Getting Family Members on Board

Getting Family Members on Board
27 Jun 2013
  • If you live with other people, chances are you’ve experienced the difficulty of living with other people’s stuff! The reality is, we all have different thresholds for household chaos and clutter. Some spouses and house-mates have very different thresholds, which can make things uncomfortable at times, to say the least. If you’re wishing you could get your family on board with a clutter clear out, there’s some good news and bad news.
  • Here’s the bad news. Just like any other major life change, you cannot convince someone else to get on the organizing bandwagon. They have to want it. No amount begging, nagging, preaching, or threatening will work. In fact, it is more likely to make the other person dig in their heels even more. But here’s the good news – there are some things you can do to improve your space and maybe even get your loved ones on board.
  • 1. Set a good example. Deal with your own stuff and spaces first. We all see other people’s clutter as the bigger issue, but we all have our own piles to work on too, even if you’ve already been doing so. You can also work on shared spaces as long as you’re not ruthlessly tossing your family’s personal stuff. You’ll get the benefit of making some progress and they may start to see some benefits as well, even if you don’t hear about it.
  • 2. Make it easy. Let family members know in advance that you’ll be taking some things (of your own) to donate and designate a box or bag that they can add items to. The same could work for selling or free-cycling items. If you’re willing to do the leg-work, you’re removing a major barrier and they may just jump on board.
  • 3. Set some household limits. Decide as a household where it’s okay for “stuff” to land and where it’s not (i.e. the kitchen table or the living room floor). Also designate some personal space for each person too. If items are left out in the clutter-free zones, you have free reign to return them to the person’s space. If you find that you’re running up and down putting items in rooms, consider setting up a basket or tote for each person, and ask that they manage it when it gets full.
  • Dealing with our own stuff is hard enough – sometimes dealing with other people’s stuff can be downright overwhelming. Take a step back and a deep breath and re-focus your efforts on small changes you can make. Your family may just surprise you and come along for the ride, at least a little bit.


Sarah Buckwalter