Remember those days of luxury when you lived by yourself and had total control over every inch of your space? It may or may not have worked for you, but you were the only person it affected. But now you find yourself sharing space with your honey…and crap is everywhere*? &#! If you find yourself doing battle around the clutter in your shared home, remember these three tips:
#1 Neither of You is “Right”
When we choose to share space with others we give up some of those rights of autonomy in exchange for having to compromise and make the home livable for all who use it. Negotiate change from a perspective of how spaces need to function, not who is right.
#2 Allow for Personal Spaces
Whether it’s a single drawer or cabinet or an entire room, it’s helpful for each of you to have some space that only you oversee and get to keep however you want. Have clear boundaries about who is responsible for which spaces. And decide which spaces are managed jointly. Good fences make good neighbors.
#3 Manage Your Own Mess First
It’s so much easier to see where the other person has a problem. But step back and take stock of your own clutter collections first. Managing your own messes will help disarm your partner and show them you’re committed to making the home better for both of you.
Easier said than done, of course, and sometimes these conversations get waylaid by emotional charge. Tackle one small area at a time to build up the communication skills and get help if you get stuck! An objective party – a trusted friend, therapist, or professional organizer – can help you separate out and solve the practical issues of decluttering. Remember your goal: creating a home that nurtures your relationship and life together. Co-managing a home is one way to show love and respect for your sweetie.