Decluttering other people's homes? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 12-30-2007, 03:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you ever find yourself decluttering the home of someone like your parents, grandparents, etc? By either asking first, or perhaps even doing it without asking, because they have so much stuff, they won't know you've gotten rid of some. I was just at my grandpa's washing dishes, and this nasty mat has been between the two bowls of the sink...so I tossed it to him and told him to throw it away since it was icky and he never uses it. And he did. So after he went to sit down to watch TV or something, I pitched a whole bunch of other crap that was on the counter, into piles to be recycled. After I did this, I was like eek I just decluttered someone elses house. I guess it's just in my blood today, since I purged a lot of my own stuff earlier.
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#2 of 19 Old 12-30-2007, 09:50 AM
 
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Clutter doesn't really bother me at other people's houses like it does at mine. I do fantasize about throwing out my Mom's 10 million nick nacks though.

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#3 of 19 Old 12-30-2007, 11:09 AM
 
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Yes, but only when they ask me for help.
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#4 of 19 Old 12-30-2007, 11:37 AM
 
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Nope, never without asking first, but I do fantasize about it.

My mom and her dh moved into their home two years ago, and their storage room is still a nightmare - boxes simply put in there with no real semblance of order, etc. I think she's going to let me do it this summer ... I've been dying to do it for the last year or so, and if I can get somebody to take care of the kids, then I am going to do it!

It would make them so happy, but I am actually looking forward to it, too.

...and I guess there is a little pathology here: why do I crave order in OTHER PEOPLE'S houses???!??!?!

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#5 of 19 Old 12-30-2007, 12:12 PM
 
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I usually spend at least an hour during my first 24 hours visiting my parents decluttering the kitchen. It's - it's unspeakable. There are four or five jars of maybe working, maybe not markers and pens next to the toaster, and then associated pen clutter (little scraps of paper, etc.) And next to the window is a whole nother layer of stuff - juice bottles, maybe a bag of random junk, but always a bunch of stuff. Then next to the stove there's always a foot-deep stack of whatever - bread, paper towels, random odd stuff, next to the stove, and my mom can't get an organized approach to recycling going so there's always a bunch of crap that needs to be sorted out, and plastic bags which have been washed to reuse hanging everywhere, and just - non-kitchen junk. It makes me claustraphobic just thinking about it.

So I sort, tidy, recycle, put away, file, etc. for an hour or two, usually late at night. And then every. single. time. there's a fresh layer of crap within 12 hours. It's amazing. My mom totally reverts to "must have every surface covered" mode. It's like she has crap in reserve so she can spread it over the kitchen.

So then I give up.

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#6 of 19 Old 12-30-2007, 02:32 PM
 
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Ah, this is my dream job I'd love to go into other people's homes and declutter, reorganize and find new uses of things they already have. In other words not going out to buy items to organize with.

I love decluttering and organizing but find it hard in my own home simply because I have a connection with the things.

The first home I'd love to do is my sisters. They are a family of 4 in a 1000sq ft or less home and in terrible need of decluttering.
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#7 of 19 Old 12-30-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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I'd be happy to have any of you to my house any time. I REALLY want to be in control. I just can't seem to get there. I dream of a brigade of people coming into my house and making it uncluttered and functional. In the meantime I'll keeping reading here for inspiration.
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#8 of 19 Old 12-30-2007, 08:02 PM
 
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The only time I ever did was when I lived with my grandparents. When you find food dated 2 years previous and broken things in the cupboards you have to do something.

But with anyone else I would not dare.
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#9 of 19 Old 12-30-2007, 10:40 PM
 
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I have tried for years to declutter my mother's house, but to no avail. Last year I filled two garbage bags with trash - moldly old food, months-old unopened junk mail, expired catalogs, dead batteries. I thought she would never notice, since there was still plenty of clutter and junk left over, but she noticed and she was furious...and she spent an hour digging through the trash bags looking for an old envelope that had an address on it that she wanted to save. *sigh*

I'm still trying to make peace with the fact that keeping her house clean will NEVER be as important to her as it is to ME, and that I need to just leave it alone.

Cindy, part-time family doc, full-time Mommy to Jared (2/04) and Connor (2/08) :
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#10 of 19 Old 12-31-2007, 12:31 AM
 
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I do that at my brother's house. Him and 6 roommates and not a one of them will do the dishes, so I'll do them while I'm there.

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#11 of 19 Old 12-31-2007, 01:33 AM
 
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I really really want to at my SIL's, but I wouldn't dare.
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#12 of 19 Old 12-31-2007, 01:40 AM
 
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I think its easy for me to see where other people could be doing what I think they should.

I do have a friend who could use some help decluttering, but I wouldn't be able to help for real.

If someone actually wanted my help, I would have to do it my way - I'd want the person to go through everything and take out what she really could not stand to lose, THEN declutter what isn't necessary. No way could I do it with the owner there, I think I'd get frustrated with them trying to work through the process. I'd be thinking "just toss it already!".
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#13 of 19 Old 12-31-2007, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=doctormom;10136339]I have tried for years to declutter my mother's house, but to no avail. Last year I filled two garbage bags with trash - moldly old food, months-old unopened junk mail, expired catalogs, dead batteries.../QUOTE]

Oh, only months-old mail? That's far better than my grandpa...oi vey. As much as I would like to take all the mail and recycle it, a lot of it from at least least year, I resist that temptation. But it's mighty hard sometimes...especially when you have to step over piles of it, and some piles are in chairs, etc.
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#14 of 19 Old 01-05-2008, 06:56 AM
 
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I'm guilty! I declutter everyone. I even sometimes steamroll them by saying, "you know, if you cleared this area like this...."

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#15 of 19 Old 01-05-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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I do some decluttering at my parents' house most times that I visit (I live in Europe so I don't visit that often). Last time when DS and I were there we took 4 big bags, a large box and an umbrella stroller to salvation army. We also filled one big bag with trash. We did it together, but my mom wouldn't have done it by herself. It just helps to have someone there to help you be more ruthless in your decluttering.

When my mom wasn't home I went through her magazine/catalog piles in the family room and about half went into the recycle bin.

I've also helped her with 3 yard sales. We got rid of a lot. I price the stuff really low so it will go. She wouldn't have had the yard sales if I wasn't there. I love going through stuff and getting rid of it!!
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#16 of 19 Old 01-05-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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I'm not attached to stuff (though I can't speak for dh).

My issue is procrastination. I have trouble getting stuff out the door. It tends to pile up and then the piles get messed up.....and I have to start over again.

It would be so nice to have a pair of hands to take stuff to the car and drive it to Goodwill.
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#17 of 19 Old 01-05-2008, 01:01 PM
 
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I'm SOOO tempted to go in and purge my mom's house. She is SUCH a pack rat! There were curtains on the windows in our apt when we moved in and my mom actually asked if she could take them down and have them when we move out!! My mom has a 4 ft high box FULL of curtains and no windows that they fit, she just wants more STUFF. It's unreal. There are 2 rooms in her house that are like those shows on Oprah...she has clothes from my youngest brother that fit my son...my brother is 11 years old. 8.5 years she's been hanging onto this stuff. She was sooo poor growing up, SO poor (like no shoes, no heat, never owned anything 'new', no running water sometimes poor) so I think she associates 'stuff' with 'wealth' since they had nothing when she was growing up. She doesn't want to not have something.

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#18 of 19 Old 01-05-2008, 10:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penelope View Post
I usually spend at least an hour during my first 24 hours visiting my parents decluttering the kitchen. It's - it's unspeakable. There are four or five jars of maybe working, maybe not markers and pens next to the toaster, and then associated pen clutter (little scraps of paper, etc.) And next to the window is a whole nother layer of stuff - juice bottles, maybe a bag of random junk, but always a bunch of stuff. Then next to the stove there's always a foot-deep stack of whatever - bread, paper towels, random odd stuff, next to the stove, and my mom can't get an organized approach to recycling going so there's always a bunch of crap that needs to be sorted out, and plastic bags which have been washed to reuse hanging everywhere, and just - non-kitchen junk. It makes me claustraphobic just thinking about it.

So I sort, tidy, recycle, put away, file, etc. for an hour or two, usually late at night. And then every. single. time. there's a fresh layer of crap within 12 hours. It's amazing. My mom totally reverts to "must have every surface covered" mode. It's like she has crap in reserve so she can spread it over the kitchen.

So then I give up.
Wait, you must be my SIL, b/c this is my MIL's house!!!

Of course, since she's not my mom I can't even get away with doing any decluttering at all without it being weird... gah.
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#19 of 19 Old 01-05-2008, 11:34 PM
 
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i actually offered a friend help in cleaning up her mess, and she accepted. so far we worked on her kitchen (iteration #1, at least) and now she wants me over to help clean out her closets. it is so refreshing, especially since my house is already decluttered.
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