Couples Help

In the July 2014 issue of Real Simple Magazine, there's an article entitled "Disorganized Couple
Seeks Professional Assistance." Marjorie Ingall, the author, discusses how working with a professional organizer might help her and her husband find more time and less stress between the two of them.

Over the course of her story, they do in fact find the assistance helpful. (No surprise from me!). They tackle a variety of areas throughout their home and create a more relaxed, open space. I will note that Marjorie also states her and her husband are in couples therapy. I mention this only because I want to stress that the author is well aware that working with an organizer is not a substitution for therapy - unless your organizer happens to also be a therapist.

From time to time, I do work with couples. Usually, one or the other contacts me; rarely are both on board from the start. Fortunately, the other partner tends to come around after we meet or there is a more thorough explanation of what the organizing process will look like. But, every now and then, one partner is just not interested in organizational assistance.

It's not my job to convince someone they need an organizer's help. It is my job to help those who ask for it. When I encounter a couple where one party isn't interested, we simply organize around his/her belongings. For example, if we're tackling a master closet, we'll organize the items belonging to the one I am working with, but not the items belonging to the other.

Sometimes this creates more tension and arguments. To that, I ask both partners:
  • What is this battle worth? 
  • Is it terribly important to your home life and sanity to leave your space untouched and disorganized in the eyes of your partner? Or, is it terribly important that the partner who would like some help feels more comfortable in their own space? 
  • Can you communicate a plan that will allow both parties to meet in the middle?
The object here is not to move you further apart, but rather closer together - in a space that allows you to do so.

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