How to get your partners to pick up after themselves

It is not uncommon for couples to argue over a messy house.

You step through the door and immediately the sight of dirty clothes, dirty dishes, shoes, books and other items in disarray instantly give you a headache and you wonder when you signed up for babysitting because this person you chose to partner with must be a child.

You are not interested in another fight about cleaning up or picking up after making a mess, but things cannot continue the way are, so certain strategies must be implemented to both give you some peace of mind and for you to actually see the tiles on the floor once again.

A messy room might irk your partner.

Yelling and screaming

Yelling does not work. After a while, they tune you out, as they interpret your diatribe as ‘nagging’ and that never gets the results you want. At the risk of sounding like a scratch record, sit your partner down, and in as calm and reasonable a voice as you can muster, try to communicate how you feel about the mess and/or clutter without resorting to finger-pointing or blaming. Stick to how YOU feel and not their lack of action or attention. This goes down better and conveys that what is happening is affecting you negatively.

After talking, find out what changes they are willing to make. They should be small changes initially because if they are too big, they may overwhelm the individual and they end up doing nothing, as they will not attempt a task if they feel that they are going to fail. For example, instead of telling them to clean the house, ask them to pick up all the clothes on the floor and sort them. That is a simple enough task that may take half an hour at most. That is manageable and easy, so the next time you have another task they will feel better about getting it done.

Reward your spouse for cleaning up his/her mess.

Praise and reward

Also, ensure that you ask them, do not tell or dictate. You are not their teacher, principal or parent. A request gets a more favourable response and reaction than a demand. Indeed, they may very well be petty and just ignore your ‘demand’ just to spite you and your totalitarian traits. Stay humble and stay calm.

After they have completed the task, always sing their praises, high five them and reward their effort. Encouragement sweetens labour they say, and this is true. It helps you also when you want something else done as they will remember how stoked you were when they completed the last chore and everyone loves praise and reward, even if it is even a candy bar.

Now that you are both on the same page, move on to the next task with the same energy and even temperament. Good luck!!

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.