Trisha had a big problem.
Trisha loves paper. She loves piles. She has no problem fossicking about in random piles to find what she needs. And she knows what’s in each pile, almost without fail. Her house is a riot of sheet music, self-development articles, teaching materials and crafty bits and bobs.
Her sister loathes Trisha’s pile habit. Trisha’s sister is Very Tidy. And she and her daughter were moving in with Trisha. She was dreading it. Trisha was cheerfully avoiding thinking about the consequences of living with a Tidy Person.
The worst thing happened. Big sister moved in and started organising… With all the love in her heart she thought she was doing the right thing. She started grabbing handfuls of paper and stuffing them into folders. Things got a bit tense.
Everyone is different and so are their organising needs.
So they called me in to find a solution.
You’re probably assuming I told them to toss it all out right? The Tidy Lady – militant minimalist? Nope. I didn’t even suggest that they sort everything into perfect order. That was the last thing Trisha wanted.
What I DID suggest was that we have a coaching session about space sharing. Trisha had offered to share her home and it was going to be a long term arrangement. It was worth putting some strategies into place to make sure everyone was happy.
That meant respecting the other person’s things AND living space. It goes both ways.
Result! We agreed to start on the paperwork. We took everything out of the Big Sister Files, files that made no sense to Trisha, and roughly sorted them into groups that did make sense to her. Then we organised some big boxes with lids and some sturdy shelving and used labels created by Trisha that helped her find what she needed, quickly and easily.
The key was for Trisha to be able to find things easily when she needed to AND put them away easily. That way the spaces they shared were kept clear, but she had complete control over her own personalised filing system.
There was peace in their home.
The key is mutual respect (plus customised organising)
If you have little kids (or big kids) in your home, you’ll likely need a different style of organisation to someone who doesn’t. HOW you organise is important. It has to be easy to use and it has to work for the majority of people in the house. Even more importantly, it has to work for you. You are the Person Most Likely To Care.
Also the person who has to manage it all because you are probably the person in charge of the house. You deserve respect. But you also need to respect the needs and desires of the other people who live in your house, IF you want an organised and peaceful home. It goes both ways.
The word compromise is tossed about in many situations. Especially in relationships. It has overtones of Giving In, Losing The Fight, Not Getting What You Want. But if you use it in a smart way, it will work wonders. There is no win, only peaceful organisation.
You can even compromise with yourself. If you find yourself living in a mess that always seems to come back and it’s YOUR mess, you might have to change a behaviour or habit to get what you want. That’s compromise.
Getting what you want.
Even if you live with a collector, an accumulator of things, or a maker of piles, there is always a way to make your home liveable for everyone.
Talking helps. But even if it’s just you, dealing with an uncommunicative teenager, there are ways of stating your case that will help move things in the direction you want. If you truly want change, communicating in an effective way, that’s not-too-scary for either of you, is the way.
Even with toddlers (you’ll know ALL about compromise!) there are ways to respect their capacity and communicate what you want.
If you’re looking at your house with exasperation, or loathing or ignoring it completely because it’s all too much… There will be a way that will work for you and your household.
You care about the people you live with, big or small, right? And they care about you (despite occasional appearances to the contrary…)
Respect, compromise, communication and practical management of your stuff WILL help you work towards a beautifully organised, peaceful home. It’s worth the investment in your time and energy.
The Tidy Lady.
Declutter Coach & Tidyness Expert