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Helpful Hints and Tips

Posted: 23 July 2013 - 02:56 PM
Dianne, Roxie and Janie, love reading what you have written. Had to reread, it didn't get here overnight, takes time, and it is not wasting time. Yesterday I felt overwhelmed with hoard, and dog. My friend swept me away to the lake and reminded me of my liberation date, July 4th, 2014, it changed my perspective, THANK YOU SO MUCH, today have hope and am realistic at the amount of work and the time it will take, and that the hoard will end next year, not this year, unless the de-hoarding angels arrive.
Have plans to work on maintenance this week, no new projects. Kitchen counters are a mess, today will tackle that. Without the maintenance work, looks like I haven't accomplished all that I have, not fun, but know I will be happy when maintenance is a normal part of my day, just have to make a new habit.
Posted: 23 July 2013 - 10:19 AM

That's ok my eyes need shouting. Already lost my glasses. hahaha
Posted: 23 July 2013 - 05:28 AM
LOL I didn't mean to SHOUT.
Posted: 23 July 2013 - 05:27 AM
I've enjoyed reading of your enthusiasm for finding the systems that are working for you. I really don't have any systems to share other than the one I've shared about marking my calendar with slashes for meds and tooth brushing. I think I'm system resistant! Maybe that will have to change, who knows?

Anyway, I'm proud of all of you for the work you are doing.

Posted: 13 July 2013 - 02:03 PM
Dianne, I love your statement "The system works if I work it," or something like that.

It appears we each stumble into figuring out what works for us and what doesn't. I cannot go by detailed lists, at least not so far. But a simple list on which I can cross off and item and date it does help some. However, I feel better using a tada list than a todo list.
Posted: 09 July 2013 - 11:07 PM
Posted: 09 July 2013 - 07:18 PM
Diane - We all know that our problems did not appear overnight and they won't be fixed overnight. Don't EVER think you are wasting your time!! YOU are worth every damn minute you put into this. Just close your eyes and imagine what your life will be like on July 4, 2014.

All we can do is take baby steps forward, even though at times it may feel like you have lead boots on. Just think of the day that the boots can come off and we can run barefoot with nothing holding us back!!

Posted: 09 July 2013 - 05:29 PM
Janie, I LOVED the goal of July 4th, 2014, as our independence day from clutter. My hoarding was so intense for over 20 years, that it is reasonable to think it may take a year. I have had a problem, that I have worked daily and for many hours per day and there is so much more to do still. Last week I thought it may be a waste of time, it will never get done blah blah blah, and now if I think that again, I can remember that there is an end and we can declare independence from clutter forever more. This was a really eye opening idea, thank you so much for helping me with this Janie
Posted: 08 July 2013 - 11:21 AM
DIANE: I appreciate knowing that you are doing this in the same manner I am. It sure does give you insight, doesn't it? I told my mom that my goal is to celebrate Independence Day 2014 as my independence from clutter, and I look at this process as my "path to freedom". A year seems like a long time, but I have 25+ years of crap to go through and need to be realistic. Like you, I'm happy that I can do this myself and not be judged, or told by others to just throw it all out. Keep up the good work!!!

DIANNE: I was laughing out loud at your post! I've been told by former employers that my attention to detail isn't always a good thing. I LOVE lists that I can check off! When I look back I think I was striving for the "perfect" plan to keep the house clean and went a little too far. Well, maybe a lot too far because there weren't enough hours in the day to do what was on those lists and still have a life. And then I was frustrated and overwhelmed, thinking I just wasn't good enough to have a clean house. Before I go back to those lists, I need to re-think my expectations so I don't crash and burn again. We both know from experience that perfection and extreme organization isn't always a good thing.

I've been known to clean up an area and just sit and look at it. I remember a long time ago getting an area of the basement cleared so the kids could watch TV down there. I was so thrilled that I actually slept on the basement loveseat that night because I didn't want to leave the room. Just recently, when I finished de-cluttering my kitchen cabinets I opened all the doors and just stared at them while I ate lunch.

It was great reading upbeat replies before I leave for work. Hope you both have a great day!
Posted: 08 July 2013 - 08:52 AM
OMG Janie, reading your post got me so excited!! How crazy is that?!

I LOVE that kind of organization!!

That's the way I used to be years ago. That life crashed and went beyond burned.

But reading your post and feeling that kind of excitement again makes me want to get right back on that crazy train of perfection. Really there's a lot to be said for extreme organization when it works.

Part of having the control is not having so much stuff to control.

One of the sweetest things in life to me is the bit of quiet after doing a project to perfection and looking at it and thinking, damn, I did that and it feels so good! I can even get that feeling after doing a lot of laundry. I think you said you didn't like laundry because it was never done. But try looking at that linen closet with towels and sheets folded like they're ready for a photo shoot! My daughter asks me to come over and do her closets before her mother-in-law comes to stay because they look so good. haha But she has a lot less stuff so it's easy and fun to do hers.

Wow thanks for the turbo boost this morning Janie!! :D
Posted: 07 July 2013 - 05:20 PM
Janie, really appreciate your hard work. I started 3 months ago and am doing it all by myself also, so really enjoyed reading we are in the same place, and keep going. I am with you on never wanting to let this happen again. I relate to you saying it takes so much time, wish we could be doing something we love.
Even when I go do fun things, think about what I will do the next day to get back to work. Today I really tried to tell myself painting is fun, and will be so much easier to clean now that I am throwing so much away. Even doing the dishes, made it fun, good music, I have always "hated housework" so am trying out the idea of "enjoying the progress I am making". It is challenging to stay positive when doing disgusting cleaning, so tell my self that I am happy I am able to do it myself so no one can criticize and gossip about the hoard. Keep up the good work, nice to have you share.
Posted: 07 July 2013 - 03:58 PM
Dianne, we think so much alike! :-)

Many years ago I did a spreadsheet with a different tab for each room or area. I listed the tasks associated with the area down the page and did boxes for the months across the top. Whenever I completed a task I put the date in the box for the corresponding month. Example: If I washed the kitchen walls on March 5th, I would put 3/05 in the March column. This kept track of when I last did the task so I knew when it should be done again, like in a year. This kept me from doing the same tasks over and over and neglecting other areas. I also had another column at the right to record when certain things were done. Like when I put new flooring in the kitchen, or replaced the refrigerator. Another column had an on-going list of things that needed to be repaired in that area. As you might tell, I have always had a problem with keeping the house clean.

Since I let the house go really downhill about 5 years ago I haven't used this system. Thanks for the idea!! I don't think much has changed so I should be able to update it a little bit and print it out. Right now it will only work for the first floor, but that's a start. It may be a good guide of what to do when I get to the actual cleaning part.


Posted: 07 July 2013 - 03:25 PM
Janie, this is a great new thread.

Here's my system ~

A list of every area, room, car or grouping (like my clothes or flowers in front yard) inside and out to care for ~ there are 86.

Each one of those are in lists for working/maintaining ~ Daily, Bi-Weekly (Mon & Fri), Weekly (Wed), Bi-Monthly (on the 1st & 15th), Monthly (on the 7th) and Every 2 Months (on the 22nd day of Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sept, Nov).

(that's just cleaning, does not count animal care, errands, self-care etc.)

As I dejunk and clean I mark a level next to each area. The levels are ~

partial ~ there's one area in the room that is done (like all the drawers in my desk)

straight ~ means I'm not embarrassed for someone to see it; clean

1st dejunk ~ very easy to throw out what doesn't actually belong

2nd dejunk ~ a little tougher purge, leaving the hardest decisions for later

3rd dejunk ~ absolutely nothing that doesn't belong; perfection :)

deep clean ~ floor to ceiling

redecorate ~ probably not gonna happen in my lifetime; although I do have a few areas done now :)

This system works for me because it allows me to jump to another area when I get frustrated. If maintaining is cutting into dejunking too much, sometimes I'll take a half day to concentrate on something that will make me feel like progress has been made.

If I'm not up for dejunking then just maintaining at least gives me the sense that I'm not backsliding.

For rewards I use the old-fashioned stars on loose-leaf paper kept in a binder; breaks on the computer (way too many today!!); laying on the floor with my animals to give my back a rest; and best ~ after playtime with the kitties at night I get to lay in bed and read.

The system only works if I work it.

Posted: 07 July 2013 - 01:59 PM
I've been on my clean-up project for a few months now and have been doing it myself. It's been a long road and I have many more miles ahead of me until I reach my "destination". This journey has already taken so much of my time. Time that could have been spent doing something I love. But it has given me insight into why I do certain things and how procrastination is a big part of it. I don't ever want to be in this situation again and am always thinking up ways to help prevent that. Thought it may be helpful to share some of our "tricks" to staying on track. I think it was Roxie that mentioned she uses "X" on a calendar for a daily reminder. It's things like that that can help us stay on course.

I started my clean-up in the kitchen. Cleaned out each cabinet and drawer one by one. I needed a way to make sure the cabinets stayed organized and here is what I came up with.

I assigned each cabinet a day of the month. Example: I have 4 wall cabinets, 4 drawers and 4 base cabinets on one side of my kitchen. These are cabinets 1 thru 12. On the other side of the kitchen I have 4 wall cabinets, 4 drawers and 2 base cabinets. These are assigned 13 thru 22. The drawer in the bottom of the stove is 23. My shallow pantry is 24. I eventually assigned the powder room wall cabinet 25, and the vanity cabinet 26. And once the entryway closet was cleaned out I assigned that number 27.

So today is July 7th. This morning I opened cabinet #7 (which is my silverware drawer) and looked in to make sure there was not stuff in there that shouldn't be. Also checked to see if it needed to be wiped out as sometimes crumbs from the counter get in there. It took me all of 2 minutes to do this. Task completed. I do this each day with a different cabinet or drawer. Its something so simple and each day I get a sense of accomplishment and reinforcement that I am staying on track. When I get to the food cabinets I put anything that is close to expiring near the front so I can use it up. If it doesn't get used then the next month it gets tossed. I've been doing this for 3 months (May, June, and now July). And its okay to skip a day or two because you can always start at the cabinet you left off at and make up the time. It may take you 5 minutes to do 3 cabinets, but to me that's not a big deal. This system has helped me to keep the kitchen and other areas organized with relatively little effort once the initial clean out was done. Also, by keeping the cabinets clutter free I now have room to put things instead of leaving them on the counter or the floor.

My car is another area of clutter for me. Although its not currently cleaned out, I use day 28 to at least take a few things out of the backseat or trunk to be tossed or put away.

I didn't want to make February sad because there isn't as many days as the other months, so any month that has more than 28 days gets free days at the end. LOL!

Another thing I do based on the calendar is weekly tasks. For each weekday I put a small letter on the calendar.
Monday = K (kitchen)
Tuesday = E (entryway)
Wednesday = B (bath/powder room)
Thursday = P (purse)
Friday = M (mail)

The letters serve as reminders to do certain things. These are areas that tend to get cluttered if I don't stay on top of things.
MON: Clean out fridge. Trash day is Tues so this made sense to me.
TUE: Put away any bags, shoes or other crap that has accumulated on the entryway bench or coat rack.
WED: Empty bathroom trash, clean mirror & toilet. (After the initial clean out, this only takes 5 minutes at the most.)
THU: Clean out purse. (I always seem to have receipts, candy wrappers or extra pens in there.)
FRI: Sort mail from the week. Put bills and other things that need attention in the front of a vertical file I have on the kitchen counter.
SAT and SUN are free days!!

Does anyone else have any tricks they use to keep organized?? I would love to hear about them!!

Gotta go, wet clothes need to get in the dryer!
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