I am not a simplifier by nature. I am a train wreck by nature. I horde (well, I keep :)), I was raised without structure when it came to home organization. We have a pretty big home (3300 sq ft) and it is so full, and disorganized. 2 years ago, I quit work full time. DD1 was 10, DD2 was 2, and I had just found out I was pregnant again. We had planned this in our master plan, and I was ecstatic. When we both worked a ton we hire help to clean. I left DD2 in child care for a full week after quitting work and went through every item in our home. I brought 2 truck loads to GoodWill. Everything stayed so clean, so nice, I knew where everything was. Pick up was easy because everything had a place.
Fast forward. DD2 and the now 16 month DD3 both have some special needs that have sucked the life out of me. How is full of crap again. DD1 is 12 and in Jr High, super busy and involved in everything. AND....we just found out we are expecting again (surprise this time) and 6 week sono showed 2 sacs, 1 heartbeat. We go back in 3 weeks to see if the other is viable and is kicking a heartbeat, or not. So this spring I will have a then 13 yr old, 4 yr old, still 1 yr old, and either 1 or 2 new babies.
I am so overwhelmed with my home. I would hire regular cleaning help again but I have scaled my part time consulting from 15 hr to 3 hr a week due to the girls needs, and there isn't tons of extra cash. It is to the point that I am now rebuying things we have because I don't know where they are. :)
Our cute little kid hooks I installed 2 years ago by the door are now full of 6 or 7 unused totes. Sometimes I think....why do I own 10 purses, 10 totes, 5 diaper backs, 10 flashlights, etc...when I could own one of everything that I knew where it was and such.
We have an amazingly beautiful home. I love it. I want my kids to come home, ,kick shoes off by the door so we have one pile, toss their bag on a hook or tote, and get on with life. I have no expectations of amazing organization, but just a little structure so life runs smoothly.
I have tried flylady and such, and fail.
Any wisdom on how to start to get my home together and my kids in a routine of housekeeping? Like, why shouldn't we be able to stop when we are done playing, pick up a toy, and put it away?
Bestow your wisdom on me. :) How do you hold a home together with multiple kids???
I think part of the problem is that your house is so huge that it's impossible to expect you to maintain it on your own. Can you close off some of the rooms temporarily until things get under control? Our home is 1050 square feet and I admit that I'm overwhelmed just to keep it clean. I've recently started getting my kids to help me by playing fun music while we clean. They have a "race" to clean up and whoever cleans the most gets to pick the first book we read at bedtime. They're 4 and 6 so that works as a motivator. Instead of driving truckloads of stuff to a donation center I wait until the charity truck comes through our neighborhood. I just keep an ongoing trashbag in the closet and put it out whever the truck comes through town. If your kids need an incentive on what things to declutter you could always tell them you'll attempt to sell their discards and use the money to buy them something they've been wanting.
mama to and and
First, I just wanted to offer some hugs. I know what it's like to suddenly find out you're going to have two babies. It can be completely overwhelming, and I can only imagine what you are going through with the pregnancy being a surprise as well.
My house is by no means clean, organized, and ready for company at any time. But I'm working on it. The biggest thing for me is to have a place for everything, because then you know where it needs to go if it's sitting out. And I think in some ways, you answered your own question: "Sometimes I think....why do I own 10 purses, 10 totes, 5 diaper backs, 10 flashlights, etc...when I could own one of everything that I knew where it was and such." That sounds like it should be your mission statement.
Start small. Take one area in one room, and ruthlessly go through it. If something hasn't been used in the past 6 months (or 1 month, or 1 year... Whatever you decide), put it in a pile to donate. If you can't make up your mind, have a box labelled "maybe" and put it in the garage or a closet for a specified amount of time. If, after that time has elapsed, you find you aren't missing it, get rid of it. For everything you keep, make sure it has a "home". You may need to buy additional furniture to house things, like a buffet to keep serving dishes that you need for holidays but not everyday use. Even though we aren't wealthy, I've learned that most things are replaceable. If I donate something and realize a year later that I really miss it, I can always buy another one.
The hardest part is getting started. Just start somewhere, and you'll gain momentum as you go. It's totally overwhelming when you look a an entire out-of-control house. Just pick a small spot, something you can finish in a short time, and get excited about your small victories.
Married to my loving hubby, proud mama to Ethan (9/09) and Rowyn (7/12) and aspiring homesteader
Missing my twins, Owen and Sophia, born too soon, July 2011
One of the things that has helped me the most, especially when it comes to having mulitple items, is to decide where everything belongs. For instance, all the flashlights belong in a certain cabinet in the kitchen. In the bedrooms, each girl has their books, clothes and a few special toys. All other toys belong in the basement/playroom. It makes it easier to clean up because I can go into a room and identify which items need to be put some place else. I will go in, put all the misplaced item into a basket, straighten up what is left and sort through the stuff in the basket to put it back where it belongs (actually, the girls do most of the putting back, I tell them where it goes.) Now that mine are older, I can also give them more direction like - straighten up your books and put your dirty clothes in the laundry, etc.
From what you describe, it sounds like you are a bit overwhelmed as to where everything belongs in the first place. There are no right answers. When I am trying to figure out where I should put something, I ask myself where would I go to look for it if I needed it. I know this sounds kind of "too simple", but it really has helped. As you get all off that organized in your mind, it will make it easier for you to identify misplaced items and know where to move them.
Elsie, great advice.
I think I am going to take several bits of advice and do something like this:
Get a load of totes and label them in a way that makes the most sense based on my clutter. Like, LONG TERM STORAGE for items that I will be keeping but really won't be used for a long time. SEASONAL STORAGE (we have Huge amounts of ball caps, stocking caps, sunscreen, mittens, ball gloves, and various seasonal things that seem to circulate regardless of season...I need then in boxes for the right season, but not deep storage), GOOD WILL for things I know need to go, REHOME for items we use a lot but just float, MULTIPLES for those items i KNOW we just have too many of, but really need to sit down and figure out which ones we need to move to the REHOME box and which to the GOODWILL box. There may be a need for other boxes along the way, but my clutter kind of lands in one of these boxes. I will go area by area, in 10 min spurts when I have them, and fill the boxes. Then I am going to hire a sitter for 2 hours each Friday afternoon, during which time I will take the GOOD WILL stuff to Good Will, sort the MULTIPLES and work on Rehoming.