Remember my boyfriend's crazy hoarding?
That hideous table is still here, but this is a happy update.
We had been fighting so much about the house. When I couldn't convince him that he needed to discard things, I tried to "practice gratitude" my way out of it. I had been in a mentality of trying to "just be grateful" and come to terms with the condition of the house. It didn't work because the house was truly unacceptable and living there was causing me deep emotional pain. I tried to tell him how the furniture made me feel but he didn't hear me; I'd been fighting him on the furniture for so long that he got used to tuning me out.
Here's what I did: Instead of saying "We should swap out the tables" and "This place is a mess" and "I'm stressed out because I can't work from home when the house looks like this," I just said "Reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a few years ago was a real turning point in my life. It sounds corny, but the book is a lot more substantive than the pithy synopses you always see online. I think it would be fun if you read it, too, and then we could go through that process again in our shared space." I said it once.
Then, I shut up. I gave up. 100%, completely, entirely gave up on changing anything about the house. I had a feeling that giving up would "work," but I stopped expecting anything, allowed myself to hope that this would make me feel better, and otherwise moved on with my life. I didn't mention it again. Don't get me wrong: I really, really wanted to mention it again, but I didn't. I cleared out a space for myself on the kitchen floor, and that's what I used when I worked from home. That felt a lot better. I didn't love spending 9 hours a day on the kitchen floor, but it got the job done.
After a few weeks, I noticed that he had picked my copy of Marie Kondo's book off the shelf and stashed it in his bag. I didn't know he had actually been reading it until he sat down at the dinner table one night and told me why he thought it was stupid. I told him that was okay, I thanked him, told him that I thought it was really sweet of him to try, but he should stop reading if he doesn't find it useful. He kept reading the book.
Over the long holiday weekend, he quietly pulled all his clothes out of the closet and the dresser and moved about 75% of them into bags to donate. Then he pulled all of his books off the shelves... He Marie Kondo'd the whole damn house. We borrowed a friend's truck and donated several truckloads of stuff. He measured all of the shelves and drawers and brought home baskets to keep everything tidy and tucked away.
He brings home fresh flowers to keep in a vase that covers the biggest stain on the formica table now. It looks a lot better.
Thanks for hearing me out, friends.