Reader Luna wrote to ask us this unique question:
My husband keeps collecting things, especially newspaper and magazine cuttings and he keeps them in separate files. Most of the cuttings are of no use. He does not want to throw away old plumbing or electrical parts but if I throw something away, he does not even notice. Please help me to deal with this problem. He does not do this in front of us but keeps collecting when he is alone. What could be the reason for his behaviour? Please help.
Thanks for sharing your dilemma Luna. I am sure you’re not the only person who has been, or will be in this situation.
There could be many reasons why your husband is collecting items. Perhaps he finds it an interesting hobby but knows you do not approve so he collects things without you watching. There could also be a medical or psychological reasons for his behaviour. While Unclutterer has a plethora of resources on how to organize, arrange, and manage collections, we are not qualified to assess human behaviour – that is best left to medical and mental health professionals such as doctors and psychologists.
Our suggestion is to have an open honest discussion with your spouse indicating your concern about his behaviour. The American Psychiatric Association provides some great advice.
It is important that you remain positive and supportive. Do not judge or criticise. While you may see your husband’s collection as a waste of time and effort, he most likely does not. You may wish to focus your conversation on safety (e.g., avoiding trip hazards, keeping fire escape routes clear, etc.), keeping the collection organized or perhaps confined to a specific area of the home. Show empathy – listen and try to see things from your husband’s perspective.
Also, stop disposing of his items without his consent. This may be difficult for you but if he finds out, it will undermine the trust he has in you and he may have trouble believing you’re acting in his best interests.
You may wish to encourage your husband to see a medical doctor to rule out any medical reasons for his behaviour. Visiting a mental health professional – perhaps the two of you together, would be beneficial in helping to understand each other’s perspective.
Thanks for your great question Luna. We hope that this post gives you the information you’re looking for.
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