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Finally made my new years resolution - the 2012 challenge...

12 years ago

Hi All,

I am a frequent poster on the garden forums, but have been checking in here for bit...

Not quite sure where you all are at: expert organizers, borderline hoarders, fly lady failures, or a mix.

Myself - I've been pondering around what my new years resolutions are to be this year, and I allowed myself to ruminate on it a while rather than have the 12pm Dec 31 as usually.

Generally - the categories are: save more money, more exercise and healthy food, and get more organized - both in terms of financials, budgeting and paperwork (3+ years of unfiled papers!), as well as the general household issues.

Waiting on the January raise before I sit down to budget, formulating some exercise plans that don't include a huge pricetag, and trying to figure out where to put my household efforts for the year.

I then realized that every square inch of my house (9 rooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 floors with 2 staircases and hallways) need to be not only completely reorganized, but every inch painted as well. the 2 1/2 floors of interiors, plus 2 porches and a deck on the outside.

Additionally - the 1/2 attic that is unfinished, the basement, and the 2.5 car garage is full of stuff (can barely fit bicycles into the garage, forget the car.....) That need to be ripped apart, sorted out, and reorganized. The entire yard - front back and side is just as out of order with weeds galore and things left about here and there. I need to rework veggie gardens, herb garden, flowers, grass areas etc. Have about 10 weedy saplings to take down - a couple already about 6-8 inches in the trunk, a spot some local kids call the "jungle" to clear out, etc.

Much purchases also need to be made to accomplish this. dressers, desks, file cabinets, and shelving for basement and garage.

A total and complete kitchen remodel would certainly help, I have very little counterspace and cabinets - last remodel for the kitchen was likely in the 30's or 40's (100+ year old house), so have open shelving to accommodate things and it never looks tidy....At any rate, the kitchen needs a lot of work to get it together, whether a full remodel is possible - I'll ascertain a bit later.

But most definitely all needs painting and reorganizing, and for many areas as I noted - it is not possible without purchasing new furniture.

There were medical issues that got me here, and I got a cleaning woman in now every other week and that helps tremendously to keep me on track - but after she was gone yesterday, although the floors were shining, and the sinks and toilets, and tub is gleaming - you walk into the house and you don't hardly notice, too much unorganized noise about.....A desk here, some shelves there, and then clutter is insidiously spoiling each room - sometimes just a little, sometimes a lot, but each area is affected to some extent.

So - 2012 - I will paint every square inch, and reorganize and streamline everything, and buy whatever is necessary to accommodate what we have and plan to keep. Everything must be neat, tidy, and restful to look upon. No junk drawers, no junk room, no thing without a use, a purpose, and an (attractive!!) home.

Is anyone in the same position? Anyone want to join me in the year of doing?

I want to enter 2013 with nothing on my todo list, and start exploring opportunities for fun and fulfillment rather than another year of "waiting" til this that or the other is done, etc. Wouldn't mind some company on the journey...

Comments (30)

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm in.My house isn't terrible but there are spots of clutter in every room, as you describe. All my taxes since 2001 (I think) are jammed in a drawer, disorganized. Last year my finances were so bad I took out a loan to pay my property taxes. The bank required the Deed to my home. Couldn't find it. I ended up driving 70 miles one way to my county seat and paid $5 for another. I got the loan finally but that 140 mile drive should have taught me a lesson. I am ready to spend 2012 going thru every darn square inch of my space. Some rooms could do with painting. The only room I'm satisfied with is my upstairs bathroom, which we completely remodeled in 2008. I've managed to keep it clean and shiny and organized. But the rest of my hpuise absolutely needs a full re-organization. I'm with you. Let's start by drawing up a calendar. One project per month. And make some progress every day. No "sick" days allowed.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    t-bird I was overwhelmed just reading your list. I hope you'll take one thing at a time and not let it overwhelm you. That's one heck of a list to finish in a year. Take your time and enjoy your accomplishments as you go, giving yourself tons of credit before moving to the next task. Good luck.

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  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm with HIWTHI. T-bird, in my humble opinion, this is a recipe for failure. As a flylady wannabe myself, a soul who is chronically disorganized on several fronts, the intense time requirements of such a self-inflicted to-do list would shut me down emotionally, until April. Not a good way to begin a New Year. This is a multi-month endeavor, everything is connected. The tasks overlap and depend on a certain order. It can get overwhelming real fast. The important thing is to start Monday.

    What I have learned, mainly from watching Hoarders, is that you cannot deal with stuff on a piece-by-piece basis or rely on self-motivation. Success comes either from a real commitment to the Flylady-SHEs way of thinking (You didn't make this mess in one day, it will take a while to organize it, with babysteps you can change a tremendous amount in one year. And the most important thing: You can't organize clutter). Or you can take a Hoarders approach, which is an external event puts extreme pressure on you to radically dejunk your home quickly. Please don't think that I believe you are a level five hoarder. It is the enormity of your project list that demands an extreme approach so that in twelve months you are peaceful and satisfied with 2012.

    I would recommend that you start with a little bit of both Flylady and Hoarders. Find a painter now and bring the painter in for an estimate. Or if you are too embarrassed to have the painter in now, dejunk your garage immediately so that you have a staging area for the rest of the stuff in your house. Remember, you cannot make a decision about each little item, you have to deal with the excess quickly. If you need to, get a small dumpster to help you clear the garage efficiently. Once the garage is clear, start working on the rooms that you can have painted, say, in stage one by putting questionable items in the garage. It a good time to look at flooring as well, but don't put yourself in a situation where you have to make too many decisions.

    Once you get the estimate ( or two or three) and establish a date, plan your furniture purchases. For example, the Container Store has Elfa on sale now until February. Or IKEA, where ever you want to go, start thinking about the furniture. You can get inexpensive garage and basement shelving at Lowes, you know, those chrome heavy duty shelves that are about 16" deep and three feet wide. Do not move junk back into the newly painted rooms. Only put things you need and love back into your house. That will be such a pleasure! Just do not allow your self to be paralyzed by too many decisions. It's okay if each room is a soft, creamy ivory color. The important thing is accomplishing the task. You can repaint later if this matter. Keep the decisions at a minimum. And once a decision is made, don't doubt your plan of action!

    Don't spend too much money organizing stuff that should eventually be gotten rid of. Rather, focus your energy on getting things you don't need or love out of the house by a certain date. Don't postpone the painters. Maybe there is software available to help you, or perhaps if you use a contractor (who might be able to handle flooring and constructing built-ins in the designated rooms and spaces), who can keep you moving forward.

    What is your budget for all of this? Do you have family members who can help you or is this project all your own?

    Please get outside help to keep you on-track. To make the many changes you long for this year, you will need someone to keep things moving forward. Even if it is a high school girl who can file things for you on Saturdays. Please get help-you deserve it! And come here for support and to "think" things through as you go along. Congratulations on making a decision to change. Start now. Remember what Mary Poppins said, "Well begun is half done."

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    t-bird, HIWTHI and cupofkindness have given you some great and detailed advice. I really can't add anything except a wish that you'll be kind to yourself while you accomplish your goal. And break your plan down into small bits that you can accomplish and feel good about. I wish you the best of luck and a wonderful 2012.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh - it is a long list, thank you everyone for the kind words and advice, but it IS doable. I've already accomplished much. I actually kind of started in the fall with a project that just spiraled out of control.....painting this built in shelving unit in the parlor.

    It is 8 feet tall, 2 foot deep, and 10 foot long. 5 shelves above and 3 drawers and 2 cabinet drawers on the bottom.

    My huge mistake was undertaking this like a "contractor"....I emptied the whole thing of books, photos, keepsakes, etc. and tried to paint it all at once. I bought pricy high gloss oil paint, and the main issues were:

    1- oil paint is harder to work with than latex - I didn't know
    2- despite the pricy oil paint, it still needed 2 coats.

    Was about 1/2 way done, and I really needed to finish it before busy season hit at work (super busy, with multiple business trips) then I got sick, and with work busy, couldn't take off any days at all and had to travel ill as well. I was exhausted for about 10 weeks with work.

    So the contents of the shelving were covering every surface of the downstairs for several months. It was such a giant imposition, and has me now super sensitized to any disarray at all, and leads directly to my 2012 resolution.

    I was not able to finish this with the hectic holiday season, but after that, I just told myself I had to work at it a little, at least a little, every day...

    So I started with just 20-30 minutes before work, and I was amazed at how quickly real progress started. I can usually spare at least 20-30 most mornings, and then I wondered - how much could I get done in a year - and I thought! I can do it!!!

    I'm going to do it!

    Now - the shelves part of this project is nearing completion!! I have already been able to load up most of the shelving with books etc. and I have consolidated with the books in my study (which will be next on the painting list after finishing painting the parlor).

    And if perchance I should try my best and fail - I will have made so much progress, that it won't matter, and I will keep on!

    It is a lot, and I'm not saying it isn't, but I have a few aces under my sleeve too -- remember I said I have a cleaning woman come in every 2 weeks. This helps keeps me on track, and insures that the entire house doesn't fall into disarray as I become immersed in a project. Every 2 weeks at least - everything must be tidied and cleared for the cleaning lady.

    I highly recommend a cleaning lady to anyone battling organizational monsters. It is not only the value of the cleaning, but the effect on my own behavior that is invaluable.

    My 2 kids are older, and I will assist them with their room, but they are able to do most of it, I think. After I posted, DS came to me yesterday wanting to earn money. He is willing to work for $10/hr....and he's a good worker, although needs a supervisor to be productive.

    Once I see some progress, my energy level soars....I Just keep looking at my painted shelves, and it is really really nice. The wall is dark blue, the shelves are bright white, and the woodwork and crown molding are black. I just love it! It gives me inspiration! And it shows me that just a small amount each morning can make a huge difference in a short period of time.

    Going forward, I know that ripping apart an entire room or large area is not the way to go. As susanka noted, small bits. If i had to do the shelving from scratch, I would do it one shelve at a time. Wait for it to dry, reload, then do the next. I didn't realize that painting carefully with a brush - there really is virtually no dripping,and each shelf protected the contents below....

    So I will only be doing 1 wall, or 1 corner of a room at a time. Paint the wall 1 day - or 2. Second coat if needed, do the trim the next day or two. Let dry a day or two and focus on something else in the mean times, then put that area back together and reorganized it completely, and on to the next....

    So really - 1 week per wall or corner or project. In 1 month, the entire room is done. Maybe an extra week or two for some aspects to a room here and there.

    I am not going to make myself miserable by devoting huge time blocks over the weekends or days off either. That is a recipe for overload, and eventual repression of the whole deal. I will do the same on the weekend, perhaps allowing up to an hour, or 2 if I'm enthusiastic.

    Who's in?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think doing all the painting yoursef is actually a realistic goal. I painted my dinette (small room off the kitchen with just enough rooom for a table and chairs) in one month. I took it very slow and easy. Half a wall at a time. Removed any wall clutter (shelves and decorative plates), washed the wall, then painted with 2 coats of good paint and primer (Sears Behr paint at about $25 a gallon). Worked slowly thru the room and it looks fantastic. I let the shelves and plates return, and added beautiful new curtains. It was a lot of work but my dinette cheerfully greets me every day.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago


    I wanted to respond particularly to your nice post, I appreciate your thoughts. I have gotten painting estimates in the past, and I just cannot pay someone that much money to do what I can do well. I'm an experienced (unfortunately!) and skillful painter. Also good with spackling up holes, etc. In my area, painters generally charge at least $50/hour for labor or more!, and I just can't pay that. Theoretically, I could - but I think it's outrageous and I just wont! For example, an estimate I got6-7 years ago for the porch and deck (it's a huge double decker on front of house...8x24'...the estimate for painting, including materials was 8K....

    I do have a few packrat tendancies, but am certainly not at a "hoarders" level. Perhaps my internal high level of dissatisfaction with the status quo led to my post coming across as too negative and giving the wrong impressions. Each area needs some attention, painting and a reorganizing, but nothing too severe. Although the garage for example is almost unwalkable into, on a nice summer day, it wouldn't be more than a weekend job to get it all out, sorted, put in some shelving (that's why it's so disordered, no place to put things.....), get rid of what isn't needed (I think there are 3 lawnmowers in there.....), sell the sporting stuff no one wants, and rearrange it all nicely back in.

    There is an issue of *i think* rats getting into it. maybe possums? I have to rip stuff out to find out their entry and block it up somehow......

    I do have help, the cleaning lady, DS is on the payroll, and will certainly pay for other assistance if needed. But 50-80/hour for labor in this city really makes me try to DIY all I can.....

    I'm going to attack 1 area at time and make sure it is complete, or near enough before moving on. For example, the white shelves, some spots may have needed a 3rd coat to look "perfect" - but I'm going to got through the entire house doing "near perfect" - get it all done, and then I can do spot work on any imperfections that bug me 2013

    The kitchen, will be amongst the last as it is by no means a quick fix. I want to tackle easier areas before making big decisions....and big budget considerations

    Thanks so much for your thoughts - I will hire in help as needed....that is one of the reasons I got a cleaning lady, so I could free myself up to do the more costly labor myself.

    Also - will be very careful with any purchases. Was contemplating this yesterday. I was looking on craiglist as furniture, and getting 1-2 hutches, like for a DR into the kitchen could accomodate everything currently on silver wire shelves and be much more "discrete" + the silver shelves could go into the garage or basement.

    But then I needed to consider that is a temporary solution towards what is really needed in the kitchen, and so I need to think very carefully on what I want to do with the kitchen. And I am going to put that off for a few months (the thinking part) and just get done what I can with available materials and manpower (have purchased most if not all the paint needed for downstairs, halls, and bathrooms....

    So - my 2 mantras going forward....a series of small, doable, and COMPLETED projects. And making some small, however small, progress each and almost every day.....

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Back from the trenches :)

    DS was a huge help, in 2 hours he did all the rough wall painting in the rest of the parlor (I had already done the wall right next to the shelving unit). While he did that, I finished the shelf area - will need to just touch up a bit tomorrow on the area I worked today...I had lost track of where there was wet paint, so didn't want to ruin it by going over if it was half wet.

    I also did about half of the first coat for the drawers and cabinet doors on the bottom. Will need to rip out everything in those to sort and organize at some point.....

    I want to put together a detailed todo/punch list for the parlor - plus a very generalized list of areas like in this post. Doing it in detail for everything at once will be discouraging. As I start each room, then I'll do the detailed list.

    My big "prize" for completing the parlor will be the purchase a new loveseat to place near the shelves for a reading nook. I'm huge on reading, love books (no kindling!). Love to curl up with them on the couch, in the tub, or bed.

    My first big goal is to have the parlor, front room, dining room and entry/hall/stairs to 2nd floor done by mid march, when we will have DS birthday celebration and extended family coming over. With DS help on the weekends, it will be doable, but I'll have to keep focused....

    Once April comes, things will start to grow outside - necessitating a split between indoor and outdoor chores....and work will get very busy for a while, so to have a large chunk of the interior done by then will be good....

    I think my goal will be to cover every room or area within a 4 week time frame - and if I miss that deadline, I have to hire some help till I am back on track....

    I am fighting the urge to do more in the parlor today, lol! But my weakness is to work past exhaustion and thus end up not staying the course. It's almost 5 pm....need to finish tidying up from the painting, and setting everything to rights that can be, and have some down time.

    Hope you all are enjoying success in your projects!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, sounds like you got an amazing amount done already, t-bird.

    I'm thinking of spring too -- here in Colorado I won't need to do too much outside until very late April or May, but I have tons to do out there also; we just landscaped our yard with many perennials and new plants to take care of, and DH is not a plant person, so it's my baby.

    I'm big on reading too, and the main job in the LR is sorting out my bookcases, which got bollixed up when we were trying to decide whether to paint them. I sort into varieties and then alphabetize, so it takes a while, but I love doing it.

    Well, good luck to us both and to us all!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    While ds helped out for a 2 hour painting stint, I put in about 4 hours first prepping, and then making sure I used up all the paint in the roller tray, and then the big clean up.

    I'd clock myself as ~4 hours, and it was too much as I was also stripping my bed and washing 2 comforters, mattress cover, sheets etc for 3 loads, plus also did the grocery shopping, cooking and the usual kid transports, etc. I was really flagging as it hit 8 pm and I was still cleaning up from dinner and my sheets were in the dryer and I needed a very thorough washing myself before getting into my *clean!* bed.

    I did it all, but my feet were hurting like after a too-long waitress shift, my lower back was moaning about something (possibly the furniture moving about we did), and there was diminished excitement about the project.

    I wish I was going into work today, but I have to take DS in to register for classes, and to the DMV *ugh!* and we were planning on another painting stint for him to earn some money - I'm not up for it, lol!

    Well - at any rate, I will go along with if he's still interested - while he's interested and around - it is a limited time proposition! But I'm going to train him on the cleanup aspect so I can also limit my time to 2 hours max.

    Also - to make way for 2 workers.....we did have to rip apart the room a little more than I wanted to, so I am anxious to get the furniture back into place. That always unsettles me....

    Maybe I'll be more enthused after cuppa java #2...

    Found these to help with planning!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    thought I already posted this - but couldn't get those forms to print out for got some template in excel and modded it up for me.

    I still like to print it out, and handwrite my tasks....

    I'll have 1 sheet listing all the major areas, and each major area will have a detailed list.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    t-bird, I couldn't get a "list" either, only blank forms, and I've got plenty of blank paper already. Did you actually get a list of what to clean/organize?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    no - I took some generic excel template - think it was some price list thing as I couldn't find a go todo for specific project planning....

    It was blue and grey - which are my favs, and so I have a title section at the top the room in the big bold title and below that fill in start date, due, and done.

    The columns I put in the main area are:
    Task - date planned - person - hours- cost - materials - costs - date completed.

    This way - I keep track of everything on a per room basis, and what I pay to ds or other hired help, what I buy, and how long everything takes and if I'm on schedule.

    For the "master" list, task is replaced with "Major area" and all the other fields. Here I can total the hours, costs, and calendar time for each major area.

    I'm liking this so far, although when I printed out I saw the rows are too narrow for writing, made for typing. I'll change that for future room lists, or learn to write smaller....

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    It looks like Organized Home revised their pages. I think you can find what you want by starting on the link below and then browsing the Clean House section.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Clean House Lists

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think your goal of "forward progress every day" is a smart one--and very doable.

    You may find that you need a day off--there's a reason for the sabbath. So when you hit that, forgive yourself, and don't dwell on it. (You don't come across as though you'll need that advice, but someone trying to follow your example might.)

    I'm also trying to make sure every day sees something better in my home. That today's regular "maintenance" is taken care of, and one further project handled. So, fold clothes from today's laundry run by DH, but also clean out six things from the stash of "paper that needs to be dealt with."

    And I'm going to start a list, too, of the projects I want to tackle. Because I forget them sometimes! And maybe I'll match them up with the days, to give myself some direction.

    You're inspiring me!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Glad I'm inspiring someone Sue!

    I've taken quite a few days off....just as the fever (of cleaning, etc) was on me, DD got a fever and was home for 3 days. Yesterday was MLK day, and I don't like to paint with oil based paint when someone is home....DS doesn't matter much - he lives in the attic and is 2 floors and 2 doors away, but when DD is sick, she spends time on the couch, so painting was out!

    Then - I got out of practice, and the next thing I know - the kitchen is a disaster again! Luckily - the cleaning woman is due this friday, so that will get me back on track. I'm up early today (coffee time...) and will finish up the oild based painting and move on to wall and trim, with the goal to have this room done - or close to done - by Friday when the cleaning lady comes.....

    Looking at the calendar - still on schedule with this one - parlor is scheduled for completion 1/28...4 weeks from 1/1/ more than a week left (although - this first room is a "cheat" as I started the painting last fall then got distracted.....

    More coffee - then into "the zone" lol! Clean the kitchen, then onto the project...

    Must admit - I'm still stumbling with old board games and childrens artwork.....then there are the "crafting" things, yarns and needles, etc. Things I usually go back to at 3-5 year intervals......

    I may do just a cursory cull, organize back into clean cabinets and drawers, and leave till I know the overall storage needs of the house. On the one hand, I could just chuck all this and not really ever miss it....but re-acquire on an as-needed basis (hopefully - within 10 years, there will be the start of a new generation, lol!). On the other, if I chucked it all, then all these drawers and such at the bottom of the book case would be empty, so might as well store these things while I work out where I'm going....

    at any rate - have disposed of quite a bit - garbage is always progress....

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Garbage is always progress"

    Words to live by!

    Keep us posted.

    --Talley Sue

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi T-Bird

    You're inspiring me too!

    I really appreciate you including the details like - "Must admit - I'm still stumbling with old board games and childrens artwork.....then there are the "crafting" things, yarns and needles, etc. Things I usually go back to at 3-5 year intervals......" That is what is like for me to and it helps to see your thought process and how you work it out.
    My house needs what yours needs. Minus the painting. I have a large home with so much stuff packed into the closets, craft room, basement etc. For example, my kids are 16, 18, and 21 and I still have an (organized) toy closet! It's hard to let it go! The same is true for my craft room. I have way more than I'll ever use - things that are outdated etc.

    You are inspiring me to set a goal to get through it all this year.

    Talley Sue - I also like your discussion about getting the regular maintenance housework done and one extra thing every day.

    I'm sure there are lots of "lurker" watching what you are both posting.

    Thank you and keep up the good work.


  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "For example, my kids are 16, 18, and 21 and I still have an (organized) toy closet! It's hard to let it go! The same is true for my craft room. I have way more than I'll ever use - things that are outdated etc."

    With this - I always try to balance the value (sentimental as well as cash) of tossing and replacing, vs the condition when it gets used again vs the condition it is in now if given away to a new owner...

    I have trouble with children's books. I have an extensive collection of hardy boys that DS devoured at one time, all hard covered and look great (brand new prining about 1990). Is it better to keep them, will they still be shiny and new when his sons are ready? Is it better to let them find new fans?

    But - seems I remember a lot more than they do. There are still MY children's books (and I still have my toddy bear one would ever love him again, and he is NOT garbage, so with me he stays!) - just a very few books, missing covers even - I read them as a child, read them to DS and DD, now they are too beat up to pass on.....

    But - PROGRESS - finally willing to toss all textbooks! For all three of us!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    With this - I always try to balance the value (sentimental as well as cash) of tossing and replacing, vs the condition when it gets used again vs the condition it is in now if given away to a new owner...

    I agree. I have, for example, a box of transformers from my boys and lots of legos. Both of these things have material value. If I were to sell or give away the transformers, would I kick myself later? Or will the boys be looking for them for their kids? We probably need to just pare down the Legos and part with the rest.

    You mentioned Hardy Boys. Well, I have a full set of Nancy Drews that were mine( some were old when I got them second hand so they are collectible). My daughter read a few but that's it. I think I am going to sell them on Ebay because I doubt they will get any more use in this family. Somehow it seems that each generation needs to find it's own interests - Nancy Drew books and Hardy Boys books will be available for purchase in the future if the need arises. It is sad parting with them though, isn't it? Maybe you could keep the first three volumes or something?

    Whatever we can let go of is progress for sure.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Must read through this but dinner is ready, bookmarking to come back to.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Welp-almost 2 weeks in and a lot of progress!

    BUT....still haven't finished the shelf painting (grumpy face) - I thought it just need 1 more hour or so, but some areas need a light touch of another coat, so had to wait on it to dry thoroughly before touching those spots up, even though it is literally only about 15-20 minutes to go over these areas...

    Now, I won't do that till right before work on Monday, as it's too cold to crack any window and fumes, etc. It was so cold today, I called in cold to work ..tehe...taking a working from home day op... so I just need to keep up on email and any voice messages from home....comp time for working unpaid saturdays and not really a freebie.

    Cleaning lady came. I pay her for 4 hours of work, although it usually only takes her about 3 now that she's got the routine down and things aren't "boo scary" anymore. I wanted to have "special projects" each time, but for a few months it was all I could do to get the rest of the place ready for her. So I've been paying for 4 hours and only getting 3, so since I was off work I removed everything from the bathroom shelves (chaotic!) and the hall closet (double chaos!) and she scrubbed them down, and now I've got to sort through, purge, and organize it all. Plus DS was very bitter about there being nothing to eat (and - yes - there is very little - we need a big shopping spree) the only thing to do was make pancakes from I've paid $80 for a clean house, been cleaning since 6 this morning myself as well, and the contents of the bathroom shelves (no closet - so shelves hold everything) is all over my bedroom....and the contents of the hall closet is all over the dinning room table (had to clear a spot for my laptop), all over the living room sofa, and loads of stuff in the hall and living room floor.....truly amazing how much I can stuff in there....scratch amazing....insert frightening.....

    But I've been on my feet for 7 hours cleaning, etc, with just a few sit downs of 10-15 minutes and my legs are aching...I can hear the veins popping....feet hurt too....I'm afraid the multi-site chaos and dirty kitchen is going to have to wait till tomorrow....

    so once again - side tracked from the original project!!! But this time, I didn't want to be side tracked!!

    It needed to be done, and I sure need to utilize the time I'm paying for with the cleaning lady, but these 2 chores were really not where I wanted to spend my time at this juncture...

    Big picture!! focus!! overall - more! progress! Maybe not linear, but all things that needed to be done. And - will shorten my time, once I get to those areas on the "official 2012 reboot house todo list"...

    I've thrown things away today!!! I've put things into the give away pile!!! I've made a "things that don't belong to us" pile!!!

    ok - I inspired myself! I just jumped up and cleared off the kitchen counter and put all the dirty dishes into hot soapy water...


    I'm going to try to put just a few things away every 30-60 minutes until 4-5 pm (that's when I allow myself to get lazy!! I can't watch TV before about that time, it seems so.....decadent.....

    I'll at least make some dents on these 3 projects......and finish tomorrow....or sunday.......

    But Monday - Paint!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    t-bird I am checking in regularly and am very inspired. I love the way you seem to be able to get yourself back on track without beating yourself up about getting off track.
    Keep up the good work!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks all! so helpful the good wishes and interest....amazing how refreshing and helpful it is!

    I have had - weirdly - a tiny negative voice popping up the past few weeks. "you can't do this" "it won't be different this time" "you've tried for 20 years, nothing will change"

    It seemed to be my own thoughts - my wisdom and insight, perhaps my intuition... and I felt like maybe it was true...

    But when considering it - how on earth to act on it? Give up? roll over, and then what? So in the end I rejected it, and actually - I now think of it as a huge symptom of positive.

    I have obviously advanced to a point where part of my psyche is uncomfortable - and wants to maintain the status quo. Not happening!

    Another pitfall that I've avoided - when the bathroom shelves and closet were emptied yesterday - I resisted a VERY STRONG urge to paint those areas before putting everything back, under the guise that it would "save time" by "doing it once".

    And -yes - it would save a whole lot of time to do it that way.....if I could stay home working on this full time for the next week! But if I'm working at work FT (and it will be getting busier and busier....) having three areas totally ripped apart and non-functional is a recipe for disaster, so I told myself a firm - no not now! when that room is the focus......only 1 major project at a time......

    but a few minor ones here and there....that I'll allow....

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    t-bird, how is the painting going? I'd love to hear an update from you!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I too decided this was the year to "get it together". I've let it slide far too long :(

    When I had my second son almost 6 years ago, life seemed to turn upside down. He had a double hernia operation at 4 months old so not sure if it contributed but he was extremely miserable for the first 4 months of life and he grew into a toddler with a very difficult personality (he's SO much better now).

    My personality wasn't able to cope very well with it. At some point during the difficult toddler years, we finished our basement. Everything that was down there had to come upstairs very quickly. Some of them boxes that hadn't been opened since we moved here several years prior.

    I'm sure I fell into some kind of depression. What I learned from Hoarders is that I think we do develop a sort of "clutter blindness". It's how we can survive living with stuff everywhere. I'm certainly not a level "5" or anything but I had stuff piled up in places and I was able to just live around it (like it didn't exsist).

    I also came to realize I hadn't thrown anything away in my many years. I still had stuff from when I was a teenager. I used to work in the beauty business and had SO much stuff I had acquired for free that wasn't being used.

    We started a couple years ago with a huge garage sale (sold $1,000). I had another one last spring (sold $500) but I still had stuff everywhere in certain spots.

    I'm keeping only certain things from my kids for the future. Who even knows if they'll need them? I kept a few special books and some special toys (like Playmobil) and that's it. I've stored them properly away and we'll see what happens with them.

    We save artwork for a year and then we go through it and pick only a special few pieces which I then store in special boxes I created for them. Like this one:

    My Mom and I made a pact that this year we were going to get organized and help each other achieve it. That's been the best decision ever! It's so much better doing these projects with help. An outside eye that can help you make decisions and move forward.

    We tackled my lower landing which had become a catch all for stuff and my basement laundry room. My laundry room was new as part of our basement refinish and it's very large. It has a huge table in the middle on castors (ala Martha Stewart) and the kids and I can do crafts here, I wrap gifts here and fold laundry. It too had "caught" stuff and wasn't being utilized as I had intended.

    Anywho ... two full days of purging and cleaning ... one car load of stuff taken away to charity ... and they both look wonderful! I still have a few items in the laundry room that have significant value so I'm taking them to consignment this week and I have some laundry to work through. When we built the room, I had it wired for a wall mount tv so I'm finally going to get that set up.

    I'm excited about the possibilities now! I lie in bed at night thinking of what the next project will be. I have hope that finally this house will get in order. I think I may take your advice and hire a cleaning lady to keep things clean while I focus on getting things in order. Even if I just do it for this year, I think it would help a lot.

    I'm excited for my kids. I want them to grow up in organization and know how to do it for themselves when the time comes. I really think for some (like me) it's a skill you need to learn. It doesn't come naturally.

    I'll keep checking in to see how you're doing as I keep forging forward myself.

    My next project is at my mom's house. We are tackling her kitchen. She's already been out and bought some Oxo containers for her pantry and some other handy organizing pieces. We're going to whip her kitchen into shape!

    Best of luck! Looking forward to hearing how you accomplish your goals.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    good for you livebetter!

    And thanks for the shout out, trancegemini.

    I was actually logging in to report myself a huge "failure" when I saw the new posts, and decided to go easy on myself, lol!

    Been sick for 5 days, and just was feeling morose in bed and come downstairs to report my failure and have a cup of tea and some toast, select a book, and crawl into bed again. Looking around at the peeling walpaper from 1940's in my room, and the mismatched furniture and my relative powerlessness was getting me down.

    The parlor was "due" to be finished yesterday and it isn' is picking up as I knew it would and I have meetings, conference calls, boss in, and a weekend business trip this upcoming week, plus lots of desk work, so am very bummed to have missed the completion date, and I won't have as much time as I've had this past month for a while - maybe not til august.

    But the recent posts have brightened me. I won't be sick forever. And my energy and enthusiasm will come up too...

    Glad to hear of others forging on and making progress - I'll rejoin your numbers when I can!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    t-bird, much like a diet, you can't be so hard on yourself for not being "perfect". I struggle with "perfectionism" and it can really bring you down. It's a near impossible standard by which to live.

    Even watching Hoarders I see how some folks struggle with perfectionism even in the midst of all their stuff. They are paralyzed to make decisions for fear of making wrong decisions.

    I can relate ... I feel the need for everything to be perfect and when it's not I'm upset. My need for perfect got me where I am today. If I couldn't do something "perfect", I didn't do it at all. You know how that worked out for me.

    So, much like a diet or a commitment to healthier eating and exercise, we need to do the best we can. Some days we will excel and some days we won't. Keep moving forward is the key.

    I've lived in a paralyzed limbo for too many years and I'm breaking free. Even if it's not perfect, it's got to be better than nothing. I mean in all seriousness, I wouldn't organize under my bathroom sink because I was afraid to buy containers in case they weren't the right ones.

    The other day I witnessed an accident scene of a van out of control that hit 6 cars, ending with a driver side impact on a nice SUV. Killed the driver instantly right in front of my local mall I drive to several times a week. Life can be short and it's for living not beating ourselves up for what we didn't do - revel in what is getting done and how it's improving your life one step at a time.

    Rest is absolute key to getting better when you're sick. It's the most important factor for your body to recover. Don't beat yourself up for taking required rest.

    As the British saying goes, "Keep Calm and Carry On"!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "I was actually logging in to report myself a huge "failure" "

    no you're not a failure! sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves but we can only do what we can do! I've decided to do something similar this year, I have this habit of thinking I'm going to get a big block of time to get things done but something always come up, or work gets in the way so I'm going to focus on small amounts of progress and see if I can fit in a couple of hours a week. The way I try to look at things is that progress is progress and you've achieved so much already! Before you know it you'll be back to it and building on to that with more progress! and it will get done. :)

    But take the time to appreciate your work too, and pat yourself on the back for what you've achieved so far.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    How's it going, t-bird?

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