Getting your husband to clean up may seem like it would take an act of Congress with help from the National Guard, but there are ways to encourage better habits in your spouse. While this blog may talk about husbands, the following advice should be useful for both genders. It may seem like women are naturally neater, this is not always the case.
He Constantly Leaves Things Lying Around the House
The most common complaint a wife may have about her husband is feeling like she is looking after another child. It can be even tougher when the five year old will put things up and the husband will not. How can you get your point across without arguing endlessly over the subject?
Let’s start by not arguing at all. In fact, most men respond to logical and linear reasoning far better than they do to emotional tirades. So let’s say your husband doesn’t put things up and changes his clothes and leaves them wherever they land. Here are some tips for handling it:
- Begin by asking your husband to leave things as good as or better than he found them; remind him that it is easier to find something if it is in it’s place and not just left out in some random location
- Second, make a note on items that are left out regularly – it can be as simple as a little sticky that says ‘please put me back’
- Third, make lists. I am serious about the lists. You can post them on the refrigerator and anywhere else you know he will see them. The lists can include things like – when the milk jug is empty, place in the trash, not in the fridge (no, I am not kidding)
- Fourth, this is the step to take after having given your husband the calm and reasonable logic of the above – if you do the laundry and his laundry is not in the laundry bin – don’t wash it, if you are worried about the clothes all over the house – gather them up and put them in a garbage sack – set it aside somewhere he might notice if he were to actually go looking and simply wait
You can proceed with step four for as long as it takes him to notice he’s run out of underwear, socks, shirts and more. He will eventually ask you where they are and you will be able to state quite calmly that you washed everything in the laundry bin. So if it wasn’t there, you have no idea.
It won’t take this more than once or twice for the point to be driven home. If you aren’t comfortable with this idea, don’t do the laundry for them any longer.
Once Upon a Time
Several years ago and very early on in my relationship with my husband, I got tired of constantly picking up after him. I got tired of spending an hour or two every evening cleaning up messes that I hadn’t made. It got so old that I finally laid it down for him. He could hire a maid. He could move his mother in. But I was neither, he either started picking up after himself or I was moving out.
This may sound extreme, but I gave him a case-by-case point list so that he could see what I was talking about. From that point, we divided the chores so that there was equity in the tasks and I didn’t have the burden of chasing after his mess and he became more conscious of picking up because he didn’t want a lot of work when it was his turn.
You know your spouse better than anyone else, so you’ll know how hard a line you can take on the picking up after them. But one method that may also work in a pinch is the bet. Bet them that you both get more quality time together and on independent projects when he cleans up after himself.
Be sure you know how much time you spend on the overall before this begins. Give yourselves one week. At the end of the week, measure your efforts and be sure to give him a hefty reward if he’s successful. The ultimate reward will be yours, because if he could do it for one week, he’ll be able to do it for two, then three and so forth. It only takes about three weeks to build a new habit.
Does your husband clean up after himself?