In a relationship usually you have one person who needs the house to be spic and span with everything put away and clean while you have the other person who can tolerate a little clutter. My husband, we’ll call him “J”, and I are perfect examples of this.
I grew up in a household that was always “clean” but was often cluttered. I admit my parents are packrats. Now I’m not talking about something off an episode of Hoarders! But just don’t go into their basement without watching out for boxes of “stuff”.
“J” came from a home that was always spotless and to this day my mother in law keeps her home neat and tidy. No clutter in that house!
This is just a classic example of how our environment shapes our personality. You know the whole nature versus nurture debate and all that.
I can handle my home being a little messy while my husband is the total opposite. My friend always said that you might walk into my house and think its messy but I always know exactly where to find things, whereas in her home everything is put away out of sight but you never know where it was put away at. Now my husband, on the other hand, can not stand for the house to be cluttered. If it were up to him the only things we would have on our end tables in the living room would be lamps and drink coasters. Anything else is clutter to him.
This debate on our housecleaning habits has been a sticking point our whole relationship. Like I said I am ok with clutter, as long as everything is “clean” but J needs everything put away. “Out of sight out of mind” is his style of cleaning. Recently he went on a cleaning spree while I was at work. I was very thankful that he cleaned the house but I have since spent the past week trying to find everything that he put away.
What makes sense to him, as far as organizing the house, may not make sense to me. For example I have a drawer in my kitchen that has measuring cups and lids to drinking cups like travel mugs. When he cleaned the kitchen last week he organized everything and put all of those items on the top shelf in a cabinet. Let me explain why this is a problem. I am barely 5’2″ and our cabinets are very tall. Even with a stepping stool I can barely reach the top shelf.
Our housekeeping habits are something we often have to compromise on. It is something that could easily build resentment and conflict in a marriage. If one person feels like they are always the one handling the household chores it could cause problems in the relationship. I believe communication is the key. If I had not told J that it didn’t work for me to have frequently used items in the top of the cabinet he would have never known. We have now designated areas that are “hands off” for each other. For example he can clean the kitchen or tidy up the laundry room but don’t start reorganizing something that he doesn’t usually use. For me I can straighten up his area where he keeps all his tools and such but I won’t try to organize them.
How do you and your spouse handle these differences? I’d love to hear from other readers on how conflicts of this nature are handled in your household. Leave us a comment below or tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter.