What does it mean to create a romantic environment? Head space, physical space, emotional space? Things like clutter can get in the way of romance by creating stress:  it’s known that cortisol levels rise for folks who feel their environments are cluttered.  If the clutter in your space is yours, browse through our website for tips on finding ways to get organized.  Or if you’d like more help, give us a call!

But what if your partner is the source of the mess?  Here are seven strategies for when you just want to toss someone else’s clutter out.

  1. Be 1000% sure you’re not a pot calling the kettle black. Sometimes what we dislike about someone else is really our own problem — it’s just easier to see in someone else than in ourselves.  If, in fact, you’re both contributing to the mess, then approach this as a problem to solve together.
  2. Kind conversations only.  Lead with “I” statements:  I’m concerned that…, I’ve noticed that…  This tends to be much more helpful than attacking and blaming, which leads to defensiveness.
  3. Respect boundaries.  As tempting as it may be to toss out what you see as  “junk,” if it’s not yours, it’s not your decision to toss, hide, throw away, donate etc.
  4. Listen to what your partner needs.  Stay curious about what’s going on, and open to differences in upbringing and personality. Some people are not comfortable in a “sterile” environment, while others feel a need to have everything in place. Perhaps your partner is actually overwhelmed by the things you notice. Maybe they actually don’t see the things as clutter like you do.
  5. Come up with rules for the home that are fair to all parties and address actual needs.  For example, “I need to feel safe, knowing I won’t accidentally trip on the mail on the steps,”  or “I need to know we’re not inviting mice into the kitchen…”
  6. Be prepared to have honest and kind conversations about deeper things that are related, if needed.  Anxieties, old wounds, and unfinished business can all percolate in our adult lives from time to time. Use a therapist to help make these conversations more productive if needed. Always look for the win-win.
  7. Lead by example: organize your own space and demonstrate best practices. Work with a professional organizer on your own before tackling your partner’s issues.
  8. Share your strategies. Perhaps your partner doesn’t know you set aside 10 minutes each morning to tidy before leaving the house; maybe if they knew you did this they might want to try it too.

Above all, remember:  If your aim is to establish a more harmonious home, focusing on being right and picking fights won’t achieve that.  Instead, address the situation in a kind and constructive way, setting the tone for a mutually beneficial resolution.