I Can’t Do It All

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

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

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

However bad it gets.

Believe me, I have 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 crap, he sees as treasure. What I see as broken, he sees as fixable. What I want 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 couldn’t do this for him. I could not force him. Threaten him.

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

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

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

It’s a question that I hear frequently, how do I “create” my spouse (wife, lover, children, family member, roommate… ) get rid of the clutter and clean up after themselves?

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

However, the simple answer is that — You Can’t!

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

To accomplish the task. To make it happen.

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

Badger someone into submission, or toss their things without permission, and a war of wills is waged.

Nobody wins when that happens. Yep, been there with this, too!

So, what can you do, you ask?

Here are three useful tips…

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

Set some rules and boundaries. Sit down with your partner or family and hash these out together. Define what areas of the home are communal — the ones utilized by all regularly. What areas are personal? And, what areas are considered totally “off limits” by anyone but you. Determine what’s permitted, or not, in every area of the home, but especially the communal ones. These are the ones that cause the most conflict. Establish the bounds clearly AND discuss what happens if those boundaries are crossed.

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

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