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Come and inspire me with your stories of transforming from housekeeping chaos to organised calm!(31 Posts)
I really need a kick up the arse to get on top of things at home. I'm hoping to be able to get to a point where I can keep on top of things mainly in the week to free up time at the weekends to do more fun stuff with the kids.
I'm not a naturally tidy or organised person and wondered if anyone has gone from having a home like a bombsite to successfully keeping on top of things and managed to maintain it? Has it had a positive impact on your everyday life?
I've started filling a charity bag every day. Seriously. We had that much stuff that I could pretty much fill a carrier bag from each drawer I was clearing.
I've just done cuddly toys and swimwear today - 2 more bags ready to go.
I've been doing this for a few weeks and it's starting to be noticeable now. Plus the local hospice shop emailed me to say my recent donations had raised over £160 for them so that's spurred me on!
I agree with getting rid of stuff. The less stuff in your house the easier it os to organise. Last year I had 3 months of seriois decluttering. My house looked so much better for it and I was managing to keep on top of tidiness.
However it only took for me to get ill for a while and it all went wrong. Sadly my illness has been a rather long term thig which leaves me feeling exhausted, but I am starting to feel better and l am determined to declutter more.
Doing a little bit each day is very important too.
Thanks for the replies. I think the first step is going to have to be getting rid of a lot of stuff. Need to make a decision where to start as at the moment it all seems a bit overwhelming!
I have created systems that mean certain jobs get done on certain days i.e sheets on Saturday, towels on Thursday etc.
I also make sure no clothes washing is left, and put away as soon as it is washed and ironed. I started by writing it down and sticking to it but these days I just do it by habit. 28 years of living like a slob, 4 years of being a clean freak!
What really helps is that now it's just maintaining it, and we like living in a clean and comfortable home. You can do it, because if I can, anyone can!
Thanks MaccaPacca great to hear you have achieved it and have managed to maintain it long term. I do like a list so that sounds like a good system
Just spent summer de-cluttering house to prepare for our move abroad. Keeping our house here for my parents but no way could we leave it as it was. So, ruthlessly went through all wardrobes, drawers, toy cupboard, garage. Sold a few good things on e-bay. Other clean, quality things went to charity shop. Lots to the dump. Kids have been told no toys at Christmas - feel a bit mean, but they really don't need anything and it means less stuff to wrap too. I'm going to adopt the one in one out rule on toys, won't buy DVDs any more, will download, and the same with books, except school and good reference books. Older boys have kindles now. All our old DVDs going to Music Magpie or similar if my DH gets round to it....
I find Unfuck Your Habitat a helpful site. I start off with the weekend challenges - gets the basics done in twenty minute intervals so you can get on with it all and then have a ten minute sit down/play with the kids so it's not too overwhelming.
I started to get on top of everything and put some systems in place but its slipped a bit over the school holidays. Today they're back to school so I'm starting afresh.
I had a big clear out of one room (the laundry room) and started to use the space more effectively. I now have blackboards for the DCs to organise themselves, a keyboard, and useful cupboard with a set place for everything. There is a now a shelf for matches torches candles, a shelf for toilet roll kitchen roll etc, a shelf for sewing machine and sewing stuff etc, a whole cupboard for washing stuff, a shelf for halloween decorations, a large cupboard for christmas decorations etc. Its really helped and I'm now rolling the system out to the rest of the house. If you are organised you save so much time.
Don't try to do too much at once. You will be overwhelmed and demoralised.
Start with something nice and visible, e.g. a particular corner full of crap, or childrens' books, or your pants and socks. Or something that constantly bugs you, e.g. location of batteries, pens and sellotape.
Set a time limit per day on pure decluttering, e.g. half an hour. You'd be amazed what you can do in half an hour. Then DO NO MORE, have fun instead.
If you focus on getting stuff out of your house rather than organising you'll find it goes very well.
Hoarders and their cousins the clutterbugs (I have several in my family) spend ages "sorting" and "organising" and buying "storage solutions". No. No. No. No. No. GET RID!
Thanks for all the suggestions, starting to feel like this is actually achievable!
I am in the same boat. I have never lived in a tidy house in fact, so I've no idea or experience of how to do it. I find it really difficult to 'see' what needs doing!
My biggest mission is also decluttering first. Growing up with hoarder parents and then years of depression-related shopping... it's not a good mix. But I'm trying to gradually learn to keep on top of the main things like laundry too.
And you know what? Nothing apart from clothes and food in our house has ever really had a proper home! You know that "a place for everything" saying... it passed us by. We've always just shoved stuff in wherever it fits, until it overflows and we buy more storage... And so it goes on.
Well NO MORE!!!
I am organising VERY VERY SLOWLY. Literally one drawer or shelf at a time, I'm clearing out and then deciding very carefully what will live there. Then I'll go round the house collecting the items that need to live there. Today in fact I've cleaned a big drawer that is going to have stuff like envelopes, tape, wrapping paper etc.
One thing that really helps in the chaos is an 'everyday drawer' - I started this in the holidays and we are pretty good at sticking to it. The odd random things that don't really have a category (other than "we use this every day") live in it - diary, budgeting book, hair stuff for DD, keys, bus pass etc.
What works together lives together.
Envelopes and stamps are with the cheque books.
The box of used batteries lives on top of the box of new batteries and chargers for rechargeable ones. It has a small screwdriver in there for changing batteries on kids toys.
This also helps you to identify the things that don't "work", i.e. are never used.
Do a "virtual move" where you walk around the house - with boxes if you like - categorising things into whichever room is logical and pretend you're moving to a house boat or a tiny flat or abroad and trying to reduce the amount of stuff to take on the plane, so anything you don't need or love goes. Do a car boot or donate it but the important part - get it OUT asap or it will start creeping back into general usage again. Ebay is another option but only if you can trust yourself to be really organised with it - set aside a time once or twice a week to photograph 20-30 items, list and price, and to wrap up and despatch any items which have sold. Relist only once and any rejects, throw away or donate.
To build on Luv's theory, you need to identify the purpose, one by one, of every single item in the house. Two items fulfilling the same purpose - keep the one you like best. "This matches the cushions and looks nice" or "This reminds me of DD's first day at school" is an acceptable purpose, but not "One day I might find a place for this" or "This looked nice in the old kitchen". Again, knowing the purpose of an item helps you to identify where to keep it. Sentimental stuff and items that you use occasionally don't need to be in a drawer that you access regularly or (clothes etc) kept with your everyday stuff. Put it away, utilise the space which isn't easily accessible but where you can get to it if you need it or want to use it.
If you can take a couple of days off work to do the "virtual move" and/or get anybody in to help you, even better. If you live out of boxes for a few weeks while you reorganise, that's not an issue. It might give you a chance to touch up paint and/or deep clean behind things too if you want to.
For the more everyday stuff - once you've decluttered you'll still find problem areas which get full of "stuff". You want to identify what the problem actually is and solve that. For example I was always leaving wrappers and rubbish around the area that I sit on the computer. But putting a small wastepaper bin next to my desk solves this. Am I just being lazy? Yep. Could I walk to the bin to put my stuff in it? Of course. But the issue is that I don't do this. I think "I'm in the middle of something, I'll take it later" and then I forget. So instead of feeling bad about things like that, just look at what your actual pattern is and interrupt it. Toys left all over the place - buy one of those flexible trug things to chuck them in at the end of the day. Clothes discarded all over - can you keep a laundry basket in a discreet location? Shoes all over the hallway - buy a shoe rack, or one of those things you hang on the wall. If you're not using something, change the thing you're supposed to be using, not your habit.
Fab! Thanks for the ongoing advice and suggestions
I am definitely guilty of having far too much stuff and keeping things "because it might come in useful one day".
We have a great charity shop in our town and the money they raise goes directly to support local people in need so I think I might start putting together a load of stuff for them.
I used to be on the minimalism thread, but dropped out of it when I lost my way. But someone on there said every item in your home should be useful or beautiful, and in a perfect world, both.
This company's really good for getting rid of old clothes. They send you a HUGE bag, you fill it with clothes, then they come & collect it for free, with proceeds going to your chosen charity.
Diryan, that charity donation company looks fab. Thanks. I think I'll be using them.
I love the virtual move idea. The most I've ever loved my house was when we did a massive pare back to sell it. I almost didn't want to move!
Thank you, good thread.
I used to have an issue with hoarding and did actually pay a professional de-clutterer to help me sort some stuff out. It was actually money well spent, although it didn't solve everything.
But it gave me a fresh start and my life is gradually moving towards the point where there is no extraneous 'stuff'.
The most important thing is to stop buying. The other day I bought an owl greetings card from an animal centre. That was the first souvenir I have bought in twelve years, because the decluttering lady made me realise that a postcard here, a knick-knack there eventually becomes your nightmare drawer of clutter.
So, so, so very true about what Branching says about not buying. You need to look at your front door and see it as an entry way for clutter. How's the clutter coming in? Well meaning relatives, presents kids don't need? Your own buying habits? Where the stuff comes from needs to be identified.
Unless you live alone, it's also important that this is probably not just your problem and therefore won't just be your solution.
For me it was really important to make a schedule for all regular household tasks, from taking out the bins to sorting through half worn clothes to doing a cold hand wash to checking our accounts etc. The list was long and dull but like a pp it helped me get in a rhythm but also helped DH to realise just how much I was doing that he didn't see. He took on some of the jobs, I've also outsourced a few and found some ways to automate (like making sure everything is direct debited, and family birthdays and events are in a shared google calendar with reminders) and it has been SO much easier to keep on top of things.
Custard that is a really good point. Once, when it all got on top of me I wrote a list of everything I did. I showed it to DH. Similarly to Custard's, he saw that I was doing way more than my fair share and took more of the load of the jobs on. But crucially he also questioned if everything was necessary and came up with some really good ideas for simplifying, eg the washing routine. I think he liked having the problem to "fix".
the clutter is key, I speak as a clutterer and I agree about more storage. it is better to get rid of stuff and see what is in each drawer/cupboard.
my worse crime is too many toiletries and skincare.
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