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

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Old 02-21-2006, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am very depressed over my ugly, yucky, messy, cluttered, and too small for us house. We are trying to move, just can't find a place.

Our house is small, only two bedrooms, one bathroom, NO laundry room (the washer and dryer are in my small kitchen.

We have 3 kids. I have one bedroom for my kindergardner, and my toddler and infant are in the other room, Dh and I sleep in the living room, we have a couch in the living room, along with a bed (but it kinda goes with the living room okay) Actually the baby, and toddler are still with ME sleeping in the living room for now.

So our house is always messy, probably from being so small. Our kitchen is always messy. The dishes are always clean, but there is stuff all over our counters, clothes piled up on our dryer (remember there in my kitchen too, washer, dryer)

Our living room is the WORST! It stays sooo cluttered. Toys that my toddler throws everywhere, books, sippy cups, and everything.

I just don't know what to do. In order for my home to be just acceptable Id have to be on my feet 24/7. No way Id ever get it immaculate.

It makes me so depressed. It's the sourse of all my worrys.

What can I do?

my kids are 10, 7, and 4. i'm due any day now
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:25 PM
 
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No advice but I can commiserate.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:47 PM
 
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Get rid of everything you don't *love*. Really makes a huge difference. If its broken toss it. Don't hold out for a garage sale and let go of recycle guilt just get rid of items that clutter your home. If you are unsure toss it. Clutter is negative energy start tossing things and you'll feel better. Soon you will see ways to organize what you really use and love.

HTH
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Old 02-22-2006, 12:18 AM
 
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I was just feeling like that...I actually will ask my Mom to take the girls so I cam get real cleaning done. Just did that over the weekend and I feel so much better.
and the girls seem to be more agreeable when things are picked up. but I totally relate to how you are feeling

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Old 02-22-2006, 02:19 AM
 
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Start packing, if you start putting away and boxing up everything you don't need in the next 3 months, six months you will have more 'room'. Keep a list of what is where but you will also feel like you are doing 'something' to get where you want to go.

8 might be enough
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:09 PM
 
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Hugs mama, our house is bigger than that but too small all the same.
I just keep decluttering a little at a time and it seems to help.
We also do a clean up of all toys every night and I have gotten rid of 3 large totes of toys just since Christmas which has seemed to hlep a lot!
Also some sort of organizational thing for the toys will help.
I have a laundry room persay, but it is also the bathroom and it is small, so our dirty laundry piles up in the dining room. I am starting to get better about just doing a small load every day so that I can stay ahead of it rather than letting it pile up.
Hugs
Jessica
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:22 PM
 
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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
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:39 PM
 
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So if you are lazy...as I am. How did you get that first wind to really get stuff done. I mean, I realize the upkeep won't take that much if you stay with it, but how do you get it cleaned up in the first place. Now is not a good time for me because I'm pg. and my back is constantly hurting me. I can do more than I do though, but it seems so futile because while I'm cleaning one room another is being destroyed. I will admit I'm lazy. I do a lot (like homeschool, run a home day care take my kids all over the place) so I have plenty of excuses and can easily point out that I'm not lazy, but the truth is I am....I do those things because I want to, but when it comes to cooking and cleaning....I don't. I have started working on the clutter, but have a long way to go. But how do you start? I mean every room in my house needs a good scrub, purge and most need paint! (I got even more than normal behind on the cleaning while I had my 4 months of morning sickness and now it is just overwhelming.

Please note, I agree with everything you said, I'm not trying to make excuses, I just need to know what to do....I've tried flylady by the way and I love her and it has helped me some, but i'm having trouble getting back on the horse.

Thanks!
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:53 PM
 
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You sound a bit like the perfectionist that I am. You don't have to paint your house for it to be clean! I also have a tendency to get sidetracked, and get into the deep cleaning, can we say, tilt the stove top and clean between the burners and the oven anyone??? So really, I just got mad at myself. Mad that I had made my dh live in that mess, when he's a clean freak, mad that I had made my kids live in it, even though they didn't know any better, and mad that I had let myself believe that I couldn't do it. And then I got to work. One contractor bag for garbage and one for second-hand. I took no breaks, except to feed the kids, and started with the room I hate cleaning the most. Because once it was done, I knew I would feel like I could do anything. You don't need to wash cabinets, walls, cupboard shelves or windows. Ignore the cobwebs, don't move the furniture to clean under it. Just start with the basics. Imagine that you are someone else walking into your house and looking around. What will you notice? Clean counters, with only what should be there, floors picked up, bathrooms reasonably clean, but again, no deep cleaning. Deep cleaning will come later, when you are confident in your routine. I found that as I kept the house clean and expanded into the other areas that I didn't finish the first day (back porch, laundry room and kids rooms) I wanted to get it cleaner. So I started to tackle dust and cobwebs a little bit at a time. And really, its better to do the initial phase all at once than a little bit at a time. You tend to get rid of more when you get in the groove. And I know the cleaning one room/other being destroyed thing, it always used to happen to me, but doing the major stuff all at once will eliminate that. What you're aiming for is a surface clean. Things put away, things you don't have room for tossed, floors vacuumed and kitchen reasonably clean. You can expand from there as you go. (Oh yes, and all my bags went straight to the back porch when they were full, to be dealt with another day : There were four second hand bags and 8 garbage, see, told you it was bad!) And whether you're pg or not, there's NEVER a good time! The biggest thing is don't take breaks, and don't get sidetracked into scrubbing the grout (or anything else) with a toothbrush. (or any other deep cleaning)
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:01 PM
 
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Feel free to pm me, there are a few things I could tell you that might help that I don't want to put on the boards.
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Old 02-22-2006, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Saw your post about a few things you didn't want to put on the board that could help? Thanks!

my kids are 10, 7, and 4. i'm due any day now
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:20 AM
 
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Calicokatt, that's amazing! Your story is an inspiration .

Mom to DD1 (11/1999),  DD2 (07/2003), and DS (11/2012), all born at home and cloth diapered. 

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Old 02-23-2006, 01:21 PM
 
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I do Flylady. I grew up in a pig sty and left to my own devices, it threatens to get back to that. I don't want my kids to grow up in the kind of environment I grew up in but even more so, *I* don't want to live like that ever again. At times (like when I'm struggling with depression issues) it gets bad but thankfully my dh (despite two jobs) steps in a lot and it never gets as awful as what I grew up in.

For me it's not about lazy. Well, maybe I am, I don't know, But for me it's about being overwhelmed. I know Flylady isn't for everyone but her "you can do anything for 15 minutes" thing really helps me. I set the timer a lot. And I follow her advice to pick a spot and stick to it instead of fluttering all over the house randomly picking up stuff (Which I totally catch myself doing). I'm currently reading the S.H.E. books that inspired Flylady. They are funny and inspirational and I'm getting a lot out of them

I also follow her advice to do things half *$$ed She preaches against perfectionism. Like Calicocatt said, some of us have a tendency to get involved in doing things "right" which means it takes 3 hours to clean an oven and then we're too tired and overwhelmed to do anything else. Definitely don't do that Flylady suggests things like wiping down the shower with a facecloth and some shampoo while you are in there instead of letting it get to the point where you have to scrub for 45 minutes. Or wiping down a counter with plain water while waiting for a kitchen timer instead of saying you don't have time to do it right so why bother.

Like Calicocatt, I also used to think you had to clean "all day" to have things neat and would sniff at people with neat houses thinking they never spent time with their kids. Now I see people saying that and I can't get too ticked off because I know where they are and I've been there, yk? Like Calicocatt said. I walk through the house on a regular basis and clean up, so maybe that is "cleaning all day" but if I time it (and yes, at times I have) it only takes a few minutes each time. For example, the other day the backroom was seriously trashed so I told the kids it needed a "five minute room rescue". So we set the timer for 5 minutes to pick up. I told the kids when the timer went off, we'd stop, done or not (that's a Flylady thing too). I thought for sure we'd end up with a mess but figured that it would at least be a bit cleaner than when we started. Would you believe that we were done before the timer rang? So I vacuumed really fast

A big thing for me is also having "a place for everything". Now when we pick up, even the three year old knows a dinosaur goes in the dinosaur bin, a stuffed animal goes in the stuffed animal cradle, etc. It saves a lot of time and mental effort not having to sit there and stare at something and wonder where it goes. If something doesn't have a place then I have to think - is it important enough to *make* a place for it? If the answer is no, then don't keep it. We do have one miscellaneous (sp? ) bin right now and when it gets too full I go through it and find out why.

We've had the house sparkling (at least on the surface) many times before. My dh would bust his butt cleaning up for a kid's party. It would take days and lots of stress and finally the place would be nice. And then, slowly, it would revert to messy again. Having routines and a cleaning schedule written down really help me in that regard. The longest I clean at one time is one hour, but most days it's only 15 or 30 minutes at a time (but at least two or three sessions).

I also can't stress enough to get your kids involved. Once they are toddling you can hand them a rag or a spray bottle and make cleaning fun Yes, you will still be doing pretty much all the work and they'll just be playing but they get to spend time with you and they are learning life skills It's partly personality though. My 3 year old picks up much better than my 7. Both kids enjoy dusting and wiping though.

A friend of mine was a big inspiration for me. I noticed when we went to playdates at her house (when our kids were younger and we were in the same room with them most of the time) she would clean up the toys after they played. The kids would play with dress up and then wander to another room to play dolls, so my friend would clean up the dress up (uh, I'd help ). It would take her all of 60 seconds to put them away and we'd continue talking all the time. I thought it was very different from how I did things at home. I'd let the kids trash the place all day and then at the end of the day it was, of course, an unmanageable mess that would take a long time to clean (if I even bothered). The other day, reading the S.H.E. book there was a quote where they asked a "Born Organized" friend how she did it. She pointed to a row of used tea bags on the counter and told them "What you do is make the cup of tea and then you THROW THE BAG AWAY!" (yes, that's a quote, - I typed it out for inspiration). My whole rambling point is, if you do it little bit by little bit, and clean as you go, then it's much easier to do and much easier to maintain.

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Old 02-23-2006, 11:55 PM
 
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ShannonCC
I also follow her advice to do things half *$$ed She preaches against perfectionism. Like Calicocatt said, some of us have a tendency to get involved in doing things "right" which means it takes 3 hours to clean an oven and then we're too tired and overwhelmed to do anything else. Definitely don't do that
Someone famous said "if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly." I say that to myself a lot. My dh doesn't understand since he heard the opposite growing up but it really makes a difference if it is a matter of doing it well or not at all.

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Old 02-24-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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I completely agree with some of the PPs about cleaning with a timer. I am also a failed Flybaby, but I did keep that part. For example, after dinner when I'm tired and headachy and DS is cranky (and DH is at sea) I hate the thought of cleaning up the kitchen. But I also hate to know it is there over night, getting grosser. I tell myself that I can spend 15 minutes on it and I set my timer. Most of the time I get it done before the 15 minutes is up and have time to sweep up the mess under the table too, then I feel a lot better knowing it is done.

By default I am very lazy, though. An object at rest. DH and I, left to our own devices, would live in a pig sty but I don't want DS to think that is normal. My house is decent right now, but mainly because I busted my butt to get it that way before my mom came to stay this week. Now if I can just keep it that way then I'll be happy.

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Old 02-24-2006, 06:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom
Someone famous said "if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly." I say that to myself a lot. My dh doesn't understand since he heard the opposite growing up but it really makes a difference if it is a matter of doing it well or not at all.
One of my copied and pasted Flylady quotes is "Anything worth doing is worth doing WRONG!" Which Flylady got from her dh which *he* got from a school teacher

But yeah, some of us get caught up in "oh, when I have the time to do it right, I'll do it." And then the time to do it right never comes so we don't do it because there's always something in our way of the time being "perfect". If she did nothing else, Flylady helped me tons just by getting it in my head that it's ok to do something slap hazardly just to get it DONE. Cleaning something imperfectly for 15 minutes is going to look a lot nicer than letting it get worse and worse while you wait for the perfect time to do it.

Heh, not that my house is perfect, I have a ways to go, but overall, I am SO happy with it right now. It's SO far from what it was when I had PPD or what I lived in as a kid. I love it And it's just getting better every day, but yeah, there are still spots we're working on.
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Old 02-26-2006, 03:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ShannonCC
Cleaning something imperfectly for 15 minutes is going to look a lot nicer than letting it get worse and worse while you wait for the perfect time to do it.
I need to get this tattooed somewhere, I think!

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Old 02-26-2006, 04:36 PM
 
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One of the most valuable things I've heard lately is that we teach people how to treat us. And I think we teach our children how to treat their environment.

1) If you don't want to see sippy cups scattered about the house, make the children have their drink at the kitchen table.

2) If you don't want toys scattered about, choose one room as the "playroom" and make sure the toys don't get spread out all over the house by setting a boundary. Have many fewer toys to begin with and avoid more than one set of toys with a billion pieces.

3) Make the kitchen work for you, not the other way around. Make the counters serve you for food prep, storage, washing up, whatever YOU the Queen decide you need. It's your queendom! Build shelves over the laundry area if necessary. Stock up on fewer pantry items (or at least clean out the things you don't eat and donate it to a food bank) and free up some shelf space for the appliances sitting on counters or whatever is in your way.

The idea of a "place for everything" is PRIMO. Don't throw things on top of the fridge - put two baskets or tubs up there and designate (and label) it as storage for kitchen linens and paper products or whatever works for you. Give the kids the pots and pans to play with while you attack one cabinet. Lock them into the kitchen with you so they don't make a mess elsewhere while you are cleaning in the kitchen. And have a snack ready for when they get bored with the pots.

4) Have a plan for the day: I can't say I really let my children run around much even in the house. I played with them, they helped me with the work or played nearby when I was busy so I could keep my eye on them. That way I simply didn't walk into a disaster elsewhere. And I taught them to put one thing away before they took out the next. I knew they liked a couple of TV shows on Nick Jr. Then we went to the park (and maybe ran an errand), then it was lunch and nap, then snack, playtime in the play area, maybe another TV show (after cleaning up the toys), and they did art at the kitchen table while I made dinner. TV time was my best time for laundry or paying bills or just plain cuddling with the children. I read to the children every night and sang to them before lights out. It was very orderly in retrospect (this was 18 years ago).

One thing I recommend: Don't buy every toy that mimics an adult's world. My children had a "playing house" area but it was much less mess and much more intimate to have them actually participate in the washing, folding, sweeping, etc. than for me to do the work while they made a mess eslewhere "playing" house. Their play area was minimal. I didn't rely on toys to busy them. I spent a great deal of time with them. That saved me 2 decades of constant mess in my opinion.
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Old 02-26-2006, 05:03 PM
 
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Wow, I think I can be reformed! I am one of those if I don't have time to do it right, I'd rather wait and do it when I have the time to do it right. I've recently started really working on keeping my house cleaner. The first thing I have done was to tame the Laundry Beast, and now I am working on the Ever-Growing Toy Monster. My house is more "deep cleaned" than picked up most of the time, as in, I vaccuum, and then the kids bring out tons of toys, so the toys stay on the floor, but I *did* just clean the room type thing.

I'm insprired, ladies! Now, I"m off the computer to tackle my dishes (well, they aren't that bad, did them yesterday, so just breakfast ones) adn do the kitchen floor!
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:54 AM
 
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wow this thread is amazing and possibly life altering for me!

I am also a "Im going to spend all day cleanign every day" if I want a clean house person..

My house isnt a disaster but yet its never quite "clean" I also get that heart attack feeling if my doorbell rings because laundry is always not folded in baskets and the beds arent always made, my table usually has junk on it and my DDs toys have taken over 3 rooms in our house when we have a large playroom just for her.. its time to take back my rooms again

it makes total sense everything that you are all saying! thank you all soo much

Shelly, Mom to Sophia 5 Nicholas 3 & 2 Angels
Its a GIRL! Alyssa Ann 6/29/10 7lbs 5 oz
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Old 02-28-2006, 02:58 PM
 
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My apartment is similar to the OP's house. we are a family of five living in a 2 bedroom apartment. The baby sleeps in dh and I's room, 4.75 yo and 2.75 yo sleep in the other bedroom. This is what has helped us to help lessen our clutter:

WE ARE MINIMALIZING!! Yes, that's right. we are becoming minimalists, slowly but surely. Every time I do the laundry I have a min and two empty trash bags nearby when I take the clothes out of the dryer. As I'm folding them, if something is too small for ds1, it goes in the bin to be saved for ds2. If something is too small for dd, it goes in a bag to go to ebay listings. If something is too small for ds2, it also goes in the bag for ebay listings. If something has a hole (socks, underwear, shirts, anyones) it goes in the trash, and if something is too small for dh, or something I don't like to wear anymore, it goes in a goodwill bag. This has helped us IMMENSELY. Another rule in the house, is before birthdays or other gift giving holidays, the kids and I go through ALL OF THE TOYS and give to the local children's hospital any toys that they just don't play with much anymore. we have gotten rid of over 4 bags of toys this way!! It really helps!

hth
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Old 03-02-2006, 12:56 PM
 
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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

Thank you! I needed to hear that. I am full of excuses, but it's really just me not taking control.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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Old 03-02-2006, 03:52 PM
 
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What an awesome thread. I , like the momma who started the thread have an 800 square foot house...two bedrooms and no garage...no where to stuff anything. My mom says we "Can't live this way..the house is too small!" and she periodically tells me that Child proctective services would take my kids away if they only saw my house.

So, I'm a mess. I've tended to blame it on or that...I had morning sickness too, last fall and totally lost control. Before that I'd been doing Flylady, which worked, until I got pregnant. I blame the mess on my kids, my husband, my depression..depends on the day, really.

It totally messes up my life, too. It's like a black hole and drags me down emotionally. This is my home! This is who I am! Is this who I want to be? Why can't I grow up and get it together? I geet SOOO overwhelmed by it, I just cry.

I have managed to get control of my downstairs...and I feel 70% better because of it, but our bedroom is a DISASTER. I am stuck home today due to a heavy snow...I think I might be inspired to get in there aand at least start tossing stuff.

And thats the thing...stuff...we have TOO much. And like someone else said, if my house was twice the size...I'd just have twice the mess. This mess is part of me. And simplification is what I want which will mean I need to prioritze what I really need to own.

Americans are obsessed with the size of their homes...what do we really need? Thats why we felt we could live in this tiny house...because we were inspired by families in other cultures who live in so much less and are so much more content.

Do we manage well? No...but we will. I've got a vision of living simply...I just need to geet passed my junk (literally).
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Old 03-02-2006, 04:00 PM
 
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we just found out we're moving on may first! it has really given me a reason to go through and minimalize even more of our stuff.
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Old 03-07-2006, 06:19 PM
 
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We are two adults and a toddler in a tiny small home as well (and it's over 100 years old, so no closet space!). I look at a small home as EASIER to maintain but you have to pare it down to only what you use, and have a spot for everything. You can't have old tupperware and pyrex bowls and extra skillets under the sink taking up space that you don't use, you just can't. You can't collect back issues of magazines. You can't have a collection of blankets, or rarely used sports equipment. I promise you there is room for what you really need!!!

Imagine those display rooms at Ikea. They are tiny. They have everything to live comfortably and happily. It's not about how much space you have, it's about holding on to stuff. You gotta let that go. I can hear you are holding on because you talk about the future. The future is never going to give me enough time to use all those linen tablecloths I inherited from my grandmother, the extra sets of china, all the old magazines. The stack of blankets I hold onto because "blankets are practical, we need blankets". Uh, no. We need one blanket, get rid of the rest. We don't need all those unmatched plates and cups - we only need FOUR and we keep them washed. Whew, does that make it easier. We definately don't need clothes we don't wear often. Don't need old medications in the cabinets for just in case DS gets a cold or diaahhrea.... first, if it's cluttered you will never find the stuff in the cabinet. Second, how much is your storage space worth to you? Are you cluttering a cabinet with $4 half empty pepto bismol bottle and a half empty bottle of $4 conditioner you tried and didn't like? It's ok to get rid of stuff. Really.

If you are a planner, make an inventory of each room's contents - everything. Then go down the list and circle what you would take "if you were going to move into one of those tiny furnished Ikea rooms".

This doesn't have to be sad. Your small house is a good house. It has the potential to be small and happy and cheerful and everything you need in the world, it really does. It IS enough! You just have to fit it with only what you need and let go of the rest. The "work" of clearing stuff out is not hard. Pitch it in a bag, take it to the curb, call Goodwill. The hard part is the mental part of letting go. It's not your house, it's letting go that is the problem.

When your house is de-cluttered and rooms are so easy to walk through and you only have 4 plates to wash (I am serious) then you can think about taking a small bucket of paint and painting just one wall, in orange! Or purple. You have room to do whatever you want.

It really is possible to get rid of your clutter in a weekend. You just work your way from room to room and get rid of it. The problem is when you aren't willing to let go of stuff and you say you have to "store them" (like that extra iron you might need, in case your new one breaks or whatever). Shifting piles of stored clutter is no fun and of course you feel like you don't accomplish anything.
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:18 PM
 
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I've found this thread really inspiring as well!

I'm loving Kincaid's idea of only having four plates, bowls etc. so you wash as you go. Surely you have more plates hidden away though? What do you do when you have guests?

I'm thinking I'll put all but four sets up in a high cabinet. We have the horrid habit of using every plate, mug, bowl etc. until they are all dirty and it's a miserable chore to wash them all. We end up having to wash in shifts, lol! So to only have four out would force us to wash them up before it becomes an ungodly mess. And so much less intimidating to only have to wash four than eight of everything. Thanks for the idea!
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:50 PM
 
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I think you just described our house! Except we only have 1 kid, so we arent sleeping in the livingroom yet

We are always looking for ways to make our home more manageable, and aside from a new home or remodeling, the only thing we have come up with as a solution is lots and lots of decluttering.
I agree with pp's that just spending a day with some boxes and clearing out everything that isn't useful or makes your family happy.
We have 3 yard sales every year. Who knows where all that stuff comes from, but it sure feels great to get rid of it!

And I like the spend 15min every day cleaning thing. We are recent converts to that system. Dh and I in the evening set the timer and rush around for 15 min cleaning everything and whatever else there is just gets left. If dd has been playing with something really cluttery, we have her help clean it up once she's done with it.

Hope you feel better about the situation soon.
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Old 03-08-2006, 04:39 AM
 
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This is exactly the thread I needed right now. Clutter is by far the biggest problem in our house. My house tends to be clean but cluttered - I will wash dishes and sweep floors and dust, but piles of junk are all over the place and it's really getting me down. I've always been like this, even before kids. In fact, I think I'm a little cleaner now that I do have kids because I HAVE to be on top of certain things or else it will get totally out of control. Having people over is a major stressor for me - it means either 1-2 days of cleaning, depending on who it is. When the house is really bad and dh and I want to get it under control, we invite his parents over, cuz that really gets the house sparkling. But then within a week it is back to chaos.

I was wondering if someone could comment on the biggest problem I have with decluttering - sentimental value. I have gotten over the "I might need it someday" issue, but I am really having a hard time with sentimental value, especially with the kids' stuff. Toys and clothes are the worst. I have a hard time getting rid of toys that they don't play with anymore because "they used to play with this." It's like I'm trying to create a time vault with all this crap. I've got at least 4 huge plastic storage containers of kid's clothes, and my oldest is only 4.5yo. 2 or 3 of those are clothes that ds2 has already outgrown. I have gotten rid of so much stuff, but still hang on to way too much purely for sentimental reasons. I gave away an outfit that both kids wore just a few weeks ago and practically started tearing up a few days later. It's not like I don't have 3 boxes of outfits both kids wore, but parting with just one was horrible. But I am sooooo tired of shopping bags full of outgrown clothes all over my house.

And paperwork - I should take a pic of my desk right now and post it here. Heck, I could snap a pic of any flat surface in my house. If it is level, there's a pile of crap on it. My number one problem is that not everything has a place. I know this, but I don't know how to make it happen.
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Old 03-08-2006, 05:03 AM
 
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Calicokatt, you are my freaking hero. I'm, too, am a lazy person by nature and a reformed cluttter bug. I have changed my messy, lazy, chaos-cleaning ways since one week before the new year and my life is really different now. I spend less time stressing and overall I spend less time cleaning and my whole outlook is different. I have a hard time around people who make excuses or live in chaos--too close to the bone for me still.

I got my house to a baseline clean/clutter factor and now I follow Motivated Moms, which I use as a rough guide.

I think I'll adapt the two-hour pick-up rule. that's great. OH, I wanted to interject that my KIDS are more ordered now as well. Many of our tantrums and behavior issues were a result of a disordered house (disordered house=distordered mood, mind and general sense of well-being).

Jesse
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