No relationship is perfect. Some people love sunrises while others prefer sunsets. Some couples agree on everything, but what to watch on TV. Others love veggies despite their spouse being a strict carnivore.
In a lot of cases, organization can be a polarizing topic in a marriage. When you have one neat freak and one sloppy spouse, arguments can ensue and the living environment can be uncomfortable for both partners.
Of course the ideal space is one that is organized and relaxing, but asking a messy person to pick up and put their things in order can feel a lot like nagging. Instead of introducing arguments and frustration into your relationship, utilize these tactics to get your spouse on board without constant pestering.
Determine the Essentials
While being a total slob isn’t realistic, being an absolute perfectionist isn’t either. Sit down with your spouse and be honest about what really bugs you and what you can live with.
Set boundaries and get to know each other’s point of view. Maybe your husband just can’t get rid of the sports memorabilia or maybe your wife feels incomplete without dozens of shoe options. Odds are there is a middle ground to be found, but you need to first understand what is essential to your partners’ happiness and how organization might impact those important items.
“When looking at getting a couple on the same plane when it comes to organization it will be a matter of teamwork and accountability. It should all start with a discussion so that both partners understand the importance and benefits a more organized environment will give to the individuals as well as the relationship,” says Dr. Judi Cineas, a psychotherapist in Palm Beach, Florida.
Just kick things off by talking to your partner. You may be surprised how much easier things go when a calm conversation starts things off.
Devise a Plan
The more organized partner will likely be in charge of creating a plan for getting the home organized. Keep your partner’s ideas in mind and understand that they may not be as excited about this as you are.
If you can formulate tasks that fit your partner’s personality, strive to do so. For example, if your partner is better with bulk clean up rather than tiny details, have your spouse organize items into bins (like “Trash,” “Donate,” and “Store”) Meanwhile, you can work on the more tedious tasks like labeling alphabetizing and dusting.
There is a chance that the more organized spouse will be doing more work, but if you can find some balance among the tasks and ultimately achieve a more orderly living environment; it’s worth giving up a 50/50 split on the tasks.
Now that you’ve both agreed to get organized and set a plan, let a system take over. There is no need for the more organized spouse to be the constant proponent of clean. Decide on an app, a calendar reminder or a spreadsheet that will keep both people organized and aware of the household needs.
“…[A system] helps because it creates a shared digital environment where each spouse can see not only their tasks, but see the other’s as well. This creates a subtle sense of accountability. A system that sends out reminders is also useful, because it is not the spouse ‘nagging’ the other to get things done, but it is the system that is telling the spouse what task needs to get done,” says John Bodrozic of HomeZada.
There may never be a perfect equilibrium of organization between you and your spouse, but you can initiate a better process to move towards more organization and less irritation.