I Married a Packrat

MJ is a recovering bookseller and a stay at home Mama to two little boys.  She sometimes pretends that she is a runner, but really she only likes the cute clothes.  Other times, she pretends that she’s a gourmet chef, a famous writer, and a stand up comedian.  Most of these things are semi-believable after a drink or three.  Also, she occasionally blogs at 154 Hidden Court and wastes an insane amount of time on Twitter, but only when she’s not busy pretending to be Catwoman.

I’m going to start with all the usual disclaimers – I love my husband very much.

He’s a great father, wonderful husband, excellent provider…  yada, yada, yada.  You get the picture.  I mean, really, I married the guy twice, so how bad could he be?

But, he has a problem.

A pretty serious one, if you ask me, the lady formerly known as Ms. Type A for Anal Retentive Control Freak.

See, my husband is a pack rat.

Ya know, like a hoarder, sort of, but without the mouse poop and dead animals.

I guess I should have seen some warning signs early on, but he’s pretty good at hiding stuff.  When we met, he shared a campus apartment with a roommate – HI GENE! – and I remember walking in the door for the first time to “study” expecting to find beer cans, empty pizza boxes, dirty socks, etc. strewn about.


It was neat as a pin.

At first, I thought he had cleaned it up just for me.  Sigh…  How romantic…  But every visit after, it was just as clean and tidy.  It even forced me to up my game a little.  Can’t have him thinking I’m a slob, right?  Anyway, fast forward a little bit, to when we got married and moved into our first apartment together.

I fully expected the neat, orderly man I met and fell in love with to move in with me.  Um… not so much.

I guess my first tip-off was when he said he needed to make a “couple” of trips home to his parents’ house to get some more of his stuff.  Ok, how much stuff could we possibly be talking about here?

Turns out, A LOT.

And not just really important stuff, like pictures of old girlfriends and high school yearbooks…  No, we’re talking the empty boxes to every computer game he had ever owned, receipts from ten years ago, and enough socks with holes to make an entire gang? gaggle? troop? of sock monkeys.

As a young wife in love, I took a deep breath, smiled, and did what I do best – I threw a major hissy fit.

Sadly, it did little good.  He has, in the 18 years or so I have known him, continued to amass STUFF at an alarming rate.

Over the years, I have tried to deal with it in a variety of different ways.  I’ve pouted.  I’ve bitched and moaned.  I’ve cleaned it up and thrown it out.  I’ve passive-aggressively hidden important things under non-important things in the hope that he would see the light and clean it up himself.  I’ve handed him boxes full of his stuff and asked him to do something with it.  He always does, and it ends up right back where it started, but this time in a box.

But lately, I’ve been trying something totally different.  I’ve started to completely ignore the piles of magazines, the empty boxes, the receipts from lunch three months ago, the dirty laundry that almost but not quite made it into the hamper…  And I’ve noticed something amazing.  The more I manage to ignore it, the less I seem to care about it.

As I write this, I am sitting beside nine boxes of unsorted comic books, some old magazines, enough cd’s to start a store,  some sort of action figures that “will be worth a lot of money someday” and some random car parts, and truth be told, I just don’t care as much as I used to.

I’m not sure if this means he won, or I did.

Maybe it just means it’s not really about who wins.

Nah… that’s just crazy talk.

It’s always about who wins…

Maybe it’s that I’ve finally, at the ripe old age of 37, figured out that I can’t change someone else, just how I respond to him.

Nah… It’s probably just that I drink a lot of wine.


It’s definitely the wine.


A big thank you to my guest poster today, MJ!  Here are links to a few of my favorite posts on her blog:

Reflections While Running Ten Miles (and Redneck Playlist) After I finally stopping laughing I immediately logged onto Napster and added these songs to my mp3

The One Where I Try To Out-Redneck a Redneck (this was the post that made me totally fall in love with MJ)

Does This Burrito Make My Butt Look Big? (one of my family’s favorite recipes)




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4 thoughts on “I Married a Packrat”

  1. OMG! How can you stand it? At least he is a neat pack rat. I had one that was just a slob pack rat. We will notice the “had”. Great guest post. I’ll be over to see you.

    1. Beverly, It’s true, he’s pretty neat about it. All his stuff ends up in a box eventually… And occasionally that box gets mistaken for trash, well, that’s totally not my fault 😉

  2. It’s so funny, since I’ve met him, I just can’t see this side of him! Looks can be deceiving ….. and I’m waiting for the darn pole vaulting story. Get to it!

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