A Pitiful Cry for Help... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 01-14-2008, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, you regulars have probably heard this 1,000 times already (you=), but I have really got to turn over a new leaf here.

I am a stay-at-home-wife, so taking care of the home is my "job." I love it. But lately... urgh. In the 2 years since we've been married, I've been on this rollercoaster. The high points are the time when all of the used rooms (we have 2 extra bedrooms) are tidy and clean. The low times (like now) are when everything has fallen apart, and I am in that messiness-->depression-->not having the energy to clean-->more messiness-->deeper depression, etc.

The low points have outnumbered the high ones.

I am stopping that NOW. I cannot stand it anymore, the "can't-have-anyone-over-syndrome," the disappointment in myself, on and on. DH is very understanding but I know how much happier he is when things are under control.

My biggest need is just to keep up the momentum for a couple of weeks. Even during "good times," I have felt like holding back a flood with my finger in the dam, with all of the disorganized drawers, closets, ROOMS (yes, the entire back bedroom has become full of stuff, and now the 2nd bedroom has to) waiting to swallow up the house again. It's partly a clutter problem, but it's equally an organizational (we really have room and desire for most of what we have, just no real system) and concerning general cleanliness (at this point, I am not sure even steam cleaning is going to get the carpets nice again).

I know if I can get this done everything else will fall into place. I will actually cook decent meals again instead of wanting to go out (just to get away from the mess!); I won't sleep to embarrassing hours trying to hide from the dirt and the dishes and the stuff everywhere! Aahhh!

As most of your probably understand, this really is a serious problem. I am determined to fix it, but I would love to have your help. I know FlyLady is popular, and I am adopting some of her ideas, but at her rate, I would still be battling dirt and junk in the next decade. Her plans work for me as far as upkeep, but not as far as progress. Any suggestions you have -- anything that has worked for you! -- would be greatly, deeply appreciated. By everyone in this house.

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#2 of 12 Old 01-14-2008, 04:04 PM
 
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Hmmm. I would start with meal planning. I find when we eat better, we all feel better and then have more time for other stuff. So, commit yourself to meal planning for a week. Once you have done it for a week, add one more large task for the week (plus another week of meal planning)...say cleaning the room that you use the most (bathroom? bedroom? kitchen?) and organize the cupboards, fridge, and then clean it top to bottom. In week 3 add another big thing (along with meal planning and keeping the organized room in that state)...etc. Maybe the kitchen will only take you one day to do...and if it does then work on another room the next day....

I find that if I keep myself busy, I want to continue on that path. You have to start somewhere though!
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#3 of 12 Old 01-14-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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I take from Flylady what works for me & my family and leave the rest. I like her routines, her ideas about keeping "hot spots" clear, and making sure I get dressed & take my job seriously.

I find I start out the week at a break neck pace so Monday & Tuesday things are great. By Wednesday I lose steam and then Thursday I do pretty much nada for the house. Friday & Saturday I'm trying to catch up to where I was and then Monday I start all fresh & energetic again. I'd like to keep up the momentum for 2 straight weeks too.

Raising my standards has helped too-for instance, when I vacuumed once a week or less, it was easy for the house to be cluttered. Since we got a kitten and I now need to vacuum daily to control dander/hair, I find that my tolerance for clutter is lower because the clutter has to be picked up so I can vacuum and the house feels dirty to me if I haven't vacuumed that day.
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#4 of 12 Old 01-14-2008, 05:09 PM
 
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Don't put the cart before the horse; Declutter 1st then organize!

Christy wash.gif Mom to DS 4/21/04 reading.gif DD 9/20/09  dust.gif DD 7/2/11jog.gif

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#5 of 12 Old 01-14-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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You mentioned Flylady-- her ideas for maintenance are great if (like me) the concept of spending time every day to straighten and clean is sort of alien. You know-- hot spots, 15 minute routines, etc. (My tendency is to wait until it's all a disaster and then throw myself into it...)

Also, her emphasis on not getting overwhelmed-- didn't get messy in a day, etc.-- can be a useful mantra if you're feeling down about it all. My suggestions, as a fellow Overwhelmed Messy, are to make a few small goals and work on those first. Don't get carried away by the thought of the whole messy back bedrooms-- think small manageable goals that will make you feel better about the situation, since as you pointed out, the connection between messy, overwhelming house and depression. Whatever room you use the most-- start by trying to keep that one clean, maybe. For me, it's the kitchen, so before I ever think about working on another space, I do the dishes, clean the table/counters, etc. You know, so that when it's time to make dinner I don't want to cry. (Actually, my DH claimed that if I kept the kitchen clean and the dishes washed, he'd take over the bedroom, living room, and bathroom. So far he isn't quite holding up his end but it's getting better.) Or maybe your family room would be better for you, whatever. Just so you have a clean, restful place that doesn't stress you out. Then gradually begin working on other spaces...

I also second the meal planning suggestion.

Mara, mama to two boys born 05/2009 and 04/2011, after four miscarriages. 

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#6 of 12 Old 01-14-2008, 07:17 PM
 
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I agree, for most of us the most used rooms are the kitchen and living room, so start there. Start decluttering first. One section at a time, dont get overwhelmed; do one cupboard and feel happy at what you accomplished. I have decluttered my kitchen before, but am about to again, and this time read about organizing a kitchen. I learned a few tips I wasn't doing, like having zones for food prep, appliances, and dishware/table cloth stuff.
The things you need to cook with should be closest to the stove, the dishes and napkins, etc. should be stored closest to the dining area... duh! I thought, but I had my pots near the table and dishes near the stove! I was walking back and forth, and now I will be more organized. So simple, but I never thought of it.
I also love a tip I got here about keeping cutting boards above on top of the fridge; I used to leave them on the counter b/c they wouldnt fit anywhere, now they have a home. I just hung up a hook for my potholders, and that works nice, too.
Also, for kitchens there are all kinds of little organizers for utensils, spices, etc. that really help.
For the living room, the most decluttering for me was for books and dvds that fill the shelves. Alot of them were getting no attention from me or the fam, so off they went, and I did get a few new books by swapping them on paperbackswap.com
Nowadays, they have lots of storage furniture for living rooms where you can store stuff in while just showing nice furniture like a coffee table or ottoman.
Good luck, and hang in there.

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#7 of 12 Old 01-14-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by APBTlover View Post
As most of your probably understand, this really is a serious problem. I am determined to fix it, but I would love to have your help. I know FlyLady is popular, and I am adopting some of her ideas, but at her rate, I would still be battling dirt and junk in the next decade. Her plans work for me as far as upkeep, but not as far as progress. Any suggestions you have -- anything that has worked for you! -- would be greatly, deeply appreciated. By everyone in this house.
I know it's really hard to see when you're buried under CRAP! but the flylady way of undoing the disaster 15mins at a time does work! (I'm an off the wagon flybaby but because of the massive declutter I did, the house can't get nearly as bad as it used to) A PP said to not put the cart before the horse and that's so right.. you can't organize clutter... you have to get rid of it. All I can really say is pick a room and grab your toss/donate/put where it belongs boxes and dig in for 15minutes, then take a break & do something else for a while. If you come back for a few 15minute sessions you WILL see some results and it won't seem so much like pushing poop uphill so to speak

Pagan  lovin'  WOW playing mum to 5 boys in the wonderful land of Oz ... FOR THE HORDE! hehehe
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#8 of 12 Old 01-14-2008, 10:07 PM
 
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Re:

"we really have room and desire for most of what we have, just no real system"

I wanted to chime in on this: Even if you have enough storage for your stuff, you also need enough _time_ to maintain your stuff. So you may be overflowing on a time basis, even if not a storage basis, and you may need to get rid of more stuff than you think.

For example, more clothes make it possible for other people in the house (and maybe also you?) to do more damage while searching for something to wear. And that's true of all kinds of stuff - unless _everybody_ in your house is doing a good job of putting stuff away, the more stuff there is, the more chaos your family can produce.

Also, more dishes, or at least more variety of dishes, make it harder to figure out where to put things away, and it causes headaches with little things like two different kinds of plates that don't nest well in the dishwasher. More toys give the kids more options for making a bigger mess. More clothes and more dishes also make it possible to put off washing clothes and dishes until they look like an insurmountable task - if you have less stuff and you're actually _out_ of underwear and glasses, that can have the useful effect of setting your priorities for you.

So, no matter how much storage you have, more stuff means more complexity and more time lost to maintaining and sorting and storing the stuff. So if the stuff is out of control I'd suggest a focus on decluttering, even if there's plenty of storage.

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#9 of 12 Old 01-14-2008, 10:17 PM
 
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So, no matter how much storage you have, more stuff means more complexity and more time lost to maintaining and sorting and storing the stuff.
So, so true. Great advice.

Decluttering SAHM of three. Going for 2011 items in 2011.
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#10 of 12 Old 01-15-2008, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all.

I've put my hubby on notice about ways to help me for the next couple of weeks... things like helping with washing dishes so I have more energy to spend on the decluttering/cleaning without fizzling out. Though it's mostly a list of things for him NOT to do, like trying to convince me to organize the junk drawer when we can hardly see the dresser.

I have also absolved myself from trying to cook fresh all of the time. Today, I bought a big bag of frozen pizza rolls. : Not my ideal diet, and I usually don't buy them because I know all of their artificial goodness is not optimal nutrition, but, guess what? Eating pizza rolls for lunch for a week or two will be a lot healthier for me than the stress of living like this any longer! I feel better just thinking about it.

treehugger.gif SAHM with a precious toddler and the love of my life, expecting a new little one July 2014!
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#11 of 12 Old 01-15-2008, 06:51 AM
 
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My personal cycles after years of watching them showed me I need an up day of getting things done, and then a down day for me to relax. So that is what I do and thanks to getting rid for a lot of stuff, things are much better and not so hard to keep clean.

By the way, I have noticed most un-happy people, depressed, have lots of stuff, even if it is clean, they have issues! Cluttered head = cluttered life... same the other way around too.

My friend has a clean house when most people come over, other times it is scary. She also has 83 pairs of shoes last I counted..... her marriage is iffy at best as are other things. She just can not stay home, can not hold on to money, and I worry so much about her, all that stuff got her into bankruptcy and already after only a year she is in debt again and more credit cards.
Did I mention I am worried.

You need to part with the STUFF and work on you hun. Your important! Life is about living, not having.

Army wife to wonder hubby. Mama to 4 and Surrogate mother x2.: Zoey Born 5/7/2010
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#12 of 12 Old 01-15-2008, 09:55 AM
 
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I used to be so overwhelmed with all of my housework. But then I made myself a schedule. First I did a major declutter-and-clean, even got a dumpster to throw things away that I didnt use, want, or have space for. Then after that, I went room by room and cleaned everything from top to bottom. I cleaned out the light fixtures first, then I cleaned off counters and surfaces, then everything on the surfaces, then the toilets and bathtubs, and then the floors. The schedule is to maintain that. I just divided the house up into zones, and then I do a different zone everyday. It makes it so easy and this way work never piles up. Plus, I have a list in front of me so I am never sitting there wondering what I should do next.

Hope this helps!
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