Blame Vs. Responsibility

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” John Burroughs


When I walk into a client’s home or office I can tell if we are going to be successful by if the client is taking responsibility or if they pass blame onto others. Here are some examples of blame that I have seen:

  • My husband is such a slob.
  • My kids never put their toys away.
  • My mom would be made at me if I got rid of that item.
  • My kids will miss that if I get rid of that.
  • My husband is never home to help me.
  • I really am an organized person but I can’t keep my house organized because because nobody in my house will keep it organized.

The attitude that works best is when you come with the willingness to take responsibility. If you continue to blame those around you, there will be a small chance of you getting organized. Here are some things that can work.

  • Have a set time in the family calender that everyone will be available to organize or reorganize once the systems are in place.
  • Give kids responsibility and don’t do it for them. Share with them your expectations and have a reward such as family movie night once everything is organized or put away.
  • Set a timer and everyone take part in the organizing process for the set allotted time.
  • Use systems that work for each family member. Don’t make something so difficult for the 4 year old that they get frustrated and won’t help. If you want your child to hang their coat and back pack up, install a hook that is low enough for the child to do it themselves.
  • Want a place for all of the school papers to go. Place a basket where only papers for school go.
  • Want your spouse to stop dropping his keys in wallet on the kitchen table every day. Put a basket that is just for him and place it in a convenient spot.
  • Lead by example. If you want everyone to hand up their coats when they walk in the door, then you should as well.
  • Set limits on how much stuff can be kept. Have a spouse that has every t-shirt they have ever been given. Limit it to a few of the favorites and see if some can be donated.
  • Make sure your own sentimental value isn’t getting in the way. Sometimes we hold onto things because we think there is a special memory attached to it. Only to find out later that the memory is ours and not the person who the object belongs to.
  • Learn to let go on being perfect. Your home is not going to look like the cover of a magazine. Realize that real people live in your house. Be OK with certain areas being a little messy. The areas to focus on keeping neat and tidy are the guest bathroom, entry way and the kitchen. If you were to have company, these are the areas that will be commonly seen by your guests.



To Joyful, Simplified Living,




MS. Simplicity




MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at