As difficult as it is for many people to manage their own clutter, it’s even tougher when you’re faced with someone else’s stuff. A reader asked how to get family members to commit to letting go of clutter.
When only one person in a household is committed to the process, you are going to feel offended when your efforts aren’t respected by others. You lose motivation when your work is discounted and when family members attempt to disrupt the work you’ve done, it can lead to anger all around.
It’s not easy to make changes and it’s even more difficult when you don’t have buy-in from others.
When parents complain that their kids leave stuff strewn about the house, I ask if they’ve set up systems and trained their kids so that the systems work. Even small children can be taught to place dirty clothes in hampers and put toys away before bedtime. Teenagers can be taught, too.
The most important thing to remember is that everyone wants to know What’s In It For Me? People who haven’t been expected to pick up after themselves need a reason to start now. Find some payoff: it’s easier to get ready in the morning, you won’t be fighting all the time, there’ll be more time for fun things, etc.
Sometimes, the best way to handle other people’s clutter, however, is to let it be. Allowing a cluttered space (e.g., closet, garage, basement, shed) that can be closed away from the rest of the home, in return for keeping common areas uncluttered, may be the best compromise.
Do you have challenges with other people’s clutter?