Figen Genco

E-mail Figen


Dear Figen, I am a mother of three boys of ages 14, 12 and 10.My husband owns his own business. When he comes home, he drops whatever work related paper is in is hands on the kitchen counter. I have to deal with this mess he creates all around on the counter, kitchen table and wherever he finds an empty spot while he is walking into the house. He leaves them there until he gets to them, a week sometimes a month later. Especially the magazines that he never finds time to read and he can not part with, sit around forever until I get fed up and put them in the basement with his other junk. My sons follow his example.The moment they walk in the house, their stuff is allover the place. I am tired of picking after them. I constantly tell them to put their things away and clean up their rooms, but I end up doing it myself every time because all they do is make piles and hide them in their closets or under their beds. My husband’s stuff is scattered in our bedroom, as well. There isn’t a single day without a laundry basket sitting around somewhere in the house. I feel like my only reason to be on this earth is to put their stuff away. Everyday I start all over again, running from room to room accomplishing nothing. Please help. Barbara- Richboro

Dear Barbara,

You are not alone. Eight out of ten mothers would tell you very similar stories if you ask. When you visit their homes, you will not see what you describe just like they wouldn’t see it in yours. Because they do exactly what you do before visitors come; hide the mess!

Getting your family to take responsibility in house chores, or at least for their own belongings starts with deciding on easy, practical and logical systems that they would follow. If you keep creating homes for things that they have no idea about, you will end up putting things away yourself all the time. In common areas, the homes created for belongings should make sense to everyone and should be accessible for everyone. Family members also need to be taught how to use the systems. What you create might seem easy and logical to you however it might not make any sense to them. Young children think different than teenagers and adults, and men think different than women. If you think, placing a hook, shelf or container somewhere shouldn’t be considered something that requires a family decision, you are WRONG. If the hooks you hung are not being used for the book bags and coats which still end up on top of the washing machine on the laundry room floor and on kitchen chairs, it means it irritates you everyday. And you complain about it everyday. So, it is important enough to talk as a group and come up with a solution which everybody agrees on. If you come up with your own systems that nobody cares for, you will end up being the only one who uses them.

Here are some points to consider:

  • DON'T COMPLAIN: “ I have to do everything around here” is a factual statement,
  • which doesn’t mean much, especially to male gender. You might know what it means,but they don’t. Tell exactly what you want them to do; “Hang your coats in the closet”
  • HAVE A FAMILY MEETING: Don’t declare one, ask when would be a good time for
  • everyone to meet. Mark the date and time on the calendar, making sure everyone understands.
  • HAVE AN AGENDA: Prepare an agenda of what it is going to be talked at the meeting
  • so that they know beforehand.
  • EQUAL TIME: Give everyone a chance to express themselves and get suggestions from them. When kids are involved in decision, they follow what they agreed upon.
  • SCHEDULE A DAY: Agree on a date to organize one common area of the house
  • altogether. Later on you can decide on other dates for other areas.
  • ASSIGN TASKS: Split tasks and make sure everyone understand their responsibilities.
  • CONFIRM CONSEQUENCES: Decide on what happens if someone doesn’t follow the system.
  • CELEBRATE TOGETHER: Give yourselves awards by doing something fun all together
  • when you accomplish one project.

Figen Genco, BA.
Organizing/Feng Shui/EFT
215 354 0275

If you would like to republish my article electronically or in print, please do so by including full credentials at the bottom of the page, whether the article is used in its entirety or it is quoted. Thank you!

If you need an article on a subject that is not listed here, please contact me