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Help please - overwhelmed by attempts to declutter & organise!

(6 Posts)
Jemster Tue 26-Aug-14 07:27:31

Over the school hols I've been trying to sort the house out by getting ruthless and decluttering. I think I've made things worse! I've been doing a little bit here and there in each room when I can and now there is mess everywhere as I've attempted to sort drawers and cupboards and piles of clothes and toys. I've been working as well and have a very demanding 2.5 year old and a 6 year old to entertain.
I have this week off work but am wondering how I'm going to sort this mess out with my dd wanting me to play with her constantly and trying to make it a nice week for ds before he goes back to school.
The house is in chaos and I'm coming down with a cold so am feeling rubbish which doesn't help.

Any suggestions please to help me get my head around this mess I've created and how to sort it when you have little ones around?

chinamoon Tue 26-Aug-14 09:42:19

Poor you. It's hard to do anything with a cold. Makes you feel so rubbish.
At that age DC love to help but maybe not with the decluttering of their own toys so start with household stuff and clothes. You only need to do one thing different and that's be decisive grin

Get a roll of bin bags and put the piles of maybe giveaway maybe ebays into the bin bags. Get DC to help. Then carry them straight out to the car. Not to the garage, attic or understairs cupboard. You won't ebay them. Life's too short.

Then drive to nearest charity shop straightaway. Hand over the bags and celebrate with DC by going for a hot chocolate somewhere. Tell them decluttering is about giving things to people who need them and keeping your own house nice (to get them involved.) If you need to buy a couple of big plastic storage boxes. I usually buy fresh flowers too at this stage.

Go home, have an hour or two off. Watch a film or play. Then round two is chuckaways. Another binbag - in goes everything that depresses you and you never got round to mending. Tie up the bag. In the bin. Then set a timer for DC to see how many toys they can put into the storage boxes before the timer rings (max 5 mins or they'll get distracted.) If they are not done, set it again and see if they can beat their first go.

Finally, let DS hoover up the bits on the carpet (my DS loved being in charge of the hoover at that age) and help toddler fill the flower vase. Put out flowers in the decluttered space and make a fuss of how much nicer it looks.

Don't do any more until you feel better.

Jemster Tue 26-Aug-14 10:05:59

Thank you chinamoon. Unfortunately my dc don't love to help! The older one would happily play on the ipad all day long but I would feel guilty. 2.5 year old dd seems to need my attention all the time, what age do they start to be able to play on their own for a bit?
So far I've played with her most of the morning and made cakes = even more mess to clear up!
I have thought about trying to ebay things as could do with extra money but it is time consuming - is it best just not to bother do you think? I think I feel guilty not getting any money back on things I've paid out for.
Everywhere I look there's stuff & I just can't see me sorting it out while dc are stuck indoors with me on this rainy day!

chinamoon Tue 26-Aug-14 10:15:22


Dc don't like to help if it is 'work.' I used to turn it into a game with timers. They love beating the clock. (Cooker timer.) And they'll also help for an incentive like 'when we've put all this stuff in the bags, then we can have a treat from the shops.' Get them to focus on what treat they'd like while they are helping. The trick is to act like it's fun not a chore. They follow our attitude, I've found.

I feel the same as you about stuff for ebay. I really mean to do it but it doesn't get done and then all those piles make you feel guilty then bit by bit they sneak back into everyday life and you have to resort them. Better to get rid of that stuff to charity or the place that pays you for clothes by weight, than to hang on forever hoping you'll have a quiet day to photograph everything nicely and price the postage etc. It's such a faff for a few pounds. Once you're organised you could sell stuff at NCT, but it's still a lot of effort. Better to have an orderly house than big piles of stuff you feel guilty about. You can feel really virtuous about all that money the charity shop gains from your generosity.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 26-Aug-14 10:39:21

Start in one room - or one corner of one room - and slowly work your way around. If you try to do everything at once you will be overwhelmed and it will take ages to see progress. I started with the lounge, as it had the least to do, so that I had the satisfaction of seeing a clean clear room and could get into the swing of what to keep and where to put things to go.

atticusclaw Tue 26-Aug-14 12:42:38

First focus on what needs to be straight ready for school.

We've done this over the past few weeks and we now have

1. basket for each DC containing labelled hats, gloves, scarf, school water bottles, etc
2. Blackboard for each DC with the days of the week on and what they need for each day.
3. Pegs for each DC for their bags etc. These are on the backs of their bedroom doors, their junk goes in their space from now on.

Then we've gone around and collected up all the outdoor stuff that's too small, too shabby etc and either put it in the charity bag or the throw away bag. Basically if its not in their basket or on their pegs its not staying.

Then pick just one area and sort it out. Leave the rest, if you try to do too much you'll fail.

I did the utility room, one cupboard at a time and in an orderly way, now I have a shelf for toilet roll, one for torches candles etc, one for cleaning products. Again I was ruthless and chucked away loads of stuff.

I previously struggled to throw things away because I too had the ebay mentality that I should sell the stuff and get something for it but honestly, I promise you, having a more organised house is worth far more than the few quid you'll make on ebay. Its already saving so much time and we're not done yet.

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