man with book

How to have the clutter conversation

My parents rarely argued. As a result when I was older I didn’t I know what to say during a relationship verbal spar. I would draw a complete blank.

When I was a teenager I remember being in the city with my friend, returning home after a fun night out clubbing. There was a young couple in the heat of an argument. I was in awe of these two, and I found myself listening intently for a few moments to hear what they were saying.

So with that in mind, I thought I would give you some help in case you needed to have THAT conversation. You know, the one about that pile of clutter or belongings that is affecting you in a negative way that belongs to someone else in your family.

This idea for the conversation I’m going to suggest you is inspired by a podcast on good communication I recently listened to by Rob Shallenberger. This an adult to adult example.

So here’s how it might look.

  1. Sweetheart, thank you for ……(Think of something that you can show your gratitude for)
  2. I was just looking at these items here. What are your thoughts on what we can do with them?
  3. How do we want this area to look eventually?
  4. So what might we do to achieve this?
  5. How can I help? Are there any steps in the process that I would be able to do?
  6. What do we need to do with them? Are we going to recycle them or give them away or do you you think we could sell them?
  7. Ok then, when would you like to do this?
  8. That sounds great, thanks for that.
  9. Kiss kiss, smile, wink (your choice)

In the case of any aggressive answers or remarks, then Rob suggests saying “thank you for sharing your thoughts” and then clarifying what has been said.

For example,
‘So what you are saying is that you never have any time to spend decluttering?’
So are you saying that you think it should be my job?
So what you are saying is that you would really like some professional help?
Would I be correct in saying that you’re not quite ready to have a look at these yet?

Rob really stressed the importance of really listening to the person you are talking with and the idea that the conversation should be a collaborative one which aims to have a positive outcome.

He also explained that if the time is not right for this conversation then it’s about leaving it until there is a better moment.

You might acknowledge the person’s emotion by saying something like “I can see you’re quite upset about this issue so how about we talk about this another time.” This is part of a technique that is called ‘active listening.’ I will talk more about that another time.

I hope you find this useful, feel free to comment below. And let me know if you give it a whirl!

Love and blessings,


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *