Would you believe this organized clean freak used to live with a clutterer! Yes, true confessions here! I remember the first time I saw him..Love at first sight. And this chick doesn't normally fall hard. Then I saw his place! My first thought was "God you are funny"!
Yes, our lifestyles would quite different. One of the first things he said to me was.."I have two couches but haven't seen the other one in a few years." I remember clearing off a space to sit down and watch a movie.
Wow, this amazing relationship lasted a year. It also coinsided with the start of my business. In so many ways personally and professionally it helped me grow.
Even though I kept my own apartment, I spent 99% of my time at his place. Cats in tow. Yes, I brought my critters. He also had a dog. So besides the clutter, we had a little zoo. Its amazing how my cat has never spilled anything in my home but felt it was okay to knock over glasses at the boyfriends place! I think he actually felt more comfy there. There were so many places to hide!
During this time, I learned alot about myself. Somethings good and somethings bad! The most important thing I learned about was compromise. I had to pick my battles. I learned to live with the clutter but a few things were important to me:
1. The kitchen and the bathroom needed to be clean. This is essential for health reasons.
2. I would have space of my own that would not be inhibited by his stuff. It ended up being a large drawer.
3. There would be no trash sitting around ie..empty pizza boxes ect.
I also saw first hand how someone who has a more relaxed lifestyle lives and how the clutter is created. In my house, an empty wine bottle goes in the recycle bin. In his house, it would sit on the counter. I would put returns in my car, his would float around his place. I went through mail immediately, his sat for days.
Since then, I had dated a myriad of different people. Some have been clutterers, others have been clean freaks. Whatever life tosses you, learn to adapt. These are the most important lessons I have learned:
1. Discuss both your expectations of your space.
2. Define your tasks. I let my boyfriend take over the cooking(that was a hard one! I ate a lot of omlets and patty melts that year). I took over the paper management aspects and the returns( I saved that dude so much cash).
3. Respect each other! Don't judge or yell.
4. Find a happy medium. I had to explain that I didn't feel comfy having my friends over due to certain conditions. We agreed before company came over, we would clean together.
5. There is nothing wrong with giving them a "room" that they can use as they see fit, if you have the space.
6. Don't expect perfection. You can't change someone. It's important for them to feel comfortable in their home.
7. Decide what is acceptable to you!
8. Offer to help them with the clutter. You would be suprised how many people are open to getting help. If you take this route, go slow. Take it one category or room at a time. Don't overwhelm them or make them feel bad. Be positive!! None of us are perfect!
Be happy and enjoy your relationship!!