someone else's clutter

Someone Else’s Clutter

Do you have a spouse, partner, room-mate, sibling… whose stuff is infringing on your space?  Are their clothes, magazines, piles of paper driving you nuts?  What can you do about someone else’s clutter?
In perfect world we would have total control over our space.  That sounds nice, but a bit sterile, like living in a vacuum with no other people to entertain you, keep you company, and make you laugh.  So while we like having others around us, they also bring their lifestyle which may include their clutter…or what reads as clutter to you.  They may not even be aware that their piles are bothering you.  Is there a way to manage this?
A full-on attack to the other person is likely to backfire.  Come on, you’ve tried this before and you know the ugly result.  What if you turn it upside-down and change your perspective?  Instead of making the clutter their problem, put yourself in the conversation.

Here are a few phrases you could try with your loved one:

  • Let’s BOTH find some time to get rid of some old clothes.  Can we work on this Saturday after breakfast?
  • Would it help if I put a laundry hamper in OUR closet? I think that would make it easier for BOTH OF US to put our dirty clothes in there and get rid of that pile on the floor.
  • It’s is great how you always hang up your coat when you come home.  I need to get in that habit too!

What’s going on here?

  • Use inclusive words like BOTH and OUR.  That way you aren’t just pointing the finger at the other person.
  • Offer gentle suggestions that you can set up that might make it easier for the other person to manage their stuff.
  • Compliments can pay you back too.  Acknowledge something the other person does really well, or maybe even better than you.
A little gentleness and no finger-pointing can make a big difference in this conversation.  Realistically you have a clutter hot spot too, so don’t just play the blame game.  Instead get in the game.