Seeking Home Cleaning and Organizing Tips

After losing my husband in 2001, I have had several back operations and surgeries and total replacement of my left knee. I did have a boyfriend living here for a while, but he was a drinker and was killed when he crashed into a tree in 2008.

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Since my husband passed, I have been diagnosed with PTSD and bi-polar disorder. I have not done much, but lie in the bed or on the couch because physically or mentally I couldn't do much else.

Now my house is horrible. The floors need to be cleaned, there is clutter everywhere. It is almost as bad as one of those hoarder homes, but I don't let garbage and trash build up, just "stuff".

I need help in figuring out a way to get through cleaning the stuff up without just bulldozing through and throwing away all the good "stuff" along with the not needed or not used. I just keep getting depressed looking at it. Can someone help me get started? I need someone to point me in one direction where to start and I will try to go from there. Any and all cleaning or organizing tips will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

By Deborah from Lebanon, ME

January 9, 20110 found this helpful

You could start by buying 4 large plastic totes and label them Keep, Sell ,Garbage and Donate. Start sorting through your stuff and put the items in one of the 4 bins. This forces you to look at each and every item so you don't just throw out everything. This is a good way to start your cleanup

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January 10, 20110 found this helpful

Different things work for different people. I know it's a huge task, but it'll seem a little less overwhelming if you break it down into smaller tasks.

Like I know that I have more stuff than I have storage space. So I'm, little by little, cleaning out the closets and cabinets. I figure once I get those cleaned out, I can hit the clutter and have good places ready to store the items I keep. The worst parts for me will be the computer room (which has become the dropping off point for all sorts of homeless items), and my bedroom (I keep the other parts of the house okay, but my bedroom always comes last).

I've read that you need to be sure to take breaks. Some suggest to change to a new area after a break, and go back and forth. I suggest you do some reading up, and try different things. You'll find some things work better for you than others. One website that you can look at is flylady.net. Don't be too hard on yourself. You'll feel a little better with each spot that you clean out, even if it's just one drawer. Best of luck to you!

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January 11, 20110 found this helpful

I also have bi-polar. Try FlyLady.net. It is free and very effective. I have been where you are. A friend came into my house a while back and her jaw dropped. She hadn't been over in a long time. She said "It's so clean!" I've maintained with the system for over 3 years.

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

Start on one place - one drawer or one corner for one day. As soon as you have it sorted into throw away, donate, keep (don't bother with sell, you never will and it will stay there), put the 'keep ' back in the drawer and get rid of the other two. Do it instantly before you can look through it again. If you can get one small place done you're on your way. And if you can possibly manage it, get out of the house at least once a day. Do you have a park near you? Somewhere green to walk. It's so hard but I do wish you well. You can do it, you're worth it.

Best of luck. Marg from England.

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

I would start with a list.Yes, a written list of 'I don't want, and I do want. For example.. I don't want to keep any magazines that are more than 2 months old. I do want to keep my photos of cousin Sandra and the children.

I definitely don't want to keep my scuzzy worn out underwear and panty hose. I don't want to keep any cracked coffee mugs, I do want to keep those pretty shells a friend gave me. Okay, now the list is your focal point of help in deciding what must go, and what can stay. Since you have been so ill and do need help, have you any friends, family, church community who would be prepared to assist you?

The best of luck to you.

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Anonymous Flag
January 12, 20110 found this helpful

Since you mention your health ailments I suggest contacting your local state Human Resource Services or maybe even your local Catholic Volunteer Serices Volunteers for help to remove items to help you clean it all up. Unless the items are really, really, really necessary please do donate all and/or place in the trash! The key word is 'necessary'! Plus, please do not use your disabilities as a crutch! I am also disabled but do everything I can (and often force the 'what can I') to get things done. You can do it too with effort :-) Please don't use your disability excuses to keep from having your problem solved that you're asking about!

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

Check out www.Flylady.net. You will learn to get organized 15 minutes at a time.

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

You are probably feel overwhelmed, so motivation is the key to that. Do not try to do it all at once. Start with a small area like the kitchen counter or the bathroom. Keep in mind that it will look like more mess while you sort. Reward yourself! Then keep that area clean.

Pick your next area to clean. Do not make it too large of an area, just big enough that you can handle.

With your health problems you may want to find someone to help. That way the person can keep you on track and help motivate you. I just helped a friend of mine start on her house and she has similar problems.

Remember, it took time to create the mess, and it will take time to clean it up. You can do it!

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

Like others have suggested, just commit to cleaning and sorting one small thing or area each day - a drawer, a shelf, or a closet. Listening to music while you work might help. (I collect tons of ideas for my workshops, but don't always put them in the proper files or boxes, and then I end up with a huge mountain of stuff! When it's time to sort, I listen to Christian music which lightens my spirit and motivates me! For you, it might be jazz, contemporary rock, etc.)

Good luck - you are a capable woman, despite the medical setbacks, and you'll feel so proud when you tackle your problem just a little bit at a time.

Let us (your ThriftyFun friends) know when you accomplish your dream, even if it takes awhile, and we'll celebrate with you! God Bless!

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January 14, 20110 found this helpful

In my area there are several organizations that send plastic bags to the house with a note saying what day (usually within a week or two) they will be around to collect donated items. They usually list the kinds of things they need or accept. They are usually war veterans or medical support organizations (like Vietnam Vets or Lupus). If you have these in your area, put items you no longer need into the bags and put the bags out on the appointed date. They will even leave a receipt for tax purposes if you request it. Otherwise, call the Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul or similar organization that will pick up at your house. This way you can unload things that are still useful that you no longer want or need, and you will be rid of some of your clutter. As a bonus, you will feel great because you did a good deed, and took a step toward solving your problem. Good luck, and let us know how you are progressing!

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