They’re cute but they come with a lot of clutter

Dear K&K: My husband and disagree about what’s tidy and what’s messy. He thinks the kids toys are often a mess as is our house. I always put them away on shelves but I can’t totally hide them or the kids will forget about them. It’s not like I’m a slob. He’s just very particular about things. He is even particular about how well the children make their beds. My philosophy is, “Wow, they MADE THEIR BEDS!!” It’s not perfect but tidy. How can I convince him that we actually live in a tidy house? Help, please! Signed: Fed up in Fayetteville.

Dear Fed Up: Your quandary brought to my mind the raging debate over the past few weeks of whether this computer generated recording saying the word “Laurel” sounds like “Yanny” or “Laurel”. For the record, Kelly heard Laurel the first time she listened to it but now hears Yanny. Go figure. Anyway, our long winded point is you’re never going to convince him that your house is tidy because he sees it as messy and to him it will always be messy UNLESS you’re organizing and tidying to his particular standards. Those standards are how his brain is wired. Meeting these standards helps him relax. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be so driven to achieve them. To finish with our parallel, he is as likely to hear Yanny when the computer voice is clearly saying Laurel as he is to think your home is tidy.

Exhibit A is the photo above. It is Kelly’s playroom. She thinks it’s a total mess. She is a Classic. Therefore, she notices EVERY detail on those shelves. Katie thinks it’s tidy. She’s a big picture Organic. It’s all background. Plus keeping kids’ toys neat is HARD. However, they both agree her son is adorable. Ha! Our point is that most likely he’s a Classic and you’re not. Maybe, he’s an Organic or a Smart who sees the forest and not every single tree. He sees every tree and toy just like Kelly.

Now, the trick to solving your disagreement is to meet somewhere in the middle in almost every room in the house where there’s an organizational disagreement. This means in the toy room you have some toys hidden and some out. Perhaps they have to make their beds daily but if they do it to hospital corner Dad’s standards then they get some sort of minor treat at week’s end. I know the powers that be say not to bribe kids. But heck, I know WE like to get treats for work and writing, i.e., paid.

Finally, throw him a bone and give him one area of the home that always meets his particular standards. He should do the same for you. Therefore, you need one area set to your “not so particular standards”. This is why I said above, “meet somewhere in the middle in almost every room in the house.” All our best to you guys! Katie & Kelly

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