How To Get The Male Gender To Organize

I received a question on my MS. Simplicity Facebook page asking for help on how to organize husbands and sons. As a married mother of three boys and being surrounded by them for the last twenty plus years I was surprised by this question. I was a messy teen girl, just ask my mom as she will tell you and she has the pictures to prove it. Frankly, you can even ask my college roommate and she will confirm my habit of having all of clothes mounded in a pile on my chair that she named “Melissa Mountain”. Happily, all but one of my sons has the natural organizing gene. I think they inherited it from their father because when it comes down to it, I create the systems for our family and he is the one that maintains them. This works really well for our family. I do not necessarily think that being organized is a gender thing. When a client hires me I come into their home and create the unique organizing system for them and their family and it is up to them to maintain it after I leave. I usually take age and ability into account for each family. I never take into account gender. But what happens is the same rules and tricks apply for all genders and all ages. It is my opinion that we are all hardwired to be organized, some of us just little less than others.


What I have found is that some of us need to have the system created and then we can maintain it, like what I did for my family and for my clients. Not all of us have the resources to hire a professional organizer to come into our home to create the systems but there are things that you can do now to get your family moving in the right direction.

1. Create a simple reward system. I am not a fan of having a complicated chore chart with check marks and stickers that make more work for mom and dad. For our family we all had a habit of kicking off our shoes in the entry of our house. We would have a shoe pile that people would trip over and it drove me crazy. So one night I gathered the family and said if I find your shoes in the entry, you owe me a chore and if you find my shoes there, I owe you a trip for ice cream. This habit of our family kicking our shoes off in the entry was changed within a few days. The only one to slip is me and my husband will come upstairs carrying my shoes and tell me that I owe him two trips for ice cream!

2. Start with one area. Don’t expect a person to change overnight and get all organized. We get overwhelmed when told “go clean your room”. But what if you said every Wednesday I would like you to gather all of your dirty laundry and take it to the laundry room. Start the focus on clothing being washed, folded and put away.

3. Walk the walk. If you create rules, you need to make sure that you are a good reflection of them as well. For example if you say no eating or drinking outside of the kitchen but you take your can of diet coke and drink it in your bedroom, don’t be surprised if you find your family doing the same thing.

4. Use math. I like giving my family and clients numbers to work with. Most people can comprehend a number. I had a client who was turning 12 and had a large stuffed animal collection that mom wanted smaller. I had the client choose her 12 favorite ones, based on her age, and we put the rest in storage. When she wanted one out that was in storage, she needed to swap one out so she always had the number 12 to work with. Or go and find me 5 toys in your room that you longer play with.

5. Set size limits. Give a basket and say whatever of your rock collection can fit in here you can keep. The child needs to then figure out what one is their favorites and get ready to part with the rest. Same could be said for a spouses old tee shirt collection, by identifying a drawer and telling them they can keep whatever can fit in the drawer. For me, it is my shoe collection. I have a limited space I am allowing myself to store my shoes. Once full, that is it…..well maybe my husband could have less shoes and I can use his space.

6. Set a timer. I use this tip all the time and if you ever had a child watch the Barney clean up song you know how well this works. I am so sorry if you know that song, as I am certain it will now be stuck in your head for the day. The point of the song was to clean while singing the song. When the song was over so was the cleaning. Nobody likes being told to go clean your room and don’t come out until you are done. What happens is the whole day is spent in the room and you realize what cool stuff you have and zero cleaning happens. But if you spend just a few minutes at a time, it makes for an seemingly large task be much smaller.

7. Remove items. Most of the time organizing and cleaning a space is too overwhelming because there is simply too much stuff. Start to remove items you don’t love or use. Make room for what you do love and it will be much easier to see your favorite books lined up on a bookcase and not piled up on the floor around the overstuffed bookcase.

8. Don’t nag. Yes we know we need to clean our room, you don’t need to tell us every minute. The chances are that we are not lazy, we simply don’t know what to do with our stuff {this is the teen girl in me speaking here}. Go back to tip one start going through each of the tips and see if those work better than nagging. Teach your family how to organize and you won’t have to nag, at least not as much.

So male or female, young or old we all want to be more organized, some of us just need more help and guidance. Make it fun and create systems that work for all members of your family. It sometimes takes some time to get it all working the way you want it. Remember, you can always call in reinforcements for help!


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


· Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately; you can email her at

· For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity Facebook business page here.

· Order featured Clever Container organizing supplies here, consultant ID #18.

1 Response

  1. Miki

    I often use a timer for myself as a “competition” to see if I can get done what needs doing before the timer hits zero. It’s rare that the timer wins!

Comments are closed.