Is your home organized and comfortable?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Copabanana, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Do you have a little free time? Would you be willing to give me some virtual support as I try to tackle the clutter in my house, organize drawers and closets, get rid of lots of stuff (eBay or garage sale or donate) hang pictures, make my house beautiful and my garage manageable?

    I will need to find help where I live, and have no self confidence in working with people I don't know.

    When my mom died I brought her whole house here and have not been able to get rid of more than a few things.

    And then I went on a buying frenzy online as a way to cope with grief.

    I want to be comfortable in my home. I want to enjoy my things. I want to be organized.

    I have a really hard time letting things go. (I may have turned into a bit of a hoarder. But not bad..) I have beautiful things (not rich) and a pretty (modest) house.

    I want to do this. No excuses. I trust you guys and feel safe with you. I don't trust (much) other people.

    Who among you would be available to coach me?

    I used to be normal.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Toomanytears

    Toomanytears Member

    Copa..

    The irony. I’ve been having this conversation with my husband for the past 2 days.

    You see, when I feel I have little control over certain things in my life, I clean (or organize) ..it’s my way of coping.

    I inherited many items when my Mom passed 6 years ago. These items are from my parents world travels, or items passed down through generations. I have trouble letting go. Sentimental value far outweighs usage.

    There the trouble begins.

    The realization is, I must make some tough decisions. I’ve decided to try and tackle one room (thoroughly) every 2 weeks. I plan on gathering items I have not used in 2 years in our “ back room”. I will be boxing these items up and delivering them to a community aid project in our area.

    I have sooo many items that I feel were entrusted to me. I’m TORN about their destiny. If I do distribute, will they be sold for quick cash by kids, nieces or nephews? If I don’t, will they just be lost forever when the house is cleared out?

    My thoughts as of today are to sort through, keep a few chosen items that truly reflect who they were and let the kids and nephew/niece pick a few items and have a quality auctioneer take the rest.

    I understand these items are just “things” but they are part of my being and of those I loved. They make me who I am.

    There are many advantages to a less cluttered life...a more organized life. It’s simpler, more relaxed, less intrusive.

    I’m also open to any suggestions, support or reality checks.. lol

    ((( Hugs)))
     
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  3. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    About 15 years ago, I heard of flylady.com website. I think there is a FB page, now, too. She sends out daily reminders. It did help me.

    She tells everyone to start with a clean sink... I liked her non -judgmental attitude. It's inspirational, too, as there are shared "testimonials". Also some catch phrases... Like CHAOS... Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

    Also remember you can't control clutter...it controls you. I like to donate my excess... Then it's easier to let go of it.

    Maybe we can start a thread that we can keep in contact and share what we accomplished.

    When putting away Christmas decor, decide if it's something you love. I have cut back a lot over the years. I put a wreath on the door, a couple things on the entry table, a smaller, slim artificial tree, that we keep decorated and stored in the basement, greenery on the mantle and two Xmas throw pillows. That's it.

    Ksm
     
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  4. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    A thousand times this.

    I’ll second the Flylady recommendation. Her style is a bit on the hoaky side for me, but her method works great. I’m not a dedicated follower, but some key takeaways have stayed with me:
    • Done try to do everything at once - take baby steps and be kind to yourself. The focus is on improvement, not perfection.
    • Tackle one area of the house at a time. She divides the house into four (or five?) ‘zones’ and you focus on one zone each week, so over the course of the month each area of the house gets a deep clean and decluttering.
    • While in each zone, try to de clutter one thing each day. A drawer. A closet, or a couple shelves on a closet. A dresser. Don’t try to do everything at once, or you’ll get overwhelmed - just pick your one project and stop there. If you don’t get to everything in the zone decluttered in a week, don’t worry - you’ll be back next month.
    • Establish morning and evening routines that help you maintain cleanliness once you establish it. Like make your bed and wipe down bathroom counters while you get ready in the morning, and make sure dishes are done and shine your sink before going to bed. I consider these small chores a gift to my future self - my evening self appreciates a well-made and inviting bed to fall into, and my morning self appreciates starting the day with a clean kitchen.
    Decluttering is really the most important key, though. It’s amazing how fast stuff accumulates. I re-booted my life 11 years ago with 2 suitcases and 3 trash bags full of stuff i fled the house with. When E and I finally moved out of the shelter and into a place of our own, that’s all we had to start with. Everything else came from good will, family donations, and gradual purchases as we needed things. And you know what? It was actually very freeing to walk away with nothing but what I could fit in the trunk of my car. It makes you realize just how little you actually NEED when it comes down to it. I kind of miss that sense of freedom now that I have re-accumulated my own stuff, inherited other stuff, and combined houses with someone who had a house full of stuff of her own. We are restarting the decluttering process again!

    It was also eye opening to go though the sorting and packing of my grandparents’ house after they died. Like most who lived through the Great Depression, they saved EVERYTHING in case it was needed later. Bins full of buttons, nails, washers, screws, thread spools, fabric scraps, and on and on and on. A closet full of cleaned out margerine tubs and cool whip containers to use for leftovers - when was she ever going to need 100 leftover containers? And then the collections - tea cups, powder dishes, salt and pepper shakers, you name it she collected it. All of it went to auction for $10 per lot (about 20 items in a lot). No one in the family had room to store all this stuff. We all took a couple favorite things from the house and then the rest went to auction, good will or trash. It was a monumental task. And I promised myself I would NEVER leave my children or grandchildren with a task of that magnitude. If it’s likely to just get thrown out when I’m dead, why not throw it out now?

    I believe in being ruthless when it comes to decluttering. Dont keep things because you ‘should’ (e.g., someone else might want this someday, aunt Gilda gave it to me and would be upset, someday I’ll fit into this again...). If it is not being useful or bringing you joy RIGHT NOW let it go. I can’t think of anything I’ve let go I truly regret not having.
     
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  5. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hey guys,

    I’m in!

    I love to talk decluttering and organizing! I have to have my spaces clean and organized or I can’t function well.

    My adult daughters always have some decluttering or organizing project they want me to help with when I visit them.

    First, just pick one small goal and complete it. One drawer, shelf, pile, box, or even one item.

    We will all start where we are, and go from there. I have some decluttering to do as well!

    Apple
     
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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    When we moved four hours away, we had to make some really hard decisions. I call them “brutal” choices actually. This might give you insight to how hard this can get.

    But, we had a garage sale and got rid of a lot of obvious things I simply didn’t want. In our case, a lot of the furniture wouldn’t go ok in the new place, so we hired someone to manage a small estate sale. We also had some things left over from our parents.

    The closing got moved up three weeks and it was hideous. We had to make some crazy fast decisions and get out of the house. It was horrible, but there was a certain blessing to it.

    We sold a few things, gave away a few things and gave a ton to charity.

    Our new home is clutter free. I hired a housekeeper to spend two days along my side to but shelving paper in the cabinets and we neatly organized. I did buy a few things from the container store. For e ample I have three drawer dividers in my underwear drawer. White, beige/tan , mixed colors. It is super organized. I threw away a ton of underwear. How in the heck did I accumulate so much? I want to explore more options from the container store.

    I keep a ongoing Goodwill box in my garage. In fact, it is full now so it’s time for me to drop it off.

    If I buy two shirts, I make a pack that one item has to go in the box. It’s not 1:1. It’s less, I suppose. And I suppose, years from now it will catch up to me. But, by constantly moving things out, the clutter is reduced.

    If I have a clothing item I haven’t used for two years, i immediately start “eyeing” it. Chances are high it’s going in the box too. A possible exception is an evening gown. But there are few exceptions.

    I have a large clear container labeled “boots. “ This is because it is warm here and boots are only warn about three weeks of the year or when we travel. I have this on a high shelf in my closet. I don’t want it using my “good space.”

    Clear, labeled boxes are great. But those too have to be culled. If stuff doesn’t fit in the box...I have to be brutal. The reality is I have too much stuff. Something has to GO. Goodwill or garbage.

    We use to have a garage sale every two or three years, but now I just have my ongoing Goodwill box.

    I’m using certain similar ideas for my cabinets and closets. If it doesn’t fit ...my closet or cabinets are overstuffed...hmmm . It’s not the space. It’s me. Something has to GO. And I now think about these things prior to purchase.

    Just some little ideas that have helped me. We have gotten compliments at our new home that it is unusually well organized.
     
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  7. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    There is a book "The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter". I read it and found it helpful. If you can afford a storage unit, that makes things easier.
     
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys. It helps (immeasurably) to be a team. Can we call this our dedicated, community thread?

    Leaving house to return.
     
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  9. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Elsi...you say “ruthless,” I say “brutal!”
    I think we are on the same wavelength!!!! Coool.
    :)
     
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  10. ahhjeez

    ahhjeez Member

    I can't concentrate if my house or desk is cluttered. Over the years I have slowly and methodically culled my knick knacks to almost nothing. Just things that bring me happiness. I just feel so much better and in control when my house is on the more minimal side. I loved the fly lady as well. She was great on getting me organized with cleaning too.
     
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  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I have SO much to say on the subject of clutter. Jabber and I live cluttered lives. Cluttered house, cluttered minds - disorganized and procrastinating and always planning but never doing. The house is the tip of the iceberg. I'm not a neat person, but I try to be a clean person. Still...when I was in college, with likewise cluttered roommates, I'd go for months living in our clutter until one day I'd just lose my mind and clean and clean and clean...then it would get cluttered (and lets face it - dirty) again.

    This is something I've lived with forever. In fact, over a year ago, I did a MyFitnessPal blog about it. Here are some excerpts:

    ********​
    I have the kind of life that just seems out of control. I’ve been here before. Work is backing up. I have too much of it to do and I have to just dig myself out of my backlog. That’s going to involve working evenings and weekends (on salary, so I don’t even get paid for it) but I did it to myself. Somehow I let myself get behind and now I have to catch back up. On the up side, a LOT of people at my office have let themselves get behind…but that doesn’t make it right that I have. This is a cycle that's been repeating for 22 years at this job.

    My house is an absolute disaster area. I can’t even begin to explain that. It’s not “Horders” bad – but it’s bad enough. The floors are repulsive. Dust is literally everywhere. Not talking a little dusty here – I’m talking you can write your name on every horizontal surface. The mail – God the MAIL. It’s always everywhere! Junk mail and bills and letters alike – just piled on the kitchen counter. I can’t even open my cabinet on one side. Stray paper is everywhere. I don’t even know what to do with it all. There’s not a clean area in my entire house! The other day our church choir was trying to plan a carry-in lunch and figure out who’s house to have it at. I can’t EVER volunteer our house because it’s never in any condition to have guests.

    And then there are the unfinished projects. We have ceiling tiles out of our suspended ceiling in the basement that have been out for 10+ YEARS. Not that it matters, as we stripped it bare 5 years ago and never finished that remodel. Now it’s full of cabinets we bought a year ago, waiting to be varnished for the kitchen remodel we planned and haven’t started. There’s a new stove and dishwasher in the garage. They’ve been there For. A. Year. Guess we better hope they all work, as it’s too late to return them…still in the BOXES. My master bathroom hasn’t had baseboards in nearly that long and at the moment is half painted. I painted behind a new vanity and the commode when we installed the new sink…three or four YEARS ago. There’s the guest room that needs cleaned out and painted and the ceiling fan changed. We don’t have a railing on our front steps and we have an unfinished landing. We’ve had tile for the main bath for more than 7 years! And then there’s the yard work…

    What is wrong with me that this happens? My husband and I are happily married. Really, I couldn’t love anyone more. My job is secure – though I’m behind. I have more paid vacation time than I can take – if I ever get caught up. But my life in general is overwhelming. I feel like I have so much to do that I don’t do ANY of it. I don’t even try. And when I WANT to try is when I’m at work! Right now I could clean the HELL out that that house. But I’m at work.

    And I’m not working. I’m blogging.
    ********​

    You want to know the worst part? ALL THOSE PROJECTS ARE STILL IN THAT SAME STAGE - A YEAR AND A HALF LATER!

    I need help.

    Clutter, clutter everywhere! I actually DO want my home to be uncluttered. In fact, I wouldn't mind if it is just somewhat spartan and minimalistic. I'd LOVE to have a bare coffee table with a book and a vase of flowers on it. I'd LOVE to have kitchen counters that look show-room staged. I'd LOVE to have a guest room that you can actually have guests in.

    Really, I'm to the point that I would like to just take big boxes and garbage bags and fill them with - everything. I'd love to be "ruthless" and "brutal" in my pitching of items out of my house! But that isn't practical. Can I really make myself donate my mother's dishes? Won't I regret that later? Can I throw out papers without going through them and making sure they aren't important legally speaking? What if I rummage sale my four extra cookie jars and my friends who gave them to me show up at the sale? What do I say?

    With our plan to RV after retirement - even if instead we downsize to a little bitty house like we've planned - we HAVE to get rid of stuff! And...I want to. Right now.

    But I'm at work...and I'm not working.
     
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  12. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I say it’s possible we get too tired or lazy or emotional to make the tough decisions.
    Brutal or ruthless decisions.These words sound funny, but oddly, they are accurate.
    Best to make them immediately.
    If not immediately, then soon
    Sometimes, when cleaning my closet I will actually say to myself “Nomad, you know you must be BRUTAL! This closet is overstuffed. You bought two new shirts and some shoes. And probably some other things have snuck in here!” Then I go into drill Sageant mode in my head. “Nomad. Get tough. I want three items removed from this closet permanently and gone from this house now!” Then I start looking and I think oh no...I love everything. Then I say “Time to be brutal.” Each item is carefully examined and though about.
    One time I could only come up with two. I made myself a deal. I went into my closet with heavy winter clothes on another room and gave two items from that closet away. So , it totaled four instead of three. The strict drill sargeant was happy. I was brutal.
    It sounds a bit crazy...but it works.
    For me, chanting these words help. It ain’t easy. I do what I must.
     
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  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I am planning on a closet-cleaning trick this year. On New Years Day I am going to turn all my hangers around the wrong way. Then, when I wear something and it gets put back in, the hanger goes in the right way. Next New Years...everything still facing the wrong way gets donated, unless there's a really, really good reason to keep it...like a little black dress still in style, but haven't had occasion for.

    Same goes for shoes.

    Drawers are harder - but I NEED to do them worse than the closet.

    Things in closets and drawers though, aren't the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that I have no place for a lot of things. The storage area is the garage. The garage needs cleaned out so I can get to the storage shelves. Then the shelves need cleaned so things from other parts of the house that belong there can actually be placed there!

    It goes on and on. :(
     
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  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm in! Hubby is a borderline hoarder, keeping everything for "a project," and I just can't stand the mess any longer.
     
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  15. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Passed down sentimental items:
    Well, this is a little complicated because these were from my dad, who I did not care for.
    But he had a surprisingly large owl collection. Some were very pretty. A few were expensive. Ceramic etc.
    I kept two of the nicer, more expensive ones. I gave a Lennox one to my daughter in law’s mom who has a small collection.
    Then I put an advertisement in a local newspaper for the rest. It was great. A young man came and said he wanted to buy it for his Aunt’s birthday. She was a collector. He saw the ad and was delighted. He would never be able to top this as a birthday gift! (Probably true!)

    I don’t have much from my mother. Clothing. Slowly over the years, I gave things to people who I thought might like them.

    When I give a lot or something special to Goodwill, I say a prayer over the box. I ask G-d to see to it that these special items go to a good person or a good family and good things come of this donation, like a new job, or they simply feel better and so forth.
     
  16. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Lil, I promise you that you will never regret the things you let go. If you aren’t using them and loving them now let them go somsomeone else can use and love them. On papers, make a list of the things you know you must have - wills, birth certificates, mortgage docs, etc - and locate them, or replace them, and put them in a file. Then toss the rest. Trust me. Almost everything is replaceable, paperwork wise. If norhing bad has happened from ignoring them for six months or longer, nothing will. If it was a bill, they’ve dunned you again by now. If it was legal or financial paperwork, it’s filed somewhere else where you can get a copy. If you had a fire, it would all be gone, and you’d have to figure out how to replace the important things somehow. And you would.

    If anyone questions you on what you are getting rid of, smile and say ‘I’ve loved this so much, but it’s time to downsize, and we are letting this go so someone else can love it.” End of discussion. People will understand - chances are they’ve done the same, or are thinking about it.

    Flylady is actually geared towards your exact situation. When you are so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start and it feels hopeless. She starts with just one thing - shine your sink - and you go from there. So you have one clean, shiny space in your home to build from. I recommend checking out her website and book. Do her daily missions for three months and see how far you get. You’ll be amazed.

    I walked away and started my life over with almost nothing. And you know how much I’ve truly missed from what I walked away from? Almost nothing. Most things are replaceable.
     
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  17. CareTooMuch

    CareTooMuch Active Member

    I am very organized and not overly sentimental so my home is not cluttered. It helps me to stay centered, clutter makes it hard for me to relax. My mother in law is a tiny bit a hoarder and very sentimental and has everything her mother left plus childhood clothes and toys from her grown 55 and 56 year old babies lol. I'd be glad to help if you let me know what kind of support you need.
     
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  18. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Today I tackled the upstairs bathroom today. I went thru each drawer and shelf. It's pretty much been ignored for the last six years, after we moved to the first floor bedroom/bath. The girls each had a bedroom and shared this bath.

    If the makeup, lotions, etc th I found looked really old, I trashed it. I ended up with a shoebox of misc. stuff that the girls can look thru them and take if they want it. The oldest hadn't lived here for 2.5 years. Doesn't seem possible. Well, she was here for maybe 6 weeks after leaving the marines after 3 weeks.

    I combined misc bottles of shampoos in to one and recycled the empty bottles. Same with conditioners. They maybe had an inch of product left.

    Younger DGD has been out of house for 6 months...

    husband and I moved back upstairs this month. The bedrooms are twice the size of what we've had for 6 years. But we couldn't trust the girls to have a main floor bedroom and not leave during the night, or let their friends in during the night. Luckily, it's an I,d home with a creaky stair case and we could hear when they came down stairs. Younger made a habit of sneaking out the upstairs bedroom. So glad those days are over... Ksm
     
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  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Elsi. I so so much disagree. What I have given up of my mother's haunts me.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  20. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Hmm. I suppose we are all different. I have a couple tea cups of my grandma’s and a John Deere hat that was grandpa’s. That’s enough to remind me. I don’t need the rest. The one physical object I have that I would be destroyed to lose is my father’s guitar. It’s the one thing I have of his, and he gave it to me the last time I saw him. I was 13. But pretty much everything else I can let go. The objects are just objects. What matters is the memories.
     
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