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Sloppy Spouses

Sloppy is not really a lifestyle anyone aspires to. It just happens, usually while we're feeling down or while we're totally engaged with the rest of life.

Sloppy dressing, sloppy piles of unfinished business, sloppy storage of clothes and dishes awaiting washing can drive a more organized partner -- or one more attuned to physical beauty -- up the wall.

If you are that partner, please know that shaming is likely to do more harm than good. Focus on the effort:reward ratio instead.

If a clean desk delights you, the reward side of your ratio is probably higher than your mate's. If you tend to deal with each piece of mail, each note, each project, each sock right away, the effort side is surely lower, too.

To encourage your spouse, either decrease the effort level by setting up storage spaces that are handier and easier to use or increase the reward level by adding a basketball net over or a target in the storage space.

For sloppy clothing, consider gifts of clothes that fit better, go together better, look better, and share the comfort level of sweats or ancient tee shirts. Those will lower the effort level. Raise the reward level with compliments, hugs, or help removing those great-looking clothes at the end of the day.

And if you still need to pick up a few items to make the place look the way you like it, count your blessings while you do it. Think of one great thing about being loved, sharing a home, or being part of a family for each item you remove from where it does not belong.


Gifts can be an easy solution. I have a friend who is a sloppy dresser. He always has been and I'm sure he always will be. The appearance of his clothing really doesn't matter much to him. He knows he looks sloppy and he just shrugs it off. It doesn't bother his friends much (except once when a group of us couldn't get into a restaurant because he didn't meet the minimum dress code). There was an incident when he was wearing a shirt that was falling apart, with holes under the armpits, etc. A group of us decided it was too much, so we took him to the mall and bought him a new shirt of a similar style and the same color, but in brand new condition. He immediately threw the old one away, put on the new one, and we were all happy. I think this is what his wife does, too.

Thanks, Rosemary. Sounds like a great solution!

Thanks, Rosemary. Sounds like a great solution!

Thanks, Rosemary. Sounds like a great solution!

My husband and I are like Felix and Oscar. When we married, his sisters waited for the fights over sloppiness to ensue. Here is how we avoid anger (mostly):
-I put a big hamper on each floor of the house and throw everything on the floor into it at the end of the day. Then on the weekends I suggest we make love - after we both clear out the hampers together. I talk about all the fun things we will soon be enjoying while we put the stuff away and boy, does he move quickly!

-we created a "uniform" for his work and casual clothing. His pants were always falling off so I found a slim cut nice quality jean and buy that in denim and nicer work pant colors. He wears impossible to wrinkle golf shirts to work and at home in nice colors. We found a wonderful style of sneaker and shoe and buy that again and again. I buy all his clothing
- I remind myself that my husband has a heart of gold and the mess is a tiny price to pay for someone of such beautiful character. Whenever I am annoyed by the mess I replace that thought with one of gratitude that I married such a rare jewel of a human being

Great suggestions, Susan. Thanks, and congratulations to your and your husband.

This is the 4th post, of yours I actually read through.

Yet I really love this particular one, “Assume Love:
Sloppy Spouses” the best. Take care, Lillie

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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