Lovers and Clutter

Lovers and Clutter


I’ve always enjoyed working with couples and mediating their home organizing needs and goals. Psychologically, the issues they face with their stuff is linked to other parts of their relationship but I’m not a therapist, I only offer therapeutic solutions. I’m also very good at holding my chin with my hand while nodding and agreeing like a therapist as I figure out a suitable game plan.


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In advance of Valentine’s Day, SpareFoot conducted a survey and found some very interesting data regarding love and clutter. They used heterosexual couples as their base but all couples can benefit from the findings. Here’s what they learned: 

  • In relationships, men’s items are often the first to go – The study found that 56% of men in a relationship frequently stop their significant other from throwing out an item they want to keep.

  • In addition, 90% of Americans in a relationship admit if they knew there wouldn’t be consequences, they’d get rid of some of their significant other’s possessions.

  • A quarter of Americans and 44% of Millennials in a relationship currently have an item from an ex that they don’t want their significant other to know about.

    WOW! That’s a lot of secrets and clutter. Could make for a good dramatic movie. I think Cate Blanchett should play the woman in this survey and Ralph Fiennes can play the man. Gripping and dark (but Cate can also do comedy). OK, back to you, now what to do about the issues?


SpareFoot suggests the following to relieve the stress of cohabitation:

  • Eliminate Clutter Before You Move: The most important thing prior to the move is to really do a thorough purge so you’re not bringing anything into the household that you don’t really want or love.
  • Take photos and measurements of the new place to help when choosing which furniture will fit. Go room by room and discuss what items you each own and what will work best in the new space.
  • Try out the piece of furniture, for example, in the new home before making a hasty decision. Keep an open mind and compromise. Sometimes the item looks better accompanied by different items.
  • You’ve purged and compromised, but you still have stuff that you want to hold on to — consider renting a storage unit or using full-service storage, but agree on a deadline to find a home for your stuff so that you’re not paying for off-site storage long term.

Please be careful about that last tip. Storage units are expensive and very easy to forget about once they’re locked and out of sight. If you’ve seen the Showtime hit Dexter, you know some creepy stuff goes on in storage units. Tread lightly with the use of them.

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The survey shows that almost half (48 percent) of couples who live together say they argue over clutter. If you’re struggling because of clutter in your home and you’re not seeing eye to eye, it’s time for a conversation. Talking points:
  • Discuss how you want to use each space and what items will “live” there.
  • Decide what space will be shared, and what space will be “owned” by one partner or the other — so that everyone gets their own space.
  • Agree on reasonable time limits for clutter and keep it contained.

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Finally…Remember what’s important:

  • Stuff is just stuff. You’re building a life with the person you love — not with your keepsakes from the past.

Exactly! Once you’ve got this figured out, you’ll have more time to dance and play in your home. Get going!

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And if all of the above advice fails to get you and your boo in a good place, feel free to call in the professionals. You know where to find me!


With love, light and less clutter…Happy Valentine’s Day!


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