Welcome CityEast Ladies, and a thought on family resistance

Posted on February 09, 2012 by lessismo | 0 Comments

We kicked off the first De-Clutter Your Home course of the year in Coogee at CityEast Evening College last night.

There was a great turn out, a lot of really productive discussion, and determination to make a start.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the group gain confidence in their ability to de-clutter their homes over the next 8 weeks.  Welcome A, B, C,  S , T, and W.

One of the questions that came up was about resistance from other members of the family. Why on EARTH could they object to us throwing out our own stuff?

It is definitely a common problem for newbie de-clutterers, especially those who are trying to battle a big clutter problem.

For starters, people fear change, at least until they realise that it will a positive change for them.  Let's be honest, if your husband came home with a new hair cut or new underwear, as nice as he looked you miiiiiiigth just wonder if the sudden change was for your benefit or someone elses.

They may feel safer with the mess.  If they see a newly de-cluttered cupboard - the family may wonder if this is going to make it easier to find their toys, or result in them being told off if they do anything to mess it up. Cupboard they can find things in - GOOD, Cupboard that gets them into trouble - BAD.

Secondly, it may make them feel guilty.   "Oh, she's cleaning out her wardrobe, I guess I should clean out mine. But I've got other things to do and I don't want to.  And now she's glaring at my wardrobe while she's cleaning hers out. Grrrr, stop cleaning that wardrobe it makes me feel bad."

Kids can sometimes be attached to our stuff to, or to memories attached to our stuff. It may be your green furry cardigan, but if they can remember being rocked to sleep stroking it they may be resistant to seeing it go in the bin.


So how do we address all that resistance???

First of all, we have to adopt a kind and gentle de-cluttering attitude. It is not at all unreasonable to want to shorten someone who has just messed up something you've tidied, or piled their own stuff in a spot that  you de-cluttered. HOWEVER, make a leap of faith here and just let it go for a month or two.  Take a deep breath, smile, and be elsewhere until the murderous impulses subside.

Next, lower your expectations of others - I know it feels frustrating when you are the only one playing the game.  But you are going to get more cooperation in the long run if you make the whole de-cluttering operation a fun, friendly affair than a grueling route march.   "You should ....."  is a phrase that needs to go.

Being open about the resistance - "I get the feeling that me cleaning out this cupboard is making you uncomfortable" can help clear the air (and the cupboard).  If little Jack is unhappy about tossing the old green cardigan, perhaps you can cut a swatch out of it and get it sewn to his blankey or made into a cushion. Most corner dry cleaners can sort out easy sewing jobs like that for you. Or perhaps putting a photograph of it in the family album will be enough to put Jack's mind at rest.


I hope these techniques help. If you have some great ides about dealing with the resistance monster, please email them to me.

Posted in CityEast, Course, family, Kids, resistance; psychology, Techniques



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