Day Nineteen: 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge – Living with a Disorganized Person

It is day nineteen of the 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering challenge. Have you had a busy weekend completing larger projects? I love to see your pictures of your bags going to donation!

Today my husband and I were working on emptying the dishwasher and he started reorganizing our silverware drawer because it was getting a little unruly. We often have a debate about how the silverware should be stored. Since we use silverware quickly, I am more worried about whether the spoons and fork sit in their proper slots. He likes to take it a step further and make sure the silverware nests together neatly by size.

Neither approach is wrong. Both methods allow you to find a knife or serving spoon quickly. One just looks better sitting in the slots. I prefer to use my energy in other areas for appearance purposes. But after 8 years of marriage we accept that we are both going to do it differently. I empty the silverware quickly to get it done and move on, he comes behind me later and fixes it the way he wants. It is a perfect balance and no one gets mad because we accept that it doesn’t matter either way its done.

Years ago when I was doing regular workshops married individuals frequently told me how frustrated by how their spouse dealt with chores or clutter in the house. For example, a wife might complain that her husband throws his dirty clothes on the floor in front of the hamper instead of just putting in the hamper. I always empathize with the frustration, but admit I have no magical cure.

Everyone has a different definition of what organization looks and feels like in a home. We each have a different threshold for when disorder kicks us into action. Some have no threshold. Others are beyond anal about how neat everything needs to look at all times. When you have two people living together with on opposite spectrums it is going to be frustrating for both.

I tell the spouse frustrated by her husbands clothing dump, if he does not care about missing the hamper you can nag him to death, but that habit may be hard to break. If you care more about having it neat your job will be to pick up the clothes every day. Getting mad about it won’t change it, just accepting that it is the way you need it done to be happy.

If you are too demanding about having perfection in your house you could cause just as much frustration in the other direction. Remember that the resentment goes both ways when you see organizing differently. You both may be right in your approach. That’s why it is important to compromise in some areas.

Pick your battles. Make a family plan together with achievable goals for how areas of the house should be. If you have trouble functioning in disorder, but your spouse doesn’t, let them have one area of the house that is just theirs to keep however they want. Compromise and letting go of resentment in certain areas will make everyone happier. They are more likely to work together as a family to do their part.

Happy Organizing!


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