Sunday, July 09, 2006

Tackling the Formidable

Those formidable areas in your home can be tamed. By breaking the jobs into small, manageable tasks, you can get ahold of these monstrous messes and keep them orderly for a long time. Very few people can just barge headlong into hard work, so I would suggest that you start with something easy and small.

If you have "one of those rooms" full of things you never seem to get around to doing, I would suggest you find small messes in other rooms, that are easy to clean up, first. Go around and do the small jobs, and you will work up the mental stamina to tackle the larger one. When you get to the larger one, clean out spaces, bit by bit, and don't be discouraged.

One of the greatest helps to home living and home keeping is the elimination of things. The less you have to pick up and put away, the easier your life will be. I have to shake my head in wonderment at the memory of my first years of homemaking. I had so very little--no bed to put a mattress on, no pictures, no decorations, no furniture, no dressers, but the housekeeping was so simple. Now I look back and wonder why I was so concerned about getting things. They certainly do accumulate, eventually, and if you aren't careful, they can clutter your house horribly.

Bedrooms in particular, can be a place where family members store more stuff, until there is barely room to sleep. After going around the house methodically, cleaning and straightening, and adding to that the summer responsibilities of watering plants outside, the bedrooms sometimes get only the left over time. These rooms can be dealt with in the method that is taught by many cleaning experts: just take parts of the room at a time and deal with them, until it is all done. Make the bed first, then sort things into piles of these "subjects" - paper, books, clothing, objects, other things. Put away each section, then vacuum.

I would suggest keeping only things that are being used, things that are of value sentimentally (your Grandmother's teapot, etc) and things that have meaning to you. Taking pictures of areas of your home is an effective way to analyze what needs to be kept and what needs to be taken out.

Today, you can go around and put your home in general order, and then if there is time left and you are not tired, begin on a larger problem area of the house, that is bothering you. Don't forget not to get too anxious, but stop now and then for a wee spot of tea and remember to be thankful that you have been enabled to do this job.

In a workplace, such as an office, there will be someone dictating your tea-breaks and your hours, and even the amount of work you accomplish. I've seen many hours wasted in the workplace, because of regulation, which de-motivates employees. Self-regulated people seem to accomplish a great deal.


Susan Godfrey said...

This is so very true! I'm slowly, but surely, getting rid of excess "stuff" and simplifying our home.

Lydia said...

I'd like to post links to all of you eventually, but I haven't had time to study blogger and learn how to do it. I really like your blogs, and some have beautiful graphics.

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

I really understand what you are saying about bedrooms - they should be restful but are often full of clutter. It was not until I read about the affect dustmites have on asthmatics that I really tackled my children's bedrooms. Sometimes it's health, not aesthetics that makes you de-clutter! Many thanks for an inspiring blog.

Anonymous said...

This post was timely for me. I'm trying to gather the intestinal fortitude to continue attacking my "junk" room, which is really supposed to be the guest room. Since it's only used occasionally, the room attracts all the stuff I don't want to deal with at the moment. It's amazing what a 12 ft square room can hold!

Anonymous said...

We moved a while back and, of necessity, really did a thorough job of decluttering. How freeing it's been!! And now I've become much more ruthless about clutter, whenever something comes my way that I doubt that I'll find a use for, out it immediately goes. I don't ever want to get back into that pack rat mode again!!

Lydia said...

Marsha, yes, that is my problem, too. Since no one is occupying the guest room, I junk it til they come, and then move out all the boxes and then put it all back. Today I'm going through the boxes and ruthlessly getting rid of things.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas

What do you sugggest about cleaning childrens rooms who have every known toy and game under the sun, and little room left for sleeping? It is NOT junk, btw.

Everything I want to give away, they want to keep. So, nothing is being cleaned up and taken to the Goodwill because they want to keep it. They have grown out of practically all these toys and computer games, ect, but want to keep them ALL
Even the childrens books which we have thousands of are barely able to keep their friendly home fighting for living space on the shelves!! I have suggested with much luck to put the things in storage, but even the storage space is getting full of plastic boxes of my childrens things.

I wish to get rid of some of this, but the children wont let me, LOL and ugggggghh

any sugggestion at all will be gratefully taken.

thanks and God bless,

Eliza Jane

Anonymous said...

OH.. yes I have a shed that I take things out to that I will "later" get around to selling. I have made headway at certain times, but I know that it needs to be completely gone through....
As far as the childrens room, I would just say they are going and get a box and go to it, encourage them to give it to a nursery or a doctor's office or your local Child Protective Services, what a benefit to the other children... of course during the job you could ALLOW them to keep something really special... maybe they would be up to a yard sale, my boys are happy to sell because they know they will get money and can buy somebody elses treasures!!
It helps tremendously if mom's room has already been gone through, and is clean and clutter free... : )

Anonymous said...

Eliza Jane,

You could start with just the stuff in storage that they haven't looked at/played with for 6 months or more. Just get rid of it. Then, when some of those plastic boxes are empty, go through their rooms while they are out and start moving a few items into storage. Give it another 6 months, and if they ask about something you moved within that time, you can always tell them it's in storage or retrieve it. If the full 6 months goes by however, get rid of it. (It doesn't necessarily have to be 6 months by the way, it can be whatever amount of time you think will work.) This can be especially effective if they regularly get new things every Christmas, birthday, etc. as most children do.

Now if you are dealing with older children/teenagers who have jobs, you can always insist on renting a storage unit and take the monthly fee out of their earnings or allowance as the price for not simply getting rid of all that stuff. They may decide the loss of extra money is not worth whatever sentimental value old toys, etc. still have for them. ;)

And if worse comes to worse, you may have to just drop the hammer and go on a cleaning spree while they are out. If you do it just before, say, Christmas, it may lessen the loss of some of those beloved toys. Of course they will complain to high heaven at first and you would have to be very firm, but the cleanliness and neatness of the bedrooms would hopefully provide a balance that in time they will appreciate, especially if they are then trained to keep them up that way on a daily basis. I know, I know, a lot easier said than done... Just remember that it is *your* home and as long as they live under your roof they need to respect their parents by respecting the rules of the house.
Hope at least some of this helps.

Anonymous said...

Eliza Jane said....

thanks for the ideas.

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Anonymous said...

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