I was pretty proud of the job I did cleaning and making space before Efrem got here. I turned my bed around and created two night stands, I moved furniture and cleared space to construct and fit an external closet rack for his clothes, I cleaned top to bottom. Clearly I was deluded to think that was sufficient.
Since arriving, he’s been picking up my things one by one and asking if I really need this or that; basically trying to “help” me declutter with gentle urging that some things could go in the trash. He does it so nicely too, “Is this something that we really need?” (in a sugary tone of voice) or “Baby, this (area) would look really nice if…” I mean, some of my stuff, honestly, could go away, but there are other things we definitely argued over.
First we got into it over “all the balls?” (meaning the mardi gras beads). I thought I’d done a pretty good job of organizing them and putting them neatly into bins. I like to have things I craft with within easy (organized) reach. He thought they were excessive, and should be thrown away—especially since I’d get more next mardi gras anyway. We compromised on my putting most of the generic ones, minus what fit in gallon sized ziploc bags (for each color), into one big bag in the closet until I could recycle them properly. Then he moved on to trying to remove the good throws—the beads with the medallions with the krewe’s name on it, the big beads, and then (duh, duh, duh)…my coconuts!! I had to draw a line in the sand at that. It takes far too much work (and good fortune) to get some of the good throws. I even got a fat lip from catching one of those coconuts. Yes, most of it is plastic junk made in china, but there are few people I know of who don’t have some of the good throws on display in some part of their house. The coconuts stayed.
Basically, 99% of the clutter issues come down to the fact that my apartment has zero storage space. It’s not a bad size, but I have a barely-there closet that doesn’t even fit half of my clothes and that’s it. There’s not even enough usable pantry space in the kitchen. So everything I own has to be out, making it look like I’m incredibly junky and hang on to everything. Behind the door in the living room ends up being a makeshift closet, where I stacked boxes and the one shelf in my closet had all my luggage. I can’t even use the space under the bed, because there is no ‘under-the-bed’ since the box sits on the floor.
Beyond the spatial issues, we just have what I’ll call, artistic differences. I collage, I scrapbook, I hang things on the wall, I’m very visual. I’ve never liked blank space, I feel the need to fill it with something. Efrem is more of a minimalist. So my wall art and my cork board–which is used more as a scrapbook for ticket stubs, photos, foreign currency, cards, and race numbers than for reminders–really caused some friction. He didn’t want me to throw it away, but put it away. But it wasn’t in anyone’s way. Anyway, it’s still hanging.
I will admit though, that some (SOME) of his “suggestions,” were actually pretty useful for de-cluttering and re-organizing space. Others, I just flat out refused. You win some, you lose some.