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OK, I hit bottom. My house is COMPLETELY unmanageable.

Old 05-20-2013, 05:59 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by amy55 View Post
I do not know what you mean by upstairs and downstairs. Is downstairs the basement? Or is downstairs the first level, you know kitchen, living room etc, and bedrooms upstairs.
It's a three-level home. Living room, dining room, kitchen (and one small half-bath) on the main floor. Upstairs are three bedrooms (one I use for my home office) and the laundry closet, two bathrooms (one off the master bedroom).

The basement was finished (walls still are), and I originally planned to put a sliding glass room divider down there for a workroom area for crafts (used to sew and started learning stained glass) or repairing stuff--something I could close off to keep the cats out of the way. As I said, no real point in doing renovations down there until the basement/foundation is fixed.

When I had the sewer flood, I hired the guys who did the repair work to paint the whole house for me, to take down the huge wall mirrors that the previous owner had all over the place (mirrors are yuck to me). I have a fireplace in the living room that, believe it or not, was SURROUNDED by mirrors. I broke up and removed those mirrors myself and had a friend surround them with colored slate tiles--that looks great. I need to replace the fireplace/chimney liner as they are all rusted out (lost my chimney cap, and was informed the whole inner part needs replacement). I got a good start on making it my own before the foundation problem derailed me.
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:18 AM
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I wanted you to know that you inspired me to throw out 10 items before 6 am this morning...begone kitchen clutter!
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:27 AM
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Lexie, I had tile on the kitchen/family room of my house and I loved it. Since we had dogs, I got a taupe color that came with some slightly darker taupe tiles, and put a few of them in here and there in a pattern. All the tiles were gradations of the color, so they never showed the dirt. And the grout was taupe, which NEVER showed any dirt. Had a white tile floor with white grout in a previous house - would NEVER do that again! Might be great for the basement and you can put area rugs on it that are washable, or indoor/outdoor rugs that can be salvaged if it ever floods.

I had a ball shopping for all this stuff. Maybe you can get yourself into the swing of things by enjoying imagining all the different ways you could make this space a glorious place to use... If you're not into color and home design, what about finding a friend who is and getting them to help you get into looking? Maybe an artist, someone whose house you admire?

I do like Pergo. Never had it scratch. But for the main floors, since I've been house hunting, realtors are saying that wood is back in. I think it does add to the value of the house and you get to pick great area rugs to complement the rooms.

Take a Sunday afternoon and go to some high end Open Houses - you can get lots of ideas and start seeing this as "the art of the possible", not as a terrible burden and chore.

Wish I lived closer - I'd love to help you with this! Send me pictures if you want!!!!!!

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Old 05-20-2013, 06:36 AM
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Aw, thanks, Star! Yeah, unfortunately the decorating gene seems to have skipped a generation in my family. My mom was great with color and design--I know what I like, but I often have trouble imagining/visualizing it.

Once I get some of the debris out of the way I will take you up on the offer for pictures. Unfortunately, my friends who would be able to give good advice would be appalled at the condition of my house (they are not recovery people and would NOT understand how I could wind up in this condition). So some advice from the non-judgmental is very welcome!
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:49 AM
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Lexie, gotta jump in on this thread. Do you think there's a potentially new social group in home organisation/renovation? I am a natural slob myself and time available to me doesn't have much to do with it. My home is 3 beds, one bath, plenty big enough for me but not a lot of storage. I've had several clear-outs over the years and I'm only just beginning. I gave a lot to charity shops (they make old clothes into bags of rags so you can give them anything) and I sold a lot of more valuable stuff on Gumtree which is our local online classified site.
I got the kitchen, bathroom and laundry renovated, and I don't have much trouble keeping them tidy now. I got rid of a lot of kitchen stuff and invested in things that took up less room. I put a fair bit of thought into 'storage solutions' like hanging shoe holders, chests to hold winter clothes and bed linen. I'm pretty good with a drill so I attach baskets to the inside of cupboard doors which allows me to keep stuff separate and easy to find.
I found that with big renovations that getting someone to project manage it ie take on the whole job, was more expensive but saved me having to handle tradesmen individually.
You can go all out on more and more storage, but it makes sense to get rid of most of your stuff so you don't have so much to store. You won't miss it; in fact you'll feel lighter. Can you take some 'before' photos please? Don't have to post them until you have super cool 'after' photos to show as well!
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:05 AM
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wicked, actually we have TWO camellia bushes, that we KNOW of!!! LOL one out back, it's mostly pink but has a few white blooms and then the "new" one out front, which from what we could SEE of it was all white. everything in our yard has been here a long time...couple huge rhodies, along with some smaller ones...including the one that Della gnawed down to a stub and has now regrown - it's one of her favorite spots to sit.

we knew if we looked at the totality of what we got ourselves into, we'd go nuts and run out the door screaming, so we just chip away at stuff. hank's done massive amounts of work, and most recently we finally got the entryway bath remodeled.

lexi, you can do this! try creating one small orderly space, something you can SEE, even if its just an orderly STACK of something!
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:09 AM
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thank you to all...helped me a lot. and now i know that as competent as i am with so many things...housekeeping is not one of them. i do the one thing at a time and everything in it's place...but since moving and hubby starting to build our home (or future sale) from scratch...have not had the motivation to straighten...just living in the unfinished takes energy.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:27 AM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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Lexie- I read your posts and heed your advice and always think to myself "man has she got her $h*t together and I wish I were half as composed..."... So, it's good to know you're human like the rest of us

I can relate to the clutter thing-- in fact, today I logged in here because I am feeling like I need some grounding and I recognized that this weekend when I realized that my house is a wreck and I have no interest in picking it up... I find that when my home is in chaos (the physical space) I feel less settled and at peace and that when I do make the time to get my stuff in order, I feel a lot more put together over all...

I also find that talking about whatever it is I am struggling with really helps me to start to take steps in the necessary direction to improving what's wrong so I think it is great that you posted here and are finding that it's helping (and I personally can thank you for posting because I will be using some of the advice you've received to help with my own mess).

I am tempted to call in sick to work one day this week so that I can have a day free of kids and their sports obligations (which take up most of each weekend) to unpack summer clothing, pack away winter clothing, vacuum, etc...

It's so easy for my house to go from put together to chaos/mess in a matter of hours so I for one, can complete relate to your current dillema.

Thanks for posting this Lexie and opening up to us all and I am sorry I have no real words of advice but I did want you to know that I understand and can relate....
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:08 AM
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The biggest thing I picked up from UFYH is the 20/10 rule. Clean for 20 minutes, break for ten. It's absolutely amazing what you can get done in 20 minutes. A few 20/10s and I can get most of my house looking livable, even if it isn't perfect.

Since my AH moved out, I treat my house as my sanctuary. It's where the kids and I go to recharge, and I have to clear the debris so we can enjoy it. Last weekend I redid a rot iron bed frame that I got off of Craigslist and "redid" my bedroom (new frame, cheapo curtains). I felt like a queen in that damn bed and I spent less than $30 on the whole thing.

I'm ruthless about getting rid of stuff. I also moonlight as a vintage stuff dealer, so I always have stuff in limbo all over my house. I only keep things that will make $$$. If it's trash, I pitch it. If it's somewhat valuable, I sell it. Garage sale everything. I've even done a "you name the price" garage sale so I didn't have to label everything, just threw it outside on sheets and card tables.

The last few months, I pack my nights and weekends full of chores and fun stuff so I stay busy and go to bed tired. It's unusual to find me on the couch, except for those 10 minute breaks. This is the only way I've been able to keep up with it. It really is work. I'm not organized by nature.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:01 AM
  # 50 (permalink)  
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From chaos........to less chaos ;)

Originally Posted by AnvilheadII View Post
wicked, actually we have TWO camellia bushes, that we KNOW of!!! LOL one out back, it's mostly pink but has a few white blooms and then the "new" one out front, which from what we could SEE of it was all white. everything in our yard has been here a long time...couple huge rhodies, along with some smaller ones...including the one that Della gnawed down to a stub and has now regrown - it's one of her favorite spots to sit.

we knew if we looked at the totality of what we got ourselves into, we'd go nuts and run out the door screaming, so we just chip away at stuff. hank's done massive amounts of work, and most recently we finally got the entryway bath remodeled.

lexi, you can do this! try creating one small orderly space, something you can SEE, even if its just an orderly STACK of something!

Rhodies are so wonderful, big showy blooms, loud crazy colors, I love them.
And camellias are quiet, but so big they need support to stand!
That is what the one in front of my apartment building does. I go out and prop it up so the blooms do not spoil.

:rotfxko

I think of Della's bonsai rhodie!
Chewing and gnawing to get it exactly so, perfect for Della to sprawl under and look beautiful.
If you could get a picture of that?
I would be grateful, and promise to do 20/10 right now!

I have stacks. Stacks of paper. Things from the VA, from the VA hospital, things from the court,
things from the local stores (coupons and such),
things I printed out that were supposed to improve my life.


Stacks and stacks. One file folder box with folders I bought when motivated.
I can do this. 20 and 10. Getting the timer from the kitchen.


Just had a brainstorm, I can put on some AlAnon speaker tapes while I do this!
Genius, if I must say so myself. And I will.

Your comrade in chaos improvement,
Beth
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:15 PM
  # 51 (permalink)  
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Once you get kyour renovations done, try studying minimulism. Here's one link:

miss minimalist

It's so much easier to stay organized when you only have WHAT YOU LOVE and everything else is gone!

Hang in there. Progress not perfection
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:41 PM
  # 52 (permalink)  
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bless, thanks for that. that's where i stumble a bit, the geegaws, whatnots and dooliebobs!! everything from a candle my daughter made for me one year in mazatlan, little sidewalk shop thing where you paint the container - can't BURN the candle as it sets off the smoke alarm, to a hand painted egg shell that was my mothers in it's own little plastic case. i have managed to drag that thing around with me thru 8? 9? moves and and about 20 years now, thing is still perfectly intact. both of these things have some meaning to me....but then there is also the stack of cooking magazines that are 2, 3 years old now? they have NO meaning to me...........

hmmmm, i see a 15 minute declutter when i get home today! woo hoo! thanks guys, i NEEDED this!!!
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:10 PM
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Lexie, I live in a big old house, all by myself.

For years and years I blamed the clutter on my daughters.

Well, guess what ? the youngest went off to college in 2005, and I have been home alone ever since, and the clutter is still here.

Even as a young girl, I dreamed of having a big home with a beautiful dining room, a huge table, with seating for 12, old church pews line the walls for extra seating, and when it's clean, it is really pretty. But the reality, is the dining room table, and benches are a depository, for I will deal with it LATER............ Whatever I am looking for, can usually be found in the dining room, and I am going to break myself of this habit. I am going to stop subscribing to all these magazines and publications I do not read, I will address the mail in a timely matter, I will stop using the dining room table as my laundry table. Fresh flowers on the table is a good deterrent for me.

Like with anything, it is a series of baby steps, my friend.

On May 1st, I made a decision to take the bull by the horn, each day after work, I get a 55 gallon contractors garbage bag and walk around the house, and fill it. Just one bag a day, and I cannot believe the crap I have thrown out.

What I realized is, I cannot do throwing out and going to goodwill at the same time. So when I am done with the throwing out, then I will tackle the recycle/ I am no longer using and off to St. Vinny's or the Salvation Army.

Sometimes, I work in one room, sometimes I go from room to room. Depends on my mood, but the one bag a day is not overwhelming. When I get overwhelmed, I am DONE. but dammit, I will purge my life of this clutter once and for all. And with each garbage back comes a feeling of liberation. It's just comes down to making the commitment to myself.

My daughters have been alerted, if there is something in your childhood bedroom you really want, you better get it, because Mama is cleaning house, and I am not taking prisoners, everything is going........

One bag at a time, Lexie..............
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by marie1960 View Post
What I realized is, I cannot do throwing out and going to goodwill at the same time. So when I am done with the throwing out, then I will tackle the recycle/ I am no longer using and off to St. Vinny's or the Salvation Army.

Sometimes, I work in one room, sometimes I go from room to room. Depends on my mood, but the one bag a day is not overwhelming. When I get overwhelmed, I am DONE. but dammit, I will purge my life of this clutter once and for all. And with each garbage back comes a feeling of liberation. It's just comes down to making the commitment to myself.
Wow, thank you for this. This is so practical and such a great idea to actually put into place. I run into the goodwill/throwaway problem and your idea is great, just do one at a time.
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:58 PM
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marie,

I used to blame other people for the clutter all the time, too, and made the same dismaying discovery you did.

Oh, and wtbh, heh, glad I was able to step off the pedestal you had me on. We ALL have our personal challenges. Part of my own problem, I think, is that I get very judgmental with myself and have these battles in my head with one side yelling at me (parent-style) that I am being lazy and irresponsible, while the other side acts like a petulant teenager refusing to do what I *should* do. Instead, I need to think of keeping a nice place to live as something I am doing for ME, so I will have a nice space. Hard to make that brain-shift, though.

Anyway, I just got off the phone from my consultation with the organizer, Danielle. She sounds great--she's been doing this stuff since 2001, and focuses on working in women's homes. She also admitted that she has hired organizers, herself, mostly to deal with her computer files and photographs. We have our first appointment set for July 2 (4 hours) and also scheduled a second one for July 16. Her rate is $60 an hour (which I consider to be completely reasonable) plus a small fuel charge because she travels 47 minutes each way to my house (she is in PA). She has 14 reviews on Angie's List (more than most professionals), and all but one of them A's (the other one was a B)--and ZERO complaints. Her clients went on at some length about what a terrific help she was. As a bonus, she has connections with various thrift stores, etc., and will take donations and bring back receipts! She has a very nice, encouraging manner and I feel like I will be in good hands.

I once had a secretary who was the best organizer I ever ran across in my life. I told her that she should consider doing it professionally (though she might be too much of a germophobe to deal with challenges like MY house! )

She is emailing me her agreement. I feel like I am doing the right thing.
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:21 PM
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Sending hugs, Lexie. I've been feeling completely unmotivated to completely unpack / toss / donate. Didn't help that this weekend I spent sleeping trying to get over some bug and woke up to a steady plink-plunk of several leaks and the sounds of birds nesting in my walls. _IN_ my walls. I apparently didn't google enough about the downfalls of stucco... I've had zero motivation this entire winter to clean out the cr-pola that moved with me and that the previous owner/renter left all over the property. (I'm now adding getting the septic system checked to my list of needs to be done.)

For those who might be interested, Freecycle is another great resource for those cleaning house. It's kind of like craigslist (so use the same precautions when posting), but is strictly for usable stuff you just want to give away and keep out of the landfills. Once you join the local group, you can post a message saying what you have available to recycle and any one who needs it can contact you to make arrangements to pick it up. (Also a great resource for those on tight budgets as you can post for household items you need and any one who has one that they don't need can contact you.)
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:48 PM
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update...all cooking mags gone. well all I could find readily...what I was NOT expecting was hank to be concerned. what are you doooo ing? dude we haven't looked at these for months/years....DEAL. no I didn't throw out any of your fish porn. that's what we call all things FISH....
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:54 PM
  # 58 (permalink)  
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Wow, I wouldn't have thought to check about stucco, either--I love stucco, but come to think of it, when we stucco'd the winery building the ex and I constructed, there WERE a lot of cracks. I think it shrinks, or something, when it cures?

But how do the birds get IN the walls?

Will check out Freecycle... "Take my junk, PLEASE."

BTW, almost completely cleaned off hall table in entryway.

Anvil, I have SUCH a hard time throwing out magazines. I can't bear to throw out the ones I really like to read--when I get around to it. I have a year's worth of Rolling Stone that is unread, several editions of Writer's Digest (not that I'm currently writing anything but work stuff), quite a few AARP mags (they put out a very nice magazine--almost worth getting old for), and even a bunch of Grapevines. *sigh* I'll try to get rid of anything more than a year old--probably a good compromise.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:32 AM
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Magazines are a weakness here, too. And books... Even if I didn't like them on the first read, maybe next time.... I either need more bookshelves or to let go of some... (yeah, I know )

From research this weekend, apparently stucco can sound just like a hollow or dead tree when pecking-perfect for nest placement. I had a particularly persistent downy woodpecker checking out the house last fall. Luckily the spot he liked was right next to a window. (Picture a crazy lady yelling out the window and waving stuff at the side of the house. lol )
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:16 AM
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Just an amusing footnote.

Yesterday I had my first "performance review" for this job (which I've been at just over a year). I work remotely, so my contact with my boss is mostly electronic--email, phone, instant message, etc. I knew she was pretty pleased with my work, and the review reflected that--several "outstandings", mostly "exceeds expectations" and a few "meets expectations."

I was reading it over with her on the phone (she had emailed it to me), and I suddenly busted out laughing. She had written about how well-organized I am. Of course, I had to explain what was so funny (I toned down the degree of disorder in my household), and we agreed that at least I LOOK organized--which is all that really matters, as long as I get the job done. She thought hiring an organizer was a great idea.
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