Welcome back to Day 34 of Freedom from Clutter in 40 Days. Only a few more days to go! If you are tired of the burden of clutter in your home then this series is for you. Day by day we are getting rid of the items that weigh us down, slow us down, and get in the way of having time to spend with our families.
We invite you to join our special Facebook group to share your ideas, joys, concerns, and declutter stories with us. Make sure to share this with a friend who wants help decluttering. Together, we are learning to find Freedom from Clutter. This is a focused 40 day program, but we plan to keep the group going all year long. You can join us at any time. What is really fun about this project is that we are sharing our real struggles with clutter. There are no organization experts here. We are just real people sharing our real life experiences including our frustrations and joy as we declutter our homes.
How To Get Your Family To Declutter
By now, you have really put a dent in your household clutter. You are starting to feel pretty good about your clutter reduction. While taking a break from boxing things up for donation, you glance into various areas of your home and think, “If only I could get (insert name here) to declutter his/her mess.” Let me tell you……….that is dangerous thinking you have going on there. Sure, you can declutter for your little ones, but once they get older it is better to keep your hands off their stuff. “Wait! Did you just say that I can’t declutter for my family?” Yes, that is what I said.
Think about the mental and emotional transformation you have had to go through throughout this series to get to the point that you are now. You can’t just start throwing stuff away and expect your family members to be happy about it. You will most certainly get some pushback. Their stuff is their stuff. Hands off! Relationships are more important than a clutter-free home.
Should you just give up and live with the junk? No, I’m not saying that either. I do have some tips to help. You know your family best. Some of these tips will work for you and some may not. In the end, do what you feel is best for your family and your home. Don’t let decluttering become a battle of wills where someone has to win and someone has to lose. That isn’t good for any of you.
1. Don’t Nag
Your spouse and family won’t respond to nagging so skip right over that and try something else that might work. You don’t want to nag and they don’t want to be nagged. Enough said.
2. Be The Change You Want To See In The World (Your Home)
Lead by example. Let your family see you decluttering and making donations to help other people. Let them see how good it makes you feel and how the decluttered areas really do look and function better. Your decluttering may inspire them to come up with their own decluttering project which is completely their idea. Older children and teens don’t like to be told what to do (big surprise, right?), so inspiring them to come up with their own projects is the way to go.
3. Don’t Expect Them To Do What You Have Not Done
This is a bit of a twist on “lead by example.” If you have not decluttered your closet, don’t be surprised when you get push-back for suggesting that your child declutter their closet. Look for successful declutter projects that you have done and suggest that your family do the same.
4. Expect Different Standards
Your children and even your spouse likely will have different decluttering standards than you do. Don’t squash their efforts by telling them that their efforts are not “good enough.” Instead, celebrate that they are making an effort to declutter. Less clutter is less clutter. Don’t let your perfectionism get in the way of their progress.
5. Bribe Them (I Mean Incentivize Them)
A good incentive here and there never hurt anyone. In fact, my paycheck that I get to work my insurance job is a pretty good incentive. Think of this as paying your family for their hard work. I offered to let my children keep any money I got for selling their old toys. You could offer to increase their allowance for decluttering projects. Your spouse may respond to promises of more alone time together (wink). Whatever you come up with, it will certainly make decluttering more fun and rewarding for your family. We all know that means that things will be more likely to be completed.
6. Respect Their Time
Your family is busy. As your kids get older, they will likely have their own busy schedules. Your spouse has his own work/life balance that he is working on. Don’t assign a huge declutter project during a week that your family is studying for big tests at school or preparing for important meetings at work.
7. Offer To Help
The big word there is “help.” You need to let them lead you in the project. Don’t just jump in and take over. I know my little ones often just want someone to keep them company. They may also be looking for direction. I like to help divide up rooms into smaller project areas so that they feel like they are accomplishing something. My offers to help went ignored for several weeks. Don’t let this discourage you. One day, your family will probably ask you for help. It will come when you least expect it. Be prepared and make sure you jump up and offer the help that was promised long ago. No matter how busy you are at the time.
I hope this strategies help you to engage your family in decluttering. Leave me a comment and let me know what works for you. Let’s get the conversation going and we can really help lots of folks.
On another note……..if you are interested in simple recipes your family is sure to love make sure you check out my recipe index. I’m sure you are hungry after all of your decluttering! I add new recipes all of the time so make sure you check back often. You will also want to grab this free meal-planning printable calendar to make your meal planning easier. It has areas to plan your daily activities and your evening meal prep to keep you organized.
Want more great tips? Keep reading the Freedom From Clutter in 40 Days series by clicking on the image below.