I am a graduate student, work part time, and am a full time mom of 2 sons (18 m and 6 yrs). I have a break in classes over the holidays. My house has fallen to pieces since I went back to school. I desperately need to use this school break to declutter the entire house. My 18m old is into everything and I have to get this stuff everywhere to a manageable level before I start my next 3 classes in January. Please help! I need a plan, a list, a goal, something to get me on track. I am very self motivated once I have a solid plan. We just have way too much stuff in too small a space. Thanks for any help.
My big thing was saving clothes. Way too many with 4 kids. So I simplified. I started saving only favorite items I KNOW I will use in the future, like the boys' special dressy outfits. I got rid of almost all my baby stuff. I have saved only a few favorite or barely worn items from DS1 down to DS2. Sometimes seasons are wrong and things don't fit, yk? I buy and save black snowpants because they work. I have saved a lot of shoes and boots, I might pare it down some too but like this winter it actually saved me having to buy boots for the younger 2. DS1 got a pair from a friend, DD I still need to get
The other big thing with kids is organizing TOYS and not having so many. I gave each child an under-bed tote, I allow one other box in their room for bigger stuff, like DS2's trucks. Then I have games and puzzles put up so they have to ask, and they must pick up the first before getting another. I also way downsized our books. And what *should* probably be a linen closet outside our bathroom is 2 shelves are an arts-and-crafts area for them. Paper organized, colors and such in a 3 drawer plastic thing, playdough box. At their level.
I got one of those shoe things that go over the door for inside the coat closet for all the mittens, hats, scarves, all that winter stuff. This summer it held flip flops and stuff like that.
The other thing is I have magazine holder things--and ones I made with duct tape reinforced cereal boxes! to hold school papers on top of the fridge.
Oh and my bedroom closet shelf is mostly a bookshelf, with boxes of 'stuff' as bookends and I can close the closet and not look at it.
lovin DH since 1/04, SAHM to 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), and one 13 wk (10/13) just your average :ha ng multigenerational living family!!
First thing I would do is take 1 day to just rest and plan and gather materials- bags, boxes, a sharpie etc.
Next I would take a day or two or even more to just do a quick run through. Take a 15 minute break for every hour of work you do. Now with little ones, that for me is sit on the floor and play typically, with a break to myself during nap time. Go to the most used room and gather any trash and get rid of it. Then the next room and the next. Just search the whole house for trash. Then gather laundry. Put it in one area. Maybe start a load now.
Next I like to do the dishes, clear my kitchen counters and table and floor (with little ones the amount of STUFF that ends up on my kitchen floor amazes me-- it's so random). Then disinfect everything. Then while the kitchen is clean and you can think clearly, go through looking for stuff you can donate or even just pack away if you aren't ready to get rid of it. While you are in school, you are going to need to have only what you need out in the mix. If you have more than you need, it just adds to the stress. Having 1 day worth of dishes means you will have to do the dishes sooner and they can't get out of hand.
Next for me would be my bathrooms. Straighten disinfect then look for stuff to get rid of. I find it best to take everything out and add back what I need, but it does make a mess, so I just do it one surface/shelf/cabinet at a time.
Then I'd do the family room. For my family room, I just recently took the majority of the toys out of there. I packed a bunch away in the basement to rotate, I sold a bunch (I don't recommend this in your case with so much going on) and donated a bunch. Then I went shelf by shelf and emptied each one and added back what I love and truly use. The rest was donated, moved to another room or if it was a maybe item, it went in my basement.
After I got the main living space looking good, I'd move to the kids' rooms and really focus on toys and clothing.Put like items together and straighten up a bit then purge. You may purge first. Personally I do better when there is some order... either sorted piles so I can see how much of something we have or a clean room. I like to only leave maybe 5 choices of toys within their reach and the rest is put up and rotated. I end up with more out after a while and i have to reorganize, but this does last a little while. I'd focus on laundry this time too, and get down to 10 - 14 outfits per person, less if you do laundry often. If you really don't want to get rid of things, remember you can at least take them out of the rotation for a while until things calm down.
Your room. I usually alternate between tackling my room first or last. When I do it first, I wake up in a better mood and ready to clean. If I do it last, then I will usually try to work 10-15 minutes per day as I am doing the other rooms in my bedroom.
My dining room and my living room tend to stay neater just because we don't spend as much time in there. I can usually use the 10 minutes per day rule for them too.
By now, you should need to do another round straightening room by room and decluttering another layer. I like to invite people over at this point so I can have some motivation to get more done. It tends to help me keep the momentum.
So that's how I would handle it. Good luck!
Lol. I always invite people over when I really need to clean. Clean people, not other moms whose houses look like mine!
I am awful at getting rid of things. My DH's mom is an untreated hoarder. Her 4000 ft2 house is FULL. So I do NOT want to get like that. I know if we can declutter it would help me keep the house more tidy on a day to day basis. I feel like right now things just get moved room to room never finding a good spot.
Clean laundry is my biggest enemy. It piles to insane amounts till we break down and stash it away.
I need less stuff and less clothes and I think that would help out a lot with keeping it under control.
How do you all decide what to get rid of?
As far as deciding what to get rid of, it never really clicked until I turned it around. Now I go through our clothes with a set idea of what we need. What do I need to keep? I started to allow my dd to only have 10 school outfits available to her. The rest is packed away and I am giving it some time before I get rid of some of it. Consignment sales are good for me because I can get money out of it, and that motivates me. But that's good for when you have a lot of time. I would go through and just make sure everyone has 10 outfits per season and see how much is left over after that. Let your storage space decide how much you can keep or pick a number. If 10 outfits is a full wardrobe, how many back-up pieces do you really need? These are the things I try to ask myself... but change is slow for me. I'm getting there. I have to say that I am keeping up with routines so much better this week and I am exhausted. My 2 year-old has been up a lot lately and I've gotten used to sleeping more.
My MIL constantly gives us "bargains". It is one of the ways she justifies the hoarding she does. My DH says take it all that way her feelings don't get hurt. So I take loads to Goodwill all year long. But we have lived in this house 6 years (the longest I have lived anywhere) and the "keep" items have just piled up over time. I figure if I make it a 30 day challange I have a better chance at being truely motivated to let things go.
I love that idea! We have considered moving to Alska, and my DH's work will only pay to move a certain amount of stuff. Although Alaska is not in the cards right now, that will be what I use. Lovely suggestion, thank you! The toys and clothes need a firm hand in this 30 day challange. BTW I start my challenge next Thursday Dec 8 if anyone wants to join me.
As a professor, I would love to have my break in December. Alas, my last final is dec 22nd or something. Sooooo....January is when I do a big clean, but that leaves my house a pit for guests.
There are lots of toy drives and clothing drives this time of year! Try to pick out gently used clothing/toy items that just don't work for your space and donate them. For example, toys with a million pieces, toys that don't get played with or only get played with for one minute, toys that won't last, and clothes that you already have that item (i.e. extra pair of sweatpants, extra long sleeved shirt). Do a little a day and have a place where you put your declutter stuff, then take it all away in your trunk!
Also, maybe you need a better storage solution.....rethink how you store toys, clothes, laundry etc. Sometimes a simple storage cube shelf like these at Target can make clean up simple and make your house a little more organized. Good storage can really help with things that aren't clutter and that you really need to keep....but don't use it as a clutter excuse. Declutter :) Good luck....I'm a student and have the same break so I'll be doing this task with you!!
Mothering my sweet preschool boy and my new arrival
Should I work on a single room until it is completed? I tend to bounce room to room a lot! What is the most effiecient proceedure? This will be like an episode of Clean House. Ton of stuff is going to Goodwill and also the dump.
Anyone seen the FlyLady.net website - she sends a daily email of what to do - I think it is 10 minutes a day and one longer session once a week and slowly but surely the whole house gets organized and then there are many tips on how to keep it that way for ever and always - only if we did not have kids, right? I certainly miss this website - I have not been on here in eons.
I tried flylady several years ago but it was too much stuff! My email got cluttered and it was overwhelming. However, it must work for some people or it wouldn't still be so popular. I did pick up a coulpe great tips. My favorite is the 37 Fling Boggie where you run throught the house with a trash bag.
mkksmom - That is one of the best explanations of the nuts and bolts of decluttering that I have read. I love it! Great for those of us who don't really work that way naturally. I second the idea that the less stuff you have, the easier to clean and keep the place decluttered. That finally dawned on me, and I'm now pretty ruthless about clothes. Still working on paper.
Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"
I think a lot of people might do the flylady thing and wind up just taking a few tips and leaving the rest. I know that is what I have done also, only for me it was the 15 minute timer thing, and having a morning routine. I'm just starting back from the semester break last week, and didn't accomplish my goals. lol. I currently decided to shrink my living room a few feet and create a storage area with a screen I had, but the piles of clutter in front of that area are now cascading everywhere and becoming a little overwhelming. :/
My cleaning/decluttering usually starts with my morning routine because that gets the laundry and dishes going to work while I do other things. After that I try to go room by room if I'm just picking up, but my declutter is normally more gradual. I keep a declutter bin by the door and when it is full it gets taken to the thrift store in town. Most of the time I will be working on fixing supper or waiting for a kid to get done in the shower and declutter a cabinet or find the item that I keep moving because it doesn't have a home. If I use it regularly and don't have something else that can do the job it stays, but I get it washed and give it a home (which normally gets rid of something else) or decide I really don't need it that badly and it gets cleaned and donated.
How do I decide what to keep and what to let go of?
I imagine some sort of disaster (house fire) or life changing event (moving overseas permanently).. What would I replace in the case of a fire or what would I pay a hefty shipping fee to send off if I were moving overseas? Whatever is on your list, is what is truly important to you (in terms of posessions). I would get rid of everything that's not on your list. It sounds too simple, but the secret is.. it actually is that simple. That's what I've done/am still continuing to do in this house.
Best of luck!
I like this! Except, I've moved so many times, and lost so many things, there isn't anything I would pay to ship to anywhere. :P And I wait for people to give me stuff for free, I *rarely* pay for anything. :) That just means a lot of times, I go for years without things that most people would consider necessities, like a bed. We finally have a bed (an air mattress that my mom gave me), after almost 4 years without. :P
Mama to DD (12.2005), DS1 (01.2009), DS2 (04.28.2013) with DH 04.10.13!!
|Decluttering , Organizing|