As a professional organizer, I wish I had a nickel for every time people have asked me to “fix” their spouses! In my Clutter Diet® program, we always say that getting organized is a lot like losing weight, so of course, I can’t make anybody get organized any more than I can make them stop eating desserts. Making personal changes is a decision that comes from within, but here are a few ways you can support someone in making that decision.
A ‘motivation partner’ is one of the best ways to jump-start your organizing goals. Just like having a workout partner, having a friend to be accountable to is a great way to make sure your projects get done. Have fun by making a bet with your motivation partner, such as going to a concert or movie together where the first person to finish their project or goal doesn’t have to pay. A wager, after all, is just a twist on having a reward—with a bit of competition and accountability built in.
If you help a friend on an organizing project, like a garage project, the friend can help you in return with babysitting or yard work, or help you with your own garage! Helping a friend not only makes the work more fun in general, but it also means that person has a set appointment time when the project is going to happen, making it more likely to get done.
Lend Your Perspective
You can provide friends with objectivity they could never have about their own stuff. Your fresh set of eyes allows you to ask the right questions without personal attachment to the meaning of an object. Politely asking “Are you really going to wear this again?” or saying “You already have three of those,” are the kinds of observations you can provide to help make decisions a little easier.
If you do have a spouse or roommate with a clutter problem, it can be very difficult when that person doesn’t want to change. Work toward clutter-free zones in common areas so that the problem remains isolated to only that person’s own individual living and working spaces, and focus on prevention so that the problem doesn’t get worse. Just as with other conflicts, it’s all about negotiation in the relationship, so be ready to compromise and be open to your own changes, too.
You can also help by volunteering to drive donations to your nearest donation center. Make sure your friend is being a Conscious Donor and giving unwanted items to a responsible nonprofit like Goodwill®. Donating household goods is philanthropy, and we should be as careful and thoughtful about where we donate goods as we are when we write a check. Fully 84 percent of the collective revenue from your donated household goods and clothing goes directly to support Goodwill’s mission, which is to provide job-related services and opportunities to people in your community.
Help your favorite clutterer jumpstart their Spring Cleaning.