Sep 16

$130 Saved My Relationship


Do you have a home jam packed with “stuff?” For years advertisers have promised us that brand name “things” would make us happy, designer clothing would make us popular and luxury cars would make us desirable. Guess what? They didn’t! Now many of us are trying to “detox” ourselves from the stuff and get the clutter out of our lives.

In fact, it’s super hip to be a minimalist these days. A quick peek around the Internet will yield you hundreds of posts and articles about how to live on less, simplify your wardrobe and minimize the clutter in your home. Friends and fellow bloggers are selling their belongings on craigslist and e-bay, having garage sales, and donating their unwanted stuff to charity. It’s like we’ve finally been given the green light to purge our crap and not feel bad about it.

I personally, love this new movement. I’m all about simplifying my life by simplifying my stuff. Remember when I re-organized my kitchen cabinets and came to the epiphany that clutter causes chaos? Well a few weeks ago I sorted through my wardrobe (wardrobe sounds fancy, what I meant was closet) and donated bags and bags of clothing and shoes that are too small, too ugly and too uncomfortable. At the end of the day, I felt great. Then I sorted through our housewares and the linen closet and purged a bunch of stuff from both. Proud as a peacock, I showed the bags to the bf and explained my new “initiative” to live a more minimalist lifestyle.

The only problem? Boyfriend is very attached to “stuff”

Bf is super frugal, which is something I really love about him. Except for when we’re trying to de-clutter the house. I can sort through a garbage bag full of bf’s clothing in about 5 minutes and put it everything into “keep”, “throw” and “donate” piles. Bf can go through the same bag in about 1.5 hours and at the end the day, 1 pair of socks with holes in the toe will be in the “throw” pile. Sorry to “out” you honey, but you know it’s true! I’m all about frugality, but we’re not living in the depression era and can afford to buy new socks!

Now let’s talk about electronics for a minute, shall we? Electronics in our household are another beast completely. Bf has an insane collection of electronics, computer parts and surround sound speakers from 1980. Let’s just say when I suggested that he possibly give away a few things (there’s no way anyone would buy this stuff it’s so outdated!) it nearly caused World War III. Bf was insulted, I was frustrated our small condo was jam packed with stuff and both of us were not wiling to budge.

Just when It seemed like we were going to break up (or kill each other), we discovered storage units. For a mere $130 a month, he can keep all of his stuff, I can have a clutter free apartment and neither of us has to move out. A win/win in my book. Do I like paying the bill each month? No! Honestly, I think it’s pretty ridiculous we pay to keep our extra crap. But that storage unit saved my relationship, and $130 is a small price to pay for my sanity.

Have you ever “saved” your relationship by buying (or paying) for something?

Image: Scott Meyers Self Storage Investing



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  1. E.M.

    This sounds exactly like my parents. My dad is very sentimental about weird things, like tools, old speakers, computer parts, etc. My mom never understood it. When they moved, the truck was too small to take everything so he was kind of forced to part with a lot of stuff from the garage. So maybe if you ever move, go that route? =) Just kidding.

    I sometimes find it difficult to part with things because I figure it’s been a waste of money. Clothes that were only worn a few times, stuff purchased and then never used…throwing it out is painful and I always say I’ll use it someday. It’s a maddening thought process because I’d rather get rid of it, but I’m torn. At least I’m no longer buying “stuff”! I don’t think I’ve had to buy anything to compromise on something, but I am glad you found a solution that works for both of you.

    1. KK

      Note to self plan another move 😉 I guess when we move we just need to move to the suburbs so we can get a bigger place and a garage.

  2. anna

    That’s funny, my friend did the same thing when she moved in with her husband – he not only has different gadgets, but it looked like 2-4 of everything! They throw really cool parties showcasing their gadgets (like throwing dinner parties with the home-brew kit, a fajita maker, churro maker, etc.), but the rest of the time it just goes into storage. Not being in the situation, I tend to think that’s a hefty price just to store “stuff,” but if you’re in the situation, I can see how it’s a small price to pay to keep the peace! 🙂

    1. KK

      Oh a churro maker sounds lovely (for like 1-2 times per year). It is a lot of money, but hopefully someday when we move out of the city we’ll get a much bigger house for the money and can get rid of the storage.

  3. Girl Meets Debt

    Luckily J and I aren’t too attached to “stuff” but he does have this big box of hockey cards that I have no clue why he keeps around…Maybe if you guys ever move to another place, you can pay the moving guys $20 to “lose” some of the bf’s extra stuff. 😉 hehe I’m just kidding. kinda… 😛

    1. KK

      I like the way you think 😉 Oops those bad movers totally lost those boxes of surround sound equipment, bummer! The next place we go will probably be somewhere in the suburbs with a lot more space, so hopefully we won’t have to lose any of his stuff.

  4. DC @ Young Adult Money

    Seems like a reasonable solution. Some may point at the arrangement and say “You are wasting $130 a month! Do you realize how much you are wasting per year???” but honestly sometimes you have to sacrifice to make relationships work. A marriage counselor once said what’s worse, spending the money for a weekend away to reconnect with your spouse or getting divorced? I know that’s an extreme example, but what I think it makes sense that you are spending the money for this arrangement.

    1. KK

      I totally realize how much I’m wasting each year and I hate it, but that’s the price I pay for living in the city and having no extra space. If we lived in the country we’d have a garage or a storage shed and none of this would be an issue. I think of the $130 as the therapy session I’d have to have if I lived with all the stuff still in the house.

  5. Kurt @ Money Counselor

    Putting a price on your BF’s extra “stuff” may help him see the light one day. We don’t usually think of holding on to stuff we don’t need as costing us money–more than the original cost I mean–but it does! Space is costly!

    1. KK

      Space is SO costly, especially in NYC where space is at such a premium. The same size storage unit where my parents live in Maine would probably be a third of the cost.

  6. Joel @ SaveOutsidetheBox

    I tend to think of storage units as a bad idea. $130 sounds like a lot to me every month! And usually, out of sight becomes out of mind. Your BF will forgot what he has but that monthly bill will continue to roll in. I totally understand keeping the peace. You don’t want to hurt a relationship you love over $130 a month. BUT, maybe this topic could use some future discussion so hopefully in the near future you can ditch that extra bill. Just a thought. 🙂

    1. KK

      It’s a horrible idea and I know it. We only go to the unit 3-4 times a year to get our winter/summer clothing, xmas supplies etc. I’m hoping in the next few years we move out to the suburbs so we can get rid of the unit and keep out stuff in our spare bedroom or in the garage.

  7. eemusings

    Ha, T is also a ‘stuff’ guy! The one thing we pay for to keep him happy is pay TV.

    1. KK

      They’re pretty tough to compromise with aren’t they;-) If TV is his one vice, it could be worse.

  8. Emily @ evolvingPF

    This is a very timely post for me. I am very similar to you and my husband to your boyfriend. Just last night we were going through a box of stuff that never got unpacked after our LAST move and sorting into keep and not keep. I was getting super frustrated by the fact that we still HAD all this stuff and after a while my husband started cracking up, saying we were just like his parents! Now, I do not want to be like his parents for the very reason you talked about in this post – they have rented a storage unit long-term. Like decades, I think. Even though they had a house and a garage for stuff. So just a word of caution – is there an end game to this situation?? Or are you OK with it going on indefinitely?

    1. KK

      No there’s definitely an end. I’m hoping in the next few years (less than 5) we move to a bigger place in the suburbs. Right now we’re in a small 2-bedroom condo (which we love), but in the few years if we have a family will be WAY too small.

  9. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    LOL, my hubby is the same way, as is my BFF’s hubby. KK, I think you’ve figured out that this may be one of those things you’ll just do better to live with. Great job. 🙂

    1. KK

      I’m living with it for now, but as Emily said there’s definitely an end date in sight. I couldn’t bare to spend $130 a month indefinitely.

  10. Janine @ MoneySmartGuides

    Definitely going to consider this! Though, I’m not sure I could fork out that money every month. I think I’d rather put all the stuff in one room or the basement. I have started to try that, but the stuff slowly creeps up every few months and “we” (I) need to consolidate it back to it’s place again!

    1. KK

      If we had an extra room or a basement or attic we’d absolutely put the stuff there. Unfortunately our condo is small and we don’t have a garage or any extra space.

  11. Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa

    This is a great idea if you don’t have the space, but i will say… $130 sounds pricy for a storage unit. Then again, if that is what it costs to save a relationship… it is money well spent.

    1. KK

      Ironically $130 was the cheapest unit (the size we needed) in the area. We checked out a bunch of storage places and that was the best rate we found. Coming from a small town it feels insane to pay for space like that, but when you live in the city you do what you have to do.

  12. Dear Debt

    My boyfriend is a musician, so even as much as he wants to be minimalist, he still has so much shit! I moved here with two suitcases and nearly all of our apartment is his crap, lol! Luckily, I have an office that is just mine, so I can have my own space.

    1. KK

      I know I have my own fair share of crap, but not nearly as much as the bf (and I’m not attached to it the way he is). Getting rid of stuff feels good to me, getting rid of stuff feels like punishment to him.

  13. C. the Romanian

    I guess that this is how most males are built. I also tend to get attached of stupid things and I still keep my lucky basketball t-shirt, collection of Captain America action figures, a ton and a half of floppy disks and my first PC. I do tend to go on a yearly rage and throw away much of the unneeded stuff to the delight of my wife, but there are simply some things I can’t find the power to let go.

    1. KK

      I wonder if it’s all men, or I just so happen to have found the perfect match to make me crazy 😉 I’m sure your wife appreciates that you’re able to get rid of some of the stuff here and there. I would!

  14. Melanie

    $130 a month a bit expensive. But if you can afford it why not. A clutter free space will unclutter your relationship and your mind too 😉

  15. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply

    Yes, I know how you feel as we live in a small one bedroom apartment and space is at a premium. I’m pretty good with donating and getting rid of things for the most part but I do have a sentimental side where I want to keep things from the past. My wife was good with decluttering as she moved pretty often and she’d be forced to declutter or have to carry everything each time she moved. But now that we’ve lived in one place for over 4 years, she’s keeping a lot more stuff. Hopefully we’ll move soon to a bigger place…and my wife will be “forced” to get rid of some stuff so she doesn’t have to pack and move it! =)

  16. Demaish @ Borrowed Cents

    I also hold on some of my old stuff for reasons unknown. You always feel like it will be useful someday. Currently my wife has made me start letting go some stuff and I have gained some courage to do so.

  17. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    $130 a month is a lot, but if it makes your relationship work then it’s worth spending. I’m going through a major purge myself. I’d love to hear how you’ve gone about selling your stuff (mostly clothes). I failed miserably with ebay and I’m afraid of the judgement from the people at buffalo exchange- silly, I know.

  18. CF

    Glad you guys found a solution that works! Neither Brian or I are super attached to things, so we’ve managed to pare down a lot of our possessions. With the stuff out of sight, he might be more willing to part with things in a few months.

  19. Financial Debauchery

    Good for you guys for saving your relationship. But really – boom box speakers and old computer parts? What does anyone really do or need with all that crap? When I finally tossed my old CD player my parents wanted the speakers. Now when I see them in their basement, I’m just like “why???”

  20. Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild

    Thankfully my husband jumped on the minimalist train with me! We have exactly two of everything we need — two plates, two bowls, two mugs, two forks, etc.

    I have several family members and friends who are so attached to random crap and I don’t get it. I say, as long as you can live with it (at least for the time being), it works! I bet you are SO ready to move into a bigger place and stop paying that bill :).

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