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Help! Who is looking for a project?

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
5 people living in 800 square feet, both parents full time students, dh working part time as well. Three boys all full time students as well: 6,9, and 11.
I hate to clean. Our house needs serious help!
I posted a thread here if you want background
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=806848

I am posting pics as the house is right now. It is not always this bad! Friday was my last day of class, so this is a cumulative 10 weeks of class, plus two big work weeks for finals. However, I am posting them so you can see it at its worst and really help me figure out how to avoid it.
We need to go for easy solutions, if it takes any time to do it, it won't get done.
The other side of the coin: I am 36, and dh is 40. Even though we are still low income, I am really ready to move out of "early marriage thrift" style. So any inexpensive ideas you can come up with to make the space more tasteful, hit me with them!

I have put them in flickr, but am not sure how to share
Hopefully this works
http://www.flickr.com/photos/31792589@N00/

OK, some of the pics didn't make it onto the flickr site
I will post them here
coats, shoes, and sideboard
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...s/186_8663.jpg

dining table
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...s/186_8662.jpg

Storage spot in laundry
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...86_8674_r1.jpg

Big picture on the kitchen (sorry it is so dark)
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y87...s/186_8665.jpg
post #2 of 68
Thread Starter 
So, here are some things we are thinking about

Getting twin futons for all the boys. Then, we will take over one of the futons for our bedroom, and make it into a couch during the day. We will put it against the wall that is now dh's work space, and move his deck in front of the big window where the bed is now.

Mounting a shelf over the stupid cabinet in the kitchen, at stove height.

Replace the shoe shelf with a cabinet that closes.
post #3 of 68
Thread Starter 
I also wanted to note that we do have a very big garage. It is a one car garage with a person door also on the front, adding some width. It has lots of built in storage and a loft overhead
post #4 of 68
Your house is cute and there is so much to work with. Here are my ideas.

First, do some MAJOR decluttering.

Second, think about how you use the house.
Example: Which door do you walk in and out of? Put a shoe and coat rack there.
What are the trouble spots and how can you fix them?

third, Do you park the car in the garage? Could the garage be turned into a playroom for the boys. Put a big throw rug down and a space heater. Then the bedrooms could be used just for homework and sleeping. That might cut down on the clutter and mess problem and the bedtime problem.

I've also found that doing some major change like moving furniture around sometimes makes me feel better about the house. Could you open up your living room some by putting the couch and against the wall. It could make you house feel bigger.

If you don't have the money to buy new stuff paint it all the same color so it matches. Put a pretty table cloth on the table. Just do simple thing to make it look pretty.

Thats all I have for now.
post #5 of 68
I thought of one more thing. The Books. I found that when I had bookshelves in the kids room it never worked. They were always all over the floor, in the bed, under the bed.....it was a mess. I moved all of the books in the house to one central bookshelf in the living room and it is much better. The only exception is that my dh and I both have a basket next to the bed and that is where we keep the books and magazines we are currently reading. I like the basket better than having them piled on the bedside table.
post #6 of 68
This is owned or rented?

My 2 cents worth:

1) rolling storage boxes for deep cabinets or closets. (also works under the eaves)
2) closed doors on all future shelving or storage units
3) to keep the mattresses from sliding off beds, get anti-skid mats (like are kept under rugs) and staple them to the futon frames. Twin futons should be the way to go for the boys, if they have something larger right now.
4)if you have an IKEA near you, look at making shelvng to go under the eaves in the boys room (IVAR in 2 wids with some custom modifcations.)
5) I suggest a couple of floor to ceiling shelf/storage units in the LR/dining room. .. with doors!
6) laundry room, get some deep wire shelves (closetmaid) and store things in large plastic bins on these selves... this is to replace the existing narrow shelf.
post #7 of 68
How about using the rubbermaids you are using for storage to divide the room up for the boys. You could make a wall out of them.
post #8 of 68
Is your husband handy? Your front entry needs this
http://www.potterybarn.com/products/...key=cfurbchall
but at that price tag, it's be out of our reach. Luckily, I can show my dh a picture and he'll replicate it for me
post #9 of 68
Oh, hon, I'm mostly through the pictures, and I have to say, you have to stop right now focusing on storage. That's not going to help you. You have to get rid of stuff. We have 1378 sq ft plus a full unfinished basement, and you have more stuff than would fit comfortably in my house!

I will post some more, but it's not going to be about storage, hon, it's going to be about purging your stuff. You have more stuff than you need, and more stuff than will fit in your little house. More shelving and storage options are just going to make your house feel more crowded and cluttered, not less. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!
post #10 of 68
Thread Starter 
there is some great advice here!

Quote:
Could the garage be turned into a playroom for the boys.
I don't think that would work because it is a separate building with absolutely no insallation. My dh doesn't even like to be there in the winter and he doesn't mind the cold. even with a space heater. Also, he does wood working nad bike repair out there and there isn't much space beyond that.
I have tried to have the couch against the wall, bu tthe way the room is laid out, it makes the tv really awkward. We just moved the tv out of our room, so we have been swapping furniture around a lot to find the best fit. I asm thinking about hanging curtains in the archway to break up the living and dining rooms. Then the couch would be against the curtain. We are also thinking about getting a love seat to replace the couch


Quote:
If you don't have the money to buy new stuff paint it all the same color so it matches. Put a pretty table cloth on the table. Just do simple thing to make it look pretty.
When you look at the pictures, what stand out the most as not matching? I want to focus on those areas.
I actually love my table and suck at table cloths. They get messy really quickly in our house. I want to have my table refinished, but I have to find out how much it would cost!
I like the idea of giving them each a sturdy basket for the books they are currently reading.

Quote:
This is owned or rented?
We rent
Quote:
rolling storage boxes for deep cabinets or closets. (also works under the eaves)
Can you show me a picture of these?


Quote:
I suggest a couple of floor to ceiling shelf/storage units in the LR/dining room. .. with doors!
The sad thing is that there isn't really any room along the wall for such a thing. And I haven't seen many that aren't hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Quote:
Is your husband handy?
My husband is handy. That is a beautiful piece. He would probably have to buy new wood and not make it out of scrounged material, which goes against his beliefs, but maybe I could talk him into it

Keep the ideas flowing people
post #11 of 68
OK, I'll start with the living room. Do you have a front porch to set all this stuff on, for freecyclers to pick it up? I'm serious as a heart attack here. Set it all on the front porch, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and just do it. Post it on freecycle and whatever doesn't get picked up in three days, call the kidney foundation.

1. Get rid of those videos. All of them. If you need to watch a video, rent it or get it from the library, so it doesn't have to live at your house forever. If you must have videos, let each person in the family pick ONE favorite to keep. Put the four videos you decide to keep in a small basket.

2. I don't know what's on that blanket-covered table with the bowl, but you don't need any of it. It looks very cluttery. Get rid of it all. If you keep the bowl, repurpose it somewhere else, it doesn't fit there.

3. Hang the guitars on the wall, in a grouping. Get them off the floor.

4. Get rid of the backpack and everything else lying on the floor.

5. That rug is very small for your space. Move it to a smaller room.

6. Get everything off the dining room table, including the aquarium. If you have an attachment to a pet in that aquarium, get back with me and we'll find a more appropriate place for it. But ideally, in 800 sq ft of space, get rid of it.

7. Get everything off the shelves, and everything off the vertical surfaces that are stuck there with magnets and tape. Gone. All of it.

8. Dining room table should have NOTHING on it - you got rid of everything. Put four chairs around it and leave it alone. RESIST the urge to put a centerpiece or anything else on that table.

9. Put the coats in a closet or in a room behind closed doors. Get rid of them - they don't belong in your living room.

10. Get everything off the coffee table and get it out on the porch. Get everything off the dresser except the globe - get it all out on the porch. The surface of the dresser should be totally clear, nothing on it but the globe.

11. Now, place the coffee table in the center of the room and cozy your furniture up to it (should be 13 inches from the seat of the couch).

12. Your pictures are all hung too high, and they're too small for the walls. Take them down, group them into like subjects, and rehang them grouped and lower.

13. When every surface is cleared off, your furniture is in a cozy grouping, all your stuff is out of there, and everything else is away, re-post fresh pictures and if you want decorating help, we're here for you We just can't help you much with decorating until all the stuff is gone.

14. ALL that should be in your living room is your entertainment center with the TV and electronic equipment (ONLY, nothing else on/in it), your couch and chair cozied around a bare coffee table, and that's it. The only thing that should be in your dining room, from what I can see here, is the dining room table, CLEARED OFF, with 4 chairs around it and the dresser with ONLY a globe on it. That's it.

I'll do other rooms in other posts (unless you think I'm being too brutal, in which case stop me and I'll totally undertand ).


(Edited to add I can see from the other picture not on flickr it's not a dresser, it's a sideboard. Still, all that stuff needs to be gone. And the art over the sideboard is beautiful and appropriately large for your space!)
post #12 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bocks_box View Post
OK, I'll start with the living room. Do you have a front porch to set all this stuff on, for freecyclers to pick it up? I'm serious as a heart attack here. Set it all on the front porch, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and just do it. Post it on freecycle and whatever doesn't get picked up in three days, call the kidney foundation.

1. Get rid of those videos. All of them. If you need to watch a video, rent it or get it from the library, so it doesn't have to live at your house forever. If you must have videos, let each person in the family pick ONE favorite to keep. Put the four videos you decide to keep in a small basket.

2. I don't know what's on that blanket-covered table with the bowl, but you don't need any of it. It looks very cluttery. Get rid of it all. If you keep the bowl, repurpose it somewhere else, it doesn't fit there.

3. Hang the guitars on the wall, in a grouping. Get them off the floor.

4. Get rid of the backpack and everything else lying on the floor.

5. That rug is very small for your space. Move it to a smaller room.

6. Get everything off the dining room table, including the aquarium. If you have an attachment to a pet in that aquarium, get back with me and we'll find a more appropriate place for it. But ideally, in 800 sq ft of space, get rid of it.

7. Get everything off the shelves, and everything off the vertical surfaces that are stuck there with magnets and tape. Gone. All of it.

8. Dining room table should have NOTHING on it - you got rid of everything. Put four chairs around it and leave it alone. RESIST the urge to put a centerpiece or anything else on that table.

9. Put the coats in a closet or in a room behind closed doors. Get rid of them - they don't belong in your living room.

10. Get everything off the coffee table and get it out on the porch. Get everything off the dresser except the globe - get it all out on the porch. The surface of the dresser should be totally clear, nothing on it but the globe.

11. Now, place the coffee table in the center of the room and cozy your furniture up to it (should be 13 inches from the seat of the couch).

12. Your pictures are all hung too high, and they're too small for the walls. Take them down, group them into like subjects, and rehang them grouped and lower.

13. When every surface is cleared off, your furniture is in a cozy grouping, all your stuff is out of there, and everything else is away, re-post fresh pictures and if you want decorating help, we're here for you We just can't help you much with decorating until all the stuff is gone.

14. ALL that should be in your living room is your entertainment center with the TV and electronic equipment (ONLY, nothing else on/in it), your couch and chair cozied around a bare coffee table, and that's it. The only thing that should be in your dining room, from what I can see here, is the dining room table, CLEARED OFF, with 4 chairs around it and the dresser with ONLY a globe on it. That's it.

I'll do other rooms in other posts (unless you think I'm being too brutal, in which case stop me and I'll totally undertand ).


(Edited to add I can see from the other picture not on flickr it's not a dresser, it's a sideboard. Still, all that stuff needs to be gone. And the art over the sideboard is beautiful and appropriately large for your space!)

You are my new best friend.

Except about the pictures. I don't think they are all too high. There are two that are, and that is because I have recently moved stuff that was placed under them.

Otherwise, you are my new best friend

And yes, we are attached to the fish
post #13 of 68
Is that a fish tank on your dining room table? No storage on tables - I use this rule and it helps with the clutter. Designate ONE spot to dump misc stuff and then be strict about not letting it be everywhere else. Looks like you have desks, so each of you could have your desk be a messy place and then nothing else. My desk is my messy area (meaning in a rush I dump mail or what not there but I clean it often also).

Purge, purge, purge. Including purging furniture that encourages the collection is un needed things. If it isn't working, dump it. If it is broken, dump it. Even broken dressers - get rid of it. You can slowly replace things as you determine what you actually need.
post #14 of 68
Thread Starter 
OK, to tackle some of the thigns you have said:
sadly, most of the videos ARE from the library. I need to get better at returning
We have the bowl next to the front door because it is were we put our keys. There is extra crap there as well, but do you really think that the bowl can't stay? What if I remove the scarf?
We have talked about hanging the guitars, I will get on hubby to do it
Where do I put the backpack? Here is our bag thing: each boy has one for school that they take every day. We keep them front and center so they don't get forgotten. Dh has a bag he uses for school and one he uses for work. I have a few bags I use for school. teh yellow bag is what I hold library books in. I want them all to go away, but I can't figure out where they should go

I am planning to get to room sized rugs for the front room and dining room. Our carpets are really gross and until we can afford them, I have this one down to add some color and hide some stains. I will be moving it to my bedroom when I can
OK, praticalities: we hang the notices on the heater to remind us. The boys have to fill out all this paperwork for school. Speaking of school, this is what a lot of the dining stuff is: books and school supplies for doing their homework. oh, and fish food. Where can I keep it? I would LOVE to have a 100% cleared off table, but where does the stuff go?
As for the fish, I just told hubby last week that they must be moved. We are thinking of getting a cabinet in place of the shoe shelf and placing them on top of that

Please, continue with the other rooms. I will be decluttering and will check for more info
post #15 of 68
OK, kitchen.

1. Get the microwave up off the counter. We just installed a basic shelf for ours, two brackets and a slab of wood, right by the plug where it plugs in. It's still in approximately the same place, but not taking up valuable counter real estate.

2. Get rid of the dish rack. Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher - do not lay them in the sink. If it's something that can't be put into the dishwasher, and must be handwashed, wash it, dry it and put it away. You do not need the dishrack, and it's cluttering up your counter.

3. Get everything else off the counter. You are shooting yourself in the foot. How can your prepare food when you have to work around all those things all over your counter? Everything should be off - every surface should be totally cleared off. MAYBE leave the coffeepot and toaster, over in a corner out of the way, but ONLY if you use them every single day.

4. I really like your kitchen clock I also really like the rosy color of your walls and the way it looks against the white cabinets. I'm also a little jealous that you have more counter space and cabinets than I do

5. The stuff in your cabinets without doors - if it's little and cluttery like medicines, put them in baskets or bins so you can't see it. Only leave large heavy things out on display, like dishes and pitchers and vases. If it's food, either get rid of the packaging and put it in pretty canisters, or put it behind closed doors.

6. Your desk - you've got to get rid of most of that stuff. This is the way your desk should look - monitor, keyboard, mouse, lamp, that's it. Really. Not another thing on that desk. That other, fold-out desk and that little tiny bookshelf also look too cluttery, and the little plastic bins aren't effective use of space. If all of those papers, books, and stuff on your desks and your bookshelf are things you use regularly, please write back and tell us exactly what they are. Then, I can tell you the best way to containerize them. But if you can, get rid of it all.

I really like that heavy, clean-lined table you're using for your desk. All the stuff on top detracts from the simple beauty of that piece.

I wish I could come help you with all of this - I know it has to be so overwhelming!

My dh wants the computer now, but I'll come back and brutalize you with the other rooms
post #16 of 68
Ooh, I love these details in this post. I can help you with these things. My dh needs the computer for a while but I'm coming back to this in a little while, and I can give you pretty specific answers to some of these things. I think we can make your little place look very nice with only a little effort
Quote:
Originally Posted by boysrus View Post
OK, to tackle some of the thigns you have said:
sadly, most of the videos ARE from the library. I need to get better at returning
We have the bowl next to the front door because it is were we put our keys. There is extra crap there as well, but do you really think that the bowl can't stay? What if I remove the scarf?
We have talked about hanging the guitars, I will get on hubby to do it
Where do I put the backpack? Here is our bag thing: each boy has one for school that they take every day. We keep them front and center so they don't get forgotten. Dh has a bag he uses for school and one he uses for work. I have a few bags I use for school. teh yellow bag is what I hold library books in. I want them all to go away, but I can't figure out where they should go

I am planning to get to room sized rugs for the front room and dining room. Our carpets are really gross and until we can afford them, I have this one down to add some color and hide some stains. I will be moving it to my bedroom when I can
OK, praticalities: we hang the notices on the heater to remind us. The boys have to fill out all this paperwork for school. Speaking of school, this is what a lot of the dining stuff is: books and school supplies for doing their homework. oh, and fish food. Where can I keep it? I would LOVE to have a 100% cleared off table, but where does the stuff go?
As for the fish, I just told hubby last week that they must be moved. We are thinking of getting a cabinet in place of the shoe shelf and placing them on top of that

Please, continue with the other rooms. I will be decluttering and will check for more info
post #17 of 68
You need wall hooks.
http://www.target.com/Mission-Natura...20hooks&page=1

They're good for purses, school bags, coats, etc. They keep things off the floor and don't take up any extra space. I keep one in the kitchen for my bag, and my keys stay on the one by the door.

Re: The fish tank. My place isn't much bigger than yours, and I just bought a bigger fish tank today. Mine is on the kitchen counter in a place that I don't use as a cutting surface. Is there anywhere besides the kitchen table you can put yours? End table, etc?

And I agree you need to declutter. You have way too much stuff in that space.

Is that a BUG I see in the bathroom? Please say no, but if it is, another reason to declutter. Less mess= less places for the creepy crawlies to hide in. Start with something small, like that bathroom drawer, and toss everything that isn't used at least twice monthly.

How many clothes do the boys have? Can you narrow it down to 7 outfits for each season?

I agree you don't need any more storage, it seems to me that you have a ton of it. Start pitching!
post #18 of 68
Oh, and the kitchen- BASKETS! My bathroom storage is all in baskets, since the shelves are visible, and it works really, really well. And then you can even do spices in one basket, cans in another, etc.

Is the boys' room able to fit bunk beds? that would open up tons of space.
post #19 of 68
Thread Starter 
not a bug, just a penny!
How would I use baskets in the kitchen? I am a total basket illiterate
post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by boysrus View Post
OK, to tackle some of the thigns you have said:
sadly, most of the videos ARE from the library. I need to get better at returning
If you get that many videos from the library, you need a way to containerize them to keep them out of sight I'm glad they're not all yours
Quote:
We have the bowl next to the front door because it is were we put our keys. There is extra crap there as well, but do you really think that the bowl can't stay? What if I remove the scarf?
OK, well, that's a pretty bowl. Can you keep nothing but keys in it?

We used to have a pretty basket for keys. And people just kept throwing other crap in it. Finally, I got rid of the basket, we have two small hooks hanging by our back door for keys. Personally, I have to get rid of anything that can be a clutter magnet. But if you all can commit to keeping nothing but keys in the bowl, it's a good solution.

Quote:
We have talked about hanging the guitars, I will get on hubby to do it
Where do I put the backpack? Here is our bag thing: each boy has one for school that they take every day. We keep them front and center so they don't get forgotten. Dh has a bag he uses for school and one he uses for work. I have a few bags I use for school. teh yellow bag is what I hold library books in. I want them all to go away, but I can't figure out where they should go
Have your dh build the thingys for the entryway. That would solve it. Five lockers for backpacks and coats, five cubbies under the benches for shoes. Have it kind of sticking out into the room, beside the door, to make a kind of artificial foyer for yourself.

Quote:
I am planning to get to room sized rugs for the front room and dining room. Our carpets are really gross and until we can afford them, I have this one down to add some color and hide some stains. I will be moving it to my bedroom when I can
OK, praticalities: we hang the notices on the heater to remind us. The boys have to fill out all this paperwork for school. Speaking of school, this is what a lot of the dining stuff is: books and school supplies for doing their homework. oh, and fish food. Where can I keep it? I would LOVE to have a 100% cleared off table, but where does the stuff go?
OK, I hear you about that because I totally battle clutter in my dining room, as we homeschool there. Right now I have four bookshelves in my dining room, a computer table, and a piano! Not to mention my dining room table.

Two of the bookshelves hold nothing but books and a few framed photos. Fine. That's not too cluttery.

I insist that our dining room table be clear at all time. That's where we work when we're schooling, and it's where we eat meals. It must be cleared. As soon as someone is done eating, I remind him to take in his dishes. As soon as we're finished schooling, the table must be cleared of papers. I'm a nazi about this, and it helps.

The computer table, same thing. I have it covered with a pretty cloth, and on top all there is is a plant, a keyboard, a monitor, and a mouse. Under the tablecloth is where the cpu, our shredder, our printer, etc. live. You can have paperwork out on the computer table while you're working, but I will call you back into the room if you leave your paperwork there when you're finished.

Ditto with the piano--put your music away when you're done,

That leaves the remaining two six foot shelves. I keep them very organized. There's a specific place for everything. However, they still look cluttery to me because it's various things of irregular sizes and shapes. Therefore, it drives me crazy and I'm going to make pretty curtains for the fronts. That kind of miscellaneous stuff screams for closed storage. You need it but you don't want to look at it between times.

So I say, clear the table and sideboard and get closed storage to hide the homework stuff.
Quote:
As for the fish, I just told hubby last week that they must be moved. We are thinking of getting a cabinet in place of the shoe shelf and placing them on top of that

Please, continue with the other rooms. I will be decluttering and will check for more info
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