Are you frustrated because you and your partner have different organizing styles? I’m very excited to introduce today’s guest blogger, Cara Brook from Strategize.Organize.Simplify, LLC! I met Cara through the NAPO-CT (National Association of Professional Organizers), of which we are both members. Cara specializes in paper organizing and time management, two things of which I think most of us could use some help! Today she is going to share some tips with us on how to work around the issues that arise when one partner is organized and the other is not.
I love my husband. I truly do. However, he’s not as organized as I am. Or at least, he’s not organized the same way that I am. Many of us find difficulty in creating a common ground when one partner is organized and the other…well… just isn’t.
As a professional organizer, I like to think there’s a way around every organizing challenge! Below, you’ll find three of my top suggestions for effectively coping with a disorganized partner.
1. Designate an Area. Give your partner his or her own agreed upon space where it’s OK to be messy. Allocate a particular room or portion of one to be your partner’s “free zone” where disorganization is acceptable. This can eliminate a great deal of tension as this area becomes off limits to your own desire to organize. Respect your partner’s space and keep to this commitment to feel more peace of mind.
2. Make an Agreement. Establish an agreement with your partner for when you will periodically go through YOUR OWN items to organize, identify things to donate, throw away and/or put away in another part of your home. While you both commit to organizing, each person is responsible for his or her own items. This type of agreement can eliminate arguing and promotes greater respect between partners.
3. Offer Your Help. You can ask your partner if organizing help is desired. If he or she says yes, that’s great! Set a day and time that you’ll go at it. Be sure to also set a limit to the project so that it has an end in sight. Your job is only to help break down the pile of stuff into more manageable piles, sort into categories and then move it to a storage area or donate/throw it away.
And, if that doesn’t work, you can give me a call – I’m a great neutral party to help referee your organizing.
Cara Brook is a Professional Organizer, public speaker and mentor for new organizers. Since February, 2004, her company, Strategize.Organize.Simplify., LLC (S.O.S.) has successfully worked with clients to tackle the seemingly endless piles of paper, create filing systems, better manage their time, and become more productive in their daily lives. Cara’s mission as a Professional Organizer is to work with individuals who are ready to make a change in their lives and become better organized in the process.
Prior to founding S.O.S. Cara spent many years in a variety of senior project management positions in the large corporation, small business and non-profit arenas. Cara was honored as a recipient of Fairfield County’s 40 Under 40 Award in 2009. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and is a Past President of their Connecticut Chapter. Cara is also a member of the FOCUS Organizers consortium offering workshops and Ask-the-Organizer panel discussions on various organizing topics.
Update: In case anyone is wondering from my comments about my disorganization around the house how on earth I belong to the same organization as Cara, my specialties are in organizing photos and social media marketing strategies. Home organization is not one of my skills!