How can I sort my house out?

(74 Posts)
ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 13:24:37

It is a mess. A horrible cluttered mess. I can never find anything I need and I am really depressed about it.

I have 4 dcs so always a lot of washing that seems to take up a lot of time, lots of clutter and paperwork, too many hosp appts etc so am never in much to sort things out and only ever get bare minimum done when really I need to do everything.

I dont want a show home just a reasonably tidy house so that I can find things when I need them.

Things are really bad today and I dont know where to start I just feel overwhelmed. Baby has just gone down for a nap and I need to tidy but have no motivation and just want to cry.

Where do I start?

Slatternismymiddlename Tue 20-Nov-12 13:58:45

Poor thing - please don't get overwhelmed, there are quite a few threads on here that a very helpful about trying to get organised and decluttering. (decluttering seems to be the precursor to getting organised).

I am no expert but I suppose the one thing I have learnt is try not to look at the whole house as something to be done in one day - it is just not possible. Instead pick a thing - to sort a room, or a job like putting clothes away, or sorting the kitchen counters and do it.

If you are really not feeling up to it try the 15 minute thing. Just do 15 minutes of something, anything in the house. You will feel better and be surprised at how much you achieved in that space of time. Reward yourself with a cuppa and a go on mumsnet.

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:25:34

I have put the dishwasher on, a load of washing, given the baby lunch and wiped down surfaces in the kitchen.

Still feel daunted by the rest of the house though especially clean washing mountain to be folded in front room and dirty washing mountain upstairs.

sad

DewDr0p Tue 20-Nov-12 14:35:07

Perhaps you need a routine? Divide up the washing/chores into different loads and allocate each one to a day. I have 3 dcs and do it like this:

Mon - clothes (darks/whites/colours), kitchen, empty bins
Tues - bedding, dust/hoover upstairs, ironing
Wed - towels, bathrooms
Thurs - delicates, dust/hoover downstairs
Friday - school uniform, other jobs

I also find I have to put some washing away every day or I just end up with piles of clean clothes everywhere!

Decluttering I think works best done on a monthly/6 weekly cycle a la Flylady but it's the same principle. Do 15 mins once or twice a day and it will soon mount up.

I think you do have to get these habits ingrained. I actually got quite on top of things for a while following these principles but a combo of half term and illness has set me back a bit.

As I am decluttering I am looking at storage in each room and working out what's causing the mess and whether we need different storage etc.

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 15:04:49

I def need a routine. Did a decluttering day 2 weeks ago and 10 binbags went to charity shop and 2 in the rubbish bin. That was just the tip of the iceberg it has got so bad sad

did ds1 room at weekend and got rid of another binbag of broken toys old clothes etc.

Yes storage a big issue especially with 4 dcs in a small 3 bed.

I just feel panicky surrounded by this much rubbish and disorganisation.

As quick as I can tidy the dcs mess it up, then its a meal time or ds2 needs feeding and before I know it the day is gone I am exhausted and it is still a tip.

bossboggle Tue 20-Nov-12 19:41:13

Do you have anyone friends or family that could come in and help get you started. Don't be embarrassed to ask!! If not.... don't try to take it all in at once!! A little bit at a time, and reading your post you've already started - well done!! I have been housekeeping for some thirty years and it is not easy!! Your children are young - they won't always be so!! De clutter, de clutter and de clutter again - you can work your way through things as you go and even as you live!! Do a little bit each day, it takes one small step to begin to climb a mountain!! You don't say how young your Dc's are - if they are old enough then get them to help tidy things, if they get toys out they are able to put them away!! Teach them to do small things, you can start small and then take bigger steps each day - we are not born housekeepers we have to learn how to do it!! I have three dogs, one hubby and three DC's (well they're all grown up now) and one of my DC's is disabled too, it is not easy but you do get there!! Keep posting and let us know how you get on... small steps, one job at a time - you will get there!!

bossboggle Tue 20-Nov-12 19:44:18

By the way all of the DC's live at home too!! My DS is the tidiest of the lot - yes you can teach them!! As soon as they are able to learn to keep things tidy then drum it into them - things will get better - honest!!
It doesn't have to be a show home - it has to be your home and if you are happy with it then that will do!!

Make it a habit to get the DCs to tidy all their toys etc 10 minutes before bed/bath time. The secret, when they are very young is to do it with them. Your encouragement "Wow, you are so good at putting away books!" etc will go a long way and if you are doing it with them it won't end up in a nagging session. Even very young children will be used to "tidy up time" at nursery so get them doing it at home too!

Leafmould Tue 20-Nov-12 22:26:12

I second educating arti's post. If the dc are undermining your work then it will be a never ending cycle.

I realised after a while that they needed to learn that they could only hav one thing out at a time, and they had to put it away befor getting anything else out.

You dc probably play together while you are getting on with things a bit, so it's really important that they get this, and the only way you can teach them is by observing them really closely for a few weeks, and stopping them and asking them what they ought to be doing as soon as they look like getting something else out.

Also as much as it is lovely to let kids play with the saucepans etc, they need to learn that that doesn't mean they can get everything out of the pan cupboard while your back is turned.

Housework is a job, you have to clock on at 9 am and keep going until its done. My problem is that if I'm off work, and at home, I want to be less frenetic than I am at work, so I potter about doing this and that without any sense of urgency. This neither fulfills the purpose of getting the work done, or relaxing, so is therefore a bit of a waste of time.

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 10:36:40

My dcs are 11, 5, 3 and 7m.

All have a genetic condition and other health issues hence all the hosp appts and my lack of time to do anything sad older 2 have 30mins physio every morning which is difficult.

I got up at 5am with the baby today as he was poorly and at 6 decided to start on the housework, unloaded and reloaded dishwasher, hung up washing then put another load on and tried to neaten up a bit but it has all been undone again now as all dcs at home today (sore throats and coughs).

Just spent half an hour in kitchen crying over everything. Its not just the house although it would make a huge difference if I could at least find what I need every day. Things have all just piled up and I am not coping. I have nobody who can help, DH works quite long hours and is always exhausted at end of day (has same cond as dcs) my mum works and my sis cant help. Dh mum is around I asked could she pop over today but she said she is busy so Im here alone again and thoroughly fed up.

I need to pull myself out of this I think I will try and set myself a mini to do list of tidying maybe I will feel like Ive at least accomplished something today other than being miserable!

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 10:40:45

This is what I am going to try and get done today:

Make beds
Neaten up front room (again-too many toys!)
Clean bath/sink/toilet

If I try to do anymore I know I wont manage and then I will feel a failure again.

Leafmould Wed 21-Nov-12 10:51:33

Ariane, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate! I think you are right to set yourself small targets. Don't beat yourself up about it, it sounds like you have your priorities right, ie dc health. The state of the house can get you down, especially if you are in it a lot. Mine doesn't bother me too much because I am out a lot. I do think you would benefit from some support, as the pressure sounds really tough. Do you have a home start scheme where you live? How would you feel about counselling?

Sorry if any previous advice was not really relevant to your situation.

Hope today goes well.

isw Wed 21-Nov-12 11:02:30

Hi, I also get totally overwhelmed and I only have 1 disabled DD who needs a lot of attention and only goes to nursery 10hrs a week (if that, due to appointments, illness etc) I do 1 wash a day from start to finish. One in machine, one out, one hung up and one put away otherwise like you I end up with clean piles everywhere and then something happens to them..... I also do the kitchen everyday. I can't sit down until its done and I do 2 lots of 15 mins a day. 15 mins of paperwork, de cluttering etc. Its slow but at least I feel like I am moving in the right direction. I contacted my disability social work team and they did an assessment for direct payments. I get 4 hours a week when someone comes round and plays with DD while I get on (usually organising her paperwork, making phone calls etc but at least my to do list doesn't just keep getting longer. I also got a cleaner. £13 for 2 hours once a week, quite literally life changing. She does kitchen floors, bathroom, hovers what she can and changes DDs bed. Hope that helps x

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 11:04:15

Any advice is helpful I just don't know where to start!

A few years ago I had a lady from homestart come round but in the end it didnt work out as we have so many appts and it sort of turned into another appt, likewise counselling I know it would help but it is just somewhere else to go and as I dont drive it is an ordeal getting to appts. bit of a vicious circle.

I just feel like if the house was tidy and organised I would feel a bit more relaxed as I am stuck in so much, holidays are especially bad as dcs cant walk far so we are effectively housebound. during summer hols I got a nanny for half a day a week so that dcs could do some arts and crafts/play games/bake etc so they had fun and that I could get housework done but it was expensive and not something I could do on a regular basis.

Have done my list now Im just tidying up after ds1 (who has behaviour issues as well and today is a bad day).

Durab Wed 21-Nov-12 11:10:58

I'm surprise no-one else has mentioned it, maybe it's just too naff, but FlyLady is all about taking babysteps to deal with clutter, not blaming yourself for the house being a state, recognising that anything you do is better than doing nothing and having routines to get and stay on top of things.

It has helped me enormously, I can't say I follow it to the letter and I have some weeks when I'm more on top of things than others, but if I do lapse for a week or so, having a system makes it so much easier to get things back under control.

There's a book too , which personally I found easier to digest than all the huge amount of info/advice on the website

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 11:16:37

I will have a look durab thankyou it sounds helpful especially doing things a little bit at a time

Leafmould Wed 21-Nov-12 12:59:39

I think the words housebound and depressed often go together Ariane.

Have you got a garden?

Most houses are not designed for the housebound. I think your dc need a play area which is not supposed to be tidy. If that is the living room, then you need an adult space which is tidy. Can this be the kitchen? Can you have a comfortable chair in your kitchen and a table, and make it a nice place for you to relax in as well?

I can't do this as our kitchen is too small, but I think it would be nice to have a tidy calm place to sit down in, and a seperate area for the dc to be untidy in.

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 13:23:39

Yes we have a garden but only really go out there when weather is nice and if dh is here as dcs need constant supervision and I find it a bit much when Im alone here.

I could probably just fit a chair in kitchen and it would be easier to keep it tidy-the front room is full of toys so no hope of that room staying neat!

Our house is just a bit too small for the 6 of us, it is a 3 bed but teeny, and the bathroom awful when I was pg I nearly got stuck in there it is minute!

Plus we have far too much stuff we do not need and no storage

Slatternismymiddlename Wed 21-Nov-12 16:12:58

Sorry to hear how much you have on your plate, it can't be easy. I think you have made progress already because you have identified that you need to take small steps. If a goal is just too big and unachievable in a short time frame you just feel worse about yourself.

Hand holding can be provided whenever necessary.

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:35:54

Thankyou, I have (after having ANOTHER half hour cry!) managed to get a lot done, hoovering and putting away a lot of clothes so I do feel a bit better.

Don't know what is wrong with me lately, everything has just mounted up and suddenly its just too much but, hopefully if i keep doing little bits tomorrow and friday too I might have a slighty better weekend.

Paintyourbox Wed 21-Nov-12 16:52:48

Awww sweetie things sound really tough- sod the housework, you need to look after yourself! Are you perhaps a bit depressed? Something isn't quite right if you find yourself constantly crying.

How about focussing on the one room where you spend most time? I always find if I make one room look nice then improvements will follow in other areas. Do the basics elsewhere (e.g. Quick wipe of surfaces etc) then focus the rest of your time on de cluttering your chosen room.

I keep making the mistake of trying to do every room at once- then I end up with lots of unfinished tasks and piles of paper/junk and then I get upset!

homeaway Wed 21-Nov-12 17:08:05

Would it work to halve the number of toys downstairs and put the rest up in the loft or garage and then rotate them , that way you would have less to clear up . Another thing you could do is put the toys up in the rooms with the children just bringing down a couple of things each and then at the end of the day they go upstairs again ? I used to have a big basket with a lid that i would throw all the toys in at the end of the day. I put the dishwasher on in the evening and then empty it while i wait for the kettle to boil. The washing machine goes on every day and i either hang the clothes out in the early morning or evening and fold the dry washing. If you can manage can you iron as little as possible and pay somebody to do the rest ? I hope you feel better soon.

Namechangeforapropertythread Wed 21-Nov-12 17:11:36

I still struggle with this but have found Ikea trofast for toys to be amazing. Then having storage meant things could be tidied to the 'right' tray which made things easier. That and very strict decluttering. We halved the soft toys and were fairly ruthless (ok all 100000 puzzles are lovely and work but we only need 5 etc). Then donated them on freecycle as we wanted stuff out rather than making mess waiting for a car boot /eBay etc. Also more than halved books clothes shoes etc!

lucidlady Wed 21-Nov-12 18:41:54

I could have written your post too! Is there anyway your DH could take the kids for an hour or so at the weekend, and let you clear out one area? I've been doing a drawer a night for the past week and it's really helping me get on top of the kitchen again. It's only taking 15-20 mins a night so not a huge chunk of time but it's making such a difference after a few days.

Namechangeforapropertythread Wed 21-Nov-12 18:54:48

Oh yes get ruthless with the kitchen. Gwy many Tupperware / old tubs do you actually need? And bin the rest. Same for any cooking pots you don't use , excess cups etc. All creates more storage which so helps!

lemontruffles Wed 21-Nov-12 20:21:08

I was in similar position to you when 3kids were little, small house, no storage, too many toys. I bought a plastic storage unit, think little shed, for the garden, put it on the patio so it was easily accessible. Then was ruthless with the toys, got rid of about a third, put another third into the new garden shed, and only left a few in the sitting room. Made a huge difference.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 21-Nov-12 20:30:06

My advice is to not worry about tidying as such during the day, because the DCs are only going to untidy behind you.

Focus on tackling the underneath problems - declutter and ditch broken items, take things you no longer wear to the charity shop.
Do you have a garage? If so then crate up half the toys and put them away for 3 months then rotate.
As budget allows, get your storage organised. Toys, clothes, kitchen stuff. I have a big bowl on my kitchen worktop that pens, coins, gloves, small bits of toys that have gone AWOL, all that random stuff goes into. Once a week I go through and rehome things or they go in the bin if it really is rubbish.

I only tidy toys at the end of the day. Yours are old enough to help - ten minutes of effort all round before dinner and the worst is dealt with.

ariane5 Thu 22-Nov-12 07:56:01

I am a bit depressed and I think that is making things seem worse, that and the problems with dcs health (so many appts that the housework has always taken a back seat and suddenly the house is a tip).

DH works long hours and often at weekends too, when he is at home he is often exhausted (has same genetic condition as dcs) so I am very aware that I cannot expect too much of him as if he gets too unwell he wont be able to work and that would be a disaster. I have the same problem but luckily for me I am not symptomatic as such and only have very mild symptoms but because we both passed it to dcs they are very badly affected.

I am going to try and concentrate on the decluttering as until that is done I am just moving things around but not actually getting any tidier or organised. I cant beklieve the 10 bags that went to charity shop couple of weks ago didnt make a difference, I think that made me realise just how bad the house has got.

Wil have a look for storage solutions and I will definately be putting some bits away in loft, dd1 has a huge collection of about a million cuddly toys and they are EVERYWHERE so I am going to try and put at least half away (or better still get rid!).

Slatternismymiddlename Thu 22-Nov-12 18:31:08

How did today go ariane5?

goralka Thu 22-Nov-12 18:33:43

another vote for 'flylady' here (reminds self to go and clean the kitchen sink)

ariane5 Fri 23-Nov-12 08:19:01

Yesterday didn't go brilliantly but that is because dcs unwell and 2 of them had to go the doctor.

DH got up early this morning did a load of washing and neatened up a bit before work as the baby had kept me up all night. I think I just have to take it day by day, I have ordered some storage boxes for front room so that i can just chuck toys in at end of the day and a box file so that I can organise paperwork as that is a huge problem whenever we need dcsbirth certs etc I can never find them and I have bags of shredding to get done too.

JackThePumpkinKing Fri 23-Nov-12 08:25:56

Do you think a list would help? (I'm a great fan of lists)

Just a short list of small achievable tasks that you want to get done today. Write on things that you have already done, just so you can cross them off grin

Re the tidying and decluttering - start with one drawer at a time. Just one single drawer, or cupboard, or box. Get rid of everything you don't love/need and then find a home for what is left. It's not too overwhelming, and you can do it in 10 minutes. I feel very low when I am surrounded by clutter and just doing this sort of small job does make me feel a bit more in control and less overwhelmed by it all.

ariane5 Fri 23-Nov-12 08:32:38

I think lists are a really good idea, short though as if I put too much on it then dont manage it I feel a failure.

Today I am aiming to do :

Make beds
Fold 1 basket of clean washing and put away
clean fridge

If I get all that done I will attempt my kitchen drawer (it is full to bursting with all manner of stuff-birthday candles/instruction books for things we no longer own/batteries/string etc etc!).

JackThePumpkinKing Fri 23-Nov-12 08:58:38

I'm often tempted to just throw away a whole drawer when they get to that stage - cursory glance for anything useful, then black-bag the lot grin

Good list though. Kitchen drawer was my starting point too smile
Something like this can help (though be wary of buying more stuff to help you organise)

chubbychipmonk Fri 23-Nov-12 12:52:27

I appreciate you have a lot of children, between your mum, sister, close friends, DH mum. . Could they take the children one weekend or even just during the day Sat or Sun & let you & DH have the house to yourselves for a day to really blitz it & tackle all the cleaning/decluttering you can't do when kids are there? Between you both could you tackle it in 1 or 2 days then you could start the week afresh? Im sure if you explained to family/friends how much it has got out of hand & how it's affecting you they would help out with child are for a day?

BlissfullyIgnorant Fri 23-Nov-12 13:03:21

I feel your pain ariane5.

Is there any way you can afford a one off cleaner? Get Molly Maids or someone to come around and give everything a tidy and a really good clean, then the clarity and cleanliness will allow you to breathe a bit and get to grips with decluttering. I've made a start by picking one cupboard, empty it completely and clean the shelves, putting everything back neatly and binning the out of date, horrible or useless stuff. It's a slow process but even one cupboard can give you a boost; it's cathartic and spurs you on. You do have to be ruthless though. I've done 4 now and it feels like a real slog but doesn't take as long as you think.

Good luck x

ariane5 Fri 23-Nov-12 13:30:53

I could try to at least get the older 3 looked after, dh mum never babysits but I could try and persuade my mum and sister (always feel guilty asking).

ds2 only 7 m and bf (and not weaning very well) so needs to be with me but I could probably get a lot more done with 3 of the 4 not undoing my tidying as I go along!

IndigoCat Fri 23-Nov-12 23:23:10

Hi Ariane5 I think you are doing brilliantly just coping with the everyday situation let alone house sorting and decluttering on top! You have had some good advice aswell, all I can say is be ruthless with decluttering. Pace yourself it will take a little while to feel the difference, but little and often will get there! Good luck

bossboggle Sat 24-Nov-12 09:28:10

ariane5 - you are a carer too. You're doing an amazing job there!! Do your children get DLA or anything like that - do you have help from a carers organisation like the Princess Trust for Carers. Get to your GP and explain your situation - depression is not funny - been there done it and worn the tee shirt!! Give social services a call and ask what help there is available from them, might not be much but it is worth a try - get knocking on doors and try not to do all of this yourself!! You NEED help!! Get people on board to help you - all we can do is support you and do some virtual hand holding - God I wish I could give you a hug one carer to another one!! Try to get family involved if you can even just for a few hours to give you some breathing space!! I have one disabled DC well adult and that is bad enough!! Keep posting and let us all know how you get on with things. Sending you a great big virtual hug!! Wish there was more that we could think of but one of the biggest has already been said on here....small baby steps at first and be utterly ruthless about decluttering and I mean ruthless - it's the only way to go!! I've been at this game for some 30 years and it works!! Best wishes to you - keep going!!

bossboggle Sat 24-Nov-12 09:32:07

Ariane5 - YOU ARE A CARER to children with a medical condition - more than one child too - DON'T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT ASKING - START YELLING IF YOU HAVE TO!!!!!! Go for it!! The carers need time to care for themselves too!!! If you become ill then what happens or God forbid have to go into hospital - start yelling kidda - you're important too - very very important!!

bossboggle Sat 24-Nov-12 09:35:13

You say that your youngest is 7 months old and breast feeding and needs to be with you - if you become ill and have to go into hospital then your DC can't be with you - remember it is vital that you look after you first and foremost - you're the lynch pin in all of this - go see your GP too!! Big big hugs!!!!!

ariane5 Sat 24-Nov-12 09:36:46

Thankyou bossboggle I know you are right. I just hate to make a fuss. It has got to the point now where I simply cannot do everything though but everybody I ask is working/going out/unwell/waiting in all day for a parcel (that was mil the other day when dh asked her to pop round for an hour or two as dcs were all off school and I was crying continuosly).

DH not working this aft so maybe I will get a bit of help then (I hope!)

I could have written your op myself so I'm marking my place for suggestions !

Slatternismymiddlename Sat 24-Nov-12 09:43:03

How is it going ariane5? (Virtual) hand holding available if required.

Tip from somewhere on here - make the bed and a bedroom looks instantly better.

3littlefrogs Sat 24-Nov-12 09:55:38

I have loads of paperwork and was getting very stressed about losing things.

I bought 3 packs of plastic wallets from Wilkinsons, and saved a couple of cardboard boxes. I tackled one pile of papers every time a had a few minutes spare.

I have one wallet for hospital letters/appointment cards, related bits of paper - just labelled "Health". At least I know it is all in there. Once I have that sorted, I will sub divide it into an envelope for each family member.

(I have done the same for Gas, Electricity, on-line shopping, work stuff, bank stuff. Even if I don't have time to deal with it immediately, it goes in the folder).

The folders go in the box, the box stays in the same place in a corner of the living room.

At least then when we go to the hospital I know the relevant appt card or letter is in the folder and don't have to go searching the house.

Would that be a help?

The rest of the house is a tip, but I only attempt to do one corner or surface at a time. (I should be sorting DS2's room now, but am sitting here instead).

TerrorNotSoFrightened Sat 24-Nov-12 09:56:10

I've been there OP and due to being ill for the last three weeks, I'm pretty much back there again.

Something that really helped me was a massive cull of clothes, what I did was lay out 8 outfits for each person plus nightwear/underwear.
I vacuum packed everything else and put in the attic. I now do clothes washing on a Tuesday and Friday, and do all towels and bed sheets on a Saturday.
It might not be for everyone but has really made my life easier.

fuzzpig Sat 24-Nov-12 10:06:45

I just wanted to send you a hug.

I have had similar problems. But they are starting to get better - and I am actually now wanting to tidy and clean! It's still a struggle due to my health but it's like the hoarder switch has suddenly flipped and is now firmly in the OFF position!

Bizarrely, I got a preliminary diagnosis of OCD yesterday. Not what I was hoping for, but it would certainly explain my hoarding among other things. Hoping to get some treatment (CBT probably).

Now, this is going to sound a bit 'woo' but honestly, if you want to declutter your home, you have to declutter your mind.

Trying to get rid of stuff when you aren't ready to will be really difficult. I had a turning point recently where I finally saw how much my house was damaging my health (I have ME/CFS) because I have to spend so much longer looking for things etc.

It sounds like you are at that point now too and are ready to move forward. What I found really helpful is thinking about what I want my house to be like, focusing on the positive, which helped with the overwhelmed feeling.

ariane5 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:19:22

thankyou- def need hand holding.

I have made the beds this morning but ds2 was so poorly all night and now wont let me put him down so it doesntv look like I will get much else done.

3littlefrogs-good idea about plastic wallets I think I should do that as I can never find appt letters/birth certs etc and I spend ages just looking for stuff.

Slatternismymiddlename Sat 24-Nov-12 10:26:11

Fuzzpig - what you said about decluttering your mind struck a chord with me. I think I am just about at that point.

Ariane5 - you made the beds. You did something, that is the important thing. Hope ds2 has a better day.

3littlefrogs Sat 24-Nov-12 13:01:17

I think it is about prioritising, and accepting that you can only do a little bit at a time.

I have spent an hour in DS1's room this morning, and have just cleaned/cleared one surface/work top in the kitchen.

There is a load of washing in the machine.

I have shopping and cooking to do, and I don't think I will get more than that done today.

I have started to do one load of washing every evening when I get in from work.
I am finding that easier, as before I was literally spending ALL weekend surrounded by laundry in varying stages of progress and it it was really getting me down.

When they are ill you can't do anything.

One thing you might be able to do whilst coping with the poorly limpet, is to make some lists so that you can plan what you need to do for each area of your house/life. Then you can tick things off as you do them. I find that makes me feel a lot better.

AngelDog Sat 24-Nov-12 20:12:09

I found I got on much better when I only let myself write a 'to do' list of 1-3 things per day. The things on the list would be basics like 'put on washing machine'. I felt so much better about achieving things on the list than when I had a long list and only got through a few of them.

After a while I progressed to only putting non-routine things on my list e.g. ring doctor. Before long I was actually able to cope with longer lists again as I felt so much more positive.

bossboggle Sun 25-Nov-12 12:38:52

Ariane5. Just a thought about letters etc. Have you got any kitchen cupboards that are head height? If you have get a roll of sellotape and a few plastic insert wallets ( the thin type) with one open end. Stick them to the inside of your kitchen doors and put a few important letters in each one!! I do it and it works, keeps them safe and out of the way to but easy to reach when you need them. I use it for prescription slips too. I use A4 wallets. More big hugs!! Keep posting kidda!!

ariane5 Sun 25-Nov-12 14:35:33

Today I managed to get the front room tidy then put a load of washing on.....but the washing machine broke sad

dd2 and ds2 both had to go to the out of hours gp this morning too as were really unwell (throat and ear inf) so they are on anti b too like ds1.

dcs all watching tv now and snuggled up so I am going to load the dishwasher, put the toys back in the toybox then make a cup of tea as dh out and I need to sit down!

good tip about the plastic wallets in cupboards that would be ideal for appt letters,. school letters etc.

fuzzpig Sun 25-Nov-12 14:47:21

You've done really well ariane!

What a total pain about the washing machine though sad is it fixable or will you need a new one?

ariane5 Sun 25-Nov-12 16:13:37

I think it is probably beyond fixing as it's 4 years old and I often do 3 loads a day (ds2 v sicky baby !), dh said he will see if he can fix it but Im not holding out much hope. Last thing we needed was another expense so close to xmas but luckily I have done all the xmas shopping (at least that is one thing Im organised about).

Slatternismymiddlename Sun 25-Nov-12 19:31:14

You sound a bit more positive ariane5, although the washing machine dying would be a pain in the arse.

Definitely tackle things in small steps, you can't do everything at once. Good luck for tomorrow.

Wallace Sun 25-Nov-12 19:44:46

bossboggle - genius idea!

insprognito Sun 25-Nov-12 21:09:08

Haven't read the whole thread if this has been suggested already. In summer I hired the biggest builders skip I could afford. The week before we spent filling the back yard so when the skip came it was all ready to go. It was amazing how much we got in there. About 80% was old or broken toys belonging to my 4dds.
I too was in a constant battle to have a tidy home and once all the clutter went it became so much easier.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sun 25-Nov-12 22:52:28

Ariane don't forget to give yourself credit for what you HAVE done. You have four kids with a really tough condition and you have ALL your Xmas shopping done over a month beforehand! That is amazing!!

Silibilimili Sun 25-Nov-12 23:28:18

I have not read all the replies. Only the early ones. Some really great advice. I'd like to add some if my wisdom gained only recently. I too have small children and I end up with toys everywhere too. So here are some tips.
1. Deal with paperwork as soon as it arrive. If it is appointment letters, put them in your diary and slip the paper in the diary if needed later. Throw away the envelope.
2. Buy a filling cabinet. Have section in it for various things. Such as bills, pay cheques. Etc. as soon as anything come in, file it away.
3. For toys, get lots and lots of storage. The cardboard boxes most toys come in are useless. Specially for things like lego and stuff. You can get plastic storage boxes (the really useful box) of all sizes. These are your friends. For everything. They might seem expensive at first but they are worth the money.
4. I sometimes tidy after DCS have gone to bed. I love waking up to a clean dinning area and lounge. And a clear sink.
5. Don't bother folding away clothes. Once they come out of the dryer, hang them straight in the cupboards using hangers. Much quicker. Even better, if you are drying clothes on a rack, us hangers to dry them on so that's one less task. You can just put them in the cupboard as soon as they are dry.
6. Did I say storage?!
7. Board your loft so that you can have more storage there.
8. You can get plastic storage boxes for the outside. These are great for outdoor toys and helps toys last longer.
9. I do the dusting one day, the hovering the next day. Don't attempt all at once.
10. Keep having clear outs. Don't let it get to a point you can't cope with.
11. Thjnk before you buy. Does it go with your house? Where will you store it?

Hope this is helpful.

It does get better.

X

Silibilimili Sun 25-Nov-12 23:31:09

If you live somewhere near a laundrette, why don't you gather up a couple of loads and take it there. The machines are bigger than what we get at home, and the dryers are great. 2 hrs well spent.

Easier than having to deal with smaller machines at home and the smaller dryers.

Sleepyfergus Sun 25-Nov-12 23:41:03

Havent read all if this thread, but here is a link to a previous MN thread which I have saved and intend to go back and re-read at some stage. Some great ideas on it. Apols if this has already been mentioned.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/good_housekeeping/a1451448-LITTLE-things-that-help-keep-you-organised

Slatternismymiddlename Tue 27-Nov-12 10:58:58

How are you and the family Ariane5?

ariane5 Thu 13-Dec-12 09:10:43

Hello, we are ok, had quite a difficult week and dcs all unwell so got NOTHING done in house sad

I am at home this morning so am trying to get a few jobs done, so far I have:

Tidied and cleaned bathroom
Cleaned toilet
Put all recycling in bin

now i have to:

make dcs breakfast
make beds
put some washing on

buildingmycorestrength Fri 14-Dec-12 14:47:25

You are doing brilliantly!

When things get a bit much it is very hard.

I really feel for you with so much health stuff going on. Sounds like you need some support of some kind. You are holding it together for a lot of people.

I don't know what to suggest but is there a way of getting additional support?

And can the kids help a bit ? (not sure of their conditions)

ariane5 Fri 14-Dec-12 23:21:50

Dcs all have Ehlers danlos syndrome (pain , fatigue,dislocatios all symptoms) as do dh and I (not as severly as dcs they are badly affected as inherited it from both of us) dh, dd1 and ds2 have severe pectus excavatum (misshapen ribcage) and dd1 also has Pots (causes fainting/dizziness).ds1 and dd2 have severe food allergies and ds1 gets migraines a lot.

Dd1 and ds1 do help by putting toys away etc and ds1 loves to try and help with dusting.

I think to be honest we need a cleaner and I am waiting to speak to hv about a ref for home start to help as well.I tried to contact children with disabilities team in my area but despite dcs having significant mobility and health issues they couldn't help as "they are not disabled enough" so we are stuck in the middle sad

Jobs for tomorrow: takes all bags of old stuff to charity shop and do xmas wrapping

buildingmycorestrength Tue 18-Dec-12 08:01:01

How are things today? I think it is a good idea to seek out more support structures.

Maybe if you approach the benefits situation again too? I think there are people on the SN board who are really knowledgeable about that.

Also, it can help to recognise that you are in a special situation so you can't afford to have stuff hanging around dragging you down. You are jettisoning ballast to save a sinking ship! Or hot air balloon, whatever.

Every load gone is another lot of stuff that you never have to deal with again, which frees your mind up for the important things.

And do be kind to yourself, and remember all the things you are doing brilliantly that lots people probably never have to really manage.

HollaAtMeSanta Fri 21-Dec-12 19:50:07

If you're in London zone 1 or 2, I'll come and help you blitz the house smile

ariane5 Sat 22-Dec-12 18:58:32

We are in Harrow-not sure what zone that is?

Had an incredibly bad week, dcs ALL on antibiotics for throat infections, dh on them for chest inf and I have been seriously unwell with a kidney infection (worst pain I have ever had).
Tried hard today to get things done, managed a bit of washing,general neatening up and wrapping presents but ds2 was so clingy and unhappy I just couldn't get much done.
Really hoping just to do some neatening up tomorrow I have decided to hide the clutter till after xmas when I'm feeling better and can do it all properly.

BoffinMum Wed 26-Dec-12 22:28:32

There's a lot of advice here:

Set up your living room

- Kitchen spring cleaning

Bathroom spring cleaning

Weekly cleaning schedule - helps you get into a rhythm.

Box of Last Resort - emergency planning to take the stress out of everyday crises

buildingmycorestrength Wed 26-Dec-12 23:56:16

Hope your Christmas was good, ariane. Thinking of you. So tricky when kids are unwell.

BoffinMum Thu 27-Dec-12 09:02:47

I am thinking, I would focus on one thing each day. So day 1, take all the outstanding washing/ironing down to a launderette and get it sorted by someone else, Meanwhile do a bit of a clothes and linen cull to make space for it to be put away easily when it came back. Do a charity shop run, and then you've got that side of things sorted. This can all be done with kids around ankles if you really need to. Or perhaps you could arrange it on the phone, and a neighbour could help you with dropping stuff off/picking it up?

Then on day 2, make it paperwork day. Buy some folders etc and make a big pot of tea, and line up envelopes, stamps, bank statements, pens, cheque book, laptop, staples and paper clips. Then stick all outstanding paperwork in a big box and apply the one touch rule, deal with each piece of paper in turn only touching each piece of paper once (anti procrastination measure). Deal with all bills, forms and so on as soon as you come across them. Make a pile for filing, and have a bin bag ready too for things you don't really need to keep. Then get into a rhythm - file, pay bill, throw, file, pay bill, throw, That sort of thing. Once you have tackled it, make sure you do it every Sunday evening ready for the week ahead. It will never be too bad then.

On day 3, I would sort the living room out a bit to make it a pleasure to sit in there. I posted a blog link that tells you how to do that.

On day 4, I'd do the same for the kitchen - make it nice to cook in, make sure all the basics are well stocked up and the cupboards clean and tidy inside and out. Perhaps book a professional oven cleaning service?

After that, you could focus on the kids' rooms one at a time, culling toys and clothes as necessary so they don't possess more than can be stored easily. Finally, make you own bedroom a lovely retreat.

For organisation porn, this website is easily browsed through while watching TV, and there are literally hundreds of ideas for little projects that make running a big household easier. www.marthastewart.com Things like numbering hooks, storing coats, grouping items and lists figure quite prominently.

Finally, have a big diary in the hall and a big basket for incoming paperwork so it's all in one place. Also we have a lost property basket at the bottom of the stairs and all rogue items that are not paperwork go in there. It's rare we can't find anything.

BoffinMum Thu 27-Dec-12 09:07:25

By the way, two of my kids have SN and I have two lever arch files for each one - medical and educational. There are dividers in there, covering things like DLA, child development centre, specialists, statement. It's all readily available then. And sometimes specialists will write to support providers explaining that while individual children are not too bad, the fact a household has more than one with problems means the family badly needs that taking into consideration, otherwise the children suffer. That often goes down well.

BoffinMum Thu 27-Dec-12 09:09:57

PS A filing cabinet or concertina file is great for all the official documents. I have one section/file for each child, and then one for childcare, one for 'children, misc' and one for each school/nursery.

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