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Alas, the never ending story of the neatnik vs the slob. My husband's office looks like a rabid raccoon got into it but he somehow knows where everything is! I just shut the door and request, weeks in advance, to vacuum the carpet (I will appeal to his allergies and tell him it's unhealthy).

It has been an absolute rule that the public areas of the house remain clutter free and picked up. This often means that "stuff" is thrown into private rooms, and dealt with (or not) by the owner. When the kids were around I had another rule-- that no food items were to be left in their rooms.

My bigger problem with my husband is that he loves to collect memorabilia from our travels. We have a whole section of the cellar dedicated to this. I will go through them about twice a year and change them out upstairs as the mood strikes. He will often complain, "why isn't the Japanese picture up", or "what happened to that Egyptian sculpture?". I tell him that we don't have the room to display all the things he has purchased over the years and that I don't want the house looking like a curiosity shop. He shrugs and accepts this because if he didn't, he would open himself up to the actual work of sorting.

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I end up throwing out my stuff just to feel like something's being accomplished. We live in a very small house, which is made to feel even smaller by the spouse's clutter, etc. Love may be blind but it can hurt, especially when you keep bumping into their stuff!! Sigh.

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Wow, this article is interesting. I am, and have always been a NEAT-NIK and I absolutely abhor clutter.

My husband is not as naturally neat as I am, yet overall our home is organized and clutter-free.

Then - an unexpected event - our 22 year old niece moved in with us. She had a tough situation and after some deliberation, we invited her to live with us.

We quickly discovered that, JUST like her MOM, she is a compulsive shopaholic, massively in debt, an extreme hoarder and a slob. Our worst nightmare!!!

We are slowly teaching her a new way to live. It's been a struggle at times but she sees the difference and she tells us she loves living here. We've had to lay down the law, and stay on top of her, like a military boot camp. No excuses. We sat her down one day and simply said, "These are the rules...and you HAVE to follow them."

When she moved in, to put it bluntly - she was a hot mess! Now 8 months later; she landed a professional job, she cleans, she has a great boyfriend, etc. Her life is a complete 180 and she is happy!

Only time will tell if these changes will stick. But for now - laying down the law, with old-fashioned discipline and tough love, is working. Fingers crossed.


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