Been married for 16 years, blue pill for most of it. Been lurking in MRP for about 4 months. I've read NMMNG and MMSL and am about to start WISNIFG. Been doing bodyweight exercises for 3 months and will join a gym next year (live in a small town and closes gym has a special when prepaying for next year).
TL;DR: My wife has too much clutter and it leads to fights. I take responsibility for failing to lead her on this point, but I don't know where/how I failed or how to proceed. I'm looking for help, not to blame her.
I'm here to ask for help. I'm not blaming my wife in any way. I know this is a failure of leadership on my part and I'm looking for understanding in where/how I failed and in how I can lead her through this problem. I've been impressed with how tough you guys have been lately and I'm putting myself out there for some tough love.
The problem: the house if full of clutter. Most of the clutter is confined to the basement and the garage but all kitchen counters are covered with clutter (a combination of kitchen utensils and papers/coupons that she hasn't filed yet).
Most of the time I try to overlook the clutter but it has come to a head twice this month. First, we are having insulation blown in and they need access to the basement. She is embarrassed about the basement and says she has to "clean up" first. I can go ahead with the appointment and cause an issue with her, or give her some time to clean up. For her, cleaning up means shifting boxes around to make a pathway near the walls for the insulation guy to work. It still leaves just as much a mess.
Second, I had made plans for us to get our Christmas tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I made these plans a week and a half ahead of time. In order for this to happen, we needed to move a large train set our son plays with out of the corner of the room and into the basement. This wasn't possible because of the clutter (there was no room). She said she would work on it and I even made arrangements to take the kids out two nights so she could work on it. It never happened, and we didn't get the tree. The following weekend, I moved the train by myself and found a small space I could put it to get it out of the way so we could get our tree.
She blames me for the clutter, especially claiming I don't help her with it. But it is all her stuff--old papers, boxes of unread books, craft supplies. I'm quite minimal with my own stuff. Her approach to cleaning it up is to either shift boxes around or "sort" through one box at a time, recycling maybe a third of the box and still needing to store the rest. I have no idea how to help.
My questions, from above, are: How did I fail as a leader to allow this to become a problem and how do I lead her to get through the clutter in a way that results in clear kitchen counters and a semblance of organization/reduced stuff (that is unnecessary) in the basement/garage?