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Author Topic: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?  (Read 7938 times)

Styyna

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  • "steena"
Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« on: June 11, 2011, 02:37:21 PM »
Between having workers in our house for a full year, working in nearly every room of the house, followed by my recent illness, we have a house that looks like a tornado hit it inside. Over and over we had to move stuff from room to room while the workers were here so we have boxes of things in every room that contain stuff that belongs in multiple other rooms. In addition we have lots and lots of odd stuff hanging around in every room (like the stuff that's left, after you've neatly packed boxes for moving, because it doesn't fit into a box).

I have limited energy still but I need to start making sense of all of our things. I just don't know where to start.

Tackling one room or even a corner of a room means moving stuff from that place to another place that still needs to be cleared. It's like everything is out of place and all the places are taken. Our garage and basement are filled with stuff.

Long before we started work on the house I cleared out most of my unnecessary stuff and our trash, putting furniture and odd stuff out by the curb with a FREE sign (we literally had tables full of stuff out there for two weeks with regulars stopping by each day to see what new items they could find). DH is most reluctant to get rid of a lot of his stuff which is mostly contained in his office and the garage. I think, though, that if I could start to make headway in other areas he might become motivated.

I know about Fly Lady but I think my needs are even more basic than their program. Although my sink shines most of the time! We don't have a lot of storage in our house, having converted two bedrooms into my office and den (presently filled to the brim with stuff) which cost us two closets.

One thing I think I'd like that might help is to build a wall of shelves in my den and put my books and some treasured knick knacks on them. But that's a big undertaking and I'm not yet up to something of that magnitude.

Due to the economy I have limited funds for commercial storage solutions, preferring if possible to replace our old, tattered furniture after the Big Clean.

So I'm asking for the wisdom of all you beauties for your advice. Where would you start? How would you approach something like this? I know it's going to take me a long time to complete this project so no suggestion is too small!

Thanks!
  • Complexion: NW10; slight rosacea; dry
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To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness. - Mary Stuart

Cougar

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2011, 05:19:26 PM »
There is always the Keep, Maybe, Get Rid Of approach.
This works for not just clothes.
You can use boxes or just areas.

You only start on a small area with 15 minutes kitchen timer.
Stop and "reward yourself".
Then see if you FEEL like another bout.

Last not but least, the big trash hauler you rent.  It doesn't cost *way* too much and usually they leave it in your driveway for quite a long time.  I did that and did a lot myself.  Then a friend came over and we went wild.  Oh boy did it feel good when they took it away; it weighed over one ton.
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Tupelo

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2011, 07:33:04 PM »
Oh, Styyna, please make it easy on yourself! As easy as you possibly can. The timer is a great idea. If I had this monumental task in front of me, just knowing that I'd only spend a half hour daily on it would help.

I think I would start by getting the random unboxed stuff back where it needs to be. It might bring a little sense of order to the clutter.

Then (and you will need some help with this, I think) put each box in the room where most of its contents belong. Kick the other stuff out of the way if you have to, just get it all back in the room/s it needs to live in. You can put stickers on the boxes that have been "relocated" or mark them with a magic marker - just to mark/measure your progress and to keep the sea of boxes in some kind of order.

Then, of course, take one room at a time and open the boxes and sort the stuff in them out. Keep/use, stow in the garage, give away, store, discard. One room a day, one half hour a day could make this task manageable for you.

I know you did the gleaning beforehand, but if you have been living without all the stuff in the boxes for so long, how much do you think you still need these items? You could do the table by the curb again, maybe, and let the unneeded things find some love elsewhere. :)

Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help! Invite a couple of friends over for the sorting. Just having their company could make you feel less overwhelmed by the task. Add some salads and a bottle of wine as a reward and that little gathering might even be fun!
  • Complexion: Normal. Fair/warm. NC 15-20 (MAC speak)
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Styyna

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  • "steena"
Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2011, 10:44:21 PM »
Cougar - Even though you've mentioned this to me before, how could I forget so quickly? Your basic sort makes great sense. Especially if I incorporate a modified version of. . .

Tupelo's suggestions about distributing stuff room by room. It would be incredibly messy at first because what I'm seeing is a set of the 3 labeled boxes in each room. Then I can grab a box of stuff and distribute stuff into the appropriate box in the room where it belongs. I could do as much as was comfortable at a time and always know where to start the next time. It's an approach that brings some continuity to the project.

This is something that I can manage by myself too. Many of the boxes are opened with stuff hanging out because I've dug through them so much so they aren't very heavy and would become lighter as I went along. When a Get Rid Of box in any room is full I can empty it into a larger container where we keep trash and such.

As I move about during the day and evening I can make sure I don't go empty-handed by moving a piece of unboxed stuff if it belongs in a room along the way.

It would be total, mass chaos at first but I'm OK with that. (DH will grumble but he'll get over it. :D ) But then it would begin to clear up quickly once I've finished distribution and tossing. I'd probably end up consolidating into few boxes than I start out with, eliminating a number of boxes, and each box I cleared as I began going room by room would be a permanent elimination.

As for eliminating more stuff due to non-use, much of it is textiles to hang on walls and and literally all of my knick knacks. It's amazing how much space a small, delicate glass butterfly sculpture piece takes when stored in a box. All of our walls upstairs are bare of adornment except for a bulletin board in my office. It takes me a long time to settle on a room arrangement and we've been in a state of flux most of the years we've been in this house.

The rest of the boxes have been dug through on a regular basis for items in them. And, because I didn't know of a better place to put something at the time, I'd put it right back in the box when finished.

That said, I'm willing to simplify even more if necessary. I just want to give a good try in terms of using these pieces so I know which pieces work and which don't (talking about decorative stuff). Makeup is something that I also have an overabundance of and, after some basic organization takes place so I can make a little space for packaging/mailing, I think I will give swapping a shot but only if I can swap for things I really want so I'm not just replacing what I already have and don't use.

Then there's always clothing and shoes. I have a lot of good clothing and shoes that I likely won't use again and could probably sell on consignment. That might be the first place to start. Getting those items out of here and on consignment would ease things immensely in the bedroom.

Oh dear - I'm thinking this through right here on the forum! And I'm too tired to go back and edit.

Thank you both! :heartthrob:
  • Complexion: NW10; slight rosacea; dry
  • Eyes: Blue-gray
  • Hair: Dark blonde with slight gray, thick, wavy, dry
To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness. - Mary Stuart

SusieQ

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2011, 01:05:30 AM »
I 2nd Coug's suggestions.  DH and I are working on two rooms. We have one room that needs to be organized and convert it into my makeup/changing room. So, we've decided to take everything out of that room and put everything in the front room and while he removes the "popcorn" from the ceilling, I will going to the keep, maybe, and trash method.  We both work so it will take a while to get this done because my current sewing room will also go into this room so that we can convert the other room as a guest room.

Styyna, please take your time and take lots of breaks in between. Come and blog with us when you take a break and you can tell us how the process is going.
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Poppyfields

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 10:15:40 AM »
Styyrna, you have been through so much and been victorious.  This will not defeat you.  This mess is not of your own making, but a result of needed repair.  It will take longer that you want to set right (yesterday?) but slowly it will come back together. 

It has nothing to do with your abilities or duties as a homemaker.  So put any guilt out of your head now.  Concentrate on getting yourself back to normal and your house will gradually get back to normal too.  It probably bothers you more than anyone else.  I'm constantly amazed at the level of 'mess' a male can ignore.   :lol:

Yes, break it down into small, easily accomplish-able pieces and take the time to enjoy each time it gets better; rather than see the whole mess.  Decide that the worst is over, and life will gradually get better and better.

We will help you to rejoice over each step of the progress.  Somehow writing it down should offer 'proof' that your work is making a difference, even though the boxes are still there, taunting you.

You are the important one here; to us and to your DH.  Take care of yourself, now- hear?!

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There is nothing wrong with you. Not one single thing. Any fault lies with the fashion/cosmetic/marketing industry that has trained you with false proof to believe that you’re not perfect.

Cougar

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2011, 10:50:29 AM »
Just remember, "experts" say don't even put "clean out front closet" on a list because just that room alone can take several sallies.
Make these jobs into weeny jobs and remind yourself how big a job each one was.
  • Complexion: complexion - light olive, super oily
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  • Hair: hair - drk brown, drk caramel highlights, super fine
. *´¨)
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(¸.•´  ¸.•´
 . . Cougar

Styyna

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2011, 12:08:40 PM »
I think it must be dusty in here. I'm sure that's the reason for the tears that welled as I read your kind replies.  :-* :-*

Everyone of you contributed something helpful and supportive. I'm really getting much better at doing little bits at a time and being satisfied with my accomplishments.

One of the single most useful tools that I resurrected is a light-weight vacuum that is like a Dustbuster-on-a-stick. With 3 dogs and 2 cats that are shedding vigorously I was despairing of ever getting ahead of the fur that slips into every nook and cranny of our floors and furniture. Our house is nearly all wood floors and even a dustmop was just scattering a lot of the fur instead of gathering it up. My little tool has made a huge difference!

As I posted elsewhere, I have a number of clothing items that need to be boxed up and returned and I've been procrastinating on that task for days, to the point that it's anxiety inducing. :P  So that's what I'm tackling next after I finish posting here!
  • Complexion: NW10; slight rosacea; dry
  • Eyes: Blue-gray
  • Hair: Dark blonde with slight gray, thick, wavy, dry
To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness. - Mary Stuart

makinalist

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2011, 11:28:37 PM »
I hope you were able to get those pesky returns ready to go!  You will feel so much better when they are out the door.  Sometimes I do the packaging one day and then take them to be shipped on the next day. 

Baby steps!
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Cougar

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2011, 02:00:19 AM »
I just got something today that I hope will put a HEEUGE dent in my putting the house in order.  My sister has mentioned this a thousand times but today, it finally sunk in.

I got those bags you store clothes in then vacuum all the air out.  Whole comforters and pillows can even be stored flat as can be.

I got a bunch of them and hope to start first with my cold season clothes that I *do* wear (fit).  Then I will start attacking clothes I cannot wear.  Maybe some day I will sell them or give them away or fit them or or or.

But hopefully I can start to see space soon.
  • Complexion: complexion - light olive, super oily
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  • Hair: hair - drk brown, drk caramel highlights, super fine
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(¸.•´  ¸.•´
 . . Cougar

makinalist

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2011, 09:36:29 AM »
I tried those storage bags, too.  Space Bags?  I hope you have better luck than I did!  Mine didn't last after I removed items and then tried to reseal them.  The zip feature stopped working and I couldn't get a good seal anymore.

I would be very gentle with opening and closing them, and maybe I over-filled them as well.  Now they are just big plastic bags!

Please report back if you figure out how to make them last more than one season.  They were great at first!
  • Complexion: NW20 (cool light), normal-to-dry
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The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog.  ~Ambrose Bierce

Cougar

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2011, 12:13:20 PM »
Even one season would help me!  :lol:

But I will let you know.  I am desperate.  I imagined what I would fill them with to put myself to sleep last night (like counting sheep).
  • Complexion: complexion - light olive, super oily
  • Eyes: eyes - dark dark brown
  • Hair: hair - drk brown, drk caramel highlights, super fine
. *´¨)
 ¸.•´ ¸.•´¨)
(¸.•´  ¸.•´
 . . Cougar

makinalist

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2011, 01:11:55 PM »
Oh, I know what you mean...but I was really disillusioned a year later.  Kind of like with some of my makeup and skincare, come to think of it! :rollseyes:
  • Complexion: NW20 (cool light), normal-to-dry
  • Eyes: Blue-gray
  • Hair: Silver; thin, fine, straight
The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog.  ~Ambrose Bierce

Cougar

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2011, 05:27:14 PM »
I don't know about re-use but halleluiah, I am organizing up a storm!  I just stored over 20 pairs of good cool season slacks in one bag like a pancake.

I see space.  It's hard to believe.
  • Complexion: complexion - light olive, super oily
  • Eyes: eyes - dark dark brown
  • Hair: hair - drk brown, drk caramel highlights, super fine
. *´¨)
 ¸.•´ ¸.•´¨)
(¸.•´  ¸.•´
 . . Cougar

Poppyfields

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Re: Ideas for turning a mess into a home, please?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2011, 04:33:08 PM »
 :clap:  You go, girl!
  • Complexion: Fair, neutral
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  • Hair: med. ash blond, gray highlights
There is nothing wrong with you. Not one single thing. Any fault lies with the fashion/cosmetic/marketing industry that has trained you with false proof to believe that you’re not perfect.