Depressed over messy, cluttered, ugly house!! Help? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 267 Old 03-29-2006, 07:54 PM
 
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i've been a wee bit better lately -- spring cleaning i guess. i actually got the counter in the kitchen all cleaned off, but i have to keep reminding myself that I like it better clean and I feel good when i've cleaned up. it's like a little mantra and sometimes it helps, but i still have that rebellious kid voice going, too. grrrrr...

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#62 of 267 Old 03-30-2006, 11:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby
OMG, this is exactly what happens here. I even went so far as to have a special bin that was for all the random pieces of toys that I would find, thinking that if they were all in one place that they would someday get reunited with their mates, but then the kids got into the bin and now those pieces are spread all over the house. But it just kills me to throw away a puzzle that is missing two pieces, because I KNOW that I am going to find those two pieces when I finally clean out the playroom.
This is exactly what I do.

I'm working on it slowly. I'm going to throw out one board game that was totally lame in the first place and only cost a couple of bucks anyway.

Then I'll work on the next thing.
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#63 of 267 Old 03-30-2006, 12:35 PM
 
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I am loving this thread! My house is rarely dirty but the clutter is overwhelming! Or if I try to organize, the rest of the house suffers. I have found a balance now kind of and am working on one basket of junk at a time (filling it and bringing it downstairs to work on)

Kelly,newly single mom of four wonderful children.

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#64 of 267 Old 03-31-2006, 12:24 PM
 
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I'm going to print out this thread and show it to my husband. He may want to divorce me and marry calicokatt, though.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions to the thread. It's good to know that maybe I, too, can keep my house clean if I really want to.
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#65 of 267 Old 03-31-2006, 02:06 PM
 
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I read calicokatt's post many times in the last few weeks.

For many reasons, things really got away from us over the last year, and it was so overwhelming, I'd pretty much stopped trying. But I forced myself to dig in, and seeing the results was a terrific boost! With each new area tackled, my life gets a little nicer- I'm not tripping over things with baby and laundry in arms, I'm not seeing clutter everywhere I go, and with each new improvement, I feel more motivated to keep going!
How can I ever thank you for this thread??????

The first thing I did was tackle the mountain of baby crap... I mean supplies people have given us over the last 18 months for the little guy. 90% needed to leave the house, it was just a matter of sorting into what to donate, what was actually only on loan, what was really just rag-worthy etc. It was so cleansing to have that done- especially since I powered through and got it out of the house in the day or two afterward.
One thing that slowed me down a little: we have a lot of "white" onesies that came out of storage looking splotchy and yellowed, and I couldn't stand to just throw them away. Nobody would have wanted them, either. BUT: my DH works in a factory that dyes textiles, and it's easy for him to throw stuff into dye batches. So I sent the stained baby stuff off with him to be dyed a darker color, and they look like new! That was very gratifying for my frugal packrat self. (and those got donated immediately!)
For bigger stuff like carseats, I made a big pile by the front door and posted on Freecycle. At 9:00 the next morning, a family with twins on the way was at my door, and they were grateful to haul away the entire pile I made!! (I snuck in an AP book about parenting multiples I happened to have lying around, and some breastfeeding resources/supplies- couldn't help myself ) Yay Freecycle! There were some toys in that pile that I missed for the first day or two, but knowing that they're so appreciated by that family is very satisfying.

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#66 of 267 Old 04-01-2006, 11:18 AM
 
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Okay, I have a question! HOW do those of you that say your house is cluttered, but clean do that?! I mean I've seen that on those shows (like Ophra did one time) where they go into this packrat, compulsive shoppers house and it is horrible, but there is not dust or dirt on the floors that you can see. I even said to DH last time we saw one...so how do they clean around that. My house is cluttered AND dirty. I mean I do clean, but my floors and the dust and grime builds up! I know I need to declutter and I AM working on that, but in the mean time,,,so I don't feel completely terrible, tell me how you CLEAN when there is so much stuff laying around and in the way. I get to picking up stuff, and then am too tired to clean (I am in my 3rd trimester of pg. and picking up is exhausting because of the bending over and such). So I get the stuff picked up, but no cleaning and then the next day the stuff has to be cleaned up again. So tell me how to clean around it so we can at least breath less dust in!
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#67 of 267 Old 04-01-2006, 11:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by It's me!
Okay, I have a question! HOW do those of you that say your house is cluttered, but clean do that?! I mean I've seen that on those shows (like Ophra did one time) where they go into this packrat, compulsive shoppers house and it is horrible, but there is not dust or dirt on the floors that you can see. I even said to DH last time we saw one...so how do they clean around that. My house is cluttered AND dirty. I mean I do clean, but my floors and the dust and grime builds up! I know I need to declutter and I AM working on that, but in the mean time,,,so I don't feel completely terrible, tell me how you CLEAN when there is so much stuff laying around and in the way. I get to picking up stuff, and then am too tired to clean (I am in my 3rd trimester of pg. and picking up is exhausting because of the bending over and such). So I get the stuff picked up, but no cleaning and then the next day the stuff has to be cleaned up again. So tell me how to clean around it so we can at least breath less dust in!
Well, most of my clutter is in closets, drawers, did I mention closets lol. So for instance right now, I need to pick up the living room. Everything that is out of place, has a place. Once I put them away I can sweep and mop no problem. Same thing with dining room, kitchen, bathroom etc.

Good for you for working on it! That is awesome

Kelly,newly single mom of four wonderful children.

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#68 of 267 Old 04-01-2006, 11:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by calicokatt
Firstly, you will never get your house clean and in order until you are ready to live that way. It doesn't sound like you are, because you are still making excuses. There is no excuse for living in a disaster, I know this, because I lived in one for 10 years. You couldn't see the floor, or the counters, or even the beds. My heart would race and I would have to fight back vomiting whenever someone would knock on the door, so scared was I that someone would see how we lived.
I came to the realization that we couldn't live this way anymore after I stayed out of the country for a month and a half. I walked in the door after a 24 hour flight with two small children, jet lagged, tired, and suffering from a serious head cold, to my disasterous house. I spent all day cleaning it, and tried to figure out how I could have let this continue for so long. (I was seriously angry that day, and I got angrier with every passing minute)
I have 4 children and a very hairy dog, so we're talking some serious mess. I came to some conclusions that day. I discovered that I AM a lazy person, much as I resented my husband repeatedly telling me so. I also realized that it doesn't matter what size the house is, I've lived in 500 sq feet and 2000 sq feet, and the mess is just bigger when the house is bigger. It doesn't matter how many kids you have, the house was just as messy with one as it was with four. I also realized that it was terribly unfair of me to expect my children to live like this.
My house is clean now. I sweep the wood and tile and vacuum the carpets every day, and vacuum & mop the wood and tile once a week. Every two hours or so I walk through the house and put away everything thats on the floor, and make sure that nothing's out of place. Every evening I do the sweeping/vacuuming, and clean the kitchen. My evening routine takes about an hour. I change sheets once a week, on all four beds, and do laundry most days, but never on the weekend. I spend a total of maybe 2 hours a day on house work, but I always used to think that I would spend all day cleaning if I wanted to live in a clean house. Just another excuse.
I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to get up in the morning to a clean house, and make coffee and sit down at the computer with NO GUILT!! I used to always feel guilty because I wasn't cleaning. Not anymore. I have MORE time to spend with the kids, because I"m not wallowing in guilt and depression. When someone knocks on the door, I open it wide and invite them in, I actually enjoy my life now. It's the greatest gift I've ever received, and I had to give it to myself. I am free to enjoy my children, to play, to walk, to do WHATEVER I WANT TO DO! All because I am no longer shackled to the house by guilt.
Please do not think that I am judging you in anyway, because I am not. I cannot imagine a worse mess than the one I forced my family to live in for 10 years. It took a seriously life-changing experience for me to reach these conclusions, and now, I don't know how we could have lived like that for a day, much less 10 years.

Kathy

You are my hero. I have lived like this ever since I can remember. My mom is the same way. Clutter, clutter EVERYWHERE. If there is a flat surface in my house, it is completly covered with crap. I need to take a page from your book, stand up and accept responsibility, and clean the house.

Solo Mum to 4 and loving every minute of it!!!!
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#69 of 267 Old 04-01-2006, 01:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by It's me!
Okay, I have a question! HOW do those of you that say your house is cluttered, but clean do that?!
Sounds like in your case, you need to hook up with your local FreeCycle and de-clutter until you're at a point where cleaning is possible.

Walk around the house and pick up things that do not need to be in your house anymore. Maybe throw them into boxes labeled Kid Stuff, Kitchen Stuff, Office Stuff, or whatever- if only so you know what you have, and post on FreeCycle. They will come, and you will have room to move around again!

My news:
When DD was out of the house the other day, I went through and found all of the broken/orphaned toy parts and pieces and filled up a whole trash bag! I couldn't believe there was that much useless stuff mixed in with the toys she actually uses. They made up a lot of the mess I had gotten so weary of battling- she'd dump that stuff out of the toy box while looking for the good stuff. It felt so good picking it all up for the LAST TIME.

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#70 of 267 Old 04-01-2006, 02:11 PM
 
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I just wanted to let you guys know that this thread has been very helpful to me! This week (with a lot of help from my DH!) we have decluttered and really started to get organized. My DH is really good getting rid of stuff if he is in a certain cleaning mode. I always feel sentimental towards things and also feel very wasteful. We gave a bunch of stuff (bags and bags full of stuff) to charity. We are still working on things. We are half way done with our closet. We have our linen closet cleaned out, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets and the kids clothes. It feels so good to let go of things!
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#71 of 267 Old 04-03-2006, 12:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fek&fuzz
I live by myself and often find myself vegging in front of the TV thinking that I should be cleaning. So I just make a rule that I need to pick one TV show (so that I can't flip channels at the commercials) and when there is a comm. break I have to clean until the commercial is over. I figured out I can get about 10 dishes done in that time, or go upstairs, get the laundry and put it in the machine (you can fold while you watch), during the break. It's a painless way to get my chores done.
Dh and I got rid of cable because we tried to make that choice to stick with one show and couldn't. Videos and even the computer are far easier to get up from.
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#72 of 267 Old 04-05-2006, 12:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by calicokatt
I also realized that it doesn't matter what size the house is, I've lived in 500 sq feet and 2000 sq feet, and the mess is just bigger when the house is bigger.
So true so true! I've lived in tiny apartments and dorms, and now in this ricidulously large house (no, I'm not bragging, it's a parsonage-wouldn't have been my choice), and I've struggled with messiness the whole time. And with a larger house, we accumulated more junk, which I'm working hard to get rid of. I too agree, it's got to be a continous thing. I'm certainly not close to perfect, but things have gone from not being able to see the floor to being able to pick up the house at night in 30 minutes. Right now we have only two messy areas, the basement and the office, which are projects I'm focused on now. That's a really nice feeling. I'm working hard on two things: 1) finding places for the stuff we're keeping, and freecycling the stuff we're not 2) picking up after myself, and teaching my ds to do the same. He's 18mos and loves to be neat. Which is something he must have gotten from both grandmas, certainly not his Mom and Dad! My dh is getting better at picking up after himself too. I think getting the family on board is important. I mean, it's their house too, and you're not the MAID! My ds and I sing a song when it's time to pick up: "Pick up, pick up, everybody, everywhere, pick up pick, Niklaus loves to help"- silly, and stolen somewhat from Barney, but it works. He's now singing the "pick up" part as he helps.

My biggest issue right now is that I'm stuck in the once a week mentality of cleaning- which is how my mom did it. What works for others- doing a little bit each day or taking one day to do it??
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#73 of 267 Old 04-05-2006, 08:09 PM
 
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Just wanted to toss in my 2 cents. I live in small home...garage conversion into a 2 bedroom home, in order to care for my elderly grandparents. It's me, my dh, and my 2 dd's. I know all about clutter and mess. I for one, am very laid back about my home, but if I get too laid back it appears as though stuff is everywhere because our home is so small. So, here's some tips I've figured out:
1. Always leave one side of the sink w/ soapy water so you can just toss in dirty dishes and sippy cups as they happen. It makes the whole washing process much faster.
2. Vacuum small messes w/ a dustbuster as they happen.
3. Fold laundry as you pull it out of the dryer. It stacks easier, and it is also more insentive to just go ahead and put it away then.
4. I keep a scrub brush in my shower, and since I use Dr. Bronner's soap for myself, and to clean, I give the shower a soap down every few showers.
5. Keep a plastic tub-like container or a basket in each room. Every few hours do a quick once over each room and toss anything that doesn't belong in there into the tub. Each evening go tub to tub redistributing the stuff. These tubs also double as a carry around for when you are decluttering a room.
6. I can't stress decluttering enough! We have a storage unit, and I put all of my no longer used often crap in there and give myself a deadline on when it's really useless, and then give it away.
7. A recent discovery: Huggies diaper wipes~ don't like 'em on baby, love 'em for cleaning! Really! They're gentle enough to let the toddler help, and they're cheap and easy! I use them to clean my stove top, coffee pot, when I'm short on time they work on the counter, they pick up dust, good for wiping off wall hangings, and I even use them when the toilet needs a quick wipe down, but I don't have time for a true cleaning. And they take washable crayon right off!!
8. You'll be surprised what a difference it can make to just have stuff off of the floor, beds made, and counters clean....even if there is still stuff to be done. In my experience, each person has a particular thing they especially want done. I think it's best to get that done first, so that YOU feel good in your home, and it's not such a stress to get everything done.
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#74 of 267 Old 04-05-2006, 08:35 PM
 
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Malkah, fantastic ideas!
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#75 of 267 Old 04-05-2006, 11:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by doolittle
it makes me cry and sometimes i just sit there not knowing where or how to start. i will try the timer idea, that is good because i know it really doesn't take that long, it just looks like it would.

I've been there. About 5 years ago I was in a really bad place and just trying to survive. I went to a great counselor. One of the awesome things she said was "Success begets success." My house was a disaster, and would either sit there and dwell on all that needed to be done and hate myself for not doing it, or I would go on this crazy cleaning/sorting spree. I would get through the day, usually a Saturday, only be halfway through because, as someone else said, I would spend time cleaning behind the stove, sorting through paperwork, etc. I would be mad at myself because the other half of the house was a mess and I had not got to doing anything enjoyable on my day off (This is BK-before kids-and a hubbie too). So, anyway, the counselor suggested I set tiny goals- like pick up the laundry, each day. She also helped me with the negative talk (why can't I do this? What's wrong with me? I'm a horrible, messy, disgusting person etc.) She helped me to see that my obsession with the house was keeping me from doing the creative things I wanted to do. As I've said in an earlier post, focusing on little goals and picking up after myself and the kidlet has helped a great deal. I'm certainly not "there" yet, and I'm not sure I ever will be. Keeping things "neat(or a semblence thereof) will always have to a conscious decision for me. This is made doubly hard for me because my mother is a natural organizer. She could be one of the organizers on those home shows- you know the ones where they come in and help you declutter. I used to resent her help, but have accepted it more readily, and that has made a difference. She's being very supportive and kind (she hasn't always been, which I think was part of the problem).
And we all slide. Kids get sick, things get crazy, you just dust yourself off, and get back on the horse.
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#76 of 267 Old 04-06-2006, 04:30 PM
 
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Awesome thread!

We have 4 people in 2500 sq ft and we still have these problems. It's not about how much space you have. It's about what you do with it.

I'm a big fan of the timer. I set it for 10 minutes and only work in ONE room! If I come across something that belongs in another room, I put it in a basket. Then, when the timer goes off, I quickly put everything in the right place.

As far as keeping sentimental stuff: I used to do that as well. Then, my mother started decluttering and giving me all the sentimental stuff she's kept for me. Quite frankly, it's a burden. The Easter egg I decorated inn Girl Scouts is not something I want to give space to in my house. So, I think about whether the item is important enough to burden my children with it in 30 years. Try thinking about it that way and it might change how you see things.

My other favorite trick: Freecycle!!!
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#77 of 267 Old 04-07-2006, 11:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by clane
Why can't I bring myself to do this?! I have a set of china (wedding gift) from 14yrs ago that has never been used, just displayed in china cab. I am starting to clean out clothes from my WOHM days, but even haviing trouble with that. I wish I knew of a charity I truly loved to give stuff to...
So, this used to be me too. I tend to save things to "use later". So, now my new question to myself is: "What am I saving this for?"

This question has many implications on many levels -- it can be used for our wedding china or a random allen wrench in the junk drawer.

We use our wedding china now. Not everyday, but whenever anyone comes over for a meal. Why not? What are we saving it for??

Just thought I would pass along something that has helped me declutter
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#78 of 267 Old 04-07-2006, 01:49 PM
 
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Right on, use that china!

I used to want to discourage DD from wearing her fancy dresses people gave her for Easter, Christmas, etc... until I realized that same thing, What are we saving them for? For special occasions officially considered to be special enough? Most likely, she'd just grow out of them, never worn, if that was the policy. So if she feels like dressing up to go to the food coop, so be it!
I've always been really bad at that- I save everything for later, as if my using something was wasting it. I don't know what my whole inferiority complex is about, but I'm working on it!

My latest habit to share:
a place I go grocery shopping puts out cardboard boxes for people to use to take their stuff home in. I make sure to always take a good-sized one, and when it comes home, it becomes the new box to fill with stuff to get rid of at the end of the week when we take our recycling to the transfer station. I hate having an empty cardboard box kicking around, so I make sure to fill it so it's serving a purpose! It has helped keep me in the habit of culling things from everywhere in the house.

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#79 of 267 Old 04-10-2006, 07:02 PM
 
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for living in small spaces, i read that everything should have more than one purpose. coffee table doubles as storage, that kind of thing.

also, to get started, i'm a contain-your-chaos kind of person: things can be jumbled as long as they're out of sight, then I tackle a closet or drawer or box when I have time, but if I don't get around to it, we can still go on. whenever I do clean a closet or drawer, I end up freeing what feels like tons of space so that I can make new "homes" for things that are floating around but aren't really clutter (ie. things I really will need someday).

i'm experimenting this spring with these huge ziploc bags from target which i'm using to store our winter stuff. it seems easier than storing in boxes because I can see the contents as i go along. they've got handles, which are, well, handy, and it's just an easy seal, rather than the minor chore of taping up a box top, which is nothing really but always seems to take forever...I guess I want to leave open the chance to put in "one more thing" and don't want to have to rip the whole thing open again.
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#80 of 267 Old 04-23-2006, 11:48 PM
 
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this is such an inspirational thread, i wanted to sub so i can come back and read it when i need to!
i am totally overwhelmed by a dirty cluttered house!
after reading this though, i have at least kept my kitchen and bathroom clean and started to throw stuff away in one room... baby steps i guess
The Amber Lily likes this.
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#81 of 267 Old 04-30-2006, 02:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby
I was wondering if someone could comment on the biggest problem I have with decluttering - sentimental value.
i found that giving a BIG item of HUGE sentimental value to goodwill- my deceased mother's beloved mink coat- i found myself able to get rid of 'lesser' items. once i took that major leap, i am able to say, 'yeah? the mink coat is gone, & i haven't self-destructed or forgotten my mother.' other things pale in comparison & the value of clutter-free spaces becomes more & more apparent & important each day.

(i am a little leery of people characterizing themselves as 'lazy' over this. it isn't- people living in clutter work ten times harder than those who live without. it isn't just a matter of will, but in learning new ways of living, forging new neural paths in one's brain. A.D.D. is difficult enough to deal with without anyone, even ourselves, painting us as 'lazy'. the world will be happy enough to do that for us.)
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#82 of 267 Old 04-30-2006, 02:49 PM
 
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double post (and just my luck, you quoted the one before i corrected 'neuron', greenie ) but thanks. back atcha.
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#83 of 267 Old 04-30-2006, 04:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TigerTail
(i am a little leery of people characterizing themselves as 'lazy' over this. it isn't- people living in clutter work ten times harder than those who live without. it isn't just a matter of will, but in learning new ways of living, forging new neuron paths in one's brain. A.D.D. is difficult enough to deal with without anyone, even ourselves, painting us as 'lazy'. the world will be happy enough to do that for us.)
Tigertail, you're my new hero. You've said some very useful and important stuff here.
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#84 of 267 Old 05-02-2006, 12:27 PM
 
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You know what's interesting about beating myself up about having a house like this, calling myself lazy, a loser, etc., is that I never think that about anyone else. I've never walked into any else's messy house and thought "gee, they're so lazy." But you're very right about trying to change that language with regard to how we speak to even ourselves, because it does just make me that less inclined to do anything. I highly recommend the book "Organizing from the Inside Out." It really addresses this kind of stuff in a way that other books I read didn't.

I have been rereading this thread, and am slowly (very slowly) making changes.
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#85 of 267 Old 05-02-2006, 11:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamao'two
No advice but I can commiserate.
LOL! I am sooooo there...

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#86 of 267 Old 05-02-2006, 11:16 PM
 
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What do we do? Just begin to give stuff away? I'm afraid...

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#87 of 267 Old 05-03-2006, 01:24 AM
 
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This thread is awesome and so well timed for me. We are planning on moving cross-country next year. We are planning on selling our house this summer and moving in with my parents to save $$ for a few months. this means that the big stuff goes into storage, we pack a few boxes of stuff we need to live, and the rest has to go!! This is so hard for me. My dad is a total packrat - my dd won't have to bring any toys when we move it cause all my old toys are still there, lol!
I just have such a hard time, especially with clothes. I don't really wear all that much anymore, especially since I am no longer in the "professional" world. I have so many clothes for work, and about 3 sizes of clothes that I might need again "someday." It's just so hard for me to let go of this STUFF. I know it needs to go, but getting started is so difficult.
Thanks for the inspiration all you brave mamas. Looks like I have some boxes to pack tomorrow!
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#88 of 267 Old 05-03-2006, 03:16 PM
 
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yesterday all my GOOD nursing dresses (the motherwear, milk & wild honey, etc) went to goodwill! i had been postponing taking them to consignment long enough. a few bucks would've been nice, but they are deductible (thank god 'it's deductible' the tax program uses guides from eBay , you know what that stuff goes for) & so a frugal mama will have a better chance at scamming some quality nursing clothes.

it is worth it to have them out of my closet, sitting there going out of style.

yes, girlie l, just start giving it away. once you start you will be amazed at how freeing it is. the feng shui of all that open space- once you get used to it, you'll love it.

i also got rid of all the cute overalls we've got- ds#2 has been crying when i ask him to wear them, but 'they're good, they're cute', blah blah. i finally realized that even though they fit, he hates them, i'm not going to 'make' him wear them when he has alternatives, & why am i hanging on to them when someone else could have good use from them? (someone like my boy #1, that loves overalls .)
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#89 of 267 Old 05-04-2006, 02:40 PM
 
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I know this is just an excuse, and I'm lazy but....I really hate cleaning alone. When my DH gets home, I clean. It's very hard when you have a 10 month old pulling on your pant leg! So I usually wait until DH comes home, and I give him a choice: you clean or watch the baby....usually he watches the baby but there are days when he'll clean. Still though, the house is a mess.

I grew up in a NASTY house. Dog and cat poop everywhere, infested with ants, and fleas. It was bad. I promised myself I would never let it get that bad, but I don't feel like I'm doing much better. My problem is that I am just plain lazy. I will be in a cleaning mood about one every 2 weeks. And I clean alot for that day. but then 2 weeks of mess accumulates before I clean again.

I guess I am waiting for something to magically make me want to clean everyday. That ain't gonna happen right?

I can generally keep a house clean, but cleaning a messy house, no way. Good thing we're moving in 2 days!

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#90 of 267 Old 05-06-2006, 03:14 AM
 
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I don't know if anyone addressed this yet, haven't read through the whole thread, but it would be depressing for me to sleep in the living room. Do you have a dining room or dining area that you could partition off to make a new bedroom? We did this in a small house and got an extra 7x10 foot small bedroom out of it. You can put up a bookshelf all the way across is you are renting, that way you don't have to damage the walls.
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