Organizing and Family Dynamics

Most of the clients that contact us are living with some members of their family: spouse, kids, parents, grandparents. Our goal in working with our clients is to support their desire to get organized and the needs of the whole family. After all,  organizing is something that can affect the entire family.

Now I live with a relatively large family. My mother, father, brother, cousin and I all live under one roof. Although I am a professional organizer, you might find it hard to believe… I still struggle with household dynamics. (Everyone does!) I got used to living on my own for a while, and coming back to a full house has been a bit of a readjustment.

Although my family and I are far from perfect, I have learned a lot. So here are just a few tips that I have found that can help immensely when dealing with a larger household. Whatever the makeup of your household (spouse, kids, parents, or roommates) these same tips will apply. 

1. First and foremost be patient. I know that is easier said than done, but it goes a long way. Trust me on this. Your family or roommates are not purposefully trying to sabotage your plans to get organized. They just need a little time to get used to all the new changes. Most of the time you will find that they didn’t even realize you were trying to get organized in the first place. Which leads to my second bit of advice.

2. Communicate. Sometimes it can be as simple as just letting them know that you have changed a couple of things around in the room. Other times you may need to show them exactly were you put everything and even put a temporary label on it so you can all remember were to put things back. In some cases, you may also need to write up a family contract or roommate agreement, just to make sure that everyone understands what’s expected of each other and is on board.

3. Make sure that everyone knows the full reason, and importance, of any changes that are made. Explain the why behind your actions and decisions. When you show someone the importance of an action, it makes it more logical to them. They can now realize the direct consequence that will happen if something doesn’t get done, or put back into place and are more likely to help.

As I have stated before, I am far from perfect when it comes to handling some tough situations in my own family dynamic. These are just a few of the best practices that I have found to work well. The best thing to remember is that the people around you do care about you. Usually they are not trying to ruin your life. So help them help you.

Image: alexander41/

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