Do you find yourself nagging your spouse to get rid of clutter and to organize? Nagging doesn’t work and can drive a wedge between you. These 7 tips will help get your spouse organized without nagging.

As a professional organizer one question I am often asked is, “How do I get my husband to get organized?” I have given this some serious thought and have come up with a few ideas that will help you help him without turning into a nag.

1. Instead of criticizing ask for help or ask a question. This will get him involved in coming up with solutions. When he does give suggestions try what he suggests. I was given this valuable piece of advice years ago, “Don’t ask for your husband’s opinion if you aren’t going to take it”. For example if you know what dress you want to wear don’t ask him which one he thinks looks best. If he doesn’t chose the one you planned on wearing you will question why he chose the one he did which is non productive. The same is true when getting rid of clutter and organizing.

You may be surprised with the good suggestions your spouse has as he may see things differently and in ways you haven’t thought of or tried. This may lead you doing things another way that actually works better.

2. When you are ready to get rid of clutter you need to share with him and your family what your plans are and why you want to get rid of clutter. Point out the benefits to them. Things like more time to spend together as a family, a feeling of peace in the home, saving money (because you won’t be making duplicate purchases), less hassle in the morning as they are leaving for work or school. Getting rid of clutter is something that won’t happen overnight. The clutter didn’t happen all at once so don’t expect it will be gone all at once.

3. “Do as I do, not as I say”. Organize your own things first; don’t worry about getting rid of your spouse’s clutter until you have organized your own things. I organized my side of the closet and a few days later I organized my spouse’s side. I donated clothes I had not seen him wear and other clothes that were stained with paint. I put likes together—pants, shirts, and suits. A few days later he came to me and asked where he had gotten all of those jeans. They had been in his closet all along, now they were organized so he could see them. He didn’t miss anything I had donated and liked that he could see what clothes he had.

4. We often think it is just easier to get rid of clutter ourselves (as I did in the closet) instead of letting someone else do it. However as a rule of thumb it is not a good idea to dig into piles of clutter that is your spouses and start getting rid of things. As a professional organizer I have had many women tell me they have thrown away magazines, papers or clothes their husbands have not touched for years and as soon as they did that is the very item he went looking for.

I suggest asking his permission first before organizing his things. Point out that it will make it easier for him to find things, to put things away and give him time to do other things.

5. Offer your assistance but don’t nag or belittle his ideas. Share with him why you want things organized and why you want to get rid of clutter. Let’s face it we are not our spouse’s parent so we can’t really order him to do what we want done. It is so easy to slide into this pattern when we are frustrated but it does not work.

6. When you see something positive that he has done praise him and let him know how much it means to you. Reinforce positive behavior and more will follow.

Changing behavior isn’t going to happen overnight. Organize first for yourself, ask for cooperation and do it a little at a time. You will be happy with the results you will see.

Author's Bio: 

Marilyn Bohn is the owner of Get it Together Organizing, a business dedicated to developing practical organizing solutions that help individuals and business professionals live clutter-free and productive lives. She is the author of “Go Organize! Conquer Clutter in Three Simple Steps” and is an experienced, enthusiastic public speaker, a member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and the author of hundreds of articles covering various organizing topics.

Marilyn takes the often stressful subject of organizing and breaks it down into her simple, easy to understand system. Her methods are both eye-opening and encouraging! She has a passion for helping others reach their personal goals and living a better, clutter-free life!

Marilyn offers personal, private consulting to assist in organizing and she invites you to sign up for free organizing tips at her website for easy organizing tips, videos, blog, workshops and more. Get your free guide on what papers to keep and how long to keep them at