Organizing For Couples

Clutter can cause conflict.  Don't let your relationship fall victim to disorganization. Professional organizer Julie Starr Hook, author of From Frazzled to Freedom, joined us to share her tips for couples:

  1. Make sure you “walk the walk” before you ask your spouse to get organized. Look at the areas of your home that you are responsible for organizing. If you are not holding up your end, don’t expect that of your spouse. My client’s husband was always telling her to get organized. She felt like he was also a clutter culprit. She decided to get all of the areas of the home organized. Once she got organized, her husband clearly saw that he was also a big part of the problem. I encourage my clients to be an “example” to their spouses if they want the other spouse to be organized.
  2. Nagging, yelling and complaining won’t help get your spouse organized.     Instead try to discuss with your spouse how their mess makes you feel. For              example, “I am embarrassed to have family over because of the mess.” “It makes me feel that you disrespect me when you toss your stuff all over the house.” Try to express your feelings about their lack of organization in as much of a loving way as possible.
  3. Ask your spouse about why they are not organized. Are they depressed? Is it because they lack of time? Do they feel overwhelmed and not know where to start? By identifying the stumbling block, it will help give you better direction on how best to assist your spouse and will also help your spouse know where to start.
  4. Once you determine the stumbling block, you can offer solutions. Do they    need to see a Physician for depression? Do they need to take some time off work to organize? Do they need help getting started?
  5. Be a cheerleader, encourager and helpmate. One way is to set up a reward system by finding out what motivates them. Maybe they like Starbucks. Pick them up a Starbucks as they are working on an organization project. Praise them over when an organizing job is complete even if it’s not exactly how you might go out it. Tell, them how it makes you feel when they have an organized space. For example, “I love spending time in our office because the paperwork is put away.” “I know it was hard work for you to organize the kitchen. I enjoy cooking now.”
  6. Hire a Professional Organizer. A professional organizer can be a good neutral party. They have the ability to look at two ways of organizing and put together systems that will work for both people. 
  7. Get in the habit of regular maintenance. The little and often approach works well with organizing. Fifteen, thirty minutes her and there can do wonders for your home. My book also has an organizing schedule that is easy to follow, too.

Julie will be speaking at Keizer Community Library on November 15th from 6:30-8:30 Topic: “Don’t be Frazzled this Holiday Season.” For more information, visit Julie's website.

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