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I’m going to give you some simple advice that helps me every single day: Ignore your husband’s side of the closet.
Matt is amazing and talented in a billion ways. The man patiently goes through every single math problem of all three middle schoolers every single school night to check their work and see where they need extra help. I can still do algebra, but this is his ritual with the kids and I am so grateful it’s off my plate.
It may not occur to him to clean the house, but he is always willing to help if I ask. On the Saturday before Christmas, I made an enormous list of all the chores for the entire week of Christmas (so that we could skip them all week) – cleaning bathrooms, mopping the kitchen, everything. He led the kids in completing the list, even cleaning our toilet himself, while I ran some last minute errands. When I got home, the house was totally clean and I didn’t have any looming errands. That certainly put me in the mood for Christmas!
When my tire had a major blow out on the interstate a few months ago, which led to me having an anxiety attack on the side of the road … he cancelled all of his meetings for the next few hours and came to rescue me. He drove to me from Dallas (25 minutes away) and put on the spare before the roadside assistance had even dispatched someone to our location.
I have things I love about my husband, and I have things that, well, I try to ignore. (And guys, he has a loooooot of things I’m sure he has to ignore about living with me! This definitely goes both ways.)
I had a therapist tell me a few years ago that anytime I wished Matt would be or do something differently, to think to myself: what thing that I love about him would I trade for that? The answer is always nothing, I don’t want to give up any of the things that I love and appreciate about him.
So, during this declutter challenge or whenever, just ignore your husband’s side of the closet. If it’s important, you can bring it up. Maybe if he knows you care about it, he’ll fix it. But, don’t nag. He’ll get to it when he gets to it, or he won’t. Either way, focus on your side of the closet and make your side of the closet as beautiful as you want. THAT is what is in your control.
Read Surviving Decluttering as a Couple for specific tips about getting through the declutter challenge with a spouse.
I took a couple of quick pictures of our shoe shelves to demonstrate a small part of what I mean without totally invading his privacy.
Here are my shoe shelves (the shoe sticking out is a decoy shoe for Cookie – she is naughty and already destroyed the other one):
Here are Matt’s shoe shelves. Like, I’m not sure why he has empty spots on the shoe shelves but then shoes have trickled over to be on the shelves underneath his clothes. Hmm?
His shoe shelves are pretty much just part of the scenery for me now. Occasionally I’ll re-notice, but then I just go back to ignoring. And we’re both happier this way.
ps – I will say, if I asked Matt if I could clean his side of the closet for him, he would probably say yes. But, he doesn’t expect it and it hasn’t been the project on the top of my list. I still have enough things on my own project list to tackle first!