When you live with a neat freak


I had someone ask, "What can I do when my spouse can’t stand any mess or clutter. How can we change their perspective?"

Some of us don’t get as distraught over mess. My husband is a quality tech at a car plant. He has an eye for every single thing that gets out of place. Good for his job. Hard on me.

Before we try to get them to change their perspective, we need to see where they are coming from. Certain people get anxious or frustrated over disorder. They aren’t trying to be annoying. They really are bugged.

It helps to ask questions.

  • What does clutter or disorder mean to you?
  • In what ways does it make you anxious?
  • What are you willing to let go of being picky about for now?
  • What’s most important for you to have clean or organized in a home?

This gives you negotiating room. If dirty dishes are really high on your spouse’s annoyance list, make sure those get priority. Things like the toilet paper being on the roll the wrong way he might be willing to let go. Or fix himself.

Take care of the big hot spots that drive him nuts. Then have him tell you what he can let go of or what he is willing to do. If I don’t get to dishes or laundry within my husband’s time standards, he’ll often do them himself.

Keeping a perfect house is not on my agenda. If it’s not on yours, then it’s time for a compromise talk.


Photo cropped from AHD Photography





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