In my line of work I meet so many wonderful people. Whether through working, speaking, teaching, or casual contact in my daily life; almost all of them have a burning question to ask me about getting organized. Two questions turn up far more often than any others. One being whether or not I have ever worked with a real hoarder (the answer is yes) and the second being how to get your family on board when trying to get better organized. This answer is not quite so simple.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that regardless of how many family members you may have in your home with you, it is their home too. Although much research has been conducted on the overall benefits of living in an organized environment, some people just aren’t interested. Should you happen to be married to one of these, hope is not lost but it will be a challenge, for sure.
When asked this question, I always tell people to never underestimate the power of compromise. If you share a space with someone and as difficult as it may be to imagine, there are things you do that bothers them as well. These things are your bargaining tools. Quid pro quo…I will put away your laundry if you will make the bed before you leave the house. I won’t throw away your magazines if you stack them neatly in a designated place.
This process can work beautifully yet it must be handled delicately. Take one thing at a time. When one area has been successfully negotiated and implemented, begin another. For a safe, long-term fix, I would recommend one change every three weeks to a month. It is also important to note, that your spouse should have a designated area within the home where he or she can be themselves without having to adhere to strict organizational guidelines. A man-cave or a scrapbook room are perfect examples.
Children are another, much simpler story…clear instructions, rewards, and consequences. Take care to clearly communicate what you expect then establish rewards for meeting or (hopefully) exceeding those expectations and consequences when not given a genuine effort. If the effort is there, provide additional, patient training. Children of all ages love to learn and as their parent you are their most important teacher. All children can be organized provided they are taught and supported by an organized, loving parent.
Have a neat day!
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