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#1 of 12 Old 08-24-2011, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've had a really rough last 1 1/2 years or so.  Illness, death in the family, spouse travelling a lot, etc.  The household stuff took a backseat...I have so much to do, repair, declutter (younger kid stuff is still out and should go through toys too).  

 

All I can say is, in the last two days I've done a lot (and I'm really starting to get overwhelmed--as it's NOT enough).  This stuff needs to be done, and soon (going to have an extended family member move in with us shortly).  I have to completely redo one room to make it for them (right now my storage, pantry room) and on top of that I have an influx of stuff they brought in (maybe 5-6 large storage bins worth).  They are having health issues and are not really going to be able to help me out either.  Things need to be done to prepare for them.

 

I'm usually so good at this stuff, but now being so overwhelmed I'm completely sucking at it.  It's a lot for one person to do.  greensad.gif  I'm feeling very stressed. I'm certain I need more organization in doing this?  Suggestions.  I feel like I have writers block, but instead of writing it's with respect to getting the house in gear!

 

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Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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#2 of 12 Old 08-25-2011, 01:16 AM
 
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Hugs to you and for the difficult year and a half. I hope things are getting better for you.

 

Regarding the amount of work you need to do, you are only human and you can only do so much so don't beat yourself up for not delivering miracles.

 

I would start where you can make the most impact. Being the kitchen or a bathroom. Once you get that under control, take a break and make a plan for attacking the spare room. Where will you house your stuff that is currently in that room? Start there, make space for the stuff from the spare room and then move it all there. Then attack the room itself and prepare it for the guests. Once that is done, I bet you are going to feel relieved and you could move to other areas.

Be ruthless and just toss stuff you don't need.

Drink plenty of fluids and take short breaks as to not overwhelm yourself.

 

Good luck!

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#3 of 12 Old 08-28-2011, 01:28 AM
 
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Oh, do I ever hear you!!! I feel like you could be describing my life - except for someone moving in with us - the idea of which sort of makes my head feel like it's going to pop. (also just happen to be enfp too.)

Big, big ((hugs)) on what you're going through right now. And know that you're not alone. I think there are a lot of us limping along together right now.

I thought the PP's response was good.

I'd also recommend using a timer to work for set time on a specific job or area and planning a treat break to look forward to - a piece of chocolate, 5 minutes in the sun with your book, call a friend - this helps me A LOT to break it down and stay motivated.

Also maybe make a list for yourself of the bare minimum that needs to get done as well as everything that you want to get done, so if you can't get to everything you can just focus on the real emergency type stuff (like your new household member will need a place to sleep.)

And if you have any friends or family who you could call on, this would be a good time to offer a swap: they come over to help you now, and you help them out with something they need in the future.

And do, do be ruthless. I've been reminding my family lately that unless something is one-of-a-kind, it's usually pretty easily replaceable (eBay, craigslist...).

Above all, be gentle with yourself - the past years have been hard on you and it sounds like someone should be taking care of you right about now.

This link is to a decluttering workbook that might help:
http://www.throwoutfiftythings.com/page/workbook-1
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#4 of 12 Old 08-28-2011, 08:47 AM
 
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I too am in that stage of recovering from several years of caring for my mother, who lived 3 hours away.  I simply shoved things into draws, laundry baskets, whatever.  I have never succeeded at staying organized, but I want this so badly... I am glad I found this forum.  Jeanie

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#5 of 12 Old 08-28-2011, 11:18 AM
 
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If it's just cleaning you need done, can you hire out while you do the decluttering and organizing?

 

As far as the person moving in, we lived in a similiar situation. They were older and could not help out much. I made it simple for him. I organized his closet with just what he needed to wear, not wanted. I kept his underclothes, socks and shoes on a higher up shelf in the closet, so no bending over. We installed simple curtains that were easy to open and close and one wall was devoted to personal pics and items. We had a small shelf that we rotated out his things. The rest was all packed away neatly and organized, labeled by items- clothes, books, pictures, etc. We could always find things if he needed them. With fresh paint and new hardwood floors, it was simple and easy to take care of. In his bathroom, he had easy access to a few towels and his personal items in a basket. We installed carpet tiles so he would not slip.

 

As for yourself, don't stress. Go at your own pace. I tend to ask for a complete day to get things done. I tend to take a room at a time and clean from top to bottom, removing everything out that I can and nothing comes back in unless it belongs there. Drastic I know but it's the only way I got through things. Keep boxes with toss, keep, donate and you can move pretty quickly. Like I said if you can get it decluttered and organized, why not hire out some cleaning help? I think it would release some stress for you. : )

 

 

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#6 of 12 Old 08-28-2011, 06:27 PM
 
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When I think of writer's block, I think of perfectionism - the fear to do anything because it might not be the very very best thing, the conviction that doing the imperfect thing would be awful, the belief that if you keep on thinking you'll think of the very best thing you can possibly do. If you're prone to perfectionism, even a little bit, stress can increase it, and it sounds like you've had (and are still having) an overdose of stress.
 
So I'd say, make your slogan "do something". Pick an action and work on it for an hour. It's highly unlikely that it's going to make things a great deal worse. It's fairly likely that it will make things better. Then repeat.
 
For example, you say that there are "5 or 6 storage bins' worth" of stuff. Is it loose stuff, lying around, or stuff in a bunch of mismatched hard to deal with containers? If you could wave a magic wand and instantly have it packed in 5 or 6 identical storage bins, bins that you could easily haul around or stack in a corner, would you do so? If so, then go buy the bins and put the stuff in them. 
 
Maybe that's the wrong decision. Maybe the bins will be a waste of money. Maybe you'd have done better to buy smaller bins. Maybe you'll crush something while packing it. Maybe those bins are just adding to the clutter.  All that is perfectionism talking.  I suggest that you smack it hard (or feed it a cookie to distract it) and then go buy the bins.
 
Is this one of those rare occasions when renting a storage unit really is a good idea? Sure, it's usually a bad idea because you come back ten years later to find that you've spent thousands of dollars to store fifty dollars' worth of stuff. But this may well be the exception. Consider taking the imperfect step of renting a storage unit. Put a big red note on your calendar, three months or six months from the day that that relative moves in, to start clearing the storage unit out.
 
Is there a lot of food in that pantry room that you're sure you could shoehorn into your kitchen if you just had time to declutter the kitchen? Take the imperfect step of loading that food in the car and donating it to the food bank.
 
And so on. Have an idea, hear the objections to that idea in your head, smack them hard, and then go do it. That's my advice.
 
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#7 of 12 Old 08-28-2011, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Olma View Post


 Where will you house your stuff that is currently in that room? Start there, make space for the stuff from the spare room and then move it all there. Then attack the room itself and prepare it for the guests. Once that is done, I bet you are going to feel relieved and you could move to other areas.

Be ruthless and just toss stuff you don't need.

Drink plenty of fluids and take short breaks as to not overwhelm yourself.

 

Good luck!


I definitely think I need to be ruthless.  A lot of the stuff too is probably kids stuff that they won't miss!  I could probably toss out a lot in fact...I don't seem to have issues getting rid of things when I start.  I think the problem is, there is so much going on at home just keeping up with the day to day (laundry, dishes, school stuff, cooking, cleaning) will suck up all the time.  When I need to get this done relatively quickly (I may actually have a little bit more time I found out, but still!).

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pradiata View Post


I thought the PP's response was good.

I'd also recommend using a timer to work for set time on a specific job or area and planning a treat break to look forward to - a piece of chocolate, 5 minutes in the sun with your book, call a friend - this helps me A LOT to break it down and stay motivated.

Above all, be gentle with yourself - the past years have been hard on you and it sounds like someone should be taking care of you right about now.

This link is to a decluttering workbook that might help:
http://www.throwoutfiftythings.com/page/workbook-1


I did the timer technique in the past, but not recently.  I think I need to start structuring things more.  I will check out the workbook for ideas!  Thanks so much.  And, most definitely the last year or so has been so hard.  I got my first grey hairs to prove it!

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by LVNTEXAS View Post

If it's just cleaning you need done, can you hire out while you do the decluttering and organizing?

 

As far as the person moving in, we lived in a similiar situation. They were older and could not help out much. I made it simple for him. I organized his closet with just what he needed to wear, not wanted. I kept his underclothes, socks and shoes on a higher up shelf in the closet, so no bending over. We installed simple curtains that were easy to open and close and one wall was devoted to personal pics and items. We had a small shelf that we rotated out his things. The rest was all packed away neatly and organized, labeled by items- clothes, books, pictures, etc. We could always find things if he needed them. With fresh paint and new hardwood floors, it was simple and easy to take care of. In his bathroom, he had easy access to a few towels and his personal items in a basket. We installed carpet tiles so he would not slip.

 

 

 


I LOVE these suggestions.  I am going to do what I can so things are nice, simple and organized for them.  I want them to feel comfortable and feel like they are 'at home'.  Yes, and it's a situation where they likely won't be able to do much, but probably will enjoy our companionship (and need a little help along the way).

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post

 

 
When I think of writer's block, I think of perfectionism - the fear to do anything because it might not be the very very best thing, the conviction that doing the imperfect thing would be awful, the belief that if you keep on thinking you'll think of the very best thing you can possibly do. If you're prone to perfectionism, even a little bit, stress can increase it, and it sounds like you've had (and are still having) an overdose of stress.
 
So I'd say, make your slogan "do something". Pick an action and work on it for an hour. It's highly unlikely that it's going to make things a great deal worse. It's fairly likely that it will make things better. Then repeat.
 
For example, you say that there are "5 or 6 storage bins' worth" of stuff. Is it loose stuff, lying around, or stuff in a bunch of mismatched hard to deal with containers? If you could wave a magic wand and instantly have it packed in 5 or 6 identical storage bins, bins that you could easily haul around or stack in a corner, would you do so? If so, then go buy the bins and put the stuff in them. 
 


Well, the storage bins are things I can't go through yet because they are the things belonging to the person I'm fixing the room up for.  I am going to keep them untouched at this point because they need to go through them with me

 

I definitely think I need to do what you're saying...do something.  Thinking about this isn't helping, just spending anytime is going to help.  I definitely am going to start planning things out more.

 

 


Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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#8 of 12 Old 08-31-2011, 01:21 PM
 
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I don't have time to read the other posts, so hopefully I'm not repeating advice that has already been given. 

 

I'm so sorry things have been so rough for you and your family. I know it must be such a challenge to keep it all together, but I really admire your endurance and willingness to ask for some advice. A lot of people have too much pride to ask for advice or help. 

 

Depending on your financial situation, you may want to consider hiring an organization consultant. I know you said you're an expert, but someone who comes in from the outside (as I'm sure you know) will be more effective in helping you de-clutter. If hiring a little help is not in your budget, what about asking a friend or close family member to help? Lastly, if neither of those suggestions will work, then think small. Instead of thinking about your entire house, or even an entire room, consider only one corner of space at a time. Begin with one corner, beginning with a difficult corner may make your work seem easier the more you accomplish, but beginning with a small corner will still bring productivity- you can decide; then work your way around the room. Though it may take some time, you will still be accomplishing the much needed organizing you're in need of. Also, if you need organization tools, like shelves or boxes... you may want to check out the container store, just google them for the website and locations. also, realsimple.com has some great links to aid in de-cluttering space, too; it's actually where i learned about beginning with one corner and working your way around the room. 

 

I hope that's helpful. :) Also, I hope this little quote brings you a smile: "cleaning the house before the kids are done growing is like shoveling the walk before it's done snowing." I know it may not make anything less overwhelming, but I hope it's a comfort to know you are not the only hardworking momma who struggles. As I noticed while scrolling down to post, another momma suggested taking time to de-stress, I second her suggestion. :) 

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#9 of 12 Old 09-03-2011, 06:55 AM
 
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I was in a similar situation where life got tough and things built up, only I never was all that great. I ended up consigning a lot of the baby kid items, and then I used the money to hire help. I chose organizers. I have one who is great with the details, and then there is a group of 2 ladies who are really awesome at quickly getting things in order in larger categories. They tackled my insanely unorganized basement in 3.5 hours. I now can go through and I don't get as overwhelmed. Another trick I picked up is to concentrate all of your efforts in ONE ROOM at a time. I still don't always do it, but if you spread out the work, you don't see how far you've come and it's very discouraging. Also, I'd take a few days and freeze some easy to reheat dinners. I spend waaay too much time in the kitchen and you are so right by the time i do the dailies, there just isn't time. But if you don't see progress, there is nothing to keep you motivated.

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#10 of 12 Old 09-06-2011, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkksmom View Post

I was in a similar situation where life got tough and things built up, only I never was all that great. I ended up consigning a lot of the baby kid items, and then I used the money to hire help.
 
*snip*
 
Another trick I picked up is to concentrate all of your efforts in ONE ROOM at a time. I still don't always do it, but if you spread out the work, you don't see how far you've come and it's very discouraging. Also, I'd take a few days and freeze some easy to reheat dinners.


I think the next couple of days will be a good chance for me to tackle a few things during the day at least.  I have a few bigger items and consignment I'll bet will be the way to go for those!  

 

I actually have meat for sandwiches and a lot of vegetables already set up for salads.  Tomorrow I have a roast planned in the crock-pot...thanks for the suggestions! 



Quote:
Originally Posted by jewel1288 View Post

Depending on your financial situation, you may want to consider hiring an organization consultant. I know you said you're an expert, but someone who comes in from the outside (as I'm sure you know) will be more effective in helping you de-clutter. 

 

I hope that's helpful. :) Also, I hope this little quote brings you a smile: "cleaning the house before the kids are done growing is like shoveling the walk before it's done snowing." I know it may not make anything less overwhelming, but I hope it's a comfort to know you are not the only hardworking momma who struggles. As I noticed while scrolling down to post, another momma suggested taking time to de-stress, I second her suggestion. :) 


Having a houseful of kids I can relate!!!  I think things were pretty good overall up until the fourth arrived...which sort of coincided with DH's work schedule going bonkers!  Time sort of turned into a premium and that kind of set up the perfect storm.  Just keeping up with the day to day (laundry-clothes-cleanup) takes so much time!  Throw in the family tragedies, illness and other things...that just made for a lot of craziness!  

 

As far as hiring someone.  There are some household things I will hire someone to do...but I have a lot of experience decluttering (have done it for myself in the past and helped friends and family members) I think the main issue here is time.  When I do it I'm pretty ruthless with myself.  If I catch myself getting stuck I definitely have a friend I've helped in the past who I could probably pull in to help.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mushy1127 View Post

Are you familiar at all with FlyLady? I find her very annoying but never the less a great place to start. The organized home dot com site is pretty decent too.

Hang in there. Think of how nice it will be once this is all behind you. smile.gif


I used to do some of Fly ladies things...like the sink, I do like a clean, shiny sink! :)

 

Did a lot of cleaning at the end of last week, got rid of a few things I would have loved to keep but just don't have space for (no basement here either).  I realized it's easier without them and that the clean space is worth way more to me.  :)

 

I'm going to try to stay more upbeat and positive about things.

 

 


Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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#11 of 12 Old 09-06-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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Well, I must admit that I was never terribly organized to begin with, but we have also had a rough few years due to family illness and death, a move or two, and then another death (very sudden) this summer. It certainly does affect how well you can keep up with day-to-day life and especially changes like an additional person (and their stuff!) moving into your house. In the past, my general method (when I had to tidy up my table or counter) was to stuff it all in a box and think I'd get to it later. Well, now my closet and garage are full of boxes of random stuff that I still need to go through! I know that most of it is junk like expired coupons and articles I intended to read, but I was also missing important things like photos and my college diploma, so I can't just toss it all without looking. It will be a long process. Recently I have made an attempt to get things more organized for my own sanity - NOT just for appearances. The difference in motive has made a big difference for me.

 

I started in the kitchen. Now that it's relatively organized (just the basics - counters and fridge), I feel better about it, I can cook more comfortably, and I don't let the dishes pile up. My best advice is to leave the cabinets the way they are. If they are functional enough for your daily activities, they can wait. Julie Morganstern (sp?) writes about emptying everything out of her closet, not knowing what to do with it all, and then having more of a mess than when she started. She suggests first organizing what you use most, not the stuff buried in the cabinets and closets and drawers. That stuff has been in there a while and can stay hidden a little longer. If I organize my kitchen counter, it will actually be an improvement in my day-to-day life. I can get to the closet, cabinet, or drawer later, after all the stuff I use every day (and have to look at every day!) is in better shape.

 

The other thing I started to do was organize my paperwork. When my father died suddenly this summer, we were very fortunate that he was really organized. But it still has been so hard to make the calls and fill out the paperwork. I can't imagine how much harder it would be if we had to figure it all out on our own, with no filing system or list to start with. From this experience, I finally learned (not just intellectually) that I am making things harder on myself by being disorganized. Of course, the paper clean up was prompted by the fact that we are (finally) filing our taxes for 2010 and really needed to get our stuff together for that. I have handled our taxes in a haphazard fashion every year for too long (this is not a new task - I am in my 40s). This time as I look for what I need for the taxes, I am also filing all the other papers that need to be saved - instead of just shuffling them around to deal with "later." In the past, I knew it was around here somewhere, but it took extra time to find everything. It feels good to know things are easier to find already.

 

Good luck! You are not alone and can get it done if you stick with the basics and remember to avoid the overwhelm of perfectionism. Getting or keeping a home organized is a process, not a destination, because things are always changing (and because kids are messy and time consuming!) and that's okay. A little bit of progress every day will keep things moving in the right direction. Aim for "good enough" and it will be just right. Thinking of you...

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#12 of 12 Old 09-06-2011, 07:38 PM
 
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I read Craigs List for months and months until an add came up where they seemed like they were nice and could write well. I had my neighbor come the first time, and she stayed 3-40 minutes until I could see that they were safe.

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