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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?

Slatternismymiddlename Tue 20-Nov-12 13:58:45

Poor thing - please don't get overwhelmed, there are quite a few threads on here that a very helpful about trying to get organised and decluttering. (decluttering seems to be the precursor to getting organised).

I am no expert but I suppose the one thing I have learnt is try not to look at the whole house as something to be done in one day - it is just not possible. Instead pick a thing - to sort a room, or a job like putting clothes away, or sorting the kitchen counters and do it.

If you are really not feeling up to it try the 15 minute thing. Just do 15 minutes of something, anything in the house. You will feel better and be surprised at how much you achieved in that space of time. Reward yourself with a cuppa and a go on mumsnet.

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:25:34

I have put the dishwasher on, a load of washing, given the baby lunch and wiped down surfaces in the kitchen.

Still feel daunted by the rest of the house though especially clean washing mountain to be folded in front room and dirty washing mountain upstairs.


DewDr0p Tue 20-Nov-12 14:35:07

Perhaps you need a routine? Divide up the washing/chores into different loads and allocate each one to a day. I have 3 dcs and do it like this:

Mon - clothes (darks/whites/colours), kitchen, empty bins
Tues - bedding, dust/hoover upstairs, ironing
Wed - towels, bathrooms
Thurs - delicates, dust/hoover downstairs
Friday - school uniform, other jobs

I also find I have to put some washing away every day or I just end up with piles of clean clothes everywhere!

Decluttering I think works best done on a monthly/6 weekly cycle a la Flylady but it's the same principle. Do 15 mins once or twice a day and it will soon mount up.

I think you do have to get these habits ingrained. I actually got quite on top of things for a while following these principles but a combo of half term and illness has set me back a bit.

As I am decluttering I am looking at storage in each room and working out what's causing the mess and whether we need different storage etc.

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 15:04:49

I def need a routine. Did a decluttering day 2 weeks ago and 10 binbags went to charity shop and 2 in the rubbish bin. That was just the tip of the iceberg it has got so bad sad

did ds1 room at weekend and got rid of another binbag of broken toys old clothes etc.

Yes storage a big issue especially with 4 dcs in a small 3 bed.

I just feel panicky surrounded by this much rubbish and disorganisation.

As quick as I can tidy the dcs mess it up, then its a meal time or ds2 needs feeding and before I know it the day is gone I am exhausted and it is still a tip.

bossboggle Tue 20-Nov-12 19:41:13

Do you have anyone friends or family that could come in and help get you started. Don't be embarrassed to ask!! If not.... don't try to take it all in at once!! A little bit at a time, and reading your post you've already started - well done!! I have been housekeeping for some thirty years and it is not easy!! Your children are young - they won't always be so!! De clutter, de clutter and de clutter again - you can work your way through things as you go and even as you live!! Do a little bit each day, it takes one small step to begin to climb a mountain!! You don't say how young your Dc's are - if they are old enough then get them to help tidy things, if they get toys out they are able to put them away!! Teach them to do small things, you can start small and then take bigger steps each day - we are not born housekeepers we have to learn how to do it!! I have three dogs, one hubby and three DC's (well they're all grown up now) and one of my DC's is disabled too, it is not easy but you do get there!! Keep posting and let us know how you get on... small steps, one job at a time - you will get there!!

bossboggle Tue 20-Nov-12 19:44:18

By the way all of the DC's live at home too!! My DS is the tidiest of the lot - yes you can teach them!! As soon as they are able to learn to keep things tidy then drum it into them - things will get better - honest!!
It doesn't have to be a show home - it has to be your home and if you are happy with it then that will do!!

educatingarti Tue 20-Nov-12 20:35:57

Make it a habit to get the DCs to tidy all their toys etc 10 minutes before bed/bath time. The secret, when they are very young is to do it with them. Your encouragement "Wow, you are so good at putting away books!" etc will go a long way and if you are doing it with them it won't end up in a nagging session. Even very young children will be used to "tidy up time" at nursery so get them doing it at home too!

Leafmould Tue 20-Nov-12 22:26:12

I second educating arti's post. If the dc are undermining your work then it will be a never ending cycle.

I realised after a while that they needed to learn that they could only hav one thing out at a time, and they had to put it away befor getting anything else out.

You dc probably play together while you are getting on with things a bit, so it's really important that they get this, and the only way you can teach them is by observing them really closely for a few weeks, and stopping them and asking them what they ought to be doing as soon as they look like getting something else out.

Also as much as it is lovely to let kids play with the saucepans etc, they need to learn that that doesn't mean they can get everything out of the pan cupboard while your back is turned.

Housework is a job, you have to clock on at 9 am and keep going until its done. My problem is that if I'm off work, and at home, I want to be less frenetic than I am at work, so I potter about doing this and that without any sense of urgency. This neither fulfills the purpose of getting the work done, or relaxing, so is therefore a bit of a waste of time.

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 10:36:40

My dcs are 11, 5, 3 and 7m.

All have a genetic condition and other health issues hence all the hosp appts and my lack of time to do anything sad older 2 have 30mins physio every morning which is difficult.

I got up at 5am with the baby today as he was poorly and at 6 decided to start on the housework, unloaded and reloaded dishwasher, hung up washing then put another load on and tried to neaten up a bit but it has all been undone again now as all dcs at home today (sore throats and coughs).

Just spent half an hour in kitchen crying over everything. Its not just the house although it would make a huge difference if I could at least find what I need every day. Things have all just piled up and I am not coping. I have nobody who can help, DH works quite long hours and is always exhausted at end of day (has same cond as dcs) my mum works and my sis cant help. Dh mum is around I asked could she pop over today but she said she is busy so Im here alone again and thoroughly fed up.

I need to pull myself out of this I think I will try and set myself a mini to do list of tidying maybe I will feel like Ive at least accomplished something today other than being miserable!

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 10:40:45

This is what I am going to try and get done today:

Make beds
Neaten up front room (again-too many toys!)
Clean bath/sink/toilet

If I try to do anymore I know I wont manage and then I will feel a failure again.

Leafmould Wed 21-Nov-12 10:51:33

Ariane, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate! I think you are right to set yourself small targets. Don't beat yourself up about it, it sounds like you have your priorities right, ie dc health. The state of the house can get you down, especially if you are in it a lot. Mine doesn't bother me too much because I am out a lot. I do think you would benefit from some support, as the pressure sounds really tough. Do you have a home start scheme where you live? How would you feel about counselling?

Sorry if any previous advice was not really relevant to your situation.

Hope today goes well.

isw Wed 21-Nov-12 11:02:30

Hi, I also get totally overwhelmed and I only have 1 disabled DD who needs a lot of attention and only goes to nursery 10hrs a week (if that, due to appointments, illness etc) I do 1 wash a day from start to finish. One in machine, one out, one hung up and one put away otherwise like you I end up with clean piles everywhere and then something happens to them..... I also do the kitchen everyday. I can't sit down until its done and I do 2 lots of 15 mins a day. 15 mins of paperwork, de cluttering etc. Its slow but at least I feel like I am moving in the right direction. I contacted my disability social work team and they did an assessment for direct payments. I get 4 hours a week when someone comes round and plays with DD while I get on (usually organising her paperwork, making phone calls etc but at least my to do list doesn't just keep getting longer. I also got a cleaner. £13 for 2 hours once a week, quite literally life changing. She does kitchen floors, bathroom, hovers what she can and changes DDs bed. Hope that helps x

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 11:04:15

Any advice is helpful I just don't know where to start!

A few years ago I had a lady from homestart come round but in the end it didnt work out as we have so many appts and it sort of turned into another appt, likewise counselling I know it would help but it is just somewhere else to go and as I dont drive it is an ordeal getting to appts. bit of a vicious circle.

I just feel like if the house was tidy and organised I would feel a bit more relaxed as I am stuck in so much, holidays are especially bad as dcs cant walk far so we are effectively housebound. during summer hols I got a nanny for half a day a week so that dcs could do some arts and crafts/play games/bake etc so they had fun and that I could get housework done but it was expensive and not something I could do on a regular basis.

Have done my list now Im just tidying up after ds1 (who has behaviour issues as well and today is a bad day).

Durab Wed 21-Nov-12 11:10:58

I'm surprise no-one else has mentioned it, maybe it's just too naff, but FlyLady is all about taking babysteps to deal with clutter, not blaming yourself for the house being a state, recognising that anything you do is better than doing nothing and having routines to get and stay on top of things.

It has helped me enormously, I can't say I follow it to the letter and I have some weeks when I'm more on top of things than others, but if I do lapse for a week or so, having a system makes it so much easier to get things back under control.

There's a book too , which personally I found easier to digest than all the huge amount of info/advice on the website

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 11:16:37

I will have a look durab thankyou it sounds helpful especially doing things a little bit at a time

Leafmould Wed 21-Nov-12 12:59:39

I think the words housebound and depressed often go together Ariane.

Have you got a garden?

Most houses are not designed for the housebound. I think your dc need a play area which is not supposed to be tidy. If that is the living room, then you need an adult space which is tidy. Can this be the kitchen? Can you have a comfortable chair in your kitchen and a table, and make it a nice place for you to relax in as well?

I can't do this as our kitchen is too small, but I think it would be nice to have a tidy calm place to sit down in, and a seperate area for the dc to be untidy in.

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 13:23:39

Yes we have a garden but only really go out there when weather is nice and if dh is here as dcs need constant supervision and I find it a bit much when Im alone here.

I could probably just fit a chair in kitchen and it would be easier to keep it tidy-the front room is full of toys so no hope of that room staying neat!

Our house is just a bit too small for the 6 of us, it is a 3 bed but teeny, and the bathroom awful when I was pg I nearly got stuck in there it is minute!

Plus we have far too much stuff we do not need and no storage

Slatternismymiddlename Wed 21-Nov-12 16:12:58

Sorry to hear how much you have on your plate, it can't be easy. I think you have made progress already because you have identified that you need to take small steps. If a goal is just too big and unachievable in a short time frame you just feel worse about yourself.

Hand holding can be provided whenever necessary.

ariane5 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:35:54

Thankyou, I have (after having ANOTHER half hour cry!) managed to get a lot done, hoovering and putting away a lot of clothes so I do feel a bit better.

Don't know what is wrong with me lately, everything has just mounted up and suddenly its just too much but, hopefully if i keep doing little bits tomorrow and friday too I might have a slighty better weekend.

Paintyourbox Wed 21-Nov-12 16:52:48

Awww sweetie things sound really tough- sod the housework, you need to look after yourself! Are you perhaps a bit depressed? Something isn't quite right if you find yourself constantly crying.

How about focussing on the one room where you spend most time? I always find if I make one room look nice then improvements will follow in other areas. Do the basics elsewhere (e.g. Quick wipe of surfaces etc) then focus the rest of your time on de cluttering your chosen room.

I keep making the mistake of trying to do every room at once- then I end up with lots of unfinished tasks and piles of paper/junk and then I get upset!

homeaway Wed 21-Nov-12 17:08:05

Would it work to halve the number of toys downstairs and put the rest up in the loft or garage and then rotate them , that way you would have less to clear up . Another thing you could do is put the toys up in the rooms with the children just bringing down a couple of things each and then at the end of the day they go upstairs again ? I used to have a big basket with a lid that i would throw all the toys in at the end of the day. I put the dishwasher on in the evening and then empty it while i wait for the kettle to boil. The washing machine goes on every day and i either hang the clothes out in the early morning or evening and fold the dry washing. If you can manage can you iron as little as possible and pay somebody to do the rest ? I hope you feel better soon.

Namechangeforapropertythread Wed 21-Nov-12 17:11:36

I still struggle with this but have found Ikea trofast for toys to be amazing. Then having storage meant things could be tidied to the 'right' tray which made things easier. That and very strict decluttering. We halved the soft toys and were fairly ruthless (ok all 100000 puzzles are lovely and work but we only need 5 etc). Then donated them on freecycle as we wanted stuff out rather than making mess waiting for a car boot /eBay etc. Also more than halved books clothes shoes etc!

lucidlady Wed 21-Nov-12 18:41:54

I could have written your post too! Is there anyway your DH could take the kids for an hour or so at the weekend, and let you clear out one area? I've been doing a drawer a night for the past week and it's really helping me get on top of the kitchen again. It's only taking 15-20 mins a night so not a huge chunk of time but it's making such a difference after a few days.

Namechangeforapropertythread Wed 21-Nov-12 18:54:48

Oh yes get ruthless with the kitchen. Gwy many Tupperware / old tubs do you actually need? And bin the rest. Same for any cooking pots you don't use , excess cups etc. All creates more storage which so helps!

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