Lord A’mighty, people. I have a confession for you. At this moment in time, I am a complete, utter, disaster with feet. It’s amazing I can find my feet with the way things are around here. I mean, seriously. LOOK at this mess!!…
For the record, that’s my hallway bookshelf, the dining room, and Josh’s room.
Yes, I am ashamed to admit it, this is my house. Ok, parts of my house. The whole thing isn’t a shambles. I would really like for it to look like those happy showplaces, with a place for everything and everything in its place, but, alas, right now? I’m lucky to have a place for myself. Which is why the place is such a stinking mess – no place for anything to live.
So why am I telling you this? I don’t know. Desperation, maybe. I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself lately. I figure, I don’t have a payin’ gig, might as well make some decent use for my time, right? Anyway, part of that work includes facing some pretty tough truths. And one of them is that I’m a disaster at housekeeping. Oh, I keep the place “clean” enough – there is rarely any spoiled food, the countertops, table, bathrooms, etc., are clean. The dishes are done daily, garbage thrown out, that kind of stuff. But the clutter. Dear God, the clutter!!
I’ve gotten to the point where the clutter isn’t funny anymore. It used to be a quirky thing, “A clean house is like a museum. I like a little clutter.” Well, apparently, clutter has never met other clutter it doesn’t like. It’s like turning loose a pair of rabbits around here. It just keeps breeding. On top of the clutter, I have a large dog who sheds the equivalent of three Chihuahuas per day, and we live on a dirt road which I used to think was charming and Mayberry-like, but now I realize is just a nightmare to keep after. There is dust literally everywhere.
So this is my confession, and my step-up. Josh started school on Aug. 22, and now I’m tackling as many projects as I realistically can without making myself completely insane. It’s my goal to be pared WAY down by Christmas. I’d prefer Thanksgiving, so I have time before Christmas, but I’ve gotta be realistic, too.
Step 1 is to figure out where to start. I’ve got so many projects going at once… I have a ton to donate to Goodwill. Much of it, I had been saving to post on Ebay, but I never seem to get around to it, so I think I’m just going to donate it. I just don’t want it here any-freakin’-more.
Step 2 is to figure out *how* to start. I’m so riddled with ADD that I start a project and ten minutes into it (if I’m lucky), I’ve discovered six other things that need my attention and I go after them.
So, to help solve both of those problems, I’ve started creating a Household Organization Notebook. Lots of other people have done this, and it seems to help them. It’s a place to net together all the To-Do lists, the grocery lists, the meal plans, the cleaning plans, the chore lists, and everything else that goes with running a household, and keep it in one very accessible place. I’ve tried this in the past, but my perfectionism has always got in my way. So I’m trying to not be quite so perfectionist and a little more progress-oriented.
Wish me luck. Hopefully, I’ll have plenty more posts for you… but this time, ones that outline progress, rather than just a big hairy mess.
PS… if you don’t hear from me for a while, you might consider throwing a rope in a dragging me out.
PPS… if you’ve got any awesome organizing ideas, I’m happy to consider them. Pictures always help.
My best thought for the moment is to tackle one room at a time. Don’t go from the living room to the dining room to Josh’s room. Start in one place and stay there until it’s done. If you find things that belong elsewhere, put it in a pile by the doorway. You can have a pile for donating and piles for the other things. I would also take your To-Do List and put it on the fridge (or someplace you can see it all the time) to help keep you motivated. Seeing it staring at you is more likely to keep you going so you can mark stuff off. Keeping it in a notebook where you can just close the lid, might not be as motivating. Oh, another thing would be to pick one thing to accomplish each day. If one whole room seems to overwhelming to get through in one day, pick part of the room to get cleaned up and keep working like that. If one part is cleaned up, you might not be as likely to just “shift” stuff from here to there b/c you won’t want to mess up the space you worked so hard to find! Good luck 🙂
Uh-Oh, you have the Organizational Queen after you now. Sue is BY FAR the most organized person I know. She’s like a tornado!!!
LOL! I wouldn’t say the most organized! Is that good or bad?!
It’s GOOD. You fly around getting things done and I’m eating your dust. I’m soooo glad you were here on Sunday!! Otherwise the couch might still be up here!!
Ha ha ha 🙂
OK, you are killing me. I love that kind of stuff. I have to sneak around here if I want to straighten anything up, because that’s x more minutes I could have spent “working.”
I would have had that dining room table done before I finished reading your post.
I agree with taking it one room at a time. Start with the easiest. Pull everything out and put every item “away” – and if it’s not needed or wanted anymore, put it in the Goodwill bag. And don’t forget to take the Goodwill bag out when you leave, so you have room for more Goodwill bags. Pretty soon you will start to develop a habit of putting stuff away when you are done using it, so as not to make your work harder than it needs to be.
Don’t start with the hardest job, or you’ll just keep finding excuses to get on the internet instead of cleaning. And do NOT put stuff in boxes or bags “to go through someday.”
Every time you buy something new for the house (or for yourself), get rid of something similar – or get rid of 2 things, so you can get ahead of the problem. Instead of stocking up on stuff, use stuff up. Pretty soon, you will be breathing easier.
My biggest problem with the Goodwill thing is that ours requires an inventory list with every drop-off. I’ve heard it’s not like that at every one, but of course, I get this one. So I created my own inventory list on my computer so that I don’t have to keep getting theirs, and then get writer’s cramp, and then guess what? Back on the damn computer!!!
But. Since I wrote this, I created a space in my storage room for that electric fry pan that’s on the dining room table, as well as a few other things on there – which is why they were there… no home for them. And now they’re put away. The table’s done, except for the ugly tablecloth which is a necessity.
I’ve also started a to-do notebook. The Household binder is still a work in progress, but in the meantime, I’ve got a little spiral that goes with me and has my daily to-do list (which often includes “shower”) so I can cross-off/add as I go.
Baby steps, but I’m getting there. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a big Goodwill/Recycling day. (oh, did I mention, we do not have curbside recycling out here? Which means that I have to store all of it in bags in my garage until I take it to the dump myself. gahhh)
Oh, and Josh’s room is “straightened”. He doesn’t have a lot of space to put stuff, his room is so tiny, and our closets in this house are just weird, so I’m using part of his for our storage. That’s one of the list items, so he has more room. Meanwhile, I helped him get it at least consolidated in a box so we can see the floor…
I know I’m off topic but I LOVE the little hamster feeder gizmo…I want one! DM
I wish I could center it but I can’t. I’ll send you the code.
Well, Sue said what I would Have. Never start another project until one is 100% done. Cross it off your list that you have going.
The biggest thing is after you’re all done. Keeping organized. Make a weekly list. Go through each room once a week just to make sure nothing is piling up.
You guys don’t have undiagnosed Adult A.D.D., do you. Have you met me??? If I don’t have six projects going at once, I worry about what I’m forgetting!!! On the other hand, the list is a lifesaver, so I’m working with that.
I do see your point, though. In the past, I’ve tried to do too many things all at once. Things like, “Clean the basement,” and I’d get discouraged or distracted and never finish. Now, I’m breaking projects into smaller chunks. “Clean out this section” kind of a thing. My problem is that my house *looks* relatively clean, albeit cluttered with toys. But it’s when you really look, you notice that there’s just a lot of stuff. So I have to weed that stuff out. It’s not a matter of just putting things away. It’s emptying shelves, closets and rooms, so I have PLACES to put things away!! So that’s where the baby steps and bit-by-bit comes in.
Who said I didn’t get distracted? It’s during my distractions from work that I get all my housework done.
Okay, here I go. I’m really not one to give advice on this topic because quite frankly, I’m not that good at it myself. Here’s my Looking For My Checkbook post that was one of my very first posts back when nobody much was coming here yet. Read it and see if it fits you too!!
I’m really bad at this too and when my boys were young and I was out the door with them fist thing in the morning, our house got really bad. In the winter when we had sports on Saturdays and church, Vikings games and bowling on Sundays, it was sometimes all I could do to put supper on the table never mind cleaning. But, a lot of this stuff I do while I’m puttering around in my kitchen at night. I “putter.” If you came to my house at midnight, you would find everything in it’s place. In the kitchen at least.
Now with just Paul and I here it’s a lot easier but I also have a cleaning lady now too and every other week, the night before she comes, I straighten everything up so she’s not cleaning around things. I’m not paying someone to do that and besides, the house doesn’t look clean that way either. I also used to be the type that if I was going upstairs and something needed to go up, I’d think, “I’ll take it up the next time I go” whereas now, I do things right away if I’m going in a direction. I’ve gotten good at that. The cleaning lady also only cleans the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen and she washes all the floors. So while she’s doing that, I dust and vacuum and I do the rest of the house. It feels like I’m cleaning with someone and that has really helped me out.
I do agree with the others but I can’t say I “do” what they say because I’m still a scatterbrain and still forget why I went into a room never mind staying in it till it’s all clean BUT, it is so helpful to keep everything up to snuff. BUT, do one room at a time. It will make you feel good when you walk into that room. If you’re doing a little here and a little there, you’re not going to see much in the result dept and that’s why a lot of people give up on things. We NEED to see results so start in the smallest room and STAY THERE until it’s done.
Also, don’t you have any organizations that that come and pick up stuff at your house? I mean we live in the middle of nowhere and I have many of them that call me. I have the Epilepsy Foundation come here every 3 or 4 months and they welcome clothes, small household appliances and I’ve even given the boxes and boxes of books and movies. We kind of go through our stuff every time they call. Here’s a place to look. It’s hard for me to look for you since I’m not sure what you’re around and such. I’ll bet you can find someone to come pick up your stuff.
One more short tidbit. I got way long winded on this but the idea of lists is really a good one if they work for you. Me, I’d lose the list! The greatest invention for me has been having Notepad on my phone. Now I never forget my list because I never forget my phone BUT, make a list of each room and what you think should be done daily, weekly or monthly and there’s no good reason Josh can’t be responsible for his own room. The only thing I ever “re-did” that my boys did was make their beds and only because I like beds neat.
Good luck. How about this, in two weeks we want new pics to see how you did??? Okay, I’m running to hide!!
That’s actually a good idea. I really shoulda taken a picture of Recycling Mountain. That’s *insane*!! It avalanched yesterday when a friend put her pop can on top of it… so today, it got taken to the Center. That’s part of my problem (I think I mentioned it) – we don’t have curbside recycling pickup. So all the recycling – ALL of it, paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, steel, aluminum – gets put into three bins in my dining room, and then bagged up and carted out to the garage, where it lives until I get my act together and take it into town to the dump/recycling center. Today, I FILLED the not only the bed of my truck, but also the back seat, with recycling. And then had to come home and get the for-deposit cans and bottles!!! (on the upside, I “made” $15 on the deposits). But it feels good to get that recycling cleared out. Not only is it gone from my diningroom, it’s out of my garage. I almost have enough room for another car in there!
Anyway, yeah, remind me in two weeks. I should be able to at least have Josh’s room for you to see. And once I finish his room (my crap is causing most of the mess in his room. Again, no place for him to put stuff), he’ll be able to take over keeping it clean. Good way to keep me accountable.
And YES… your Checkbook link is ME to the T. I am the Mouse. Gimme a cookie!!!! (reference to “if you give a mouse a cookie”)
“Sorry, no charities that pick up in your zip code.” DANG!! I was hoping. That would have made it SO much easier!!! Ahh, well. I’ll keep making Goodwill Runs. They’re just right across from WalMart, so it’s not THAT hard.
Do you think if it were done you’d be able to keep it that way? Has it just gotten away from you? Has it ever been this bad where it’s bothered you like this?
I don’t have curbside recycling either. What I do is I have two Glad bags hanging in my back closet. One if for glass and cans and the other is for aluminum. Then I have an empty brown sack or box in there for the paper and Paul takes it every week or two. But I also flatten everything down before I put stuff in there. I wash the cans and flatten them too.
Go slow. Do a little bit each day. Try and do it where you’ll see it the most at first. That will make you feel better.
I’m pretty positive I have ADD as an adult and I know I had it as a child but nobody knew what it was then.
Good luck. I’m rootin’ for ya. You can do it.
I just have to laugh at the picture of Josh’s room. Thats what Hunter’s room looks like most of the time. I don’t have any tips for you….because thats usually what our house looks like too! 🙂
Laura, don’t get too discouraged because I’ve gotta tell you with with 2 kids (4&2) and 4 adults around here now my kitchen table and hutch will look like that on a daily basis until Ally or I get a chance to tackle it after the kids go to bed. I mean, sheesh….. it’s really hard to keep up. We’re teaching the kids to pick up their toys and put em away before nap and bedtime, but if the adults on bedtime detail don’t mention it the pick up just doesn’t get done til morning.
I tend to do organizing like SKL suggested. A small section of the room at a time. Mainly because I just don’t have the time to do this stuff all at one time. Of course here when I get 3 or 4 bags to donate I can just immediately take the somewhere in town to a donation container. We’ve got tons of them in the area. Try calling Amvets (if they’re out by you) they’ll come at your convience and pick the stuff up. Course you’ll still be storing it for a short while.
Good luck with the project…..I sympathize with you!