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2 simple ideas of how to deal with other peoples clutter and stay calm

Today I wanted to chat about something that I get asked often about, and that’s the difficult topic of other peoples clutter.

This sort of clutter is the worst type, as you basically have no real control over it – and as such it can feel overpowering in any home and can really start to have a negative effect on the house and those living there.

2 simple ideas for dealing with other peoples clutter...


Hands off!

Other peoples clutter is such a difficult thing to deal with as it’s not yours so you can’t make the decisions for whoever owns it.

It can be a real cause of arguments in a home, especially when each person in the house is more organised than the other – as you are both trying to be comfortable and happy in your own space but the way each of you live is in direct conflict with the other.

You can’t force anyone to declutter/tidy/organise their items if they don’t want to – and if you do succeed by forcing them to do it then it’s probably going to be a source of tension and create arguments along the way. More often than not the clutter will return with vengeance anyway.

It really is hard to know what to do for the best.


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So, what DO you do?

The first step to dealing with other peoples clutter is to not deal with it.

I’m serious!

You can’t afford to get stressed over what you can’t change, it will send you around the bend very quickly, and it really is wasted energy – so what I would advise first and foremost is to let go of what you can’t directly change, and concentrate on what you can change first.

Basically you need to lead by example.

As you can’t do anything with the other persons belongings, then you have to be willing to take control of your own stuff first, or that which belongs to the house in general.

Talk through what you are doing with the other person, and help them to see why it’s important for you to be getting more organised – equally you need to understand why the other person loves a more cluttered environment as well.

After all – if the whole house is cluttered then you are living as the other person wants to live, and not how you want to live, so they need to understand how you are feeling just as much as the other way around.

If you can empathise with each other then you will both start to understand each other more, and any resentment you may have had with the other person will likely diminish.

Once you have talked things through, you can then really tackle the areas that you can change – your own things.

A weird thing often happens at this stage, and that’s that after seeing the transformation of not only the space but the general feeling of the house once decluttering has started, this is sometimes enough to get the other person/people to join in of their own accord.

Now this may or may not happen in your own home, and even if it does it may well take time. You are waiting for fundamental changes to occur, and you will come up against resistance each step of the way, but organising is an ongoing process anyway, so it may just be worth the wait!

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but I need some calm…

I touched on the fact that if your home is totally cluttered with another persons stuff, you don’t have an equal footing in the home, so I would also take the time to create a space in your home that calms you, and that you can escape to if the rest of the house becomes too much.

Everyone should have a space in their home that truly reflects them.

While kids spaces are more easily identifiable usually as their bedrooms, because adults tend to share a bedroom this leaves the question of where their own personal space can be.

Look at your home and work out the best place for you – whether it be a whole room or part of a room, creating somewhere that you can call your haven will give you somewhere to retreat to when the rest of the house becomes too much.

Make the space into a place that you absolutely love to be in – clutter free and organised – with nice colours etc… – even have items for your hobby(s) in this space if you can so that you can do these in a calm place (a nice chair and bookcase if you love to read, or a desk for crafting etc….).


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It really isn’t easy to live in a home where the adults in the space are used to such differing environments, but you need to keep talking to each other so resentment doesn’t also clutter your home, and then start with 2 key things to make your house a home for you both again.

Firstly, create spaces that you can each call your own and be yourself in. This is vital to ensuring your are both happy in your home.

Secondly, lead by example by showing how positively a less cluttered space can work for a home. It may just make all the difference to the more cluttered person to actually see the effect of a different way of life.

At a minimum though, you should both have a better understanding of each other, and spaces that you can go to in your home to feel relaxed. Hopefully you will be able to meet somewhere in the middle, and your home will be happier for it!

2 simple ideas for how to deal with other peoples clutter - while still keeping calm!

Do you live with someone who likes clutter around them? Or are you a cluttered person and live with a neat person? How do you deal with this? I’d love to know, so please leave a comment below.

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3 Responses to 2 simple ideas of how to deal with other peoples clutter and stay calm

  1. Heather Longmore Nov 27, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

    Personally my boyfriend’s brother lives with us and always throws his dirty shirts and socks in the corner of the living room. There are also Dungeons and Dragons toys in the corner of the kitchen. I can try to be as neat as I want and keep my house as clean as I can, but he won’t put anything away. My boyfriend plays the same game and we made a “man cave” in the basement that they have taken over, but he just refuses to take care of his mess.

  2. RED6 Jun 25, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    I am the messy one and my husband isn’t. He doesn’t understand why I would want so much ‘stuff’ and I hate the clutter. When he was younger he was in childrens homes and didn’t have many things that were his and he has no attachments, sentimental or otherwise to anything. I cannot understand this! He has thrown bags of my clothes out before now, which if truth be told I have still not forgiven him for. He doesn’t care about things and would bin everything given half the chance. I would like him to help me keep the house tidy but he says he can’t because of all the clutter, but I would like him to help me with the day to day things so I can sort everything out in the house, as I feel I spend my time doing washing, tidying, sorting kids etc, which if he helped go do these, would give me more time. He does say he will help me tidy but his way would be to bin everything so I tell him not to bother as I get anxious. My cousin, who isn’t messy but hoards things, thinks that I am like I am, and she is, because our mums were so tidy. Time, and maybe motivation, sometimes are my problems. Living in hope that one day my house will look as I want it to.

    • Chrissy @ Organise My House Jul 3, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

      Hi RED6 – thanks for the comment. It can be so hard when you are living with someone who has such a different philosphy about things than you, and I totally understand your frustrations. You are both fighting against each others way of life, and it can take its toll. Why not sit down and work out a plan of action that you are both happy with (especially including guidelines such as never throwing away anything of each others) and start small maybe with tackling a drawer or a cupboard in a room, and go from there. Hope this helps x

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