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Cleaning Time
Still canít let go of those skies from the '70s. Dr. K. fills you in on how to compromise the spring cleaning mess.


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Work together with your spouse to get things cleaned up.


Now that spring is here, many will use this time as a marker for new beginnings and a time for cleaning up. In fact, it is a good idea to "let go" of clutter and allow the house to breathe, so to speak.

The problem comes when the two of you donít see eye-to-eye on what is considered clutter and what constitutes something that is important to keep. Perhaps, she feels itís essential to hold on to the very first drawings that little Billy made, while he sees it as totally worthless. On the other hand, all the sports memorabilia are clearly something heís not willing to part with, while she sees these items as a mere dust collectors.

Unfortunately, there is no authoritative book you can refer to that will offer hard fast guidelinesóthis is a very personal matter. I would suggest that you do attend to this cleaning up process on a somewhat regular basis, whether it is spring or another time of year, so that the task is not overwhelming.

I do want to offer a word of caution. There are some people who have a problem with hoarding. This is a very difficult and complicated issue. For those of you who are married to spouses who hoard, I know it is quite frustrating for you. But please also understand that this is also a very difficult problem for the person who suffers from this concern. It is not just something they can snap out of, and it is best to seek professional help.

For most couples, this will fall into the category of a typical conflict. So, you will need to communicate with one another about whatís important to each of you. Here are some things to consider:
  1. Cleaning up may really be more of a matter of getting organized and straightening up what is there. Sometimes when this is done, the need to actually throw things out isnít necessary.
  2. Be realistic about the space limitations of where you live. Perhaps you can set aside specific areas that each of you can have for holding on to cherished items.
  3. To help "let go" of items, you might want to take a photo of it so that you have the memory, but then you can release the actual item, itself.
  4. You donít have to throw things out all at once; the process can be done slowly. As you start to go through items, perhaps you can use it as a time to share old memories and reconnect with one another.
  5. Maybe you want to run a garage sale or sell some items on eBay. Use the money to enjoy a night out with each other, maybe a weekend away depending on how much money is made.
So enjoy the spring, take advantage of the renewed energy and turn a potentially daunting task into one that can bring you a revitalized connection!

Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is co-author of Marriage Magic! Find It! Make It Last.




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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.



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