Semi OT - How to get others on board.

munkosNovember 6, 2007

So since I have begun my crusade to declutter the house, it has been increasingly apparent that the boyfriend regards visable cleanliness much more than general de-cluttering.

He's not connecting that eventually declutter = much more overall cleanliness.

He's connecting it as decluttering = absent minded, half hearted cleaning.

On top of that, he's not keeping up well to the declutter I have done. I don't know if he's just forgetting certain things have new homes, or just being lazy!

He obviously notices when I've decluttered an area thats visable immediately. But doesn't appreciate so much when I've spent 3 hours going through cupboards, and been slightly absent or forgetful in the general up keep in the house.

He seems to think it's a routine that will continue, despite my attempts at explaining that once the whole house is decluttered, normal daily cleaning will be easier and more will get done.

I've still been keeping the general house work up, but perhaps a little less efficently than before, but thats because I'd been spending hours and hours decluttering and quickly doing general housework.

I know people on here have husbands or kids that aren't exactly on board, or weren't before.

How did you get them to co-operate and see the over all benefits of de-cluttering, and to help you keep up the new system?

Or do you just put in earplugs and go about your business? LOL.

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Oh that reminds me


I dont think it ever changes. All I know is that since I decluttered Its a lot easier to keep up with the house. IGnore him and just get the decluttering done. and if he complains tell him to get busy and do the work himself.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 6:38PM
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My DH is the same way. He knows what I've been doing these past several weeks and helped at first and still does here and there, but continues to make his messes. I thought by getting up and tossing stuff as soon as he lays it down would give him the hint. Well, he says things like, "I was going to throw that away the next time I get up" or "sorry honey", so he knows full well that he made a "boo boo" but does that change anything? LOL? NO! The only thing that works is doing it yourself. Get rid of the eye sores first, then de-clutter the hidden items (cupboards, closets, etc.) last. This way too you can keep a step ahead of him.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 8:38AM
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so he's grumpy that there's grime or dust or dirty dishes bcs your energy has been on larger issues (like decluttering, or moving furniture around to be more efficient, etc.)?

Ummm, does he clean?

(and in my opinion, general housecleaning should be done quickly--talk about boring stuff to do--do it fast)

And I suppose dirty dishes in the sink, and clean laundry need to be kept up somehow; mostly because if they fall too far behind, the household efficiency really takes a hit. (Ask me how I know this........)

Otherwise, talk talk talk, and show show show and remind remind remind and praise praise praise.

If he's forgetting that things have new homes, might that be a signal that the old home could work, still? Sometimes it is simply easier to work within existing routines and systems. Just something to think about. The answer may be no, but ponder it, at least.

Labels work well in these situations, too--even if they're big huge post-it notes on the outsides of closet doors for awhile until everybody is retrained.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 10:04AM
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Well, it IS possible to become obsessed with one particular thing and end up with other messes that you would rather not have. Sort of in keeping with the advice, be careful not to take on too many cupboards and drawers at once, or certain projects that don't have good payback--the photos need to be put in albums, but right now they are not actually part of the main clutter problem, etc. This is not aimed at the boyfriend or any S.O. especially, but at you/ourselves/the declutterer-upkeeper, to try to see which pathways really do move us closer to our goals, and which do not.

I have found that like anything else in life, one might have to exercise some self-discipline. For example, there are time I FEEL like decluttering an area, but really I need clean clothes for the week, we don't have groceries, the cat knocked something over and I need to vacuum--whatever.

Also, if you are a procrastinator (like me) you will find yourself giving higher priority to something that you don't HAVE to do, so you can avoid something you do have to do. So for some of the cleaning conflicts, if examined closely, one might find it is part of rationalization (I'll feel more like dusting tomorrow if I spend today de-cluttering).

It's all about balance and recognizing that even the best apparent motives sometimes are part of subconscious conflicts.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 10:45AM
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My sister has a beautiful home, always clean. She has so little clutter. I remember I went to visit her one afternoon, I asked did you see thus-and-such article in today's newspaper? No, the paper's already in the recycle bin!!! That opened my eyes. I asked how do you do it? She said, I spend from 9 am to 11 am cleaning one room each day. So that's the secret!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 12:25PM
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Hmm. I can see some of your points.

Like I said, the cleaning IS still getting done. But couple decluttering, with having a 17 month old around all day, some of it has been absent minded. Like throwing something in the dishwasher that obviously should have been handwashed, but since I was rushing I didn't even take 2 seconds to look at it, so everythings baked on and hard to get off. Or offering to do his laundry (he usually does it) and in turn making him have even LESS clothes to wear because I didn't pay attention to what I threw in, and no socks match up and I washed work pants with good shirts, or whatever.

And I have to declutter the cupboards and closets first, because a lot of the bigger, visable clutter belongs in the cupboards or closets. So I cant declutter the visable stuff, til I have somewhere to put it.

Some of the old homes *might* work, but he's mostly being forgetful on things that definately don't work. Like we used to hang our jackets/sweaters on the banister railings, along with his hats. So I put up a large multiple coat hook on the wall in the laundry room. He still hangs things up everywhere.

Oddly enough, I enjoy cleaning. Well, certain tasks. Doing dishes not so much, but I still do them every day at lunch, while I feed the kiddo and do whatever else. I vacuum daily. Dust daily. Swiffer and Swiffer mop daily. He does clean on occasion, but I prefer to do it when he's not home, so when he is home we can spend time together. And he takes care of the outside. Shovelling, mowing, repairs, etc.

I can proudly say though, that after this long weekend, the entire top floor will be completely decluttered! So I only have to put up with his grumpiness, and he my forgetfulness for a few more days! YaY :)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 12:40PM
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The less stuff there is to throw around the less mess there is. SO keep going and dont let anyone deter or discourage you. Fill that garbage can with stuff that is laying around.
Im so glad I did. Im sure I can find more to go too. LOL

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 1:35PM
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It just dawned on me that he's possibly grumpy because this means more work for him right now, too. Certain things I can't move by myself. Or things that need installing. Or things he's quicker at.

But he's thrilled with the results in the living room, and still can't stop talking about how good it looks, so I know the end results in other rooms will also be worth it. I'll keep truckin, and I know he'll appreciate it in the end.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 1:53PM
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We will be rooting for you!!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 7:19PM
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I did it slowly. My kids were 1,3,6 and 16 when I started. I focused on items they don't pay attention to anyway. The kitchen is my domain. I didn't rearrange the place, just weeded items out. Again and again and again. They hardly even noticed. Not like they would have been able to tell you how many mixing bowls I had anyway.

Then I progressed to other domains. My closet. My drawers. My linen closet. My laundry room. My storage closets. My Christmas stuff. My sewing stuff. Back to my kitchen again.

Do you see where I'm going with this? It took over a year before I even needed to bother my spouse. Our biggest challenge was as I uncluttered flat surfaces. He took that to mean that he could pile things there. I took a box and every time he dumped the mail or something on my clean surface-I put it in the box and put the box in his chair. After losing a few bills and moving that box every time he wanted to sit down, he finally started dealing with the stuff.

As I started hauling the stuff away, he would begin pitching some books and clothing in my bags. When the kids outgrew clothing, the clothes disappeared into my bag.

The we determined where our spaces were and came to the agreement no one in the family could clutter up the public spaces. Our private spaces are still a mess, but the house runs very efficiently.

Good luck. Is hanging the coats in the laundry room convenient? If not, he'll never do it. Put the coat rack right next to the stairs. Declutter and organize for how you need to live, no appearances.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 8:26PM
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The laundry room is closer than the banisters, and right beside the front entrace. It's more convienent, it's just out of habit that he does it. Not to mention, he comes in and out of the garage door more often than the front, and the coat hooks are directly beside the garage door. He'll get it, I have faith!

Get this, though - it was his idea to buy the coat hooks, and where to place them!

I see what you mean, quilt. However, we don't exactly have that set up. We both have certain areas. Like, I don't touch the garage, he leaves the bedroom/bathroom alone, because I'm pretty particular about things in those areas. But the rest of the house is both of our spaces.

I do however pile all his stuff infront of the tv in the garage so he HAS to deal with it before he can watch the news after work.

I'm not really asking him to do anything, other than bear with me until it's done. And ocassionaly help me move a couch.

So what if theres a few dishes that should've been handwashed, in the dishwasher. I spent 3 hours decluttering the cabinets and all the drawers and the pantry, so we can both find things without searching for 10 minutes first, or having 50 things fall out the second the door is open.

I am big on appearances, but mostly for function. If a room looks cluttered, although its functional clutter, it takes less than a day for the entire room to become cluttered with unnecessary things. I find we both work harder to keep a room clean and organised, if there is zero clutter in it. And I get highly stressed and frustrated if I clean a room and declutter, and it still looks cluttered because there are coats hanging on the banisters, and hats all over. I lose my motivation.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 12:37PM
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I lose my motivation

I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THAT!!! Been there and with a toddler its more difficult. Remember that you have support you can blow off steam anytime to us.
Ask yourself this, are those items that cant be put in the dishwasher absolutely neccessary right now? Or can they be packed away until the baby is older and you have a little more free time?
My hubby has a very dirty job so his work clothes go into their own hamper. That way they dont get in our other wash. He also has a dressing area where he gets dressed for work, so his work clothes dont even make it upstairs to the MB. He goes there to dress in the AM and gets undressed there when he comes home.
Sounds like your doing a great job, try not to get overwhelmed, thats always the downfall for me.
Sort,reduce and simplify. Thats become my motto.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 4:21PM
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Baby isn't mine. And thats probably part of the issue. I like to get all my house stuff done during the day so that when baby goes home, and the boyfriend gets home I have nothing but spare time. Maybe I try to multi task too much during the day. Feeding baby, while doing dishes, while also weeding through dishes. Nothing gets 100% attention and of course most of the attention is on baby.

And the items in the dishwasher CAN go in the dishwasher, its more things that should've been handwashed that particular time, because they were extra dirty or whatever, and I didnt notice.

Thanks for the support!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 5:20PM
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since taking care of the baby is your *work*, remember that it's not necessary for you to do housework at the same time you are employed. You're just expecting too much of yourself because you happen to work at home. But even if you are inside your house, you are technically AT WORK.

Having most of the time and attention be on your young charge is appropriate; that's why his mom is paying you. So any housework that can't get done because you're keeping that part of your day running smoothly, is simply what the rest of us deal w/ when we're out of the home at the office/store/job.

You can't count on doing much extra during the day, because you are at work.

It would probably get a good idea for you and boyfriend to do some of the housework together once he gets home. He should be part of the housework and organizing efforts--good training for him (because you may not always be working from home all your life), keeps him aware of just how much work it is. If it's always invisible to him, then you end up w/ him complaining because it's not done, and yet he doesn't realize how much work it takes to do it.

Also, doing stuff like that together is appropriate couple-time, I believe.

I understand that YOU would like to have no homework during that time, for your own reasons, but I think a big project like this, ought to involve him more.

You'll figure it out, he'll figure it out; give it a little time. Don't expect him to be "on board" immediately.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 11:54AM
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Funny you say that talley sue!

I delegated dishes to him last night, so we'll see how that goes. I got a response of "I work all day" I asked exactly which housework fairy he thinks will be stopping by, once we're both working out of the home then? He said it will then be 50/50. I told him lets make it 50/50 now so I have incentive to get in gear with my schooling. So we'll see what happens.

I know if I leave it for a day or two, he'll do it no complaints. I just need a little self control!

I do plan to take care of kids forever, but not out of my home forever. I would like to run an actual day care.

He's also agreed to help me this weekend with the last of the organising. I'm at the point where I can't do it myself anymore. Too many big things, and too much of it is his stuff for me to be able to weed through it. So that helps, he's coming around.

I think I try to get a lot done, because it amuses the baby. Vacuuming is the funniest thing he's ever seen. He loves to swiffer the kitchen and entrance way. Though I always have to go over it, lol. The noises the swiffer mop makes, excites him. And clanking and crashing of dishes, is also quite funny.

But some days I just dont feel like cleaning all day for his amusement, or theres just no time. Or he's sick or cranky and I can't.
I think the boyfriend knows how much work the housework is, but is completely oblivious to how much work it is with the baby. And how much work the baby is on its own. Doesn't realise that simple tasks like vaccuming take twice as long, or dishes, or whatever because I have to alternate between catering to babies needs and doing the task.

He's been around on days I've had the baby and he's been home, and the baby has always been good. He doesn't realise kids are much different when they're with the same person all day, every day, than with two people. If I leave the room, baby is alone. If he's home and I leave the room, baby isn't alone, so he's happy.

He'll understand someday, when we have kids. Until then I can't expect him to understand or sympathise if he hasn't experienced it.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 1:19PM
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Exactly! He's not seeing it as "work" (and I suspect you are only seeing it partly as "work")--but it IS!

Of course, amusing the baby w/ vacuuming, and having him help you sort the laundry as "beginning math" (bcs it is, actually--sorting is beginning math) are perfectly legitimate ways to provide child care.

I was fantasizing about how I wish my kids' nursery school teachers had spent a week teaching them how to fold trousers and T-shirts, and how to tie their shoes, and how to sort laundry, and even how to fold towels. It would have been at least as educational as coloring pictures, or playing with legos, or lacing a lanyard through holes in a card.

You could even teach a 2-year-old how to sift flour, crack eggs, run the mixer, etc.--you just have to DO it.

But it's still work, taking care of a baby. "I worked all day"--grrrrr, what does he think YOU did? You are lucky you were able to do ANYTHING; most women who work, can't. You shouldn't be expected to do it all, because you ARE working.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 2:04PM
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