Get Family To Declutter

How To Get Your Family To Declutter: Dos And Don’ts


Here are some common frustrations I hear from people who are trying to declutter their lives and organize their homes:

My husband is a hoarder – he still has college notes from the 80s.

My wife’s hobbies have taken over the entire house.

My kids have too much stuff and won’t get rid of anything.

If you relate, here are some ideas that might help.

Family Declutter – DON’Ts

Here are some things that won’t work.

1. Don’t Nag

Anything uttered in a whiny or irritated tone or said repeatedly will get tuned out.

Don’t waste your breath or undermine your respect. Don’t be that person.

2. Don’t Expect Them To Do What You Won’t

Exhortations to clean their rooms when yours is a primordial soup are unlikely to be effective.

Kids especially take in the whole message via your words and your actions.

3. Don’t Expect Their Standards To Match Yours

If your kids or spouse make an effort to declutter or get organized, then appreciate that as a step in the right direction.

Avoid making them feel like a failure for not doing it your way, or they’ll decide it’s too hard and give up.

So that’s what won’t work. What will?

Family Declutter – DOs

These strategies are your best bet for getting the family involved in your declutter vision.

1. Inspire Them

The secret about decluttering and getting organized that you already know is that it feels awesome. When you’re free of the dross and chaos you’re lighter and happier – and it shows.

Get your own act together and declutter your closet, organize your home office, streamline your home – and let your results inspire your family. They’ll want what you’re having.

2. Show Them

It’s possible that your family is resistant to attacking their own clutter because they don’t know how to approach a declutter project.

Offer to spend a small amount of time doing it together – that way they won’t feel trapped into hours of potential torment. And if you can, tie it to something they already want.

You could say something like,

I know you’d like new clothes for your birthday – do you want to spend an hour on Saturday going through your closet to make room for new stuff?

Once they see how it’s done, it won’t seem so scary. And you’ll have taught them a neat life skill.

3. Negotiate With Them

If inspiration and instruction don’t work, you can always try bribery negotiation.

For example, you could:

  • Give your kids a higher allowance, but tie it to keeping their rooms uncluttered. It’s not a good idea to put a new restriction on an old benefit, but increasing their pocket money will give them something positive to go with the change.
  • Identify the main currency your kids value – screen time? later curfew? Let them earn rewards for various acts of decluttering or organizing, such as keeping their rooms neat or completing assigned household chores.
  • Give your kids a bonus for every, say, 5 items of old clothing/toys/games they put in the ready-for-donation basket.
  • Negotiate with your partner that you’ll go ballroom dancing/get them a new XBox/let them choose the family holiday if they’ll declutter the garage/get rid of their vintage doily collection/organize their closet.

In every relationship there are things they want that you can give – why not give something to get what you want? You’re more likely to achieve your organized outcome, and to make each other happy in the process.

How Will You Get Your Family To Declutter And Get Organized?

Will you use any of these strategies?

Do you have more suggestions to share?


2 thoughts on “How To Get Your Family To Declutter: Dos And Don’ts

  1. Deppi says:

    Decluttering is not something I learned when I was a child. I didn’t even know it existed. I am learning now and getting better at it. And much much happier, confident and free in the process. And a very strange side effect: I am.learning to love myself more and keeping just the things that make me happy. Because I deserve to hlbe happy!!!

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