Family Organizing: When Someone Else’s Clutter Weighs on You

family organizingWhen you are ready to clear the clutter but family members aren’t on the same page it can be frustrating. There isn’t an easy fix to this common problem. Laying down the law with the kids or your spouse is likely to build resentment, resulting in a temporary fix. The clutter will return.

With time and patience you can influence long term behavior change. It’s best to lead by example. Even if the kids’ toys and spouse’s sports memorabilia are overtaking your home, resist the urge to deal with that first. Start your own de-cluttering journey. Focus first on personal spaces where you can control what goes in and out: your closet, your home office, and perhaps your kitchen, if you prepare most of the meals.  Let family members see the transformation for themselves. Share how these spaces make you feel, compared with other areas of your home.

Once your personal spaces are in order you can start to tackle the shared living spaces. But you can’t do it alone. You need to get input from all family members to ensure that your organizing systems will reflect the needs of the whole family. Hopefully in time, your spouse will recognize the value of de-cluttering.  Everyone doesn’t share the same idea of a clutter-free environment, so come to some agreement on what stays and what goes.

Make organizing a routine. When you are getting started, tackle small areas one at a time. Create designated areas for toys, important paperwork, mail, shoes and coats.  Work together to establish daily routines that eliminate clutter before it has a chance to grow.  While it may be easier at first to swoop in and organize all the kids’ toys yourself, you are likely to face the same scenario time and again.

You need to teach your family members how to organize. Allow them to do it themselves. Praise their efforts each time the task is successfully completed.

Keep these four rules for successful family organizing in mind when you feel yourself getting frustrated by clutter:

  1.  Lead by example
  2.  Get everyone on board
  3.  Establish daily routines
  4.  Teach, don’t do.

Remember there isn’t one right way to organize. A professional organizer helps clients find the best way for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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