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Need to de-clutter. May be evicted... *pics added post #85*

post #1 of 181
Thread Starter 
So, I have never been the best housekeeper. Now that I am a single mama of a 2.5 year old, I just started working nearly full time (and it will be full time starting in a week) I just can't find the time to keep everything clean and tidy. My house isn't packed to the rafters, but there are always dishes in the sink, the spare bedroom that will eventually be DS's was pretty severely cluttered and just used as storage, and I haven't cleaned my bathroom or mopped my floors in longer than I care to admit.

Anyway, my landlord came to do an inspection last week and I just received a notice in my mail that if things aren't cleaned up in a week in a half (11/3) then I will be facing eviction. They are coming to do another inspection and it has to have all of the things on their list completed by that time. I am completely freaking out....

Last night I stayed up until midnight cleaning out the spare bedroom, hanging things on the walls, and bagging up too-small clothing of DS's, and outdated clothing of mine that were just sitting in piles and boxes in there. I am going to donate all of it on Monday at the Salvation Army. That room is done, and looks like a kid's room, but I am just so completely freaking out about the rest of it. I didn't really sleep last night, I am completely exhausted and really need to be napping right now while DS is napping, but I just can't stop freaking out.

I need to do the following:

1. Move three bookcases (two large, one small) somewhere out of the way. They are currently on a stair landing, which my landlord initially said was fine, as it doesn't block the stairs at all, but now they say it needs to be clear.

2. Sweep and mop the entire house (doable, but only after all of the other cleaning is done)

3. Clean up a 5 gallon laundry detergent spill in the basement.

4. Clean the bathroom.

5. Make sure both bedrooms are neat and tidy when the inspection happens.

I also want to make sure the following is done when they come as well:

Clean litter boxes for the cat
Laundry put away or in laundry bags
Dishes done and put away
Toys picked up and put away.

I just can't see how I am going to get it all done in the next week and a half. I am so insanely tired, I have a college class for 9 hours tomorrow, am working nearly 35 hours next week, and although I have friends who have said they will help, they all will be bringing their own toddlers, and they all work and have homes of their own that need to be kept up.

How on earth did I get to be an adult and just not figure out a system for keeping my living space clean????
post #2 of 181
You are gonna have to get it done. Otherwise you'll be packing and moving which would be an even bigger job. Do you have any family or friends who can help out or watch your child all day on Sunday or something? I know this stinks and is overwhelming. One foot in front of the other. I can bet when you are done you will never let it get like that again. And you will feel a whole lot lighter knowing things are neat and tidy. I would go thru the bookshelves and get rid of as many as possible before you move anything. Maybe you will get rid of one of the shelves even. Is there a 800 got junk or something near you? at this point decluttering and basic cleaning have to become priority. And really Im sure you'd like it to be clean, a busy life with a child just kinda throws everything else in the back seat.
post #3 of 181
Oops just saw about the friends helping. let them take ur dtr to their house instead.
post #4 of 181
If several friends are willing o help but also need to bring their kiddos can they take shifts between helping clean and watching kiddos? Yes you will be insanely tired until you get it done, but it's waay better than moving. One foot in front of the other and break it all down into jobs so that you work on getting pieces done. You've already got that one room done - hurrah! Can you and your kiddo do the bathroom? 2.5 yos love to help and carry and "clean" with a rag

Keep us updated
post #5 of 181
Don't panic, you can do this. And really, you've gotten a great start and you have a plan. Deep breaths! I'd start w/ the bathrooms, b/c they're small so you'll get quick gratification.Then do the dishes. Then clean the basement mess. That's 3 hrs, tops. You have a week--give yourself a major task a day plus 15 minutes of decluttering (walk around w/ a trash bag and fill it).

If I were you, I'd be throwing stuff away, not donating (other than the stuff already boxed up)--it sounds like you're in crisis mode. Plus the landlord finding boxes of stuff destined for Goodwill is only slightly better, plus it'll bug you (just one more thing to accomplish). Get rid of stuff now--it's sucking your energy. I'd try to throw away at least a bag a day. And I hate paper plates and plastic utensils, for many reasons, but if I were in your shoes, I think I'd go to disposable for awhile, at least until you get things under control.

Check out www.flylady.com for her "Crisis Cleaning" and tips.

Don't panic. You can do it, one baby step at a time. Good luck!!!
post #6 of 181
Oh, I wish I lived nearby so I could help too!

Is it possible to do what was mentioned on another thread the other day... get a BUNCH of identical boxes, put everything into them, and stack them neatly in one corner/area of your house without sorting anything? Then when everything is out of sight CLEAN the rest of the house to make it tidy, and then go through the boxes one by one as you get the chance? Does that sound feasible?
post #7 of 181
Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
Check out www.flylady.com for her "Crisis Cleaning" and tips. Don't panic. You can do it, one baby step at a time. Good luck!!!
I was going to recommend Flylady, as well. She will help you to not only get your home clean, but to keep it clean. She's amazing, truly.

Also, this thread http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1140161 helps some of us not to feel overwhelmed by tasks. We break tasks down to what can be accomplished in 15 minutes and generally are amazed by our productivity. Sometimes completing a job requires several 15 minute sessions. But you'll see the progress and these sessions work. Maybe that will help you to not feel so overwhelmed by the BIGNESS of it all. Break it down. Baby steps.

Good luck to you. I hope to see you on the 15 minute sessions of cleaning thread. We also use this thread for organizing, decluttering, completing administrative tasks, etc.

And finally, congratulations on cleaning the spare room. My guess is that was the biggest task for you to tackle. Good job! Remember that you can do this.
post #8 of 181
Don't beat yourself up. It's hard being a single mama.

I don't have much original to add, but

1) I definitely agree with eating off paper plates and cups and using plastic utensils for a while. I did this when I had a baby on my own while my husband was deployed and it was a lifesaver. Microwavable soups and sandwiches are great too. It's only for a few weeks.

2) Childcare would definitely be the biggest help if they are willing to take your daughter while you work.

3) Definitely trash anything you won't need and don't worry about donating. You need to get it out ASAP.

4) Use baskets to scoop up the small cluttery stuff. It looks neat, will clear surfaces for cleaning, and you can go through it later.
post #9 of 181
You have got some really good advice here. You can do it Mama I know you can! Also keep in mind that although you have the crazy pressure to get this done for the landlord right now, in the end you will have a more comfortable home for you and your LO. It will pay off for you! Post clean up your life will be more organized and decluttered which will give you back time in the long run!
post #10 of 181
Is this an actual fire hazard/ code violation? If the landlord just doesn't like the way it looks, I'd think you can't legally be evicted for it. On Monday, put in a call to a tenants' rights group in your area and find out what you can.
post #11 of 181
I think things will be a *little* easier once you complete the first round - donating outgrown clothing and some of the older or less played with toys. Also, 2.5 years old means your housekeeping will get easier over time, as he can be taught to put back one toy before getting out the next.

Depending on where you live, you can put the bookshelves by the curb and someone will pick them up. Of course that does not fix the problem of what to do with the books I am a huge fan of downsizing books, as you will find some hidden treasures in what you keep.

If you don't have a dumpster at your place, you can have a goal of dropping one bag of trash at your work dumpster every day for the next week ... that will help make the clutter less in your house.

You will be amazed at what a motivated friend can do, if they like to clean. With some friends and some paper plate eating, you will be OK
post #12 of 181
Sometimes my house totally falls apart like this. After we're really busy, sick, or whatever the excuse.

I tackle it by making a list. One major thing a day--bathrooms one day a week, bedrooms one day a week, living room one day a week, etc. Everyday do a general pick-up/declutter for 15-30 minutes.

If I were you I would start with decluttering and throwing away/donating everything in the way. Move those bookshelves.

Next day do your bedroom(s) and then dust and vacuum them. Every night after that make sure you gather up all dirty laundry and put it in baskets before you go to bed. Also run through the house and quickly gather up toys before bed every night.

Then the next day deep clean the bathrooms. Get something like lysol wipes. (I know, not natural but convenient when you're busy.) Every morning or evening just grab a couple and wipe down your counter, and do the toilet and edges of the bathtub as needed to keep it nice looking until your next deep cleaning day.

Dedicate the following day to vacuuming the entire house and mopping right after.

Work on your basement in any spare time, or maybe assign some friends the task of cleaning up that spill down there?

It may mean some late nights, but I think you can get it all done if you just spend a few hours (at most!) every night before bed doing one task. Then just make yourself a daily task list and a weekly cleaning schedule and hang it on the fridge so you can keep up.
post #13 of 181
hows it going thus far?
post #14 of 181
Thread Starter 
Well, yesterday I got the bedroom completely done. It was absolutely the biggest task out of the list. I also bought kitty litter to put on the laundry soap to soak it up. It ended up taking nearly 6 hours to clean the bedroom, but it looks really nice in there now. I even hung a quilt on one wall, and a picture on another to make it actually look nice, not just "not messy". I also was in a sleep deprived haze at the time, but it does look really nice.

Today, I had a good friend come over and organize one cupboard in my kitchen. It had a ton of little dishes and lids just tossed in and falling out whenever I opened the cupboard. She stacked everything really neatly, threw out/recycled things I didn't need, and made sure everything had a lid that was in there.

While she did that, I cleaned the floor, sink, toilet, mirrors, and walls in the bathroom. I didn't get to the shower/tub yet, but it is at least 1/2 way clean. Maybe more like 3/4. I also cleaned off my kitchen table (and we sat down and had dinner! ) I cleaned up a ton of sewing fabric scraps on the floor of the kitchen, and put them all in the basement with my other craft projects. I only left a couple of things that I want to work on stacked in a very small neat pile next to the sewing machine on the sewing table (it lives in the kitchen for now). I also picked up all of DS's toys and had him help me to put them where they go in baskets all stacked very neatly on the shelves along the wall. I also picked up all of the dirty laundry and put it in laundry bags so I can schlep it all to the laundromat one day next week.

I still need to weed out the books, move the bookcases into the basement, mop the floors, clean the shower/tub, move the food pantry into the basement, clean up the kitty litter in the basement that I poured onto the laundry soap spill, and put away the mountain of clean laundry in my room. It is a lot more, but I am feeling like I can get there.

I also want to clean out the fridge, organize two more cupboards that are a disaster zone, and weed through DS's clothing to get rid of the stuff that is too small.

For way down the road, I want to organize the basement and get rid of all of it. I do not want anything stored down there so that when I finally move out of here, I won't have a ton of junk to lug to my next place. My apartment has four closets. I really feel like I shouldn't need any more storage space than that, really. I have so much in the basement and it really is just not ok with me. I feel so weighed down by my clutter and junk.

I so wish I had a place to throw things. It is so hard. I live in an apartment complex that gives each tenant a small garbage can that we bring to the curb every Friday. There are no dumpsters, so once the can if filled, there is nowhere else for garbage to go. I filled mine yesterday, and it is overflowing. There is no dumpster where I work, so I can't bring anything there either. I am bringing five bags (so far) to the Salvation Army on Monday, but I am so stumped on what to do with the garbage. I also have a TON of recycling too. My bin is absolutely overflowing, and again, they don't come until next Friday. I might have to store recycling and garbage in the basement until then. Ick.....

ETA: Just wanted to add that I am definitely on the 15 minute plan! I set my timer and did so many 15 minute chunks today. I am going to do at least one more tomorrow morning before heading to school for the day, and at least 3 or 4 more tomorrow evening after dinner when DS and I get home. I think I might try to get the shower cleaned in the morning and then put away the laundry when I get home. Or maybe scrape up the kitty litter in the basement. I need to do that before the cat thinks it is his new litter box.
post #15 of 181
good job!! you got so much done already! keep it up.
post #16 of 181
Sounds like you have made so much progress!
Do you have a car? You could take all your extra bags of garbage to the dump.
post #17 of 181
You sound so much less overwhelmed. Great job!
post #18 of 181
Sounds like your making a lot of progress! Not that I'm suggesting anything illegal but our alley way has lots and lots of open big blue dumpsters and its not uncommon for people to drive by and throw there trash in then take off. Just an observation from my own alley
post #19 of 181
Wow. I am so impressed. I am not a single mama, not in school, not working, and my home sounds like a bigger mess than yours.
And you totally got on it! Congratulations and keep up the great work!
post #20 of 181
Great job!

I will tell you what I do when I have a lot of trash and I can't make it to the dump. It isn't exactly legal, so use your best judgement.

I take like 5 or 6 bags, and then go to our neighborhood shopping center, and look for trash cans. They usually have this lid on them with a small hole for throwing away little stuff--but I have found that you can easily lift up the metal lid and then it is just a regular "wide mouth" can. I will put one bag in each can--VERY QUICKLY. That way if I get caught, it is just one bag, you know? I then drive down a few stores and do the same thing again.

It proably isn't my brightest trick, but sometimes desperate meausures are needed.
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › Need to de-clutter. May be evicted... *pics added post #85*