HUMAN RESOURCES / AUG. 18, 2014
version 6, draft 6

Neat Freak Versus Slob - Can They Both Live Peacefully in one House?

He likes to scatter books and magazines around the sides of his bed. She likes her side of the bed clean and clutter free. He doesn’t mind going to bed without doing the dishes. She can barely make it through half her meal before jumping up to clean them. Her tolerance for mess is low compared to his.

Living with him drives her insane. Why wouldn’t it? She is a neat freak. The unfortunate thing is that she is married to him so there has to be a living formula that enables both of them live peacefully with each other.

Studies regarding housecleaning had earlier shown that women clean more than men due to social or economic reasons. However recent studies of the same nature have shown that tolerance is really the determining factor. People have different tolerance levels to dirt and untidiness. So what do you do then when caught up in this household divide? See some of the tips below;

1. Establish ‘Messy’ and ‘Neat’ zones

In order to live peacefully, the messier person could be allocated a space where he or she piles up stuff until there’s a chance to get to it. It could be a nightstand, carton box at the corner of the room or any other part of the room. The saving rule is to ensure that the mess does not last beyond a certain time limit.

2. Sound Communication

Do not insult, demean or hurt your partner or roommate by the words that come forth from your lips. Communication is telling the other person what you are not comfortable with around the house in a pleasant manner. Whether it is division of labor or the way they cook, talk about it amiably so you don’t sound inconsiderate and come off as accusing your partner of laziness.

3. Figure out the Root Cause

Sometimes the issue that leads to being messy or bothered by mess, could be bigger than what it seems. I know of a couple who used to fight a lot when the bed was not made. When the husband was asked why he got so mad when the bed was not made, he answered that his reaction reminded him of his childhood with parents who were alcoholics. They were so harsh on him on the days his bed was not made. His wife changed her habits as soon as she heard this and this strenthened their bond even more.

4. Hire a Housekeeper

Issues often arise because of house chores. Hiring a help to take care of the chores might be the solution to this problem. Therefore if your finances can allow, go ahead and get one so as to deal with this issue once and foa all. 

5. Take it Easy

It is not difficult to conclude that the messy partner cares less about the neat one and that is why they fail to maintain the house clean. This can be damaging to the relationship. Stop making assumptions about how your partner is behaving when in reality, this is not the case. Do not take anything personally. Instead communicate and negotiate more.

6. Look at the Bigger Picture

At the time you are angry and frustrated at your roommate, think of the reasons why you decided to live with that person in the first place. You must have found that person’s traits to be refreshing and endearing. Focus on those traits because they sure had nothing to do with housekeeping.

So there you have it. It is possible to live peacefully and have fun when your roommate would otherwise be unbearable. The secret is no secret really; consider the tips above and enjoy every moment with them, in both of your living preferences. 

Image Source: Photopin.com

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