Wanted: order, in a small, overcrowded apartment. Husband and wife each have their own systems. Mission impossible? Think again. Use these six steps to find organization in your own shared living space.
- Take joint ownership of problems and solutions. Instead of starting sentences with "You should," try "How do we want to solve this?"
- Assume the other person has a valid reason for his or her system. Listen carefully until you understand. Repeat back to confirm.
- Concentrate on your shared goal: a home you both enjoy, where you can find your things. Be willing to compromise.
- Stay focused. Avoid jumping from one project to another.
- Schedule a mutually acceptable time to tackle clutter. Let the answering machine pick up calls.
- Have fun. Get a little bell and ring it the minute either person breaks one of the rules.