Sit Happens: Organizing with an Uncooperative Family

· Family

Judd Spodek, President of Sit Happens, and dog trainer extraordinaire has a slogan on his company truck, “We don’t train husbands, wives, or kids.” I can relate; in spite of working with three dog trainers, my dog, Charly, remains anxious and untrained. The reason is simple; while I did everything the trainers instructed, the rest of my family did not. In time, each trainer told me I was wasting my money. Unless everyone was on the same page, the dog wasn’t going to learn. So, “sit” didn’t happen for Charly. [Disclaimer: Judd and I agreed that he wouldn’t be trainer number four until my husband agreed to follow his training protocol].

Organizing works the same way. If you want your home organized, you need the cooperation of your family. Often, one person is extremely motivated to purge and organize (probably the person reading this), but another family member, or every other family member, creates a bottleneck. 

Perhaps, your spouse or partner genuinely wants to edit all of his/her “stuff,” but simply can’t find the time. Or, you have a sentimental child who claims that every stuffed toy is his/her favorite or that every scribble is a work of art to be cherished forever. Or, you may live with someone who insists s/he likes the mess or impedes organizing attempts in other ways.

Over the years, I’ve devised some tactics that may help when the family dynamic is an obstacle to organizing. Here are a few:

  1. Insist that common areas remain clutter free(kitchen, living room, den, and dining room).
  2. Designate “clutter zones”where your messy loved ones can store clutter. This can be a drawer, an area of a closet, a cabinet, or an entire room. I recently designed a kitchen for a client with a “marriage saver” cabinet that was available for her husband to pile his papers.
  3. Move clutter to the “clutter zones”on a daily basis if and when it bleeds into the common areas. Ultimately, the clutter will become unwieldy, and the messy family member will be forced to act.
  4. Move the clutter to a storage unitand hope that when it becomes full, there will be a realization that what’s being stored hasn’t been thought about even once, and spending money to store it is wasteful.
  5. Embrace bribery. Use the money saved by not buying what you already have (because you couldn’t find it) or by not paying for a storage unit, for a fun family activity.
Judd Spodek, dog trainer extraordinaire only trains dogs; not husbands, wives, or children.
Written by rcadmin · · Family
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