Building Peaceable Habitation

When I visited my new husband’s three-bedroom home for the first time I brought a weekender and a banjo. There was not an inch of closet space, not a single drawer, not a spare corner, not even an empty armchair in the whole house in which I could safely stash the suitcase.

I did find a safe place for the banjo beneath the baby grand but there was no room to unpack and play it. So for us, there was never a question that we needed to empty out a lot of stuff.

But what should go? A lot of the stuff belonged to his deceased first wife and he’d not yet been able to face it.  As I came up with respectful suggestions about what to do with it, he could let it go.

But there was, and is, All Sorts of Other Stuff …

Often, what one family member views as unnecessary junk, another sees as treasure: infrequently used exercise equipment, historic baby furniture, an old bicycle, piles of holiday tins… If the stuff is clogging space that another wants to use, well, that’s when things get dicey.

Folks can agree to a stalemate with truce.  Sometimes there is a knock-down drag-out, sometimes there is agreement about a new shed out back, sometimes there is a failed marriage.

Here’s part of our happy solution.

We mutually arrived at a vision of what we want to do in each room of our house.  It was just plain fun to hear about where and how we wanted to work, to relax, to entertain, to…

With a clear vision in hand we could decide what stuff should be in each room. By focussing on what we wanted to keep we could usually agree about what we didn’t want and we walked most of that stuff out of the house with our blessing.

The very best part was that we began to enjoy reclaiming our spaces and living in our house together.

Do you really have too much stuff?

Is there space in your house you want to use for something that you simply can’t use because it is piled with stuff?
Do you have anywhere else to put your stuff?


Author: American Declutterer

I've had three careers, moved among thirteen states, and cleared four houses after loved ones moved on. Sometimes you just have to look at all the stuff and laugh. Then get back to discarding.

2 thoughts on “Building Peaceable Habitation”

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