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Depressed over messy, cluttered, ugly house!! Help?

post #1 of 255
Thread Starter 
I am very depressed over my ugly, yucky, messy, cluttered, and too small for us house. We are trying to move, just can't find a place.

Our house is small, only two bedrooms, one bathroom, NO laundry room (the washer and dryer are in my small kitchen.

We have 3 kids. I have one bedroom for my kindergardner, and my toddler and infant are in the other room, Dh and I sleep in the living room, we have a couch in the living room, along with a bed (but it kinda goes with the living room okay) Actually the baby, and toddler are still with ME sleeping in the living room for now.

So our house is always messy, probably from being so small. Our kitchen is always messy. The dishes are always clean, but there is stuff all over our counters, clothes piled up on our dryer (remember there in my kitchen too, washer, dryer)

Our living room is the WORST! It stays sooo cluttered. Toys that my toddler throws everywhere, books, sippy cups, and everything.

I just don't know what to do. In order for my home to be just acceptable Id have to be on my feet 24/7. No way Id ever get it immaculate.

It makes me so depressed. It's the sourse of all my worrys.

What can I do?
post #2 of 255
No advice but I can commiserate.
post #3 of 255
Get rid of everything you don't *love*. Really makes a huge difference. If its broken toss it. Don't hold out for a garage sale and let go of recycle guilt just get rid of items that clutter your home. If you are unsure toss it. Clutter is negative energy start tossing things and you'll feel better. Soon you will see ways to organize what you really use and love.

post #4 of 255
I was just feeling like that...I actually will ask my Mom to take the girls so I cam get real cleaning done. Just did that over the weekend and I feel so much better.
and the girls seem to be more agreeable when things are picked up. but I totally relate to how you are feeling
post #5 of 255
Start packing, if you start putting away and boxing up everything you don't need in the next 3 months, six months you will have more 'room'. Keep a list of what is where but you will also feel like you are doing 'something' to get where you want to go.
post #6 of 255
Hugs mama, our house is bigger than that but too small all the same.
I just keep decluttering a little at a time and it seems to help.
We also do a clean up of all toys every night and I have gotten rid of 3 large totes of toys just since Christmas which has seemed to hlep a lot!
Also some sort of organizational thing for the toys will help.
I have a laundry room persay, but it is also the bathroom and it is small, so our dirty laundry piles up in the dining room. I am starting to get better about just doing a small load every day so that I can stay ahead of it rather than letting it pile up.
post #7 of 255
Firstly, you will never get your house clean and in order until you are ready to live that way. It doesn't sound like you are, because you are still making excuses. There is no excuse for living in a disaster, I know this, because I lived in one for 10 years. You couldn't see the floor, or the counters, or even the beds. My heart would race and I would have to fight back vomiting whenever someone would knock on the door, so scared was I that someone would see how we lived.
I came to the realization that we couldn't live this way anymore after I stayed out of the country for a month and a half. I walked in the door after a 24 hour flight with two small children, jet lagged, tired, and suffering from a serious head cold, to my disasterous house. I spent all day cleaning it, and tried to figure out how I could have let this continue for so long. (I was seriously angry that day, and I got angrier with every passing minute)
I have 4 children and a very hairy dog, so we're talking some serious mess. I came to some conclusions that day. I discovered that I AM a lazy person, much as I resented my husband repeatedly telling me so. I also realized that it doesn't matter what size the house is, I've lived in 500 sq feet and 2000 sq feet, and the mess is just bigger when the house is bigger. It doesn't matter how many kids you have, the house was just as messy with one as it was with four. I also realized that it was terribly unfair of me to expect my children to live like this.
My house is clean now. I sweep the wood and tile and vacuum the carpets every day, and vacuum & mop the wood and tile once a week. Every two hours or so I walk through the house and put away everything thats on the floor, and make sure that nothing's out of place. Every evening I do the sweeping/vacuuming, and clean the kitchen. My evening routine takes about an hour. I change sheets once a week, on all four beds, and do laundry most days, but never on the weekend. I spend a total of maybe 2 hours a day on house work, but I always used to think that I would spend all day cleaning if I wanted to live in a clean house. Just another excuse.
I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to get up in the morning to a clean house, and make coffee and sit down at the computer with NO GUILT!! I used to always feel guilty because I wasn't cleaning. Not anymore. I have MORE time to spend with the kids, because I"m not wallowing in guilt and depression. When someone knocks on the door, I open it wide and invite them in, I actually enjoy my life now. It's the greatest gift I've ever received, and I had to give it to myself. I am free to enjoy my children, to play, to walk, to do WHATEVER I WANT TO DO! All because I am no longer shackled to the house by guilt.
Please do not think that I am judging you in anyway, because I am not. I cannot imagine a worse mess than the one I forced my family to live in for 10 years. It took a seriously life-changing experience for me to reach these conclusions, and now, I don't know how we could have lived like that for a day, much less 10 years.

post #8 of 255
So if you are lazy...as I am. How did you get that first wind to really get stuff done. I mean, I realize the upkeep won't take that much if you stay with it, but how do you get it cleaned up in the first place. Now is not a good time for me because I'm pg. and my back is constantly hurting me. I can do more than I do though, but it seems so futile because while I'm cleaning one room another is being destroyed. I will admit I'm lazy. I do a lot (like homeschool, run a home day care take my kids all over the place) so I have plenty of excuses and can easily point out that I'm not lazy, but the truth is I am....I do those things because I want to, but when it comes to cooking and cleaning....I don't. I have started working on the clutter, but have a long way to go. But how do you start? I mean every room in my house needs a good scrub, purge and most need paint! (I got even more than normal behind on the cleaning while I had my 4 months of morning sickness and now it is just overwhelming.

Please note, I agree with everything you said, I'm not trying to make excuses, I just need to know what to do....I've tried flylady by the way and I love her and it has helped me some, but i'm having trouble getting back on the horse.

post #9 of 255
You sound a bit like the perfectionist that I am. You don't have to paint your house for it to be clean! I also have a tendency to get sidetracked, and get into the deep cleaning, can we say, tilt the stove top and clean between the burners and the oven anyone??? So really, I just got mad at myself. Mad that I had made my dh live in that mess, when he's a clean freak, mad that I had made my kids live in it, even though they didn't know any better, and mad that I had let myself believe that I couldn't do it. And then I got to work. One contractor bag for garbage and one for second-hand. I took no breaks, except to feed the kids, and started with the room I hate cleaning the most. Because once it was done, I knew I would feel like I could do anything. You don't need to wash cabinets, walls, cupboard shelves or windows. Ignore the cobwebs, don't move the furniture to clean under it. Just start with the basics. Imagine that you are someone else walking into your house and looking around. What will you notice? Clean counters, with only what should be there, floors picked up, bathrooms reasonably clean, but again, no deep cleaning. Deep cleaning will come later, when you are confident in your routine. I found that as I kept the house clean and expanded into the other areas that I didn't finish the first day (back porch, laundry room and kids rooms) I wanted to get it cleaner. So I started to tackle dust and cobwebs a little bit at a time. And really, its better to do the initial phase all at once than a little bit at a time. You tend to get rid of more when you get in the groove. And I know the cleaning one room/other being destroyed thing, it always used to happen to me, but doing the major stuff all at once will eliminate that. What you're aiming for is a surface clean. Things put away, things you don't have room for tossed, floors vacuumed and kitchen reasonably clean. You can expand from there as you go. (Oh yes, and all my bags went straight to the back porch when they were full, to be dealt with another day : There were four second hand bags and 8 garbage, see, told you it was bad!) And whether you're pg or not, there's NEVER a good time! The biggest thing is don't take breaks, and don't get sidetracked into scrubbing the grout (or anything else) with a toothbrush. (or any other deep cleaning)
post #10 of 255
Feel free to pm me, there are a few things I could tell you that might help that I don't want to put on the boards.
post #11 of 255
Thread Starter 


Saw your post about a few things you didn't want to put on the board that could help? Thanks!
post #12 of 255
Calicokatt, that's amazing! Your story is an inspiration .
post #13 of 255
I do Flylady. I grew up in a pig sty and left to my own devices, it threatens to get back to that. I don't want my kids to grow up in the kind of environment I grew up in but even more so, *I* don't want to live like that ever again. At times (like when I'm struggling with depression issues) it gets bad but thankfully my dh (despite two jobs) steps in a lot and it never gets as awful as what I grew up in.

For me it's not about lazy. Well, maybe I am, I don't know, But for me it's about being overwhelmed. I know Flylady isn't for everyone but her "you can do anything for 15 minutes" thing really helps me. I set the timer a lot. And I follow her advice to pick a spot and stick to it instead of fluttering all over the house randomly picking up stuff (Which I totally catch myself doing). I'm currently reading the S.H.E. books that inspired Flylady. They are funny and inspirational and I'm getting a lot out of them

I also follow her advice to do things half *$$ed She preaches against perfectionism. Like Calicocatt said, some of us have a tendency to get involved in doing things "right" which means it takes 3 hours to clean an oven and then we're too tired and overwhelmed to do anything else. Definitely don't do that Flylady suggests things like wiping down the shower with a facecloth and some shampoo while you are in there instead of letting it get to the point where you have to scrub for 45 minutes. Or wiping down a counter with plain water while waiting for a kitchen timer instead of saying you don't have time to do it right so why bother.

Like Calicocatt, I also used to think you had to clean "all day" to have things neat and would sniff at people with neat houses thinking they never spent time with their kids. Now I see people saying that and I can't get too ticked off because I know where they are and I've been there, yk? Like Calicocatt said. I walk through the house on a regular basis and clean up, so maybe that is "cleaning all day" but if I time it (and yes, at times I have) it only takes a few minutes each time. For example, the other day the backroom was seriously trashed so I told the kids it needed a "five minute room rescue". So we set the timer for 5 minutes to pick up. I told the kids when the timer went off, we'd stop, done or not (that's a Flylady thing too). I thought for sure we'd end up with a mess but figured that it would at least be a bit cleaner than when we started. Would you believe that we were done before the timer rang? So I vacuumed really fast

A big thing for me is also having "a place for everything". Now when we pick up, even the three year old knows a dinosaur goes in the dinosaur bin, a stuffed animal goes in the stuffed animal cradle, etc. It saves a lot of time and mental effort not having to sit there and stare at something and wonder where it goes. If something doesn't have a place then I have to think - is it important enough to *make* a place for it? If the answer is no, then don't keep it. We do have one miscellaneous (sp? ) bin right now and when it gets too full I go through it and find out why.

We've had the house sparkling (at least on the surface) many times before. My dh would bust his butt cleaning up for a kid's party. It would take days and lots of stress and finally the place would be nice. And then, slowly, it would revert to messy again. Having routines and a cleaning schedule written down really help me in that regard. The longest I clean at one time is one hour, but most days it's only 15 or 30 minutes at a time (but at least two or three sessions).

I also can't stress enough to get your kids involved. Once they are toddling you can hand them a rag or a spray bottle and make cleaning fun Yes, you will still be doing pretty much all the work and they'll just be playing but they get to spend time with you and they are learning life skills It's partly personality though. My 3 year old picks up much better than my 7. Both kids enjoy dusting and wiping though.

A friend of mine was a big inspiration for me. I noticed when we went to playdates at her house (when our kids were younger and we were in the same room with them most of the time) she would clean up the toys after they played. The kids would play with dress up and then wander to another room to play dolls, so my friend would clean up the dress up (uh, I'd help ). It would take her all of 60 seconds to put them away and we'd continue talking all the time. I thought it was very different from how I did things at home. I'd let the kids trash the place all day and then at the end of the day it was, of course, an unmanageable mess that would take a long time to clean (if I even bothered). The other day, reading the S.H.E. book there was a quote where they asked a "Born Organized" friend how she did it. She pointed to a row of used tea bags on the counter and told them "What you do is make the cup of tea and then you THROW THE BAG AWAY!" (yes, that's a quote, - I typed it out for inspiration). My whole rambling point is, if you do it little bit by little bit, and clean as you go, then it's much easier to do and much easier to maintain.

post #14 of 255
post #15 of 255
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
I also follow her advice to do things half *$$ed She preaches against perfectionism. Like Calicocatt said, some of us have a tendency to get involved in doing things "right" which means it takes 3 hours to clean an oven and then we're too tired and overwhelmed to do anything else. Definitely don't do that
Someone famous said "if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly." I say that to myself a lot. My dh doesn't understand since he heard the opposite growing up but it really makes a difference if it is a matter of doing it well or not at all.
post #16 of 255
I completely agree with some of the PPs about cleaning with a timer. I am also a failed Flybaby, but I did keep that part. For example, after dinner when I'm tired and headachy and DS is cranky (and DH is at sea) I hate the thought of cleaning up the kitchen. But I also hate to know it is there over night, getting grosser. I tell myself that I can spend 15 minutes on it and I set my timer. Most of the time I get it done before the 15 minutes is up and have time to sweep up the mess under the table too, then I feel a lot better knowing it is done.

By default I am very lazy, though. An object at rest. DH and I, left to our own devices, would live in a pig sty but I don't want DS to think that is normal. My house is decent right now, but mainly because I busted my butt to get it that way before my mom came to stay this week. Now if I can just keep it that way then I'll be happy.
post #17 of 255
Originally Posted by 4evermom
Someone famous said "if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly." I say that to myself a lot. My dh doesn't understand since he heard the opposite growing up but it really makes a difference if it is a matter of doing it well or not at all.
One of my copied and pasted Flylady quotes is "Anything worth doing is worth doing WRONG!" Which Flylady got from her dh which *he* got from a school teacher

But yeah, some of us get caught up in "oh, when I have the time to do it right, I'll do it." And then the time to do it right never comes so we don't do it because there's always something in our way of the time being "perfect". If she did nothing else, Flylady helped me tons just by getting it in my head that it's ok to do something slap hazardly just to get it DONE. Cleaning something imperfectly for 15 minutes is going to look a lot nicer than letting it get worse and worse while you wait for the perfect time to do it.

Heh, not that my house is perfect, I have a ways to go, but overall, I am SO happy with it right now. It's SO far from what it was when I had PPD or what I lived in as a kid. I love it And it's just getting better every day, but yeah, there are still spots we're working on.
post #18 of 255
Originally Posted by ShannonCC
Cleaning something imperfectly for 15 minutes is going to look a lot nicer than letting it get worse and worse while you wait for the perfect time to do it.
I need to get this tattooed somewhere, I think!

post #19 of 255
One of the most valuable things I've heard lately is that we teach people how to treat us. And I think we teach our children how to treat their environment.

1) If you don't want to see sippy cups scattered about the house, make the children have their drink at the kitchen table.

2) If you don't want toys scattered about, choose one room as the "playroom" and make sure the toys don't get spread out all over the house by setting a boundary. Have many fewer toys to begin with and avoid more than one set of toys with a billion pieces.

3) Make the kitchen work for you, not the other way around. Make the counters serve you for food prep, storage, washing up, whatever YOU the Queen decide you need. It's your queendom! Build shelves over the laundry area if necessary. Stock up on fewer pantry items (or at least clean out the things you don't eat and donate it to a food bank) and free up some shelf space for the appliances sitting on counters or whatever is in your way.

The idea of a "place for everything" is PRIMO. Don't throw things on top of the fridge - put two baskets or tubs up there and designate (and label) it as storage for kitchen linens and paper products or whatever works for you. Give the kids the pots and pans to play with while you attack one cabinet. Lock them into the kitchen with you so they don't make a mess elsewhere while you are cleaning in the kitchen. And have a snack ready for when they get bored with the pots.

4) Have a plan for the day: I can't say I really let my children run around much even in the house. I played with them, they helped me with the work or played nearby when I was busy so I could keep my eye on them. That way I simply didn't walk into a disaster elsewhere. And I taught them to put one thing away before they took out the next. I knew they liked a couple of TV shows on Nick Jr. Then we went to the park (and maybe ran an errand), then it was lunch and nap, then snack, playtime in the play area, maybe another TV show (after cleaning up the toys), and they did art at the kitchen table while I made dinner. TV time was my best time for laundry or paying bills or just plain cuddling with the children. I read to the children every night and sang to them before lights out. It was very orderly in retrospect (this was 18 years ago).

One thing I recommend: Don't buy every toy that mimics an adult's world. My children had a "playing house" area but it was much less mess and much more intimate to have them actually participate in the washing, folding, sweeping, etc. than for me to do the work while they made a mess eslewhere "playing" house. Their play area was minimal. I didn't rely on toys to busy them. I spent a great deal of time with them. That saved me 2 decades of constant mess in my opinion.
post #20 of 255
Wow, I think I can be reformed! I am one of those if I don't have time to do it right, I'd rather wait and do it when I have the time to do it right. I've recently started really working on keeping my house cleaner. The first thing I have done was to tame the Laundry Beast, and now I am working on the Ever-Growing Toy Monster. My house is more "deep cleaned" than picked up most of the time, as in, I vaccuum, and then the kids bring out tons of toys, so the toys stay on the floor, but I *did* just clean the room type thing.

I'm insprired, ladies! Now, I"m off the computer to tackle my dishes (well, they aren't that bad, did them yesterday, so just breakfast ones) adn do the kitchen floor!
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