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#1 of 20 Old 09-29-2005, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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When everything seems cluttered and messy, where do you start?
Which room do you start with?
Which project? (Clothes, closets, kitchen cupboards,etc.)

I have a four and two year old with another one due in Jan. and I have to make my way through this place before this baby comes...yet I get stopped by how much needs to get done. (I'm longing for the uncontrollable nesting urge to kick in.) Also, this means I need to do this with the four and two year old running around undoing what I accomplish.
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#2 of 20 Old 09-29-2005, 04:32 PM
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When things are to the point that you are talking about, I will start in one room, usually the living room because it is the easiest to get going on. A lot of the mess in that room is my dd's toys. From there I just slowly work my way into the rooms, starting on one side and moving across. I generally put things away as I work rather than waiting as then it just sits and doesn't actually get put away, but some find that having a box to put things that are in the wrong room into and putting that stuff away when one room is finished works.
Another thing I do is that I dont' expect to get to work on it for hours on end, I try to go for 15 to 20 minute increments and that helps a lot.
Hugs mama, you'll get it!
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#3 of 20 Old 09-29-2005, 11:10 PM
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I try to start small and pick a certain project that I know I can finish in one short chunk of time -- maybe choose one closet or one drawer and go from there. Don't try to do your whole house in one day -- it will only exhaust you -- but maybe pick one room a week. I try to pick something that is really messy sometimes so that I can see results right away. And don't overlook the power of decluttering with a friend -- they are not emotionally attached to your "stuff" and can help you part with what you just don't need as well as helping you keep the kiddos amused while you work. I am due in November and the nesting urge has definitely kicked in so there is hope for you yet :LOL
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#4 of 20 Old 09-30-2005, 03:05 PM
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So as I'm drowning in my cluttered mess of a house I was looking to post and found this one and thought hmmmm might as well just hang out here


Life Learning Momma to DS17, DS16,DS9jumpers.gifas well a dog, a cat, two birds...ttc babygirl.gif homeschool.gifnamaste.gif
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#5 of 20 Old 09-30-2005, 05:12 PM
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I would say start small and work your way up when your on a roll.

Start w your closet. Get rid of anything that has not been worn in over a year (pregncy not icl). Throw out dated looking shoes, purses etc. Start a big hefty bag for good will.

Wait about 2-3 days

Then- tackle the file cabinet next to the computer. Shred tax records before 1998. Shred all the other "stuff" and organize the cabinet better. Throw out your high school certificates etc. (no one cares you lettered in track your JR year or your honor roll sheet anymore kwim?). After doing the file cabinet, add paper to the printer dust behind the monitor etc. Clear off the desk. You'll feel great btw.

Wait another few days-

Hit the kitchen cabinets.

By know you should be ruthless in your quest. DH will either be really ticked or right there along w you since you he was either glad your threw the stuff out or mad since you threw out his selection of photo negatives from high school kwim?

Go thru all the glasses. Throw out the plastic soveneer cups from the concerts and zoo things this past summer. Re arrange the glasses. Toss a few mugs that are scratched or from vacation destinations you are not sure when you went to. Get rid of the extra glasses that do not match from when you and DH got together. Who cares- hes already mad anyway

If your feeling confident- hit the spices. I think you know the drill.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#6 of 20 Old 10-01-2005, 03:52 PM
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It depends on why I'm cleaning.

First, I always start with the kitchen. I don't want people to come over and see dirty dishes and floor, etc...plus, it actually looks clean when I'm done.

Next, if I'm expecting company--I clean the living room. That way--what guests see is relatively clean.

From there, I just do what needs to be done the most or what is bothering me. I try to do little things like make the bed, laundry and picking up clutter a little every day and tackle something bigger once a week. It doesn't always get done though.
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#7 of 20 Old 10-01-2005, 04:08 PM
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Try to find a community org. that will pick-up unwanted items for you. I find that stuff just hangs around in bags and boxes waiting for me to get rid of it. If I know someone is coming to pick stuff up it sets a little fire underneath me to get rid of it.
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#8 of 20 Old 10-07-2005, 12:13 AM
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I am in the same boat...fighting the unending battle. But when I do this, it helps:

Try to organize and clean the main areas FIRST. Like the living room and kitchen and bathroom. Focus on keeping those clutter-free as possible and vaccuumed, dishes done, etc.

That way you can tackle the rest of the sty as you can and not come back to the other rooms at the end of the day exhausted to more mess and supper needs to be cooked and there's dishes all over and on and on.

I know that when I do this, it does help. If I can at least maintain some sanity in the "main" areas it makes me feel better as I am trying to gut the mountains around me.

But it is SOOOOOOOO hard.
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#9 of 20 Old 10-11-2005, 06:47 PM
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l like the www.flylady.com, it's an online organization coach via emails. She has fantastic ideas...Now you do get a ton of emails., but just weed through them and get rid of what you don't need. The principles of organization and the system is what you're after. She tells you to start small. One room at a time. small blocks of time, 15 min zone cleaning. And best of all, you're not behind...just jump in where you are. HTH

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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#10 of 20 Old 10-12-2005, 08:00 PM
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I say the living room first as that where company goes then the kitchen after that the bedrooms.

A gal whos house is always company ready keeps her living room spotless, the bedrooms are another story :LOL

I am following her example and it works for us
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#11 of 20 Old 10-12-2005, 09:06 PM
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Feeling overwhelmed here as well. OCD keeps me from really starting, all I can do is think of starting.

I think I need moral support - anyone want to come help??
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#12 of 20 Old 10-13-2005, 04:16 PM
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I, personally, am an on the fly cleaner. If I plan a day to clean it usually doesn't happen. I end up dreading it all week and then the day comes and I find some reason to not clean. If I plan on cleaning an hour or two per day when I get off work I get alot more done. I also start with the living areas and work my way back. I plan to do one special project per week on my day off, such as closets or clothing clean outs.
Good luck
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#13 of 20 Old 10-14-2005, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
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In an effort to get a good start on the clutter, I've scheduled a day off of work, but will still send the kids to Grammy so that I have the house to myself to work on. I talked to a friend who is awesome at throwing stuff that isn't needed out (she's a minimalist, while both my husband and I are packrats) and she's going to come over and help. I'm not sure how ready I am to have her see all of my mess, but I have to do something.

I did get a few little things taken care of since starting the post. I cleared out the cupboard under the sink and the cupboard with spices. That felt good, even if it isn't something anyone else will notice.

Anyone have good strategies to get the kids to pick up? My kids will pick up great at Grammy's, but if I want them to take care of their things...even simply pick up one toy before moving on to the next, they don't budge. I've even brought out the garbage can and started loading their toys into it and it didn't work. Ahh, strong-willed kids...

Thanks, for the responses. I know I will get it, if I take it one room/small space at a time.
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#14 of 20 Old 10-15-2005, 11:44 PM
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Try to make use of small amounts of time. That is a real challenge for me. I don't ever have several hours in a row to clean everything that needs to be cleaned, but often I have five or ten minutes while the kids are playing in their room and I spend that time doing a few little things. When I have more time, I assign myself to one part of the room. I divide our living room up into eighths and do not allow myself to leave my little 1/8 of the room until it looks nice. And I use the "one touch" rule: only touch everything once! That means don't pick something up and put it in a box "to put away later", pick it up and put it away RIGHT THEN. At the end of twenty minutes you will see a difference and it will be encouraging.

DH & Me + DS(7)  DD(6)  DD(4)  DS(3)  DD(1)  
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#15 of 20 Old 10-17-2005, 10:21 PM
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I don't know if this will work for you, but I was "stuck" with my clutter for 4 years and I finally found out the cure is to have my dh go out of town. For some reason not having another adult around clears my head and gives me energy. The best is if you can simultaneously get someone to take care of your kids while you get going. Personally, I start in all the rooms at once!

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#16 of 20 Old 10-18-2005, 11:56 AM
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I think "clutter" usually belongs in 4 categories....toys, clothes, dishes, garbage. Carry 4 baskets with you from room to room and put everything into the appropriate basket.

Then everything can be dropped off in the appropriate spot at once (toys dump easily into the toybox, clothes in the hamper, dishes in the sink and garbage in the trashcan).

Mostly what needs done after that is sweeping/dusting and then each of the other tasks can be taken care of at once without running back and forth. Saves lots of time!

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#17 of 20 Old 10-18-2005, 01:33 PM
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My problem is that I feel like I can never get to the big jobs cuz my time is taken up with just everyday things like cooking and tidying and laundry. I can't get to the big organizational projects like: my closets, the linen closet, the mounds of toys waiting to be put away.
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#18 of 20 Old 10-19-2005, 01:17 AM
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Whenever I need to clean - whether that is to get down and dirty with major reorganization or to spruce the place up for guests or just to make my mood lighter and get dinner on the table - I start with a 15 minute Whirlwind...and anyone on the premises (anyone older than 3 that is!) participates. It is a fun race the clock pace and more than you think gets accomplished. For me, this semblance of blank space and order helps me think and get motivated. It also clears a staging area for all the piles that will form as I declutter!

Next, when I am tackling true deep cleaning, I start with the part I dread the most. This is usually my own closet or paperwork, for whatever reason. Once the dreaded chore is done, I can do the stuff that has less emotional baggage and actually feels good to clean. For example, I cherish the organization and cleaning of my son's room. I cherish each and every toy we have in his space because it was lovingly chosen to begin with. I also get teary sorting through the clothes he has outgrown as I remember all of the memories we created while he was wearing the clothes.

Finally, I tackle each area by making several piles. (Have trash bags and donation bags ready!) I either 1) toss or recycle (ancient, ratty bras or torn socks, panties with the elastic gone, etc...) 2) donate (toys that were gifts we don't want son to have, duplicates of things, things I haven't used in a year) 3) refold, file or organize (good clothing, important papers or spices in the cabinet). Personally I get rid of as MUCH as possible every time I clean. With time, the piles do get smaller!

Cleaning in preparation for a new baby is always a sacred event for me. Usually I put on good music, light incense and hold the intention that I am preparing the way to welcome a new family member - the way I would prepare for an honored guest. This takes away the resentment and overwhelm I might otherwise feel when faced with all the shit we accumulate in life.

Good luck!
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#19 of 20 Old 10-21-2005, 04:29 PM
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I start with the living room, and work my way around the 1st floor. Then I go upstairs and continue up there, starting with my bedroom. As I work, I have a stack of "put away downstairs" and "put away upstairs" items - often broken down by room (kitchen, LR, etc.) - much more efficient putting things away that way.

Blessings to your new addition.

crafty mama to Chloe and Emma (10/08) and Piper
emergency medicine PA and single mother by choice
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#20 of 20 Old 10-23-2005, 07:58 AM
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I personally can't get down with FLYlady, but she has some really good ideas I can use. I signed up without email and printed off her crazy cleaning lists for each room. I would pick a room a week and throughout the detailed cleaning process, I'd be decluttering all the way through. I would just see stuff everywhere that detracted from the sparkle! Now that we've moved I really need to do it again.

There's no reason you couldn't make your own list. For example, off the top of my head:

Living room
-clean and polish floor or brush out carpet and vaccuum
-dust all surfaces and knick knacks
-clean TV (if you have one) and VCR/DVD/Stereo equip
-vaccuum back of TV
-clean couch, wash couch cover, wash cushion covers
-dust coffee table, clear off completely (You can add a couple choice things when your're all done)
-clean heating/air conditioning vents
-dust picture frames, bookcases
-polish wood

There are more things I can think of that may apply to living rooms, but you see where I'm going with this. When you clean the entertainment set, you will have to remove everything and then put it back. Only put back the things you really need. Put the rest in a box. Do the same with all surfaces. Then you can evaluate what in your box to give or throw away.

I hope that helps. I am terrible at getting stuff done without a list to help me keep going.
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