07 March 2014 @ 07:46 pm
tips on de-cluttering a home?  
Hello everyone!

Can anyone give recommendations on how to declutter or or organize a home? Basically any tips or favorite websites that can help would be greatly appreciated. I'm asking for a friend who has terrible anxiety that stems from messes. She does have small children which of course makes this much more difficult.

We live in Stockholm, Sweden in the off chance anyone has any local company recommendations that can help with this.

Thanks a bunch!
 
 
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Psychobillie Holidaycelestyna on March 7th, 2014 06:55 pm (UTC)
I'm doing 40 Bags in 40 Days.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/40bagsin40days/
http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days-2014/

It basically takes the stress off of decluttering as it concentrates on daily micro-spots instead of full rooms, or an entire house per day.
You fill up one bag of shit, from one spot (closet, pantry, one side of your living room, etc...).
Consistently every day.
I've been doing it for a week and the microfocus approach is really rapid and isn't panic inducing in the way that other approaches are and you don't end up with a house messier than when you started attempting to clean.
b_liz: purple flowerb_liz on March 7th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
I'm doing this too. The Facebook group is very supportive - and very active!
Elizabethfrogs_n_turtles on March 7th, 2014 07:01 pm (UTC)
I highly suggest Flylady! flylady.net
Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on March 7th, 2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
I like flylady, but it can be very overwhelming. At least, I found at the start when everything needed attention flylady's tasks took longer than they should have, and while I started with her stuff a few times I kept giving up after a few days because cleaning took all my time. If your friend's place is already neat it might be a good idea.

If it's got the kind of mess my kids can create effortlessly, a kinder starting option might be: www.unfuckyourhabitat.com
mmhm: eep!supermelanie on March 7th, 2014 08:25 pm (UTC)
http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/ and the tumblr http://unfuckyourhabitat.tumblr.com/

GREAT for people with cleaning anxiety. I am not exaggerating when I say this blog changed my life.
Stephaniestess on March 7th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
exactly the comment I was going to make. I can't recommend ufyh any harder.
mmhmsupermelanie on March 7th, 2014 10:30 pm (UTC)
I lovelovelovelovelove it. My house is Martha Stewart, magazine shoot, surprise-guests-welcome, sparkling clean all the time... and that's nothing short of miraculous, considering that <2 years ago I was one of those people who had a litter box swarming with flies, moldy dishes in the sink, fast food containers all over the house, unpaid bills and important mail hopelessly lost in mountains of paper, rotten food in the fridge, etc etc etc.

If the UFyH lady asked for disciples to follow her around the world preaching the good word of UFyH, I would totally do it.
KBR: pic#117985652gezellig_girl on March 7th, 2014 11:26 pm (UTC)
Sorry if this sidetracking the discussion but can either of you explain why UFYH is so great? 'Cause I've checked it out a couple of times and I feel like there's something I'm not getting. Is it all just "hey, go clean for 20 minutes"?
mmhmsupermelanie on March 8th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC)
This might get long. *ahem*

For me, it was learning to change my mindset of "perfection or nothing." Like, if I didn't have time to do all the dishes, I wouldn't do any dishes, or if I didn't have the energy to clean my whole room, I wouldn't do anything. (And I *never* had time to do all the dishes or clean my whole room.)

It was a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle. Like, my living room is messy, so I'm just going to drop the mail on the couch and leave my shoes on the floor and start a collection of dirty cups on the side table, because why not?

The whole idea of UFyH is that anything > nothing. If you wash one more dish than you dirty every day, eventually the dishes will be done, and then all you have to do is stay on top of it. If you spend 5 minutes cleaning every day (and not making new messes), eventually your house will be clean.

I can see how UFyH might make less sense to a reasonable clean person who is just looking for a cleaning schedule or tips or something. But I was raised by packrats and never once in my life had to do a chore. I grew up in a dirty, disorganized house and had no positive habits when it came to housework. My early 20s were cycles of living in filth followed by frenzied, panic-attack-inducing cleaning fits where things got shoved in boxes or closets before company came over.

UFyH gave me a starting point. It wasn't just "clean the kitchen," it was "set a timer. Wash the dishes, put away shit that doesn't belong on the counter, wipe everything down, and GIVE YOURSELF A HIGH FIVE AND TAKE A BREAK, YOU BAD ASS." For someone with anxiety and no concept of how to keep house, UFyH was a whole new way to approach housework. "Clean the kitchen" sounds like a big, scary thing (if you have mental blocks toward cleaning), but "20 minutes, or 10, or 5, or whatever you can handle" doesn't.

I used the app to do all my housework for a long time, until I could approach things without needing the extra support. Now my house is just clean all the time because I've built all the habits. But I couldn't have done it without the UFyH lady!!
KBR: pic#117985652gezellig_girl on March 8th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
I apologize if I gave you any impression I was even close to a reasonably clean person because whoa-ho-ho I am NOT. I grew up in an immaculate household but the effect on me was, ironically, pretty much exactly the same: "if you're not going to do the entire job, don't even bother" coupled with a healthy dose of "LOOK AT THIS FILTH, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED."

But yes, I am already a HUGE FAN of the "do as much as you can in 15 minutes (and however much you do is great)" and have been for years. It is one of my habits on HabitRPG (which is also amazing).
mmhm: eep!supermelanie on March 8th, 2014 03:10 pm (UTC)
So funny how totally different upbringings can produce such a similar result!! But now I'm one of those people who friggin DUSTS once a week, so maybe your mom would be proud of me even though mine would be like "dusting is a waste of time! It's just going to get dusty again!" ;)

I tried HabitRPG, but I hated how if I missed a day, it was like "YOU FORGOT TO FLOSS SO WE MURDERED YOU A LITTLE." UFyH lady would be like "wow, I'm so proud that you only missed one day! That's great!!"

What can I say, I do better with the carrot than I do with the stick. ;)
KBR: pic#117985652gezellig_girl on March 8th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
Okay, it took me a little while to figure out how to work the system there because I HATE getting dinged for stupid shit like that. Unless I absolutely HAVE to do something every day (like take a medication), I put it down as a habit (which is like, you can do it whenever, no problem) rather than a daily (which are the ones that kill you if you don't do them). So I have a ton of stuff as my habits and just a few dailies. HabitRPG also really taps into some weird, deeply obsessive, I-MUST-level-up need in me, so yeah, if you're lucky enough to not have that, HabitRPG is probably annoying as shit.
Coilette: whalersstr8_edge_4ever on March 8th, 2014 08:06 pm (UTC)
The second-last paragraph is spot-on with me too. I love the random motivations on the app because I never know if I'm going to get a "you can do this!" or a "quit thinking you can't do this! blargh!" motivator.

"Nice ass. Now get off it."
lmariefrombama: Blue Moonlmariefrombama on March 8th, 2014 06:38 am (UTC)
Much thanks to all who recommended UFYH. I read it for about 30 minutes, then spent about 45 minutes organizing my pantry and spices - a much-needed job that I've dreaded for a long time. I definitely connect with this blog!.
mmhm: eep!supermelanie on March 8th, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad. I tell people about it all the time, but sometimes I think my enthusiasm for it convinces people it's a cult, not a cleaning blog. ;)
Coilette: peasant coilettestr8_edge_4ever on March 8th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
Team UFYH! Woo!

I've had a lot of problems with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and what my mother called "constructive criticism" even though it was rarely constructive. All-or-nothing was my focus, even in my freshman year of college when I lived in a dormitory and kept my room somewhere between spotless and garbage dump. Up until recently, especially since 2007 when I moved out of my father's house & into an apartment, I considered my habitat to be shameful. Regular "maintenance" involved sorting things into piles because I didn't know where they should go, and "cleaning" usually meant picking up an object, looking at it with confusion, then setting it down in another pile on the same surface. I was constantly angry at myself for not having a clean house no matter how hard I tried, or for taking "way too long" to clean something. Back in September, I wanted to clean the kitchen for my & my boyfriend's anniversary while he was at work. By the time he came home, I had cleaned half of it, and we have a small kitchen. I felt like the dirt which I had swept into a dustpan and tossed in the wastebasket.

I've been living with my father for mental health reasons since July, and I'll finally get to move back home next weekend! (The cause of my stress will have been forcefully removed from the downstairs apartment by then.) My boyfriend and I have been excitedly planning all of the cleaning we'll be doing when I return -- he's been spending a lot of time here too, and hasn't set foot in our apartment since Feb 26th, so really we're both moving back -- including putting together new bookcases. But proper pacing (20/10s, 45/15s, and 45/Futuramas ^__^) and ultra-supportive motivation are driving us in our excitement. The humor of UFYH helps tremendously. I do what I can here, and my father's scheduled cleaning helps keep the mess at bay. My clothes don't always go into my closet, but I can see that my mess tolerance is a lot lower in a productive way. I look at it and say, "pfft, it's a pile of clothes. I can get that all put away in under an hour, and I'm not doing anything important right now."

Of course, the prospect of having a welcome back party is the biggest overall motivator, but Team UFYH reassures me that I just need to bring the mess down and that every little bit helps, no matter how little it appears to be at that moment.

Edited at 2014-03-08 07:48 pm (UTC)
mmhm: eep!supermelanie on March 8th, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yay!! You can do it!

My favorite thing about UFyH has been changing my attitudes from shame-focused to progress-focused. A few times, I've regressed from 'put it away, goddamn it!' to out-of-control floordrobe. Old me would have felt something along the lines of "wow, pushing 30 and you can't even get your dirty clothes into the damn basket." New me just thought "huh, this will take a bit longer to clean than just putting things away when I'm done with them. NOW I remember why maintenance is important and I'm newly motivated to improve!"
THese are not my monkeys… this is not my circus…wldrose on March 7th, 2014 09:15 pm (UTC)
get rid of half the stuff in your kitchen. if this scares you take things down that you dont use often and put a peice of masking tape in the center. in a few months if the tape is still there you havent used it and you can get rid of it (if that still hurts put it in a box with a lid and put it somewhere hard to get and when the clocks change check the box if not opened toss it)
Coilette: floofstr8_edge_4ever on March 8th, 2014 08:30 pm (UTC)
I have an expanding file dealy for papers, and I have subcategorized items fastened together with paper clips. For example, I have a file pocket for "medical stuff", but my clinic receipts, pharmacy receipts, hospital receipts, and insurance applications are separated by paper clip from each other in that file pocket. The vast majority of my documents are all in one place, but there are no piles and there's a minimal chance that I'll find a stray paper somewhere in the house and not know where it can go in that expanding file.

I have a smaller expanding file for non-medical receipts, too, but that one is only categorized by date.
why's everything gotta be so intense with me: purple porcupinecoendou on March 9th, 2014 01:09 am (UTC)
I would tell her to take a look at all the systems suggested and just pick the one whose approach she likes best, because they all come down to the same basic philosophy - clean a little bit at a time instead of all at once, and get rid of a lot of stuff (also a little bit at a time instead of all at once). Practically every single system I've seen for cleaning/decluttering comes down to these two basic ideas, so it's really about picking the one whose "personality" you identify with.
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