How to Start Cleaning Up . . . When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Over the past few months, as I’ve gotten to the point where many areas of my home are under control more than they ever were pre-blog, I have started cleaning up and organizing areas that are particularly difficult.  Areas where getting started is the hardest part. 

clean up

 

Like the Laundry Room.

Or the playroom.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed that my newest self-talk phrase is: “Do the Easy Stuff First!”

I thought I would put this concept into its own post so I can link back later for new readers.

I’m pretty sure that this is a “duh” concept for normal people.  Most likely, they don’t have to repeat it to themselves over and over to keep from hyperventilating.

Not that I would know, since I’ve never been normal.

I’ve shared my steps for cleaning up a very messy house.  Part of that process is not worrying about the areas which are out of sight and out of mind.  But my heart desires that ultimately, this deslobification process will include the out-of-sight places,  They are MY places, so they’re never truly out-of-my-mind.

I’m always one lost office supply away from tears of frustration over my inability to keep them under control.

Since my Slob Vision causes messes to be viewed as one big insurmountable problem instead of individual small problems, I sometimes get paralyzed before I even start.  Which means I don’t start, and the problem gets worse.

So . . . . I do the Easy Stuff first.

I remove, or put back in place, the things that have a designated home somewhere else in the house (or even in that room . . . sometimes two feet away).  Like dirty laundry that’s on the floor.  Or a bicycle in the playroom.  Or a life-jacket in the master bedroom.  Or something else that probably only happens in my home.

I’m generally amazed at how much Easy Stuff there is in the disaster-zone I’m tackling.

Once I get the Easy Stuff out of there, the Hard Stuff isn’t any less hard, but it is less.  Meaning the piles are smaller and my despair-level is lower.  And the visual progress from removing the Easy Stuff spurs me on to tackle more.  

Make sense?

Concepts like these that seem to be simple for others, but are life-changing for me, are why I have this blog.  My tag-line is “Figuring Out Why I am this Way, and What I Can Do to Change” . . . and that’s what I’m doing.  I’m figuring myself out.

I’m accepting that my slob-brain doesn’t see the easy stuff as easy stuff until I verbally tell it to.  And I’m perfectly fine with verbally telling it, if that’s what I need to do to get this mess cleaned up.

 

Check out my decluttering page for more ideas and inspiration on how to declutter!

 

I’ll be linking this up to Works for Me Wednesday over at wearethatfamily.com and to the Homemaking Link-Up at Raising Homemakers. 

Comments

  1. Thanks for your blog! I found it the day I had to enter bills into my ledger with a crayon because I could not find any of our pens in the clutter. You have inspired me to keep trying to get it all under control!

  2. Nony the Slob says:

    Oh my word, Liz, I laughed so loudly when I read your comment! So totally a thing I would have to do!!!

  3. Totally understand. I actually did that this morning when I bagged up a bunch of recycling in my kitchen and just got it down to the garage. Not 100% taken care of yet (still need to take it all to the recycling center), but it is no longer overwhelming me when I see my kitchen. Doing the easy stuff first works.

  4. I just wanted to say that I think you have come a long way! Your blog (and your attitude to becoming less of a slob) are inspirational! I think we are very harsh on ourselves and have such high expectations. One of my favourite quotes is 'we can have it all – but not all at the same time!

  5. ABCSteed says:

    This is so true! I was getting really discouraged with the state of our bathroom, but after putting all the dirty laundry in the hamper (instead of on the floor) the rest of the room seemed immediately better, and easier to clean.
    I love reading all your tips to make a household WORK. you're not going for perfect, just for what works for you. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for the reminder and I just thought I'd let you know that I out it into practice this morning. I just kept thinking, if I get this out of the way it will look a little better.
    http://family6-time.blogspot.com/2011/04/im-not-perfect.html

  7. Thanks for linking up at Works for Me Wednesday. We're moving in two months, so de-cluttering and organizing are on my mind. Your blog is quite motivating and encouraging, just what I need!

  8. Megan at declutterdaily says:

    Don't be so hard on yuurself. I think it's hard for everyone to find the tape now and then (or every time I look for it). One time I just went to the dollar store and bought like 7 pairs of scissors, I got so sick of it. Kids multiply the chaos by like ten-milloin too.

    Life Jacket in the bedroom, ha. I know that feeling.

  9. Megan at declutterdaily says:

    yuurself. Gah! Perhaps I won't be so mysuulf either! Oh and miioin! Dear Lord, I should proof..

  10. lroghair says:

    I LOVE your blog! I can relate and am trying once again to get my house in order. It always helps when I have company and do the "panic clean", then I always hope that I can keep the parts of the house that are clean, clean and work on the rest of the house, but by the time I have company again, I'm starting over. Agh! Anyway, your post of Mondays being the most important day of the wk totally struck home w/ me this wk. I was out running errands and didn't get the housework done and wow, but a difference (not in a good way). Now my Mondays are housework days. It never struck me how important that day is until you posted that and it 'clicked'. Thank-you!

    • DuckieTay says:

      OMG! I do the “company panic clean” at least once a week! While my company sits on my couch and I run around my house like a nutter to get it at least company-worthy! LOL! Thought I was the only one!

    • I am not alone? I feel so less…crazy. I always tell my mom…if i could just have this done or that then I can get it all done. And them bam, who in the world put all this stuff on the table, couch…

  11. Mommie Daze says:

    We have a huge mess in our basement to clean up and organize. I will definitely be tackling the easy stuff first.

  12. One theory behind the "I don't know where to start" problem is that those with the problem are actually perfectionists. They become paralyzed by the fear of failing, and so find it pointless to begin. I was this way with any kind of big project in school. For whatever reason, I was convinced I just couldn't do it. I always got good grades in the end, but only after the stress of leaving the project until the last minute, then rushing and even staying up all night to finish it in time. I think tackling messes in our homes can be like that. The mess just looks too large to be handled. Breaking an impossible task down into smaller pieces is the only way to get over those fears and accomplish the goal! I like The Fly Lady's saying – "I can do anything for 15 minutes!". There are a lot of things I CAN'T do for 15 minutes, but as far as housework is concerned, it's true!

    • Your comment explains me. All my life I have put off finishing prijects, afraid it wont be perfect in the end.

    • I was told that once as well. My fear is that I was just lazy. But then i get so nit picky when i get into the groove of cleaning. I will worry about the small things instead of just getting the easy quick jobs done.

    • Then to make things worse, when we paralyzed perfectionists finally do bite the bullet, it takes forever to clean bc we are so detailed. Frankly after spending hours and days scrubbing things with a tooth brush I don’t want to have to do it again anytime soon. I know maintenance cleaning is very important but it’s getting it through my head that it will cut down on the marathon cleaning binges that’s hard to do.

      And those private messy area always spill out into the rest of my house. And it clutters my brain as well!! Anyone else feel the same way?

      • Danielle H,

        YES! I feel the same way. I thought I was lazy, too. I get sidetracked with the cleaning and wanting to get out that toothbrush to work, when I should just get out a broom and mop, be done for now, and move on to get it all clean. It may not be deep-cleaning clean, but at least everything is presentable instead of that one area I spent hours cleaning! Then I can tackle the deep cleaning things later.

        • Simone Wolfe says:

          And throw ADD on top of that then you are cleaning in multiple rooms with nothing getting done and time has run out as well, then you don’t have time to get back to what you were working on to start with, well, what WERE you working on to start with????!!!!

          UGH! Time is my enemy!!!!!!!!

  13. I always just start on one corner of a room. I have to work from one corner to the next – so at least something is clean so it motivates me to keep on going. I feel succesful that way. Once I finish one room I normally want to keep on going.

  14. SAHMmy Says says:

    Love the Easy Stuff First idea! And I'm enjoying reading through your back posts–entertaining and inspirational!

  15. Nony the Slob says:

    Thanks SAHMmy!

  16. I hope you don’t mind I featured your blog with a link back in a post on Spring Cleaning, feel free to grab a feature button if you wish and I love your blog, I wish I could get my husband to convert
    http://www.missinformationblog.com/2012/04/spring-cleaning-tips.html

  17. Michelle says:

    I’m so happy to find your site. As a married mom of two kids I’m not sure if I can really get a handle on maintains a clean house. I have a 7 and a 2 yrs old with down syndrome. Also my husband has chronic back pain that limits how much he can help – especially with my son b/c he can’t do muc lifting. We just had to have our home treated yesterday for bedbugs. I’m so embarrassed and devastated. But one good thing is that I forced me to take off work to empty the closets and clear out the clutter. Staying organized has never been my strength, but with so much on my plate it feels Impossible…

  18. OMG – I feel so much better about myself! THANK YOU. I feel completely out of control when it comes to the house (in tears because I can’t find anything; have three of one item because it was easier to buy it than find it, etc.) – and it’s just me, hubby and a seven-year-old! I used to be a neat freak but it went straight to hades once I got married and wasn’t living alone anymore… I also read “How to Clean a Very Messy House” and kept nodding – that’s me wanting to re-decorate the entire house a week and a half before a three-hour party! I will be starting with the easy stuff first, and probably doing some cheating, but you’ve given me hope. Bless you!

  19. Well I’m the new kid here and I have found everything about Nony’s site amazing! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who is needs help in this area. I do have a question, I hope someone will have an answer or point me in the right direction. In my pea brain I’m ready to tackle the mess but I have no energy. I don’t know if I am truly tired or overwhelmed. I have been to the dr. and my health is great. I’ve purchased a ton of cleaning items that I now need storage for them! So…how does one find the energy to dive in & not feel so lost? My day begins at 4am and by the time I get home from work its 4:30pm. I’m not complaining about my hours since I’ve been on this schedule for almost 20 yrs. I know if I keep reading, I should probably come across an answer here. Thanks for your recommendations, advice and just putting yourself out there!

    • Linda, Welcome!!

      I do understand how hard it is to even think about tackling the mess when you’re exhausted. I can only share my personal experience and say that there truly is a momentum that builds with decluttering. So don’t think about the whole overwhelming project. Just do a tiny bit if that’s all you can do. Starting with the easy stuff, of course. Even if it’s one or two easy things, I really think you’ll be amazed and energized by the impact and encouraged to do another easy thing.

  20. Wow! You are me and I am you!! LOL It’s so refreshing to actually see a blog that I can totally relate to. I plan to read your journey from the beginning to now. Thank you for being so honest, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

  21. I just found your website on Pinterest yesterday and I have been reading it every chance I get! I love your ideas and your humor! I have read several comments made by your readers and would just like to say, IF you are really lacking the energy to get started, or feel totally overwhelmed by daily tasks, Please see your doctor!! You may be suffering from DEPRESSION, Fibromyalgia, or some other ailment! Sometimes we are not really a slob, sometimes, one of these aliments kicks in and we just don’t have the energy to start! I used to be a perfectionist and my house was in order when my 4 kids were little, I used to even have time to do counted cross stitch! Now, it’s just my husband and myself and I can hardly keep the clothes washed, dried and put away! My day starts at 4 am also and I work 26 miles away until 6 pm. By the time I get home and have supper, I’m ready for bed! Now, with the correct combination of medication, I do have more energy and can stay focused a bit longer to accomplish some of my daily tasks! I hadn’t seen anyone say anything about a health problem so I wanted to let you all know that maybe there is a health reason for the “no energy”, and the “overwhelmed” feeling. Ok ,now I have to get busy and clean the bedroom! Thanks for letting me share!

    • Yes, energy is definitely an issue! Thanks for sharing, and I’m glad you found me!

    • SO TRUE!! I have hypothyroidism and it causes extreme fatigue and brain fog. My house is embarrassingly messy and I’m so tired and confused most days it’s hard enough just trying to get dinner cooked. Nony is an inspiration though- on the good days I follow your advice!

    • Good point. I have pernicious anemia and very low energy because of it. If lack of energy is chronic and not because of a crazy schedule then definitely get a check up!

  22. hi! I’m new to your blog! love the tip to go after the easy stuff first… what a simple idea with great impact in a room! I am going to try this immediately in my bedroom that has piles of stuff.

    one book I found extremely helpful – as in my thoughts go back to this book’s advice a year after I checked it out from the library – is a book with organizing ideas for people with ADHD. I do not have it BUT the principles apply to my messy-oriented brain…

    for instance, the book really helped with my kitchen. I had cupboards where there were plates with bowls stacked on top of the plates, for example. The book recommends having only one type of item on the shelf… that if you have to move one thing to get to what you want, you won’t reach for it. and it’ll make putting dishes away a step more challenging.

    I’ve applied those ideas from the book in my home kitchen and in the kitchen at work. it’s simplified everything. the book is: http://www.amazon.com/Organizing-Solutions-People–Revised-Updated/dp/1592335128/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358035547&sr=1-1&keywords=organizing+solutions+for+people+with+attention+deficit+disorder by Susan Pinsky. makes things simpler at home so it’s easier to put things away. (my problem areas now are when things don’t have a home).

  23. You are a Queen! Where have you been all my life! I need your wisdom everyday I am subscribing!

  24. hey.. I just wanted to say that we fight this all of the time at our house. My husband is a slob and I have a medical that causes me to be exhausted all of the time. hat said.. I have three pieces of advise for you and those trying to fight their way out…
    1) never have empty hands. When you go to get a soda… look around for something that doesn’t belong in the room that you’re in and carry it back into the kitchen with you. if you go to the restroom, look around.. do you have a hair tie that you took out lying on the table next to you? Nail polish bottles, anything that can go.. if not… is there something that can go to your room which is just one room past the bathroom? This helps me a ton because it does NOT FEEL like cleaning… you are just getting a soda.
    2) Dedicate half an hour a day to one area (any area) and clean your tuckus off and THEN WALK AWAY. Do not feel guilty about not cleaning more. Let it go and have a good time reading or watching tv. You will be amazed at how much you can get done and how it will add up over time.
    3) Organize things in a way that will work for YOU! It doesn’t help to have a lovely place for your books if you know that you WILL NOT walk all of the way to the other end of the house to put them away when you are tired. When you take off your “not ready for the laundry” clothes , don’t toss them in a pile or put them on your dresser… MAKE A PLACE FOR THEM that works with your room but also keeps them from being out on view. Any sort of storage that works for your life, but hidden and organized. A basket, a trunk, even empty a drawer in your dresser just for them. If you have a tendency to dump armloads of stuff when you come in your door, make the sorting station THERE at the door. A basket for mail and receipts, a place to hang your purse/coat/shoe cubby.
    You know you, figure out what works best for your family’s life and arrange your house to fit your family. Make things easy. If you use something in two different rooms, make a place for it to live in both rooms so that you don’t have to leave it on your nightstand cause you aren’t gonna get outta bed and take it back. Keep things that you use as the same time in the same area. If you use plastic wrap to make lunches, keep it with the lunch stuff so that you don’t have to drag it to the other side of the kitchen… cause you know you won’t and it’ll sit on the counter and drive you crazy. I know you wanna keep it with the other wrapping products, but that doesn’t work for YOU so don’t do it! Make up your own rules :)

  25. My husband is very ill and on hospice, and I needed a secondary place to crash on the bad nights when he’s tossing, turning, and moaning in pain in his sleep. Unfortunately, every other “bedroom” in the house has become basically glorified storage rooms over the years, and are unusable. My friend (bless her) volunteered to help me clean out and set up one of the bedrooms. Since desperate times call for desperate measures, I forced myself to swallow my pride and get over my embarrassment, and let her help me. Seeing that merely entering the bedroom/storage area had placed me in a sort of panicked fugue, however, my friend asked me if she could take charge, and I gratefully agreed.

    The first thing she had us do was literally STRIP THE BEDROOM of everything but the furniture – don’t look at it, don’t fret about it, just get it OUT. We threw the clothing that was piled on the bed into the laundry room, and lined up the rest of the junk along the hallway wall and into the living room. That took less than half an hour, and had the immediate effect of giving me a huge sense of accomplishment, because the place now looked like a completely clean BEDROOM!!! Wow!! We promptly dressed the previously “naked” bed with linens, making it instantly usable for me, and then we migrated into the hallway to deal with the junk. (I think it was brilliant of her to put everything in the hallway, because that way I was forced to deal with it right then rather than shove it into another room so that I could “look thru it later” . . . when of course “later” means “never” in real life.)

    One thing I learned about having a non-judgmental friend going thru your stuff is that it’s much easier to decide what to do with it. All she was interested in was where to put something, not in what it was or why you’d want to keep a strange thing like that (the 200 year old cannonball I use as a doorstop did get some questions, though). And for some reason that just-get-it-done attitude enabled me to look at the stuff with new, more impersonal eyes. I was able to more easily identify items to trash, and chucked them immediately. And with a minimal amount of discussion, we determined where the rest of the items should go (some returned to the bedroom, some got stored neatly in clear organizing boxes in the bedroom closet, and some migrated to the basement).

    Altogether, it took less than 3 hours for us to turn my embarrassing junk room into a wonderfully tidy spare bedroom. So, the lessons I took away were:

    1. Get everything OUT of the area you’re decluttering so that you have a clean slate to work with.
    2. If you can, enlist the help of a NON-JUDGMENTAL friend whose presence can jump-start you and clarify your purpose.

    And if I get some time this weekend, maybe I’ll use these lessons on one of my other “junk” rooms!

    • I am so sorry about your husband. That alone must be debilitating. I am glad that your friend was willing to come an be,on you through the hard part of emptying and purging stuff. It must feel like a breath of fresh air to have even one space for yourself that is calm and peacefully uncluttered!!

      I can relate to the later=never in real life!! So many things I have put off for later (when things are perfect I guess) and now my kids are nearly grown and when I see the projects and craft boxes for “later” I feel sad that my whole adult life has been “later”.

      God bless you and keep you on this difficult journey. <3

      • (Clarification: bless and keep you. Not keep you on a difficult journey. But keep you safe, in His peace, etc. I retread that and thought oh my! I sound like a sadist! =P)

  26. I was always somewhat OCD until being married to a slob and having children that are slobs. After years of trying to keep things in order I felt like every thing I done daily were done in vain so I somewhat thru my hands up and surrender. After a couple years of this mentalityand this house I can not stand I am fixing to start back tackling this mess. Thank you for your blog. I feel so helpless and you have inspired me.

  27. Part of my difficulty in putting all my toys away is that I can’t figure out where they should go. I must clean up my kitchen tonight because the plumber is coming to fix a leak and install a new faucet. I emptied everything from under the sink so he’d have space. But I don’t want all of it to go back when he’s gone. I tossed lots of old junk: furniture polish, extra ant spray, ugly flower vases. As for the stuff I need to keep, I am not sure where their final homes should be. Where do you store the QVC/HSN boxes for 30 days until you decide if you are keeping or returning? I have 3 boxes in the kitchen. Where do my special grass clippings bags for the patio leaves go? Garage is downstairs and too far away. I have plantation shutter and bamboo shade samples stacked until I make a decision on which to order. Where do I store those? I have 30 scented candles that I found in a bag in my bedroom closet. Love them. But don’t know where they should be stored. They are on the kitchen counter. My refrigerator top is where all the cats’ dry food bags are. They can’t eat holes in the bags and only I can reach them. But that’s not ideal. I have a new spin mop and bucket. It’s clean but sitting on the counter, too. Where does it go? Where does it even fit? These little decisions hold up my progress.

  28. I just found your blog! I love this! I feel like I am one of the girls here. lol Thanks for making me feel a little less insane! Great tips!

  29. “Do the easy stuff first.” So simple yet so powerful.

    The other day I was looking at a pile and wondering where to start when all of a sudden your words popped into my mind. Yup, do the easy stuff first was the perfect phrase for me to get moving. Thanks for writing this blog and I look forward to many more entries.

  30. Do you ever look around and realize that all the clutter IS NOT ALL YOURS!!!!! Some of it belongs to you husband and children!!! When I stopped blaming myself for all the clutter, I felt a teeny, tiny bit better!!!! Mary

  31. Hello, this is my first time to speak my mind on your blog because I just found you yesterday and I’ve been reading the 2009 posts. However I was checking my facebook and this post came in my news feed just a minute ago and the title intrigued me. My craft room is so bad I can’t get in there to finish any projects! Start with the easy stuff first? Im thinking maybe that would be throwing away the scraps of paper and fabric all over the floor, oh its just so overwhelming.
    I did however do my dishes, wipe the counter and sweep the floor in my kitchen tonight!
    Thanks for keeping this blog going. Its awesome.

  32. Must start easy…(but fast)… Have company coming in 3 days and you can’t even walk in the spare room or even see the bed. Our home has very very small closets so the spare room turned into my closet and the storage room turned into my craft room that needs more storage!
    Yikes! Feeling overwhelmed already. I’ve always felt guilty for those things that build up on the counters and tables and everywhere because my husband always says I’m a clutterer… But really I’m the organizer… On a break apparently.
    I don’t know how to find homes for everything… Even though I constantly read every decluttering article I can … I use recycled containers to put products in and so I’m having trouble figuring out where and how to store those wonderfully recycled containers that I just MUST use!!!
    Whew… Ok… Off my soap box … It is that a supplies box…wait.. I can use that for something. Ugh.
    Easy stuff…easy stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  33. I just wanted to say your site came along on the perfect day. Some days I feel so overwhelmed with stuff to do. I used to work a full time job and manage all the household chores. Now i am a stay at home Mom and honestly, i dont know how i did it. I must have been comletely out of my mind because i am a clean, and clutter freak. Im learning how to look at it, and not let it get to me, but i can only do that for so long.
    Thanks for your inspiration.

  34. I am so excited to have found your blog, that you may have no idea how excited. As I read your story I had to remind myself I was reading someone else’s story. I have always been known to be a “pack rat” or “hoarder” but not extreme like the shows. When I got married my husband and I realized how much we have “saved for just in case” now we had twice as much “stuff” that we didn’t know what to do with but thought one day we would need it. In the last few years I have had bouts of get rid of as much stuff as possible but still had a mess. There are many times when I skip a day of cleaning and the next I think I need another day to not clean since it isn’t that bad, then the next day we have a play date or I have errands that need to be tended to. It has the snowball effect and it grows bigger and bigger until one day I wake up and realize the house is in complete and udder chaos. When I start to clean up the chaos I feel as if just looking at it my energy gets sucked into the piles and all the clutter that I just can’t do it. On the days I think to myself I need to get a handle on this but have no idea how to start or where to start first. I have searched for answers on blogs or self help books but I go to my old tendencies of oh I will gather a lot of information and then tomorrow I will go over them and start then. I get so overwhelmed with all the information that I find that I shut down and decide to wait til “tomorrow”. Because isn’t “tomorrow” always better? But now I am really mentally ready, I don’t have to look at several blogs because I found someone that was just like how I feel. I know that God does not want this life for me that he has something so much better in mind for me. Anyways, thank you for your inspiration and for creating this blog.

  35. Oh my goodness! I love this! You put words to something I’m learning. I struggle with decluttering, but I really really really want a house that is easy to keep picked up and clean. I finally decided it was okay to just find *one* thing that I knew was trash in whatever area was bugging me most. Or if I think of an item that I know I could do without, then it is absolutely terrifically fine to go get that item, even if I’m not going to declutter the whole area that it is in. It may take me awhile, but eventually, my house will be at least a little less cluttered. It has taken me a long time to allow myself to be okay with doing just one easy thing at a time! Progress is progress though!

  36. Love the article. Sometimes it’s hard to see “the individual trees for the forest”. I have two suggestions where the opposite might be true though. The dishes and the laundry. When my laundry piles up, sometimes I notice its mid-summer and I’ve got heavy winter blankets that are still in the pile because they’re not necessary for everyday; they’re never a priority. I now make out-of-season things, bulky things, and towels a priority. They all add bulk to the pile of laundry, so when they’re gone it looks like a lot was accomplished and helps the rest look manageable. And the blankets and out of season stuff won’t make their way back for a few months. Dishes are the same. It is easier to quickly wash the things needed immediately, but I usually wash large pots and pans and mixing bowls and things I don’t use everyday first. Because they’re not gonna end up back in the sink in two hours. It cuts down the bulk and it looks like I’ve done several loads of dishes because they’re not overflowing anymore.

  37. cassie disch says:

    I just want to say you have inspired me to keep trying to work through the piles of “junk” I have everywhere. I have 3 little ones (4yrs, almost 3yrs and 8 months) and I get so overwhelmed when I try to get started cleaning. Then the baby cries or bigger kids get hungry or the dog wants in or etc etc. I never seem to get anywhere and that makes me that much more frustrated. But you’ve made me realize that even just a small accomplishment is still an accomplishment, like picking up laundry or putting away clean dishes. I have found that if I make the bed first it makes the room look much less messy and a lot easier to deal with. So thank you so much.

  38. I love your blog. Sounds a lot like myself and I realized not too long ago why I have a hard time dealing with all the mess is because I am a “Big picture” person. And that explains why I don’t see the steps to taking on a big project or cleaning up one.

  39. I used to keep a VERY clean house…cooked a big breakfast and a “Sunday dinner” every night, washing dishes, wiping down the appliances and mopping the kitchen floor EVERY DAY! I cleaned the bathroom (and mopped the floor), made the beds, swept the carpets and dusted EVERY DAY! I washed windows and wiped down the walls and the mop boards ONCE A WEEK !!! Now things are VERY different…I stopped doing all of this and can certainly relate to you and all the posts. I think it’s because I was feeling so isolated from family and friends where we are living and so I started surrounding myself with THINGS to compensate. Then my brother who is OCD (to the point that he folds his dirty clothes before he puts them in the clothes hamper)was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer. He is single with no kids so I asked him to come and stay for awhile with my husband (who is also OCD, but not so extreme). I dove in to cleaning my house like a whirling dervish! I got all the main areas and the guest room all cleaned up and thought it was great before my brother came. Then one day he was in the pantry choosing his soup for lunch and he asked if I would mind if he cleaned and organized my pantry to give him something to do….of course I said I didn’t mind….long story short, he threw out all the out-dated stuff and all the empty containers that I thought I would use to organize and organized the few items that were left and WOW, I’ve got tons of room. And now that it’s done I have kept it that way for 3 months! My husband and I worked on our storage shed (with my brother supervising and we got it all done in an afternoon! We also worked on our 30×40 ft building that was so full of everything else that we couldn’t even park our van in there when a hail storm or tornado was coming! I organized the loft and moved many things up from below. We then started in one corner and worked clockwise. I’m happy to report that although there is a ton of work to be done, I am now able to park my van inside! I couldn’t have done all this without my brother’s help….I was just too overwhelmed! My brother is now back at home, but I will keep working on what needs to be done and I’ll keep the areas clean that are already done because I don’t EVER want to go back to that AND I don’t want to disappoint my brother (whether he ever really would know or not). Thanks giving me a place to tell my story and I hope some of your readers can get something useful out of it.

  40. Renae Toseff says:

    I am so glad I found you, I thought I was the only one who got paralyzed from being so overwhelmed by the mess and clutter that I have trouble even starting. Not only is my home needing to be decluttered but I recently shut down a resale shop full of clothing that I need to tackle. I also agree it is easier to call someone to get it, than actually try to sell or consign. These are great options when you have the clutter somewhat under control (which I don’t just yet) Thank you for all your help, and your not as different as you think. It has taken me years to learn just small steps on how to organize and declutter. I just have to learn to not bring things back in to replace the things I got rid of. Lol, I am a work in progress.

    • Welcome, Renae! We’re definitely not alone in this! I can only imagine how difficult it must be to deal with all the resale shop’s items.

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