Start with the closets. You need to make room to put stuff away. Pick one closet and set a timer for 20 minutes and weed out what you can in that time. Take a break and repeat. Most importantly, once you’ve weeded things out, get them out of your home. They go right to the donation bin or recycling. A lot of organizations will schedule pickups where you just put your stuff outside and they come get it.
Once you’ve done that, look for additional space you’re not using to its fullest. Under beds, creating multiple levels in cabinets, using closet wall and door space, etc.
Pace yourself, celebrate even the tiniest of accomplishments, but, most importantly, get started.
Hi. You’ve helped me before, but I wonder if I could ask for your advice again. 20/10s work for me, mostly. However what I am having difficulties with now, where my apartment is HORRIBLY cluttered (and gross), is beating myself up, criticizing myself saying I’m a nasty slob etc and that puts a damper on the energy… And I end up only cleaning for 5 mins. Which isn’t enough when my place is in this state. How do I deal with that? It’s detrimental to progress. Also can I ask you a bathroom Q? :)
(Anonymized at my discretion.) Negative self-talk is sometimes really hard to overcome. Tell yourself that I (the UfYH lady) know that you’re not a nasty slob and that you can be helped and that I think you deserve to live in a place you love. I’m giving you an assignment: two 20/10s today on whatever’s worst. (tomorrow if you aren’t home today for whatever reason). Report back to me when you’re done, and then I’ll answer your bathroom question.
This assignment goes for everyone who’s feeling this way or having trouble getting motivated. Report back in the replies to this post or reblog. I’m going to be taking part, too, because I’ve had a back injury this week and have gotten very behind on the house. Life happens to all of us, and beating yourself up about it is not only not helpful, but disrespectful to yourself. I would never call you a nasty slob, so you shouldn’t call yourself that, either.
For me, personally, once I’ve changed out of my work clothes, I’m useless. So if dinner is something that needs to go in the oven or has boiling time, I use that time to pick up. Otherwise, I do 20 minutes as soon as I get home and then dinner. It’s hard; I usually work 10-hour days, but it gets done.
The other thing that works is to do something every time you’re in a room. So, one trip to the bathroom, I wipe down the counters. Head into the living room to watch TV? Clear off the coffee table. Going to the kitchen for a drink? Deal with a few dishes first. Bedtime? Put away some clothes first. When it’s in little bits like that, it doesn’t require much in the way of motivation.
I’d say more people feel overwhelmed and anxious than don’t. It’s one of the things that makes it so difficult to get started. Try checking out the tags below and see if something there resonates with you.
http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/2013/04/13/cleaning-triggers-my-anxiety/ (This is from unfuckyourhabitat.com, but relevant)
Also check the sidebar of the homepage for other useful links that might help you get started and help deal with your anxiety.
First of all, I’m so sorry for your loss, and you should be really proud of yourself for trying to keep it together for your mom and to try to get your living situation under control. That said, remember that it’s totally OK to be overwhelmed, or to have moments (or days or weeks) when you can’t be as strong as you want to be. That’s totally normal, and don’t beat yourself up for it.
As far as the practical side of things, ask your mother to tell you what of your father’s things are most important for her to keep. Put those things aside. You may want or need to have someone else come in and deal with your dad’s stuff, if neither of you is in an emotional place to handle it. Just give yourself veto power over what gets taken out of the apartment.
Figure out what furniture you need to keep. Make a list or mark the pieces in some way. From there, use Craigslist or Freecycle or any of your local donation centers, most of which will do a curbside or even in-house pickup.
Be methodical. Work on one area of one room at a time. Ask yourself if the item you’re considering will be needed or have a place in your new home, and if it has enough sentimental value to keep if the answers are no. Make regular trips to the trash or recycling, and schedule regular pickups from or drop-offs at donation centers so you can move things out of your apartment once you’ve made a decision on whether or not to keep things.
Give yourself some time. It doesn’t sound like you’re under a time crunch for moving, so don’t make too many hasty decisions about your dad’s stuff until you’ve had time to process everything that’s happened. You may be able to come back to some things later with a different perspective.
Most importantly, take care of your mom, but also take care of you. Let yourself grieve when you have to and be distracted when you need that, too. Don’t neglect your own feelings and well-being. You can do this. Check in anytime for support.
Try starting with the cleaning checklists to get you on a good schedule.
Not embarrassing! I operate from the assumption that lots of people were never taught this stuff, and how could you ever know if you don’t ask? I guarantee at least 20 other people out there have the same question.
As far as wiping down countertops, whatever you have on hand. All-purpose cleaner and a rag, a damp paper towel with half a squirt of hand or dish soap, vinegar and a towel, pretty much anything will do. You shouldn’t need any special tools to do basic maintenance cleaning, and even most in-depth stuff can be accomplished with what you have handy. If you’re stocking your cleaning supplies from scratch, just get a multi-purpose cleanser (there are a million kinds; pick one you like the smell of and you can afford), some cheap dishcloths (or repurpose some otherwise discardable clothes or towels into rags), some sponges, some dish soap, a bottle of vinegar, and a mop. You can use your bathtub as a mop bucket, and there’s very little that can’t be cleaned with multi-purpose cleaner, vinegar, or dish soap.
Sure, I advocate certain products for certain jobs (Magic Erasers/melamine foam sponges are sorcery for a lot of things), but there’s a whole industry built on making you spend money to keep your house clean, and it’s just not necessary.
Currently, I am super frustrated with myself. It isn’t that I don’t want to live in a clean home. It isn’t that I don’t want to have nice things. I do. I want that so very much. But I just… don’t know how to go about it. I have read the UFYH welcome packet. I followed them a while ago, and I have read everything that they post, as well as following the UFYH/Team UFYH tags. And I know, I have seenthat this works for people, that things get done, things get cleaner, more organized, and it doesn’t drive them crazy.
That is what I want. Every day I wake up and tell myself that I am going to do something, anything, even if it is just making one small thing better than it was the day before. I spend a lot of time at work making plans, trying to break them down into easy steps so that it is easy enough for me to do things and not end up being overwhelmed, but then I end up overwhelmed by the amount of steps that I have created for myself.
I am trying to give myself a break, and a fresh new start, but every day that I make plans to get things done and then end up doing nothing, I lose a little bit more hope. I’m afraid that soon there will be nothing left, and I will end up like someone on an episode of Hoarders. Or just someone who can’t invite friends over, can’t have anyone in my apartment. That isn’t who I want to be!
I don’t know what to do, or where to start anymore.
OK. Start by stopping with the lists and the steps. They’re useful for some people, at some stages, but they are clearly not serving you here, so let go of that tactic for now. Here’s where I want you to start, either right now (if you’re home), or the moment you get home from work, before you change your clothes or anything.
Set a timer, any timer, for five minutes. Wash dishes for five minutes. If you don’t have dirty dishes, then spend that five minutes on the first surface you see that needs cleaning. When the five minutes is done, stop. Go get changed, do whatever you do after work. Once that’s all done, set a timer for another five minutes. Do five minutes again, either on dishes or your surface. When time’s up, stop. That’s it for today.
This week, do two five minute sessions each day. That’s it. Will your apartment be clean at the end of the week? Nope. And that’s OK, because it will be cleaner.
Next week, up your timer to ten minutes each time. And don’t forget to stop. Then up to 20 when you’re ready, but not before that.
Take pictures before you start, because as you’re working in the midst of all of it, you might not be able to see improvement. You never have to post or share those pictures, but you should have them for yourself, so you have solid proof that you made things better so you can make your brain hush when it tells you that you aren’t making progress.
You can do this. You are not beyond help. You have a whole bunch of Internet strangers cheering you on. You just have to get started.
Help! (That’s not too original, but it succinctly expresses what I need.)
I have severe ADHD, which isn’t an excuse, but an explanation. I think. Sometimes I can’t tell anymore. One of the worst aspects is that I don’t have the ability to organize. Everything ends up in piles and I’m easily frustrated. I can sort and I have no problem getting rid of stuff, but my bedroom looks like it belongs to a hoarder because it seems no matter how much I sort and trash, I’ve never been able to figure out how to arrange my space in a workable way, and before I know it, the piles are back and I’m miserable.
My current issue is that I have piles upon piles to work with, and no clear space to sort anything. My walk-in closet has piles almost to the ceiling, my dresser drawers are crammed, and I have a pile of clothes 3 feet high in front of the dresser, so even getting to the drawers to clean them out is problematic. I can’t clean or sort because I have no where to sort and no where to put anything because it all needs to be done. I am so overwhelmed and don’t even know where or how to start.
To make matters worse, I’m on a deadline. I love the idea of taking things slow and gradual, because the all-or-nothing thought process that comes with my ADHD makes cleaning even harder. But in less than 2 weeks, my boyfriend is coming for a visit. We are a long distance couple (he’s in England, I’m in the US), and our visits don’t happen often. Last time he was here, my room was so bad he had to sleep on the fold out couch in the living room. I don’t want to do that to him again.
At this point, I don’t even care if it’s perfect, but I’d like my room to look like a normal person lives there, not a hoarder. So I guess my questions boil down to these: how can I sort/put anything away when every part of my room is fucked up, how can I get my room somewhat presentable for my boyfriend’s visit?
I’m motivated to fix this because I’m tired of living this way, but I just want to sit and cry because I don’t know how to start.
I’m going to guess, not counting the time it takes to do laundry, you can have this done in no more than 3 20/10s a day for the next two weeks. I’d actually be surprised if it took that many.
Flat surfaces first. Dresser, nightstand, table, counters. Then dishes if you have them. Then your floordrobe, random shoes, finish unpacking, put your luggage away, and then move methodically through each room, taking breaks as you go.