Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.
Monday, April 1, 2013
When I speak at events, the most common question from my audience is, "When are you going to write a book on organizing your spouse?" They are serious! Clutter is a common marital issue. I doubt I'll ever write a book on organizing your spouse, but here are a few hints on taming the clutter issue.
As with every other problem in marriage, good communication is key!
If you can communicate effectively, you can solve any problem. If you cannot, you have another problem!
If you are being irritated by clutter in your home, find a time when you are not angry about the clutter, talk about why the clutter is distressing you - how it makes you feel.
Use "I" statements like, "It makes me feel like you see me as your servant when you don't pick up your things," or "I'm embarrassed to have anyone over because of the clutter."
Don't use accusative "You" statements like "You are just a slob," or "What's wrong with you - how simple is it to put away your things?"
Talk about the "hot spots" that collect clutter and brainstorm on ways to solve each problem area.
As you communicate, make sure to listen attentively to what your spouse is voicing. Don't become defensive, even if it is not said in the best way.
As your spouse speaks, check to see if you're hearing correctly by restating what you're hearing.
Don't jump to conclusions.
Take a break if you start to get angry, and come back to your conversation when you've cooled down.
Before your conversation, consider what would make you happy. It may not be realistic to expect that every space in your house will be kept in a pristine condition.
Talk together about what areas could be no-clutter zones and where clutter is acceptable. Your spouse may want to have a room where you can close the door and he/she can have whatever clutter he/she wants.
Each of you may want to be responsible for keeping a certain area clutter free.
Decide how you're going to maintain the solutions you've agreed upon.
Respect your partner's need to keep certain things. Each of us has sentimental possessions that others might not understand. Even if you don't understand the emotional ties to your spouse's possessions, respect those ties.
If the sentimental clutter is excessive, negotiate again on whether there is a way to make you happy and make him/her happy. Try to remain neutral without getting heated.
Never, never, never purge your spouse's items without permission! Totally disrespectful!
As you are communicating, negotiating and brainstorming, appreciate the differences between the two of you. Opposites do attract! The result? A good team.
That means you won't come up with the same ideas, but possibly more ideas to solve your problem areas. My husband and I are opposites in everything! We laugh that if each of do the same task, we can pretty much count on us doing doing it differently!
While I'm the organizer in the family, when we are brainstorming about clutter or organizing issues, my husband comes up with some great ideas. They may not be the way I would solve the problem, but if I listen, I may discover that his idea just might be better than mine! Gasp!
Think teamwork. It's not important whose idea it is, but that our problem gets solved. It doesn't have to be my way of doing things to make it work.
One person in the relationship is usually neater than the other. The neat one may need to be willing to give up some things to make your plan work. On the other hand, the less tidy partner may need to make an extra effort to keep things neat. It's a continual job that requires effort!
While you will never be able to organize your spouse, as the two of you work together as a team, you'll be able to conquer your clutter issues together!
More on getting organized:
10 Ways to Avoid Distraction when Organizing
1-2-3 ... Get Organized eBooks - Organizing One Area at a Time
Creating Routines and Systems