weight ticker

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Monday, November 28, 2011

Organizing Your House!

Be honest, how clean and organized is your house?!  What's your philosophy on keeping up on cleaning and organizing?
A) Life is too short to worry about how clean my house is, a little dirt and piles of clothes never hurt anyone!
B) I like a clean house but I haven't sorted through closets and the rest of the house for a couple years.
C) Clutter and dirt drive me nuts!!  I continuously work at keeping my house clean and organized.

Me, I'm C.  It doesn't mean that I've never left the dishes sit overnight, but it happens like twice a month.  If someone came over unexpectedly, the mirrors may not be wiped down or there might be folded laundry in baskets waiting to go up to kids' rooms, but for the most part, I wouldn't be embarrassed to have people in my house. 

I often just tackle a room and purge what I can, donate, trash it, etc.  My bedroom has NO CLUTTER.  It's my little piece of heaven that is calming and mine (and DH's).  My goal by Dylan's first birthday was that anything baby had to be out; changing pad, diaper caddy, diaper pail, bassinet, baby blankets, kid toys, etc.  And I did it and I wish I would have done that sooner. 

But my Mom, my dear sweet Mom, she was slowly becoming a possible candidate for the show Hoarders.  Her bedroom was stacked with so much stuff you could barely move in there.  Her room is on the small side but still, what was all this stuff???  My mom has always been a shopper, and if you remember a few weeks back from this post about AJ's coat, we have very opposite opinions on shopping.  It makes me cringe when I see her SUV packed with bags from shopping or having her call me from a store while she's out shopping.  I want to put my bossy pants on and tell her to knock it off with the shopping!  Enough is enough. And I've tried having talks with her about the "stuff."  So last week I told her that I'd be willing to come over on Saturday and we'd clear her room out.  You could see her anxiety level rise but it just had to be done, had too.  Our plan was I'd come over at 9am and we would be done by noon and then go see the new Twilight movie.  Well 7 hours later, 10 huge black trash bags in the donation pile, and 3 trash bags out to the garbage, we had cleaned her room.  Now just pause for a moment and imagine 13 massive bags coming out of someones room?!? 13...13!  It still boggles my mind.  And I'm amazed my mom didn't have a break down and say that she has a shopping habit, a REALLY bad shopping habit.  These bags cup up to my belly button, they were HUGE, people!

And you guys, it was just stuff!  Cheap crap!  And crafts, OMG, the crafts.  She has 10 rubbermaid containers of just stuff after we purged as much as she would let go.  We are talking thousands of dollars just shoved in bags and boxes in her room. 

And the dust bunnies, they were huge and all over her really nice furniture which was covered in a thick gray coat of dust.  I even said early on, "Mom, can't you just smell the dust. It's really hard to breathe in here and I'm not even sensitive to dust."  Then I said we should crack the window open to air the room out.  That's when I came upon a window seal covered with mold and ice buildup.  And when I asked if she had an all purpose cleaner so I could clean it up, she didn't have all purpose cleaner of any kind.  Huh???  All this crap you buy and you never thought to buy an all purpose cleaner.  I made do with a vinegar cleaning solution I knew how to make. 

In the end we had a decent day and we never made it to the movie, I was exhausted.  My Mom and Dad even said they think I have a calling in life that maybe I never realized.  I tend to agree.  I really enjoy cleaning spaces (as long as I don't find dead animals like the show Hoarders, gag me!) but it is mentally exhausting trying to get someone to  let go of the THINGS, it's just things.  Really it's just crap, but I used the word things and stuff to be nice:)

So what does my mom ask me to do today, go pick up a huge plastic Step 2 play house for the boys for Christmas from her.  Where the heck is she going to put it???  It's so frustrating.  I've learned when she buys the boys gifts, not to feel obligated to keep them forever.  I purge their toys every 4-6 months and donate them even if it's something she just got them but they really didn't enjoy or have outgrown.  Same with clothes, I can't feel guilty and hold on to stuff forever.  It's just stuff.

If you are thinking of organizing a room, my un-novel ideas are this:

1)  Take everything out of the room including emptying all drawers, closets, shelves that hold stuff.  All that should be left is the furniture that is for sure staying.
2) Clean the room from top to bottom.  Dust, clean floors, windows, strip bedding and wash it, clean light fixtures, everything.  You are not going to bring things back in and set them on something dirty.
3) We brought everything out into the living room and from there, we just started grabbing things and making quick trash, donate, keep piles.  We started with clothes and I wouldn't put anything back in the room until you have your entire keep pile of clothes, and those are organized, folded, and separated in to type (sweaters, tank tops, pants, pajamas, work out clothes, t shirts, long sleeve shirts, etc.).
4)  Once you have all your keep stuff, go back in the room and discuss where everything should go in the room and if you need to add shelving or baskets, etc.  If you do, don't bring the stuff back in the room yet, put the shelves in, get baskets, etc. and then bring the items back in.  Buy clear plastic tubs for storing so you can see into them and only use open baskets or canvas boxes for items you use on a daily basis or almost daily basis, otherwise the items should go in stackable tubs and put away.
5) No items get an "I'm not sure yet what to do with this item."  A decision has to be made.  Even if my mom gets rid of more craft items, which I hope she does, they went in a keep pile, then organized into rubbermaid stacking tubs, labeled on the outside and put away.  She's welcome to take all the tubs out and go through them again but stuffing a bag of fabric in the back of the closet just doesn't work.
6)  Do one room at a time, and don't move on until that room is DONE!!  My mom kept walking into my dad's office asking what he was going to do to clear out his space and I kept having to refocus her to just worry about the bedroom.
7)  Crank up the tunes!  It's sort of hard to be in a really bad mood if you are listening to great music in my opinion!  We listened to Christmas music:)

I know none of these ideas are ground breaking ideas, but hopefully just serve as a little nudge to get you organized before the New Year.  My question to my readers- when family is buying you or your family gifts, do you have issues with them buying gifts that are just unnecessary and take up a lot of room or are expensive? (such as big blow up bouncy things, play houses, huge stuffed animals, things that hang on your walls that you don't WANT on your walls).  How do address it tactfully?


  1. I love this post! I am super OCD when it comes to clutter and organizing. Clutter literally drives me crazy. As for the general cleanliness of our house, I’m not crazy anal about it. If the dishes sit in the sink until the next day because hubby and I want to spend some time together after supper I don’t worry about it. The way I see it is as long as the floors are swept and vacuumed, things are dusted and wiped on a regular basis and the bathroom is clean, I’m ok with that. I’m sure I will change my tune when we are preparing for and have kids in the house and I will probably become some crazed cleaning lady haha.

    Keeping things organized is so essential though to keeping the house looking good. If you aren’t organized and everything is just everywhere, that to me looks worse than a pile of dirt. We just went through all our closets and purged things last week and its crazy how much junk accumulates when you don’t sort through things on a regular basis.

    As for Christmas gifts, I kind of have it good in a way. Both of our entire families live in a different province then we do so we ask for money and /or gift cards and put them toward things we need or want. We intend to do the same when we have kids to get things we know they will use and like. As for some of the things we may get from people close by, I have no problem getting rid of something we don’t like or don’t use. But on the other hand no one who is close to us ever visits us, we always go to them so they don’t know we got rid of whatever they gave us. I would have no problem with telling them that it just wasnt something we used so why not donate it to someone who would.

  2. About tacky or unwanted gifts. I think it depends on your relationship with the person and how often you see them. I don't see my parents, who live out of state, often so I pretty much take their gifts and put them out when they come around. The rest of the time I store them away. But I do that because otherwise there will be a big fight or my mom will be passivve aggressive and feel like I am unappreciative. To avoid that, I do what I said. But if I see a person alot and still get an unwanted gift plus there is a more positive relationship I might have the thing out more because it may make them feel appreciated. But then after a while I pretend I am moving things around and take it out. Of course my initial reaction if the gift is unwanted is "WHAT THE F*#@! ASK ME WHAT I REALLY WANT OR NEED!"

  3. I feel I have the SAME thing happening with my mom and I. But I could NEVER get my mom to throw her crap out. So that sounds like a big deal, what you accomplished. With my mom, whenever I clean after her the crap reappears pretty soon after. I gave up a long time. I know that my mom is more emotionally attached to her crap and there is a lot more to it than just not being organized. Although she is not collecting boxes or disgusting things. Still, I like things clean and everything has a place. Not so with her. She gets as unsettled when I clean as I get when I'm around a mess/dirt. :-/
    It was so nice to read your post.

  4. @Jo, I did become a little more OCD after having Dylan and especially when I wasn't holding him 24/7 because then I had the time to do it. But the clutter, we purge, re organize and then a few months later we do it again because sometimes you just aren't in the mood to let go of something and then later you go back to it and it's a no-brainer to get rid of it:)

    @Anonymous, I have a MIL that likes to SEE her gifts when she comes to visit every 3-4 years. I played that for about 6 years and then I said enough. She'd send a huge box of crap. My birthday this year, she sent a $15 gift card to Starbucks and I was over joyed!!! Something I love and will use!!

    @Anonymous, The first time I tried this with my mom was 5 years ago. It didn't go well, we just stopped about 30 minutes into it. That really hit home about you getting unsettled with the mess the same way she does when you clean. If my family is over and I clean or if I'm at my mom's house and I just step into the kitchen to wipe her counters and load the dishes after dinner, she does get a little frantic even though I voluntarily did it and I totally don't mind.