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Ask Erin: Getting Organized When Your Sweetheart is Not

By Melanie Moffett
In Center Block
Jan 27th, 2015
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by Erin Sharplin Love

Being one-half of an organized/disorganized couple is completely normal, but it definitely comes with challenges.  Unfortunately, these “challenges” can begin small but quickly become big problems.  As a professional organizer (and the more organized half of my relationship), I can completely empathize.  Below are a few tips and tricks on how to develop an organizing system your entire family can use:

First things first!  You must stop nagging. More often than not, nagging has the exact opposite effect of what you wanted, so you’ll need to try a different approach.  My next tip could help.

Ask his opinion AND follow through with it.  Ask your partner what organizing system he suggests or would like to see implemented in your household.  I suggest starting with something that isn’t directly related to his disorganization.  For instance, have toys begun to overrun your living room?  If so, work with your partner to develop a system that will tame the toys.  Always implement at least one of the suggestions he makes, so he’ll feel as though he has actually helped.

Be a good influence.  Organize your spaces first.  Once your partner sees how awesome being organized is, he might follow suit.  If not, at least he will have a point of reference, when it is his turn. As a professional organizer, I never suggest getting rid of your partner’s possessions without first giving him a chance to make the decision himself.

Create easy-to-use systems. The easier and more self-explanatory an organizing system, the more likely your family will follow it.  Always organize in the exact area of use – let me explain.  Does your partner often lose his keys?   Then set up a docking station by the door he uses every day.  I suggest a basket he can throw his keys in as he enters the house.  Does he take his clothes off in the same spot every day?  Set a laundry hamper in that area to thwart his throwing them on the floor.  *Tip – Use a label maker to label drawers and shelves so everyone will know exactly where an item belongs.

Make organizing a daily occurrence. For instance, set aside fifteen minutes every day to put away any clutter that has found its way into your home.  Ask your kids and your husband to help, even if it’s just one thing!  Any help is better than no help.  Another plus – new habits can form in less than thirty days, so the more your family puts items away, the more likely it will become second nature to them.  An added bonus is that eventually you might not have to ASK them to help you clear the clutter.  So with that said…

Be patient!  Getting organized can take time, effort and consistency for everyone involved.  When all else fails, continue to implement the organizing systems no matter who is still on board.  The more organized you are, the less stressful your life will be, which can lead to more loving interaction between you and your sweetheart!  Getting organized is a win-win.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Enjoy your partner.