While Marie Kondo wins followers with that magic that she attributes to order, other people are not willing to give up her chaos and disorganization. In this matter there are theories for all tastes and, for this reason, some sing the praises of the creativity that emerges from disorder while others cover their ears and all their senses in the face of such chaos. We wonder how to live with messy and dirty people when you are not. We bring you a manual so as not to despair , but first we have some nuances.
Clutter is negotiable, dirt is NOT.
Taking a book off the shelf and leaving it on the table, the socks thrown haphazardly in the closet, the clothes hanging from the stationary bike converted into a coat rack, the pajamas on the chair in the bedroom. Displaced cushions, the sofa blanket wrinkled in a corner, the kitchen cupboards in which you get lost until you find the pot of lentils or the dining room table that you have to clear of all kinds of objects if you want to eat on it.
Hair in the sink, in the bathtub, the toilet lid up, suspicious yellowish stains also in the toilet, the sink full of plates, glasses and other crockery, food remains on the sofa. The floor without sweeping, the dust without removing, unpleasant odors throughout the house… One thing is clutter and another thing is dirt .
It is true that there are people who are more scrupulous about cleanliness than others, but in any coexistence (be it a shared apartment, living with the family or with your partner) a minimum of hygiene is necessary . Tidiness is a different matter and is subject to a greater margin of negotiation than cleanliness. Because just as you have the right to be an orderly person, the person who lives with you has the right to be messy. And how do we find the midpoint?
Coexistence with disorderly people
When you are an orderly person, you can suffer a lot in living with messy people. Where is the limit between imposing your way of doing things and claiming your right to a bit of order and harmony? It is difficult, because in the same way that you move more comfortably and safely within an order, other people need chaos and disorganization to feel better.
As in any coexistence problem, the first tool you should use is communication. Everything may be resolved in a talk where you expose the level of stress that causes you to see everything lying around the house. The bad mood and even the anger that comes to you when you get home and you can’t sit down to eat at the table because first you have to remove the books and papers that the other person has left there.
Or maybe a talk is just the appetizer of an anti-clutter crusade where you have to gain ground inch by inch. Above all, keep empathy in mind and keep in mind that not all people find it as easy as you do to maintain order. With your empathic mode in all its splendor, the time has come to claim your right to order in this coexistence .
How to live with messy people (without dying trying)
After the obligatory conversation, the messy person you live with will have to be clear that you both have the right to be comfortable in your house. That you have different needs to reach that comfort does not prevent an agreement. A good idea is to respect the differences of the other in their own spaces . What do we mean by this?
We mean that if the bedroom, study or desk of the person you live with is messy, you do not have to blame him for anything. The battle is not waged in their own spaces , but in the common ones . So make a list of everything that bothers you in order (pun intended) of the intensity with which it disturbs your peace of mind.
This way the other person can make an extra effort to maintain order in those places where you suffer the most. Maybe it’s the fridge, maybe the sideboard in the hall, or maybe the table in the living room. Set priorities and let the other person get into a routine (and it takes time) to keep that place tidy.
When you see that the other person’s intentions to maintain order are good, but that in reality it is very difficult for them because they are not used to doing it, you can go the extra mile and make the task easier for them . For example, putting small boxes where you can put those things that the other person can’t even imagine where her natural place can be.
In any case, do not burden yourself with all the work of maintaining order in the house , because it is the task of everyone who lives in the house. What you may need to do is lower your expectations of what you consider to be a tidy home.