View Full Version : Woman with ADD / ADHD housekeeping emergency!

10-28-04, 05:38 PM
I may not have totally lost my mind, but I'm well on the way! We are trying to refinance our house, which will require an appraiser to do a walkthrough and reappraise the place. It's important that she gives us a "good" appraisal, since that will enable us to save a considerable amount of money over the next few years.

The problem ... the house is one big pile of clutter. The kids and I have been getting sick repeatedly for weeks, life has been hectic, and things have been sliding down the slippery slope of chaos for a long time now. Now I have a very few days to make the house "perfect" (in DH's words). No pressure there! :rolleyes: I've gotten so tense over this that it's actually hampering my efforts to get the job done. The kids seem to have picked up on my mood, and have become very moody and hard to deal with themselves. I'm about ready to tear my hair out!

DH is, of course, working long hours this week. Hiring a housekeeper for a day might help, but most of what needs to be done is decluttering. I've been looking for someone to babysit the kids for a few hours so I can work without interruptions. So far, there have been no takers. SO, I just popped in to vent a little. :o Anyone have any words of wisdom for me?

10-28-04, 06:22 PM
That's a good idea, get a baby sitter, rent a dumpster, if you haven't used in the last 2 years, toss it. If you haven't worn it in the last year, toss it. (if you are a hoarder this may be impossible with out valium and assistance of someone yelling at you "you don't need that! Throw it out!!!!") What doesn't go in the dumpster, what you don't need but is good and can be used make a pile for the Salvation Army or other similar organization in your area.

Buy some big plastic bins for the stuff that you must keep and store so that you can stack them and put them away somewhere. After you de-clutter, hire a maid service to douche the place.

Also, make sure you reward yourself after it's done with some you time! Be a night out with the girls, or an empty (clean!) house and a hot bath and good book!

Take care and I hope everything turns out well. Try not to stress!

I have a storage room that I've been meaning to de-clutter and organize for months now. It drives me crazy, but it's low on the list of priorites and I haven't gotten to it yet but it hangs over me like a cloud!

10-28-04, 06:36 PM
Since it is soooo easy for us to get distracted and off path, cleaning up clutter can be especially difficult - you go to put something in another place and end up organizing there, then get distracted by something else......Does that sound familiar at all?
When asked this question at a seminar my ADD Dr suggested starting in one corner, and working your way outwards - create one uncluttered corner and then work on expanding it until it encompasses your house! As the local king of unfinished projects, this suggestion made sense to me so I remembered it - just in case I ever have to clean my house one day ;-)

10-28-04, 06:54 PM
Sounds like me.... I've been jumping from one project to another, never quite finishing any one thing. So I've been working, but that might not be apparent to a casual observer. :rolleyes: Probably the best thing for me now is to move away from the computer and keep plugging away....

10-29-04, 01:27 AM
make a list of everything that will be required to make your house LOOK better.
if it isn't honest to god organization who cares.
you're looking for a temporary fast way to get this done.
take each room individually.
do sections at a time.
like first floor: kitchen. then dining room. then living room.
brainstorm about maximum efficiency.
what would make it look less cluttered the best?
if you have some personal storage off site you could put a bunch of unnecessary stuff you don't use on a regular basis and is just sitting in your house devaluing your refinance..
put in a plastic storage box..haul it off for a week. and then deal with it slowly when this ordeal is all over.

this, as you'll see, is just a complex version of shoving everything in the closet.

good luck on your mission!
may the force be with you...

10-29-04, 04:12 AM
1. Prioritise, what must they ABSOLUTLY not see, or what will make the biggest impact visually? Start there and then ask yourself again when it is done. Otherwise you will be running around at random not putting much of a dent in any one place and wasting your precious time and energy.

2. Get a "body double", what this means in ADHD terms is another person to keep you on task. It can be someone that actually helps you, or just visits with you while you dig in. Preferably someone understanding of your challenges, that wont give you "toxic help". If you are to ashamed for friends/family to see your mess, another option would be to have a cord less phone with a headset and call a long winded friend and let them know you are digging in to a chore that you don't like and need the company. (It goes so much faster this way.)

3. Another tip is to set a timer for maybe 10 minutes (or however much you can take) and de-clutter as much as you can until the timer rings. (You can even make a game out of it.) When the timer rings set it for 5 minutes or so and take a brake, drink some water, look a magazine, do jumping jacks... When it rings get back at it for another fast chunk. I'm always amazed at how much I can get done this way.

I have had these "inspections" done at my house before and what you have to keep telling yourself is that they are not there to see how clean your bathroom is, they are there to take measurements and see the condition your home is in. (Stains on the carpet, holes in the sheet rock, broken windows etc.) Putting it in prospective like that always calms me down.

Let us know how it goes!!

Ginger : )

PS: They wont look under your bed! ; )

10-29-04, 07:22 AM
Krisp, this is a ghastly situation and you have my empathy;) !

I must admit, I would try and get the kids out of the house [even if you have to pay for them to be cared for].

Put on some loud upbeat music:D
Get a pile of HUGE rubbish bags, and place all the clutter in those bags.

After the clutter is all cleared, clean the house, and even get one day's paid help if you can afford it.

What they don't see won't hurt your appraisal.

Before the appraiser comes, put on some soothing music; fresh coffee...and have bread baking if you can. These are psychological tricks for getting better prices :D They work, even on appraisers.

Please keep us informed as to how you go!:)

10-29-04, 09:06 AM
Thanks for all the great tips! I'm hoping that using the basement as a "catch-all" won't hurt the appraisal too much. (It's partially finished, with lots of rooms, most of which are full of stacked storage bins at the moment.) I may use the "body-double-on-the-phone" idea, too. I have a long-winded out-of-state friend that I've been meaning to call ..... :D

It's truly amazing to me, BTW, how fast the kids can undo a good room-straightening. As soon as one of their beds turns into a spaceship, and their rooms turn into alien planets, things can go downhill very fast. If only those powers could be harnessed for good instead of evil! :rolleyes:

10-29-04, 03:35 PM
It's truly amazing to me, BTW, how fast the kids can undo a good room-straightening. As soon as one of their beds turns into a spaceship, and their rooms turn into alien planets, things can go downhill very fast.(I have AD/HD bad) I have a 5 year old boy (I don't know yet if he has AD/HD) and we (I'm very suspicious that my husband has it also) were having a hard time getting him to straighten up his room.

About 2 weeks ago I attended an AD/HD seminar, and one of the main speakers was Edward Hallowell, M.D. (author of "Driven to Distraction") he talked allot about families with ADD-AD/HD. He gave some great suggestions for kids rooms, so the next day I made a trip to Ikea ( I didn't have enough money to do everything that I wanted, but the few things that I brought home made a huge improvement. (His room is STILL clean!!)

Hallowell suggested buckets/bins for clothes, it is out of the ordinary, but so are we...

I got some stackable recycling bins, then I took 3x5 index cards and drew an outline of what was in each one. (T-shirt, jeans, etc.) Then my little boy colored them with crayons, (he loved it) I let him help tap them to the lids. I even let him decide what order to stack them. He then helped me put his clothes in.

Hallowell also pointed out that small children's play clothes don't necessarily need to be folded, well I jumped on that one! (I hate to fold, and I'm always behind.) I told him that he could fold them if he wants to. (He is a little OCD so I think this is good "therapy" for him.)

I also picked up these wired things that hang on the wall and we used those for unders and socks.

His toys are sorted in bins.

He has his very own "launching pad" by his door, hooks for coats, hats, backpack and plastic baskets for shoes.

I included some photos so you can get an idea what I'm talking about.

Ginger : )

10-29-04, 04:48 PM
ginger :
you are a very coool mama.
i love your gusto.
i'm sure your boy was as happy as he could be!

10-30-04, 02:37 AM
Thanks for the compliment.
Ginger : )

11-03-04, 11:17 AM
I love those open bins. They're very similar to the ones I put in the kids' toyroom. I'm still trying to convince the 4-y.o. not to dump out the toys and play with the bins, though! :rolleyes: Thanks for all the great suggestions!

And we heard back from the appraiser. The house appraised for $38K more than we paid for it two years ago! :eek:

11-03-04, 11:18 AM
RIGHT ON krisp...
thats excellent. i'm sure you're relieved now..congrats.

11-03-04, 07:47 PM
It sounds like you really "cleaned up":D!!

11-05-04, 07:54 PM
I was more than appalled when our house was appraised and the guy looked in my closets, where I had shoved everything. Things were falling down at his feet. They should warn you about that!!!

11-06-04, 11:09 AM
Yep, our appraiser looked in the closets too. She apologetically said, "I'd hate it if someone looked in my closets, but the last time I didn't look, the "closet" turned out to be a half-bath." I was just thankful that nothing fell off a high shelf and hit her.... :o

11-06-04, 11:46 AM
Krisp......that gave me such a well needed laugh! I am so glad things worked out well for you and your family! :)

11-06-04, 03:33 PM
We just went thru the samething krisp and you stressed way too much over it. I was in a panic scrubbing every room from top to bottom and hiding things I wasn't sure if I wanted to get rid of in the attic. I even went as far as to threaten those I love most with groundings, withholding (wink wink) if they messed one single room I had already been in. When the guy got to my house to appraise it the baby had decided to feed himself carrots so I had Garrett carrot handprints on my wall, he had also ripped the molding off one of my doorways, Lexi had dumped her barbie house to remodel herself, Koda had accidently locked the dog in his room and yeah you guessed it. I was so embarrassed that I followed him around with carrots handprints on my shirt and in my hair while I was yelling at my kids to clean up their messes, apologizing profusly all the time until he finally turned around and told me "Ma'am people live in your house, it's supposed to look like this and besides I once did a house that when I got to the basement they had three rabbits in a cage and hadn't cleaned for awhile, maggotts were all over." I took a deep breath, smiled and took the kids out for lunch while he finished up.

It can alway's be worse!!! Congrats on the appraisal our own house's value doubled since we bought it two years ago due to a lot of hard work and remodeling.

11-09-04, 11:29 AM
Of course you're right, Futs, but housekeeping is something that brings out my neurotic side. :o Didn't help that DH was also all stressed out about it and kept saying that everything needed to be "perfect." (Then, after the appraiser had come and gone, he said that the result of the appraisal might not even matter that much. I think I should get some kind of reward for not hitting him! ;) )

Personally, I think the fact that we had done some work on the house had more to do with the good appraisal than all the stressing and the cleaning...

12-17-04, 01:12 AM
hahaha wow the entirety of our hidden agendas ... all in one closet ! what a way to go.
Well, I can so relate. I don't understand it. I was never soooo cluttered before. I feel like now, being a single mother has really brought that to surface. I find myself finishing one long cleaning task.. knowing everything else is just way too unorganized and then saying.. I'm stinkin tired I will just try to finish tomorrow.. and 3 days later still saying "tomorrow". Not a good feeling I tell ya.
And I guess my problem is mostly that I feel like all the helpful hints were a thing of my past to try.
Any suggestions?? SINGLE MOM ASKS FOR HELP!! lol hahaha

12-20-04, 03:40 PM
Ya! Krisp! You got through it, and the house appraised for more than you put in it! Great for you, congrats! I always heard it took 4 years before a house builds equity and you can sell it. (I loathe my house and want to sell it, but we've only been in it 3 years and Hubby looooveess it LOL)

Futs: I have a Lexi, too. And dumping out her barbie house the second someone comes over sounds exactly like something my Lexi would do, too. If you read my post about the cupcake earlier, you'll see what I mean. ;)

12-22-04, 02:57 PM
lol luv my hubby hates our little house and I love it.

Do you think it has anything to do with their name? I've met a lot of Lexi's just like my daughter. Maybe, I should have researched her name a little harder lmbo.

05-24-11, 11:52 AM
Hey, I know your appraisal already happened, but for anyone else in this situation, I'd like to share my thoughts.

I had a serious shoulder injury and a house full of 30 kids and their parents for my darling daughter's 7th birthday who were to arrive in about 48 hours. Yes, I know I am insane, but that is beside the point.

Remember, this is an EMERGENCY!! Not a way to keep house even occasionally.

1. Get kids out of house however humanly possible for as long as possible. If they can't be gone long, start with their stuff. Also get any trust-worthy help you can find. Call in some favors, beg your family and friends, ask at church, pay someone. If your kids must be there or they are teenagers and you don't want to go through their stuff, reassure them that nothing important will get thrown away and get them to pitch in as best as they can. Even a 3 year old can sweep junk into a box!!

2. Grab every empty box, bin, laundry basket and large container you have. Also some large and small trashbags or plastic grocery bags, and even smaller containers.

3. Take your medicine at the maximum allowed dose. Add caffeine if possible.

4. As quickly as possible, make a list of each room and the jobs that MUST be done, then the ones that would be NICE to have done. Make it pretty general, like "wipe surfaces, sweep, declutter". Not too many details. Just enough to keep you on track.

5. Turn on answering machine, turn off TV and computer and cell phone, turn on loud music.

6. Start at your first room. If you have time, you can sort between obvious trash and other. If it is something you must use, like a toothbrush, use a container to hold all the things you use every day from that room. QUICKLY sort through the clutter into containers designated: USE, TRASH, OTHER. If there is any question, sort it into the "other" container. Don't spend more than a second or two to make this decision. If you are feeling especially organizational, you could label the "other" boxes with the room they came from, but I found that things in the "bathroom" box didn't necessarily belong in the bathroom, so it didn't matter if they had a room label on there or not.

7. Once the clutter and stuff has been cleared, give the room a quick wipe down and sweep. Unless it is truly precious or valuable, don't pick it up from the sweeping pile.

8. Move from room to room, boxing up and giving a quick swipe. Maybe you could take a short break after each room or once an hour, but build in several short breaks. Use a timer if you need, so you don't space out on your break. Getting a drink would be a good idea on break. Build in a break for lunch, but don't get too comfy. Don't turn on the TV, phone, or computer, or your sure to get distracted, at least I am.

9. You may need to find a staging area where you can out you full boxes. You'll definitely need to find a temporary spot to keep them until the crises has passed. Maybe a neighbor or friend, a storage facility if you already have one, the trunk of you car, attic, basement, etc. Give this a little thought. You don't want these "other" boxes to get too comfortable or they will never leave. You "use" boxes should go back to the rooms where they are used. If unpacking the "use" containers would make things look cluttered again, then keep them in the container and stash it out of sight as best you can until crises has past.

10. After the inspection or party or visit from you in-laws, you MUST go back through the "other" stuff and deal with it properly. But, if you are feeling particularly buried, you could set a date (maybe a couple of months) and if you haven't opened the container to get something you need, you could throw away the whole box. But don't get all impulsive on it. You are better off going through the boxes at least a little bit since you might not have been able to pay much attention to what you out in there.

11. Try not to repeat. Stuff happens, people get sick, junk piles up, mail keeps coming. Don't waste a single moment beating yourself up, but do try to do a little bit every day to put your space in order, reduce the junk you have and resist bringing more junk in. But most of all, don't dare let those full boxes of "other" stuff sit there for over a year like me. :)

05-24-11, 01:00 PM
Oh, and a quicken...

If you can, spread out a sheet or blanket where your kids can play with their toys.

If you have unexpected company, you can gather up blanket and toys and stash out of sight.

My kids wouldn't do this, but my Mother-in-law did this when she was selling her house without a realtor

05-25-11, 01:37 AM
On the topic of the "Other" box, DO NOT USE CARDBOARD. For the love of God, use a plastic box. I learned the hard way that cardboard boxes, especially full of books, and especially sitting in a basement, is the best way to attract some really gross (albeit harmless) bugs. *shudders* So if there's ANY risk of this box getting left for a while, you want something that bugs won't go after. And if they do go after it, that they can't get into it.