What to do if you are organized, but others around you aren’t.

I’ve learned that some people read this blog because they are lacking in decluttering and organizational skills, and are looking for great tips to help them get started.

I’ve also learned that some people who read this blog are crazy in love with being organized like I am!  And even though I think I’m pretty great at keeping clutter at bay, there are always things I can learn to improve, and I know those people feel the same way.

But what to do if you are super organized (or well on your way to getting there), but you have other people in your life that seem to thwart all your progress?  Maybe it’s a messy spouse or child that you always feel you are picking up after.  Or perhaps you have a young adult living with you that’s starting to develop some attachment issues to “stuff” as they go through so many other changes in their life.  Or maybe your house is great and all your family is on board, but you have co-workers who don’t respect your organized areas and systems in the office.

In other words, what to do when you aren’t the mess, but someone else is?

Well this may sound counterintuitive, but don’t try to change the other person.  Unless someone has their own motivation to make a change, in any part of their life, they won’t do it.  It has to come from them alone, otherwise any progress you do make won’t be lasting.  And long lasting change is our goal after all!

Therefore, you have to help them find their internal motivation.  Ask them how the mess inconveniences them, and don’t talk about how it affects you.  If it’s your spouse, talk about how rushed they are in the morning before work because they didn’t do a little prep the night before (packing a lunch, setting out the coffee, placing their keys/wallet/phone in an easy spot to find, making sure their clothes were clean and ready to go, etc.).  Perhaps your child has a room packed with things and they are frustrated that they can never find what they need, which leads to poor results at school or in projects.  For co-workers, you can see if they seem to appreciate your organized areas, and then talk about how you could help them increase their efficiency and keep the job less stressful by showing them how they can be more organized too.  If you focus on their frustrations, you’ll be more likely to help them see how much better their life could be without the mess!

And if this doesn’t work, then you just have to sit back and wait for them to get uncomfortable enough to make a change.  People don’t respond well to ideas that are pushed on them.  But they do response well to change when their current method is too frustrating to keep going with it.

And being a good example is always worth it as well.  You never know who is watching and may find some inspiration from you!

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you haven’t already, please sign up for my free newsletter using either the form in the right sidebar or the bottom of this page.  It’s a great way to stay in touch and stay motivated!

All the best,


2 thoughts on “What to do if you are organized, but others around you aren’t.

  1. Ann

    “you just have to sit back and wait for them to get uncomfortable enough to make a change. People don’t respond well to ideas that are pushed on them.” Boy is this the truth! I find it so often in people who say they want to make healthy changes or lose weight. If they are not truly “ready” or if they’re doing it to please someone else – it never lasts. For the same reason I never offer suggestions even when I think they could help unless specifically asked. People discount things they have not asked for so I don’t waste my time. Great post as always Lesley.

    1. Lesley Morrison Post author

      So true! When I’m with someone who’s complaining about an area of their life, but not asking for help, it’s best just to smile and lend a good ear. Until they are ready to move forward to fix the problem, any advice won’t be welcome.

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