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There's something wrong with me. - Page 2

post #21 of 82
Hugs! It's difficult to keep a house neat and tidy and organized. It is possible though! I am much more relaxed now that I've (mostly) gotten control over my clutter.

Are the Halloween costumes used for dress up? We have a toy box just for dress up clothing and next to it we have three baskets -- one for dress up shoes, one for hats and one for pocketbooks. Inside the toy box I also have a large jewelry box (ok, I'll admit ... it's my Caboodle from what ... 1989?) that is home to their costume jewelry. I've also seen people put hooks on the back of bedroom doors to hang dress up clothing. If it's not used for dress up, buy one bin, label it Halloween costumes and neatly tuck the costumes inside and put the bin away.

Art supplies are difficult. We have so many supplies all of different sizes and shapes! I cleared out a bathroom cabinet and that's where we store everything. I have those plastic boxes with drawers -- one drawer for coloring books, one for stickers, one for construction paper, etc. The paints are lined up neatly and I have small stacking bins that store markers, paint brushes, colored pencils, crayons, etc. Stash the toilet paper rolls in a bin and only keep as many as fit in the bin.

You need to find the balance that works best for you -- either tackling large projects at once or doing bit by bit. I suggest writing a to do list and prioritizing it and then go from there.
post #22 of 82
Wow, there are some great suggestions here -- some I'm going to take advantage of! I just wanted to add that you should give yourself permission to throw away things that are "perfectly good". I'm a committed reduce-reuse-recycler, but when I'm really feeling overwhelmed, the prospect of gathering up things to give away -- sorting them, taking them wherever, etc. -- makes me put off the purging. Either that, or I wind up with a "give away" pile that just becomes one more pile of junk driving me crazy! : When things really get out of hand, and the mess is interfering with my ability to be the kind of mother I want to be, I give myself permission to just haul out a trash bag. I've thrown away perfectly good toys that some child somewhere might have enjoyed, but you know what? The shelves at Goodwill are already stuffed with toys just like those. How many more do they need? I feel a little guilty, but I try not to dwell on it. Sometimes personal peace and family harmony is worth a little environmental incorrectness. JMO.
post #23 of 82
Over the past few years I have paired down what is in our closets/laying on top of dressers/under beds, etc, a lot. there are so many tips to decluttering. analyze yourself and your family and try to figure out WHY you keep all that stuff. if it isn't emotional is just because you are overwhelmed? if it isn't emotional you are in good shape, emotional attachments make it harder to get rid of anything! whether you attack in small or large batches is up to you, but set guidelines beforehand. like, if the thought of getting rid of 'thing' brings tears to my eyes, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to keep 'thing', you just need to evaluate, will you ever use it? will your kids really care if you keep it? can you just take a picture of it? maybe designate one closet, shelf, or large storage tote for those 'things' that you just can't part with, and if it is full, then something has to be cleaned out.

a tip i figured out for most (not paper) things (clothes, towels, tools, knick knacks, whatever) is to set a monetary amount. mine is $30. if i have a 'thing' that doesn't have a home I evaluate it's monetary value and when i will use it. is it worth over $30? did I/will I use it in a 12 mth period? Is it worth it to me to keep it? if all those are no, it is gone gone gone. i can always buy another. i know it sounds consumerist, but if you do that with all your 'things', you may get rid of piles of stuff that qualify but only need to 'rebuy' maybe $60 worth of stuff over the year. having an organized place to live is worth $60 to me, it is worth more...

oh, and go out and spend some cash on totes before you even know what they will be for. get different sizes etc. so when you get that urge to organize you don't have an excuse. and labels w/ a marker or labelmaker.

you should try to set a reasonable goal, and also set written guidelines for keep/sell/toss. leave your house, go out to lunch by yourself w/ paper/pen and evaluate the problem w/o the emotional baggage. do things just need homes (do you have room for homes for all your things?). do you need to get rid of most of it because there is just no space? do you need new shelving, new storage bins to make it more efficient? what is your monetary limit? is something almost immediately replaceable (tp tubes) or can you borrow it from a neighbor (steam canning pot). does it have a home w/in your home or can you find it one? if you have a 'thing' w/ no home and no hope of finding one, meaning it will sit in the corner of your bedroom for all eternity, and you haven't used it in 12 mths, pass it on.

good luck! ask a friend to help you enforce your guidelines, and dig in! sorry so long, maybe one of my tips added into all the other good ones will ring true w/ you and you can get started! i have cleaned/assisted in cleaning out several deceased relatives houses and that was a huge lesson in what happens when you keep too much stuff and how to get rid of it w/o too much guilt (and also not allowing yourself to bring boxes of new 'things' into your own house!!!)
post #24 of 82
Thread Starter 
You are all awesome. These are some great ideas. There are many things that really resonated with me.

Quote:
I just wanted to add that you should give yourself permission to throw away things that are "perfectly good". I'm a committed reduce-reuse-recycler, but when I'm really feeling overwhelmed, the prospect of gathering up things to give away -- sorting them, taking them wherever, etc. -- makes me put off the purging. Either that, or I wind up with a "give away" pile that just becomes one more pile of junk driving me crazy!
This is a huge one for me. Like I'll go to get rid of a puzzle, and it is missing a few pieces. I know the pieces are in the playroom, and will be found (they always are), so I set it on top of the dresser until I can find the pieces. But of course that could be months. But the thought of throwing away a perfectly good puzzle just eats at me. And I can't tell you the amount of "goodwill" bags sitting in the garage, and that's after they sit in the hallway for a month driving me crazy.

And then there's the "I should sell this" issue. There are so many items that are of value, but I rarely every get around to doing this. And it's kind of the money, but not really. It's like I SHOULD sell it, like I'm obligated too. I don't know where this comes from.

Quote:
Like I still have all 4 kids infant bedding...I realized that I will need to part w/them so, since I'm learning to quilt I'm going to make a few swatches from them and pass the rest on...you know the bumpers and curtains...now I think I can let them go.
Oh yeah, that's another one for me, especially with the clothes. I hate to get rid of anything they wore. I like clothes in general, and get really attached to the baby clothes. And because I like clothes, I tend to buy a lot to begin with. And then I am so disorganized I end up buying stuff for ds2, then finally get around to going through ds1's old clothes, and now ds2 has drawers that are overflowing.

And the Halloween costumes aren't really dress up. Some are, but not all. But again, I hate to get rid of them because of the sentimentality. But then I think "What would I do if my mom gave me all my old Halloween costumes?" I really don't think I'd be into it one bit. My dad recently gave me a little box with all my baby teeth he'd saved. Well, that's great and all, but what the hell am I supposed to do with this? I can't throw it away after he hung onto it for 30 years. The box even has "My Lucky Tooth" written on it! How cute is that!

It's like I got the worst of both my parents. My dad is very sentimental. He kept a lot of our drawings, every picture ever taken, baby teeth, etc. But he has very little in terms of "I might need that someday." In that sense he is almost a minimalist. But my mom is Queen of "I might need that someday" with some sentimentality sprinkled on for good measure. She is very clean, but is forever sorting through her garage full of stuff. And yes, every surface in her house has something on it.

Okay, you have all given me a last ray of hope. I think I am in the category of having to do a big purge rather than one little spot at a time, because like someone says, then something just comes along and fills up that spot.

I wish some of you lived here, so we could do it together. That's what I need - someone to sit down and do the whole thing with me. Well, that and a week without kids. Yeah, right.

But honestly, I have sometimes wondered if there is something "off" with me in regards to this. I mean, if you ask anyone who's been to my house, they'd say it was a lovely house. No one would describe me as a slob or dirty or anything. I have perfectionist issues, definitely. I get in the mode of thinking "Well, doing this one thing won't make it all perfect, so what's the point?"

Maybe it is simply that I suffer from the Too Much Crap syndrome. And it doesn't help that we live in a very high income area, so many of my friends have housekeepers and/or huge houses, making me feel even worse about my place. I go to take ds1 to a playdate with his friend from his old preschool whose parents are both attorneys and I think "Yeah, right, I am going to invite them over to my house."
post #25 of 82
Wow, this has been an interesting thread. I agree that this calls for "drastic action", not "one small step." Inertia overcomes me when I try to be really orderly about purging stuff- I start putting way too much thought into each item ("I should sell this," "I should donate this," "Oh, maybe the kids would like this someday," "I should find the pieces to this," "Let me just sort through this file") ... I think you need to give yourself permission to just toss stuff, regardless of whether it is wasteful. Toss those craft projects you mean to do but haven't gotten around to, those books you've been meaning to read, etc. Once you have your life in order, you can reward yourself with taking on a new project or new book that reflects who you are now. Once you get control over the situation, then you can come up with a system that helps fits your goals of how you would like to manage your "stuff"- i.e., I will keep a Goodwill bag and donate it the first of each month, I will clean out the kids' clothes after each season, I will list stuff on eBay if it is worth more than $20, or whatever.

So, I would rent a dumpster, start at the top of the pile, and start tossing. Toss out bags of mail. Toss out the dirty towels. Toss out toys that are broken or missing pieces. Toss out clothes that don't fit someone in the family. Having a friend there would be great, as it is always easier to clear out other people's space. It will be slow to start but there is something about having a big dumpster in the driveway that will inspire you. Anything that you think you want to keep, I would sort into a few major piles: clothing, linens. dishes, kitchen stuff, books, toys, CDs, etc. Then find a place for each category of stuff. I have found it really helpful to keep all like items together- all the books go on one bookshelf, all medicines and toiletries go in one cabinet, all the CDs go in one drawer. Down the road, having stuff organized like this will make it easier to stay on top of things. And, once you decide where each type of item will go, the space will limit how many of those items you can keep- like all the books you keep have to fit on the bookcase.

After you have gotten this far, then you can start to refine your system. Like, we have 2 sets of sheets per bed and 2 sets of towels per person. I've seen others that only keep one dish and cup per person in their cabinets. This way, you can't let a week's worth of dirty dishes accumulate, or forego laundering the towels for months.

You can do this!
post #26 of 82
Thread Starter 
One system that dh and I put in place awhile ago that stuck was the clean sink routine from Flylady. Almost every single night, by the time we go to bed, every dish is washed and the counters are wiped down. On good nights the floor is swept! So, dishes accumulating isn't a huge problem for us, even though it does mean that I do dishes about 3 - 4 times a day. For some reason this stuck, and boy am I happy about it. I think it was because after ds2 was born it became clear that if I had to start the day with a sink full of dishes I was going to lose my mind.

I'm actually pretty good at cleaning, but not so good at organizing, purging, sorting, etc. Things are not often dirty here, but we just have too much stuff. And we do have a small house, and it's an old house, so the closet situation is pretty pathetic. But having so much stuff makes it harder to clean.

I think I have to focus on toys and children's clothes first. I actually did a huge purge of my closet about six months ago and it was fantastic! I did have a friend come over, my fashionista friend. We went through every item in my closet, and I would say at least 60% was bagged up and given away. For weeks I would be giddy just opening my closet and looking at how bare it was. But I have a much harder time doing that with the kids' clothes. And there is just way too much.

Oh, and the towels! That is inspired, and is actually easy. I don't have much emotional attachment to our towels! We have a hamper in our bedroom dedicated to towels and sheets, but we never use it because it is always full of towels! In fact, if all my towels were clean at once, there is no way they'd all fit in the linen closet. I think that's a pretty good sign we have too many towels. My kids each have their one favorite towel, which is pretty much the only one they use.

Would you believe that my email inbox actually mirrors the clutter in my house? I am always saving emails thinking that I might want to have that information at some point. The homeschooling yahoo group emails are the worst. Oh, and all the favorites I have bookmarked. I can't even find stuff anymore because there is so much on there!

Quote:
Inertia overcomes me when I try to be really orderly about purging stuff- I start putting way too much thought into each item ("I should sell this," "I should donate this," "Oh, maybe the kids would like this someday," "I should find the pieces to this," "Let me just sort through this file") ...
My best friend calls this "analysis paralysis" and it is exactly how my mind works when I start to organize.
post #27 of 82
I love this thread, and I so sympathize with you on this. My dh was ROTFLAO last night reading your op, because he knows that without him this is exactly where I would be. We, however, have moved 9 times in our 17 years of marriage, and that has helped immensely. And, we have only once had what I would call a large space (1600 sq feet with a big attic) and had we stayed there I am sure we would have accumulated much more.

I also think homeschooling just raises the guilt bar on this one. I should have a nice, clean inviting place for my kids to work; I should have organized art supplies so we can find materials when the moment of inspiration hits; I should be working with my kids and not cleaning.... And, of course my kids are always here so there is no chunk of time when the house can get cleaned up. I know so many people who really got their house and act together once most of their kids were in school. That's not an option when you are homeschooling, which probably makes it more important to do the big purge and get it together and organized so the daily and weekly tasks are not overwhelming.

I'll be reading all the suggestions. We have a big decluttering day planned for Monday!
post #28 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessicaSAR View Post
I also think homeschooling just raises the guilt bar on this one. I should have a nice, clean inviting place for my kids to work; I should have organized art supplies so we can find materials when the moment of inspiration hits; I should be working with my kids and not cleaning.... And, of course my kids are always here so there is chunk of time when the house can get cleaned up. I know so many people who really got their house and act together once most of their kids were in school. That's not an option when you are homeschooling, which probably makes it more important to do the big purge and get it together and organized so the daily and weekly tasks are not overwhelming.
Yes, yes, yes to every word of this post.

Quote:
I think you need to give yourself permission to just toss stuff, regardless of whether it is wasteful. Toss those craft projects you mean to do but haven't gotten around to, those books you've been meaning to read, etc.
I agree with this, as it is where I get stuck. But I don't know how to actually do it!
post #29 of 82
oceanbaby-

I am a success story. I say this not to rub your face in it, but to give you hope. I could have written your op a few years ago. Here is what I've done.

1. Flylady's Clean Sink- keep it up.

2. Throwing Stuff Away- this is tricky, and covers a lot of ground, but it is the most important part of a decluttered house.

-You can throw it away, burn it, take it to the recycling center, or set it by the curb with a "FREE" sign. Or, you can take it to Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, etc. Or, if something is, for example, very large, place an ad in a local free publication (ours is "The Action Shopper") and list large thing as "Free to Whoever Will Move It". I did this a few times and my phone broke from ringing so much.

-Give yourself permission to get rid of stuff that was given to you as gift. It's okay. The gift is not the person, does not symbolize the person, nor your love for each other. You love your Dad, not the teeth. Our culture is really screwed up on this point.

-BUT (and here's the kicker), you have to set rules about SELLING things. DO NOT, under any circumstances, plan to have a yard sale. This is way beyond where you are now. If you have something that you do not need but is very valuable, give yourself permission to sell it on eBay. (I did this with some gold jewelry- I don't wear gold.) The key thing here is to not set eBay as your default method of getting rid of stuff. The vast majority of your junk is junk so junk it.

Do Not Save Stuff for Your Kids- they will save the stuff they truly love on their own. My mom saved a ton of s**t for me, and it was an albatross, a burden. The best thing you can pass on to your kids the ability to wade through our age of excess.

Do Not Save Art Projects- take a picture.

Do Not Save Photographic Negatives- we are in the digital age now.

Do Not Save Baby Clothes- it's too easy, just say no.

Regarding Art Supplies-get some plastic shoe boxes ($1 each). Designate and lable each box- "Markers", "Glue", whatever. For your little guy, you may need to label with pictures. DO NOT put more than one type of thing in a box, even if that box contains just one pair of scissors. DO NOT allow a group of things to grow into more than 1 box. (If you have that many markers, it's time to purge!)
Once this is done, get a big Rubbermaid type tote, and put all the plastic shoe boxes in it, with the paper/coloring books stored vertically between the shoe boxes and the side of the tote. The lid does not have to fit on the the tote, it can be stored vertically between the back side of the tote and the wall, and used as a hard art surface for coloring.
Label the tote "Art Supplies" and make it clear that anything else found in there will be summarily thrown out.

This system also works well for small toys.

Make the Move To Homemade, Non-Toxic Cleaning Supplies, and Away From Convience Foods- this sounds off topic, but it helped me so much. If I have staples on hand, I don't need to run to the store. If I don't make as many store runs, I don't buy as much stuff. PM me if you need recipes.

Regarding Towels- get as many hooks as you have people in your family. (Hooks should have at least two prongs.) Hang them in your bathroom. (Or, if you have a kids bath and a grownups bath, hang two in each.) Hang a sign above each hook with the family member's name.
Then, once this is done, buy each family member a terry cloth robe of a different color. This is now this person's color. (In our house, DH is forest green, I am white, DS is blue, and DD is purple.) Each person gets their robe, a single bathtowel, and a single washcloth in their color. (If you want to include hand towels, great. Our handtowels are community, and match the "guest" towels, because we are now so used to this system that we each dry our hands on our own bathtowel. ) Because I have long hair, I also got a "Turbee Twist" sort of terrycloth, hair towel/turban type of thing, in my color, of course. I wash towels and robes each Thursday. I do one load. It is nothing short of amazing.

Do Laundry EVERY DAY- if you do this, everyone needs fewer clothes and your closets and dressers are easier to organize and keep tidy. It took me years to figure this out, but man it helps!
post #30 of 82
I have the exact same problem!!!!!!! It really boils down to two things - too much stuff, and the sentimentality or I might need it someday issues. My parents died when I was in junior high - and I really think that led to my need to hold onto stuff. Some because it actually is from my childhood and therefore a part of my parents that I can hold on to, and some because I can have some control over what is mine and what isn't taken away from me. If that makes any sense...

Two things (both tv shows) that have REALLY helped me:

Clean Sweep!!!! I LOVE that show!! They are brilliant. Peter Walsh is just a genius. I use his system a lot. I tackle one area at a time (because my three kids are never gone for a week or a month or however long it would take me to do the whole house!) If you wait for enough time and energy to do a large space - well, I never have that much time!

So for example, I did our game closet. It is a closet in the upstairs hall. Top shelf is sheets; on the floor is tp and kleenex storage; all shelves in the middle are games (kid games on lower shelves and adult games on upper shelves). I went shelf by shelf. EVERYTHING on one shelf came out; I sat there and made two piles - one to keep and one to give away. You have to be ruthless. If it is a game that your family actually plays, and likes, and wants to play again - keep it. The others go. Yes, they are perfectly good games. Yes, Aunt Julie gave it to Junior for his birthday. But there is only so much room! If it is broken or missing pieces then it absolutely goes! Put back the keepers and the others go in a big box. Then do the next shelf the same way, repeating until the closet is done. Closet now is so wonderful to look at that you will smile for a week just about that. Box(es) of giveaway go on your front porch for pick up. In my area, you can call Services for the Blind and they will pick up for free. They then sort through and sell stuff I guess. There must be some upside to it for them. I do feel like we could have a garage sale and I could make some money back on the stuff, but we are too busy for that! Just get rid of it and feel better!

Ok, game closet done. Next day do the pantry. All the expired food gets thrown away. All the food that you just keep skipping over for whatever reason gets put in a bag to go to the food bank (we have drop off bins right in the grocery store - easy). Organize the canned goods, cereal, pasta, etc. I actually had bought Tupperware to organize pasta products (I hate it when you have a half open bag of penne or whatever....) but hadn't used anything but the spaghetti keeper. So the other Tupperware was littering up my kitchen cabinet! Ugh! But I dug it out and put the pastas in them and it is so much better!

One area at a time. Get rid of what you don't need. Take pictures of the kids holding their art project, then recycle the art!!! This isn't as hard after you do it a few times. You have the photo!! It is ok.

You need a place to put everything. I am great with cookbooks and kid art supplies and games because I know where they go. They have a place to live. It is mail and papers that the kids bring home from school and coupons and ads and lists that clutter up the place mostly. Our art supplies are great because I bought one of those plastic towers (white with clear drawers) and labeled each drawer with my label maker (love that thing). So drawers for: crayons, pens, paint/paint supplies, construction paper, coloring books, stickers, pencils and scissors. I know where they go. The kids know where they go. Babysitters or Gramma or whoever might be around know where they go. It is great.

I understand how hard it is to get rid of things. Really I do. But you'll feel so much better when you do!!!!

Oh, the other thing (I said two shows) was an Oprah show where two guys helped her go through her closet. Oprah! You can imagine how many clothes and shoes SHE had! But she said it changed her life to do it. She kept only things that fit three criteria:

1) Does it fit?

2) Is it flattering?

3) Is it the image I want to portray?

If it doesn't fall into ALL THREE categories, it has to go. They did give her three items that didn't. So maybe you keep your wedding dress even though it doesn't fit, and two other special items. But that is it.

If it is too big, please do not keep it and allow for the day you'll gain weight back! If it is too small, you'll deserve new current styles if you lose weight. Really, I've done this. You lose the weight and can fit back into those jeans but they are so out of style now and you just want (and deserve) something that is hip and fashionable after all the work to lose the weight.

If it fits but isn't flattering, why keep it???? You know how you feel so great when you know you look good? Feel like that every day! Wear only what is flattering to you. One of my three items is a paint/clam digging/whatever messy thing you do outfit. Old jeans and a crummy tee and sweatshirt. But just one outfit for that! You don't need four pairs of crummy jeans!!

Even if it fits and is flattering, is it the image you want to portray? Does it look like something a teenager or a gramma would wear? I got rid of my flannel shirt even though it fit and was a little flattering I guess. Because I want to look like a cool 30-something woman, not a cowboy.

Sorry so long. Having the same affliction myself, I have a lot of understanding around this issue! I'm still working on it.
post #31 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I wish some of you lived here, so we could do it together. That's what I need - someone to sit down and do the whole thing with me. Well, that and a week without kids. Yeah, right.

But honestly, I have sometimes wondered if there is something "off" with me in regards to this. I mean, if you ask anyone who's been to my house, they'd say it was a lovely house. No one would describe me as a slob or dirty or anything. I have perfectionist issues, definitely. I get in the mode of thinking "Well, doing this one thing won't make it all perfect, so what's the point?"

Maybe it is simply that I suffer from the Too Much Crap syndrome. And it doesn't help that we live in a very high income area, so many of my friends have housekeepers and/or huge houses, making me feel even worse about my place. I go to take ds1 to a playdate with his friend from his old preschool whose parents are both attorneys and I think "Yeah, right, I am going to invite them over to my house."
I can totally relate to your original post and to this. Every time I clear off the kitchen counter it is covered again in no time. I really want someone to do this with me. I definitely need the kids not to be there (almost 4 year old NEEDS me to PLAY with him and 15 month old tears things up faster than I can clean them). I have Too Much Crap syndrome with sentimentality and "I could use this someday" thrown in and perfectionist issues. Plus a husband who works all the time. Don't remember the last time someone has come to my house. Besides being an introvert, I don't want people (like those from ds1's preschool) with bigger, nicer, cleaner houses seeing my house.

Definitely need to try some of these suggestions
post #32 of 82
You already seem way more upbeat about the situation. Lots of great tips so far.

Two more things I haven't seen mentioned:

1. When you have a full bag of Goodwill stuff, or even a partially filled one but you're stopping the purging for the day, take the bag to your car right away. Don't put it in the garage. This way, next time you drive by a donation box, drop it off.

2. Truely watch what you are bringing in the house. If you don't, you'll end up right back where you are. Notice when you walk in if your arms are full (well, of other things than kids/purse/dipe bag). If you are indeed holding something, ask yourself if it will turn into clutter down the road.
post #33 of 82
I really identified with your op. My thing is that I have no problem getting rid of stuff--I dealt with that a while back and now actually enjoy it. For me though, it's getting really busy and neglecting it for a long time, and then the stuff accumulates and I have no idea where to start. Once I declutter, I have a difficult time organizing and keeping it that way. I am not someone who naturally knows how to organize things.

This thread is a gem. I like the idea of taking a week to go through each room and being really thorough with it. I also like the advice for deciding which clothes to keep, and what to get rid of. I am one of the many that has a closet full of stuff, and yet "nothing to wear".
post #34 of 82
Oceanbaby

I want to read this thread more throughly. . .but I also want to post now.

I second the idea of being ruthless about getting rid of stuff. Ask yourself just one question. Do I NEED this to survive daily life? This is most effective after watching a movie like Fight Club (anyone else think of a minimalist-luddite movie?)

I second the idea of having a friend come over when you do this. Make sure it's a ruthless one.

About paper goods. . .are there burning bans in your area? Do you live in a place where you could have a bonfire? Think of every paper you NEED. Insurace declarations pages, birth certs, mortgage contracts, etc. Find them. Put them in a safe place. EVERYTHING else can be burned (or otherwise disposed of).

Also, on clothes and other household items. Invite people over to pick thru your stuff for what they need before purging it. Know any soon to be college students? THey are perfect. Moms to be?

Ok gotta go
post #35 of 82
Wow, this has been an interesting thread to read.

We too have a house that's a crap magnet. Dh and I are getting better about getting rid of things we know we won't use (although there's always that niggling 'you *might* need it').

It's finally getting through to us as my parents are clearing out their house (so they can sell it before Dad dies), and my IL's keep trying to dump *their* crap on us. And we don't have the time, money or patience to be their free storage facility.

The way I'm saving stuff for the boys is one small box each for mementos of the first few years. Like their very first outfit (just one!), the little one's born-at-home diapers, that kind of thing. I don't even think I'll fill up the boxes anytime soon. Most of the rest of the baby paraphenalia I can pass on to my sister (crib, bedding, rest of clothes, the 50yo hand-me-downs), or even sell/give away (baby clothes, other random stuff we don't need).

I have been trying to organize and put away stuff, but then crap just keeps coming back. Not to mention a 3yo who doesn't care that mommy's trying to clean/organize, a 7mo who's a teething velcro-baby and a dh who just drops things wherever they land (socks on the living floor, coat on the dining table, wallet on the toy box, orange juice on his computer desk, etc.).

One thing that helps is that I swing by the Goodwill truck often. The guy knows I want my receipts, even though he doesn't know my name (receipts for tax deduction). Anywho, put those Goodwill bags in the car. Get rid of them sometime this week. You won't believe how good it feels. A year and a half ago I finally got rid of my high school/college wardrobe that I'll never fit in to again. I didn't realize how much of an albatross those clothes were until I got rid of them.

Just don't give up. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
post #36 of 82
I agree with the poster who said it all comes down to "too much stuff". I think that is a big issues when it comes to children especially. If they have two stuffed animals, it's unlikely that there will be a mess. Give them 15 and you're going to see them all over the house at one time or another.

I rotate toys here. I only keep a few out. The rest are in storage bins in the closet. If they want "that particular toy" I go in the closet (which is btw locked) I go get it out from the locked area. That way, things never get out of hand. If they want a different toy, they have to put that other toy away first. Less stuff out, less stuff to deal with. One toy at a time as well that way.

It's easier to organize the less you have. Give yourself permission to donate and give away stuff you don't use, need or want. That will free up some physical and emotional space for you!

As far as comparing yourself to other people...don't do it! Seriously. Just concentrate on what you want. I have friends here who make over six figures, have a huge home and all sorts of stuff...but they all have a tremendous amount of debt and expenses. In general, the more people make the more they spend sadly. So, concentrate on saving up for your future and by not focusing on things you are teaching the kids that they are not important. I try to teach the kids about being good to the environment and only using what you need. It's tough, sure, but I am trying to do that by example.

As for getting rid of things, it's something that is always going to happen. Just get down to a managable level, and to keep it that way, when you get new things throw out more things that you no longer need. What you are looking for is a balance. It doesn't have to be perfect (hey, our own personal ideals change when kids happen) but it needs to be something that you can keep clean and doesn't add to your stress level or the work that you already have to do.
post #37 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
I am a success story.......
Oceanbaby and others s

Print out Leta's post, go to kinko's and laminate it, and put it on your refridgerator! Then read it at least once every day.

What is so brilliant and KEY to her post is that you really need to get the garbage out. When you get the garbage out, then you'll have time, energy and space to organize what you need and love.

I know you're not living with literal gabage, what I mean in the puzzles, clothes that don't fit anyone, piles of recyclables that need to go someplace...

You need an amnesty period of getting rid of things with NO Guilt! Every night get kids/dh to help for 15 minutes finding things to take to the trash. And during this amnesty period, don't fill bags for goodwill unless you know that you can take them there immediately, that day. I can't tell you how much cluttter can hang around in limbo waiting to be freecycled, goodwilled, etc.

I promise your kids will still have plenty of available household items to do crafts with. Toilet paper rolls constantly appear in every home. There's lots more where that came from.

I can't wait to see where this post goes. I think we should take on your home as a group and "declutter" it over the next 12 months. We can assign a room or a task per month and you can take pictures....I would even do this too if you don't want to be singled out. I've come a long way, but I've got a ways to go!

Lots of love and support to all women everywhere who long to provide a peaceful, clutterfree home for themselves and their families. Don't let the dream die!!!
post #38 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmonter View Post
...The way I'm saving stuff for the boys is one small box each for mementos of the first few years. Like their very first outfit (just one!), the little one's born-at-home diapers, that kind of thing. I don't even think I'll fill up the boxes anytime soon. Most of the rest of the baby paraphenalia I can pass on to my sister (crib, bedding, rest of clothes, the 50yo hand-me-downs), or even sell/give away (baby clothes, other random stuff we don't need).
This is an important pearl of wisdom. A bunch of sentimental clothes does not mean as much as a single special item.
post #39 of 82
I sacrificed one room to keep the rest sane. Moving helped some. It's still bad. I suffer from no-flat-surface-allowed-syndrome.
I think I could live wiht 1/4 the amount of stuff I have, if only I knew which 1/4!
post #40 of 82
oceanbaby I could have written your OP. Every flat surface is cluttered. At dinner time we just put the piles on top of other piles so we can clear space on the table to eat.

I have at least 10 bags labeled "donate" in the garage and throughout the house, and more bags full of "I could get a few bucks for this someday!"

I know what I have to do. I almost even posted some of the ideas that have already been mentioned! But I still have trouble putting theory into practice.

You're not alone!
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