A survey found that more than 50 percent of people struggle with household clutter. Around one out of five blame spouses or kids for this problem. Either way, it’s not uncommon for messy homes to cause stress and anxiety. If you feel like your family creates far more clutter than you, read on for some helpful advice.
1. Honest communication
Openly express your feelings about clutter to your children or spouse. Tell them if it causes you to feel stressed, have difficulty finding things or maybe it’s unhygienic. Don’t yell, nag or bring up unrelated grievances. Likewise, trying to convince them to believe in the benefits of neatness or minimalism probably won’t work. The reality is that it’s rarely possible to change someone’s mind through arguments.
2. Set a good example
You can’t expect other people to let go of seldom-used or maybe sentimental stuff if you refuse to do the same. When you declutter your own belongings, it may inspire others to join you. This is especially true if they can see the benefits of doing so. At the same time, make sure you’re not blaming someone else for the clutter you helped create.
3. Assign personal spaces
If your family is reluctant, consider embracing a compromise that lets people keep their own spaces as neat or messy as they like. For instance, you could disregard clutter in your spouse’s studio, closet or tool room. The same goes for kids’ bedrooms. They must keep all clothing, toys, school supplies, backpacks and similar items in their own rooms.
Under this compromise, shared parts of the home ought to be free of clutter. People shouldn’t keep personal belongings in the kitchen, living room or hallways. A belonging is personal if only one individual uses it. This approach makes decluttering shared spaces easier because anyone can do it and you won’t have to ask the right person to find a place for each item.
4. Respect others’ belongings
Never get rid of your spouse or kids’ things without asking them first. This mistake could lead to greater resistance and negative feelings about decluttering. Your spouse might do the same to some of your belongings. Remember, you don’t always know what’s important to another person. Avoid making assumptions about items that seem superfluous to you.
5. Help your family declutter
It’s possible that a person actually wants to banish excess stuff, but he or she finds it very difficult. Offer to help your child or spouse sort items and decide what to keep. You can add this to your family routine. Maybe they just need someone to complete one part of the process, like donating unwanted things or buying storage bins. At the same time, be aware that some people find it less stressful to declutter things on their own.
You can often achieve the best results by compromising when necessary and wholeheartedly following your own advice. Reflect on your actions before blaming anyone else; always take responsibility for any clutter you’ve created. Keep in mind that a positive example is much more persuasive than a strong argument.