Help! Need encouragement and advice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 03-24-2008, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Background: I homeschool my 2 school-age-and-still-at-home-kids, have a toddler, help my husband run his business (which is basically clerical support - but this is the beginning of his busy season and it does take my time), and live on a 27 acre farm/ranch. Oh- and I'm 34 weeks pregnant.

My husband's dear, dear 97yo Granddad is likely going to be moving in here in about a week or so. It's a very long story but DH and I have decided that if, in a week, he's still unhappy in the foster home he moved into today we will invite him to live with us.

There are some logistical delimmas with this situation as our home is rather full as it is, and not well planned (it's a 30 yo mobile home that doesn't have a lot of storage space and has an AWFUL galley kitchen layout). I am absolutely certain that this is the right decision to make (and, mind you, it's possible that Granddad will enjoy the place he's at now and this might not even be necessary), but as I walk through the house looking for places to dejunk and streamline to facilitate the addition, I am overwhelmed. Any suggestions on where to start? How to maximize my strapped time and energy and make the most impact with my organizing and dejunking? (I am thinking of asking my MIL and Granddad's other SIL to come help...since both actually have plenty of room to take in Granddad and aren't inclined to do so...the least they can do is help me get ready! I also have a couple of organized friends who I know would come over and help.)

Because of the size of our family we have multiples of many things: linens, towels, dishes, toilet paper, etc... in a home with less than adequate storage. Any good storage ideas? How do you store the multiple items that you stock up on during good sales? What things have others found that they can live without?

It's a great opportunity for me to dejunk and re-organize, but I'm just overwhelmed by the idea at the moment. Thanks!!

Mrs. S - Crunchy child of The King, Wife to my best friend, and Mama to my many blessings.
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#2 of 7 Old 03-24-2008, 10:34 PM
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Hugs, you can do this! Might be a little stressful but it will be good if you face it with a positive outlook.

The first thing I thought of was Granddad's needs... any special equipment? walker? wheelchair? bed? bedside poty? oxygen?... gotta make room for that and find places that are easily accessable to him and any folks that take care of those equipment things...

Which room will be his? start there get it cleaned out and set up.

His new room will mean you guys loosing room so who's doubling up and in what area? tackle that next.

I'm assuming your school age kids are bigger, let them help you do most of the work with you directing if they are big enough. Get the extended family involved also in the moving of furnature and boxes from one room to the next.

What about long term storage of things like out of season clothes and decorations, can you ask that one of the extended family store them for you to give you more room?

My first thought was to build shelves high on the walls up near the ceiling for storage, don't know how/what would need to be done with the mobile home to hang that weight, in my brother's old m.h. he had issues with the size of boards used in the walls for support. He was able to hang shelves and such but he had to put extra support brackets and beef the shelving up some.

If you can raise the beds off the floor more there's added bonus space (might not want to go too high with granddads or yours with you being pregnant and possibly a babe co-sleeping... don't need to be climbing a step stool!

dishes, go down to the bare minimum needed for everyone to have a setting and you don't have to take shifts in eating because you only have 1 spoon, makes for having to keep up with washing dishes but you gain a little cabinet space for food and sale storage. Towels and sheets, pare them down too, might want to keep a couple extra sets of sheets for nighttime messies but you really don't need 4 sets for each bed. Towels, 1 set for each person and then a couple for messies and if you guys do the outdoor water thing in the summer then enough to make it so that when the kids drag the nice ones out in the mud you don't pull your hair out.

Farm/ranch... just saw that... do you have storage sheds/barns? could you set up tubs or cabinets for used but not used often enough to keep out there?

I'm thinking along the lines of a utililatrian sweep, if it's just pretty to look at then box it up and get it out... that is a massive declutter and downsizing and is a whole lot easier said than done.

The new baby? do you have things set up for it's arrival? Have you started nesting and making space for the new addition? Need to plan space and time for this too.

Care for granddad? does he need extra? can you get help from family or other places? Ask relatives if you can to help with making some meals to freeze up or ones that you can mix and cook up quickly.

You really can do this.
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#3 of 7 Old 03-25-2008, 12:46 AM
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I agree with OP.. just leave in your home only what is necessary, and pack up all the pretties, the decorations, anything that is there just to look at.
When we moved house recently I started packing up early, until for the last month we were living with only our useful things. It was so wonderfully freeing, that I've kept our new home like that.

Things I could live without: Pot plants, ornaments of any sort; magazines; bedspreads;, doileys and covers; cushions (unless for comfort only); salt and pepper shakers; anything fluffy, white, or frilly; saucers; Even if it's things you want to keep for later, just pack it all away for now. My SIL stores a lot of stuff she wants to keep for her own family in the ceiling space. She packs it really well though, first.

I do the clerical work at home for my DH's business too. The very best thing I ever did was buy a set of A4 size plastic drawers that sit on your desk top... 2 sets in fact. They are only cheap at office suppliers. But as soon as I get the mail, I sort it into the drawers. The top drawer is "to be Paid", which means things that have to be dealt with in the next few weeks. The next drawer is "On Hold" meaning things that I'm waiting to hear on something, someone is to ring me back about, stuff like that. Then "to be Filed" which means I've dealt with it, but need to keep the paperwork, and so on. Then once a month I go through it all and file in the big filing cabinet, and enter it into the cash book system we have.
It works so well, because even though I like to do the paper work regularly and keep it up to date, if some crisis happens, like sickness, or too busy, or plain old overwhelm, well, I know that as long as I deal with just that top drawer, then the rest can wait until I get to it. But that top drawer is vital. It's only one drawer, and I can just pull it out, deal with that, and relax that the bills are paid and important stuff is all dealt with at least. This has been the one biggest stress saver I have ever known.
Your post gave me such a heartwarming feeling, you sound like such a warm generous family,and I know that when you look back on life, some of those busiest times of all are the most rewarding, when your nest is full.
All the best
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#4 of 7 Old 03-25-2008, 03:16 AM
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A friend of mine had big strong nets suspended from the ceiling, on pulleys, for her kids light toys, light clothes, hats etc. I don't know how easy this would work or if it's practical for you, but just thought I'd mention it...
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#5 of 7 Old 03-25-2008, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the ideas! I expected most ideas to be things that I know and already do - but they weren't. I'm so excited - just having a doable plan is energizing!

I hadn't thought of packing away decorative/non-necessary items until a later time - that is such a wonderful idea! Our only outside storage areas are not mice/dust free so I have been frustrated at either having to purchase a lot of Rubbermaid-style bins or finding somewhere in the house to store them - storing at a family member's home is a FANTASTIC idea! Downsizing dishes and linens is also a fabulous idea. We are usually the gathering place for family get togethers so I have quite a few table linens and dishes...but the truth is that between Granddad and the new baby (and gardening season and hubby's busy season), we don't need to be entertainment central for a while - and those can be packed as well.

I like the office idea as well. Right now everything's fine in the office - but having a system in place that takes care of issues when things get a little more chaotic is a wonderful idea (in fact, I think I need to teach my older kids how to do some of what I do for the business).

Thank you all, again. I'm ready to get busy!

Mrs. S - Crunchy child of The King, Wife to my best friend, and Mama to my many blessings.
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#6 of 7 Old 03-26-2008, 01:03 AM
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I just wanted to pop on and say you sound like a wonderful and upbeat person, MrsSurplus! I bet you have this all worked out soon. Best wishes!

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#7 of 7 Old 03-31-2008, 09:10 PM
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okay, this might be a small little thing, but we keep 2 extra sets of sheets for each bed--and store them between the box springs and the mattress (if that applies in this situation). I started doing that years ago and it helps. Not only with space, but also with nighttime sheet changes. No looking for sets for that bed. I also keep small totes (or even boxes) under the beds for kids clothes instead of using dressers. Definitely helps with floor space. Good Luck! HTH
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