Overwhelmed by my house... yard... everything... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 04-30-2011, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't even know where to start. I don't even know if this is the right forum for this!!

I had no idea owning a home would be so much work. We've been here for ~4 years and barely made a dent!! I'm so overwhelmed & frustrated!

The previous owners left the house in a state of disaster. Obviously we got a lot of the junk out right away but there is STILL some of their crap in the basement & sheds mixed in with our stuff. The yard, too, was a disaster, and the interior of the house needed so much work, much of which was not obvious when we bought... Honestly, we shouldn't have closed on the house (but didn't know any better and our real estate agent screwed up big time, even the sellers agreed...) Well, what's done is done.

Anyway. The main level is livable (not completely finished but overall clean & decluttered) and the upstairs is half done -- the other half doesn't even have all the drywall or floors. The basement is so gross I can't even stand to go down there (and it's a partially finished basement so I'd really LIKE to be able to go down there...) but DH is working on that. Bugs keep finding their way in everywhere. All the kitchen tile has been replaced TWICE in 3 years but is cracked again... we need to repaint everything too, and there is still exposed stuff that's not supposed to be exposed...

Then there's the yard... The neighbors next door knocked down their house so now there has been a vacant lot there for a couple years and their trees have branches hitting against our house (too high to cut ourselves & we don't know who to talk to since there is no one living on the land!) and the fence between our houses is falling down. Our foundation has big holes in it (we need gutters but it's very high up, we're on a hill) and there is this big dangerous cement 'patio' (that's putting it nicely) that absolutely needs to go. We have septic and need to conceal it somehow so DS doesn't get curious... No matter how often we rake there are still so many leaves, and there are so many surrounding our property just waiting to blow into our yard (even though it's spring!) There is poison ivy and I think I just saw poison oak as well (I'm very allergic to both) growing all around, and pricker bushes. Plus a bunch of tree stumps... Everything is overgrown and gross. The roof on the shed is rotting.

I just feel like this is all so unmanageable. I don't understand how people do it. I try to tackle it and get so overwhelmed by everything that I just give up. DH is laid off so we have no money to hire anyone (not that we could likely afford it even if he had a job) and I'm, apparently permanently, sick. Our house & yard are pretty small compared to most around here (1000sqft house/0.25 acres), so it's not like we could have bought a smaller or cheaper house (plus we can't move since housing prices have dropped so much our house is only worth 2/3 of what we paid for - and owe on! - it). This SHOULD be manageable, but it's not. I just want to give up. I feel like if we could get it to a good place, we might be able to maintain it, but I see no way to get there.

Sorry, I don't know if this was a vent or what, it wasn't meant to be but I guess it is. lol.gif I would love any advice, commiseration, ideas, etc...

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#2 of 13 Old 04-30-2011, 08:06 PM
 
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Is there any way you could get it into a rentable state? Could you lower your living expenses by living somewhere else? Then you could save, plan, and take a breather from the chaos.

 

Good luck mama, it sounds very overwhelming!

 

(we rented out our 3 BR house and moved into a 1BR apt because it made life simpler and we didn't have half of what you have on our plate)


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#3 of 13 Old 05-01-2011, 04:35 AM
 
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I was going to recommend hiring someone to brush hog the yard and trim the trees.You can get it done with a electric weedwhacker and a pole pruner. I am lover my yard with my extension cord(.96 lot)  Stumps are cheaper to grind if you have more,but are usually $30-50 each. I covered mine with leaves and stuff,but I really want to grind them up(I have 4 or 5).

 

Maybe just pull out the fence if it is that bad,or add another post to brace it. I like privacy so I would try to save it. For the septic you could  put up some plastic fencing around it,and then plant something around the fence.

 

I know what you mean about buying a home with a lot of hidden issues,and a home valued at far less than what you paid for it. So not fair! Value is supposed to go up and we spend so much to repair just to break even(if that).

 

Make baby steps and work on those things that cause the most damage(to the home) or risk to your family.

 

For the poison plants you can put on ivy block before,and then show with technu afterwards. Best bet is to bag those plants up.Maybe spray with weed kill then put at the roots.Buy 50 cent cloths at the thrift store to wear and then just toss it all out.

 

Is the kitchen tile on the wall or floor? We have vinly flooring.With shifting it worked better.

 

Leaves are  compost gold.I shred mine with the mower and mix it in with compost/soil/mulch.

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#4 of 13 Old 05-01-2011, 06:13 AM
 
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You sound very overwhelmed, I'm sorry.

 

I think in those situations the most important thing for your sanity is to just do something.  One day take 15 minutes to weed.  Are the stumps sticking up?  Rent a chainsaw and cut them flat to the ground so they aren't a tripping hazard.  Plant something around the septic.  When I had a septic field I did daylilies - no maintenance and they'll eventually spread and choke out weeds.  Vinca vine will do the same but won't add any height but it is easier to plant.

 

When I was younger I had a 100 yr old farmhouse and 20 acres that had been neglected terribly.  Just pick a project and work on it.  Start with something easy.  You can't tackle it all at once but you can do little things that will make a difference.  And the mental difference of being productive is huge.  Right now I'd concentrate on the yard because spring is the time to do it - before things start growing out of control.  Do the interior stuff over the winter.

 

Now I have an acre and it was neglected for about 2 years yet I have a ton of flowerbeds.  Trying to figure it out has been a bit overwhelming.  This is my third summer and I'm finally getting a plan together and getting it to really look good.  Just deciding what to do can be paralizing.  I wasted a lot of effort (and money!) the first year trying to add stuff when I didn't yet really know the growing conditions in the different beds.  Looking back I wish I would have just cleared stuff and paid attention to the light conditions that first year.  Don't think about adding anything right now (except maybe around the septic - you want it covered but don't want to be mowing over it or anything) just clear out.  Clearing out overgrown and dead stuff makes a huge difference.  And it is free, especially if you can burn.

 

Good luck!

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#5 of 13 Old 05-02-2011, 08:59 AM
 
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Good ideas mattemma04...

 

When reading your post I kept thinking about garbage bulk pickup. Does your city offer this to you? Ours does it twice a year for no extra cost, they take anything too large to stick in your cans except potentially hazardous things. If your city doesn't offer this maybe there is a local garbage company that will do it for like a $30-40 charge? I would look into to it. It sounds to me like you have to do something at this point or things are only going to get worse. With the leaves, bugs and unknown mics things everywhere, plus the stress of it all, I think that would be enough to keep you sick. But if you can get a bulk pickup you could get rid of so much at one time and make everything else easier to deal with. Get everything out of the basement, all their things out of the shed and rest of the house. Condense your things to the shed that's not rotting, then take apart the rotting one and stick it on the curb...  Then you could deal with the cleaning needed in the basement and get the rest of the house livable.

I know when I have so much to do like this it really works to pick one thing and throw ALL your energy into it, even if it takes days, just get the one thing done and then the next are always easier to tackle.

 

If you don't have a way or space to shred the leaves for compost, could you burn them? And I would call the city about the branches from the lot next to you. They might know who to get in contact with, or might consider it a problem that the city could take care of.

 

Good luck to you!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

 

Maybe just pull out the fence if it is that bad,or add another post to brace it. I like privacy so I would try to save it. For the septic you could  put up some plastic fencing around it,and then plant something around the fence.

 

I know what you mean about buying a home with a lot of hidden issues,and a home valued at far less than what you paid for it. So not fair! Value is supposed to go up and we spend so much to repair just to break even(if that).

 

Make baby steps and work on those things that cause the most damage(to the home) or risk to your family.

 

 

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#6 of 13 Old 05-02-2011, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys.

We did spend a lot of time working on the yard this weekend -- well, DH did, and I helped out here & there as I felt up to it in between dealing with DS -- and it's better but still in rough shape... We have a few feet of woods behind our house so we put all the leaves & branches there. Hopefully they won't blow back. The fence isn't in as bad shape as I thought (looks funny but structurally is OK) but we really really need to put up our own fence, all the way around the yard, I think that would help a ton with random trash and leaves and whatever blowing into our yard all the time, plus it would more clearly define the area we need to focus on (no matter how much we do, it still looks bad because of the woods and the abandoned areas). Wish we could afford the fence now, I really think it would make such a difference.

We do have bulk pick up but it's only for single large items. We really need a dumpster, but they are $300+ and we rented one once to dispose of construction debris and it filled up SOOO much more quickly than I expected. So I guess we really have to just get rid of things a little at a time (which we are OK with things that are still useable but some of it is just *trash* so we have to break it up & try to fit it in our weekly garbage bins which takes forever).

Oh and we cannot rent it out -- it's livable for us but would not be acceptable for a renter, and we are unlikely to find an apartment that's much less than what we could rent the house out for -- just sounds like a big headache that's not worth the $50 extra a month. By the time we get it rent-ready, we might as well just live here ourselves because then it wouldn't be so bad.

I guess I'm just having a hard time accepting any real solutions, because everything seems impossible right now without extra time, money, and energy. I thought about having a bunch of friends over & then helping them on their household projects in return, but we all have young kids and anyway, we'd need to teach everyone how to do things so it wouldn't be time-efficient I don't think. What we really need is a professional to come in & take care of a few things so maybe we could see what we can budget for those few things and just do it, even if we technically can't afford it -- might make everything else more manageable. I just really didn't know it would be this hard and overwhelming to own a home (and obviously didn't plan for DH to be laid off and some of the other major financial hits we've taken in the past few months!)

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#7 of 13 Old 05-02-2011, 01:44 PM
 
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That is a lot going on at once. Our back yard was overgrown badly when we bought this house last year and we have a rickety fence that is functional but not pretty by any stretch. My suggestion is this:

1. You may have a touch of cabin fever. Spring fever? Whatever fever. I know I feel a whole lot better about myself and the state of my life when I can find a patch of green and sit without seeing stuff to do staring right back at me asking me why I am sitting there if that makes sense. I do better with a little bit of serenity. I'd start in a corner. Under a tree, or by your porch or wherever you can sit a couple chairs and a small table and read or let the kids dig holes, whatever suits your brood. I'd start there and clear a 10x10 foot space. You have a 1/4 acrea and that is a respectable pc of land with only 1000 sf of house. You should be able to enjoy it.

2. Trash pickup will usually take 2 ~ 75 lb bins here for free each week, 2x a week. They do yard waste for free too 1x a week to 150 lbs. You can call once a year for free spring cleaning haul off. Do that much a week. Just fill two bins a week even, or haul out the leaves. I'd invest in a leaf blower personally. I'd blow them back where they came from. That's $40 I'd spend on a new one, or keep an eye out for a used one or borrow a neighbors if I could. I know money is tight.

3. Scrap your eyesore shed. If it's metal have it hauled off for cash. 
 

4. Clear your walkway and use your front yard. A $1.50 bag of mulch and $3 worth of seasonal flowers will  do wonders for your mood. Line it with found rocks.

 

I hope you can affect a change that will cheer you up. I hate the blues and it's even worse when you don't see an end. Hugs to you Momma.


Jennifer
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#8 of 13 Old 05-03-2011, 05:09 PM
 
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I agree w the advice to pick one simPle project and do that. Maybe what you should do is make a list of what needs to be done. Then break each big item into it's component pieces so you have a list of small projects w just a few bigger ones. Then you can look that over and see where others might be able to help, because getting a bunch of friends over to rake or till or weed whack or even just haul boxes from A to B is easy enough.

You can continue to break the projects down until you have a whole bunch of 10-15 min projects. For instance, my BFF just moved into a house this winter whose garden had been neglected. We were over this weekend and she was clearing beds for planting. Breaking it down could look like this:
Remove bush A.
Prune bush B.
Rake debris.
Add compost/turn soil.
Set out plants in cleared bed.
Plant left half (or third, quarter) of bed.
Plant right half.
Mulch bed.
Water.

Now, clearing and planting the bed isnt quite so daunting when taken in small chunks like that. You have 5 beds, each one gets its own set of tasks. And anything too strenuous for you is easy enough to ask your DH or a friend to help with because its a 10 minute job. Every job can be approached in this manner. And if you keep a running list, its easy enough to just look at it when you have a few free minutes.

The other thing that jumped out at me is the cracking tile. Do not replace it w tile. It will continue to crack. You have a structural problem of some sort causing the cracks. It could be as minor as the subfloor didn't have enough screws sunk to prevent movement, or as severe as major structural defects. Dont waste your money continuing to use tile until you can have the underlying issue addressed. Or just choose another type of flooring. Myself, we're planning on putting a Marmoleum floating floor in.


Cristeen ~ Always remembering our stillheart.gif  warrior ~ Our rainbow1284.gif  is 3, how'd that happen?!?! 

We welcomed another rainbow1284.gifstillheart.gif  warrior in May 2012!! 

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#9 of 13 Old 05-03-2011, 06:35 PM
 
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For the issues with the vacant lot, I would consider contacting your city, township, health department.... something like that.  I'm not sure from your post if it's a cleaned up lot or terribly overgrown one, but there could be issues with code compliance.  There's no guarantee, of course, that it will be of any help, but it won't cost you anything either.  When the house next to us was abandoned, I know both the township and the health department were involved, (and the police). 

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#10 of 13 Old 05-04-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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Blogging about renovations in our first home
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#11 of 13 Old 05-05-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

I thought about having a bunch of friends over & then helping them on their household projects in return, but we all have young kids and anyway, we'd need to teach everyone how to do things so it wouldn't be time-efficient I don't think. What we really need is a professional to come in & take care of a few things so maybe we could see what we can budget for those few things and just do it, even if we technically can't afford it -- might make everything else more manageable. I just really didn't know it would be this hard and overwhelming to own a home (and obviously didn't plan for DH to be laid off and some of the other major financial hits we've taken in the past few months!)


Totallly do this! You need a full-moon work crew. If you google that you should find an article from Mothering. My friends and I did that and it was great. We brought kids - some people wrangled kids, some cooked and I'm a painting specialist!

 

I totally know where you've been. I get there myself a lot. You need ONE place that's nice, ordered, repaired and happy. One little place where you can be - either in the yard or in the house. whenever you get overwhelmed, try to go to your happy place. I have my living room right now - but maybe it's your kitchen or your bedroom or a place outdoors. Just think about the progress you've made in that one place.
 

 


Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#12 of 13 Old 09-02-2013, 02:41 PM
 
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Hello,

 

I'm a single woman who owns a small house, 2 dogs, and a big weedy yard.   I completely understand where you're coming from.   I'm constantly weeding the yard, cleaning up trash that blows into the yard.    I'm so disorganized, I'm always in the kitchen, putting stuff away, washing anything that I can recyle (mostly plastics).

 

I don't understand how I let things get out of control all the time.

 

Any renovation, forget it, I don't have the money. 

 

Now, if you want some advice.    I think you might need to look at one room at a time.  Start with the kitchen,, maybe do some small things like paint the cupboards, or add a backsplash.   THEN take a break.   One room out of the way.

 

Take it one room at a time, so, you don't get overwhelmed by the entire house at once.    Even if you take small steps, at least you'll have some sense of accomplishment.

 

Good luck.

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#13 of 13 Old 09-03-2013, 10:23 AM
 
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We are doing a lot of work on a mobile home while we are living on it. Two things help me keep my sanity.

 

1) Lists. Make all the lists. A separate list of stuff that needs to be done in very room. Lists of supplies you need to buy, and things you want to purchase used. Seriously list everything you can think of, and it takes a huge mental load off. My lists are enormous, but at least I'm not juggling all my tasks in my head any more.

 

2) Pick one room. Or one area of the yard, or something. And finish that one area, and be proud of your accomplishment. When I don't focus my efforts I end up doing a little bit of work everywhere and feeling like nothing got accomplished. So I decided to start with my daughter's bathroom - it's small. We put in a new vinyl floor and seated the toilet, we finished putting up trim, then filled all the gaps in the trim and nail holes in the walls, then I painted all the cabinets, and the walls, then put up a towel bar, bought new lightbulbs, and a new shower curtain, then I cleaned it. And that room is DONE! We have a lot left to do, but every time I walk in there I sigh with relief that it is completely finished. 

 

How you chose a room to start on depends on lots of things - how much work needs to be done, how much stuff needs to be emptied out to work on it, how long it will take you, if you can afford the supplies, etc. But finishing even one room feels soooo good.

 

And maybe try scheduling in time to work on certain projects? Like dedicate 2 weekend days a month to spending the whole day working on one room. Dedicate a couple of hours each week to working on the yard. 

 

And don't be too hard on yourself. A house takes A LOT of work getting started, just keeping up with day to day chores, without even thinking about bigger projects. But I motivate myself to do bigger projects because ultimately they will save me time and effort in the long room. If I get a closet super organized and build a bunch of shelving, that is going to take me a few days of work probably. But once is done, my closet will stay neater and picking up will be much faster because the extra storage will mean everything has a place.

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