Closed September 2017

Clutter Video Tip: How to Deal with Disorganized Family Members, Part 1

Look into my eyes. You are getting sleepy, very sleepy… Do you feel like pulling out your pocket watch and hypnotizing your partner is the only way to get your home organized? Watch this video for strategies to turn your “honey-do” into a “honey-done” list. When I count to three and snap my fingers you will awake feeling refreshed and uncluttered. 😉

(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at


Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about fixing those members of your family who are not so organized. We have a feature on our You Tube channel now called “Ask Lorie” where people can send in their questions via our comments here below, or via our Facebook page, or just e-mailing us, or however you want to send in your questions. But we had two different people send in the same question – one about a daughter, one about a spouse. So I’m going to answer this in two parts.

So today, Part 1, we’re going to talk about adults in your life. Usually, this is a spouse that’s living with you. And then Part 2, we’re going to talk about kids and teens, who are messy, and they’re not cooperating with your organizing efforts.

So first, lets address the issue of just personal change. You know, we have a lot of fun with the metaphor of “going on a clutter diet.” And getting organized really is a lot like losing weight. There are many parallels. And one of the main parallels is that you can’t make anybody get organized any more than you can make them go on a diet. It’s very hard to get a grown up human being to do anything they really don’t want to do. And they have to be bought into the process, especially if it’s about a very personal change in their habits and their daily routines. So, we have to set our expectations both with adults and kids and teens, that sometimes this problem can only be managed and not truly ever solved. It’s about compromise and communication. So let’s talk about what to do.

First, you want to approach this problem using your very best communication skills. Now, I know this makes you angry, it makes you frustrated. You may already have had some yelling going on and some arguments and fighting, but you want to wait and discuss this at a time when people are feeling pretty good and things are calm – over dinner or however it works for you – but you want to bring your best self to the table and you want to try to bring some solutions and ideas to the table too. You want to talk about how this genuinely makes you feel and what it would do for you if it were solved. Sometimes, if people really understand that it’s not just being picky, that there is a reason behind it, they can buy in a little bit more.

So, some of the solutions you might come to the table with are that you might want to have some bartering. So, I’m sure that there are things you do that annoy your spouse just as much as these messy areas annoy you. So, be really honest, and be responsible for those things about you that are annoying, and come to the table with those and say, “You know what, I know I don’t fill up the car gas tank until it’s on ‘E,’ I know that we have a goal of not eating out so often and we need to cook more at home and I’m not doing that. I will work on those things if you work on your closet,” or, “your desk,” or whatever it is. So you can kind of barter that and see if that works. Also, you can compromise by saying that you’re going to give up control of certain areas. So, let’s say it is your spouse’s desk. It’s cluttered with paper all the time, you’re sick of looking at it, but you just give that up and say, “You know what, it’s your desk, it’s your area of the house, you get to manage that however you want, but please agree with me that the common areas of the house will be picked up and will be organized and that you will cooperate with me to make those things happen. So, I’m going to stop nagging you about this, but please let’s work together on these areas and this is why.”

So these kinds of bartering and cooperation and discussions can be great. They may not solve the problem, but what you will get is a lot more information, which may give you a new angle on solving it yourself. So, let’s just talk about that for a second. You may be in a situation where you’ve already discussed this to death, you’ve already tried these things, and you may have to just own the problem yourself, like it or not, make it better, and move forward. And that’s not the most fun answer, but if you do the project yourself and organize it and have to keep redoing it, what I would suggest is that you focus heavily on prevention.

We talk about prevention, reduction, and maintenance as part of our little diet metaphor, and if you focus on prevention and really look at where the logjams are happening and how this clutter problem is happening in the first place, you may be able to solve, you know, half of the problem before it even becomes a bigger issue. So, think about prevention, look at compromise and communication, and if you need help, a third party is often another good solution. So, people that join our on-line program can write in to our team on our Member Message Board area, and they can post photos and show us what’s going on and we will give you an objective opinion. So it may be that sharing that objective opinion with your spouse might be kind of a tiebreaker in this argument. So, this does happen and hopefully that could work for you too. You can find out more about our program at

See you next time for Part 2 – we’re going to talk about kids and teens – and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.

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