6 Ways to Deal with a Messy Spouse
No nagging required
Your husband—or live-in boyfriend—is the best, but for the love of all things clean and organized, is it too much to ask that he close the kitchen cabinets or adios his used towel from the bathroom floor? FYI, it’s not, which is why we pulled together six solutions to help you put a stop to (or at least learn how to cope with) his messy habits.
Help Him Visualize Your Dream Home
Sure, it’s tempting to bring up messy problem areas when your irritation levels are at their peak, but here’s a better tactic: If you know that a perfectly made bed is your happy place, set aside a separate time to sit down and describe this to your spouse. It’s as simple as: “I love coming home to a bed that’s made because it means our bedroom is a place to relax.” By explaining the big picture vs. the individual chore, it makes it easier for him to understand what you’re trying to achieve—and pitch in to make it happen.
Schedule a 10-Minute Cleanup
Before bed, use your iPhone timer to clock ten total minutes and team up to tackle the dishes, the kids’ playroom or any lingering clutter that’s driving you nuts. When the timer goes off, you’re done, and you'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in such a short time.
Agree on Four Places He Has to Always Keep Tidy
The bathroom floor that’s typically a receptacle for used towels? That goes at the top of the list, plus three more manageable areas (for example, the trash and recycling, as opposed to the whole garage) that he’s responsible for each day. Real talk: You might have to step up and handle the rest, but by giving him ownership of certain areas that bother you, you can let them go—and he can prioritize.
Designate One Spot For Clutter
Look, every home needs a catchall for the things we don’t know what to do with. (Think sunglasses, magazines, receipts, superfluous USB cords, etc.) Set up a spot that’s just for your S.O. and remind him of its convenience. It shouldn’t get out of a hand—a monthly clean-out is ideal—but it should get you through the week, without little bits and pieces strewn all over the house.
Use Photos to Document Clean Areas
Wahoo, the living room is spotless. But, yikes, your (unintentionally) messy beau is on his way home…dun dun dun. Avert disaster by preemptively texting him a pic that shows just how clean the house is and toot your own horn. (“OMG, the living room is spotless. Go me!”) Passive aggressive? Slightly. A charming way to remind him to maintain the cleanliness? Absolutely.
Ask Him How You Can Help
OK, it sounds super-obvious, but sometimes identifying why he’s having so much trouble keeping his half of the closet clean in the first place is the key to fixing the problem for good. Maybe he feels he doesn’t have enough space so he doesn’t bother. Maybe he doesn’t know which half is his. Whatever the reason, once you know it, you can brainstorm solutions (hello, KonMari) together.