The secret to a happy marriage

by Erika Torres

I am convinced that I have discovered the secret to a happy marriage. Or perhaps, I’ve just discovered the secret that keeps our marriage happy: The Man Room.

When we were looking for a new place to live, we both felt strongly that we needed a two-bedroom. Two bedrooms typically offer more space in the living areas, which is what I wanted. But I think Eric had visions of a man room.

As soon as we moved in, I began decorating our entire place, scouring places online for  tasteful but cheap home decorations. But Eric gave me one specific rule: Don’t touch the man room.

So I left it alone, and this is what it has turned into:

This room is rarely clean. About once a month, Eric will smile happily at me and proclaim: “I’ve cleaned the man room!” and it will stay clean for about all of 30 seconds.

His dirty laundry piles up on the floor until he needs to wash it. If he has clean laundry, it stays folded in the laundry basket and he just picks clean clothes from there rather than putting them away. His desk is always cluttered with materials.

This room is a wife’s worst nightmare. So I just close the door.

I shut it out of my mind. And the best part is whenever Eric leaves dirty clothes on the floor in our master bedroom, I just throw it into the man room. Tidying up takes me so much less time because I just sweep up all of his stuff and dump into his room. No more trying to figure out where things go, or putting his stuff away. Now it’s just “dump it in his room” and be done with it.

I can’t tell you how many countless arguments this has saved. I used to fume whenevcer I had to pick up after him. While I still pick up his stuff often, I don’t have to take the time to put it away–I just throw it in the man room.

Yeah, there have been times he’s gotten mad that I just throw things in there, so I tell him to pick up after himself and then I won’t have things to throw.

Trust me on this: Every man needs a man room.

What do you think of the man room?

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Katie June 25, 2012 - 7:19 am

haha. My mom gave me this same piece of advice when we moved into our current rental townhome. We used to get in raging fights because I would get so sick of cleaning up after him! Now, in the new place, he has his own closet, which is always a war zone. But all I have to do is throw everything in his closet and I don’t have to look at it anymore! Wedded bliss 🙂

jp June 2, 2012 - 3:00 pm

our’s is refered to as his “sh*t room” : )

Adhari May 30, 2012 - 6:40 am

we have a 2nd bedroom that has turned into my husbands messy @$$ room and i cannot STAND IT. I close the door to

Josh @ Live Well Simply May 29, 2012 - 8:00 am

The man room is most definitely one of the keys to a happy marriage. LOL! 🙂

Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals May 27, 2012 - 2:20 pm

We are looking for a new house (provided our current home sells), and my husband is insistent on having a man-room. Actually, I’m insistent on everyone having their own space outside of their bedroom – my kids, ideally, would have a (joint) playroom, my husband would have a man-cave, and I’d have my home office.

Jai Catalano May 25, 2012 - 11:38 am

Give Eric credit. 30 seconds is a long time. I did a monologue slam competition years ago where you had to make the audience vote for you in 30 seconds. I won which means that it’s more than enough time for your marriage to always be on the winning side.

Yea for 30 seconds.

Anne @ Unique Gifter May 24, 2012 - 8:57 am

*twitch!* Those images are all too familiar. I wish they were sequestered behind a door, but they’re not. Whenever I try to mass-migrate that stuff to my spouse’s side of the bed or the room, they almost instantaneously end up back all over. Slovenliness is a big rift in our relationship at times. Congrats for having a solution!

Dave @ Debt Black Hole May 24, 2012 - 6:33 am

My “man cave” is clean. It’s the one room in the house I have COMPLETE control over- furniture, paint colors, decor, etc. The only “messy” area is the corner where I have all the posters I haven’t put up yet.

I guess, if I wanted, I could let it get dirty. But then I’d have to clean it…and that’s no fun. Easier to keep it clean.

kim May 23, 2012 - 4:58 pm

This is hilarious…and true! Ours is my husband’s truck – the bed, the cab – all disaster zones with dirty cups, gym clothes, camping gear, food wrappers. Disgusting.

Adrienne May 23, 2012 - 3:51 pm

This is hilarious! I’m not sure yet… We currently live in one bedroom, but when we buy a house, I’ll know if he needs a man room 🙂

Jeff May 23, 2012 - 2:12 pm

I will have one, one day. Just like it.

Tanner May 23, 2012 - 11:27 am

I think it’s rather humorous. Everyone needs a bit of contained chaos. I was actually surprised that he would actually clean it, even if it lasted 30 seconds.

shaba May 23, 2012 - 11:16 am

I wish I had a man room for my husband’s crap.
Instead we have designated man-areas in a few rooms, namely our bedroom and the living room. There are strategic dump zones everywhere.
We did come to blows about surface clutter ( I HATE it) and having both the dining room table and the dining room desk covered in paperwork made me crazy. I’d start throwing stuff out, sometimes stuff he hadn’t dealt with yet… So now I don’t throw a thing out (that isn’t mine) and instead move all his crap to the desk (without him compaining that i moved anything) so the table stays clear. It’s not perfect, but it works for now.

J.Mill May 23, 2012 - 10:16 am

When my husband and I buy (hopefully w/in the next 12 months!) we hope to get a 3 bedroom so we each have our own space! He can keep his Blink 182 memorabilia in his space and I can have a chandelier in my space. I’m with you on separate spaces – Win win!!

TB at BlueCollarWorkman May 23, 2012 - 10:11 am

Amusing for sure, but it only works if you can afford to live in a place with an extra room. My wife and i have a little house with 3 bedrooms. And we have 2 kids. So ther’es no opportunity for a man room. 🙁 But I do have the garage. 🙂

CeCe @Frugalista Married May 23, 2012 - 9:27 am

OMG! My husband has a man room too I guess. I never thought of it that way until reading this post but his looks just like your husbands. Terrible. I actually just asked him to clean it this week b/c I have a friend coming over who hasn’t seen our new house yet and I don’t want to be embarrassed. I love the idea of dumping his stuff in there. I actually just dumped a bunch of stuff on the bed that had been piling up on the dresser in our master bedroom (not sure which place is worse) but I was hoping that having it plopped in the middle of the bed would get him to finally put the stuff away. I really try not to let the messy man room get to me as I can only choose so many battles.

Andrea May 23, 2012 - 8:41 am

I agree! We have a 2 bedroom place so for the most part the 2nd bedroom is the man room. However, it’s also where I have my desktop computer set up, which I need to use for video editing about once a week. Because I do have some claim on the space, I think my man keeps it a teeeeeeny tiny bit cleaner than he would if it were a 100% man room. The one thing I don’t understand is why the man has 2 ginormous laundry hampers and all the dirty clothes are on the floor. Oh well. 🙂

bogofdebt May 23, 2012 - 8:31 am

Our next place is going to have a man room! And a library for me. That’s the plan anyways…

Teacher Girl May 23, 2012 - 8:21 pm

I need this one day when I get married for sure.

jobo May 23, 2012 - 8:08 am

Genius. Utterly genius. I LOVE this.

Lena at frugalandthankful May 23, 2012 - 7:49 am

Oh,I would love to have a man’s room! Not just for my man but for the boys too. Then I probably won’t find dirty socks in the middle of the living room any more because that’s where the TV is…

Kathleen @ Frugal Portland May 23, 2012 - 7:46 am

YES! You just eliminated the problem!

Well Heeled Blog May 23, 2012 - 7:31 am

I am the messier half of my relationship, but I’m trying to get better! CB has learned that the best way to avoid an argument is just to let it slide, though. My goal is for us to make enough $$$ so we can outsource the cleaning…. or just jump on a mean minimalist streak.

KendraD May 23, 2012 - 7:20 am

My husband and I are probably equal in terms of messiness. I typically do all of the laundry and put it away, but if I get bogged down in running loads, then things will sometimes sit in the baskets for a few days. And that does mean that dirty laundry piles up on the floor sometimes. I try to keep it to a minimum though, because our puppy loves to steal underwear and strew them around the house. At least he doesn’t chew them up.

Our second bedroom is the exercise room and it’s wear my husband dumps his workout clothes and uniforms. These all tend to get really sweaty/stinky and it keeps them from contaminating the other rooms. I definitely think that 2 bedrooms is a must and would honestly prefer a third just so I could have an actual guest room. I guess it’s good we live on the opposite side of the world from everyone so that it’s near impossible for anyone to visit.

Frugal City Girl May 23, 2012 - 6:29 am

My husband and I are totally the opposite – I’m the one flinging clothes all over the place while he picks up after me. I love the idea!

Daisy May 23, 2012 - 6:24 am

Haha! The man room. That’s funny.

We have a one bedroom apartment so it can definitely be frustrating sometimes in that my boyfriend has the tendency to just drop stuff on the floor and forget about it. I think he’ll have to take over the garage when we buy.

Jessi May 23, 2012 - 6:16 am

In our house, it is exactly the opposite- the craft room is our disaster room. My husband is very tidy, but I am not at all.

I don’t leave laundry on the floor though. The best purchase I ever made was a $15 3-bag laundry sorter- just PVC pipes with 3 bags hanging on it. The laundry is presorted, so I can wash each type of load as the bag gets filled. No more dumping all the laundry out to sort it, and then the piles just sitting there until I get around to it.

Our house isn’t very decorated though. It just isn’t one of my priorities. I did have a nephew tell my husband “Uncle K. why do you sleep in a girls room?” because the walls are light purple.

Shellie May 23, 2012 - 6:08 am

I completely agree! Having a man cave was actually one of our top requirements when looking for a house. My Mr isin’t messy, but I often refer to it as “the room full of things I don’t want to look at” He gets his own place to put up whatever he wants, I get the rest of the house to decorate without making space for Xboxes and HDMI cables and dragon figurines, lol. I wrote about it after it got a makeover a few months ago:

Travis @debtchronicles May 23, 2012 - 5:37 am

This article made me laugh……I can definitely imagine that it has indeed saved you many an argument. 🙂

I would like to point out, however, that it’s not always the man who leaves things laying around and the wife that goes around and picks things up. Sometimes it’s the husband that is frustrated finding clothes laying on the bathroom floor and throws them in the hamper. Sometimes it’s us men that find bags of snacks and empty glasses on the dresser and has to bring them back to the kitchen. And yes, sometimes it’s a type A personality male that comes home and finds that the bed is not made even though the wife got up after him, and got home several hours before him from work.

This comment is to represent the male population that picks up after themselves, and their whole family. The guys who stay up late folding laundry, putting them in baskets and placing the baskets outside their children’s bedroom doors to be put away in the morning. The husbands who unload and load the dishwasher every morning while getting the kids ready for school and sweep the kitchen floor before leaving the house for work.

Stand strong men, speak up – sometimes it’s a “woman’s room” that is needed. But I could never give a special room to my wife.

It being messy would drive me nuts.

Amy* May 23, 2012 - 7:54 am

Ditto! I like the idea but hate the term “man room.” *

shopping2saving May 23, 2012 - 10:26 am

hahaha I love Travis! My BF would love you too. Seriously, I am a messy person….and I feel bad for the BF sometimes. I think we both need our own caves so that we can get as messy as we want. I get frustrated when he leaves clothes on the floor so we now have separate closets. Separate closets is ideal! Also I want my own room for my make-up area and dressing area…would be nice. I told him we could each have our own offices/rooms and he seemed to like that idea. Now we just have to save up!

One Frugal Girl May 23, 2012 - 5:22 am

Love this. My hubby is tidy so that’s not an issue and he doesn’t have a man room, but he does have an office all to himself. He considers that his area and I think it’s good for him to define a place of his own where he can both relax and work.

Jordann @ My Alternate Life May 23, 2012 - 5:08 am

I think I need one! My fiancée is the clean one, I’m the messy one. We live in a studio so there is literally no place to just toss stuff and close the door (that used to be our bedroom, but now our bedroom is right out in the open) – it can cause things to get a little bit heated, especially after he’s cleaned up my clothes for the 18th time.


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