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My house is disgusting

(68 Posts)
garlicagain Fri 02-Aug-13 01:20:39

I'm ankle-deep in filth & chaos. It probably has fleas, too (I'm not allergic so this is a logical deduction rather than evidence-based.) I can't cope with it, due to illness both physical & mental, and have been somewhat resigned to being the strange woman who never asks anybody in.

But two things have changed: Despite the above, I maintain a minimum level of hygiene; I'm far from confident about that with the warm weather lasting so well, and I'm going to have a bit of money in a month's time, which I think I should use to get the place sorted out prior to either moving (it's rented) or passing a calmer, more organised winter here.

Do you think I should buy more cleaning equipment, like a carpet washer and a steam cleaner? Or should I hire someone to help - and how on earth do you find anyone you can trust to do an offputting mixture of heavy cleaning, sorting out other people's piles of stuff, and DIY?

Help me organise my ideas, please!

givemeaboost Fri 02-Aug-13 02:20:21

hire in/beg for help to do a thorough deep clean. id help!, are you in the south west?

Bluecarrot Fri 02-Aug-13 02:23:52

You can hire equipment like carpet cleaners and tbh, you won't need it v often after the initial deep clean. Don't invest in big machines. I'd lean towards finding a cleaning company who will do a deep clean for you.

But first :

When you look around are you seeing lots of clutter or just grime?

Is your physical health such that you can do some heavy work? ( even 1/2 hour of scrubbing a day)

Are you living alone in the house? Do you have family nearby who can help you?

Re fleas - I've no idea how to get rid of them tbh, but assuming you have pets, get them treated ASAP.

In the meantime, I'd suggest starting with the kitchen. It's the hardest in that its usually the dirtiest but its least likely to have sentimental "stuff" in it so no big decisions to be made.
Set a goal that you can achieve in 15 mins. Eg, if all counters are cluttered and sink is overflowing, empty the contents of sink and drainer then clean and bleach it thoroughly. Then take a break! If you feel able to do more the same day, and def no later than the next day, do one load of dishes, dry them and put away.

I know you said you maintain a level of hygiene but I'm not sure what level that is- just don't overwhelm yourself with big jobs. But also don't believe that having someone else do it is the answer, unless you are genuinely incapable.

ratbagcatbag Fri 02-Aug-13 03:30:32

Agree with a 15 minute timer. Get the bin bags out, set it and go. Set yourself one objective, could be clear rubbish out, de clutter work surfaces, mop floor. Just one thing and it will make a big difference.
I've got a 20 week old that's demanding and I thought I'd blitz housework, I find I set myself one challenge a day and that's it.

If you're like me and sinking in paperwork, I bought an expanding box file, grabbed three tons of paperwork and say down with wine, I spent an evening watching crap on tv and ditching stuff. You do not need years of bank statements. With Internet banking you can reprint them, keep six months max. That half filled the recycle bin when shredded.

BeaWheesht Fri 02-Aug-13 03:31:32

I think you should wait and see re the money and in the meantime start small. Do small amounts every day even if its 10 minutes here and there. I know it seems futile but that's the attitude that gets people into situations like this (I tend to think I need a day / week / whatever to sort something out but if I actually stopped procrastinating and just started I would get somewhere)

If your health is bad is there any way you could get help from a charity or something? I don't know but worth a look.

So, start with one small area and aim to have it clear and clean by x date and get started.

StupidFlanders Fri 02-Aug-13 03:42:23

Don't add guilt to this, you're not a bad person.

I think the initial cleaning blitz (clean as in disinfecting not dr cluttering) would be best to rope in some trusted friends and family to help. Be honest, tell them you have been struggling and clean each room on one weekend.

Then get rid of stuff. I'm pretty good at having a clean house with lots of dcs. My secret is I don't have much stuff. After cleaning out grandparents house I'm very conscious that it will most probably all be landfill. I buy the best quality everything ( in my price range) and throw out the old when the new comes in. I only have one spar sheet set for the dcs so change their sheets on alternate days and 2 spare towels (but I have a dryer so no risk of bring caught out.

Any kitchen appliance not used every month is gone, food cupboards cleaned out regularly and I don't buy extras.

Is there any particular type of mess you struggle with most? (Like toys or clothes or washing)

StupidFlanders Fri 02-Aug-13 03:52:36

My DH is self employed and our paper work is minimal.

We have a folder for each dc with a very small sample of art/school work for each year (just hole punched and added) a folder each with the birth certificates/ passports/ bank details/ immunization records.

A big ring binder with a-z dividers with a space for each bill or statement (electricity, mobile, Internet etc.)

As bills come in they go in the front, once paid they get moved to their section and the last bill thrown out (unless DH needs them to claim on tax). As said up thread, you can get old statements etc if needed - we never have!

Cerisier Fri 02-Aug-13 05:14:57

It sounds like you need to declutter before you clean. Start with one room and one surface, drawer or cupboard.

Keep essential paperwork in a folder or box (available from WHSmith, Amazon, Lakeland, Ikea etc)

Chuck stuff that isn't useful, beautiful or worth a fortune. Have a recycling bag and a bin bag. Be ruthless.

Do one little area a day and after a week one room will be looking better.

As stupid says, it is best not to have too much stuff. It just takes up space and has to be cleaned and tidied.

garlicagain Fri 02-Aug-13 05:39:07

Wow, I really appreciate the replies, thank you! Trying not to feel overwhelmed just visualising the tasks you mentioned ... I'll do the 15-minute thing, yes, and you're right, ratbag, there is a huge amount of grimy, ancient paper in toppling piles!

I've been asking friends & family for ages. It's not happening. I think I will need to hire someone ... but should probably cross that bridge when I've already done a month of 15 mins!

Notafoodbabyanymore Fri 02-Aug-13 05:49:21

garlic, I feel your pain. I regularly let my house get into a mess and the worse it gets the less I feel like getting off my arse to make it better. But when I do, I always surprise myself with how much I can achieve in a relitavely short time.

The 15 minute advice is very good, just a bit at a time does get through it. Also, agree with the person who said not to feel guilty. You are not a bad person, most people go through times when things get a bit on top of them. Good luck!

pudtat Fri 02-Aug-13 05:49:45

Re fleas, first treat any pets with frontline or stronghold or similar. Do not restrict their access to anywhere once treated. For the house the best treatment is daily hoovering for a couple of weeks. Combined with a treatment spray of Indorex - buy online as half the price your vet will charge, 1-2 cans will do a normal size house and it lasts a year. However this will be easier once decluttered as you need to spray everywhere/everything. By treating any animals you are making a start by breaking the cycle.

StupidFlanders Fri 02-Aug-13 06:05:36

Oh and my ruthless method of decluttering:

2 boxes; fill one with the stuff I 100% must keep at all costs, the other is stuff I'll sort out later. That box goes straight to charity without me going through it! Surprisingly I've never regretted giving anything away....

ratbagcatbag Fri 02-Aug-13 12:07:44

Wine defo helps with paperwork. TV set to cheesy music channel,grab a pile of paperwork and off you go.

You need to keep.

Rental agreement paperwork
Work contracts
Council tax, water,TV licence etc

You do not need
Bank statements (I got rid of nine years of these - nine years - three accounts. Madness)
Credit card statements (apart from last one)
Bills that have been paid
Receipts for stuff over one month old

Bag it up to start with, shred all in one go, it's really satisfying. smile

Bluecarrot Fri 02-Aug-13 14:04:21

Have you heard of fly lady? It's not for everyone but in theory it's an excellent system. It's based on 15 minute blocks. She has some podcasts too. V much no guilt too- start where you are, and things will get better on just a few mins a day.

Some folk on here do it.

garlicagain Fri 02-Aug-13 14:56:24

I'm afraid I discovered FlyLady years ago, but have never got past the clean kitchen sink! It's looking pleasantly empty at the moment. I had forgotten about the 15-min thing, though, and I think it'll help ... not a lot, but a bit ...

I need to avoid 'blitzing' anything at all. While I am the type to discover some enthusiasm half an hour into the job, spikes of activity can disable me for weeks. It's the reason I'm surrounded by unfinished tasks - I get started on something, then become incapable of doing anything at all and self-loathing about it, to make matters worse! Flanders and Notafood, you're quite right and I hope this thread will keep me feeling a little calmer on the subject wink

I do treat the cat, and squirt Indorex around every now and again. As you say, though, the place is nothing but cosy nooks for critters so the decluttering & cleaning need to be done! For me, mainly, but also for the sake of rendering tiny guests homeless.

I haven't got a shredder. It's all right just to rip things up, isn't it? <worried>

JakeBullet Fri 02-Aug-13 15:05:28

garlic, if it helps to know, I am exactly the same as you. I have a few days alone at the moment so it's the perfect time to do stuff. ..but like you I find it hard to start.

Am going to take advice from this thread too. Thank you for starting it.

WhispersOfWickedness Fri 02-Aug-13 15:14:46

Where do you live? If you are not far from me, I'd be willing to give you a hand smile

Bluecarrot Fri 02-Aug-13 15:30:06

Yeah, fly lady isn't for me either! But the general principles of it are good.

Here's another idea. What if you had a few boxes set out - paperwork - urgent action, paperwork - file, charity, belongs on another room and a bin bag.

When you are waiting for the kettle to boil, the ads to be over, chatting on the (cordless!) phone etc, pick up a few bits and dump them in the appropriate box? If you feel energetic you could do it for a few mins?

I do similar for decluttering in my home and my goal is to place everything in the room, except furniture, into one of the boxes (I also have a box for "stays in this room")

garlicagain Sat 03-Aug-13 20:26:16

I wasn't going to update this thread because I'm embarrassed. Then I thought, well, Good Housekeeping may not be used to this level of dysfunction/disability in its posters, but I'm probably not the only one here. So I'll keep it up! All & any gentle encouragement, great ideas and fellow stragglers welcome smile

So far I've spent 15 minutes hanging out laundry (it promptly rained.) I had no idea it takes that long!

I sorted out my feet - self-maintenance is as big a problem as home & life maintenance - which was way overdue and took 45 minutes, done in three 15-min stages. Fingernails: 15 mins.

Cooked for myself: 40 minutes; made enough for 3 meals, which I've just finished up.

I spent about an hour and a half uploading photos. I cropped & edited some of the pictures, which is why it took so long. It left me very tired.

I'm typing this while dyeing my eyebrows. I meant to do my hair colour at the same time, but couldn't find the motivation. Grey eyebrows look shit! I'll be glad I've done it!

Mopped the kitchen floor last night, but that wasn't a 'job' as I needed to clean up an accident. The clean patch in the middle is quite motivating, though wink I might even do it properly tomorrow ...

My sleep cycle's right out of order and I plan to go to bed really early this evening, while I'm still tired, instead of waiting until I've gone into the fugue/trance that keeps me up all night doing nothing in particular confused ... And I'll see what I can do in 15 minutes tomorrow!

iWillDoItInAMinute Sat 03-Aug-13 20:55:14

Well done garlic, all very positive smile

The more practice you get at hanging out laundry, the quicker it gets and it rained on mine too <shakes fist at weather gods>

Hope you get some good sleep and continue with the progress tomorrowflowers

WhispersOfWickedness Sat 03-Aug-13 21:18:44

Well done garlic, one step at a time smile

Notafoodbabyanymore Sun 04-Aug-13 04:49:55

Brilliant garlic, you're making me feel very lazy as I sit on my fat arse with horrible feet. (Charming picture I'm painting of myself, no?)

Notafoodbabyanymore Sun 04-Aug-13 04:51:47

Hahaha... just realised that made it sound like my arse has horrible feet. You know what I mean.

You really are doing well though. smile

Cerisier Sun 04-Aug-13 05:42:00

A ceiling clothes airer is good if your ceilings aren't too low. You don't have to get the clothes in then if it rains.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 04-Aug-13 05:54:16

re the paperwork that you need rid of - nip to a local garden centre and buy an incinerator bin - my shredder gave up the ghost when trying to tackle my mountain of paperwork - i went and got an incinerator bin, chucked the lot in and threw a match in.
job done!

secont the frontline for pets/fleas - then when you have cleared a room spray it with a good flea killer for soft furnishings.

if you can just manage to declutter then get a firm in for a deep clean.

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