Making peace with chaos and clutter - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 36 Old 05-07-2012, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
gitanamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: High desert or Peruvian coast
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I hope this is the right place to post this--it seems a little against the grain. :)

 

I'm looking for support or advice on making peace with clutter and chaos in my home. I have a two year old (a very wild two year old, at that) plus I run a "playschool" a few days a week, so my house is constantly filled with toddlers and toys. My hubby is great about big cleaning projects (you should see that man with a mop!) but is pretty messy otherwise---throws dirty clothes on the floor, leaves dirty dishes around, etc. 

 

I'm not a neat freak by any means, but excessive clutter bothers me. When there are messes around me, I feel like I can't relax until they're all dealt with. So basically, I haven't felt relaxed in two years! I've tried all different systems, and had lots of talks with my DH, but basically, I don't think there's a practical solution to the messiness in our house. There will always be some toys laying about, dishes that need to be done, laundry that needs folding, etc. I'm now trying to focus on being able to feel relaxed and content in all the chaos!

 

Any advice---how do you deal with a constantly messy house? 


~may all beings be free from suffering~
gitanamama is offline  
#2 of 36 Old 05-07-2012, 12:44 PM
 
4evermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PA
Posts: 8,834
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

Just lie down and admire how clean and uncluttered the ceiling is;-)

 

One thing I did when my ds was about that age was to rotate out some of the toys so that the overall number of toys weren't too bothersome if they were ALL strewn all over the floor at the same time. Things like open shelving can help because you can set the item on the shelf just as easily as on the floor.

 

For things like clothes, maybe a hamper with no lid set right where dh leaves his clothes would help. That would be right next to the bed for me. But even if it's right next to the couch, you can just pick up the whole thing and cart it off if someone stops by. Just one of those pop up mesh hampers or something. If it's painfully easy, it just might work. 


Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
4evermom is offline  
#3 of 36 Old 05-07-2012, 03:32 PM
 
CI Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 796
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Not sure I have much advice, but I'm in totally the same boat as you. I just can't get things neat and organized right now. And there are a few places in the house that are disaster areas (like I'd need at least a week of uninterrupted time to even begin to tackle the mess). And I have a DP whose tolerance for clutter is waaayyyy higher than mine.

 

My approaches (thus far):

Keep the worst of it to the basement and the 2nd floor. And then just try to only go upstairs and downstairs when absolutely necessary.

Keep a few key areas tidy, and then focus on those areas for now.

Fantasize a lot about taking a vacation where in a tasmanian-devil like furor, I go on a decluttering and cleaning rampage.

Fantasize a lot about living in a 8x10 minimalist tiny house. By myself. With 12 belongings.

Remind myself that death is very orderly, life is chaotic and crazy. Embrace life.

Take a lot of deep breaths.

 

Someday, I may finally get everything in order, and who knows, I might miss the chaos. shrug.gif

tittipeitto and pickle18 like this.

Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

CI Mama is offline  
#4 of 36 Old 05-08-2012, 08:25 AM
 
mkksmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,564
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I try to convince myself to do the same. It's hard to find a balance because it's a slippery slope. Once I allow a little clutter, it seems to invite more. But I don't want to spend all day cleaning and saying, "I can't right now. I don't have time to ___." Frustrating. smile.gif

Mom to: Honey (6/04) and Bunny (9/09)
mkksmom is offline  
#5 of 36 Old 05-08-2012, 12:57 PM
 
tropicmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 39
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I have an almost 5 year old and almost 2 year old, there is no way to conquer the clutter... So what you can do, maybe designate a room in your home, like for example your bedroom to be clutter free and as minimalistic and as organized as you like. It could be your oasis and your happy place, where you can go to get away from all the clutter....


familybed2.gif, bftoddler.giffemalesling.GIF, mom to DS winky.gif 6 and DD 3 and a wife to DH for 12 years partners.gif  veganeat.gif,
tropicmama is offline  
#6 of 36 Old 05-08-2012, 08:32 PM
 
mkksmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,564
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicmama View Post

I have an almost 5 year old and almost 2 year old, there is no way to conquer the clutter... So what you can do, maybe designate a room in your home, like for example your bedroom to be clutter free and as minimalistic and as organized as you like. It could be your oasis and your happy place, where you can go to get away from all the clutter....

I like this idea. A lot.

Mom to: Honey (6/04) and Bunny (9/09)
mkksmom is offline  
#7 of 36 Old 05-08-2012, 08:36 PM
 
rnra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 583
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I'm like you too--I can not focus my mind unless the area around me is relatively clutter free.  There are ways to deal with the clutter, even in your busy, hectic life.  

 

What worked for me was to start with the laundry and dinner.  Get those two things under control and suddenly your life seems much more organized, and then you can gradually move on to other things.  Create a system to keep up with the laundry and to cook dinner.  This is the post that inspired me:  http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/2009/01/can-your-new-years-resolutions-take.html

 

Good luck!

rnra is offline  
#8 of 36 Old 05-08-2012, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
gitanamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: High desert or Peruvian coast
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks for the tips and support everyone! We actually have a pretty good organizational system for all the toys--but we also have sooo many and my little one absolutely loves to dump out buckets and baskets full of toys. I think he probably knows it drives me crazy. I love the idea of rotating the toys 4evermom--I think that'll be my project next time DS and DH are out. 

 

I've been taking a lot of deep breaths and trying to focus on just being present with my family--and when that doesn't work, I either fantasize about going on an insane cleaning spree or spending a week at a minimalist resort (depending on my energy level, hehe.) I don't want to lose precious time with my son picking up and doing chores (I hear you mkksmom!) but I find it hard to just settle down and play when the house is a mess.

 

We'll be moving in September to a larger house, and I'm hoping to carve out my own clutter free room when we do. Right now, we live in a tiny apartment, so there are zero clutter-free zones (although I often escape to my tiny, but very organized, laundry room.) 

 

I'm trying to embrace the chaos and remember that these years are relatively short. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I still want to pull my hair out. :)


~may all beings be free from suffering~
gitanamama is offline  
#9 of 36 Old 05-08-2012, 09:07 PM
 
IncompetentHousewife's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: In the farmhouse at the maple woods
Posts: 201
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Instead of cleaning one night last week, I salvaged a piece of old barn wood and made a cute sign for our back door. "Please excuse the mess. The children are making memories." It's really for me, not for my guests.

Raising and educating free-range kids in our farmhouse at the maple woods. In March, find us in the sugarbush making pure maple syrup.

1 me + 1 hubby + 4 kids + 5 goats + 3 pigs + 3 dozen chickens + 6 ducks = 1 crazy place
IncompetentHousewife is offline  
#10 of 36 Old 05-09-2012, 01:21 AM
 
newmama2011's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 "Please excuse the mess. The children are making memories."

SENSATIONAL!!!!

newmama2011 is offline  
#11 of 36 Old 05-09-2012, 10:17 AM
 
4evermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PA
Posts: 8,834
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by gitanamama View Post

Thanks for the tips and support everyone! We actually have a pretty good organizational system for all the toys--but we also have sooo many and my little one absolutely loves to dump out buckets and baskets full of toys. I think he probably knows it drives me crazy. I love the idea of rotating the toys 4evermom--I think that'll be my project next time DS and DH are out.

Yes, anything that just gets dumped but not actually played with gets packed away, temporarily. I don't mind having a little something to dump since that's probably filling a developmental thing. And I'd go get anything ds asked for that I might have packed away not realizing it was a current favorite. But the more you have, the more that gets dumped, and the more needs to eventually get picked up when they are in that dumping stage. The side benefit is kids tend to play better with something they haven't seen in a while. It's a great boredom buster on a rainy day or when you need dc to be occupied if you bring out a bin of something he hasn't seen in a while. Or you can set something out for dc to discover when he wakes up, buying you a little coffee drinking time.

 

Bins tend to be a bad storage system because they seem to naturally invite dumping. A child HAS to dump them to even see what's there. I loved using a low dresser for toy storage. If the drawers cannot be easily pulled all the way out, they can't be dumped. The child has to pick out each piece which takes longer. And he might decide to actually play with something before he is done emptying the drawer!

 

If you can't manage a clean clutter free oasis of a room, I find it helps to just have a tidy surface here or there. Someplace to rest my eyes.


Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
4evermom is offline  
#12 of 36 Old 05-09-2012, 10:51 AM
 
htovjm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
Posts: 217
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

I used to keep a very clean house, but now with my high-needs baby it's virtually impossible. There are messes everywhere and it does drive me crazy.

 

Ways I've found to cope:

1) Take time to organize one spot every few days--whether it be a corner in the laundry room or the closet floor. You'll feel accomplished.

2) Like PP, try to keep one spot clean. For me that is the front room (the first thing people see at the door). I walk around and straighten it up when DS is in bed for the night. It takes five minutes and it gives me peace of mind. I hate inviting people into a messy home.

3) Ask DH to help with ONE daily task (if he isn't helping now). For me, that is the dishes. I can't mentally put together a meal with dishes in the sink (a bit OCD I know!). So he helps me with that. I also keep a hamper in strategic locations for his dropping clothes :)

4) Do you cloth diaper? For some reason, doing diaper laundry always makes me feel good. It's a priority, so it gets done. And it's so easy to fold and put away (prefolds and cloth wipes). Find joy in the simple accomplishments!

 

The suggestion about having a clean bedroom is fantastic and one I'm dying to do. Right now, our bedroom is a mess. DS sleeps with us and isn't on the move yet, but we've got to get it straight before he is. Our bed is on the floor and there is junk everywhere! If that were clean, it would be much easier.

 

Love the suggestion about looking at the ceiling! ROTFLMAO.gif


Happily married to DH 

Stay-at-home mama to DS1 (01/12) & DS2 (01/14)

htovjm is online now  
#13 of 36 Old 05-09-2012, 11:36 AM
 
CI Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 796
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by makaleka87 View Post

I used to keep a very clean house, but now with my high-needs baby it's virtually impossible. There are messes everywhere and it does drive me crazy.

 

Ways I've found to cope:

1) Take time to organize one spot every few days--whether it be a corner in the laundry room or the closet floor. You'll feel accomplished.

2) Like PP, try to keep one spot clean. For me that is the front room (the first thing people see at the door). I walk around and straighten it up when DS is in bed for the night. It takes five minutes and it gives me peace of mind. I hate inviting people into a messy home.

3) Ask DH to help with ONE daily task (if he isn't helping now). For me, that is the dishes. I can't mentally put together a meal with dishes in the sink (a bit OCD I know!). So he helps me with that. I also keep a hamper in strategic locations for his dropping clothes :)

4) Do you cloth diaper? For some reason, doing diaper laundry always makes me feel good. It's a priority, so it gets done. And it's so easy to fold and put away (prefolds and cloth wipes). Find joy in the simple accomplishments!

 

The suggestion about having a clean bedroom is fantastic and one I'm dying to do. Right now, our bedroom is a mess. DS sleeps with us and isn't on the move yet, but we've got to get it straight before he is. Our bed is on the floor and there is junk everywhere! If that were clean, it would be much easier.

 

Love the suggestion about looking at the ceiling! ROTFLMAO.gif

 

re: bolded...I am totally the same way (and I don't have OCD...at least I think I don't!). Dirty dishes piled everywhere drive me crazy, and I can't start a meal until I've cleaned up the kitchen! And a clean kitchen counter goes a long way towards helping me not be as crazy about clutter in other areas.

 

Another thing for me...I am a bit obsessive about making the bed every day. It's such a large surface area. I can just look at the smooth quilt and neat pillows. Nice.


Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

CI Mama is offline  
#14 of 36 Old 05-09-2012, 08:24 PM
 
jes h's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Nevada
Posts: 133
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Ditto on the sink and the bed.  DH and I split chores;  he does dishes and the bathroom.  He often slacks on the bathroom, and I pick up the slack, but I cannot abide slacking on the dishes.  It brings out the naggy-hag-wife in me.

 

We have a relatively small house (1000 sq. ft.)  most of our friends have semi-sprawling places, and reguarly comment on how difficult it must be to keep the mess at bay with our 3 kids under 5.  However, I see our small space as our secret weapon;  if something is out of place, it probably goes within an arms reach of where ever it is, or just a few steps.  Clean up happens pretty quickly.

 

We also do open shelving for toys in bedrooms, with small canvas bins to sort toys.  In frantic days, they may not get sorted correctly, but they are out of site.  Making beds:  for kids, my standards are low; as long as the top blanket is smooth, I don't care about the messy secrets underneath  (I also refuse to fold sheets... what a pain).

 

I keep a small somewhat pretty basket near the fireplace in the living room to toss toys/kids things that are still in the living/dining space after kids go to bed.  Once in a while, we do a purge and put the things that have accumulated away.  If people come over, it is easy to stash the stuff.

 

Pre-kid (in our tiny apartment), DH and I had a routine called the 10 Minute Hate. (from 1984)  We set a timer for 10 minutes, and went to town on the apartment, focusing on the stuff that was making us crazy.  At the end we stopped.  Generally, the place was tidy.  In our house, with the kids, sometimes it is a 15-20 Minute Hate.

Mostly, though, I keep in mind that our house is exciting because there is always something happening;  most of the clutter is related to projects going on in the house.  This is a side-effect of having busy, active, creative lives.  Then, when I look at the stuff, I get a little excited, and sad for anyone who would judge us for it.

*bejeweled* likes this.
jes h is offline  
#15 of 36 Old 05-10-2012, 08:03 AM
 
SweetSilver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Westfarthing
Posts: 5,080
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)

Things have gotten much easier since those days, though harder in some.  We can "keep up" on  the dishes, laundry, etc., but the girls ability to make messes is colossal, and some of their games so inventive, and I just don't have the energy to keep after them.

 

I'm not going to suggest another way of keeping up on it, because frankly the best thing I've ever done is, as you suggested in your title, making peace with it.  Stop the fantasizing about the cleaning sprees, that only makes it worse for me.  I just ("just"--ha!) have to let go of the need to have things in order so I can get dinner on etc.  

 

So, just as I've stopped dreaming about my next break from the kids, I've mostly let go of the clutter and the chaos.  It seems like it's half the battle.  That doesn't mean I let things get messy (or.... um....messier orngtongue.gif) it's just that I try just to keep on doing what needs to be done and try not to sweat it when it doesn't.  That's just daily life.  It's getting easier, really, and pretty soon I'll have a house just as neat and orderly as my grandmother's.  A lovely, sparkly, organized (childless and lonely) house just like hers.  Nope, I think I'll take the chaos and clutter.


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
SweetSilver is online now  
#16 of 36 Old 05-10-2012, 08:34 AM
 
CI Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 796
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
  It's getting easier, really, and pretty soon I'll have a house just as neat and orderly as my grandmother's.  A lovely, sparkly, organized (childless and lonely) house just like hers.  Nope, I think I'll take the chaos and clutter.

truedat.gif

 

That's the main sentiment that helps me re-frame things. If I really look at what it would take to have an orderly, organized, clutter-free life...it would take not having my partner and our child. Hmmm. I'd rather be OK with chaos & clutter!


Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

CI Mama is offline  
#17 of 36 Old 05-10-2012, 10:18 AM
 
NotAFairytale's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 17
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I found that the only way I came to peace with my clutter was when I saw it leaving my house! I have a 3 yo and a 2 yo and I found that if I don't want them to make clutter, I have to have a very empty/minimalistic house. They can't make a huge mess if they only have 10 toys and they can't throw stuff everywhere if there is nothing to throw!

Sorry I couldn't be of more help, I could never find peace WITH my clutter, only WITHOUT it. But it is worth it to find the time to create a minimalist environment instead of just dreaming about it thumb.gif

youngspiritmom likes this.
NotAFairytale is offline  
#18 of 36 Old 05-10-2012, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
gitanamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: High desert or Peruvian coast
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

 

re: bolded...I am totally the same way (and I don't have OCD...at least I think I don't!). Dirty dishes piled everywhere drive me crazy, and I can't start a meal until I've cleaned up the kitchen! And a clean kitchen counter goes a long way towards helping me not be as crazy about clutter in other areas.

 

Another thing for me...I am a bit obsessive about making the bed every day. It's such a large surface area. I can just look at the smooth quilt and neat pillows. Nice.

Yes! The sink, counters, and bed make such a huge difference in how I feel. I also can't make dinner unless the sink is empty and the counters clean. I generally feel really productive after doing a load or two of laundry (my son is out of diapers but we did use cloth). Maybe if I focus on those few tasks, I would feel better about the general state of the house. 

 

I also think I just really need to re-frame things and work on embracing the chaos, not just putting up with it. It helps to hear from other mamas about their own chaotic houses and remember that most houses with young kids probably look a lot like mine. I would personally love to have a minimalist house, but my DH is really into his "stuff". And since I run a playschool, I feel like I need to keep a variety of toys around for the kiddos. 


~may all beings be free from suffering~
gitanamama is offline  
#19 of 36 Old 05-10-2012, 06:39 PM
 
SweetSilver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Westfarthing
Posts: 5,080
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)

I think you are in a different situation than a lot of mothers of little ones, having a preschool in the home.  You can't just let something go when faced with a crisis or a sunny day, not to the same extent anyhow.  i like your distinction between embracing the chaos and putting up with it.  Though it seems like just semantics, it really does seem like a big difference.


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
SweetSilver is online now  
#20 of 36 Old 05-11-2012, 06:21 AM
 
NotAFairytale's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 17
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

So I've been watching a lot of videos on you tube of really messy houses and that definitely makes any normal clutter instantly look cleaner! Might want to check those out :)

NotAFairytale is offline  
#21 of 36 Old 05-11-2012, 08:41 AM
 
phatchristy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Controlled chaos...
Posts: 9,371
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotAFairytale View Post

So I've been watching a lot of videos on you tube of really messy houses and that definitely makes any normal clutter instantly look cleaner! Might want to check those out :)

Or...check out the hoarders show.  I will admit that sometimes I watch that one myself, I always find myself cleaning a lot during it LOL.  

 

The kid mess...well, I have four and am expecting another.  Though we've gotten rid of a lot, especially as my older girls aren't really into playing other than building legos and such.  We still have cars, little action heroes, abc tiles and letters and little pet shop toys.  It's amazing how quickly then can turn into a mess.  I keep them on shelves up high, when DS asks for them I give him the amount (generally every category fits into a shoe box).  He can only do so much damage that way LOL.  

 

I find that getting rid of stuff, every year, really helps immensely.  Because people still give us gifts, etc. for the kids we still wind up with more stuff.  So as the new comes in we need to bless someone else with what we're no longer using.

 

But, I remember back when our home was so free from anything, just furniture.  Nothing ever on the floor or anything.  I remember those days.  I'm certain eventually it will get back to that.  It would be great to sort of 'section off' an area.  However, we have that open floor plan and rooms sort of flow into another and some don't really have much of a border so things drift over easily it seems!


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!

phatchristy is offline  
#22 of 36 Old 05-11-2012, 01:43 PM
 
Oliver's Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 963
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I have a 2 year old and an almost 5 year old.  I've given up on cleaning and picking up during the day, but then right before betime, we crank up some dance music and run around crazy cleaning up for 5 minutes.  Then after they're in bed, I finish things up, and it makes a HUGE difference to wake up to a clean slate in the morning, for my mental health. then we start all over again.

At 2, you can certainly teach your kiddo to help clean up, and even do things like clear off their dishes and put them in the sink after meals, as well as put away their clean laundry in their closet, and dirties in the basket.  I  take a few montessori cues for setting up our house so that practical things are at the kids' level; my son can even grab a rag and clean up a mess after himself. Those little things save me a few seconds of cleaning here and there, and it's great learning and sense of pride for the kids.

CI Mama and jes h like this.

Katie,  sahm to two wild and crazy guys banana.gif (8/07) and  bouncy.gif (3/10) and their sweet new baby sister baby.gif (4-1-13) 

Oliver's Mama is offline  
#23 of 36 Old 05-12-2012, 08:55 AM
 
jes h's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Nevada
Posts: 133
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

We are extremely minimalist when it comes to stuff;  DH and I keep very little things; clothes, trinkets, decor, whatever.  If something hasn't been used for over a year, it is generally donated.  My mom is a hoarder, and I find I tend this way unless I am actively aware of it and discarding things.  We went to open shelving through out the house, the only covered closets are at the end of the hall where I child-proof my craft supplies, DH and my closet, and the bottom cupboards in the kitchen where food is kept.  The rest (bookshelves, kids closets, kitchen pots/pans, bathroom, etc.) is open.   I think the clutter is disguised in the look, but I am sure other people probably think our house looks like a constant disaster.

 

Many things that are given to DS just go right to someone else (i.e., the big wheels SIL gave him when he was 2 to 'grow into')  However, we do foster care, and kids come with their own stuff, and their own ideas of toys, and the state gives them LOTS of toys that we wouldn't normally get for holidays.  The pair we have now came from another foster home that attempted to compensate for their crappy lives by buying them LOTS of plasticy-flashy-blinky things we would generally not have in our house.  This is the junk that drives me really crazy. 

 

We're doing a yard sale this month to raise some funds for a ministry thing.  I am going to try to sell the idea to them to sell some toys for their own money - and then 'help' them spend that money... ;-)
 

jes h is offline  
#24 of 36 Old 05-15-2012, 05:30 AM
 
MrsBone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Oak Point, TX
Posts: 1,184
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I tell myself when clutter begins to make me a little bit crazy, that this chaos is so completely normal having a house with a preschooler and a toddler, and that one day, I will miss it. I know I will! every parent I've ever talked to with grown kids says the same thing..."it was hard, messy, crazy sometimes, but I miss it." So that helps a lot. The suggestion of putting a hamper where your DH leaves his clothes is a good one, but until I let DH know just how amazingly stressed it makes me when I'm picking up after kids all day and the house still isnt clean, and then have to pick up after a fully capable adult, he didn't start trying harder. And for him, it was definitely difficult. He's very ADD and doesn't take his meds unless he's at work. Oy. But after a few weeks of constant reminding, his clothes are in the hamper 90% of the time, and if they're not, they dont get washed! Plain and simple. Also, as your kiddo gets older you may find that your DH will try to be a better example so his kids arent just laying their clothes anywhere or leaving dishes out. DH has gotten on to DS about the same things he's guilty of, and that has improved his habits.


DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)

MrsBone is offline  
#25 of 36 Old 05-17-2012, 08:05 AM
 
Mama Florentyne's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Tips for clutter with small children:

 

Obviously, eliminating some of the toys will shave some time off the clean-up process, but if you love them and want to keep them find a way to work with all your toys.

 

For toys, bins seemed to be the only way to store in our tiny house, so when my first child was around 2 and entered the dumping stage, I switched to bins with snap-tight lids. Then he would come to me and ask me to open it - and I could choose where we dumped them out, i.e. not in front of the dishwasher.

 

A friend had a rule when her boys were a little older (4-6 yrs), only 3 different things out at once. That way they could extend their creative play (the dinosaurs could crash into the lego buildings) without making clean-up a sorting nightmare.

 

This same friend taught me to lay out a fleece lap blanket before dumping out a box of toys with tiny parts, that way the blanket could be lifted up by the corners and all the pieces easily poured back into their bin. Voila!

 

Another friend's method for dealing with clutter went like this: "I just kick it all out of the way until 5 o'clock." Ignore it all day and then do one concerted effort to put it away, once a day, at a regular time, like just before dinner.

 

For your state of mind, I do think it helps to watch a show like Hoarders and then look around at the relative sanity of your own house! You might also try looking at some of those glossy architectural magazines with sleek, minimalist interiors and feel sorry for the person who has to live in such a sterile environment. (Or, if this is what you long for, remind yourself that in the future, there will be time to live this way, but then you'll miss the pitter-patter of little feet.) Then look around at your own home, bursting with the joy, vibrancy and life of small children, and revel in the "lived-in look!"

CI Mama likes this.
Mama Florentyne is offline  
#26 of 36 Old 05-17-2012, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
gitanamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: High desert or Peruvian coast
Posts: 521
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Florentyne View Post

 Then look around at your own home, bursting with the joy, vibrancy and life of small children, and revel in the "lived-in look!"

 

That's what I've been focusing on--and I've found it really helps to change my mindset and make me feel less stressed. 

 

Lots of great tips from everyone--I've made some small changes around the house and I think they'll help keep the clutter more controlled. Lots of toys are being put away and will be rotated back out as needed, and I'm off to get some bins with tops--great idea Mama Florentyne! I think the toy sets we have with tons of small pieces will be on a shelf out of reach and only come down as needed. And I'm getting rid of some toys that don't get used much and aren't great quality. 

 

I do play the clean up game with my son and the kids that I care for, but I've started really emphasizing it at the end of every activity. My son is at the stage where he loves to help with everything and imitate what I do, so I'm hoping he'll get in the habit of picking up toys with me.  He does get a rag from the kitchen to clean up anytime he spills something and he helps me put away the kiddie plates in the kitchen, so I think we're making some progress!

 

And DH and I had another talk about him putting his clothes in the hamper and his dishes in the sink. You made a great point MrsBone that we need to set a good example for our kids. It's almost humorous to me that my DH will toss his dirty work clothes a foot from the hamper, but not actually in it. Grrr! But he promised to work on it. 


~may all beings be free from suffering~
gitanamama is offline  
#27 of 36 Old 05-17-2012, 02:13 PM
 
nd_deadhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,147
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

Our house is cluttered (and I have 2 teenagers). I try not to fret about it - DH and I work full-time, and we prefer hanging out with our kids to tidying things up. When I start feeling overwhelmed, I attack one area (my desk, the kitchen) and I feel SO much better!

 

I used to compare our house to our neighbors - it was always spotless and tidy. But I finally figured out that it isn't a contest, and it doesn't matter if we are not as tidy as our neighbors or friends. Once in a while I'll visit a friend who's home is worse than ours, and I feel pretty good!

 

OP, I think getting your DH to help with little things will help you a LOT. I can imagine feeling really frustrated if I had to pick up after the kids AND DH.

 

My twin sons go off to college in the fall - I'm anxious to see if DH and I keep the house any neater when they're gone (I doubt it).


If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

nd_deadhead is offline  
#28 of 36 Old 05-19-2012, 09:05 PM
 
tittipeitto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 60
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Oh I love this post, and I love all the advice like:  "Remind myself that death is very orderly, life is chaotic and crazy. Embrace life."

 

Now here are few tips that have made my life easier. I designed my new home originally with a play room next to kitchen, which was for a while a good thing because a toddler wants to be near mommy. When my younger one was 2.5 I realized that they played at the other end of the house more anyways, and moved the playroom out of sight. Now from the kitchen, a place always in some stage of chaos, I can move my eyes to the organized family room. NOT that it always is, but that room is my priority. It feels amazing to have an empty coffee table to look at when ever I need it.

Don't know if you allow any tv, we do, but never before both bedroom and playroom have been cleaned, tv is a great motivator! My older one lived without this rule for many, many years, and still, it never occures to him to complain. In fact they get pretty much nothing without cleaning up their mess. No ice cream before, no play date before, no night time story before etc...

I teached my kids since very little not to dump toy baskets for the hell of it. I had a friends big kid to show me an example of how arrogant it can be of a child, dump a game with little peaces, then another, play neither, and assume you can just walk away. Not saying that of your little one, but never too early to learn it's not fair to mama!

*bejeweled* likes this.
tittipeitto is offline  
#29 of 36 Old 05-20-2012, 05:47 AM
 
ElsieLC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 172
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I find it helps me to distinguish among different types of disorder:

     clutter - either too many items to easily put away, or objects that don't have a home

     dirty - grime on surfaces, garbage to be thrown away

     untidy - objects are out of place but they do have homes and are easy to put away

The last one is easiest for me to bear, because kids can help with it ("Let's tidy up before we go to the park."). They can help (in very limited ways) with clutter and cleanliness more as they mature.

 

I had a friend in college whose apartment was tidy but grungy. My apartment was clean but untidy (stacks of books and papers everywhere). Each of us thought the other was a slob!

 

It helps to visit other families' homes that look like mine! But if you are running a school from your house, you probably don't have many opportunities to do that, and do you possibly feel that your visitors are forming an opinion of your skills based on the way your house looks?
 

ElsieLC is offline  
#30 of 36 Old 05-20-2012, 09:48 AM
 
*bejeweled*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Texas
Posts: 4,372
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We've given DD (9 yo and very artsy and cluttery) a space in just about each room. In the living room we put down a blanket and she keeps all of her beads, art supplies, journals, etc. only on that blanket. It helps immensely. The whole living room is usually clean and then her stuff is in one spot. In the office she has the bottom shelf of the bookcase. In the kitchen she has a corner with her easel and supplies under it. In the bathroom she has a bin with her stuff in it. And then she has her room which is filled with baskets to contain it all.

The blanket helps a lot because she never has to clean up a project if she's in the middle of it.

Me afro.jpg reading.gif Wife and Mom to modifiedartist.gif cat.gifdog2.gif.
*bejeweled* is offline  
Reply

Tags
Decluttering

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off