Valentine’s Edition – Love When You Live with A Messy

The Organizing Professionals

Love is in the air. Hearts, flowers, candy, cards. Valentine’s Day – A day (or at least two months according to the stores) to celebrate your love for those closest to you. Sadly, we often spend more time focused on the shortfalls of those we live with instead of appreciating their awesome personal qualities. This tends to be especially true if you live with someone who doesn’t share your standards or need for organized living.
So how do you combat the stress of living with someone whose ideas of an organized home are so different from your own?
Here are five tips to help keep the love alive and well:

1. A home for everything. When you designate “homes” for the items in your home you are creating an organized system for your household to follow. If you’re naturally organized, this may seem intuitive but for the messy members of your family this is not so. They need your expertise to create systems. Many of our clients tell us “I can follow a system if it’s put in place. I just need someone to establish the system.”

2. Establish ground rules. When my kids were little I used to say – or maybe yell; I don’t remember – “The kitchen table is not an extension of your bedroom!” Dumping backpacks or any other stuff anywhere than in their established “home” was not permitted. Kids follow these rules at school. With a little training they will follow them at home.

3. Give the guided tour. So you’ve established systems and created a place for everything in your home’s communal areas. Well done! Now the systems may make total sense to you but without your explanation, your loved ones will probably not follow along. Guide them through your newly organized areas. Show them why you have items grouped together and where you’d like them to be returned when used. Label shelves and drawers if necessary

4. Containerize the messiness! Every messy should be allowed some autonomous region they can mess up to their hearts delight. Maybe a drawer or closet or even a room that doesn’t affect the rest of the family. Give your loved ones the freedom to remain their messy selves but confine it to a non-communal area that won’t offend your need for order. Maybe your spouse or kids have drawers in a nightstand that can be their designated messy area. Or maybe they have an office that is sufficiently out of sight (or you can close the door).

5. Hire us! Helping family members get organized is akin to teaching your kids to drive. It tends to be fraught with emotional tension. Bringing in an organizing professional trained to deal with the varied personality types within a family can be a life—or even—relationship saver.


Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day,

The Organizing Professionals®