How can I make someone else be organized?

I’ve been asked, “I am organized, but how do I make someone else be organized?” While you cannot force people to organize, there are some things you can do to inspire others to be organized. This may seem frustrating, but this may be a lesson to yourself. Perhaps you are more annoyed with their lack of organization than they are? Still, for those of us sharing living spaces, there are fortunately some things you can do to help others think more about what they own and how they’d like to treat it.

1. Worry about yourself first.

Before you start blaming those around you remember to sort things out for yourself. It is ideal to go through the Konmari Method on your own, focusing only on your items. You may realize that some things you were blaming on others, were actually your own doing. For example, I was annoyed with my boys not putting books back on the shelves and would remind them often to put them away. Then we tidied their books all together and they deleted an ample amount. Looking at the pile that no longer sparked joy for them, I realized I had books up there they no longer used, creating a more cramped space and less desire to maintain their space. I was part of the problem because I kept saving books that they weren’t reading! These realizations are helpful, creating dialogue to work together to solve problems instead of blame.

2. Inspire.

When you tidy your things the Konmari way, you streamline your prep times, enjoy more time with your hobbies, don’t fall prey to marketing tricks that drag in more clutter, and those immediately around you notice. My family was very eager to have their clothes drawers look as tidy as mine and absolutely asked for help tending theirs.

3. Don’t Judge.

We are all unique people, at unique stages in our lives, with differing fears and goals. When you tidy your own items it is easier to understand what brings joy and what does not. When you are surrounded by family members with outdated, muddy work boots, and lego pieces galore, it’s a bit challenging to see the joy in those. In fact, is very easy to focus on the smell and mess or the pain when tripping over bricks. Instead, try to take a deep breath and don’t judge. Perhaps if I drove tractors and dump trucks, muddy work boots would be very joyful, a reminder of a good day’s work? Perhaps if I was an elementary school boy, I would see legos as the easiest way to bring magical ideas to fruition? Equally, I’m sure my family is bewildered by several of my purchases, especially because I’m the only girl in the family.

4. Don’t get rid of their things unknowingly.

Even if you are upset with the “stuff” of others, please avoid the temptation to get rid of it secretly. In fact, this will back fire on you. Most people who don’t like organizing actually have the fear you will get rid of their items. If you actually DO get rid of their items without permission, it’s possible they will ask if you’ve seen that item. How do you answer this? If you are honest, you tell them that you are secretly choosing items of theirs you think they no longer need and getting rid of them. If you lie, you are lying. If you are the person who’s items are being secretly deleted, how would that make you feel? What if someone you lived with got rid of something that sparks joy for you, but they judged and didn’t think it was joyful? I met a woman who was married 10 years and her husband still brings up that she got rid of a pair of his boots!

5. Offer to help honestly.

When you offer to help, do it honestly. Do it because you truly want to help that person succeed in tidying their items. Do it because you want your children to be able to create lego cities for hours of screen free play time. Do it because you want your husband to be able to find the tool he needs in the middle of an oil change. You can absolutely mention that a space is driving you crazy (they probably already know) and you’d like to help. But make sure you are equally honest with your confession. Tell them, by working together, you think the space could be tidier bringing you peace of mind (a benefit to them as well – less nagging!) and an easier way for them to find their things, maintain their space, or whatever their goals may be.

A lot of “making” others organize has more to do with you than you may realize. Your desire to tidy up others’ items may be more due to your visual needs than theirs. Instead of focusing on what they are doing wrong (to you), it’s best to focus on what can change, helping to set goals, and offer honest help when you can.

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