Going batty with the clutter - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 01-12-2006, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are a low income family (live waaay below the Canadian poverty line ) but with the amount of stuff that we have, you may not think it. In any case, our place is a mess... a total, utter mess.

Just so you believe me, here are some pictures of our main living area (the tidiest part of our home )
Work area at west end of livingroom
Rest of livingroom (minus the TV shelving unit that I forgot to get in the camera frame!)
Our pitiful flodded play area)

So that's...
2 dining room sets (except for one table, the rest was handed down, and one is being used as a sewing/dumping table!),
2 couch sets (both second hand but heck the one has become the "bouncing couch")
2 PC's (my DP is a computer geek) both with their own tables (one PC doesn't even work!)
1 bloody TV (which I bought during my first PG to watch BF and birthing videos but my DP uses it ever night, and doesn't have much issue with my DD and DS watching Dr. Seuss videos... read the books to them dangnabit!)
Plenty of records, half in a record stand by the working PC and the rest in a banana box a shelf below the TV!
1 filing cabinet
1 childs desk and chair (1 piece)

Besides all the big stuff, there are bits and pieces of junk everywhere. I'll admit that I can clear the small stuff up but I don't often feel in the frame of mind to do so... I think it's because I don't often pull my attention away from the bigger disasters.

So where do I start? I dream of having this wide open space for my children to have for play and yet there are so many more toys that I want to buy/make them when that does happen My DP says I'm paranoid about making room for the kids, and that they're fine. I've already put an ad up for the one couch set, but by golly I have this overwhelming urge to kick out the electronics. Of course, there's no where else in the house to put it all and still be usable.
I love waldorf concepts on how to keep childrens play areas, and we are planning on homeschooling so the living room (from my perspective) needs a serious facelift.

Help!
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#2 of 11 Old 01-12-2006, 10:39 PM
 
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Have you seen those home organizing shows? Just pretend you are the person running one. I'd take a day and begin organizing things into piles - things to keep, things to definitely get rid of, things to maybe get rid of, things to store. Then put things in garbage bags or boxes depending. Bring the get rid of pile stuff to a thrift store (or sell on ebay or have a garage sale). Then store the maybe get rid of stuff under a bed, in the garage etc. If you don't miss the stuff in 6 mos or a year you can get rid of it. Then you could store some of the toys and rotate them every month or so. You could sell the extra furniture like you said and then use the money to buy some storage baskets from Ikea or plastic storage bins or something and organize stuff in a closet with them.

Just some ideas... hope they help!! I found that organizing my closets is really helpful too. I use cheap plastic bins from Walmart and label them "cleanign supplies", "first aid" etc. In DD's closet I have baskets for her blankets, towels etc. It really takes work to get organized, but like you said, it is more enjoyable and peaceful. When I bought my first house I "inherited" a ton of stuff with it -well they were going to sell it to an auction house but he auction house would only give them $300 for all of it so they asked me if I wanted it instead. It took me *ages* to go thru, perge and get organized. Probably a few years actually - when I moved I finally had to purge. Good luck and e-mail me if you need more ideas.
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#3 of 11 Old 01-13-2006, 12:52 AM
 
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Get rid of some of the furniture. Just b/c it'd frfee doesn't mean you need it. If you can't sell it, give it away! I'd suggest getting rid of the cofee table thing b/c it takes up a lot of room, clutters your walkway, takes up "play space" and doesn't serve many purposes. Ours was always a clutter magnet. We got rid of the ct and one end table in our LR. We got a toddler table for art projects that is just the right size and adjusts height-wise, and looks nice in there. Maybe yoy could set one up closer to the toy/shelf area, where the tree is, and get rid of the ct and any extra seating that you do not use frequently.

Get some bins for those toys! Cloth ones are nice, bring in some color and are not heavy. I'd say 2 shelves worth of toy bins, one w/ art stuff, and one w/ books. Pavk up anything that doesn't get played with. Donate some and keep some in plastic boxes to rotate. Don't worry about packing up too much, kids don't need many toys, and the fewer you have out, the less there is to clean up. Really, you could probably get rid of 1/2 of those toys anf never miss them! I've been decluttering, but I still keep over 1/2 of the toys up in bins to rotate. I get them out whrnever she seems board w/ her current toys.

Paintimg might also be a nice cheap way to get a new tone to your room!
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#4 of 11 Old 01-13-2006, 01:51 AM
 
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I think your situation is totally salvagable- you can see lots of carpet, so it's not THAT bad! If you can't face the whole living area, you could literally tape off different sections of the room on the floor and clean up one section at a time. Get rid of as much as possible- even if your kids love puzzles and stuffed animals, maybe you can get rid of half of the ones you have. Try to cut back the amount of stuff to fit the amount of storage you have (rather than buying more storage items). And can you convince DP to get rid of the PC that doesn't work? PCs take up so much space!
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#5 of 11 Old 01-13-2006, 02:11 AM
 
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Hey I was just thinking about how I organized toy clutter for my kids. If you have any storage space, think about stashing a bunch of the toys for awhile, and then when the kids are bored one day, you can bring those stashed ones out (and stash the ones that have been lying around being played with). Old toys now feel like NEW toys!

From looking at your pics, it seems to me that a little reorganization and use of storage spaces could help. I have a couple of "Go-to-hell" cupboards and drawers for shtuff I can't decide what to do with until "later". Perhaps as a quick fix this might help, well at least to provide a little "clarity" to help, if you get my drift.

I find it hard to make decisions about what to dump...but I suggest that a good dejunking is indicated, and is a very envigorating experience! Don't be afraid!

How about a jumble sale? You could convert some of your dejunking to some well-needed cash-ola...
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#6 of 11 Old 01-13-2006, 03:31 AM
 
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I bet you could make $100-200 selling stuff, easily, and not even that much stuff, just enough to help clear it all out a little more easily. Do you havea Pennysaver in your area? Or are there free for-sale adds for cheap stuff in your local newspaper?

I second the idea of watching shows like Mission: Organization and going from there. There should be tons of organization & "clear the clutter" type books at your library, too, for inspiration.
Try this link:
http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/pac_ctnt_no..._22225,FF.html

Good luck!
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#7 of 11 Old 01-13-2006, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thak you so much for all your great replies!

I definately agree that I need to get rid of a bunch of furniture. I agree that the ottoman/coffee table takes up a lot of room, but the kids love using it for puzzles, as a place to colour at (besides the desk), and to eat snacks at (when I allow them to eat outside of the diningroom

I *need* to start serious toy rotation. There is no room for the toys on those shelves -- everything is pilled up, and I don't know if the kids are enticed by them at all this way. I also need to get rid of many of the soft toys (why does everyone bring a teddy along when they visit us?).

The puzzles are staying, though I need to create a good organization system for them within the shelving unit -- I think I need to make something like the Drying Rack exept 4 of them attached to the beams of the shelving unit with boards placed in the notches on which the puzzles shall rest (little shelves for the puzzles). Any idea how I can do this considering I don't have any equipment (or expertise) for the job? I'll definately use scraps for the shelves to make it affordable (the residence of my building throw out furniture quite often so I'll be able to salvage some tileboard from there).

I love the idea of acting like I'm running one of those home improvement shows. You do realize though that that would mean I'd toss out just about eveything Sriously, I hate furniture that's mismatched colors and it seems that's how everything is in the livingroon. The only things I'd keep are the toy shelves and the good couch set! But I'll use that technique anyway and try not to set my expectations too high

Oh and I need to organize my storage room (actually the second bedroom that we don't use) so I can sutff some more things in there (like the unused computer etc.).

I've got some food for thought, so I'm going to start the process now. Wish me luck... (I'm sure I'll be refering back here often to remind myself of my goals).

Thanks again for the wonderful ideas
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#8 of 11 Old 01-13-2006, 01:58 PM
 
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The "drying rack" link isn't working for me. Can you fix it, please?
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#9 of 11 Old 01-13-2006, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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works for me.
The link is www.naturetables.com
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#10 of 11 Old 01-14-2006, 05:06 PM
 
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You have to click a link on the page somewhere (can't remember where?) to see the drying racks. I think they look neat!

I think if you got rid of the ottoman, and got the kids an art table (big enough for however many kids you have), it would look less cluttered. So far in our house we have gotten rid of the 2 barstools we didn't use ( just use kitchen table), the cofee table, one end table, and the lamps we kept on the end tables. I have since got the art table, and an easel, and a floor lamp. It gave us more space, the room looks more open, and there is a large space inteh middle of the room for playing! I admit I need to work on organizing toys, I don't have any space or shelving right now, and I"m not sure where I want to put it.

When we first married we just sort of found all kinds of furniture (cheap and free) to furnish our house. Since that time, we have tried to replace them one at a time w/ pieces that actually fit our room, and our lives. I think it's worth saving up to get the right thing for a particular room. Good luc, and don't forget to post pics of it when you are done!
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#11 of 11 Old 01-14-2006, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Free Thinker
When we first married we just sort of found all kinds of furniture (cheap and free) to furnish our house.
That's us too (except we never got married
Quote:
Since that time, we have tried to replace them one at a time w/ pieces that actually fit our room, and our lives. I think it's worth saving up to get the right thing for a particular room.
Yes I definately want to do this too... when we have the money of corse. I think I'll start a small account just to save $10 (or something like that) each month just for this. I'm sure it'll add up in no time, and we probably won't notice it at all.

I'll post picture when I'll done, though don't expect them soon. The kids are sick
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