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How can I sort my house out?(74 Posts)
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?
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.
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.
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.
Hope your Christmas was good, ariane. Thinking of you. So tricky when kids are unwell.
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.
If you're in London zone 1 or 2, I'll come and help you blitz the house
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.
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
Jobs for tomorrow: takes all bags of old stuff to charity shop and do xmas wrapping
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)
Hello, we are ok, had quite a difficult week and dcs all unwell so got NOTHING done in house
I am at home this morning so am trying to get a few jobs done, so far I have:
Tidied and cleaned bathroom
Put all recycling in bin
now i have to:
make dcs breakfast
put some washing on
How are you and the family Ariane5?
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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).
You've done really well ariane!
What a total pain about the washing machine though is it fixable or will you need a new one?
Today I managed to get the front room tidy then put a load of washing on.....but the washing machine broke
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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