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Old 03-17-2013, 02:11 PM   #1
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Red face The start... It took some major guts for me to do this! and its LONG.

I have no intentions of being a full on 100% minimalist. What I do want is to live simpler with MUCH less than we have now. I don't throw things away or rid them of my home easily. I tend to hang onto things "Just in case" but rarely ever find a use for those things. I'm a very Busy WAHM of 4 kids (1, 3, 6, 8) and a Dog, My husband works 50 hours a week at the least with about an hour and a half travel time a day added into that. I've never been a very good 'House wife' I'm not organized, I procrastinate, and I hate to clean! My worst fault is Laundry (which much to my embarrassment you will see). I feel like i'm drowning in my own home most of the time and I'm constantly on my kids to clean something up or do some kind of chore because there is always just SO much to be done. I live in CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome) If a knock on my door hits... I'm immediately mortified. I do NOT want to continue this way. and I know the easiest way for me to get my house under control is to get rid of my unmanagable amount of STUFF. Here are some shameful before pictures of a few areas in my home, I'm starting with the kids rooms because they have to be able to maintain them by themselves (they're old enough!) but they're overwhelmed just like I am so it nevver stays clean. Please bear in mind my husband is comming off an 80 hour work week and i've spent more time then normal in my office/sewing/work room this week so... on with some befores. (we rent our home so nothing can be permanently changed)

My sons room. He's 8. he hoardes things equally as much as me. He wants to save every peice of school work, loves hiding random trinkets in his headboard shelves, and owns more notebooks than any 5 kids should.

the shelf holds his TV and gives him a place to hang any clothes that need it, because as you'll see in the next pic his closet is a giant waste of space right now. The tote underneath is for all of his school work he wants to hang onto... it will be weeded through in our minimizing process!!


The other side, he just got the desk and chair for his birthday last week and already has it so over filled with notbooks, pens, pencils, morkers and more. Christmas lights are comming down today, they're driving me insane but he loves them.


The very useless closet. the doors didn't work and kept falling off so we just took them down. there was also nothing to hang clothes on.. just a shelf thats almost falling apart too. I have plans for a tension rod for hanging clothes and a curtain for a door, and shelving on the botom. the Box has books in it, the legos on top, and the blue tote has other toys. the shelf holds sheets, games, and a tote of arts and craft supplies.

The girls room. They share, the bed is amazing I love it. My youngests clothes are in the drawers on the right of it. and there are a couple of small totes under the bed that hold Mr. potato Head, Wooden Blocks, and various others.


The other side. My oldests clothes go in that dresser. she constantly fills the hollow above the drawers with papers and her "collections" as she calls them. I just cleaned it completely out bare last weekend. The pink tote is for their toys. the little table was something she just brought in for coloring on, it usually isn't there.


Closet, this is the youngests side, the shelf is usually filled with even more clothes.. I'm just even more behind in laundry then usual.

Right side is my oldests clothes. So much of the clothing in there doesn't even fit them any more. The pink tote is dressup clothes (I litterally threw half of the dress up away last weekend so that the tote could at least close) the clearish one is all clothes that don't fit or are off season... it was a started project I didn't finish.


My youngests room. His will be very easy. He didn't have a room before we moved into this house 7 months ago, he had a pack'nplay in our room and clothes in our dressers. So he hasn't accumulated much "stuff"


Changing table/dresser and CD storage. All the dipes are in the dryer, those are all empty pockets and covers in to top right, the majority of the bottom bins are empty. I just set this up last weekend.


His closet... it basically our "spare" closet. The tote is stuff i have grabbed since yesterday to sell on a FB buy and swap page (Its a start to my purge!) the bag is all just sweaters and coats that were given to us before christmas... I haven't even looked at them yet! I guess those should probably be donated this week! and I honestly don't even remember what in the box. theres a couple costumes hanging ( I seem to have a hard time getting rid of those too.. thats how my kids ended up with 2 totes over flowing with dress up stuff) the top is Artsy Christmas gifts they got that we've yet to do.


This is my entry way.. one of the more infuriating places in my house. I came down to take a picture and saw this.. the kids had just gone out to polay and in their search for hats and mittens and outer wear they made THIS mess.

as you can see we just have WAY too much of everything. there are 6 of us in this house. look at all of the coats and outer wear!! and 3 of them were outside playing fully geared up! The basket is for hats and mittens, the floor is for shoes/boots. and all of those hooks and hanger is where the coats and skipants go.

and this is the most mortifying and by far the worst of my home. My laundry room floor. can't even walk through to our closet! We don't have one in our bedroom because we use the 'formal dining room' as a master bedroom so we just used the downstairs laundry room storage closet, its HUGE, you can walk into it and then take a left and then the wide open area under the basment stairs is there for storage... and its stuffed solid with totes of clothes and other randomness. neither of us fit in most of those clothes hanging. and we both have huge dressers stuffed with clothing in our room. but look at the sheer volume of clothes on that floor! combine it with everything in everyones bedrooms and it no wonder I can't keep up with it by myself!
sheild your eyes... this isn't for the faint of heart..


I can't even beleive I posted that... its so sickening. But I'm hopeful that this will keep me motivated to take back control of my home. I can use any and all encouragement, suggestions, and ideas that any of you have! I will continue to post befores of the rest of my home, and hopefull I will have some afters to post VERY soon! I just need to figure out where to even start!

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Old 03-17-2013, 03:03 PM   #2
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Re: The start... It took some major guts for me to do this! and its LONG.

I am very organizationally challenged too. I have ADD. I saw a therapist about it for a while and he said being a homemaker is very challenging for people like me because there is no outside structure. We have to impose the structure on ourselves. In the workplace I was very efficient, because I had systems. As long as I followed the system ALWAYS, I could stay on top of things. So with laundry I have a schedule. When I only had one child I would do laundry on Mondays. That was it. All day I would be doing laundry between doing other things. If it didn't get washed on Monday, had to wait a week. Oh, and I would do diapers every other day. Now with two kids and my dh and I both working out, once a week laundry doesn't cut it. So my new system is: I do a full load every morning. I put the laundry on as soon as I get up, set a timer to remember to go put it in the dryer/hang it up, and fold watching tv after the kids are in bed. Bedding and towels are washed Mondays only. Unless its been vomited/peed on, it can wait til Monday. Diapers are every other day, also folded when the kids are in bed. So my week looks a bit like this:

Monday: 4 loads: 2 bedding, 1 towels, 1 clothes, go to dry cleaners
Tuesday: 2 loads: 1 clothes, 1 diapers
Wednesday: 1 clothes
Thursday: 1 clothes, 1 diapers
Friday: 1 clothes
Saturday: my laundry day off
Sunday: 1 clothes, 1 diapers

I keep dirty clothes sorted in the laundry room and just wash what I have a full load of. Some days that's darks, some days whites. You can post the schedule next to your washer so you can keep track. You've got a bigger family, so you might need to do two loads of clothes a day, or another load of towels and sheets, however it works for you. Now, with this system there will always be dirty clothes left in the basket, but with kids, laundry is never truly done because they are always getting stuff dirty! With this system you can stay on top of it and move on with your day and put it out of your mind. On a day with more than one load, I set a kitchen timer so I remember to go and put the next load on. Once its done, I don't think about it for the rest of the day.

Seeing your laundry room, if I were you, I would take one day where I did laundry from morning til night to get it all cleaned out, then start the system fresh on a Monday. Hope this helps a little.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:10 PM   #3
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Re: The start... It took some major guts for me to do this! and its LONG.

I"M SOOO glad you brought up ADD, I should have mentioned that I have it as well... which is why I think I struggle so much with being a housewife. little tasks like taking a shower can be rediculous for me. I'll get side tracked very easy. ex.
Have to grab clean clothes to take with me, notice something on my dresser I can pick up and put away so I do. on my way down I pass the laundry room, so i stop and toss in a load of laundry, then have to take the clothes from the dryer back UP stairs. Pass the kitchen and think " i should just empty the dishwasher real quick", then its empty and I refill it. then i figure i should just wipe the counters down while I'm there. 45 minutes has passed and I still haven't gotten in the shower. Its so frustrating! Lack of structure is deffinately something that i struggle with. I've tried home management binders and detailed schuled routines, but I try to make the drastic change over night.. whcih will never happen.
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Last edited by jessreichenbach; 03-17-2013 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:32 PM   #4
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Re: The start... It took some major guts for me to do this! and its LONG.

The first step is to admit you have a problem. Actually, your kids' rooms don't look that bad. The only real issue I see is no good system for storing clothes. I do know how Mount Washmore can sneak up on you though. And the lack of good systems to store clean and dirty clothes compounds that for you.

Here's what I suggest. Take a whole day to sort through the big pile of laundry. It is possible half of it may not even fit or be stained/torn, LOL. Donate/purge all of that immediately. The places that take clothing donations have to wash them anyway. That should reduce the pile pretty quickly.

If you have the money and can pull it off with 4 kids, either take it to a laundromat and do 10+ loads at a time. Pick a day DH is off and plan to spend 5-6 hours there. Or if you have the money and a laundromat that will do the laundry for you at a price per pound, pay it. Consider it a one time expense to get caught up.

If you can't go to a laundromat, you will need to devote 2 or so days to doing all the laundry back to back. Set a timer to keep you on the laundry reboot schedule. Do cereal and sandwiches and no brainer foods that day to keep things simple.

So while all that laundry is being taken care of in one of the three ways, you need to do the following:
Make a plan how to store clothes in each kid's room, and figure out how it can be executed ASAP. This plan must also include where dirty clothes go, and not on the laundry room floor.
Make a plan for what day of the week each kind of laundry needs to get done. There was a PP with some examples of this. I have three kids and a full size W/D. So in doing one load per day, I can do each of their clothes, my clothes, sheets, towels, and kitchen rags/napkins (DH does his own). You may need to do two loads some days.

Then after a few weeks you may need to revise the storage or the plan, or both. And you may need to purge more clothes, or add certain pieces, so you can make it through the week easily.

Like I said, your only *real* problem seems to be the laundry. Once you have mastered that, everything else will come together. Good luck and post progress pics!
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:08 PM   #5
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Re: The start... It took some major guts for me to do this! and its LONG.

I spoke with the hubby about my thoughts on our 'stuff' situation and he was so on board and agreed 190%. He actually then stated 'we each need 5 pairs of pants, 5 shirts, 2 sweaters…" and so on.
The kids rooms really aren't so bad, now that I'm looking and seeing exactly what I know will go. Clothing really is the worst right now. I did have a nice system set up down there, 4 tall baskets in a row. Towels, lights, darks, and whites. But it's very easy to get behind with this many people and this many clothes.I think my first step will be to follow your suggestions and wash/dry/ minimize clothes. My son's bed has great drawers, my girls have a dresser and closet, and the little one has a closet and dresser. If it doesn't fit in those places then it goes. If I haven't worn it in the past 6 months, it goes! Ok.... here's to tomorrow!
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:52 PM   #6
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Don't be embarrassed. I admit I have never had a laundry situation that large but if you think your before shots are bad then mine would give you an anxiety attack. I can bump my old thread up later when I get to the computer if you would like. I am due to take some new pictures as we moved recently. The support here has been invaluable to me.
I actually do strive for true minimalism but with a family that is not into it I am just trying to get as close as I can.

Just let me know if you want me to bump the thread with my starting pictures and I will.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fashionably Green Baby View Post
Don't be embarrassed. I admit I have never had a laundry situation that large but if you think your before shots are bad then mine would give you an anxiety attack. I can bump my old thread up later when I get to the computer if you would like. I am due to take some new pictures as we moved recently. The support here has been invaluable to me.
I actually do strive for true minimalism but with a family that is not into it I am just trying to get as close as I can.

Just let me know if you want me to bump the thread with my starting pictures and I will.
Bumped it for you Hope that's ok.

Jodie ~ mama to Big K, Medium K & Lil' k
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:26 PM   #8
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Bumped it for you Hope that's ok.

Jodie ~ mama to Big K, Medium K & Lil' k
Thanks! I hate trying to find stuff from my phone.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:55 PM   #9
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Thanks! I hate trying to find stuff from my phone.
You are welcome. After I bumped it, I was worried you wouldn't like that I did so. Glad you aren't upset. :0)

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Old 03-17-2013, 11:15 PM   #10
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I originally posted this in the wrong place, I think...trying again!

Originally Posted by jessreichenbach
I broke down and took the utterly embarassing pictures of about half of my home. the rest I'll do in the following days. But this has been an ongoing problem for me and my family for the past 8 years (since we started having babies!!) any help, support, Ideas, or words of encouragement would always be appreciated!
http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/....php?t=1500829
Oh, don't be so hard on yourself! Seriously!! You are obviously taking steps by getting involved here and asking for help, support, etc. You are well on your way!!

Your kids' rooms look pretty cleaned out to me!

My encouragement to you would be to first start on clothing...from your description of your home, this is the most frustrating area for you. It looks like maybe y'all have too many clothes? We keep it down to seven outfits each, give or take a few based on season and age, but this helps immensely with the laundry. I am not good at laundry, it overwhelms me too, so to keep it down we just don't have many clothes. I HAVE to make sure it gets done that way and we don't end up with laundry mountains!

If you want more specific steps about paring down clothing or laundry tips, I'm happy to give it, but only if you want it!

Remember, mama, you are taking steps that will help you and your family and your general feelings toward your home...this is great! Blessings!!!
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