26 answers

Seeking Help Overcoming a Compulsion

I have a problem with feeling the need to cut out or save informational articles from newspapers, magazines, brochures, etc. because many look interesting and I believe I might actually learn something. Retain it, I don't know yet, but I feel I should keep it to read later, when I have time, and/or keep it because it was so good.

The trouble is I don't get much time to read them, so they pile up. Maybe it's even telling about an activity we can do sometime as a family--or a trip we can take. I have files full of acticles and pamphlets like that. It's nice to have a minute (or take a minute) to read, but there's too much of it. I don't get any magazines other than those that were gifted to me,so it's not a matter of cancelling a subscription. I feel like there is so much else I should be doing. I have lots of books that I want to read, too, but don't have time to read more than a few pages. My house looks cluttered a lot because of all the stacks of papers that I want to read. I'm just afraid I will miss something good if I just get rid of it. I do find articles that answer real problems for me.

Does anyone else have this problem? I've been to other mom's houses and don't see so much. They have time to do outside things, have people over, etc.

I know that lots of the information in these articles is on the web somewhere,but sometimes it's not. Some articles I want as reference material, like to post on a wall where I can refer to it often.

How can I get over this? Or do others do it, too? I feel like I should get it read, but then "12" more come along.

HELP. I want it to look neat around here. More importantly, I want to have more meaningful experiences with my kids, rather than wishing I had tackled that pile of papers over there.

Can I throw another one out to you? I have a large kitchen floor. With the two kids and me cooking, plus one of them trying out cooking sometimes, I have trouble keeping it clean. Often there are thousands of crumbs on the floor, but even after sweeping the whole floor still looks dirty. It takes too much time and effort to keep it shiny all the time, but it gets so grungy it's disgusting. I have a (Floormate) shampooer with brushes, but I don't think the brushes do that good of job, or maybe my floor is too hard core dirty for it. Sometimes I get so disgusted by the constant messes on the floor that I about vow that I will never clean it again--what's the use? (except of course to keep bugs and ants out).

What do some of you do? I wish there was a peel-up type kitchen floor you just peel up, shake out, and throw in the washer.

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My advice is to dump everything you've got now and start fresh (I did it!). I saved magazines that had articles that I thought would help me for weight loss, or parenting, or cooking, or other stuff, & it just piled up. So one day last year I just dumped everything out. Then what I did was start cutting out the articles that I wanted to read and put them in a folder and I now keep the folder in the bathroom (yes, it may seem gross). Now I feel like a guy because when I get 5 minutes to myself to go to the bathroom, I read an article and either save it or pitch it depending on how useful I thought it was. It has saved mess, and I've actually used some of the info that I've read. Good luck with whatever you try. As far as the kitchen floor, as long as you sanitize it on a regular basis, you may have to wait until the kids grow up to replace it or call a professional cleaning service to help you.

I keep some info as well but would be less then a box if that. I have 5 kids and yes i started collecting everytime they were in the paper in youth sports leagues and then quickly realized it would just be too much and time consuming to keep up with it.

You say its all organized, but is it just the article of the whole paper, magazine?

As for the floor, is it a light color? maybe different type of flooring would help.

Don't worry about the super clean house take time each day to have fun with the kids as they will quickly grow up and remember more about the time you gave them then if the floor was spotless.

More Answers

D.,
I have no suggestions for the first part of your request but I do for the second. We have white and blue (yuck) flooring in our kitchen. When we moved in the floor was so dirty and stained. We hired cleaning people to come in and clean the night before we moved in. I stopped in to see how they were doing and the one lady was on her hands and knees with a scrubby sponge and clorox clean-up. Yup, that simple. It looked like a new floor! Now when I mop, I use clorox-clean up then I use hot water. Other cleaners leave behind build up. The clorox will strip any grime and build up away.
Christina

My advice is to dump everything you've got now and start fresh (I did it!). I saved magazines that had articles that I thought would help me for weight loss, or parenting, or cooking, or other stuff, & it just piled up. So one day last year I just dumped everything out. Then what I did was start cutting out the articles that I wanted to read and put them in a folder and I now keep the folder in the bathroom (yes, it may seem gross). Now I feel like a guy because when I get 5 minutes to myself to go to the bathroom, I read an article and either save it or pitch it depending on how useful I thought it was. It has saved mess, and I've actually used some of the info that I've read. Good luck with whatever you try. As far as the kitchen floor, as long as you sanitize it on a regular basis, you may have to wait until the kids grow up to replace it or call a professional cleaning service to help you.

I also have started FLYing with FlyLady on www.flylady.net. It truly is amazing! I had a very hard time getting stuff done and keeping up with the cleaning. Just a month into and I can already see a HUGE difference. This really will help with the clutter and having time to do things.n

As for the clippings, I used to keep old magazines to reference. After moving a couple of times, I had to cut back on what I kept. I did start just keeping the articles that I wanted. Now, I don't have any of it. Turns out that I really didn't need any of it. Here's a rule for paper--handle it once. When you get it in your hands, read it, fill it out if needed, and file it (or get rid of it) all at once. Every time you touch it or look at it, that paper takes your attention away from more important things.

I have a small white linoleum kitchen floor that was hard to keep clean and showed the dirt a lot. One day, I had the girls (ages 3 and 1) help me "scrub" it. I filled a bucket with some water and added baking soda. We each had rags, and I also had the mop. Well, the little ones would just dunk their rags into the water and then put them on the floor. This soaked the floor with big puddles of the baking soda water. To my amazement, when I started mopping up the water, the dirt just lifted right off! So I just soaked the rest of the floor, let it sit for a few minutes and then mopped. The floor was so white and clean! After making sure the floor was dry, I used mop and glo on it. Now it is so much easier to clean and looks so shiny I can see the kids reflections as they walk on it.

My mother is a hoarder who loves to clip and save information. I’m sure it started out the way you describe right now, but it has taken over her home and her life. She is so busy reading and clipping and planning her life that she never gets to live it. Her grandchildren can’t visit because the stacks of magazines and newspapers and other assorted “stuff” piled from top to bottom make it impossible to clean around.
And much like you mentioned about your floor, in her perfectionism, she would spend hours and hours cleaning our kitchen floor until it was perfect, but then eventually since it would never stay that way she just gave up and stopped bothering.
All of this happened very gradually, and I do think she could have made different choices so that she could be living a happy healthy life today.
Some people think that all you need to do is Organize, but that really isn’t the problem. That’s like telling an alcoholic that they can drink as long as it’s done in an orderly fashion, say out of a glass instead of the bottle. A bit extreme of an analogy, maybe, but if you have the start of a real problem then maybe not.
Even if the magazines are gifted to you, you really need to think about stopping them or reduce the number that you allow in your home. It sounds like you would rather think about fun places to go or great things to cook than actually take a trip or turn on the oven. Again, extreme, but look at how much stuff you save that you don’t use, is one or two articles out of a huge stack of clippings a good average?? Is spending the time doing this taking away from time with your family??
I’m not an expert but in trying to help my mom I’ve learned a lot about this sort of illness. Depression and a touch of OCD in the form of perfectionism or maybe even ADD seem to be very prevalent among people who need to collect and save information or items that they plan touse “someday”. And it also seems to run in families. That doesn’t mean you’ll end up like my mom by any means, It just means you might want to look at why you Need to clip and Save and see if you can find something else to do with your time, and just basically monitor to see that how you really live your life is close to how you desire to live it.

You are not alone,there are alot of people out there. If you have depression or something else going on it might help to talk to a professional. Here are some websites, you could check out to see how much of a problem your clipping is for you. I hope I’m not blowing it all out of proportion because of my experiences, but even if I’m way off base for you maybe someone else reading this can use the information.

Flylady is awesome, especially for SAHM

http://www.messies.com Sandra Felton

Messiness and Hoarding
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Messiness-and-Hoarding/

OCD Foundation recommended support groups
http://www.ocfoundation.org/hoarding/support-groups/online-
self-help-support-groups.php

www.childrenofhoarders.com if you are the child of someone who hoards.

Here are some experts that have published books in this field--

David F. Tolin, Ph.D

Fugen Neziroglu

Randy O. Frost, Ph.D

And Peter Walsch has a good book too entitled “It’s all too Much”

I wish you well, and I think we all feel like you at times. We just have to make sure it doesn’t get out of control.

I had a similar problem - saving magazines for info I needed and might need in the future. I discovered that magazines tend to rerun articles over and over. Similar articles on particular subjects also tend to be run in other parenting magazines, and they mostly offer the same information. Some of the information is useful, but I found that the information tended to be really vague. Basically, I found that if I missed or forgot information from an article in a parenting (or other) magazine, I saw it again in other magazines or at a later date. Case and point, I was pregnant with my second child eight years after my first, and in looking at articles I found the same information I cherished when my first son was a baby and toddler.

My husband has OCD, as does one of my closest friends, and your feelings about the clippings and the anxiety they produce for you seem similar to what they both experience. I would also suggest therapy to help you deal with the anxiety. It often takes several tries to find a therapist who is the right fit for you. Don't give up if you don't find the right one immediately. It might take a few appointments. Good luck. I hope you can find some relief from the anxiety and in the process have the less cluttered home you desire.

I work from home in the wellness industry. I totally understand your feeling about messes. I hate cleaning, but love trying my new products. I found one product that cleans the bathroom so easily, you can just let it sit. My mom loves it too! These products are more natural and provide a healthy environment. You can learn alot with this company and the products are safe for your family, plus environmentally friendly.

J.
____@____.com
http://www.GetwithitGoGreen.com

Hi D.,

Get some professional help. contact your local community service board, or child and family services.

Also get into a Mom's support group to help you.

Hope this helps.
D.

If all you are hoarding is the articles, I think you can overcome this. Why do you HAVE to read them all? Maybe try to develop a really good filing system, put it in one place (like the bathroom, reading material), and then when you need information, you can sift through the articles in the relevant file. Assuming that you did somehow find time to read them all, are you really going to retain the information when you need it?

It would take some time to organize them, but you could do it bit by bit. The hardest thing for me to recognize with kids is that I no longer have large blocks of time, I can only tackle things in increments. But, if you keep working at it, it gets done. I bet that you clip articles in certain areas of interest. Even in my time strapped world, there are little pockets of time in my day that I know I can be utlizing better, like the twenty minutes my hubby bathes the kids -- I could get some sort of household chore done during that time, instead of flicking on the stupid tube, which never has anything really worthwhile to watch, anyway. If I do that each night, eventually, I would get a pretty clean house, without having to spend all my time on the weekends doing chores. And I, too, like a clean house, but learning to accept a certain amount of grime is also a sort of freedom, too.

Part of the problem is the idea that is out there that as a stay at home mom we somehow have more time to get everything done than working moms. Most moms with small children who work outside the home, are not cleaning up after their children 24/7. Their children are either at daycare or with a sitter who takes care of this during the times they are working. My aunt (who was 5 years older than me and has since past away) and I did a comparision of her experiences. She did both, plus. She worked outside the home when she had one child, she stayed home for a time with her kids full-time, she stayed home with her kids and babysat in her home, and she worked part-time. It may sound crazy but her house stayed the cleanest when she was working full-time. The kids did most of their messing up of the house during the day. This doesn't mean that they weren't messy in the evening. It was just that by evening they were winding down and less messy/easier to keep up with. I've notice that being a stay at home mom means that I am trying to get everything done with kids who are actively messing up the house faster than I can clean it up. I've come up with some strategies to help. But I have acknowledged that my house will never be as clean as I want it or even close until all of my kids are in school.

As to your problem. I understand the need to save things to read for later because you think you will really use them. Here are some helpful hints to help you save what you would really like to save and clean up the clutter at the same time. (Additionally, I recommend looking up flylady.com. Several moms on here and other sites I have been on have recommended it as well as some of my friends from my MOMS Club.)

Skim the article. If you really think it is something you will use or DO use, then take a minute to scan it into the computer and save it. If you think you are going to use it, put it in a file marked with the month you put it in. You could make your own folders or buy an accordion folder that has a folder for each month. Every month take 15 minutes to look at the articles from 6 months ago. If you haven't used them, then discard them. If there are ones you have used, then scan them into the computer and save them.

If it isn't the whole article but a helpful hint or site mentioned in the article you are interested in, then just save that. Make a computer document in word that just lists them all. Then periodically look through the document to reorganize to suit your needs or delete what you no longer want or need on there. If you want these helpful hints more readily accessible, buy a one subject notebook and write them in there. Then when you are updating files on the computer add them there so you don't lose them if you lose your notebook or decide to get rid of the notebook as it wears out.

The important thing is to weed out what you don't use or don't need. For instance, if you don't have a rug in your house, you don't need an article about getting crayon out of a rug. However, if they mention in that article how to get crayon out of a favorite shirt, then you might just want to write down that tip in your notebook or computer document.

If you don't have time to read the article but think you might be interested, put it in the folder for that month. If you don't get to it by the time it is the month you are supposed to weed out that file, chances are pretty good you won'tm use it. But when you are weeding out that file, make sure you have set aside a good 15 minutes for weeding that files so that you can do a good skim of any unread articles to see if you want to read them fully. If it isn't what you were hoping throw it out or write down what you want to take from the article in your notebook (or computer file) and throw out the original.

As to the kitchen floor... For the inbetween times, try the swiffer wet or the swiffer wet jet system. It won't be perfect but it will help quite a bit. I have a floormate and like mine but have noticed that it would depend on the type of flooring you have. We have hardwood. If you have something with more ridges and more of a design, I can see that it wouldn't work as well. I do like it for when someone in the family breaks something glass. I clean it up and then use the floormate with the squeegie on it. With the suction and the squeegie it seems to get up the little shards I may have missed. But I do have to say that the swiffer works a little better on the floors with a disign. Part of that is because you control how hard you are pressing it against the floor.

Anyhow, I hope this helps. Good luck with your filing and with your kitchen floor.

I, too, have always loved saving magazine articles with the good intention of heeding their advice. I am now 48 years old and I can honestly say that I never used 95% of the articles I clipped or magazines I saved. As you are realizing yourself, it's impractical to think you'll have time to get to everything. My advice is to commit to your top priorities. You said you want to experience more with your kids. To find time for them, you have to give up wasted effort saving paper that is doing more harm than good. Ask friends and family not to give you magazines as gifts. Tell yourself that if you really need info, you CAN find it online or at the library. If you need serious help with this, see your doctor. You may have a compulsion that needs medical attention. This ties in with your cleaning concerns. Don't worry so much about a clean floor; be happy the kids are playing on them. Focus on their wellbeing and your own wellbeing. Good luck!

I like ur idea about the peel up and wash kitchen floor. I to have a hard time keeping it look so nice and clean and my kitchen is some what small for me. I just once a mnth when the kids will not be going threw the kitchen get down on my hands and knees with bleach and brush and scrub, It is also a nice way to get any stress out that i might have buit up from the mnth.

As for the clippings, u are not the only one. I do it with recipes. I enjoy to cook but there are so many new and good looking ones. That i try to sit down when the kids are out or in bed and go threw them. For the ones that u are keeping for a reffernce. Try to get a three ring binder with the clear sheets that u slide pappers in and file all kitchen reffernce in one binder and keep that binder with your recipe books. And so on. Make spare time in the eveing or early moring. School is starting soon. Would u have a few min during that time?

Just remember that we are humane and there is only so much time in the day that we can concour. So sort file and councor your days. IT is easier said then done, But it will all get done in due time.

Hi D.,
You sound overwhelmed! The worst part about caring for a family and a hoome is that it NEVER ends....it goes on and on. Limber up your fingers and go to www.flylady.com. It's completely FREE and will help you get a grip on EVERYTHING! It's amazing. They send emails about what you should be doing in your home that day, that week, etc. And you need to schedule ME TIME! It just won't happen on it's own. That way you could actually get some reading done. :)
As for the magazine thing--it does sound like a compulsion. It may be the beginning of a hoarding problem. FlyLady will get you busting your clutter! I would suggest a cork/bulletin board where you can post what you feel you must. A three-ring binder for gathering other stuff you really need to keep. You may feel that with a lack of free time, you will always have to "get around" to doing this stuff later. And then you squirrel it away?
Try to be decisive, at least about what you keep and where you keep it.
As for your floor--Mr Clean Magic Erasers have worked wonders on a LOT of grimy things in my world! Test it on a spot first--but they are amazing!
Please take the time to check out FlyLady. I really think it would help you to organize, declutter, prioritize and feel less overwhelmed. It has helped me. I'm a perfectionist and want my house perfect and now I know it will never all be perfect but it's looking good and I can be proud to have people visit.
Another thing--the best part about it is that you WILL have time to be in the moment with your kids--not just 'clean around them while you are a slave to your housework. After all, the "mom" part of your job is a lot more important than the cook, housecleaner part, don't you think? Your kids won't remember whether your floor was clean but they will remember the things you've done and time you've spent with them.
Good luck to you! Hope you soon will be FLYING!

Dear D.;

I have to be honest with you, I don't have the same compulsion as you do to save these articles, but that's what it sounds like, a compulsion, or O.C.D. I'm not an expert by all means, but I do think that maybe you need to go see someone who can help you. I'm sure once you get it under control you will feel much better.

As for your kitchen floor....I know how you feel. Have you thought about trying a mild abraisive like soft scrub? Then when you get the floor to how you like it, maybe buy a large kitchen rug, or a few small ones, that way most of the mess will be caught on them then you can wash them....with the rubber backs though I would dry them on light heat or hang them outside to dry.

Also, maybe see about getting someone to help you clean your house for a few weeks or couple of months, maybe you need a stress break? Just don't give up! You are worth it!

I totally echo the FLY lady advice (www.flylady.net). She has been helping me baby-step through the clutter.

I don't know about the OCD/compulsion issue (if that is really what it is, maybe you should speak to an counselor), but if it is just a clutter issue, why not get a scanner (they are cheap) and scan the articles into your computer? Then recycle the paper. If you are really interested enough to scan it, it is worth keeping. Otherwise, just get rid of it.

As for the kitchen floor, I have the same problem (who doesn't???) I got a Swivel Sweeper (like they sell on TV, but they have them at Walmart too) and I LOVE, LOVE it. Picks up everything, and it is actually kinda fun to run. Any kid over 3 could run it, get your kids on it!!!!

I was nodding my head while reading your post! Yes, I clip and save. Some I get to and some I don't. When I was nesting with my second pregnancy I cataloged it all, crazy but I did. I still clip but very discriminating on what I keep. I read it immediately and if I still believe I need it, I keep it. I do not save anything for later... later never comes. And If I feel like I am missing out on something, I simply tell myself that I am acting crazy and to move on. I also put all the recipes into a three ring binder, got the sheet protectors and put them all in there and I use it! As a family we pick out a new recipe and try it, if we don't like it, out it goes. We've become obessed with popcorn califlowers (baked and so yummy).

I do not like clutter! I have learned that with a neat and orderly house, I do better and my family does better. I have used Flylady.net ideas for years! It's a great place to start.

In my last house we put in a dark floor, to hide all the dirt, loved it! We just installed a new floor and its light. And its dirty all the time. I knew putting it in what I was up against... vacuuming everyday or several times a day and washing it at least once a week. My floor looks so awesome, I am willing to do it! The rest of my house is pretty easy to keep clean, I have set it up that way with help of Flylady.

And... don't beat yourself up! Baby steps. If it isn't workin for you, change it.
Good luck! A.

Hey, D., I'm with you. I live in a family of clutterers so I have decided that the purpose of my life is to make other women feel REALLY good about their housekeeping skills. . . . jokes aside, however, I, too, have a floormate. It is better than having to get on my knees and scrub, but we have also replaced the brushes because after a whle I don't think they hit the floor after a while.

With kids around, there will always be crumbs on the floor, or toys around. Just do what you can. They will be healthier with a slightly crumby floor and a happy mom than they will with a Mom who won't let them do anything because the house might get dirty. that's a REAL compulsion. Don't try to be perfect -- try to be comfortable.

Regarding the magazines ? I used to collect decorating ideas, and have this alter ego that should have been an interior decorator. I gave up when I got too busy, cuz I was a working mom after the kids came. What you really need, is not to toss everything, because it sounds like you have a great supply, but to spend a little time every day organizing it by topic. Keep only the portion of the magazines that you want to keep, and put the articles in folders or something. For about 21.00, you could get 3 plastic expanding files, with 7 or so pockets, and you could label the pockets and have one for travel, one for family fun, and one for everything else.

I'm not good at throwing resources away, and we only have dial up so researching on the web from home is a pain in the butt. I have a friend who decides that if something is coming into the house, something else has to exit. Then she decides how much she wants to have something by how willing she is to jettison something else. That's one good method of keeping from adding to the clutter.

the other way I am trying to UNcluter is to give stuff away. I have lots of things that still have use in them, and kids who are outgrowing them. I find I can give away lots to the Erie City Mission, but then there are item with some emotional attachment. Those I find easier to give to people whom I know, because then I feel that I know where it's going, but I always hand them over with the instructions that if they or their child don't want the clothes, just give them to the city mission. It works because I don't have to toss the memoried items, someone else gets to do it for me !! ha ha

We have way too much stuff around, because we moved from a 13 room home to a 5 room ranch. Tough to do. .. . But also because I can't throw things away. and in many ways, I'm glad I didn't, because I have recycled so many items with the younger kids, that we didn't have to spend as much money as we would if I were re-purchasing stuff. but on housekeeping? I read somehting in a magazine that said, "Don't try to be perfect. Do a "good enough" job. Sure, every so often you need to vaccuum under the furniture, but most of the time you only need to get the heavily traveled areas. So do a quick job more often, and that way cleaning won't take so much time, and you won't feel it's such a drudgery." I try that method and since the tip was in print, it doesn't make me feel as if I am shirking. I am taking somebody's good advice !! And my house is cleaner, and I'm feeling less hassled.

Good luck ! I wouldn't call it a compusion. I think it's something you like to do, and it's a good goal to have that material at your disposal. You just need to organize it, and toss the extra stuff, keeping what you really want, and what is realistic -- like why have travel brochures for Russia if you doubt you'll go there in the next 10 years ? Maybe if you give yourself some rules about what you keep -- like keep travel ideas for places that are fairly inexpensive, realistic trips for families with children, and within enough distance from home that you might actually go. Otherwise ? Become a travel agent, so you can keep allthat at your disposal at the office !! :-)

As for the cleaning part, just remember.... CLEANING YOUR HOUSE WHILE YOUR KIDS ARE GROWING UP IS LIKE SHOVELING DURING A BLIZZARD !!! Serioulsy tho, the kitchen floor is a pain in the butt prob for everyone. I have hard wood floors in my kitchen, I do not mop everyday or even get to sweep everyday. I swear the day I do mop, someone spills something !! I use my vacuum (the hose part) to sweep the kitchen floor, specially since most of the crumbs end up along the edges. Then I use the swiffer to mop. It did not have a "nice shine" when we moves here, but does not look horrible either. I pick and choose my battles now, and making that floor look perfect def takes a back seat to many others.

I have 4 kids, and trust me, you can't do meaningful things with your kids everyday, it's just not rational. Some days, my kids watch more t.v. or play more video games than I like, but I call those the relaxing days, like adults have too. Other days, we go to the park for an hour or so, the wave pool, etc. Usually they are just kids, whose mommy is there if they need something, but would rather play with their friends on a daily basis. We have those 'special days' of no friends where we do things as a family, but I'd say, most of the time, mommy is putsing around the house to straighten up, takin care of one of their needs as they arise, or just having some mommy time (which is also very important). My kids are very social, happy well rounded young individuals. I've learned I don't have to be perfect or compete with how other families do things to make my kids happy. They are happy knowing they are loved, knowing we have special time for things here and there and having their friends to grow up with. Relax and enjoy life, it goes by way too fast.

Read them a book every night if that helps, that is special and kids remember that their whole life. I know I do.\

Good luck, hope this helps.

P.s. AS for the articles thing......... alot of people are clutter junkies, lol, I am one sometimes too. I swear I'll read or use certain things, so I save them, then 6 mos later, sometimes a few years later, I go thru things and I'm like, I don't need this, and away it goes to the garbage. You could always put the articles in your bathroom and read as you go, lol. That's one way to make sure you will get to them one by one. :-)

I had that problem. The promise of doing something is not near as rewarding as actually doing it. You are not enriching yourself by holding onto clippings. Just get rid of them. If an idea is truly worth doing or remembering, you will follow through without saving it forever.

As for your kitchen floor, you will have more time to clean when you stop the article clipping. I have a wood floor myself, but hate the feeling of crumbs. I keep my broom, duster for floors, and dust buster handy at all times, except when guests are over. Your house is for living. Sometimes I sweep daily, sometimes I let it go for a week. Depends on what I do instead. If it is playing with my kids, the sweeping can wait. Take care.

I have 3 little ones (1, 3 & 4) so I get plenty of crumbs and sticky spots with every meal. I keep the broom and dust pan behind my trash can and do sweep at least the eating area - and usually the prep area too) after each meal. I also keep some older rags/towels handy and will wet it with just water and get down on hands and knees and quickly wipe off the floor under and around the table and any other spots I notice. Depending on the type of crumbs under the table, I sometimes just do the wiping and skip the broom. I find that cheese and pasta (basically anything sort of wet) just makes more of a mess to try to sweep. The rag scoops it together and makes the floor behind nicer. I also avoid putting the chairs back on spaces that are wet. It seems like they end up leaving gunk stuck to the floor if it's damp still. If I just see a random spot or step on a sticky spot at other times, I spray the "Holy Cow" organic/safe multipurpose cleaner on it and wipe it with a paper towel.

I tried a couple of those convenient floor mop systems, but I'd wipe it dry afterwards and find so much dirt on the rag that it grossed me out and just didn't feel clean. I also hated buying all of the replacement cleaners and wipes and such. Honestly the plain wet towel works really well for me - feels really clean and no chemicals around the kids.

You are being really hard on yourself! My husband is constantly subscribing to magazines for both of us, and I try to only go thru a magazine ONCE. I take one in my bag for waiting rooms, etc. I page thru during TV commercials in the evening, I allow 15 minutes before bed to work thru them. I tear out whatever I feel a need to keep and put it in a file. Usually I save pictures - of furniture or paint colors I like, if it is words - I copy down the idea for a family trip the website, etc into my dayplanner, if it is a recipe I tear it out and stuff it in my recipe box.
About once or twice a year I go through my files, etc. and get rid of stuff I haven't used.

As for the kitchen floor - I just vacuum it. That is the only way to easily get up crumbs. I use a swiffer sweeper and sometimes a swiffer mop -but I hate to put chemicals on my floor! I usually just quick mop over it - I use white vinegar water with a few drops of lemon essential oil. I taught my son a fun 'game' he has his own brush, small broom and dust pan and he loves to sweep up the floors for me! Then all I have to do is mop.

My mom told me that I'd have plenty of time to clean the house when my kid started school, and just lower my standards and enjoy my son while he was little. As long as you have clean clothes and dishes, and you dust/vacuum/scrub the bathrooms once in awhile, it's ok!

You sound so down and overwhelmed and lonely. Take your kids to the park and make some friends you won't judge you for your house!

D.,
I understand what you are going through. When I was single, I kept a spotless home. Now that I am married with kids, something always seems to be messy or I have papers that I can't seem to get to. I learned from watching organization shows that you have to let go of stuff. Keeping all this stuff affects you mentally. Everytime you see those papers or magazines, it just reminds you of something that you need to do and you feel bad each time. I had trouble throwing them away, but now I try to only keep a few copies. When a new magazine comes in, I get rid of the old.

What I have come to realize is that we live in the information age. You can google anything on the computer and find it when you need it. If you want to do fun things with you kids, you can look it up and find the same info again and again. There is no need to save it. When you clutter your home, it also clutters your thoughts. I try to go through my home with a trashbag every 2 weeks and throw away things that I don't need. I don't allow myself to think about it or I will keep it.

Peter Walsh from Clean Sweep uses the approach of filling 2 garbage bags with stuff each day and by the end of the week you have gotten rid of 14 bags of stuff. I write down mini projects or areas I want to clean each day and that helps to me stay focused and feel like I have made an accomplishment, which motivates me to continue.

I wish you well.

I am a therapist as well as a mom of 3, I don't want to diagnose you with such limiting information and not speaking to you, but you do seem to have obsessive-compulsion tendencies. It's not just the piling up of stuff the the compulsion to only worry about that piles. I suggest you make an appointment with your doctor who can help or refer you out to someone who can. Also, therapy may help in this instance. Good luck and let us know how you are doing, it's really a debilitating condition and I feel for you. Remember though, it's brain chemistry, so don't think you are "crazy" or anything like that. Try to get is resolved or some ease in the symptoms so you can feel more productive and at peace.

Hi D.! I don't clip, but my Mother does and then she sends it all to me! UGH!! Throw your sissors away and toss the folders! If you can't use it/read it within 3 months you don't need it and shouldn't keep it! Clutter is the enemy!! Your well-intentioned, but your gonna end up drowning in newspaper and magaizines!! Your time is better spent with your kids vs the sissors!!

As far as the floor, take the time to scrubb your floor with a good soap on your hands and knees with a scrub brush then get the swiffer for quick crumb clean-ups and the wet swiffer pads for quick spill clean ups in between mopping. Kids love using the swiffer too! Also don't forget that most vacumes have a setting so that you can use them on hard floors and they work great for quick crub clean-ups as well, espicially under cabinates! So get those kids involved in the clean-up, throw away all those clippings and free your world!! Best wishes!!

I keep some info as well but would be less then a box if that. I have 5 kids and yes i started collecting everytime they were in the paper in youth sports leagues and then quickly realized it would just be too much and time consuming to keep up with it.

You say its all organized, but is it just the article of the whole paper, magazine?

As for the floor, is it a light color? maybe different type of flooring would help.

Don't worry about the super clean house take time each day to have fun with the kids as they will quickly grow up and remember more about the time you gave them then if the floor was spotless.

You're a step ahead of me!! I used to keep the WHOLE magazine and would have tons of outdated mags overwhelming me. Now, I tear the articles out that I want to get back to.

Get yourself a nice binder with a pretty cover, or you can quickly decorate the cover of an inexpensive one with cuttings of pictures and words from your magazines. Buy a pack of page protectors. Whenever you clip an article, slip it into the page protector. It takes 2 seconds. If you want to get totally compulsive, you can put topic tabs between the pages to make sections (example: "Recipes", "Parenting", "Housekeeping") so you can easily reference your favorite articles. Whenever you get the chance to open your binder and read, they are right there waiting for you. Pull them out when you are done and there is a space for more. Or, keep the timeless ones and you have a nice reference manual. I hope that helps.

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