I've learned from watching Oprah and Peter Walsh that maintaining a clean home is a family effort, but my husband has no idea how to keep anything clean for more than a day. When I do clean, it usually is only a week before it looks like a hellhole again. My husband will come home and throw his clothes on the floor. I end up feeling depressed and defeated.

How can I encourage my husband to participate in cleaning and maintaining our home?

— Rebekah

Thanks for the e-mail and photos, Rebekah.

In a family, the organization of a home, just like the raising of children or the important decisions of where to live or how to spend your money, is a team decision. The problems you are having with clutter are not so much about the stuff but more about you and your husband not agreeing on how to live together and maintain what you own.

To have an organized and clutter-free home, you need to honor and respect the space you have. It's the same in a relationship—you need to honor and respect each other.

You and your husband need to take some time out to talk about what you want from your home. You need to establish some basic routines for maintaining your spaces. No clothes on the floor, pick up up after yourselves, put things away when you're done with them and so on.

If you're feeling defeated and depressed, you need to speak honestly and openly with your husband about this to turn it around—for your own sake and for the quality of your home and your relationship.

— Peter


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