Getting My House and Life in Order

I need help! I'm a 51 year old single head of household and my life is way too disorderly at this point. I have a huge bedroom which feeds into a huge bathroom/sitting area which I have cluttered up with my sewing, tools, crafts, etc. I don't even care anymore even though I own the home and pay a mortgage. I am getting worse and worse and I have never ever lived like this.


The bedroom area shares space with an 'office' area. I think this room is reflecting what my brain must look like, a jumbled mess. I am reclusive, have many hobbies and interests, but I never indulge anymore. I need help and advice. I suffer from depression to top it all off.

By Rebecca from Columbia, MO

January 29, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Rebecca,

It sounds like maybe you might be suffering from anxiety, which along with depression, can manifest in hoarding. I'm not a mental health professional, but it sounds like maybe you need some help to get your life back in order. A relative of mine suffered from something similar, and they are helping him with therapy and some meds to control his anxiety. He's now able to throw out a lot of stuff he never would have before. If you go to the Oprah website ( they have a lot of resources that might help. Good luck, and take care. We're all rooting for you. :) Link:

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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

try a section at a time. vit d is helpful for dep take 1000mg per day . I know you can do this. spend just 1/2 hour per day if thats all you can manage. just pick a corrner and start!!!

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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

Oh How I can relate to your situation! I am 51 also and have Fibromyalgia, depression is one of the symptoms of this disease. Fibromyalgia is not life thratening, but my suggestion is please see your doctor immediately!

Whether you have FM or not, you need help with depression. Go to WEB MD and check out the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and see if you have any of them, then get to a good Dr. right away! Believe me, I have been there and with the right meds, you can get back to your old self and start doing the things you love again! Please see a Dr. ASAP and get some help.

Please feel free to contact me privately if you would like to discuss this matter further, I'd be happy to lend an ear! Bee

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January 31, 20110 found this helpful

I have problems with clutter myself. I think when it is at it's worst, I am mildly depressed (depressed, but don't overtly realize it, that is). Obviously if you recognize you are depressed, this makes it worse to try and accomplish anything. The hardest part is starting. So aim for one small area at a time. I find it helpful when I don't want to sort or clean to TIME myself. I say, I will work 10 minutes on it. I use an actual ringing bell timer. Then I am amazed and often energized by what I managed to accomplish it 10 minutes! And often want to do more.

Also, consider enlisting the help of a very trusted and non-judgmental friend to help you, if possible. The ideas from the others are all good. Hang in there and remember old expressions such as: Little strokes fell great oaks and The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It's true!

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January 31, 20110 found this helpful

Some of your depression is caused by clutter. Don't try to do it all at once. Turn on some music and do one small corner of the room. Expand slowly. Create a lovely serene living space by throwing out what you don't need. do not try to recycle or find a home for things now. It will just overwhelm you. Start by making your bed every morning. You will be surprised how much of an incentive to clean that is.

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January 31, 20110 found this helpful

I totally feel your pain. I'm 49 and have been diagnosed with depression. My grandmother died almost 3 1/2 yrs. ago and I wound up bringing so much of her stuff to my house until I was starting to look like the Hoarding shows, plus I collect dolls. I finally decided that I had to do something about it and started going through it a little at a time. It's really hard, but you have to organize and get rid of stuff that you don't use. I started doing small areas at a time, and I still have a long way to go, but I'm so proud of myself for what I've accomplished. As I said, it's hard, but after you get started and can see results, it helps you want to continue.

It may help you to begin with to sort things into office/crafts/etc., then start going through them, possibly investing in some storage items with drawers or something like that. It also helps you know where everything is. I had that problem also.

Hang in there!

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February 1, 20110 found this helpful is the best way to go!! I use to be a terrible house keeper, but now my house is always 15 minutes away from greeting company. She sends you daily emails that give you instructions on what to clean "today". She declutters your life and helps you to build new habits. It is wonderful. You sound like you're ready for it. A lot of people won't do it because they are'nt "fed up" with their old style. Check it out. It doesn't cost anything.

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February 5, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Rebecca,

I have the same clutter problem, only worse. My house DOES look like the hoarder shows (which I don't watch but have seen clips).

It helps to just work on it for 15 minutes a day. If you feel like going on, you do so, but if you don't, at least you did your 15 minutes for the day.

I belong to AARP and a Group (Forum) called ATM Clutter Challenge (ATM = AARP The Magazine). There are 100s of posts there from dozens of people with this problem, and everyone is very helpful and encouraging. If you belong to AARP, you might want to join this group. One lady, who is also a TF member, has tackled her problem while dealing with house repairs and sick family members at the same time. She is always upbeat and encouraging to everyone else. Her Username is Slee15 on both sites, and over there I am Jinglebelle.

I am still taking baby steps myself, and don't always get in 15 minutes every day, but I do try. I am unemployed right now, and you'd think I have all the time in the world to work on my clutter, yet I spend many hours a day on the computer, instead.

One suggestion was to use computer time as a reward for getting something done. I agree with the person who said your depression may be related to your clutter. I have a friend with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and his clutter depresses him. I know it's tough to do the work when you are depressed, but try the 15 minutes a day, and see if it begins to lift your mood. Use a kitchen timer and when it rings, stop - unless you really feel like continuing.

Try using shoe boxes (cardboard or plastic) for organizing some of your craft items. Install shelves or a use a bookcase to stack the boxes on. Try using furniture with storage space inside - there are ottomans, benches and chairs which have seats that lift off - store craft projects, blankets, sheets, etc. inside.

There are lots of ideas out there. Flylady is a good website, and if you Google "organizing tips" you will find 1000s of articles with 1000s of ideas. Good luck! We'd love to have you join ATM Clutter Challenge, but in any case, wish you well. Let us know how you progress.

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March 12, 20110 found this helpful

My house seems to collect clutter and I'm the only one living it it. I'm not a hoarder in that I can't part with it, I don't always deal with it when I should. I too consulted and followed her daily schedule. What surprised me as the house became orderly, so did my thinking. I have one rigid rule I stick by - "if something comes in, something goes out"

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March 12, 20110 found this helpful

Rebecca, perhaps part of your depression is that you are not indulging in your hobbies. We encourage children to try different things and watch them out grow interests. It doesn't stop because we are adults. We do outgrow some interests/hobbies and perhaps one day something else grabs our interest. It may be time to pitch the hobbies and say goodbye to that part of your life and take a deep breath and smile as you enter a new phase and a tidy room.

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March 19, 20110 found this helpful

Although flylady recommends 15 minutes perhaps 3, 5 minutes sessions would work better for some. Once I got in to this I find I get on a roll and exceed the 15 minutes.

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June 7, 20120 found this helpful

I recently took my niece and then my daughter's boyfriend into our home. My niece moved into my husband's computer repair room (formerly my son's room) and so we had to make room for all those items in our office (where we work at our main jobs). Then my daughter's boyfriend moved in and we made room for him with a bed behind the couch in the living room. It is important to me to help these young people grow up but it did help me realize that I have too much "stuff" for my house.

My first step to dealing with the piles and boxes was to rent a dumpster. It helped because that way we could take time sometime during the week when we had the time and take trash directly to the dumpster instead of storing it to be hauled away by the regular trash or hauling it off ourselves.

Then I started going through the items and organizing the good "stuff" into several categories. Instead of asking what I wanted to get rid of, I started thinking more along the lines of what I wanted to actually keep and store. This made it much easier to put items in boxes and trash bags and put them immediately into the trunk of our SUV. Each time my husband went into the city, his first stop was Goodwill. It is very encouraging to see things going out of the house and room being created.

This was going along slowly and steady and then I realized how dusty my house had become since we have been so busy with life so I called a cleaning service and scheduled a "deep clean" for about one week in the future. I then had a deadline and so I accelerated my efforts at organizing.

Though I will continue to go through and throw away and give away, this deadline helped me to get enough done that there was room for all the clothes we kept to be put up, no boxes stacked anywhere in the rooms and the table and countertops cleared.

What a relief when we came home to a clean and organized house.

The first step is realizing you really don't need the "stuff" as much as you need peace.

I hope something I said helps.

Also, check out to get help on the issues that are contributing to your situation. We all need help with the underlying problems if we can ever actually make progress on these symptoms.

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