This month JAM Organizing presents another informative article from a guest blogger. Enjoy!
A neat and organized home is something we all strive for. However, if your spouse and kids are unwilling to cooperate, keeping your entire household organized by yourself can be tricky. Finding ways of getting your spouse and family on board with your organizing plans is essential. Although it might feel impossible, it isn't! No matter their personalities, with the help of our tips and a little patience, they'll be on board in no time!
Why declutter and organize your home?
Let's be honest - many procrastinate and put off decluttering and organizing their homes. They may be unaware of the benefits and positive side-effects of an organized and decluttered space. When trying to get your spouse and family on board with your organizing, make sure you explain why it's beneficial for them. It's also a massive step towards teaching your kids organization skills and the importance of being tidy and neat.
Benefits of an organized home
Here are just some of the advantages to keeping your home decluttered and organized:
8 Tips to Get Your Spouse & Family On Board with Organizing
Familiarizing your family with the benefits of organizing your home probably won't be enough to get them on board. Here are eight more tips to get your family involved and make organizing your home and decluttering a team effort.
1. Lead by Example
Think about it - you probably didn't jump to change your habits simply because someone told you to do it. For example, if your spouse told you to stop eating chocolate, you probably wouldn't immediately jump on board and stop eating a cherished treat. However, if your spouse showed initiative and was the first one to change this habit, you'd be more likely to follow their lead and make the change yourself.
The same goes with organizing your home. If you pressure your spouse and constantly tell them what to do, it will be difficult getting through to them and it will\ probably increase the likelihood of a negative response. Instead, try leading by example. Visualize your space and work towards making it clutter-free. Once your spouse sees your progress and your areas neat and tidy, they'll most likely feel inspired to do the same with their stuff. After, it will be much easier to get them on board with organizing communal areas, too.
It's essential to get your spouse on board first. Always have in mind that kids learn from us and mimic our behaviors. Therefore, you and your spouse must set good examples for them. If you are doing opposite things, kids are more likely to copy the easier pattern. For instance, if one of you is not keen on organizing, your kids are more likely to adopt that behavior because it seems easier.
2. Set Goals Together
Everyone likes to see progress. It's in our nature to want to advance and move forward each day. Setting goals and achieving them makes us feel fulfilled and proud. This makes it a perfect strategy to implement for getting your spouse and family on board with your organizing plans.
Try finding a family organizing goal and reasons to organize and declutter that benefit everyone. For example, if you are planning a camping trip or a family vacation, your goal could be to earn money by selling your extra stuff. If you plan to donate your excess belongings, your kids will be keener to help if they know their old clothes and toys will go to less fortunate kids.
Another goal you could set is to save money and move to a smaller place. Downsizing your stuff and getting organized is a great way to achieve this. By downsizing your living space, you'll be lowering your environmental footprint, which is an important lesson to teach our kids. Not only that, but by downsizing your home and stuff, you'll be less busy with maintenance and cleaning. That will leave you more time and energy to spend doing something you love as a family.
3. Be Respectful of Their Belongings
When you start your organizing journey, you don't want to be too pushy. Instead, be patient and sensitive to your family's space and belongings. It will be hard to get them on board with organizing if you insist they get rid of things you feel they should.
Instead of insisting, give every family member their dedicated space where they can keep things they find valuable. Always keep this in mind: even though you think something should be tossed, it doesn't mean it's not precious to your loved ones. They might fill up the available space they have at some point, which will force them to organize and declutter again. This is an excellent way to turn decluttering into a habit.
4. Share Responsibilities
Whenever you're organizing as a team, make sure everyone has a specific task and try not to meddle too much in it. For example, moving long-distance with kids will be a perfect opportunity to deal with some organizing. If you are about to relocate with the little ones, make sure they are involved and dedicate tasks to them. They'll feel helpful and included, which will make your relocation much more effortless. It will keep their mind off the move and keep them in a good mood.
Also, arm yourself with patience, especially when it comes to your kids. They will probably need more time initially, but if you show them you're proud and how much you appreciate their effort, they are more likely to repeat this positive pattern.
5. Offer Help
When you and your family are organizing together for the first time, make sure to manage your expectations and not expect miracles. They probably won't even know where to start and how to begin. Don't get frustrated! Find ways to show them how to organize different parts of your home. By being understanding and willing to help, your family will be more open to learning organizational skills.
Also, make sure to pay attention and look for signs that your family needs help. Sometimes kids and even adults aren't willing to admit they need assistance. They might be facing an issue they can easily solve by getting more organized, but they're not able to recognize it. If you see that, make sure to offer your help.
For example, if you see your kids are struggling with their toys being everywhere and not having enough room to play, perhaps you could suggest you declutter together. Or, maybe your spouse is having difficulties with locating a piece of clothing or the family camera. You can use that as a great excuse to start talking about better organizing your home.
The most important thing is not to force the process. Even if your spouse or kids decline and do not feel up to organizing at that point, you did the necessary work - you've planted the idea in their heads. With your help and some patience, it's only a matter of time before they start organizing independently.
6. Small Steps First
As said, don't expect miracles from day one. Start small. Remember: even you didn't get it perfect from your first try. It's essential to be patient. Your family might take more time to get rid of unnecessary things, and you need to respect their process.
The best idea is to start with small steps. For example, if you're organizing your kids' closet, start with damaged or stained clothes and shoes and work your way to the harder stuff. The same goes for your spouse - patiently explain the benefits of decluttering and give them time to do it at their own pace.
7. Make it Fun
Imagination is the language kids understand best, no matter what age they are. Therefore, try to turn organizing into a game, and make it fun for the entire family.
You can invent a challenge if you want to teach them to put away their toys when they've finished playing. For example, how many toys can they put away for the duration of their favorite song? You can even make a party out of packing or decluttering.
Also, you can make a challenge to declutter one item on the first day of the game, two items on the second one, and so on. You can make it last however long you want, and you can add a prize as an additional incentive. It's all about having a positive mindset and putting yourself in your kids' shoes. Plus, in the process, you and your spouse will have fun too.
8. Make it a Habit
Organizing is not something you do once, and it's done. Your final goal should be getting your kids to adopt organizational skills and turn decluttering into a habit. They should be able to use these skills in everyday life without you having to remind them to get rid of unnecessary things or to put away their toys.
An excellent way to achieve this is to have seasonal decluttering events for your entire family. For example, spring is a great time for you and your family to sort your belongings and get rid of anything you no longer use. You can make this event even more fun if you finish it with a yard sale or by filling up a donation box for less fortunate families.
Getting your spouse and family on board with your organizing plans isn't so difficult
See, getting your spouse and family on board with your organizing plans is not as difficult as you thought. By setting a positive example and with a little bit of patience, your organizational plans will soon be accepted and employed by all members of your household.
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I'm Jen, a professional organizer ready to help you take charge of your space, free up your time, and lead a more organized life! (Read more about me here)