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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?

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!)

girlsyearapart Sat 24-Nov-12 09:38:32

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.

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