Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Man Embarrassed That Family Can't Swim

DEAR HARRIETTE: My house is a mess, and I know that I need help getting it organized. My husband helps a little to clean up, but I mean only a little. I am a bit of a hoarder, and he is a collector. Ever since my husband put his foot down that we can’t have a cleaning service, the house has gotten way messier. I am so embarrassed, and I know that I won’t be able to get it clean and tidy without help. I also don’t want to fight with my husband. How can I get him to seriously help me clean or allow a cleaning service back into the house? -- Messed Up, Kansas City, Missouri

DEAR MESSED UP: People who are not tidy often need help getting to a baseline of tidiness. Maybe what you can do is convince your husband to allow a cleaning service to come in and help you to clear out the clutter, make tough decisions about things to throw away and help you establish a level of order that you can maintain. This could be your key to getting a fresh start. You may also want to talk to him about having a once-a-month service to come in and help you keep your place in order. This is least invasive, which may help you to reclaim your home.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)