Men vs. Women: How to Settle Organizing Style Differences

Organizing ArgumentsSometimes I am called into situations where clutter is causing conflict between a husband and wife.  Perhaps the sports memorabilia is taking over the house; you can’t walk through the garage, or the spare bedroom has become a dumping ground.

Recognize your motivations may be different

While being organized is a common goal for both men and women, I have noticed that the motivation for being organized can be completely different.

In my experience women respond to the visual appeal of an organized space, while men are more interested in the functional benefits of improved organization.  Finding the reward for both individuals is key to getting both parties to work together.

Recognize the same organizing system might not work for both of you

Given their desire to improve function, a man might prefer to have his kitchen utensils in container right on the counter near the stove, where he can easily see and grab what he needs.  A woman values the aesthetics of a clean countertop and prefers the utensils be kept in a drawer. There is no right or wrong, these are just different ways to organize. One solution is to give each person a space where they can organize the way they like. For organizing systems to work in the long term, they should be customized to the needs of the users.  Our organizing systems are uniquely designed to meet the needs of each client. Our belief is that the system you choose is going to work far better than any system imposed on you. One way to resolve differences is to designate the dominant type of organizing for each room. Perhaps the husband selects the organizing style for the garage, while the wife’s organizing style takes precedence in the kitchen.

Be supportive

Health issues, a family crisis, or a new job, are all reasons why clutter can suddenly overwhelm a household.   While it’s easy to point the blame on the “messy spouse,” that won’t help get the clutter under control.  Be supportive, not judgmental. If you are at your wits end and can’t be supportive, ask a professional organizer to guide you and your spouse through the process.

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