Do you ever feel like cleaning up and organizing after your spouse feels like more work than cleaning up and organizing the kids?
When two spouses share different ideas about the levels of cleanliness and organization that are ideal, it can cause a lot of friction in the marriage. Some people aren’t super clean or organized, and as long as they’re with someone who also thrives in a more messy and chaotic state, it’s totally fine. However, some people are really clean and organized and anything less than spotless and organized can really stress them out. Most people fall closer to the middle of the cleanliness spectrum, but what happens when two people are nowhere near the same level of cleanliness than the other?
It can be really frustrating when you’re trying to organize and keep your house clean, when you spend a ton of time developing systems that work for you and picking up the same things over and over again, and your spouse just doesn’t care.
They still throw their clothes on the floor instead of using the cute new labeled hampers you bought. Everytime they help unload the dishes they always get put in the wrong spot, even though you’ve showed them five times already where the dishes are supposed to go. And their office is just a complete disaster no matter how many times you try to clean it up and organize it for them.
You feel like you’re being nice by trying to make things organized, clean, and easier for everyone, so why can’t they just get on board?
That’s when the big questions comes:
How do I organize my spouse?
Answer: You don’t.
I imagine you are looking at the screen now with a puzzled look on your face. Not the answer you were expecting? You’re not alone.
Organizing is a personal choice.
Organizing is a funny thing – it’s very personal. You might think that sorting through your stuff and figuring out where it all goes wouldn’t make people uncomfortable – but for many it does (even if it doesn’t bother you).
Even though you think you’re doing your spouse a favor by organizing their underwear drawer and office, they may just feel like you’re constantly going in and messing up all of their stuff.
Sometimes the better solution is to just seal off that part of your home and let it be your spouse’s personal space, no matter how messy they like it. If you spouse works all day from home, and the office isn’t something you ever need to use really, then seal it off and let it be. However, if you’re sharing a home office, that’s a different situation.
I’ve known a couple people who, after failing to establish an organizational system for their spouse’s office, which unfortunately are often inconveniently located near the home entrance, instead cover up their see through doors or add new doors that didn’t have glass, and just let their spouses do their thing. And, they were both a lot happier because of it.
Your spouse’s half of the closet isn’t as organized as yours? So be it.
Your kids rooms won’t stay organized no matter how many time you threaten to ground them? So be it.
I’m not saying you should give your kids a free pass to never clean their room, but if they’re happy that things are all piled into one giant pile in that closet and don’t mind that it’s really difficult to see and reach everything, then oh well.
Of course, the difference is the common areas. Everyone should try to pitch in and follow the systems put in place in the areas that your entire family uses. If you let them have parts of their life where they can be a little more messy and disorganized, then they should be able to handle following a few systems throughout the rest of the house.
So, if you’ve decided you want to take on an organizing project in your home, go for it! But realize that you are doing it for yourself. Try to get your spouse (and/or children) on board by politely requesting that they use the system you put in place, take small steps, and don’t expect everyone to change because you are on fire about it.
It’s really like anything else in life . . . take small steps and you’ll make positive changes. Just remember, it’s a personal choice.