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How to Motivate Lazy People to Clean their Mess

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Living at home with a messy person is a constant struggle for those who love to clean after themselves. It’s not like you can throw them out or tell them to find another home. How do you motivate someone not to be messy even if they would rather do nothing all day?

Talk About It and Compromise

Sit down and talk about the problem calmly, because when you keep nagging the person, the effect is usually the opposite of what you intended. Ignoring the problem will also not solve it, that is why you should talk agreeing on a solution that will be the most beneficial to you both. This can be especially stressful if you’re living with a friend or a schoolmate, so be sure to make the person understand what you want from him/her without resorting to insults.

Define Your Expectations

Maybe your roommate is just lazy at organizing his/her stuff but is not necessarily dirty. The latter can mean that the person does not clean up leftover food or does not pick up his/her trash. A messy person still tries to keep his/her stuff neat, but does not make an effort to organize them properly. If the person is just messy, then there is still hope, but if he/she is dirty, then you need to emphasize why he/she needs to clean up the mess because it could cause diseases, attract vermin, and produce bad odors. A person will not change overnight just because you’re irritated, so you need to be realistic about what changes you want to see.

Define Boundaries and Respect Space

If you cannot stand the mess in your shared bedroom, then maybe it’s time to move out of the room. The simple solution sometimes is just to walk away from difficult people. But if he/she is willing to compromise, then you should also respect his/her space. Maybe the person will feel guilty once he/she finally sees the differences in how you organize your things. Don’t force yourself to clean up after their mess, because that’s not your job.

Set Up a Schedule and Point Out Examples

If the person agrees to help you with the cleaning chores, then you need to set up a schedule to divide the work. Don’t expect him/her to transform into a cleaning machine overnight, because that will not happen. Instead, inspire him/her to form a habit of cleaning until it becomes second-nature to him/her. If the inspirational talk and pictures of a clean room versus a messy room do not work, however, make your roommate watch an episode of Hoarders or other reality shows about dirty houses. Maybe they will change their mind about piling their clothes on the chairs next time.

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