Believe it or not, there are people out there who don’t enjoy organizing. Crazy, we know. You may call them your kids or spouse. We call them orderly challenged. Nonetheless, the truth of the matter is, organization is not exactly fun for the whole family.
Instead of dragging your family to the storage unit or cracking the whip in the playroom, introduce a few fun elements into the work and see if you can get more productivity out of your anti-organization family.
- Make some money. If you have kids, there are few organization projects as exciting as holding a garage sale. They get to act like mini cashiers and meet new people. If they help you set up and donate their own items to the sale, cut them a share of the profits. Earning their way through organization can be a huge motivator. And if the sale gets your husband the new snowboard he’s been eyeballing as well, everybody wins.
- Get groovy. There are few events music can’t fix. “Turn on some fun music and dance while you clear clutter and organize,” says Jaime Pfeffer, author of Uplift: Amazingly Powerful Secrets to Conquer Stress, Boost Happiness and Create an Extraordinary Life. It may not make organizing your family’s new favorite task, but it can take some of the irritation out of the chores.
- Create a game. A little competition can breathe life into any project. Offer double desserts to the first kid who can fill a trash bag. Or challenge your spouse to see who can come up with the best system for storing bathroom supplies.
- Chart the progress. Create a visual demonstration of how organization is going around the house. “Consider a ‘don’t break the chain’ kind of momentum; just like companies have ‘152 days without an accident,’ to encourage employees to avoid safety violations, you could have a kitschy whiteboard in the house keeping track of how many days your household has gone without the kids being late for school, or you having to bug your spouse to unload the dishwasher,” says Julie Bestry, a professional organizer.
- Become a target. Up the ante a little bit in your house by making yourself a target of their success. Tell your kids that if they keep their rooms clean for a month, they get to throw pies at you. Or tell them that if they pick up their clothes for a week, they’ll get to get messy painting a shirt. If you think your family enjoys making a mess, make it a reward for staying clean.
There may never be a day where your teenager says, “forget hanging out with friends, I want to stay home and tidy up,” but you can create situations where cleaning isn’t entirely miserable. Make a joke out of it. Construct a reward. Find a balance that gets organization implanted into your family’s mind and keeps you form feeling like the clean police.