You Can’t Do It For Them

You can’t do it for them… honest, I’ve tried!

You can’t diet for them. You can’t exercise for them. You can’t manage their money for them. And…

You can’t get rid of their stuff and organize for them.

No matter how bad it gets.

Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve begged, pleaded, coerced, and nagged.

You see, like many married couples and partnerships, my hubby and are I are complete opposites. What I see as junk, he sees as treasure. What I see as broken, he sees as fixable. What I wish to discard, he wishes to keep.

For thirty-seven years we’ve been doing this dance. A dance in which we step on each others toes — a lot!

What I had to learn from this dance, often the hard way, was that I could not do this for him. I could not force him. Threaten him. Rant or rave. Or, bare my teeth and growl.

There was no way to move this man until he was ready. Until he saw the value of doing so.

If I pushed before he was ready, that only made us both crazy. And, his feet just dug in deeper. No way to move a boulder that big.

So, what do we do when we wish to have a neat and tidy home, well organized, with a place for everything and everything in its place IF our partners do just the opposite?

It is a question that I hear often, how do I “make” my husband (wife, lover, kids, family member, roommate… ) get rid of their clutter and clean up after themselves?

Good question and the answer is multi-faceted, layered, and often complicated.

But, the simple answer is this –> You Can’t!

You can’t make them do anything. It only happens when they are ready, when they see the value of doing so, or, something kicks them into gear to take action.

And, the action is theirs to take. To accomplish the task. To make it happen.

That is if you wish for sustainable success as well as a more peaceful relationship!

Badger someone into submission, or toss their stuff without permission, and a war of wills is waged. A war that could be silent, but deadly, or an outright explosion of outrage.

No one wins when that happens. Yep, been there with that, too!

So, what do you do, you ask?

Here are three helpful tips…

Tip #1. Recognize your definition is not theirs. Believe it or not, there is no one definition of clutter. Each person sees it differently. What you see as clutter, is not necessarily how they see it. So, get clear on your definitions of clutter, organized and tidy. This will help with tip #2.

Tip #2. Set some rules and boundaries. Sit down with your spouse or family and hash these out together. Define what areas of the home are communal — the ones used by all regularly. What areas are personal? And, what areas are considered totally “off limits” by anyone but you. Determine what is allowed, or not, in all areas of the home, but especially the communal ones. These are the ones that cause the most conflict. Set the boundaries clearly AND discuss what happens if those boundaries are crossed.

Tip #3. Show by example. Get going and do your own areas. Begin with you! When you show by doing, it gets the energy moving and often your spouse and family will follow. You might begin with “Throw Away Thursdays.”

And, remember it is baby steps. No matter how small the step, acknowledge it as a step in the right direction. Those tiny steps do build on each other with amazing results.