Living with a messy person can be a challenge, especially if you like to keep your space neat and tidy. You may be frustrated by a messy roommate or annoyed by a messy live-in partner who does not follow your definition of “clean.” To cohabitate well with a messy person, start by establishing boundaries and guidelines for the living space. Then, agree to maintain shared areas like the kitchen or the living room. You should also communicate your feelings effectively so you and the messy person can live in harmony together.
Allow the messy person to have their own area. Contain the person’s mess by allowing them to live as they please in their own space. Maybe the person has their own room and you both agree that they can be as messy as they want in their room. Or perhaps the messy person has free reign over their office and can keep it as chaotic as they’d like.
- Make sure you both agree that the person’s mess stays in the specified area and does not extend to the rest of the home. You may say to the person, “Let’s make sure we both keep our stuff in our rooms,” or “Is it cool with you if we agree to each keep our things in our rooms and not bring our stuff in the common areas?”
Ask the person to spend 10 minutes cleaning up their area. If the person’s mess in their area is out of control, see if they will agree to do a quick 10 minute clean once a day. Have cleaning supplies on hand and encourage them to do a quick tidy up of their area so it is not as messy.
- For example, you may say to the person, “Would you mind doing a 10 minute tidying up in your space? I would really appreciate it.”
Pick your battles with the messy person. Try not to get angry at every messy habit the person has. Instead, reserve your frustration or anger for habits that really bother you. Let small issues go, especially if the person seems to be trying to control their mess.
- For example, if the person forgets to put an item away in the kitchen, you may let it go as this is may not be a big deal. If the person leaves food out that stinks up the kitchen, you may talk to the person about this as it may bother you on a more serious level.
Acknowledge when the messy person makes an effort to be clean. Notice if the messy person tries to be tidier or cleaner. Let them know you appreciate when they make the effort to be more clean, even if it is against their nature. In the long run, this will help you build goodwill and respect with the person.
- For example, you may say to the person, “Thanks for tidying up the living room while I was out, I appreciate it” or “I noticed you got rid of the garbage in your room, thank you for doing that.”
Living with With a Messy Person is no picnic, especially if you don’t like to keep things chaotic and prefer to keep your space tidy and uncluttered.
Launching a house cleaning project can be very stressful! We recommend starting small. It can be very overwhelming to take on a whole house at once, so our advice is to start going room by room. Getting rid of everything at once can be shocking to the one who does not see the mess and junk.
If you find it much easier to work in small projects, call us for a handful of smaller pickups instead of one big one.
Check our website for ideas to start organizing your space. Identify what to keep and what should be removed, learn more on donating the usable stuff and removing the unwanted clutter, or just call us for a consultation!
wikiHow (n.d.). How to Live with a Messy Person. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Live-with-a-Messy-Person