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How to Get Your Partner on Board with Getting Organized

How To Get Your Partner On Board With Getting Organized

Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my new office transformation.

Helping people get organized and achieve the dream for their home is my joy and passion. I am glad that it was helpful, to read about the process I went through, for my own office. Today I’m sharing a few tips on what to do when you feel like your partner might be on the opposite side of achieving those goals. As a Professional Organizer one of the questions that I get asked is – How do I get my partner on board with getting organized and to let go of some of his/her stuff? Sometimes while I am organizing with couples they get surprised how they’re partner released an item that they were previously adamant about parting with. No! I don’t have a magic wand that makes people get rid of stuff. 😂 The tips I am about to share are guidelines I’ve discovered help couples have the most success in their organizing journey together.

How to Get Organized When Your Partner Isn’t On-Board

Lead by Example

Start with you. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get rid of other people’s “clutter” or what we consider to be clutter. The thing is, we don’t know the reason they are holding onto an item. There may be a backstory, sentimental, or other logical reason for not being ready to part with something. Keyword being “READY”. Getting rid of others things can sometimes backfire. ​ Instead Lead by example and let the transformation be the inspiration that helps your partner crave that simplified life. ​You can’t change others, but you can inspire the change.

Share the process with them.

Let them know your goals of getting organized and invite them to participate as little or as much as they can. Remember that clutter is postponed decisions. Your partner may have his/her mind wrapped around other priorities and postponing getting organized may feel like the best thing to do at this time. Don’t let that discourage you! Start in a small corner or a drawer. Take everything out, sort it. Designate what you consider to be Keep/trash/donate for your items and ask for their input on items that may require their decision. Deciding on a few items at a time is easier and less overwhelming. This encourages participation. Above all, avoid making decisions for them. Decluttering is a muscle and the more you and your partner practice together the more you will get comfortable with the process and happier with the results.

Support your partners decision.

It helps them feel like they contribute and in turn take responsibility for getting themselves organized. Avoid saying things like “Oh no, but my mom gave you that”. Sometimes all they need is permission to start letting go. If however you feel strongly about keeping the item, let them know what your thoughts are for using the item in a respectful way, then give it a proper home. The solution isn’t always to get rid of things. It may be that it’s in the way of other items you need to access more frequently or it causes visual overwhelm because it’s not in the proper room or place. Help them get started with flexing that muscle.

Be their sounding board

When you attempt De-cluttering marathons, being their sounding board may be harder said than done. Especially when you are in the thick of making decisions on your own stuff. When they ask for your opinion on something, be their sounding board by ask them the question back “What do you think you should do with it? When was the last time you or we used it? Do you love it? Let’s look at it’s condition! Many times we are consumed in our everyday lives that we don’t stop to think about the items we allow into our space. It’s important to bring these questions into our awareness. I’ll let you in on a little secret-Usually if they’re asking….they’re not in love with the item but are looking for suggestions of feel good ways to part with it or are not sure you’d be OK with their decision. (AKA needing permission)

Getting organized is not a destination. It is a journey and way of life. Give yourself and your partner grace as you get organized together.

For more feel-good ways to de-clutter be sure you subscribe to my newsletter. I would love to help you and your partner in this journey together. Leave me a comment, Is there something in particular you have had a struggle parting with?

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. I was just having a conversation with friends today about this very issue…I love to organized and I actually love to help other people organized eventually….but I can’t get my husband to get rid of anything and it’s so frustrating…….hopefully….I can get him on board in the future.

    1. Hi, Suzanne!
      I hear you. #thestruggleisreal
      Don’t give up! When you notice some push back, pull away. But, don’t give up. Organize his stuff so that he can find it. When you do your seasonal cleaning ask him again. It’s a different perspective every time.
      And, celebrate his and YOUR small wins.

  2. I also run into this situation frequently. I think there is great power in making progress with your own stuff and having your spouse see the results. Badgering and arguing don’t work. Sometimes I can come in as a neutral party, taking the emotionalism out of the decision-making. This is an important subject, so thanks for posting!

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