When working with your spouse or significant other in your shared living space, remember that you both have a vested interest in the end result though you may approach the process from two very different angles. Cut the other person a little slack if he gets antsy when discussing ways to pare down his themed tie collection, or when the two of you have opposite approaches to naming and ordering your shared electronic files. The key is compromise. Give a little here and there and you will both feel as though your work together was successful.
1. When sorting through a stack of items and deciding whether or not to keep them, the first person works alone sorting into piles of KEEP FOR SURE, MAYBE KEEP, AND TOSS.
2. Subsequently, the second person goes through the stack again, also alone, re-sorting into his own three piles.
3. Review this second sort together and implement what you’ve decided. This allows both of you to feel as though you had your say in the process without the kind of friction that can sometimes occur when you’re working through it live. Each of you will get to see what the other has chosen, and hopefully you will feel as though you have come to a consensus decision.
1. In the case of the closet installation, understand what needs to be accomplished and what time you have to accomplish it in. If the goal is to get the closet installed and fully functional, either commit to being there until it’s done or make it clear that you have two hours to devote to the project but then need to be on your way.
2. Take direction well. If your pal asks to you go and fetch the drill: fetch.
3. Be patient. Recognize that he may not be a drill master, but unless he asks for your help let him figure it out on his own. And in the meantime, don’t drop on his head the shelf that he’s trying to screw down.
1. Have a very clear understanding of what the goals of the project are. I recently worked with my mom to put on a yard sale. She determined that the primary goal was to divest herself of things she no longer needed in order to lighten the load once she decided to move from the house she is in now, without worrying about how much money was raised.
2. Talk through the process. Mom and I sketched out a timeline of when we would price and move items, how we would advertise, and what were our individual to-do’s in the weeks and days before the sale.
3. Be kind. Recognize that you’re under stress and one or the other of you (hopefully not at the same time!) may buckle. It’s just temporary, though, and remember that you’ll get through this challenge and come out on the other side.