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I need help....my house has always been messy and cluttered. Some times have been better than others, but I have never been able to KEEP it clean and neat- looking. It lasts probably three days tops. My husband is just as challenged as I am in this department...for example, he closes the dresser drawers he opens about half the time, maybe.<br><br>
We live in a 3 br/2.5 bath townhouse with a bonus room, and now that we have two kids I find it absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to keep up with. To be more specific...I managed to get 80% of it looking nice and neat for when my mom, sister and her fiance came to stay with us last Christmas. When they left a few days later, nobody could have ever guessed that I had bent over backwards cleaning for their arrival. I was back at square one, and I've been trying to catch up ever since. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> Except now, things are kind of opposite....while they were here, I still had this huge laundry pile in my room....currently, I think I *may* have one full load of laundry in the hamper(no dirty laundry pile on my floor <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">), and there is NOTHING in the washer, dryer, or two laundry baskets(this is a small miracle). But, there is a mess in virtually every other corner of the house.<br><br>
I'm sick of it. I can't live like this anymore! Especially because, aside from having a four year old little tornado who is learning some not-so-great habits from me, I also have an almost ten month old baby girl, who is most definitely on the move and picking up and mouthing all kinds of little *treasures* from the floor that I just can't seem to keep clean. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
We're trying to find a smaller house to rent, which I know will help(I do NOT want to have two floors anymore!). But that probably won't be a reality until at least the end of the summer....I need to do something about this, now.<br><br>
One of my biggest problems, according to DH, is basically that I care too much about the environment. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"> Our curbside recycling picks up #1 and 2 plastics, glass, and aluminum and tin cans. That's it. However, there is a recycling place a couple of miles from our house that I can drive to, that will take paper, cardboard, batteries, old cell phones.....so I have taken it upon myself to save all that stuff, mostly in garbage bags in the kitchen or office, under the sink....until I feel like my house is just overflowing with this stuff, then I make a trip down there(usually about once every couple of weeks, I guess). I've tried just throwing it away for the sake of catching up, and that lasted maybe a week, I never fully caught up, and I just can't throw this stuff away knowing it's going to a landfill when it can be recycled. I just can't do it. I need some sort of organizational system for it, but I have very small kitchen that's already overflowing with stuff, and no garage or outdoor storage space.<br><br>
Anyway. I'm rambling. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> Thanks for reading, and ALL suggestions are welcome...I need to get this under control, if only for the sake of my kids.
 

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google "flylady" i believe the web address is flylady.net<br>
i joined, and she sends you daily email reminders and things to do to improve your situation.<br>
the idea is to work on your house a little bit each day, whilest forming new habits... and decluttering for 15 minutes each day. you will learn to do things like shine your kitchen sink daily and make your bed daily.<br>
plus, do some focused work on various zones of your house, for example this past week we worked on our kitchens -- one day it was shine the front of the cabinets, another day it was wipe all the shelves in the fridge and toss any expired food in there, another day it was sweep and mop the floor.<br><br>
as for the recycling, if it's such a priority for you, then load it in your car tonight and first thing tomorrow drive it to that place to drop it off. get it all loaded up and get rid of it. i'm all for recycling, but it sounds like you first need to get your house in gear and then institute a workable system for recycling. otherwise you are wasting your energy which is truly a precious resouorce.<br><br>
even the recycling centers have systems... if it isn't "workable" it won't work. it's commendable that you want to recycle stuff, but you should know that realistically your contribution to the recycling is a true drop in the bucket. the huge big offenders are corporate and other giant entities.<br><br>
if it were me, i'd focus on my house for awhile and get a new routine in place, then see how you can add recycling back in, once you have a workable system in place.
 

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Well, I'm a mess, especially right now, so I am no pro. But I think you have to make a deal with yourself that you will either make the recycling trip weekly or as soon as 1 can is full or whatever parameters you want to set, or else it gets trashed. Think of it as choosing your priorities. Your family deserves to live without the recycling in the way. So if recycling is important enough for you to make a weekly/biweekly trip, then fine. But when your cause is taking over your home, then it's time to look at your priorities. Easy for me to say as I sit here and look at my messy house.
 

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Setting a timer and cleaning for ten minutes at a time really helps me. And the biggest thing is that I got rid of most of our stuff. Books, movies, toys, clothes, kitchen stuff... most of it went. Less stuff means less to clean.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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We also deal with no garage or basement storage for stuff like that and it drives me bananas. One thing I did though was to get a Rubbermaid bin and stick it on the back deck for the extra plastic recycling that can't go in the curbside bin. Then when it's full, I can take it to the recycling place when I am headed out to run errands. That at least gets it out of the house and out of the way, and it doesn't look trashy, and the stuff doesn't get wet in the Rubbermaid bin.<br><br>
As for the paper, you could try to fit it all in one bin (They really are waterproof, mine sit out on the deck with no cover), or have one for paper and one for plastic, or you could try to clear out a space under your sink for the paper, and just put a trashbag or extra garbage can under there for the paper recycling. You could also get a recycling divider somewhere, and put that in your kitchen. It may take up space, but at least it would look neat and everything would have an EXACT home, instead of spilling out of grocery bags all over the place. That is my personal goal by the end of the summer, is for everything in our house to have an exact home, so that we can all be better about putting it back when we are done with it.<br><br>
Something like this, these stack:<br><a href="http://www.plowhearth.com/product.asp?pcode=6112&cm_mmc=merc_datafeed-_-product-_-6112&mr%3AtrackingCode=3A600EC3-D7CF-DE11-A0C8-002219318F67&GANTrackingID=plowhearth_291357801" target="_blank">http://www.plowhearth.com/product.as...arth_291357801</a><br><br>
If you google "recycling organizer" you'll get a bunch of options if you decide to go that route.<br><br>
Good luck!<br><br>
(And I admit that I also have weeks where I just throw things away that could be recycled but can't go in the curbside bin, and I used to feel very guilty about that, but I have to get on top of the chaos and set up good systems to be able to effective at doing it in the long run. So I say try not to be too hard on yourself and just do the very best you can. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> )
 

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with a 10 months old I would suggest that your priority for the next few months are going to be floors every day, either sweep or vacuum, in any case pick up whatever is on the floor that you wouldn't want your child to put in his/her mouth<br><br>
also high in the priority list would be all the water points in the house; toilets, sinks, bath or shower (I used to resist using disposable wipes but it's fast and if it says "desinfect" on the outside THEN I feel better ...); later on, when I'll be more comfortable with all my other routines, maybe I can switch back to something cheaper or that involves adding more bulk in the laundry load ...<br><br>
now, that's on top of laundry and food preparation and washing up<br><br>
the key is to find where in your day will be best for you to do these chores, everybody is different, has different energy paterns during the day, different needs to go out and do this or that etc ....<br><br>
if you need to, make a list and put a dot of color next to each task after completion , changing color every day<br><br>
after a month or two when you are used to these basic daily tasks<br>
THEN you can start to think about what you would like to add as weekly tasks, and plan on a piece of paper which day of the week you'll get to do this or that (the breaking down of the weekly tasks in shorter segments)<br><br>
the key is to get so much into a routine of doing things "as a habit" that it doesn't feel like it's a chore but a "necessary basic"<br><br>
+ if you get enough necessary routines going on, THEN it's less necessary to have a mad dash through the house whenever vistors are turning up !<br><br>
I know that a lot of people suggest to decluter first, and it makes sense<br>
... but I cannot feel OK to do declutering when the house is too dirty !<br><br>
+ look up in that forum the thread about Motivated Moms & the calendar that comes with your tasks laid out for each day of the year<br>
... you can learn a few things from what other moms are writing => I never used to use a rotating mop with a flat rectangular head I had spare but today after reading tips about washing walls (which I still haven't done although it was on the MM calendar a few weeks back !!!!) I got the idea to use it to clean quite a few doors as well as the tiles in the bathroom ...<br><br>
hope this helps, let us know how you'll go about to organise your "plan of attack" ... reading and writing about it might help you to spring in action !
 

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Oh, another suggestion which helps me a lot is that I have one room downstairs, the family room where we spend most of our time, completely childproofed. Outlets, gated off the entertainment center with a super yard, and we keep that floor clear of big kid toys and other things. We also vacuum that room often because we still end up with little "treasures" like bits of paper and such. There are gates on all of the entrances and we can close them and sit on the floor/couch and relax.
 

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Set a specific day for carrying recycling out of your home- make it the same day every week.<br><br>
Find some sort of container, where you put the recyling into- carrier bags are annoying for this specific purpose.<br>
Rather use something stackable.<br><br>
For the rest- I didn´t like flylady, but it helps many people.<br>
I really like to recommend "Making peace with the things in your life" by Cindy Glovinsky.<br><br>
I like to read and I read a whole lot of organizational books and I liked it a lot.<br>
It helps to read different books, though, for you get to pick all the things which might specifically help you.
 

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EarthMamaofDaisy - Thanks for the reminder, I really need to do that more often! Especially on the days where I am completely overwhelmed and can't seem to get motivated to even make dinner(usually b/c the kitchen is a wreck).<br><br>
momofmine - thanks, your post was helpful. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> You know, I bought some Rubbermaid bins a while ago and I intended to use one or two of them for this purpose, but I got kinda sidetracked because I couldn't figure out a good place for them, and then started using them for other purposes. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> So first thing tomorrow I will track them down and maybe see if they will fit under my sink, or perhaps I can stick them outside. I also found <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&productId=100669787&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=100669787&cm_mmc=shopping-_-googlebase-_-D23X-_-100669787&locStoreNum=1774&marketID=1" target="_blank">these</a> that hopefully I can get in the near future.<br><br>
IsaFrench - you are absolutely right, floors have to be a priority, I know this but most of the time I am so darn tired and there is so much stuff ON the floor that I can't even fathom picking everything up and THEN cleaning it(the first floor is just one big room, so once it gets dirty and cluttered it is a BIG task). I have had success in enlisting the help of my 4yo, especially when we *race* to see who can pick up the most toys, but one of my other problems is that I am not the greatest at sticking to a schedule....ideally I would like to have a regular clean-up time, in the past I've tried to make that after dinner, but dinner is not always at the same time, and sometimes he is so tired after dinner or really really wants to go back outside to play, and then he will completely resist helping me. I know I have to work on being more consistent so that our family life has a gentle, consistent ebb and flow to it....perhaps I will talk to ds and tell him there needs to be a pick-up time everyday, ask him when he would be most willing to help me pick up(either before or after dinner), so that he can know when to expect it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> And then I'll work on having dinner on the table at the same time every day <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">. Baby steps....<br><br>
Larablue - yea, I don't much like FlyLady either. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Thanks for the book rec...I also have The One-Minute Organizer that I picked up from the bookstore a few months back....perhaps I will take a look at that. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
Thanks so much, everyone!
 

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I'm not a Flylady fan either. It used to work for me, but then I started listening to her radio show online, and decided I don't care for her. But I do still use some of her tips.<br><br>
I'll have to check out that book too, though. First I have to finish reading Peter Walsh's "It's All Too Much."
 

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begin with a deep breath. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> you can do this, and you can have a consistently clean and organized home. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
first, tackle the recycling process.<br><br>
step one, get everything that you have piled up out to the recycle center. step two, set up a compact, in-home recycling center. if you have to divide your recycling (we do here), then get small bins (from freecycle or related) and when they are full, you just take the whole bin to the recycle center, turn over the stuff, and then put the bins back in the car.<br><br>
we lived in a small condo before moving here my bins were not large. but they did stack up nicely, so the footprint was small. i found they would fill about every two weeks (I would collect recyclables from my friends), and so i would go to the recycle center every two weeks. it was part of my rhythm.<br><br>
second, deep declutter. if it isn't useful to you, then it may be useful to someone else. it's ok to let things go when you are not using them. they can go to second hand shops, to an auction house (depending upon how much stuff you have and it's relative value, etc), or they can go to charitable organizations (eg, i donated all of my kitchen supplies that i couldn't keep or didn't use to an organization that helped women get on their feet after leaving abusive situations).<br><br>
what you can't use, someone else can! give it away, feel liberated and feel good about doing good for others.<br><br>
when you have less stuff, yuo have less to look after and keep up with. i honestly couldn't fill a hamper and two laundry baskets with ALL of the clothes that we own. right now, whatever is dirty is in the washer, whatever is clean is put away in the drawers. when the washer is full, i will run the load, and put it away when it is all dry. All of my son's toys are kept in a few cubbies. All of our books (here) have a home (others are in storage in the states, and we will have book cases for them when they arrive).<br><br>
So, if you can pair down to your essentials, you'll be able to quickly get things put away--the place can be tidy.<br><br>
finally, create a routine/rhythm so that you can do what you need to do on a daily basis. I talk a lot about steiner and rhythms--as he focuses on the whole family's needs--and also how the continuum concept focuses on whole family needs, and in particular not being "child centric." that is to say, it's ok to have your children play along side while you do some cleaning up.<br><br>
everyday, i do things to keep the place tidy: make the bed, do whatever laundry needs to be done, wash dishes after each meal and put them away, and tidy up the toys at specific times of the day (before nap time, before dinner time).<br><br>
each day of the week has a dedicated chore: Monday, bathroom; Tuesday, dusting and vacuuming; Wed, soaking, fermenting, what not related to food; Thursday, playgroup; Friday, kitchen. Sat and Sun are family days, though one may become a gardening day. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I rise, do the straightening (bed, start laundry if needed), then make breakfast and clean up after. then it's chore time. DS does help but also plays along side. He's perfectly content to do this because what comes next is concerted, hawk-centric play time. outside, inside, whatever he wants.<br><br>
this is followed by snack time and reading time, which leads into nap time. so, before snack time, we do a tidy. then it's back on him--snack, snuggles, reading, nap time. then lunch, clean up, second play time focused on him, then dinner, then family time, then bed time, then DH and I have time. and then it is bed time for us. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
makes my life easy.
 

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Zoebird, if I had a working printer, I would print out your post and tape it to my fridge. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> Thank you.<br><br>
I actually have already gone through my clothes and have two huge garbage bags of stuff to give away to a friend on Friday. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> And I emptied out the big storage bin today, to use it as a temporary recycling solution.<br><br>
I went to church with both my kids yesterday and my husband spent the whole three hours I was gone cleaning the first floor of our house. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> I owe him big time! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> That is a huge weight off my shoulders, now I just have to catch up with the upstairs and formulate a plan. I feel like I can do it now, especially with the help you ladies have given me. And of course, my husband too.<br><br>
Thank you!!!!
 

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awesome! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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+ when you post here that you are getting round to getting organised in a way that suits you ... it can then get inspiring for others too !<br><br>
(= I HAD to turn on the computer today to see what you were up to ... was not feeling like doing much this morning ... but am now going to use some of the advice I will have gleaned through all the answers ....)
 

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I know it might seem "odd" but it could help to try and see if some of the chores you are thinking of doing rather around dinner time .... couldn't be actually done morning time when you'll presumably have more energy<br><br>
I mean that floors, even if it makes you feel down to see all the clutter down at the end of the day, maybe that knowing that you started the day "fresh" with vacuumed or swept floors and that tomorrow morning the floors will be cleaned again .... that could give you a little mental boost which means that the rest of the organising (like recycling etc ..) wouldn' t seem so daunting ....<br><br>
I did that with bedtime reading for my eldest, I really struggled with that timing so at one point I explained to them that we would move that reading time earlier in the day for a while and it did help me/my energy pattern.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>IsaFrench</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15520126"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I know it might seem "odd" but it could help to try and see if some of the chores you are thinking of doing rather around dinner time .... <b>couldn't be actually done morning time when you'll presumably have more energy</b><br><br>
I mean that floors, even if it makes you feel down to see all the clutter down at the end of the day, maybe that knowing that you started the day "fresh" with vacuumed or swept floors and that tomorrow morning the floors will be cleaned again .... that could give you a little mental boost which means that the rest of the organising (like recycling etc ..) wouldn' t seem so daunting ....<br><br>
I did that with bedtime reading for my eldest, I really struggled with that timing so at one point I explained to them that we would move that reading time earlier in the day for a while and it did help me/my energy pattern.</div>
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I read that this morning and the bolded part made me kinda go <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao"> I was soooo tired this morning. Granted DD is a pretty good sleeper, it is just somewhat of a juggling act to get both kids to sleep at a decent time and I rarely go to bed with them, so that = not enough sleep for me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"><br>
So...haven't gotten *much* done today, but tomorrow is a new day.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>IsaFrench</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15520123"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">+ when you post here that you are getting round to getting organised in a way that suits you ... it can then get inspiring for others too !<br><br>
(= I HAD to turn on the computer today to see what you were up to ... was not feeling like doing much this morning ... but am now going to use some of the advice I will have gleaned through all the answers ....)</div>
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Yay! Well, you know what they say...in every problem there is a gift...and being able to be an inspiration to others truly is a gift. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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Love this post, so much encouragement and refreshing outlooks, thanks. My story sounds lots like the OP. Just wanted to say for me starting out, keeping the kitchen sink clean (and a couple other fly lady techniques, like timed quick clean-ups) and turn you focus towards the floor (I have a "treasure" hunter as well). It really was amazing the difference after maintaining the floors, before other areas.<br><br>
Also have to say the environmental concerns have hindered me in many aspects while creating a peaceful home. But surprisingly as I have decluttered and maintained, I'm more able to handle the recycling, donating, repurposing and all the issues with cleaning in general (chemicals, laundry, garbage creation, etc..).<br><br>
Just start doing, it doesnt have to be perfect, if you have an off day no big deal. For me the chaotic home comes from my childhood and, it takes a while to create new habits.
 
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