20 Oct
My Husband’s Holy Mess

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband leaves piles of junk all over the house. It drives me crazy. I can’t just throw it all out because there are important receipts, business cards and bills mixed in with the movie stubs. But I’m sick of cleaning up after him. Any ideas?




Dear OMFG,

Oh dear LORD, can I relate, woman. My husband is what I affectionately refer to as three-garage-sales-away-from-an-episode-of-Hoarders. He likes to save. EVERYTHING. And since I happen to be on the opposite end of the spectrum–in that I hate clutter and don’t understand why ALL dishes aren’t, in fact, disposable–it occasionally creates some conflict within our marriage.

Since I lack any sort of organizational skills, I can only tell you my personal coping strategies and hope that they guide you well. (Enough.)

1. Hide that shit in a drawer.

If I’m too exhausted or annoyed to weed through his piles, but also too irritated to look at the clutter for ONE MORE SECOND, I’ll just shove his junk out of view in a closet or something. This can be mildly rewarding, because it allows you the chance to pretend that this whole issue isn’t really happening! The downside, of course, is that he’ll start to accuse you when his papers go missing and he finds his gym shorts in the attic.

2. Retaliate.

What’s a pet peeve of his that you can exploit in an effort to more passive-aggressively communicate your issue? Does he hate it when you leave wet towels on the bathroom floor? Have sex with other men? Call him “Schmoopy” in front of his friends? Perhaps if your own personal happiness isn’t motivation for him to get himself in gear, his own humiliation and shame will work.

3. Help him out. However begrudgingly.

Your husband is likely leaving these piles around because he’s either too overwhelmed by the task of organizing everything or simply unequipped with the tools to accomplish the goal. (Of course, he could also just be frickin’ lazy, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. As I do my husband. Ahem.) Get some file cabinets, folders, office organizing trays, and see if you can’t work together over the weekend to at least get his mess confined to one area of the house.

As fed up as you may be, try to remember that we all have our faults, and that some of those are simply more visible than others. And maybe for your next marriage, try to find yourself a nail-biter instead.

Good luck!

Kristine, TMH

16 Responses to “My Husband’s Holy Mess”


Comment by Betty Herbert.

Buy a big box, shove it all in there, and put it on his pillow at night.
I personally managed to put a stop to this practice in my house by picking all the money out of these little piles of mayhem, and popping it into my purse. It took him months to notice, by which time I’d made enough for a couple of new frocks. He’s more careful now.
*evil cackle*

Meredith L. Reply:

I was going to suggest something similar, with the caveats that:
1. This only works if you go to bed before he does, or else he’ll just shove the box onto YOUR side of the bed;
2. Be prepared for him to shove the box onto your side WHILE YOU ARE IN THE BED.

But generally this should work. At the very least it’ll get all the crap in one spot, even if he never actually puts it away.


Comment by Kelly.

My husband is like this too. I have a couple of decorative bowls and boxes around the house that I chuck the crap in, which keeps my blood pressure under control. Once they get full, I retain the right to go through them. Don’t want to play 20 questions about all your recent receipts and “why were you here….why did you buy….did so-and-so give you cash for his beers or did you treat…”? Then maybe you should clean this stuff up yourself. And I’m with Betty. Money sitting around is free money. Money in wallets belongs to the owner. Want to keep your money? Then maybe you should take care of it. 🙂

Cate8 Reply:

the only thing I miss about my ex-husband is that he was an alcoholic and forgot about the money in his pants, then put them in the hamper — finders keepers


Comment by Stefani.

Thanks for these tips. I just cluck about it, but don’t do anything to help him. My slob leaves his shoes everywhere for me to trip over. That, plus the piles of junk. Sigh.


Comment by Tonya.

I’m not sure about picking a nail biter for the next husband. I have one of those and while we watch tv all I hear is “munch munch munch.” Perhaps a cross-dresser would be less annoying and, also, you may be able to share some jewelry!

Kristine Reply:

You always think of everything, Tonya!


Comment by Padded Cell Princess.

My husband keeps bits of paper and receipts and then conveniently leaves them in piles on desk tops and dressers. I think I may start stuffing his shoes with them so then he has no choice but to deal with them!


Comment by Plano Mom.

Like Kelly, I have decorative boxes around the house where I stuff everything. Then when he asks for something I tell him to go look in the box. He’s actually quite neat, almost obsessively so, except for paper stuff, so for me it’s not too bad. And in our house found money is yours as long as it is not found in a purse or wallet.


Comment by suburbancorrespondent.

Rubbermaid containers have saved my marriage. Go get some. They stack nicely.


Comment by vodka tonic.

Men can be trained.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

I gave my husband an extra bedroom. I dump all his stuff I find in there.


Comment by Plano Mom.

You know, since I started working from home this is the only way I can remember that my husband is normal. Thanks, TMH!


Comment by I'm a big ol' b with a captial B!.

I agree with helping him out. I used to bitch and moan over my husband always throwing his clothes on a chair in our bedroom until it got to the point of tipping over. This, inconveniently, was the same chair I used every day for other things so the clothes were always in the way. Then I bought a valet for his clothes. Now he uses that and the chair is free of clothes and ready for use. Not that the valet almost falls over now and again… but we won’t go into that. 🙂

Also, the keys, wallet, cell phone left everywhere? I bought a cute basket and put it by the front door where he deposits all that stuff on the way in and grabs it on the way out. Double bonus I don’t hear, “Hooooooon? Where’s my wallet?” because he knows where it is.

Sometimes offering a bit of organization help really goes a long way in fixing the clutter and irritation. Good luck!


Comment by Poker Chick.

This was a hilarious response.


Comment by Sarah.

Bahaha! I call it micro hoarding…. My hubby has to have at least one full couch cushion covered in bits and peices of paper, ashtrays, odd computer parts etc. next to him whilst watching tv and he rotates it from the heap under the coffee table… I just laugh and point….

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