Need Really Good Advice Please!!

Updated on September 22, 2008
J.M. asks from Allen, TX
64 answers

Ok here's my crisis lol..I have been rasied in a cluter-filled home most of my life b/c my mother was a single working mom and just did the best she could. (she was stressed and tired when she would get home therefore a lot of things slacked so-to-speak) ***AND therefore i was not set a "good example" and it has majorly rubbed off on me!! Yikes!! :-/
*Well physically that is...deep inside(mentally and logically) i mean in my mind I do know better and have thoughts and ideas that I want to change...its just soo sooo difficult!! One other thing I never seemed to have growing up was a routine of any kind..which makes this all so much more difficult!! And more difficult being a single mom of "twins"!! I mean I do know logic says that its important that all children have a structured/routine enviroment....yet it just does NOT come natural to me at all!!!!!!! This is so very frustrating and makes me so down on myself b/c I want the best for my children and know they deserve better!!
To be even more specific yes I am talking of cleaning..but more the organizing end of it all ..like throwing things out or donating...and organizing things so that they all have a place & looks neatly/orderly. And the routine of it all...thats been a huge struggle for me!! SO my question is HOW HOW the heck do i change all this about myself since all these bad habits been so ingrained all these years long!! I want to change-I really really do!!! Help fix me lol!! (if that's possible-lol)
*thanx to all for reading my request*

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H.C.

answers from Dallas on

www.flylady.net is a wonderful web site! You can't get everything organized over night. Just take it one baby step at a time!

2 moms found this helpful
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C.S.

answers from Dallas on

Flylady really helped me:

http://www.flylady.net

Oops! Just saw that 2 others recommended her. I ditto the others. :)

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N.G.

answers from Dallas on

i can totally relate! but i guess it does get to a point where you have to get a handle on it, or it will make you unhappy! i know there is a place called muddle management, and this is what they specialize in, if they can help you get a handle on it, maybe you can maintain it, ask for Samantha, and then write back to me someday if you think it helped or if you really did it, i have not worked with them, i just know about them

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L.J.

answers from Dallas on

When I'm OVERWHELMED I get the BLUES. I have OCD, so I want everything organized and in it's place. That also makes it much easier to keep the home clean and tidy. Every time I have moved...I get that overwhelmed feeling of "Where do I start?" A friend of mine saved me the last time by comeing over and helping me. I got my direction back and was even excited about rearranging and spring cleaning. It was so gradifing and her tips made my home different and comfortably HOMEY. She has her on cleaning buisiness and is wonderful and very reasonable and trustworthy. Doreen does one time cleanings all the way to even monthly. She loves to organize and redecorate with what you have. She is very understanding about saving money if need be. She sews for people and does GARDENS. I can't say enough about her sweet heart! After you get your house the way you want it then the 15 min. a day that flylady teaches will help you maintain it. You will also have a smile on your face coming home. Good luck!
You can call Doreen any time for a free esimate:
###-###-####.

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B.P.

answers from Dallas on

Dear J.,
Hello. I read your entire email and it sounds so familiar. I am a Professional Organizer. I go into people's homes and help them declutter and organize. Sometimes they just need a push to get started and other times they need someone to do it for them. I give you tips along the way and show you some easy shortcuts for making your life easier. I have many happy customers who would be a reference. My rates are much lower than most professional organizers in our area. I am doing what I love and I pass on the savings to you.

I also declutter professional offices, people's storage buildings, and homes of elderly or deceased parents that children have a hard time doing. Please call me for more information or send me an email. I'll be happy to tell you more. Thanks, B. Walker P. ###-###-####

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K.G.

answers from Dallas on

Get a sitter outside of your home for at least 2days straight. (no distractions...) start from scratch and take everything out of each room one room at a time and seperate into 4 piles: KEEP/TOSS/ SELL/ DONATE.
See if a close friend or two can help....
Be strict with yourslef when seperating into piles... ONLY KEEP...what you really use! Then get rid of the unwanted items. Re-organize the KEEP stuff. LABLE bins etc...-- each room having a purpose. Kitchen only kitchen stuff... etc... Toys in playroom/kids rooms ONLY. Pick a seperate weekend to SELL stuff... Take giveaways... later in the week. Now you are ready to get on with your life. Don't start buying things unless you ask yourself do I REALLY NEED this (5 times??)????
Keep up with organizing as you get something out and you are finished using it PUT it AWAY immediatly...
Get your older kiddo to help too w/ their stuff...
good luck--keep us posted when you are organized!

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C.W.

answers from Dallas on

Second vote... http://www.flylady.net

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B.L.

answers from Dallas on

You need to implement new things one at a time. If you try to change everything all at once you will get overwhelmed and not do anything.
For cleaning my house I came up with a simple schedule and posted it on the fridge. It kept me focused and no matter what I got that days list completed and did not worry about everything else. After a few weeks on the schedule my house was clean and it was easier to just maintain. I then used my "extra" time to organize further. Below is my sample schedule. Good luck!
Monday- errands and tidy bedrooms
Tuesday- laundry day wash and put away
Wednesday- clean bathrooms toilet, sink, tub, mirrors, floors
Thursday- clean kitchen scrub sinks, counters, appliances, floors, wipe down counters, stove etc.
Friday- clean living room/den dust, windows, floors, etc.
Saturday- work on one room for 30 minutes organize, clean out, special project, etc. and run through tidy of whole house.
Sunday- play day and quick pick up of house.

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M.P.

answers from Dallas on

I was raised much the same way. Both of my parents were "collectors" of anything and everything, and boxes just piled up everywhere - full of stuff that wasn't necessary, but they couldn't bear to get rid of.

I'm pretty sure a lot of the moms on here will suggest that you try flylady.net. It's a great program but I tried it for a while, and it just didn't work for me. What I ended up doing was taking the Flylady program and doing some adjustments for myself. And just start off really slow - one thing at a time.

I started with my daughter's nap time - while she's asleep, I choose one section of the house and start cleaning and organizing. Then when she goes to bed at night, I go through the house and do the basic straightening. I've been doing this for a while now, and things are getting better. Not perfect yet, but better.

Good luck!

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A.G.

answers from Dallas on

Go to www.flylady.net It won't cost you anything, but if you follow what she says each day, for just 15 minutes a day, it will change your life and your home! She is also coming to Dallas for a free event the first weekend in October!

Good luck to you,
a struggling but happier flybaby,
A.

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S.T.

answers from Dallas on

You can pay money or do free organizing.

1) I know a professional organizer who charges $40 an hour, but is very helpful. www.getorganized.ws

2) Start by doing SOMETHING in your house for 10-15 minutes every day for 90 days. Then assess if you need further help. You can try Get Organized Now - www.getorganizednow.com.
(Flylady is a bit overwhleming for me.) Maria sends out a weekely email and has monthly organizing checklists on her website.

Tip: Keep a log of your organizing projects. I'm 45 days into my 90 day daily organizing and it has made big difference to see what I have accomplished on paper and around my house!

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B.C.

answers from Dallas on

Cleaning for me as a child & teen was something that I hated. My mom finally gave up on me and would come into my room with trash bags to clear a path to walk - then take my belongings to the attic. That approach didn't work for me and I took my approach to household tasks to my first apartment where you could change the light bulb in my closet just by standing on a pile of clothes! I have long since changed my ways, but I know it is not an easy thing to do. I began to de-clutter my life a little at a time, and it came with a sobering moment. On Christmas, a friend was doing a coat-drive (collecting gently worn coats & jackets) for the homeless shelter in McKinney. I assisted her, because I thought it was a nice gesture. When it came time to deliver them, I went along for the ride. My life was changed forever when we walked in to the Samaitan House and the faces of all the men, women and children lit up with the mounds of garments we brought with us. Since that time, I have purged my closet at least twice a year and made that same trip to McKinney, and each holiday season, the coat-drive is resurrected. Not only has this process made my heart feel that I am doing something really wonderful for others, it helped me get rid of things I had not worn for years but kept hanging on to. My suggestion is that if you haven't worn something in at least a year, chances are slim that you will in the next few months and there is always someone close by who can use what you won't wear. Same thing with your children's things - toys and clothes - there are so many homeless and needy families that can benefit from what we need to "clean" out of our closets. It doesn't take much time, it's a tax write off, and best of all it's good for the soul.
Once you get that task included in your routine, it becomes easier to take on other areas of your home in the same fashion. I usually start with my kitchen "junk drawer" and just do what I have time for on any given afternoon. Then work my way slowly through the house. By the time I finish, it's time to start all over again. Don't continue to berate yourself for habits you have developed over a life time - celebrate your small accomplishments instead.
Good luck!

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A.D.

answers from Dallas on

Check out the "fly lady" in her book Sink Reflections or online at flylady.net.
One step at a time and love yourself are her two big rules.
You can do it!

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S.A.

answers from Dallas on

OMG we are one in the same with the same issue all together! I moved form a 3 bedroom home to a one bedroom apartment and there is no room for anything! Oh and i'm a twin by the way! You have to clean every night to stay on top of it. Otherwise you will never have a spotless home. Clutter wise and i'm the same way we have to stop having emotional attachments to things. Email me maybe we could help each other out. [email protected]____.com

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L.T.

answers from Lubbock on

Hi J.,

Starting from the beginning can be overwhelming. Start with a small project and move from there. When our house is unorganized we can feel unorganized too. So try the kids toys. Mind you it will make a mess going through it all but the end result will give you such a feeling of enthusiasm for more. If your kids have not played with a toy in 6months, give it away. If you can't give that toy away put it in a rubbermaid container for the attic. You can either change out toys or give the toy away when you get the box down in 3 months. Target has plastic rolling bins. Check the sale adds for when organization things are on sale.

Bedtime is another wonderful routine. It can give you alone time in the evening to work on a project or just enjoy peace and quiet.

Try to remember how you felt about your house growing up for insentive. Don't be too hard on yourself. One step at a time. Even God took several days to create the sky, ground, water, animals, and man.

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N.S.

answers from Abilene on

WOW sounds like me. I was raised basically the same, so had NO cleaning/organizing skills. Then believe it or not, I married someone that was OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) He wasn't as bad as some are with the constant hand washing etc but he was bad enough. Yes we had some arguments over house cleaning. I was overwhelmed with the task of organizing/cleaning. Then I looked at the whole picture as part of a puzzle. You can't just put the whole thing together at once, you do it a piece at a time. Since I worked and was tired at the end of the day, the last thing i wanted to do was clean. I started getting up every Sat and cleaned one room. The next Sat I cleaned another room, etc, etc. Eventually I started cleaning 2 rooms, then 3 etc. Now mind you I had a 3bdrm, one bath, living room and kithen/dining upstairs and 2bdrm, one bath, den and utility room downstairs. I mainly focused on upstairs as downstairs wasn't fully finished and we didn't use it much. I eventually got to where I could start at one end of the house and thoroughly clean ( windows, dusting, vacuuming, tub and toilet) the whole upstairs in a little over an hour. It finally became 2nd nature to do this every Sat morning and I felt really good about my accomplishment. So my advice is to start small, but do it very consistently even though you don't really want to. lol Hope this helps. It can be done.

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

J.,
I totally sympathize with you!! I have the same problem and it's not going away either. I would suggest to you flylady.net. You can sign up for free. She sends you emails that you do as missions for 15 minutes each day. (set your timer) In addition, she asks you to make a daily journal to go through the steps so that once you get one zone clean, it doesn't go back to the way it was. Each week she concentrates on one zone in the house. You can read on her website for different types of moms-moms of preschoolers, moms who work outside the home, etc... She asks if your house is in CHAOS? (can't have anyone over syndrome) She's very uplifting and positive. Good luck!

L.

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

For motivation try listing reaons why you believe it's best for your kids and reasons why your kids deserve the best- and why YOU deserve the best. Watch HGTV and shows like Clean This House. From there, you simply have to decide to do somthing about it, set a time to do it and make it part of your routine. I personally do best when I have scheduled things- like every Wednesday is my laundry day, Thursday is clean tub and shower day...

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C.M.

answers from Dallas on

Start in one place. I would recommend starting in a play room/toy room if your twins are young. Throw out the toys that never get used anymore, and get organizing bins/ bookshelves, etc for the rest. Organize everything, and teach your kids where the "things" go. My kids are 3 and 4, and each night we stop playing 15 mins early so they can clean up their playroom. They have been taught where everything goes...we make this fun with "clean up music", and they get money for their piggy banks when they are done. This actually does work, and we do it the same each evening or at the end of the weekend. It's not negotiable - it's part of the daily routine. If you start in one place it will motivate you to go to another room and use the same approach of throwing out and organizing what is left. The key is consistency and involving your kids so you break the cycle you're in now. Good luck.

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K.P.

answers from Dallas on

I know how aggravating an unorganized house can be. What i would suggest is that you make a list of everything you want to accomplish, and then take one project at a time so you don't get over whelmed. For instance say you want to clean and organize your closets. Get in the closet and go thorugh everything and I mean everthing. The things that you really don;t need or ahve to have put in a box for donation anfd always have a bag on hand for trash as well. Do one project a day or two if you can until you get your whole house organized. I saw on a show once a lady that was super organized. She had those palstic tubs with lids for everything and she had them all labeled and stacked together in a nbice tidy order. That way when you come across soemthing in the house that needs to be put away then you have a place for it. I have been telling myseklf I was gonna do this plastic tib idea but haven't yet. I always find things all over the house and I have no idea where to put some of it. Alot of the things are keys and tools and gadgets from my husbands job that he lays down when he comes in so I made a closet just for in that inright next to the front door. I put a shelf in it and empty baby wipe boxes on the shelves. When he gets home he opens that closet door and has a place to put all his stuff. I even hung a key holder up for any keys he needs hung so they dont get lost. That was alot of my clutter was my husbands work things and computers and computer parts because he likes to fix and build computers as a hobby. it gets frustratin when you have all this stuff everywhere and no ewhere to put it. Anyway like I said make a list of all the "to do" things you wanna get donre and tale one thing at a time and when you are finished with that one mark it out and move on to the next one. I actually have a small marker board that sticks to the refrigerator and I make my list on that. I see it all the time so it reminds me of the things I need to do. I use the dry erase markers and eraser and it works great. As far as a routine with your children you could also make you a schedule that you stick to the fride to just to get you started and when you are in routine good enough you won't need it anymore.
For Example:
Daily Scheduale
7:30am- breakfeast
8:30am-cartoon time
9:30am- coloring and activity time
10:00am- snack time
10:30am- outdoor activity park, swimming, or play ball
11:15am- wash up and clean up for lunch
11:30am- lunch time
12:15pm- clean up and wash up from lunch
12:30- nap time
2:30pm-snack time
3:00- learning time, ABC's,colors, shapes, numbers, words
4:00pm- Cartoon TV time
4:45pm- wash up for dinner
5:00pm- dinner time
5:45pm- wash up and clean up from dinner kids helping
6:00pm- free time for them and relax time for you
8:00pm- bath time
8:30/9:00pm- bedtime

Anyway I hope this helps you some. Of course this was just an example you can choose the time and activities you would like on your daily scheduale. I have worked at two different daycares in the past and we used a daily scheduale eevryday so we got use to it and so do the kids. It will be new to them at first and getting everything in order and coorperation will get easier the more consistent you are with them. Don't give up though contiue to stick to your shceduale and before you know it thaey will naturally start doing the scehduale because it will be a part of their everyday routine and they will be use to it. It really does make things run alot smoother and keeps the children and active and busy all day. Good luck to you on this I know all will work out for the best for you...Have a blessed day!!

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D.W.

answers from Dallas on

Hi J.,
You didn't say how long your twins were. But I wanted to share two things with you that help me tremendously.
1. I put the kids to bed the same time every night (8:30) so that I have time before I go to bed to finsh a couple of things. What are those two things? read # 2.
2. I give myself 10 minutes to quickly pick up the living room, putting toys and things that have to go upstairs in a basket. I don't vaccum or dust during the week. The other thing is to clean the kitchen at night. I save time by putting pots in the dishwasher along with the dishes (that was no no growing up, but hey, i'm an adult now and need something that works for our family). But waking up to a clean kitchen helps motivate me to continue being orgainized.

Sorry for the long message,,,but a few other tips:
-in the spring and fall, I take a day to organize closets. I treat myself to a few fun items from the Container Store.
-Try to only touch things once...ie, we take off coats right at the closet and hang them up. I don't take them off and hang them on the back of the chair, b/c then I have to touch it again to put it in the closet.
-a couple of nights per week, keep dinner simple like PB&J or soup and sandwiches to get yourself some extra time at night to do an extra room.

Basically, with kids and working full time, it's an ongoing process. The best advise my mother gave me is "it's never ALL going to be clean at the same time". So do the best you can with the limited time you have and save the rest for tomorrow. D.

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S.W.

answers from Tyler on

Looks like someone already suggested FlyLady. I like the Clean Team.com they have some great cleaning/organizing books on Speed Cleaning and Clutter, it talks about the psycology and stuff which is really interesting. I am with you, as I am a major junk a holic. Good Luck

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L.P.

answers from Dallas on

if you need someone whose helped other people get to the point where it's more manageable. (get it to the point where you've gone through everything, and scheduled goodwill/salvation army pick-up, so from there you just need to keep up the good work!) I can help. If you need references, I can send you some. [email protected]____.com

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K.L.

answers from Dallas on

First of all, I want to tell you to NOT beat yourself up about the cleanliness or lack of cleanliness of your house. Having a spotless house is not the end all of everything!!!! What is most important is that you have a good solid relationship with your kids! If having a spotless house keeps you from bonding with your children, then foresake the cleaning.
I lost one of my parents when I was 19. I came to the realization that things are going to still be there when you get to them, but that there are sometimes other circumstances that are much more important than having things spotless.

NOW, there are some resources out there that will help you get better with how you clean. You don't have to do a huge cleaning each night. You can do a little each night that takes only 10 minutes an evening. That will keep your time away from your kids limited. You can also help train your kids to help you clean. I don't know how old they are but they are never young to start helping. If they are little, that helps them feel important.

I still struggle with the organizational thing myself as my mother did not teach me how to clean as I grew up. In fact, when I go to her house presently I cringe at the clutter that abounds! You don't want to create that for your children either.

There is a website called: menus4moms.com. it has some links to some resources that can help you with that. They talk about something called zone cleaning.

Hope this helps!! Hang in there!

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K.H.

answers from Dallas on

You have half the battle won because you recognize what you want to fix. I was raised by an organized MOM and had great skills until I became ill and found out how unhelpful my now EX truly was. I used the KEEP/TOSS/SALE/DONATE concept room by room. I felt the most important rooms to start with are the kitchen, bathroom and living room. You can always close your bedroom doors if you have a guest come by to visit. Before I moved to a new room I had to maintain order in the newly cleaned area for 21 days straight. Psych's state it takes 21 continuous days doing an activity to establish a habit. The habit to develop is to put back what you get out instead of laying it down and saying I'll put it up later. For me energy conservation was employed by having a set of bins to place items in that go to specific rooms. At the end of the day I'd clean them out or have the kids help. While married it was a rule that whatever congregated in the living room was to be put away after dinner or before bedtime or consequences of lost priveleges occurred, grownups included. Growing up we had a set of house rules that employed everyone living there to contribute to having a clean, healthy, happy home. In other words YOU MESS IT UP YOU CLEAN IT UP along with your assigned chores. My Mom worked outside of the house full time along with my Dad. My siblings and I were to have certain chores completed before my Mom got home and to work on our homework. You better have a good reason if you didn't get them done. We didn't receive money because we are to be contributors of the home not expectant takers or slackers. A schedule of chores was posted on a door based on Mon thru Sat, we did rest & go to church on Sunday. Next to each day was a list of numbers. The numbers were listed below and spelled out what chores were to be done. One number did not mean one chore, there were multiples. By doing this we learned to manage our time, kept us busy and out of trouble. If we ever said we were bored a chore was assigned to us. I learned that having an organized home saved us so much time to have freedom to have fun because we were hunting thru piles of stuff for the one thing we really needed at that moment. I ask you to seriously start now to get your kids to help with the cleaning. Mom started us with setting the table for meals, fixing drinks, cleaning up after we finished eating by cleaning food off our plates, rinsing them. We didn't have to wash our breakfast dishes until we got home from school but dinner dishes were washed after dinner with the chore being assigned by the week. We were allowed to barter our chores if something came up we wanted to do which worked well. We weren't allowed to come to the parent and complain about the deal we accepted at the time but we were taught to negotiate which serves in many of lifes functions later on. If getting it done a little at a time proves to be too much for you then hire someone to help you or make a deal with a Mom of another set of twins to help each other and get it wiped out. Once it's done then focus your energy on finding ways that work for you to keep it clean and organized. You do need to speak with your spouse about helping you and being an encourager to you as you work to change this behavior. My spouse used my gift to his benefit but fail short of help and eventually sabotages because he knew I functioned better in a clean organized home. Makes one wonder if they really wanted to be married but I've learned that changes in you can invoke behaviors in our mates if you fail to talk. Mates find ways to get emotional strokes they need and maybe don't have a clue about. The bottom line is loving your mate thru the changes and being an encourager not the police pointing out every failure. Best of life to you and your family.

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C.B.

answers from Dallas on

Give yourself a break. Clutter never killed anyone and you'll have plenty of time to clean when your kids are grown and gone.

If that doesn't work for you, set up a "family" cleaning time. One or two evenings a week, for one hour, everyone gets an assignment they can accomplish (depending on their age and ability), you all work on your "chores" together and afterward do something fun together as a reward.

Don't try to accomplish everything in one day, start with one closet or cabinet(or even one section of one closet). Eventually, you'll get around to everything.

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R.S.

answers from Dallas on

www.Flylady.net--She's a godsend. Check her out. She starts you off with small habits and builds on that. It's completely free and she speaks to those of us in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.)

Good luck!

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C.H.

answers from Lubbock on

Try Flylady.net

She has a routine that she sends you daily via email that is a step by step process of "de-cluttering" and establishing a regular cleaning routine. You can sign up via a yahoo group. If the individual emails get to be too much you can always get a digest of her daily routine and encouraging emails. I used this program for a while until I had established a routine myself and it really does help!

Good luck and never get down on yourself, cuz as the flylady says, you CAN do this!

Blessings,
C.

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J.H.

answers from Amarillo on

try a middle ground, don't worry about being too organized or too neat, yet not to the other extreme either. Try just 30 min. intervals a certain day , that you pencil in the calander like it was an appointment. Don't try doing it all at once or you will be over-whelmed. With twins and a single mom if I understood you correct, it isn't going to be easy. You didn't say the age of the children, but maybe of an evening 30 min. before bedtime you could make a game out of them putting their stuff in a bucket/basket whatever and you pick up 30 min of your stuff. Put on music. or on a day off have you all see who can get the best job done in 30 min. (that would be an hour and a half with the three of you ) on a Saturday morning maybe, and then you could all watch a cartoon, or go for a lemonade etc.

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

It's really hard to let go of things. I know. Baby steps... Learn this rule and say it over and over. "Donate or give away anything you haven't worn or used in a year". If you haven't worn or used anything in a year it's safe to say you probably won't use it tomorrow or the next day either. You obviously haven't missed it so far. It's not your responsibility to save for what if days. Start small by filling 1 garbage bag and dropping it off at a donation spot. Task completed. Congratulate yourself on a job well done. Then do the same thing a 1 or 2 weeks later. Starting with the small stuff will help you also let go of larger items later (coffee table, bookshelves, vacuum cleaners, etc). Some places like the Salvation Army, The Arc of Texas, Human Society will come and pick up donations at your home. It seems overwhelming yes; it can be done. Start small with one room at a time, one garbage bag at time. Good Luck.

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C.W.

answers from Lubbock on

Little tips:
Everytime you come home, clean out your vehicle (make kids help).
Everytime you buy groceries, clean out the fridge, pantry, cupboards of old/expired groceries.
Everynight before bathtime, pick up the house.
Every weekend go through toy boxes and any toys (i.e. those fast food restaurant toys) that aren't played with, get rid of, sack up and take to Goodwill if worth giving away or trash if not worth giving away.
Once a month or once a season, go throuh closets and drawers and get rid of clothes that no longer worn or do not fit. Shoes too. I usually only do this twice a year but if I were better I'd do it more often.
HTH!

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L.W.

answers from Dallas on

Every day empty the bathroom trash cans into the main trash can ie kitchen trash can. Every evening, empty the kitchen trash can into the outside trash can. Get different laundry baskets one for towels/jeans/tee shirts two for white three for work clothes four play clothes. when one gets full, do the laundry for this basket. If your children are old enough, they can do their own laundry or switch laundry duty with trash duty. Once a week, do a thorough cleaning, vaccuming, mopping, dusting. Twice a week clean the bathrooms. Every day pick up things in the general areas ie living rooms/kitchen/hallways and put them away. In another words, whenever you/someone uses an item, return it immediately it to its proper place. If your children leave things out in the general areas, give them one warning to put the item away. If they do not by the end of the day, donate the item or place in a box for a future garage sale. Wash dishes every day... one washes, another dries, another puts away. If it is a storming ie raining/snowy/icey day, take the opportunity to clean/organize closets/pantry/cabinets. You can do this... I was a single, working mother/college student to one child and my friends would marvel at how organized/clean I kept my home/car/yard... I did it through organization/time management. And I even managed to spend quality time with my child every day.

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G.W.

answers from Dallas on

Dear J.,
I am one person who will NOT recommend the FlyLady. She has great tips but it is very overwhelming, especially for someone who doesn't have "organization in her blood" so to speak. Plus you have twins, that must be very tough. Here is what I would say: First, cut yourself a break. Don't expect too much of yourself. You will end up failing and feeling like a failure only leads to quitting. If I were you, and I have been in your shoes (okay, not twins but 3 under 3), I would first off decide what is the MOST important thing to keep clean? Kitchen? Bathroom? Bedroom? Focus on that and just forgive yourself the mess in the other places. One clean area makes you feel so much better. Now, after you pick that place, clean a LITTLE BIT each day. Day one: clean out one drawer. Day two: clean out a second drawer. Day 3: clean out the fridge. Day 4: Clean out the freezer. Etc. Do it in any order you want but just do a little bit each day. Don't get distracted (unless the twins urgently need you). Do a little bit but get it done. Once one room is straightened, work for a week or two on keeping it straight before tackling another room. It WILL take a while to get it all done but don't worry because now, while your kids are little, it's different than when they're older and in school. Trust me, right now you have bigger fish to fry. You are so great to be wanting to be organized but just do it in small chunks. Don't try to do a "whole day clean-up" because it's pretty much impossible to do with twins, unless you send them to a sitter for 16 hours. Good luck. I know you can do it!!!

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

I made a detailed daily list on my computer and I print it out every Monday. This has helped me get more of a routine going in my life. I also read books and magazine articles on getting organized and they have helped.

There's also online help: flylady. (net?org? dont' know!)I KNOW others will tell you the exact site. good luck!

oh! another thing - do you have a good friend that can help you get started? you might try trading time! of course, with small kids around that's a challenge!

God bless you!
A.

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M.G.

answers from Dallas on

Janice,

I am the same way. I have 3 young kids under the age of 5, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep up with the constant daily messes they make. I too wasn't taught how to be orderly and organized. Every day of my life is full of overwhelming stress. A lot of times, I literally have to walk over things, and stare at the floor, in order to make sure I don't trip and break my neck. We've gotten a little better at putting the kids' toys away lately (and having them help us), but the paper clutter on the kitchen counter is out of control. We have a filing system, but unfortunately, we never use it. I keep saying I am going to catch up w/ my filing, but I never do. Anyway, just do the opposite of me - get a filing system, if you don't already have one and when you say you are going to file, do it! (I know, I need to take my own advice). Try to clean up toys every night (and have your kids help you). You just have to force yourself. Best of luck, and hopefully we both will get better at this someday soon! p.s. Oh, and try to keep up w/ your sink. I HATE a sink full of dishes.

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L.

answers from Dallas on

I think it is great that you want to change. I would suggest taking care of the twins and get them on a schedule; write it down and follow it. Once you have that down pat, then I would tackle one room at a time. Make a pile for donations/garbage/sell, and do it all in one day. Best of luck.

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J.H.

answers from Dallas on

I saw somebody recommend flylady.net on here a few weeks back. I have the same problem and then time management because I am a stay at home mom.. I find that I feel like I have all the time in the world. This helps and works great. You start with your sink. Then work your way up.
Keep your chin up and message me if you need any more pick me ups

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K.B.

answers from Dallas on

Hi J.,

I say start small! You can't change everything overnight, and despite what all the books say it is good to be flexible with kids too. Routines and schedules are helpful, but with kids even their routines change as they get older, eat at different times, and sleep less, so it isn't the end of the world if things aren't too rigid. Start with one thing at a time. Set up a bed time routine first since that is when things are winding down anyway, and stuff like teeth brushing etc. that have to be done can be incorporated into the routine. As far as cleaning goes - check out www.flylady.net it is a great website with all sorts of organizing tools that I've found helpful. Again, on that site they recommend focusing on one thing at a time, and talk about setting aside only short periods of time (15 min) a day to declutter, etc. If you can afford it - I'd get a maid service out to get yourself started! It can be overwhelming (especially with twins I'd imagine) to even begin and that would give you a huge head start. I struggle with the same issues, but as I become more disciplined at doing certain things they don't seem so tedious anymore. I guess in the end I got myself into sort of a routine too. Now my 5 and 3 year old like helping around the house (I know that won't last), and we make a game out of clean up time! Good luck and don't forget - start small and don't get discouraged on "crazy days".

K.

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M.R.

answers from Dallas on

My first piece of advice is set your own standards. Don't try to live by anyone elses. Flylady helped me do that. Figure out what works for you, gives you sanity and brings you peace. Good luck and God bless you, sweetie. I have been there, done that! I'm praying for you.

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M.K.

answers from Dallas on

I went through this too and found it difficult to do on my own. I recommend:

Debbie Monahan at Organizing 101 -- ###-###-#### or

Samantha Naeyaert at Muddle Management -- ###-###-####.

Both are excellent and very affordable.

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M.R.

answers from Dallas on

If you figure it out let me know!!
because I was there 15 years ago and I still have not figured it out, even though they are old enough to help!

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hi J.,
Well, hopefully you find my advice good! I had a bit of a different bringing up, my mom did everything so I knew nothing of how to clean or organize. I thought their must be a cleaning fairy and why she didn’t come with me when I went to college is beyond my understanding! HAHA.
This website helped me a bunch. http://www.flylady.com/ It breaks down household tasks and has a schedule. I am no good at a schedule either.
Here’s my opinion on schedules…they’re boring. I think people confuse structure and boundaries with schedules. The only thing I am truly scheduled about is the afternoon nap. That’s because I really enjoy that time I will say, it does make some things harder. Because you are a single mom, you have to work outside the home and you children will have a very scheduled day at daycare. Also, as your children get older, their life naturally becomes more scheduled. School, sports, friends. Sometimes I’m envious of the moms who have the tight as a button schedule but then I realize that is a criticism and judgment of myself. I accept that scheduling is not my best trait and after four kids, I’m okay with it.
How boring would life be if we were all the same!
Peace,
S.

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S.A.

answers from Dallas on

I read a book called "simplify your life" and found it helpful...for the life of me I cannot remember the name of the author (barnes and noble or borders website should probably have it if you type the title in the search section).

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M.B.

answers from Dallas on

Hi There! Welcome to my world.

Over 10 million Americans are afflected in some way with an OCD - Compulsive Hoarding Disorder. This is something that my own grandmother and mother suffer from and I have been working very hard not to be, and because of this I find myself on the other side of this OCD - and tend to throw things away all the time.

There are folks who are professional organizers who charge an arm and a leg to clean up your clutter, but in the end it is a waste of time and money without some serious professional help.

I have been researching this for the last 10 years and have a documentary that I have been working on related to my own family's situation. I have talked to medical professionals and a few psychologists on this as well - so you are not the only one!

There is a hoarding group in various areas, and I have the name of a few professionals outside of Texas that I have spoken with on this very topic. Let me know if you want more details.

But in the mean time you can start here: http://www.clutterersanonymous.net/ because I have met with many who are a part of this group and they have weekly/daily support sessions to help you to start taking the steps necessary to reign in your own fears and concerns.

Don't give up and keep in mind, it takes time to work thru the piles of things that you or your family have accumulated over the years. But understand that you are not alone!

- M.

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A.K.

answers from Dallas on

Hi J.,

When my daughter got to the age where she was getting into things, she would pull everything out of a drawer or cabinet and then I would just throw it back in. One day, I thought, what in here do I even need? So then, when she would get into a cabinet or drawer, I would throw most of it away, and put what we needed to keep somewhere else. Then, one day, I went around the house and put every knick knack or picture frame that I didn't really just love in a box and gave it away (I also had a garage sale). The pictures that were in the frames I took out and put in an album. When I took everything off the refrigerator, it was like instant stress relief. We got rid of some of our furniture even. I know it's sounds crazy but having fewer things is relaxing. By this point, I was addicted. I still get rid of things when I think we have too many. It's very free-ing.

All this to say, it's so easy to clean up now. The most clutter around is the toys and crayons. When I'm really tired, I'll just throw the toys in her room and shut the door - we'll get to it later. I think I'm about to take away all but 5-10 crayons. Good luck! I'm a pack rat in my heart, but I decided to just give it up. We can't take any of it with us anyway, right?

A.
www.greenbabydiaperservice.com

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M.M.

answers from Dallas on

Have you ever heard of flylady.net? She has a really good game plan for getting organized. By doing babysteps you can change your home and life.

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S.H.

answers from Dallas on

i'm the same way. my hsuband & i used to get in BIG fights over it. all i have to say is, after years of not knowing how i was going to figure out how to make it any better, ive gotten better. i guess its like, everytime wed get into a fight, id change a little bit. i knew it was wrong to be a slob & lazy & i knew i needed to be 'fixed' & it didnt come naturally at all, but workign on it a little bit at a time helped. its gonna take time. but as long as you know something is wrong & something needs to change, your on the right path. it WONT happen over night. give yourself time & dont stress everytime your house is a pigsty or your kid is cranky bc she stayed up too late. youll get used to it & things will eventually fall into place as long as your working on it.

i swear when i read this, i thought i had wrote it in my sleep or soemthing!

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S.S.

answers from Dallas on

There is this really neat online reminder system that you can set up to alert you daily/weekly etc. Their tag line is

Are YOU living in CHAOS?
(Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)

Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn?
Hopeless and you don't know where to start?
Don't worry friend, we've been there, too....

It sets you up cleaning an area or room each day and never passing by something that is out of place. It can get annoying after awhile, but then you change the number of times that it alerts/reminds you. I definitely think you would find it sanity in the middle of you madness!
It's called FlyLady.net. Check it out. Good Luck!!
S.

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

I go for flylady.net. Worked for me to give me the things my divorced parents didn't. Lots of good advice and routines. I also like savingdinner.com for meals etc.
Good luck.
L.

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A.E.

answers from Dallas on

Hi J.,

I would suggest not being so hard on yourself, for starters. In the grand scheme of things, organization probably isn't way up there on the list of the most important things, ever.
With that being said, take it one step at a time. My mother - an extremely organized person who has rubbed off on me immensely- has always said in times of overwhelming frustration "How do you eat an elephant? -- One bite at a time". Start with one corner. Just the corner. Even if you have to place things from that corner into another one, just empty that corner! Focus on your mission - to organize that one corner of that one room.
As hard as it will be, try not to get side-tracked! Dedicate a specific amount of time to this task – say, one hour, depending on the size of the mess. Over-estimate to be fair and not put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Get someone to watch the kids or keep them entertained to better ensure your success. After your timer or alarm goes off, stop. Relish in your humble progress. It’s a great start, trust me! The next time you have another hour, go at it again. Be a monster and relentlessly attack the hell out of that darn corner.
When you're taking something from that corner to wherever it's supposed to be (ie, trash, bookshelf, etc.) DO NOT pick up trash along the way, or a book to tag along to the bookshelf. Your mission is that one corner and nothing else until it is clear and organized.
I think you'll be surprised at just how quickly you can get it done. From there, work on just one more task. If you've accumulated a pile of legos, work on getting those legos put away - and nothing else, until the pile is cleared. When you've accomplished the majority of one room, don't give up! Don't take a break if you don't have to - but DO take a break if you're getting overwhelmed! There's no sense in organizing for peace of mind if you're driving yourself nuts in the process!
If storage is a problem, try Wal-Mart, The Container Store, or Ikea. Most places will provide customer service, if you go in and tell them what you need to contain and in what type of space. These days, there’s a cool container for just about anything. Try to keep in mind that the less you buy, the more you can store – instead of purchasing a bunch of pretty little wicker baskets, just get a plastic drawer set for a fraction of that price and stick it in a closet. Even Dollar stores carry those things now, so don’t be afraid to be “cheap” and compare prices – even for “cheap” items!
Dedicate a bag or box specifically for donations. Don't be afraid to fill more than one...in fact, the more you fill, the better off you'll be. In my opinion, we all accumulate so much STUFF that we don't truly NEED! As a crafter, I'm a good example - I have lots of arts and crafts JUNK that I haven't touched in forever. While I may have the best intentions for that junk, if I haven't touched in - let's say a year, to be fair - then it's probably useless. If it takes up too much space, it’s an unnecessary burden. Same goes for clothing, shoes - you name it.
If I could just lose some weight I could fit back into countless clothes. But if I get rid of them (via donations), I could clear my closet space, realistically, with newer, trendier, prettier, more appropriate clothing for my age. I may have loved those shoes, but since I haven’t worn them since I worked outside the home 2 years ago, I can give them away to someone who could love them again – now. You’d be surprised how a decent pair of shoes (even gently worn in) can help someone out, or make them feel better. If I need to work outside the home again, or dress professionally for whatever reason, I probably need to shop for a more appropriate size and newer style to really look nice, anyway.
I know this is a long post, and thanks for reading so far, but it’s seriously do-able…by YOU! If you can’t shop for a replacement wardrobe, consider selling your clothes. The types of stores that buy clothes (though I must admit, are stringent in their selection), can give you store credit (or cash) to turn around and shop right there – and they’ve got some nice stuff, too! I might go so far as to say that once you start shopping there, you’ll find it hard to pay full price, even for name brands, at department stores – knowing there’s a hole-in-the-wall shop just chock-full of the same trendy stuff at half the price!
And one more thing – when donating, I highly recommend choosing a shelter or advocacy group in your area. They are SO easy to find online, and usually have easy access for donation drop-offs or pick-ups. That way, you know someone won’t have to BUY your stuff, like at a Goodwill. It’ll actually go straight to someone who needs it, now. And you’ll be so much better off, clearer and de-cluttered!
As far as setting up routines, pick a chore - like dishes, and start a new routine that works for you and your family. Try to get EVERYONE involved. My family loves piling the dirty dishes next to the sink. I even seem to not mind adding to it. Since I can't stand finding the dirty dishes that my son "washes", and my husband can't be counted on to do it regularly, I've opted to utilize my dishwasher – because someone put it there for a reason. I have everyone rinse their dishes after using them, and throwing them into the dishwasher. I read somewhere that using dishwashers actually tends to use less water than hand-washing them, which is just another reason to love that big hunk of appliance under my counter. So we fill it all day and run it at night. You'll want to invest in a decent detergent, but that's a nice trade-off for the time spent and aching feet and/ or back, scrubbing and scouring, weakened nails and smelly sponges! The Dollar Stretcher has a nice blog on that subject: http://www.stretcher.com/stories/02/02dec09b.cfm. I've heard that those powerball things are effective, but you can read more on that at: http://housekeeping.about.com/od/takingcareofdishes/tp/di.... And while you’re at it, check out: http://natural-products.suite101.com/article.cfm/washing_....
I don’t know anyone (except for that guy in American Psycho – pun unintentionally intended!), who doesn’t have clutter. You will have off-days and there will always be a pile of something – clean or dirty laundry, trash, dishes, etc. Just take one thing at a time, and remember that you’re not alone! I’m not an expert, but I do know organization! Please let me know if you ever need help!! In the meantime, I hope this helps.

Best Wishes,

A.

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J.R.

answers from Dallas on

I am sure FlyLady is great for women who grew up with some organization but for someone who has never had an organized bone in her body (me), FlyLady was extremely overwhelming. I found myself fretting over how I was ever going to organize my cleaning into an oraganized journal (which she suggests) when I am so unorganized. And how would I ever be able to add her morning routine items to my morning when all I really want to do before I go to work is get my family ready and get to work on time? I have, however, clung to her "clean the kitchen and make your sink sparkly before you go to bed" rule. This does somehow seem to help me feel as if I have accomplished something. Then, when I do find myself with a free moment to clean, I don't have to worry about a messy kitchen staring me in the face.

Here are a few things that have helped me:
1. I made a list of weekly chores I wanted to accomplish (laundry, vacuuming, dusting, etc.).
2. I made a list of monthly chores I wanted to accomplish (throwing old clothes into a trash bag and giving them to someone in need, cleaning out drawers, etc.).
3. I do what I can and try not to stress over what I can't. I realized that as long as the house remains somewhat picked up and my children aren't living in dirt and grime, it's okay. For me, it's more important to spend time with my children playing and loving on them than it is to have the most perfectly spotless and organized house in the world.
4. Recently, I realized that the majority of my working friends (and even some of my stay at home friends) aren't any better at keeping a spotless house than me......should I feel ashamed that I rejoice over that? No, I think I should feel a sense of relief that it is those very organized people who are the exception and that almost everyone else is experiencing the same (or similar) struggle as me when it comes to keeping their house sparkly clean.....so there's no need for me to feel ashamed. I should just enjoy my family while I can....the clean, organized house can be a goal for me when I am a lonely old lady and I need something to occupy my time!

As a treat for yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed, you could save up to have an organizer come in. Tell them in advance, I only have x amount of dollors to spend and have them tackle the things that are the most overwhelming for you.....spending money on getting things clean and organized may help you feel more motivated to keep it that way.

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H.M.

answers from Dallas on

I feel for you...I have to overcome some of the same stuff everyday! You might find flylady.com to be a help to get you on the right track. I personally didn't use it, but I know those that have and they swear by it! Good luck!

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

I too struggle with keeping my house orderly. Check out flylady.net. It's free and they have a system for keeping up your house. They will send you emails with a manageable task to do each day and also a way to do a fast weekly cleaning.

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G.C.

answers from Dallas on

flylady.com helped me tremendously! I was the same she gives you baby steps to do and it works but you have to be patient with yourself.

L.P.

answers from Tyler on

I have fallen off the flylady bandwagon, but it really helped me for a while. Just beware the emails! I would get trapped in front of my computer trying to read all the tasks and testimonials and before I realized all my cleaning time was gone! If you get started on the program and just implement the habits, it WILL make a difference.
Good Luck!

S.R.

answers from Dallas on

J.,
I'm RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. It was the SAME way for me growing up. I can remember HUGE piles of laundry sitting in the bathroom floor and then having to spend an entire weekend (ore more) at once helping 'Mom' do the laundry because it got blown-off so long. Dishes in the sink...we usually had no dishwasher, too. NO routine...AT ALL. Now, granted, I do most household things MUCH better than what was set as my example growing up, but the routine thing has just been impossible for me. My kids have no set bedtime...we all go to bed at the same time, which is a different time every night. I never know what's for dinner, or when we'll have it. I don't grocery shop on any regular schedule...just grab things two or three at a time as we need them. It's VERY embarrassing to say, but I even STINK at the personal hygeine stuff. It was never really instilled in me to brush my teeth twice a day, for example. I'm usually in such a hurry (again, no routine) that I sometimes forget to brush my own teeth, let alone my kids'. If I miss nightime baths for the kids, I wake them up earlier the next morning to get it done, so they never know exactly when it's 'time to get up'. I, too, want to do much better for my kids, I just don't know how. I get these bright ideas of making charts with stickers and such, to keep us ALL on track, but I never get to it, or when I do have a minute, I'd rather spend it out on the playground or taking a nap, perhaps, depending on the day. The sad part about all of this...I have 'help' (my husband). But, he leaves at 5:40 a.m. everyday, before we're up. He gets home usually by 3:00 p.m. so by the time I get home from work and picking the kids up at daycare, he's past ready for dinner (he is NOT a cook, so he never handles that) then he's ready to 'relax' ("because he's had a 'physically demanding' day") and it's bedtime by 9/9:30 for him. Anyway, I could take this story into several different directions and I'm sure you've heard enough already. Although I have no advice, I guess I just wanted to let you know you are not alone. Routines just seem really hard to come by these days, for a lot of us. But then I look at people, like my sister-in-law, for example and wonder, "How in the HECK does she do it??" She works a normal 8-5, M-F job, just like me, she has a husband and a son (who are both mostly helpless, most of the time) and she manages to have a beautifully clean house, she cooks dinner regularly, her laundry NEVER stacks up, and she even manages to have get-togethers at her house occassionally, and she never seems tired or lazy...never!! She's ALWAYS organized and never forgets a thing. It makes me insane!!

So, anyway, I'm done now...sorry for 'dumping' on you when you're looking for help. If you get any great advice on the 'routine' thing from anyone, please feel free to share...I'd love to hear how some of these mom's keep it all together on a 'normal' basis. ;o)

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L.R.

answers from Dallas on

I highly suggest The FLY lady and her book "Sink Reflections." You can join the group at www.flylady.net and it's free. It gives you lots of encouraging words and ways to help you F.L.Y. (finally loving yourself). This really has changed my life and how I feel about myself, my family, and my home.

L.

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

First of all, congratulations to you for recognizing that your children would benefit from what you didn't have! That is sometimes the most difficult task! Think of that being the first thing on your "to do" list that can now be checked off! I will make my advice short - start small and slow! I know you will want to change everything right away, but if you try to do it all at once you will get way too overwhelmed. I would start first by making a list of what you want to accomplish, then start checking things off, one at a time. I would personally start with the small stuff that doesn't take too much time or effort, then you will be checking things off right away and that can definitely be a confidence booster. Then start to tackle the more difficult things. I wish you the best in this process!

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M.M.

answers from Dallas on

First of all give yourself a break.Having a clean houes does not make you a good mom just like having a messy house doesnt make you a bad mom. Okay? Lets make realistic expectations. It is awesome you want to push yourself and provide a more centered house...stay focused on that... :)

Okay now...take baby steps. First as things come in your door throw them away if you are not going to use them. If there is not a specific place for it them right then you have to create one of just get rid of it. If it is not worth starting a bin for then you are not going to want to keep it.

Now for the already there clutter. Set a time limit that you want to devote to this everyday. Maybe 1 hour. Do as much as you can and then just relax and enjoy the rest of your evening. If you go full force you run the risk of burning out.
It took years to get this way so it is okay if it takes weeks to get cleaned up.
As far as a routine for the kids - write it down. Routine is not easy for me either so I have to write down our daily schedule guidline and just stick with it. There are a few things that NEVER (okay rarely) change like mealtimes and nap, bath, and bed. They you just insert a couple of things here and there that are variables. Don't be surprised if the first doesnt take maybe not the third. Just keep making them until one feels right.
Good luck!!!

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

Kudos to you for recognizing that there is a problem. I woudl do this- Have your twins pick certian things that they definitely want to keep an let them go by a relative or someone for a weekend- enlist the help of a best frined that you know is organized-
Invest in some rubbrmaid containers. Heres what I use them for and probably what some of your clutteris-
thos things you CANT throw away- speical school storis they wrote report cards- etc.
In a binder goes all the certificates, special papers poems etc- in the rubbermaid goes all the items you want to keep but not have around your house- a MEMORY BOX if you will- one day when they are older- they can have them to look thru- My kdis are 13 and 17 and have about 6 boxes each already they are stored but out of the way. Trophys , girlfriend letters- lol

Now with the kids out of the way revamp - anything you havent used for a while- goes to a garage sale pile- garage sale is next week- anything that DOESNT sell at the garage sale goes in the back of your car and straight to a charity close by- Check with some they may even stop by and pick up bigger items.

Other than that- Call Clean house if its that bad and they can do all this for you- but good luck.
My mom is still stuck in your position and has become a pack rat- where the house is actually dangerous- I wouldnt even let my kids in there when they were younger- so kudos to you for nipping it in the bud.

PS_ a chore roster for each of you works well- everyone has a differnt chore each week that they are responsible for - if you children are 5 and above- they can handle it.

Have fun ! Crank the music and roll up your sleeves!
Putting down paper liners in drawers and kitchen cabinets is a nice fresh feel as well as a coat of paint as well-and use labels wherever you can! They do ahve services that will do all this- but I am guessing that it would be expensive.

D.

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S.S.

answers from Wichita Falls on

1. Fly Lady
2. Control Journal
3. Personal Responsibility.. my mother was unfaithful to all 8 of her husbands, including my father.. I've never even looked. Determination can overcome example every time.

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C.F.

answers from Dallas on

I can kind of relate as well. I was an only child and I was very spoiled. My mom did every single thing for me, I never had to lift a finger. I kind of hate her for that, she never thought me responsibility. When I had my kids I found myself cleaning after all their mess, it was as if history was repeating itself. As soon as I realized it, I put a stop to it right away. I knew that if I wanted my kids to be grow up being responsible adults, that I was going to have to change myself first. I believe that my kids are my legacy. Life is so short, when I die I will be of no use to my kids, so whatever I teach them now is going to stick with them and they will pass it on to their kids and so on. I want to leave this world knowing that I have raised a good family. I'm a firm believer of the "21" rule, it's used a lot in the army. It's said that it takes 21 straight days for something to become a habit. So, for 21 days I pushed myself to organize and be neat and clean. I took all the junk and even stuff that I was emotionally attached to, but would never use to the Goodwill. After that I pushed the rule on my family. I'm so beyond proud of my family now, our house is always clean and I know that I am raising children with a good future ahead of them.

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J.W.

answers from Dallas on

I understand your situation and can empathize with the way you were brought up. My mother was clean but never threw anything away and the "stuff" eventually overtook the house. There is hope, however, if you are determnined to make that change for yourself. Don't try to do it all at once. You have enough on your plate with the twins and it might be overwhelming if you don't take it in steps. Start with one room at a time and begin to honestly decide what you need and don't need. If you have not used it in the past year...get rid of it. If there is not a place for it....get rid of it. The ultimate goal is to have a place for everything and everything in its place, right? If you can bag or box up all of the things that you really don't need and put them in the garage or storage shed, at the end of your "weeding out" project you can put them up on Free Cycle or have a garage sale if you have the time. After you have done that, retrain yourself to put things away as you go. No dropping things on the floor to be picked up "in a moment".......that moment has away of never coming. I don't know how old your twins are, but you can make cleaning and putting things in their place like a game for them and teach them to do the same. It should not be stressful for you or them. Neither should you stress out over the rest of the house. Just keep working on your habits until they become what your original goal wanted them to be. You will soon become more used to a more orderly way of life and it will afford you more time to spend with your twins.....doing things that really count. Your house does not have to be perfect all of the time. Take time to breathe and enjoy the blessings that you've been given.

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P.B.

answers from Tyler on

Check out flylady.com

One suggestion too is that you set an alarm for about 7:00 every evening (or a time that you know you will be home and the twins are still up to see you set this good example). You can set it on your cell phone to repeat every day.

Now, when the alarm goes off, snooze it so it will go off again in about 5 minutes. State to the twins, "it's time to clean up." Then start putting things away that you see are not being used or are not organized. Stay focused on the task for the entire five minutes.

When the alarm goes off again, change rooms and tell the twins, "it's time to clean up in the [whatever] room." Do this for about 20 minutes and then reward yourself with a sticker on a chart. This too will set an example for future chore charts for the kids. :o) If they are old enough to help, give them a specific area to straighten up their own things.

It is AMAZING how much you can get done in such a SHORT amount of time when you are FOCUSED on it.

Blessings for a neat home.

P. <><

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