How to Live With a Squirrel When You’re Not One

Dear K & K: I was listening to your interview on NPR and I find this very interesting! I took the test and it turns out, I am the Organic Freedom type. Your description of this type fits me to the tee. I wanted to call the radio station with one question. What category does my husband fit in? I have been married for 22 years, and I am still trying to adjust to my husband’s habits. He is very neat, he puts all things in cabinets, cupboards, and closets. The problem is that he puts things wherever he finds room. I spend my life rearranging the silverware drawer, my kitchen, the shelves, dresser drawers, and everything else after my husband is done…   I think he might be a hopeless case because he knows where things belong. For example, we had a house guest one time, and she was helping him in the kitchen. Of course, she asked him where things belong because she was drying the dishes and he knew it. He just doesn’t do it. Any suggestions?  Thank you: New Fan in Illinois

Dear New Fan: Thank you SO much for listening. You’re Katie’s type so naturally, she thinks you’re awesome and feels your pain because it sounds like your husband is potentially a neatnik Classic. If they don’t see a clear organization system — and this doesn’t mean you don’t have one, it just means they don’t see it or know about it — they’ll put things away behind closed doors just to get rid of the visual clutter. The solution for dealing with these little clutter squirrels is three-pronged.

First, find a home for everything in your home and make sure it’s in its place. Second and this is potentially more important, give him a tour as if he’s the new guy in the office — a.k.a. your home — and you want to help him succeed. Then, review each and every system with him. Tell him what goes where and what NEVER goes where. We’d suggest doing it room by room over a period of time. Also, you need to be clear that some things are always going to need to be out in the open — you’re an Organic Freedom, THIS IS A MUST. But, make sure this visual clutter has proper homes — transparent bins/attractive bulletin board. Then, tell him “DO NOT TOUCH”.

If these two steps fail, ask him how he thinks you should change your organizational systems since he clearly knows they exist but doesn’t always pay heed. Essentially, convey to him that something must not be working for him and you want to make sure the house works for him and not just you. Finally, if that fails then we’d just put his personality type down as … stubborn! 😉 Hope that helps!! All our best, Katie & Kelly

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