues in the near future.  I promise I will remain calm, so calm.  So very, very calm.  Stay tuned.   

Does anyone else have a husband who likes to acquire lots and lots of things? Comments are always welcome and if you’d like to receive postings by email, just enter your address at the bottom.  Thank you so much for reading and sharing! 


  1. I've been tempted to just move and not bring ANYTHING with us and start with a totally clean slate. And I can't blame the husband for all the clutter and mess, it's mainly me! You know how you hear/read that everything needs to have a "place" in the home? Well I never have found the starter home for most of our junk and I do believe that's the problem.

  2. Thank God you two balance each other out. I sometimes wonder what would happen if a husband and wife were both pack-rats! Now that would be challenging. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  3. There are few things that I feel any type of sentimental attachment to, and when the mood strikes (or clutter overwhelms) I can easily load up multiple bags for donation. My husband, on the other hand, insists on keeping everything he has ever owned throughout the entirety of his life. So I send him off on guys' weekends a few times a year, and he comes back none the wiser to what has gone missing…

  4. Jan Fish-Brown

    Laurie, I totally get you. When I sold my house in Westport, after everyone took everything too precious to leave behind, I hired a company to clear out the rest. 13 truckloads and $2000 later the house was cleaned out. Note to Randy, no matter how much you cherish the newspapers/magazines with Man Walks on the Moon, everyone you ever knew also thought they would be of value and has them stashed in their “where ever” storage space. Take a picture and toss the yellowing paper.

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