clutterbug and organizer need help
September 10, 2010 7:06 AM Subscribe
My wife is a clutter bug while I'm an organizer. I'm finding her methods of leaving stuff where she last used it is an impediment to my projects and affects my well-being. What can I do, or how can I harmonize our two traits/methodologies?
posted by diode to human relations (46 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
My wife has a tendency of populate empty space with her stuff, projects, and whatever she's working on. In her methodology, her stuff tends to end up all over the place whether it's kitchen counters, chairs, on the floor, wherever she last used it.
By contrast, I tend to put stuff away. I like open, empty spaces and for me, having an orderly environment is the basis I need to move on to other events. In other words, for me, clutter in my personal space is like having a bunch of unfinished thoughts lying around to trip over.
I spend an inordinate amount of my time putting stuff away, cleaning up the kitchen, or worse, leaving it where it is.
When my wife is home, her personal field tends to map this out and I tend to ignore the chaos. Our relationship helps us bridge the gap between her tendencies and mine.
If she leaves on a trip, like now for example, my very first thing I do is immediately put stuff away, clean up, and then have a clear field of view for bigger projects that may never get done because I'm trapped in the clutter field.
If I go too far cleaning up, then upon her return, I've moved her stuff, which causes recriminations and upset. Since she organizes by populating space with her things, she finds them by where she left them, not by putting them into a logical container/space where they can be located later.
The ultimate impact on me is that I tend not to get to larger projects that need doing because of the clutter field. In her absence, when I can start marshaling my resources on bigger projects without spending my 'startup' energy on putting stuff away, the actions I take can lead to a conflict because I'm changing her personal space without her permission or understanding.
If I don't take action, then things tends to remain the same, which is unacceptable to me in terms of getting more important tasks and projects done.
She's a professional artist, and I'm more the rationalist, though those labels don't begin to describe our range of per personal beliefs and behaviors. I've wondered if there's a biological impulse behind filling up space for the female, and creating empty range for the male.
So, the question, how can I encourage a harmonizing of our tendencies so I have a clear field of action for my life and she has the security and stability in hers with regards to her clutter behavior?