Organizing as a couple will take your relationship to the next level. It can either bring out the best, or the worst. When my husband and I got married, we were fairly organized, methodical humans. We developed habits in our separate single lives, and now have been finding a new rhythm as a married couple. We’re both the oldest children in our family and come from careers in creative, design fields. We both have opinions (not always the same opinions) about aesthetic, organizing, and how those things affect us, and the guests who enter our home.
We’ve learned how to appreciate and respect the other person’s views. After 3 years, we’ve started to find our groove, and have learned how to work together to create a home we can both enjoy. You may be asking, “how have we learned these things without driving each other crazy?” It’s true, we don’t always agree on things, but we always find a solution that is better with our ideas a whole. Our conversations are not about compromising or “meeting the person halfway”. They’re not about winning an argument; they are about finding solutions that keep our relationship at the forefront.
We choose to decide on an idea that is better with our two brains together. In the long run, the “things and stuff” in our home is secondary to our relationship with each other. Here are some ways that my husband and I keep our home organized together:
1. Develop a big picture vision for what you want your home to be.
Whether you’ve started out with a vision for home or not, it’s never too late to create one. It can be simple and needs to serve as a tool for you to keep coming back to when you face decisions.
When my husband and I got married (even while we were engaged), we talked about what type of feeling we wanted our home to have, things like “we want anyone who enters our home to feel comfortable, welcome, and loved”. We don’t have a specific statement, but we know that the decisions we make in our home go back to the feeling/experience we want people to have. The idea of everyone feeling comfortable drives decisions about the colors we choose, the candles/scents we bring into our home, and even the way our home is lit. Feeling loved and welcome goes into how we communicate with our guests, each other, and how we can serve all who enter our home together.
The way that we organize our home relates back to helping people feel comfortable. The items for comfort – like blankets and small pillows – are available for anyone and invitingly visible. The things that feel cluttered, just by the nature of how they look, are behind cupboards. We buy furniture, get new organizing containers, or rearrange our home, with these factors in mind.
2. Talk about your likes/dislikes and the history behind them.
What clutter corners drive you crazy? What area(s) make you feel relieved when they’re clean? What are you having a hard time keeping up with? Talk about these things with your spouse. This is not a blame game conversation. Talk about these things with the wording and perspective toward the task, not towards the other person. Think deeply about why you feel that way about it and where it came from. The way we organize (or don’t organize), often comes from our childhood and what was modeled for us. If you know where it’s coming from and why you feel that way, it’s (1) easier for your spouse to empathize and (2) allows you find new ways that work for you now.
3. Work as a team.
You may want to divide out tasks that each person is responsible for, or you may not. My husband and I decided that, while we don’t have kids, we are teaming each of the areas for the house. This does not mean that I end up doing all of the chores. We have cleaning days where we’ll both take 30-60 to clean around the house.
For things like dishes, if we see something needs done, we do it. My husband typically takes out the garbage, but if I know he hasn’t been feeling well, or if I see that the trash can is full, I’ll take care of it. We both have full lives and take care of the home together. Share the load as a couple!
The key to find a rhythm that works for both of you that fits into the busy lives you have going out of the home. Finding a rhythm involves a lot of communication…good communication that is not shaming or blaming, but seeking to understand and find solutions together.
Question: What is one way you and your spouse “team” the house work/organizing?