I think I might be a clutterer

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I think I might be a clutterer. I watched "captured" last night on MSNBC and they showed the story about compulsive clutterers. I wasn't near as bad as the people hightlighted but I have to say I have a difficult time keeping my house in a clean state. I have a dog, a cat and two almost teenage kids, who of course wouldn't know a mop, broom, vacuum or washing machine if I beat them with them. Nothing is every clean in my house. Plus forget about organizing, if I put it away it shows up in another place about 30 minutes later.
Anyone else in the same spot?
Holly
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On Thu, 10 Aug 2006 22:18:44 GMT, Holly

I'm just the opposite. I've been in this large house for 14 years. No pictures on the walls, yet I paint pictures. Three rooms without furniture, yet I design/build furniture. No draperies, just blinds or bare windows. No pets. No TV. No couch. There's an echo in every room. All the rooms are builder's white. People ask if I had just moved in or the place feels like a hospital. Simple is good. Cleaning is fast and easy while listening to radio, sometimes Internet radio. I like it.
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Phisherman wrote:

I too prefer the minimalist look and find it far easier to clean but only realistically achievable when I am the sole occupant of my home.
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On Thu 10 Aug 2006 06:18:44p, Holly wrote:

Me.
The odd thing is, at work I am known for my organization. At home, I'm a total wreck. I've been asked why I don't think I deserve to live in the same kind of enviornment as I do at work. I wish I knew..
--
Cal~

calliope 123 at gmail dot com
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-Calliope- wrote:

My sister did a detailed personality test at work and it came out that work or home surroundings aren't important to her. She was shocked by that, as she has a keen interest in design and of what she would like her home to look like. After speaking to the HR person in charge of the testing, she realized it was a defense mechanism after years of not being able to afford decent furniture and of having her kids make huge messes that she didn't have the energy to clean. She had talked herself into that attitude, even though it wasn't true.
Viv
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New Leaf wrote:

Folks,
There's a novel-made-into-a-film called _Housekeeping_ by Mari- lynne Robinson. Has anyone here either read the book or seen the movie? It's very good, worth reading/viewing! One character is the grown sister (aunt) of the two little girls who are left in a small town by their beautiful mother, who having given up on life, drives her car subsequently into a lake.
Their aunt is a dyed-in-the-wool "collector" . . .what we'd define here as a serious "clutterer"! She's the kind who holds onto old newspapers, empty tin cans . . .has indeed a house filled with such stuff! (I have a vague recollection that I've recommended this novel/film here before!) The sisters try to "hang" (as young folks say today" together in their shock & loneliness at first, but it becomes eventually clear that they are quite different in person- ality, one developing an appreciation of the aunt with all her "eccentricities," while the other has perhaps traits inherited from their beautiful, stylish mother, so gravitates toward a very differ- ent lifestyle & seeks a way to realize her dreams.
I think that, in addition to my parents having been prone, esp. as they aged, to "collect" one reason for their tendency was having "gone without" (one of the suggestions already given). Surely this was another underlying motivator for both our parents. Having lived through "hard times" (the Great Depression, it was understand- able that, as years later, they became able to afford to decorate their suburban home and to collect things that they liked, they'd go over- board, "hoarding" stuff, more & more & more, over the years!
Eventually, of course (as I've mentioned somewhere earlier), they became less & less able to do any of the sort of "sorting & discard- ing" that we are trying to do & describe here . . .it simply became a physical impossibility. At that point, they were lucky to have devot- ed kids and their spouses to pitch in and tackle the monumental job of discarding most of what they'd accumulated over many years on their own!
After our father died, however, Mom became, it seemed, even more inclined to order all sorts of "knickknacks" that she saw in mail or- der flyers that are targetted at buyers like her! She went really overboard, and the problem could only be brought under control once my bro' and his very organized wife moved into her house to share it with her, as being right on the spot enabled them to discard most of these flyers before she got a whiff of 'em! -- They live elsewhere now, in the "country home of their dreams", Mom still with them, and they are still on the ball about sorting her mail before she sees it!
Truth be told (as I've confessed somewhere here recently on another thread), I inherited that trait myself, which is the major reason that I avoid the garage/yard sales that my partner Sean loves so much! I'd really like to succeed, as most everyone here would, in NOT travelling that road that some of our parents did in creating such big problems with "too much stuff", which grew & grew till it bordered on "unmanage- able!"
Y'know, though, it IS an awfully big challenge! That is WHY we're here, after all, seeking to share our experiences and gain insights that may motivate us to keep at it, to change our tendencies (for some of us) to follow in parental footsteps! (D'y'know that when I finished high school, the first thing that I did was to take a couple of Adult Education courses, one of which was _Home Decorating_!) And folks, I have still that longing, over thirty years later, to succeed at long last in creating a comfortable living space for myself & so that I can invite folks in without feeling embarrassed & that I have to apologize for the cluttered state of things!
Well, I hope that all of us will find our reward HERE as we share in- sights that may lead to the fulfillment of our dreams. After all, I know I don' wanna wait till the "Hereafter" to be able to call my place, "Home, Sweet Home"! ;-)
"Putzfrulein"
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nice post, Lee

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better, but it's taking years to get things how I want them now the children are grown up and have homes of their own. I *still* have some boxes of their stuff in the garage.

boot (trunk) of my car where I have all my handouts and files neatly arranged in plastic boxes. (Because I teach in several different centres, my car is my mobile office.) They often say things like: "Oh, your house must be so organised."
I wish! Though I am slowly getting there. But at work there's only my own stuff to organise and there's only me who uses it. I used to get so weary of clearing up and cleaning the house when 5 minutes later, the horde would come in and trample all over it and have stuff strewn about again.
If you haven't already come across them, I got an awful lot of benefit from Julie Morgenstern's book _Organising from the Inside Out_. It has so many ideas on how to organise and store things in such a way that they're always handy and easy to put away once finished with. She provided me with a lot of basic organisation skills that I had never managed to learn when I was younger.
Good luck with the constant battle!
Helen
--
Helen, Gwynedd, Wales *** http://www.baradel.demon.co.uk

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Holly wrote:

Do you think you are a clutterer, or just in a situation where other people are controlling your environment? It doesn't matter. You will still get some good ideas here on how to make your surroundings fit your dream of how it should look. Viv
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Oh boy, I saw the same show and I cross my fingers hoping you are not like those people on the show. Especially if you have kids. Kids pick up bad habits. Do you only have one pathway in your house and the rest of the place is riddled with stuff that you need to get to?
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No, I wasn't really serious about having a serious clutter problem. Well, people with problems, do they ever admit or know that they have them? I was just complaing that regardless of what day it is, my house especially my floors always look dirty. And, I haven't thrown out the daily newspaper in about three years.
Holly
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You haven't thrown out newspapers for three years? Where do you keep them? It sounds like you have your hands full with kids and animals. I have a recommendation. My friend who seems void of time these days just got a robotic vacuum and mopper. I believe they are called the Roomba and Scooba. I was over her house the other day and she showed them at work. They did a good job. She said she uses them daily and she doesn't really have to do much. Turns them on and does other things. It is a thought and it could clear up some of that clutter on the floor!
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Julie wrote:

My niece was thinking of buying the Roomba as a surprise for my sister. Even with brushing their retriever daily there is a lot of hair floating around. We were thinking, though, that the Roomba might need to be emptied daily.
Viv
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yes it does but it is worth the time as you can be doing other things while it works and when you see what it gets by itself you are more than happy to do the empty, Lee

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second this, have the first one and love it, Lee

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no kids, six cats and am terminally lazy, Lee

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I sure am... Basically what you described is the same over here... We have a cat, a dog, a bunch of fish tanks full of fish, chinchillas... Not to mention boys that are 5 and a half and 6 and a half, a girl that is a year and one more due in October... The 5 year old seems to have a thing with paper, pens/pencils and scissors... I find random papers cut up to little shreds all over the place, not to mention toys EVERYWHERE... I have a hubby who just kind of leaves things around, and I seem to have a problem keeping this place in order. I do think there's just too much junk for the space I have. I've thought about just trashing/giving away/selling/boxing up EVERYTHING, but then I figure that's pointless as things tend to grow legs and appear where I just picked them up from or in another random place they don't belong. Why I find dishes in the bathroom is beyond me, and I'm not sure how many times I've found toys on the stairs, under tables, pens under the rugs... Cleaning everything up is such a chore :(
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xkatx wrote: ... I have a hubby who just kind of leaves

You have FOUR children there, not three.......why isn't he willing to give you a hand? Have you had a mature discussion with him about this? Can you get some hired help for a while? I hear the strain in your post.
Maybe others here with a brood can make suggestions. Guys?
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I've actually had that same thought come to mind... He does help, on occasion, but he figures that since he's the one that works now, he shouldn't have to do everything around the house.

Yes, although I'm not sure 'mature' goes hand in hand with him at times. He hounds the boys to take their dishes from the table after meals - very good habit to get into, AFAIC, yet *I* pick up his dishes, which drives me mad. If I point it out as he's leaving the table, I'm nagging. I've left his dirty plate on the table until the next meal and then I end up just picking it up anyways (about 50% of the time) I also refuse to pick up his laundry. I make a call about laundry before I start to sort and do it - I round up mine and the baby's clothes, the boys have to have ALL their dirty clothes in the baskets provided in their rooms or they don't have clean clothes and the same for DH, but he usually doesn't pick up his clothes. If I do clearly look swamped with everything around the house, he DOES help, but that seems to be when I'm at the point of desperation. He then just goes and does MAJOR cleaning on his own and gets it done fast with a, "See? It didn't take long and wasn't hard!" - try that with 3 little ones running behind you!

Hired help is kind of out of the question, as there's not enough money to hire someone to do what needs to always be done! lol I am thinking, though, to swallow my pride and see if my mom is available one day to help me get everything in order... Sort through what is needed and what isn't, toss, give away, garage sale whatever is garbage, unwanted, not used... I look around and wonder what's going on around here! There's just too much stuff for this little space, but I'm sure a lot of it could go and not be missed.
ANY suggestions would probably help! It's a nut house here, and I can live with most things, generally, as the 'perfect' home will be saved for when the kids move out lol, but at times, it gets so out of hand.
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xkatx wrote:

be a child about his own things, you can either continue as you have been, leaving them out to make a a point, or you can just pick it up and put it out of your head. Honestly, picking up his dishes is probably one minute and his clothes about the same, with a bit longer added in for laundry processing. Stop nagging. Just do it. Or don't. But don't talk about it anymore. You have a right to apply your standards to your children, but not to your husband. It sounds like you are doing a great job with your kids and one day their wives will thank you that they aren't slobs like Daddy!
I can hear everyone else going, "But that's not fair." No, it's not. He's been unfair and immature but you can eliminate a lot of stress by just doing it.
As far as his comments about how easy it is to do the major cleaning, that's rude and nasty BUT let him clean. Maybe even go out for a walk and let him clean with three kids in the house.
Viv
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