I heard this question quite often when I was working in clients homes. I’d like to preface my response by saying that I am not a counselor, therapist, or psychologist nor do I play one on TV. Roger? Now that we have that out of the way…My answer is “well, that depends”. What does it depend on? It depends on what your intention is. If your question really is “how can I impose my level of organization on my spouse?” My short answer is that you can try, but it probably won’t end well…for either of you.
If your wording would be more along the lines of “how can I get my spouse to help out more and get involved in organizing around the house?”
My answer would be:
I highly recommend that you sit down with your spouse and discuss how their current attitude/behavior around organizing makes you feel, what it means to you to have your spouse’s help and how you might work together to modify systems, expectations, and have every family member contribute to make things run smoothly.
If you’re having ongoing difficulty, you may want to try enlisting a professional. A professional organizer to help find joint solutions for two consenting parties or a therapist to help address relationship issues, whichever feels more comfortable to you. It can be valuable to have a neutral third-party help iron out the kinks and find common ground. IMO this never works when one party feels they are right and simply trying to get the other to see it their way.
Finally, consider how you might be able to adjust your organizing systems or rules to meet somewhere in the middle. Focus on making it as fail-proof as possible. If wet towels are lining the floor instead of being hung on the towel rod, consider hooks as an option (and have ribbon loops sewn on to make it even easier). If t-shirts are being pulled out of neatly folded piles, try folding in half again and file instead of piling. Trash ending up on the top of the dresser? Place a small wastebasket next to the dresser. Obviously, placing ten laundry baskets in one room is unreasonable but if dirty clothing isn’t making it into the laundry hamper in the closet, consider adding one or relocating it closer to the point of removal. Just some food for thought…
I’d love to hear any ideas you’ve implemented for making organizing easier for your spouse. Or, if you have specific questions on how to adjust a task/organizing system, please leave a comment below.