Messy Home Challenge
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  1. #1
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Default Messy Home Challenge

    I have a three-story home, and I live alone, but I have NO room!! And every house seems disorganized and cluttered. I go through major clean-ups, and they last a week or so, and then things fall into disrepair again.

    With the change in my work schedule (going in 2p - 12p on average, getting home anywhere between 1a and 3a or sometimes even spending the night at the office and driving home the next morning) things have gotten even more out of control.

    So this is my personal journey to get my house not just whipped back into a cosmetic shape, but actually set up so that it works with my schedule and is function-oriented, rather than trying to make it look nice and tidy, and have it be totally useless as a place in which I have to live.

    So today, I start the slow and painful crawl toward my new home, the home that welcomes me when I come home, that forgives me when I am not Martha Stewart, and a home that I feel good about and happy to invite friends and family into.

    I am HOPING to get my house set up by December 15th, so this is my personal goal.

    Any and all suggestions, advice, motivation, and jumping in to make this a group effort welcome and appreciated!

  2. #2
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Okay, first the challenges. A lot of my house is devoted to animals. One bedroom is the parrots' room, with three large cages. The entire downstairs is either the dogs' room or the finches/parakeets' home. The only other thing on the ground floor is the laundry room, which I'm eyeing as a potential pantry.

    I have a LOT of hobbies, and each takes up a lot of space. Knitting uses up a drawer for needles and accessories, and a couple of drawers for yarn; beading; canning; gardening; raising birds; it all takes up room. Now I'm trying to find a pantry area for stock-piling, on top of it all.

    Time - I have none. I work 10-12 hours per day M-F, and I commute two hours round trip, and I typically bring work home with me. That's who I am, and I have a hard time changing it.

    I have livestock and poultry, which takes time for feeding and upkeep. The birds take a lot of time, cleaning cages and such. I did buy a large flight cage to combine two of the finch cages into one, but I haven't had time to assemble it!!

    I am currently hand-raising two baby finches, which requires a lot of time cleaning utensils, preparing formula, changing towels out of the nest box, cleaning up, etc. And they are eating every 1.5 - 2.5 hours, from about 5a to 10p.
    Last edited by madhen; 09-05-2008 at 04:51 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User missyali's Avatar
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    I would say, pick your bedroom first so that you have a haven to relax. Begin small ~ drawers. Do you love it need it, wear it? If not, donate it. Then move to the closet? Top of the dresser and any other clutter catchers. Give yourself 20-30 minutes per day. I would definitely do one room at a time, prioritizing which rooms are used most or have the potential to bring you the most comfort. Best of luck! We've all been there!

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  5. #4
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good plan. I actually started with my kitchen first, because: a) it is the most cluttered and b) it is where I enjoy spending time (probably a is related to b). I have a lot of catering equipment that is stuffed away and that I use once or twice a year (used to do it on the side, now just occasionally as a favour). I am moving that stuff to a designated rack in the dog's room, as I don't think they'll mind.

    By doing that, I cleared a relatively large space to use for my kitchen stockpile (have decided to do small stockpiles in each room, rather than one big stockpile - easier to see if I'm running out of something), which in turn cleared out a little space in my cupboards, which I am contemplating using either as a clearinghouse for the stockpiled items that are getting close to their expiration date and have to be used quickly or possibly as a storage for small kitchen appliances (crockpot, toaster, rice cooker, etc.) that I use frequently enough to want nearby, but not enough to keep on the counter.

    Kitchen challenge: horribly designed cupboards, with shelves either so high that you need a step stool to reach them (guarantee that anything I put up there will be forgotten) or at perpendicular angles to each other in the corner of the room, so that you have to be a contortionist to reach stuff in the back. One set over the oven/stove, guarantee that anything up there will be super-heated. One set so that you can't open the drawer if the window blinds are down. Second kitchen challenge: one counter is currently serving as a nursery for two baby finches that are about two to three weeks from being independent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by madhen View Post
    Time - I have none. I work 10-12 hours per day M-F, and I commute two hours round trip, and I typically bring work home with me. That's who I am, and I have a hard time changing it.
    there it is. i have the same problem. it is impossible to work those hours and keep a martha stewart home.

    i decluttered room by room and now at least i have a clean living space. the bedrooms with the closed doors are a wreck.

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    Great challenge Madhen! I'm short and I have similar kitchen issues - things on the top shelves just don't get used. I put things I only use once or twice a year up there. Might be a good place for that catering stuff. For me I stash soapmaking and dyeing equipment up there, and some of my mom's china I don't use.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your progress! I may have to do this kind of challenge next year. My house is really looking well lived in.

    Jean

  8. #7
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by missyali View Post
    I would say, pick your bedroom first so that you have a haven to relax.
    Only problem I see with this is that relaxing is the last thing I need to be doing right now!

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    How's it going Madhen? Any headway?

    Jean

  10. #9
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Yes, thank you for asking!

    I started with my kitchen, and I have that about 30% done. One day was pretty much totally devoted to cleaning the appliances - mostly the stove. I use it a lot, and it looks like it. So last weekend, I spent the day and scrubbed that puppy clean, inside and out. While I was at it, I cleaned out the microwave, the automatic can opener, the coffee pot, and the toaster.

    I have cleaned three countertops out of four, and have managed to keep them clean. Every time I use them now, I take a second to put things away or in the sink and to do a quick spritz with a bottle of Simple Green and a quick swipe with a paper towel (or a dishrag or hand towel, if I'm getting ready to throw one in the wash). Things will be easier in a week or two, when these two baby Gouldian finches I'm raising are old enough to join their REAL family downstairs. I have an entire counter devoted to them and their hand-feeding utensils right now.

    The real test was yesterday, when I cooked in there! Amazingly, it took only a few minutes to stack everything in the fridge, spritz and wipe, and the kitchen stood ready for its next challenge!

    I dragged most of the catering appliances and accessories (trays, buffets, etc) into the dogs' room and stacked it on the racks down there. That left me room to start my stockpile, which I've begun in one cupboard that was totally cleaned out. I've cleaned out a second cupboard and am using the lower shelf and middle shelf for my coffee supply and small appliances (rice cooker, popcorn popper, etc.) The top shelf is too tall for me (and I'm 5'9"!), so I'm trying to figure out what sort of stuff can go up there that I won't need often but that deserves to be relatively close at hand. Right now, it sits empty. I still have a couple of cupboards to go, but am taking my time and really thinking out each move before doing it, because if it isn't practical, I won't keep doing it.

    I also cleaned out the freezer today and restacked things in there to make them easier to find.

    My short-term goal is to have the kitchen done and USABLE by next weekend, after which I go after the downstairs bathroom (which is kind of mudroom, not used much, but still cluttered).

    I meant to post more often, as things were accomplished, but this last week at work was crazy. I think I worked 14 to 16 hours minimum every day!

  11. #10
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Got all the kitchen cupboards cleared out today. Ready to start re-inventing my kitchen storage tomorrow!!

  12. #11
    Registered User voodidit's Avatar
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    Did you consider putting the catering stuff in the high cupboards since you said you rarely use that stuff, that way it would be out of the way and you will have the shelves you used in the dog room for other things that you may need on a more regular basis?

  13. #12
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    I actually have a LOT of catering stuff, so it fit well in the racks in the dogs' room and is now actually all sitting out where it is easier to see what I have. I am still not sure what I'll put in those top shelves - maybe light bulbs and such - things that I need once in a while and that it is nice to have on-hand, but not taking up valuable space in the "optimum zone" areas.

    I appreciate the suggestion, though! Thanks for thinking about it!

  14. #13
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Okay, I am going to get this kitchen done TODAY!! Got my counter back, as the baby birds have weaned and have been moved to a training flight. So I just have to clean that counter, move a few more things downstairs into the dogs' room, organize and clean one final counter, clean the floor, and clean out the fridge. And then I'll be done with the kitchen and off to clean and organize the bathroom!!
    Last edited by madhen; 09-27-2008 at 01:34 PM.

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    Registered User Jeanna's Avatar
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    I have been going through the same thing with going to school. But this week, since I haven't been going I have made lots of headway. I have donated about 8 boxes so far and by Monday I should have probably double that to go again. I am a book hog so going through them and getting rid of some of them has helped a lot. I also have started cleaning my cabinets. I started with the food cabinets and have those about 3/4 done. I have just been from one place to the other but I am really starting to see some head way. Good Luck Madhen. Just keep going but do not over do it.

  16. #15
    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    This kitchen has become my nemesis!! But I am about 90% done, and hope to finish up tomorrow. I had to rearrange some of the supplies, because I couldn't find a good place to store wraps. I have to move a few more things down to the dogs' room tomorrow, and then I'll be good to go. VERY excited about having a kitchen that FUNCTIONS at last!! Pics to be added to my album soon!

    From there, I will probably move on to the bedroom, as suggested, then maybe the bathrooms.

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