Monday, April 20, 2009

Ask the organiser - how do you get your spouse organised?

I so often get this question:

Marcia, I'm on a mission to get my house organised but how do I get my husband to join in/ organise his stuff, etc.

Great question but I'm afraid .... the answer is not that easy.

You don't have control over other people, only over your own actions. In other words, you can't force your spouse to get organised.

I once had a man phone me to ask me to "please come and get my wife organised". These sorts of things are HUGE alarm bells for me; I do NOT want to get in the middle of a fight so I refused (politely) and said that I preferred it if the person who had the organising challenges phoned me when they were ready.

That story has a good ending because she phoned me about a year later and I then went over and did her home office.

The golden rule is focus on sorting your own stuff out first. Hopefully your spouse will be inspired and will start organising his stuff after he sees the example you're setting.

Remember these words of wisdom:
  1. Your way of organising is not the only way. Don't discourage him if it's not done the way you would have done it.
  2. If he doesn't show the slightest bit of interest in organising, respect his right to have his stuff look just how he wants it. You don't have to like it; just respect it. It's his house too.

My husband is very organised at work and I joke and say, "what happens when you get home?"

He says it's because he knows I have the house totally organised that he completely relaxes when at home.

Honestly, he is actually quite organised at home too; just not to my standards, but I do respect his space and leave his things be.

With Project Baby Organising, I started doing the room and what-not and without saying a word, I've seen him do some decluttering and throwing out of his own things. Not just once, but on at least 3 different occasions.

Well well well!

Just goes to show what happens through just setting an example.

I'd love to know what works with your own spouse. Please share in the comments.


se7en said...

I used to say "You need to tidy your study/the garage." No response, nothing! Then I would say, "I will help you and do it alongside you." We would fight and grumble the whole way, because what I meant was we can do it my way and you can watch! Not exactly a marriage builder!!! Now I say the study needs tidying I am going to do it next week... If he is desperate he sorts stuff before I get there and otherwise, as I do a little bit each day I just leave a tray out for him to go through..."Could you just tell if there is anything on here you could get rid of?" If there is it goes otherwise I just pack it back! The trick is really doing a little bit everyday. The man hates change, so if I do it all in one day and he comes home to a whole new set up he is miserable... but a drawer/ counter space a day and it is totally manageable.

Another twin link... sorry I just keep finding them!

Marcia Francois said...

Great point - we need to do what works with them and not against them. My hubby also doesn't like big changes.

And by all means, keep those twin links coming :)

Mandi said...

Another lesson I had to learn was that the person who cares more about something is responsible for it. Of course, that assumes basic respect in your marriage first (so that your spouse isn't just saying, "Well, you care about do it all,") but when it comes to the things that don't really matter, I try to remember that it's not fair to put my expectations on my husband because it's his house too.

Marcia Francois said...

Mandi, that's a great point!

You are absolutely right that it's a respect issue first, and then not to put YOUR expectations on your hubby.