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#61 of 82 Old 12-19-2006, 03:56 PM
 
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One additional suggestion for those of you who don't want to throw away
"perfectly good stuff." Bag it up in black (non-see through) trash bags and offer it to anyone who is having a yard sale or is collecting items for a rummage sale. The Junior League in my area has a huge rummage sale once a year and I know many members who would be happy to sort and separate the trash from the treasures to find items that could be sold.

Tanya
Mom to John (age 11), James (age 9) & Katherine (age 5)
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#62 of 82 Old 01-03-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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I'm bumping up this thread because there is such good advice in it!

One idea that really helped me was taking pictures of kid's art projects and saving those inside of feeling like you have to keep all the actual art projects and figure out how to store them.

The boys and I (ages 3 and 4) have had a blast with 2 "photo sessions". They sat on the couch and I handed them each project after project and I took their picture with them. They had a lot of fun reviewing their projects and now we can throw the actual item away. (Easier said than done...I think I'll make DH actually do the throwing away! )
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#63 of 82 Old 01-03-2007, 09:09 PM
 
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Oceanbaby, I wish we lived near each other to team up! I am pretty decent at keeping the clutter at bay and can be ruthless in helping other people when they ask me to be. But I hate cleaning and spending money. I would totally trade off helping you get rid of stuff (hell, I'd take it home and put it in my trash for you so you wouldn't have to see that part ) in exchange for someone to just do the scrubbing *with* me so it doesn't seem like such a big chore (why does a small bathroom feel like such a big job? I know it only takes a few minutes) and maybe occasionally tell me that yes, it really is ok or even necessary to buy a lamp/shelf/hook for that space in my house that needs it, possibly drag my butt to the store even. I am so afraid of clutter (I always feel like we have too much) that I often don't make purchases that would make our home seem more homey and comfortable. Paralyzed by the fear of potential byers remorse I guess :
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#64 of 82 Old 01-03-2007, 11:24 PM
 
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This IS a great thread. Oceanbaby- have you seen my posts? I'm the same way except with a tiny house! I now know I CANNOT organize this stuff. I have to have less- much less. It's hard, and we're stll purging, but IT'S ACTUALLY WORKING. For the first time in my life I feel like i'm getting a handle on this part of my part and my house is turning into a home.
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#65 of 82 Old 01-04-2007, 01:16 AM
 
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one thing that has inspired me to just donate a bunch of stuff rather than try to sell it is that I get a receipt from Goodwill and use it towards my tax deductions (which helps bc I am self-employed)... doing this eliminated the fantasies of making money on ebay, bc I am making money by reducing my tax bill.
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#66 of 82 Old 01-04-2007, 01:49 PM
 
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Oh, Oceanbaby, you will get there. You're just so overwhelmed I would imagine the idea of tackling a room sounds impossible. I haven't read through all the posts so sorry if I'm repeating what others have said.

Start with making your bed every morning. That's it. If it takes you 2 months to feel settled in that routine, then so be it. Looking at your made bed will give you a daily sense of accomplishment and *one* clear space. Make absolutely sure you don't put stuff on your made bed. The clean look of your bed will also give you an idea of what your whole room and then whole house can look like once you're ready to take baby steps beyond the bed. When you are, you can decide to make one more new habbit (children's beds or one other aspect of your room).

The bottom line is that there literally is no time like the present. You're never not going to be busy. So, if you receive something in the mail and think "I want to keep this because I want to look at it later", ask yourself what magical "extra time" will I have later that I don't have now. Same goes for cleaning up after making cookies. I've totally had to work on clean-as-you-go cooking but now that I have the hang of it when I'm done cooking it's like the kitchen is magically clean. While your cookies are baking, make sure to put away all the ingredients, put measuring cups/spoons into the dishwasher or a sink filled with soapy water. In general, if you take advantage of 2 minutes here, 2 minutes there you've saved yourself from getting further buried, and thus further discouraged and paralyzed by your situation.

No judgment here when I say this: your kids will do what they see. They absolutely cannot be expected to clean/organize/pickup if you and your DH don't do the same. If you don't know where to put art supplies, they don't either. Once you build some momentum and make progress yourself, your kids will follow suit. They really will. It will probably take a really long time (and try to be content with that) for you to get it all together but as long as you can keep faith in yourself and not get discouraged by set-backs, you WILL make it. You absolutely can do it!
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#67 of 82 Old 01-05-2007, 02:47 AM
 
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I could have written your post too! I have 3 kids and a house that's too small for us all and has ZERO storage. I have piles of breakfast boxes and sugar and flour next to my fridge just sitting on the floor because they won't fit into my kitchen cupboards. I have in the last couple of months culled bags and bags of stuff. It was so painfully upsetting at first but now I see junk (like a pen with no lid or a kids drawing on the floor) and into the bin it goes. I try not to think about it cause if I do I will get it back out :

I have also drawn up a roster to help myself. It goes in fortnights so say on Wednesday of week one I scrub the bathroom from top to bottom and clean out the cupboards and get rid of any clutter that has appeared in there over the past 2 weeks.

Thursday might be the kitchen where I scrub benches, clean out the fridge, wipe the walls etc and clean out the cupboards and any other clutter.

Friday another room.

In between I still do regular cleaning like washing and wiping the table and benches and stuff. Some jobs like cleaning the loo I do once a week instead of once a fortnight.

I have also cracked down on my kids. If they make a mess and I see them move on to another one before they've packed up the first one they are told that they are to clean the mess they've just finished with first. I'll generally stand there until they've done it. They also have to tidy their rooms once a day at least if not twice (if they make too much mess).

I'm finding that while it was hard at first it's getting easier because by the time I get back around to doing the bathroom it's only had a fortnight to get dirty instead of it being "oh it's been a while and it looks kinda gross" (as far as mess and clutter goes that is) so the next de clutter doesn't take very long at all
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#68 of 82 Old 01-06-2007, 12:58 AM
 
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Yep, last year I could have written this post... now I have what I consider a "normal" amount of clutter...I found that having things on every surface of the house was too overwhelming and decided that I had to get all the surfaces cleaned off completely that way I could feel like I accomplished something and I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed by all the stuff
  • First, I gathered up a bunch of rubbermaid totes and went through one room at a time and put everything that was on the counters and on the floor in the box. I didn't sort or anything just put it in the box. I only threw out obvious trash -wrappers, etc
  • Second, I went through one box at a time. I would spend 15 minutes each day on one. If I found something that went in another room, I either just went and tossed in there on top of the clutter figuring I would put in a box and organize it later or put it another empty rubbermaid box and labeled the box - "Things that go somewhere else". For toys, I got a smaller plastic basket and tossed in stray pieces so I didn't have to worry about going around and finding that toy right away.
  • Third, for anything I ran across that I thought I could sell, I thought about how much I could reasonably make selling it and looked up on the places I was going to sell it - eBay, craigslist, etc - to see how those things were selling. I was suprised how little some things were really worth. Those things I wanted to sell, I put in a rubbermaid box and labeled it "things to sell"
  • Lastly, and one of the best things I did, was find a charity that comes by every 6 weeks and picks things up off my porch. I can schedule the pickup online and this way I don't have to make the trip to Goodwill

Having everything in boxes at least keeps things looking neat so I didn't become overwhelmed again and I was not as embarrased at having people over. It took a long time but eventually I got rid of enough stuff that I was able to use the storage areas I had to actually store stuff and less stuff ended up on the counters and floor.

Maggie
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#69 of 82 Old 01-06-2007, 11:38 AM
 
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How about emptying an entire room and just putting good things back in?
I think Aslett said something about not fighting the junk on its own territory.
Clearing a countertop (or drawer, cabinet, closet, or whatever)- and sorting those things elsewhere really can make it easier.
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#70 of 82 Old 01-06-2007, 11:47 AM
 
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Ok, I have to tidy this morning but you all have inspired me. I keep a pretty clean house but it's a small house and I want my dining room less cluttered. I am off to do this now.

OB- I want to comment on your loss of peace and order when I return. Because this has worked for me in the past two days I am trying it again and sending healing. peaceful vibes your way via the universe.
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#71 of 82 Old 01-06-2007, 10:07 PM
 
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oceanbaby -

I too could have written that.

I believe that *MY* problem is that I can't categorize. I have never been able to. I am paralyzed trying to decide if an item should go in the silverware drawer or the utensils drawer. It is a sort of perfectionism that prevents me from starting anything because I will do it wrong.

I can't categorize and I can't sum things up. I failed that part on the ACT test, the part where you are supposed to take a 2 page story and pick the correct headline. I can't tell. : Apparently this is some sort of an Aspie thing, inability to see the forest for the trees. I am VERY much stuck in the trees.
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#72 of 82 Old 01-07-2007, 04:48 AM
 
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I am not that bad with clutter, but I think I have the potential to be. This is what I do to keep the clutter monster at bay:

Throw stuff out. Anything. Everything.
Every time I clean, the first thing I do is go through the room/house/area with a trash bag and throw out everything I can. When mail comes, junk goes immediately into the trash. I keep catalogs because I enjoy them, but when a new issue comes, I throw out the old one. Same with magazines, except Mothering.

Every week when I do grocery shopping, I go through the fridge and throw out anything rotten/expired as I'm putting the new stuff away. I also wipe down the shelves while I'm at it. My mom always kept leftovers forever, only cleaning out the fridge every few months, and it was nasty. Lots of "mystery fuzz." I want to avoid that.

When I put laundry away, I look over my clothes and take out anything that doesn't fit or that I just never wear. If something has a stain that doesn't come out in the wash, it goes from the washer to the trash can. Period.

Sell stuff.

This helps me get rid of big piles/collections of stuff. I recently sold all my old maternity clothes on eBay, as well as a bunch of baby clothes. I only made about $50, but it's worth it to me, and without that motivation, I probably would have let the boxes sit forever.

For baby clothes, I go through and set aside sentimental stuff. The rest goes to Once Upon A Child. I take the money I get from them, add a little, and use it to buy new stuff. I do this every time Cole outgrows a lot of clothes or the season changes.

For my clothes - brand-name stuff goes on eBay (a real moneymaker for me since I buy it from the thrift shop or on clearance), the rest goes to a thrift shop.

Really, it's a continuous process. I have to quickly go through clothes every time I do laundry. I do the fridge every time I put away groceries. I wash dishes every time I cook. My husband would say I'm sloppy, but I really am much better than I used to be.

Oh, I also have a schedule for chores that I made on Excel. Days of the week go across the top, and a list of chores that get done on a regular basis go down the left side. Then, if something only gets done, say, once a week, I pick what day to do it. The rest of the days on that row get filled in. So every day, I look down the list to see what boxes are blank. Those chores get done, and I check off the box when it's finished. It's also great for when DH is in a helpful mood - instead of asking me what I need done (because I never really know, off the top of my head), he can just look at the chart, which is posted on the fridge.
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#73 of 82 Old 01-07-2007, 03:18 PM
 
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Move


































:

Ok sorry bad idea

But think, the further you move the less you want to pack and take with you.
: seriously this is the only thing that got me on track again. I had fallen off the wagon and with 5 people and a 500sq/ft apt it was CRAZY! before moving I tossed 40 bags of good will, trash and stuff

Annemarie ~catholic mom of 8 -4 boys (19-16-10-7).Emma)2 girls (3 and 1)Someone new due in April too!An yes I Blog @ You Leave me breadless blog
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#74 of 82 Old 01-07-2007, 05:09 PM
 
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I dont know if this has been mentioned, but try cleaning your bedroom completely. Rearrange it to make it look fresh and new. As you go to bed each night, you will sleep better. And when you wake up in a clean and tidy room, you will feel energized and motivated to take on the rest of the house.
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#75 of 82 Old 01-07-2007, 06:27 PM
 
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This is totally me! I cannot get everything decluttered and its a constant battle of moving stuff from one cluttered spot onto a newly clean spot....making more clutter.

I didn't used to be like this....when I was single. I have realized that there are alot of emotional reasons why I am so cluttered with my husband around - including the fact that my father said noone would love me unless I was the perfect housewife. Its almost like some psychological challenge to show that I can be a horrid housewife and hubby still loves me.

There are other reasons too and I have just recently figured them out (at the ripe age of 36!), so I have to heal them and get this place in order.

When someone is coming over, I usually grab a box and throw everything into it and stick it in the basement (thank goodness for basements!). There are boxes down there that haven't been looked at in years. I could probably get rid of all that stuff.....I jsut have to do it.

I feel like I am failing my family. My 3 year old will even tell me that the floor is messy since she goes to preschool parttime and has learned that messes need to be cleaned up. I need to be a better example.

Thank you everyone for all the great suggestions.....keep them coming! It helps to read about other people battleing the same thing.

with smiles,
rebecca
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#76 of 82 Old 01-09-2007, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've just finished rereading some of this thread. I did some good work around here the week before Christmas, but have fallen off the wagon again. I got rid of about 2 garbage bags full of toys (dh took them to goodwill), but then Christmas hit and now I need to do another round. I also got rid of a bunch of towels!

Have I already mentioned the tupperware? We keep it in a lower cabinet next to the stove. This was the cabinet that was never locked, that the kids could play in. So it was always a mess. The only organization to it was that containers were on the top and lids were on the bottom. But trying to find a lid that matched the top was so insane, that I actually designated dh as the lid finder, because I would end up throwing a full blown tantrum. Inspired by this thread, I grabbed every last container and lid, and threw it onto the floor in the kitchen. Then I went through matching them up. Any leftovers were trashed. But even with the ones that did have matching lids, I couldn't believe how many I had! I got rid of a grocery bag full of tupperware (went to goodwill again). And I put all the tupperware back, with the lids attached. It only takes up one shelf, and we never have to search for a lid again. Like the towel thing, I don't know why it never occurred to me that I just didn't need that much tupperware! It also never occurred to me that I could store them with the lids on. So I feel really good about this.

We just bought a new desk, so I had to go through my old one, every last drawer. Got rid of a huge garbage bag full of junk. But I still have a banker's box sitting on my new desk of stuff that needs to find a new home, and files that need to be made. I need MDC to go offline for a few days to get this done!

The office/playroom is still a disaster, there is crap piled in the hallway, and I need to figure out what to do with the cooking magazines that are currently in our bedroom. It drives me crazy to have them there, but I just cannot get rid of them. I got rid of all my other magazines, but these ones I actually read. I'm trying to negotiate with myself about how many years back I can keep of a particular issue before getting rid of it.
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#77 of 82 Old 01-15-2007, 10:58 PM
 
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Oh my you just gave me 6 months of therapy right there! So THAT'S WHY I spent much of my (chaotic and sometiems traumatic) childhood staring at the ceiling, pretending I lived up there!
OMG, I thought I was the only person on the planet who did that!

My childhood was not traumatic, at least not my home life, but we lived in a small space and my room was chronically messy even then. I pretended I lived on the ceiling because it was clean, and there was so much space to run around.

Oceanbaby: One thing that is helpful to me is to throw stuff in boxes for our yearly garage sale and then put it in the garage. It is less final than taking it to the thrift store immediately, so I'm more willing to put stuff in, because I know I can get it back out if I change my mind. Then when we have the garage sale I have to go through everything and price it ... and I always find a couple of things I want to keep after all. But just a couple. It is SO much easier to get rid of stuff this way.

My situation is not really better than yours, but I wanted to share a tip.
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#78 of 82 Old 01-15-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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Can the cooking magazines be stored in the kitchen with your other cookbooks?
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#79 of 82 Old 01-15-2007, 11:59 PM
 
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My biggest piece of advice is to find a charity that picks up donations and to only donate to them. If I have to drive to Goodwill or whatnot, the bags will never leave the house. But now all I have to do is put stuff on the porch and it gets taken away. It's really lessened a big part of my anxiety over cleaning out.

I have two rules for this though.
1. Once it's on the porch, it CANNOT come back inside.
2. if you have a hard time seeing things leave, then get out of the house. Leave and don't come back until you're sure the stuff will be gone.

I would also suggest forgetting, at least initially, about selling anything. Just donate it. A PP had a good point about the tax receipts, but also I've found that keeping the stuff around in a sell pile just gives you more time to think about it and second guess yourself. I've pulled so much stuff out of yard sale piles to reclutter up my house it's insane. It's just not worth the aggrevation when you realize months down the road that you really didn't need or want this item and have to set it aside again. Just make the stuff disappear. You will probably never miss it.
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#80 of 82 Old 01-16-2007, 03:09 AM
 
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OMG, I thought I was the only person on the planet who did that!

My childhood was not traumatic, at least not my home life, but we lived in a small space and my room was chronically messy even then. I pretended I lived on the ceiling because it was clean, and there was so much space to run around.
..
LOL, and I thought it was just me. Plus, it looks fun to play on a vaulted ceiling and step over the doorways.
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#81 of 82 Old 01-16-2007, 03:33 AM
 
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LOL, and I thought it was just me. Plus, it looks fun to play on a vaulted ceiling and step over the doorways.
Do you enjoy empty houses, too? I remember once my parents were house-hunting for some friends, and we went through a house that was built on the same floorplan as our home, but was completely empty. It was amazing! I loved house-hunting as an adult, too. All that open space ...
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#82 of 82 Old 01-16-2007, 03:43 AM
 
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Do you enjoy empty houses, too? I remember once my parents were house-hunting for some friends, and we went through a house that was built on the same floorplan as our home, but was completely empty. It was amazing! I loved house-hunting as an adult, too. All that open space ...
I do, but I just love houses, period. My DH laughs at me because about 3/4 of my dreams are about some sort of house. I could go through open houses all day. I just love houses.
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