Thursday, July 22, 2010

first step to organizing and cleaning your home


so i don't care if you have never been in the game or if you are trying to get back in the game (as i am) or have never left the game and are interested in hearing other ideas (and sharing your own!). i have this organizing/cleaning schedule that works for me and my family.

is my house perfect?
HAHAHAhaha...ha...hmmm
no.
can you find occasional dust bunnies under my couch?
yes.
do i spend all day every day cleaning?
no.
can my house look somewhat put together in 20 minutes if someone were to come and drop by?
most often yes.

see nobody's house is ever completely clean. i don't care who you are, it just isn't going to happen. because guess what...
everyone poops and takes showers in your bathroom, and everyone makes dirty laundry and dishes in your house.
if you never have those things get dirty in between cleanings then you must be pooping and eating at someone else's house every single day. (and btw that's not very nice. i'm just sayin.)

nope a rotating cleaning schedule wont make your house completely clean all the time but it will keep it somewhat tidy and look clean enough that if by some chance your mother in law calls you from en-route to your house for a surprise visit you can get that baby looking spic and span within 20 minutes just in time for her arrival.
are you ready to gain control?

okay first things first:

GET RID OF STUFF.

that's right before you can be on a cleaning schedule that will work you have to get rid of the extra crap lying around in hidden places.

ever feel like you are just moving one pile of crap to another section so you can clean off one surface only to make the other surface now cluttered?

yeah you have too much stuff.

GET RID OF THE EXTRA STUFF YOU DON'T USE.

here's where to start: inside your drawers, closets, and under the beds.

get three boxes label them:
*throw away
*give away
*store away

empty out completely all the contents of your drawer, closet, or under the bed.

now start placing in the boxes where things go.
if you are keeping that particular item in that drawer or area then keep it and place it aside for it to be placed nicely back in the area you are working on.

***here's a few tips for you people having a hard time getting rid of your glory days jeans...yeah i know you are out there.

if you haven't fit in your glory day jeans in say a year. GET RID OF THEM.
if you can still fit in them...good for you, you should be proud that you still can, but ask yourself this...when was the last time you wore them?
if its more than one year.
GET RID OF THEM!

now do that with all your clothes and all the stupid nicknaks and junk that is clogging up your closets, and drawers and make room for the stuff that is all over your house being pushed around from surface to surface.

***this is what i'm doing right now. i used to do this every 6 months and weed out broken things and papers and just junk that collects because we have 6 people that live in my house.
6 people can break and create a lot of junk in 6 months. it feels liberating once your house is under control and you can open up closets and not have things stuffed in there falling out and know what is in every closet in your house. no really i dare you. do it.

if you are having a hard time getting rid of things even if you know you haven't worn or used something for the last year...put it in your store it away box. and then seal it up with duck tape and then put a date of 6 months from that day's date. if you haven't touched that box or needed anything from that box in 6 months...GIVE IT TO GOODWILL!

so here's my challenge.
for one week your challenge is to tackle one closet or drawer or heck go nuts and do a ROOM. go around every single corner of that or closet or drawer and then room, and get rid of things you are not using and get rid of junk that's just taking up space.
and watch how your clutter on surfaces disappear.

i'm going to do it too.
my craft closet is on the list, and it gives me hives just thinking of tackling it. i may just try something easier first but i don't know...

are you ready to regain simplicity of your house with me?
who's with me?
anyone?

95 comments:

Angela said...

Thank you.
This is the push I needed. While my house is not a disaster zone, I do have stuff that I dont need. Kitchen cupboards - well I hear them screaming "help me" from here!!! One thing, cupboard or room a day I can do!!!

The One and Only said...

oh lovely lady...I'm so with you!! I'm in the slow process of trying to get rid of crap right now...I have about a good 10 boxes left from our move (IN OCTOBER!!!) right now I just don't have the UMPH I need, but after reading what you wrote...I may just have to start, even if it's just a box a day....wish me luck PUHLEEZE!!

Sherri said...

I've just been thinking I really, really need to get organized...so this is great motivation...thanks!

michele said...

thanks for the inspiration! i *try* to already do most of these things, but fail miserably sometimes. i think you've just given me a renewed sense of hope!

Kate said...

Ok. I'm in. I hate getting rid of things I might want, but hate piles of stuff more. :)

Justine said...

This sounds SO goood! I am a student. I save EACH. AND. EVERY. SINGLE. NOTEBOOK, DRAFTS, PAPERS. for those JUST. IN. CASE. I need it!

I am going to wash the car tomorrow. I've been putting it off for a VERY LONG time...4 months? HAHAHA!

Okay - I will try to get to the cleaning tomorrow. I pinky promise to try.

=D

Jolie said...

Vanessa, I love you - I was just coming here for some *clean and organised house* inspiration, only to find this post written specifically for me!!! hahaha...I am so all over this!

Sally said...

Hi V, you are the queen of organizing! I have one more tip...if you have a child (like Sydney) who LOVES to collect things and put them on every surface in her room, then have them watch Hoarders with you and say they are on that path (Sydney told me I was mean LOL) but it works! Getting rid of stuff and not having clutter feels SO good!

Love you!

martha said...

Im with you on this one, i have just started on my boy's room. Isn't it funny how liberating it is and yet easy to forget to do? thanks for inspiring me...

Bec Clarke said...

Oh you make me feel much better about things. I try so hard but I am on board for this absolutely.

Snappy Di said...

It's a great idea in theory, but I'm too busy blogging, taking photos for the blog, thinking up topics for my blog, visiting other blogs. Yep, too busy. It's a great idea though!

Di

Sarah said...

What a great push to get some organizing done. Thanks! Any advice on how/where to store clothes that will be needed in a few months but not now. I'm preggers, and need to have the immediately after clothes followed by the skinny breastfeeding clothes all sitting around, and I can't figure out where to put them all!

Denise :) said...

We went through the process of de-cluttering when we moved from house to RV -- nothing like cutting your living space by *thousands* of feet to cause you to cut the stuff! But it does make life so much simpler! :)

Karen said...

I'm in! I've actually been doing this for awhile now; 15 minutes of decluttering each day and so far, have given away or thrown away 16 garbage bags full. It feels so good! This week I'm doing my kid's closets and drawers...thank you for the motivation to keep going!

Imitating Irene/Ethnic Girl said...

I agree with your philosophy. I declutter all the time. My husband and daughter are pack rats, though. I have this tendency, but I curb it quite a bit. It gets so tiring to move stuff around all the time. My mom and sisters declutter and give stuff to my daughter all the time. This is why we have so much.

shelly said...

I'm excited to hear all your ideas and this is a great place to start. I need help, though: my husband is a pack eat. I ask him to go through his boxes of - say - college books and paper, and he insists he needs everything. I know this isn't true, because it sat in storage across the country for two years and he never mentioned needing any of it. I don't feel right about getting rid of his stuff without his consent, though. Ideas?

SteffiD said...

This is an amazing idea that I just don't think I'm brave enough to tackle. I can try, but once I get into my favorite clothes I can no longer wear it gives me a renewed sense of weight loss. What would I do without my inspiration? Well, yeah, I guess I could throw out SOME of it ;)

Thanks for giving the inspiration to do this stuff!

Katherine said...

yea! just tornadoed through my basement and packed up a garage-ful of things for goodwill. great timing!

Anonymous said...

I have been doing this for the last year. I can't believe the junk I had. I still quite a bit more to do. I was a huge Star Wars fan back in the day and had boxes and boxes of paraphernalia. Lucky for me my nephew is into Star Wars so it went to his house.

I still have a lot to go through but it is nice to see some space opening up.

Anonymous said...

i'm in! but i'm not doing my clothes... but i have a good excuse! i just had a baby so if i get rid of the stuff i haven't used in the last year i'll only have maternity clothes left! my size is changing every month. thankfully it's going down... :)

Cindy said...

I'm with you too! I just started this week. We're having a city wide garage sale in a few weeks and I may have company that will be staying a week in about a month so- now's the time to start!! My spare bedroom/craft room also gives my hives- where do I begin! So I picked a corner and started there and already it's looking better. The mound of items is growing for the sale and I've started a pile for Goodwill. So, I am feeling somewhat better! :) Have a great day!:)

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trish said...

You are singing the song of my heart! :o) I love doing this sort of thing. Wish I could do it for a living. :o)
Have a super day V! :o)
Sincerely ~ Tricia

lisa said...

The first anonymous above could almost be me! Except I'm saving it for my son. I've been working all week trying to get ready for a year sale. I was going to work on pricing today, but there is still stuff I want to get rid of. I hope it all goes!

elise said...

thanks for the motivation!!!
clutter is my worst enemy!
here's hoping!

Chris said...

I've been doing the same thing. Last week we tackled the kids rooms and closets...now time for the bathrooms. :)

Anonymous said...

The store-away box really works - I have a friend that I swap boxes with. We tape the box shut, label it with the "end date" and tape a list of the contents to the top. If we don't return for it by then, the box goes straight to Goodwill and the list is pulled off for the owner. It's less tempting to keep my stuff "just a bit longer" when it isn't even in the house. And I am not tempted to keep my friend's box too long because it's someone else's stuff cluttering up my garage!

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Not my sewing room, noooooo, don't make me do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way too scary!!!! I NEED it all right?

Angela Reindl said...

Great post! I'm having a hard time getting motivated to do this. I had a group of friends over last week so I cleaned the downstairs really well- but of course brought anything that was in my way right upstairs! Part of my problem is that I am a teacher and so I have things that I want for at school, but I'm taking the year off to have a baby so it's not getting to school! I did the downstairs bath the other day, and started on the office/toy room... but my kids were protesting my give away box!
I also have a hubby who will pull things out of the boxes too! GRRRR!

Sherry Williams said...

i just got back from vacation and my kids are showing up from camp in a day and THIS is our plan for the rest of summer (in between pool, friends and general laziness). you cleaning ideas are just what i needed to get off my butt and get to work. i've been thinking of this for weeks...ok, months. and it is time. before school. thank you for the push i needed. :)

angelawhite said...

okay then..thats what i needed to get my butt up and do it..thanks. will begin today.

the crafting momma said...

This post caused me to startle my baby who was playing nicely on the floor beside me as I read. Why? Because I laughed so loud at the intro to this post. I totally agree about purging the crap. I got rid of so much junk while I was pregnant last summer. It made a huge difference to keeping the house neater. Now more junk is piling up again. How do babies accumulate so much stuff? It must be those grandparents. Thanks for the motivation.

mom2three said...

Love this post... here's an idea for you... what if those of us who are with you send you in some before and after photos? I have to admit that ever since I moved into my new house (2 years ago)- the main floor is always picked up, there's not much clutter in the kids rooms or anything... but the basement.... well it's 1000 square feet of mess. I love to have a ranch, with almost a full finished basement, and the toyroom is down there, and my laundry/sewing room, so you know, it's messy. But maybe I'll tackle just a small corner of that since you are so darn inspiring....

The Stivender Family said...

while packing up for vacation i thought to myself, 'go through every square inch of this house and start chunking and donating as soon as we get back.' we're back and i am starting today!! thanks for the motivation. it always helps knowing that someone it doing it with you.

Cheryl said...

I am on the bandwagon with you. We just moved and we have piles everywhere from the unpacking so I am throwing things out and setting stuff aside for Goodwill. I can't wait till the house is ready.

Baby.Got.Craft said...

Off to attempt my son's closet - thanks!

Crista said...

I'm in! Last week I scheduled a charity pick-up for next Thursday, so I better get busy! JK, I already have 3 boxes, but my goal is 8!

Marie said...

Blah, I so need to do this!! Your a stinker for this post..

By the way, I updated the blog..


http://jmzjfamily.blogspot.com/

Stacy said...

You sound like me, I have the same rules when it comes to cleaning and organizing, I love it!!!

Jesslyn said...

I'm SO with you! Have been purging things throughout the house since spring hit. Feels so great!

Luv Erin said...

Yay! I'm in. We're moving in a week, I've barely started packing, and I don't want to take a bunch of crap with us. Thanks for the motivation!

Anonymous said...

I would like to add to this post if I may. I am in the process of cleaning out my Mother's house. She lived in it for 52 yrs. I have spent 2yrs! Yes, you read right, 2 yrs. going through cupboards, drawers, closets, boxes & garage. I am nowhere done. She kept everything. She was interested in everything. She tried everything once and had all the tools for that project. She was a very amazing wife. She is a very sweet mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother. But her STUFF overtook her 2000 sq.ft. house. She had the pile thing going on, she had the put it in boxes under beds thing going on. Now @ 84 she is in assisted living and her children are left to go through her STUFF and make sure nothing vauluable is thrown away. I have found my Great Grandparents marriage license from 1897! Pictures of my Great-Great Grandparents and my mother in a 4 generation picture! And her Safe-Deposit box key missing for 15 years. Everytime I come home from her house I clean out something from my house and say to myself...I am not going to make my children have to clear out my house. By-the-way the 800 # for the Salvation Army is 1-800-728-7825. You call them and they tell you the day they are scheduled to pick-up in your town. They take furniture too. Have a good cleaning day!
SLORober's Mom

Miss Prickly said...

Yay, yay, yay...I'm in!!! Let's get going!

bdaiss said...

Sign me up! We have two sets of company coming next month and we'll be gone for 2.5 weeks. The "guest bedroom" is a total disaster. Despite having multiple available storage locations it's become a dumping ground. This weekend I SHALL TACKLE IT! (Hmm, that might also mean some shopping for storage equipment...)

Macy said...

I'm in!

Riechan said...

I'm in!
I definitely need to re-organize my bedroom! thanks for the tips ;)

Tracy said...

ok here is the deal you pay for your flight and I will feed you for a month to come and sort my house out LOL I am ashamed to say my house is full of clutter

Gene Black said...

thanks, I feel really guilty now.

Andrea said...

I love to organize and purge. I am right there with you about how important it is.

It does make a difference of being able to throw the house back together in 20 minutes.

Thanks!!

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Such great advice...I have a few cupboards (ok rooms) that need a little attention. I plan to use some of my summer holiday tackling it...wish me luck and if I don't surface by the beginning of September...send in a search party! :o)

Aimee said...

I am!

Christie said...

Awesome post. We need to do this so bad! I do it quite regularly, but how do I get my husband to do it? The last thing he feels like doing after work is going through clothes and things.

angela said...

I'm in! There is SO.MUCH.CRAP. that the kids and husband save. I'm constantly trying to get rid of it...I love the tape-the-box idea. I don't think they will open it and then it all can leave :)

peaknits said...

Can you see me over here in Wisconsin jumping up and down raising my hand?! YES!!

nicole taylor said...

I will! *all the way in New Zealand* Thanks for the motivation, just what I needed.

Tracy said...

I have no words of wisdom, but I'm totally in on this! Ready, set, go....

bethanndodd said...

I am SO in! I don't which closet, drawer or under-bed I am going to yet but don't worry, ther ALL need to be done! Thanks for the challenge!

Karin Marie said...

:::Raises Hand!!:: I'm sooo with you on this one! I just getting over food posion & then this post just made my day! Because I got rid of un-wanted bad food in me body I must do the same with stuff in my house &the clutter! &plus all the bad food we do think is good for us when its clearly not! So, I'm vowing to be a better mom, wife & clean, clean, declutter and be healither because in the long run it will be better for all!!
karin marie :)

Justine said...

Yesterday, I mean this morning I mentioned that I will clean my car after like 4 months? Well, I made it happen today! I washed with soap and dried the car, vacuumed the inside, windex the windows, AND I waxed. 3 hours of work. The funny thing is that my car isn't even that big! It's a 2 door coupe!

Kari said...

I'm with you! My husband is soooo with you! (I'm the person with more junk in our household--which he keeps reminding me of.) I do have to stipulate that the craft supplies are outside these rules. :)

Anna said...

I'm in, I'm in!! I just went through our downstairs closet and toy area and got rid of 3 garbage bags of things, two for goodwill and one of toys to pass along to friends. I definitely love your challenge. Seems like everytime I turn around there are things sitting around that don't need to be there. My mom just told me the other day that the less you have, means the less you have to clean up. Don't get me wrong, I am not a collector of much (but my husband is!!). Oh the joy of marriage. Thanks for the push!

It's a Hodgepodge Life said...

I sit here looking at the growing pile of Goodwill items I have been making all week! I decided to tackle one area at a time and this week it has been my closet! It feels so good! I am not through yet, this is only the beginning. I feel as though I can breathe for the first time in years!

abc baby said...

you know i really needed this push ive started in 5 spots this week but never finished in a spot yet ... tomorrow im stating my the server that collects everything by the door and cleaning out the whole thing !!! thank you !!!!

amylouwho said...

I"m trying to do this as I unpack. Between nursing and breaking up fights and consoling wood-floor inflicted injuries, it's a tough job to find time! :)

Dresden Quilter said...

This has been my big summer project. I have been choosing one area a day.

Julie Isa said...

Dust bunnies and cobwebs looookkkk OUT! Here I come!!! Thanks for the nudge!Boy will the hubby be happy...

Tami B said...

Ah, yes. You gave me a good kick in the pants! I'm with ya, sister!

Deenie said...

I love organizing and have helped many a friend do this too - it is so worth it.
to the person whose husband didn't want to get rid of things (after 2 years in boxes) I say let it go and he will never know
Anything in OUR house is OUR stuff@

Princess Martha said...

Any cupboard but the sewing cupboard ;-) Just cant part with anything from the fabric cupboard :-(

Lauren said...

This is the push I needed! I am moving on the 1st and have been dreading going through all of our things. It doesn't seem to make sense to pack up and move clothes and books and other useless junk that I haven't used or worn in over a year! Thanks for the inspiration. I have already packed up 4 plastic bags full of clothes to donate to Goodwill.

bet[c] said...

I'm in. But it'll have to wait a bit. I am still on vacation. But my craft room is vomiting into my family room and my 3 car garage can barely fit one car. Those two places are my nemesis(es). But next week I'll be joining you. Thanks for the motivation.

Allison said...

Thank you! After reading this yesterday I tackled our basement and finally went through all our baby clothes and oraganized christmas decor. I still have more to go all over my house but I feel very accomplished and like I can do this! So thank you again :)

Shannon said...

This is so what I need to do, I've been meaning to all summer, but we've been going and doing....I think you've got me motivated. Especially since we'll have a new baby here in two months! Yikes!

Elisabeth said...

Where do you find all your cute home decor acessories, like that cute pineapple thing in this picture. And all the cloches- are they really all from thrift stores? I love them and want to find a few, but I saw one online for $50 and it wasn't even as cute as yours! Also, do you worry about having glass/breakables around with the boys? I feel like I can't have anything like that unless it's on a mantle or high shelf because of random flying objects and such!

sadieloree said...

Okay. I'm in. It's daunting, but I'm going for it. I definitely have too much clutter. So. Here goes! Thanks for the motivational push in the right direction! :D

Practically Spent said...

Too bad we can't buddy up and go from house to house helping each other out. We'd tell each other "That's nothing compared to my (fill-in-the-blank)." It's always hard starting such projects, isn't it?

V and Co. said...

WONDERFUL!!!! so much excitement!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not far off from another PCS...I'm with you. Darn, you had me at linen closets.... :) ~Heather R.

Marci said...

i literally pulled this up on google reader the other day and didn't come over and read it because just the title made me want to cry.
i clean one thing and the littlest one gets 4 more out. i at least maya is somewhat tidy about things.
it's been one of those weeks..you know the ones that i'm talkin bout.

Toby and Tammy said...

THANK YOU!!!! I will be doing this challenge this week(end). Exactly what I needed to help de-clutter my small apartment. We would love to move and are constantly watching/waiting/saving......

Until then, I need to make my little place a bit nicer/cleaner/happier. 2 parents and 2 babes make for a lot of messes in a 780 sq foot home!!!!

Love the new posts. Love the crafts, but love the new ones the most. thank you!!

Whimsical Creations said...

Thank you for the inspiration.

Dogwood said...

Oh, my gosh...that is the system I use. And, it really, really works. I love being clutter free.

Enjoy...

Andrea @ TheTrainToCrazy.com said...

I love getting rid of stuff. And honestly, we don't have much in the way of decorative "stuff". The stuff that clutters my house is mail, more mail, dishes, blocks and little cars, and fabric =) I'd love to get rid of the dirty dishes!

The Sisters 4 say MORE is more said...

"everybody poops" i DIED!!!!! so funny!!!!! i am totally with you... time to throw out some serious crap!... and organizing craft stuff also makes me break out in a nervous rash...i have the hardest time parting with things that could be a craft one day!

~selina

kersten said...

sounds awesome!

amandajean said...

i've been working on the same thing in my house. simplifying. getting rid of crap. sold a bunch at a garage sale. hauled a bunch to goodwill. (hubby did, actually. yay for him!) i'm ready for round 2 now. and the craft room needs a cleanin' this time. i'm shaking in my boots, but i'm going to do it! thanks for the inspiration to keep on it!

Katie said...

I've done this a couple of times already, but I really want to do it again. Although we'll be moving in 9 months to someplace unknown (grad school for my husband), we're planning on having more kids someday, and I'm in the process of losing weight. So I know those all sound like cop-out excuses for keeping stuff, but, seriously, do you have any great ideas or guidelines for what things to keep and what things to get rid of?

kelley said...

Great idea from Practically spent...go from house to house and help each other...except we'd all be filling our cars with someone else's cast offs!!!

Just this week I gave away 4 large boxes of quilt fabric to folks I found on Freecycle...am delivering 2 boxes to a local church later this week...

will be going through my clothes next day off...

Natasha Burns said...

Vanessa, I came to this post via the one announcing that this Friday is the party.

I have to tell you ~ I receive Fly Lady's emails daily, and skim over and delete them. I've watched Clean House and Hoarders and all these organising TV shows and they either inspire me to do it (yet I never get around to it), or they make me feel good that my problem isn't like theirs (hoarders especially).

I have books, and recorded shows, emails and all the information at my fingertips, yet your post seems to have hit a chord with me!

I was leaving tomorrow aside, almost 6 hours, to tackle our dining room. I was planning on taking pics and posting to my blog so I have to get it organised. Then your post popped up in my google reader and it screamed out like it was meant to be for me!!!

For some reason, it's stupid, I know... that I need some sort of special motivation to tackle these jobs, because they are just TOO big and i don't know where to start. I've recently sorted out our hallway cupboard, the bathroom cupboards, my son's room, made him a play room, and sorted the pantries.... and came to a standstill.

But having a goal that is not just to have a clean, organised home (and that is a great goal, but just not quite enough for me), that needs to be done on a DEADLINE really works for me!

So tomorrow, I'm working on that dining room and I'm going to have it ALL done in 5.5 hours. I'll join in on Friday and post before and after pictures.

Thank you for the inspiration!

One day, I'll tackle the craft room...

Tiffany | Peanut Blossom said...

I'm in, I'm in! Haven't had time to blog about it because I've been too busy throwing crap out! Decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone and cleaned out the bathroom linen closet while my daughter was soaking in her bath. I have an entirely empty shelf in there now where before things would fall out when I opened it. Hope you'll keep up this "Party" for a few more weeks.

End of Tenancy Cleaning London said...

Cleaning may sound as easy as a game. But when you are alone fighting all the messy dirt it becomes a struggle.

Luke and Katie said...

hmm..have you been spying on me?! :) seriously, this has been on my mind for days.
After our 2+ week visit out west and staying with my in-laws, I came back with a deep desire to have a clean house. I will have to admit that the summer has been a HORRIBLE time to start being a clean freak (something I have NEVER EVER been before!)because my kids just destroy it 2 seconds after I have finished...BUT getting rid of junk and decluttering is PERFECT to making the home a little cleaner. Love the ideas and I'll be working on this asap! THANKS!

Carla said...

Been working on this since my folks are coming to stay with my girls while hubby and I take a week's vacation. Found this: http://www.recreate.org/
see if there is one in your area.....

Cristina said...

why why why did it not read this in July...? it would have saved me the hardship of the past weekend as I could have motivated myself and even prepare for the task ahead... and i might have even avoided the general pain that is currently set in my every muscle...

Annie said...

Every time I turn around I hear, see, or read that I need to get rid of my stuff. I'm not a hoarder. I'm reasonably organized. I don't lose my keys, the checkbook, or the dog's leash. My kitchen counters aren't cluttered. My bed is made daily. The newspapers are put in the recycling bin. The living room is neat and tidy. I'll keep my stuff, thank you very much!

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