This past weekend, I was standing in my closet to prep for the Ruthless Declutter Challenge. I was thumbing through a handful of tops that don't fit or have irreversible stains on them (KIDS) when Bryan walked in and caught me getting excited to clear the clutter. He looked at me and said, “Not again...” and THAT, my friends, sums up my husband, Bryan Ley! I love him to pieces, but we’re still working on his excitement in the process of simplifying.
Bryan isn't a natural "organizer" or someone who's even remotely interested in actively decluttering. He's wonderful, don't get me wrong, but this stuff runs in my blood. We both know that our family thrives in a decluttered home. There is no excess stress in our living space, which allows leftover time for each other instead of addressing unnecessary messes. I love that our opposite quirks attract. He keeps me fun and spontaneous, while I’m still able to encourage routine and framework. This balance not only benefits what’s inside our home, but our lives and our kids' little lives too!
I understand how easy it is to dismiss an organization project like The Ruthless Declutter Challenge because you don’t have active participation from someone else. Believe me, you can do it! Try some of the following ideas to be encouraging, patient, and a good friend (wife, roommate, etc.) throughout the process.
Team Simplified: How do you get a non-organization focused person (spouse, roommate) on board?
Emily: To get Bryan on board, I had to first shoulder the responsibility, then allow him to experience what "living in a decluttered home" felt like without the burden of my nagging or strong-arming him to get him to participate. Now? He absolutely sees the value and, while he may not want to declutter for hours on end (which I could do all day long!), he's more than happy to help. My best advice is to make the process easy for whomever it is in your life that isn't quite on board. Definitely don't push them into participating. When it comes to their possessions, simply make a pile and work through it with them (make it easy!). Trust me, they'll eventually see the value!
Team Simplified: Do you organize / declutter FOR them or get them involved?
Emily: I never make decisions on what to keep or give / throw away for Bryan. He doesn't mind if I make decisions solo for the rest of our house, but when it comes to his clothes or his belongings, we go through them (usually) together. Sometimes I give a little encouragement if I think owning a zillion baseball hats might be a bit much, but overall he makes his own decisions.
Team Simplified: How do you implement a structure for routine WITH someone?
Emily: The best routines come about organically. For instance, morning routines just happened to fall into place because of Bryan's work schedule and my work schedule. Non-organic routines, or those that you came up with and want to implement, require a leader to lead the charge. If that's you, then talk it over with your "person" and you be in charge of making sure it happens. Eventually it'll become habit!
Team Simplified: Is there an appropriate / fun way to bribe for team effort?
Emily: I declutter ruthlessly. Bryan does not. If I can get him to part with two of his nine million fraternity tee shirts from college, that's a good day! I say encourage any kind of decluttering and be grateful they participated. I do love the idea of celebrating a job well done with something fun. Maybe order a pizza to give yourself a break (and a treat!) after all the work is done!