Living with a Messy Spouse

Filed Under: Basic Organizing

Live with Mr. or Mrs. Messy?  Having married a messy, I know this first hand. (I got permission to say that)

One habit my husband is slowly breaking is dropping his socks all over the house. I find them by the front door, next to the couch, on the steps and it drive me bonkers! Instead, I asked him politely if he could stop. He said he’d try. Next time I saw socks laying by the front door I left them there and came up with a plan. After dinner, I grabbed his hand in the kitchen and said , “You’ve gotta see this! Come look!” He was all excited and I led him to the front door mat and pointed down to the socks and said, “Socks jumped out of your drawer and threw themselves down here!” He started laughing. None the less, be kind about it. He has gotten a lot better at not dropping the socks!

In all seriousness…. Here’s some other tips and tricks I practice.

  • Lead by example and set up systems that help him or her brain (not yours). Everyone thinks and processes differently. What works for you doesn’t mean it will work for a family member.
  • Scolding, whining, or nagging won’t get you anywhere. Do your part with your stuff and ask if the other person would do their part.
  • Suck it up and do the one thing they hate. For example, my husband will not put away clean clothes. It’s a battle not worth fighting. So I pick up that extra task to keep our bedroom organized. I don’t love doing dishes so he often will do a greater share of dishes in a weeks time.
  • Work together on house projects and bond over clutter clearing instead of shoving the task onto one another. Don’t ever expect perfection. For example, when I unloaded boxes and boxes of my husbands stuff, I laid it out neatly and in categories so when he came down to go through it with me, it took him only 15 minutes to review it, make decisions and put it away. I made the task easier on him. You can too with your spouse.
  • Consider bringing an organizer on board if it would help you both see things in a neutral light. I have often played the part as the mediator and believe it or not, have saved marriages. Several spouses claim I’m better than a marriage counselor and cheaper!
  • Finally, let a perfectly, neat, tidy standard for your home go. Find balance and a standard you can both agree to. There’s no need to stress and argue over something that isn’t going last in the long run. Your relationships and marriage are more important.
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