This next question (from the Ask Ashley post last Friday) was asked by my sister-in-law who knows that Eric, my marvelous husband (her brother), has not always been the most organized person. Not that he is now, but he has definitely become much more organized since we got married and he is so sweet in letting me know how much he appreciates the organization in our home (thanks baby!). So here is the question:
Question #3: How do you continue to keep an orderly house with a husband who may not be as organized as you?
And here is my answer in a few simple steps:
1) Explain why you want your home to be organized. Starting with this step can really help in getting the whole household on board with keeping things organized. Before getting upset with others in your home over their lack of helping with organization, take time to explain to them why you want to try so hard to keep your home organized. Explain how you really want the family as whole to experience the benefits of having an organized home (such as more family time together, more relaxing environment, more efficiency in day to day happenings around the home, even healthier living with meals and cleanliness in the home).
I would say, as the caretaker of the home be ready to be the one who will joyfully take on the task of this new way of organized living. However, give small/doable tasks to each member of the family to help in a team effort here. For example: You assign the designated spots for things, but ask your husband and kids for their input as to what would be most practical in helping them out (what kinds of things do they need better storage for, what would be the best places to put those, etc.). When they see that you are really making the effort to organize to help them too, they will appreciate it and get on board with it sooner rather than later.
Overall, make it fun for the family to attack this project together, while still being aware of the fact that the majority of running the organization in your home will fall on your shoulders, count it as a privilege, perspective can change everything!
2) Take it slow, keep it simple. Seriously, one small step at a time. For instance, when Eric and I first got married I just started with emphasizing the whole “landing pad” concept and designating a basket for him to place his wallet, keys, and phone. He then pretty quickly began to enjoy not having to take an extra ten minutes in the morning having to look for those things before heading out the door to work. Organization benefits are huge and they will be appreciated.
In regards to the dishes issue that has been mentioned (see the comments below the Ask Ashley post). Start off with asking your husband if he could put his dishes in some water in the sink. It’s an easy first step to doing the dishes, not to overwhelming and will still cut back on the amount of serious dish washing you will have to do later.
3) Ask for help (…choose your tone and wording wisely). Eric helped me realize this early on in our marriage. He would let me know that I should always just ask him if I needed help. He gave me a little insight here: sometimes men just don’t know if we want their help or if they are getting in our way around the household chores, so it helps when we kindly ask them for their help. I think you’ll be surprised with how willing they may be to help out. Now, with this asking comes great discretion in how and what kinds of things you ask for help with. Each husband is different and ladies you know best how your hubby works.
Here are a few helpful things for us: when I need help the more specific I can be about what I need help with the better. Also sometimes putting a time limit on the amount of time we’ll spend working on stuff helps out so he doesn’t get overwhelmed. This also shows that I am recognizing that he has important stuff he wants to get done too and shows my appreciation for what he does in the same way him helping me out shows his appreciation for what I do.
4) Don’t complain when it doesn’t all get done. A final step to apply to all of the above. It is super easy to get all caught up in how much you have to do around the house during the day (and it is a lot ladies, don’t want to downplay at all the vital work of caring for your family and home, it is truly irreplaceable). But I find I can sometimes tend to forget just how much Eric is doing outside of the home as well. I am so thankful to have a husband who is working so hard to provide for our family and I always want to show him that through my words, actions, and attitude.
Here enters the whole “Hold Your Tongue” principle. When you feel yourself tempted to complain take another minute before actually splurting (yes, I did just make that word up, but it works right?) that out. Caution: you may be shockingly surprised at how much more peaceful your home will soon begin to feel when you start consistently holding back the complaints.
Hope this is helpful! One last thing…know that I am actually incredibly thankful that God has given me a husband who is not as obsessed with organizing as I am, it works out for a perfect balance of being orderly but still relaxed in our home!