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  #1  
Old 09-17-14, 10:24 AM
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Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

This drives me mad. Because if I can't get it done in the same session in which I started, then it'll just revert to its atavistic, cluttered state, and I might as well not have bothered. But when you're talking an entire room, even a small one, and there are only so many hours in the day, and the mess has gotten to quite a state, it's not going to be possible to finish it in a day. Plus I'm not as young as I was and I get tired and achey sooner (though if I really get on a spurt of adrenaline that may vary).

I know there are ways using baskets and stuff to do a little area at a time; I guess I need to look up what they are.
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Old 09-18-14, 11:58 PM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

So . . . I guess I'll try dealing with small areas - that should be easy because my room is kind of divided up anyway between the placement of the doors, windows, electrical outlets, two bunny cages, bed, etc. In the little bits of open space is where the clutter accumulates. Some days I just look at it and . . . Or trying to walk around and not stumble or step on something

I'll have to do it when my roommate isn't home so I can move stuff out of the room though. There's no place to shift anything about. Plus I'll need to sweep the floor, kill spiders etc.
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Old 09-19-14, 03:55 PM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

The only thing i've found that works for me is to pick one thing and do that first. and then pick another and do it.

If I am cleaning up my workspace being in IT. I'll start with cables. then move on to CDs, Thumbdrives. Empty boxes that parts and computers came in. I repurpose some of those for storage, and throw the rest away.
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Old 09-19-14, 05:59 PM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

Be obnoxiously specific with yourself about what you mean to accomplish, and what steps will be required.

If your goal is only "Clean this stuff up" then you'll have a very hard time and might fail. You need smaller goals that you can succeed at in a single session and scratch off of the list.
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Old 09-20-14, 12:47 AM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

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Originally Posted by dvdnvwls View Post
Be obnoxiously specific with yourself about what you mean to accomplish, and what steps will be required.

If your goal is only "Clean this stuff up" then you'll have a very hard time and might fail. You need smaller goals that you can succeed at in a single session and scratch off of the list.
That is true - it's too big and unspecific. I've heard that said in organizing books and heard also that when we're kids with ADD it flummoxes us. So I know I do need to get specific. What I seem to need - and don't have in a very cramped quarters living situation - is a "staging area" - a neutral place where I could take things out of the mixed-up piles for sorting and categorizing (and hopefully some tossing, too), then return them to where they should be stored.

That's why I like that one idea I heard about the boxes or baskets - I'll have to find what book it's in and post that here. What you do is remove stuff that doesn't belong where you're working and put it in the box/basket till you work on the area where it goes.
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Old 09-22-14, 01:08 PM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

I REALLY like the book "Sink Reflections" by the "Fly Lady." She is an advocate of baby steps - attacking one small area at a time. The title of the book comes from the fact that she INSISTS that before you clean anything in your home, you must first get everything out of your sink (even if you just have to stack dirty dishes) and make the sink sparkle. The idea is that this small task will give you a sense of accomplishment and will motivate you to keep cleaning (whether it's that same day or happens in increments over the next days or weeks.)

Another awesome piece of advice I love to cut down on clutter is the "27 fling boogie" - get rid of 27 items of unneeded clutter in 15 minutes. (This is adapted from Suze Orman.)

I have a long ways to go myself, but this is the only resource that I find truly helpful.

Also, this probably sounds ridiculous, but I like to watch "Hoarders" or "Hoarding: Buried Alive" when I clean or declutter. Seeing homes and people undergo massive transformations gives me perspective and inspires me.
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Old 09-23-14, 12:48 PM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

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Originally Posted by demfabbones View Post
I REALLY like the book "Sink Reflections" by the "Fly Lady." She is an advocate of baby steps - attacking one small area at a time. The title of the book comes from the fact that she INSISTS that before you clean anything in your home, you must first get everything out of your sink (even if you just have to stack dirty dishes) and make the sink sparkle. The idea is that this small task will give you a sense of accomplishment and will motivate you to keep cleaning (whether it's that same day or happens in increments over the next days or weeks.)

Another awesome piece of advice I love to cut down on clutter is the "27 fling boogie" - get rid of 27 items of unneeded clutter in 15 minutes. (This is adapted from Suze Orman.)

I have a long ways to go myself, but this is the only resource that I find truly helpful.

Also, this probably sounds ridiculous, but I like to watch "Hoarders" or "Hoarding: Buried Alive" when I clean or declutter. Seeing homes and people undergo massive transformations gives me perspective and inspires me.
A friend put me onto FlyLady years ago - I could never go whole hog with her methods, but I've kept a few specifics that I did like - the 27-fling boogie is a good one.

I've never watched "Hoarders" because it hits me emotionally too close to home and I think sometimes they ramp up the drama and I just don't care for "reality TV." I have, though, read helpful books about the problem, and am resolved to get it before it gets me. In my extended family there are some hardcore hoarders - I'm talking Adult Protective Services being called in and a house fire situation. So I see "there but for the grace of God go I" and believe you me, I don't wanna go there! But no, I think that's a great strategy if you can tolerate it. I don't think it's crazy at all.

Since I last posted, I've cleared some space and will be able to clear more. It's funny sometimes how one item will be the logjam, if you know what I mean. I moved this box that held library books yesterday and thought - this is NOT going back where I had it, it's in the way there! Putting it elsewhere (prior to eliminating it entirely if I can) opened up options for where to put other items.
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Old 08-02-15, 12:09 AM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

When my messes get that big I start using the "will I use it in the next day FOR SURE" That stays in the room, on a shelf, table, or tray. "Will I use it in the next week FOR SURE" that goes into some sort of bin, drawer, etc. "Will I sue it in the next month FOR SURE". that stuff goes in my clothes closet. Everything else I throw away. Its either that or I cant see my floor. So I had to decide, what is more important to me...this stuff, while being possibly useful and definitely something I want, or my sense of sanity-which is something I need and cant live without.

It helps me to do this when I am in a spontaneous mood, because waaaaay more things get thrown away. I have to admit, I have thrown away things i ended up wishing I would have had, but it has never been anything I couldnt live without, nor was the convenience worth the clutter, especially since I had forgotten I had it or where it was in the first place!
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Old 02-16-17, 02:18 PM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

My problem is I have too many "projects" and the materials for them are all over the place. I've tried to crack down on the number of them that I gather materials for.

I have a huge living room filled with junk on the floor, and it will definitely take more than one session to get it all sorted, put away and cleaned. I try to do a little bit every night after work. For instance, last night I put some items away and stored them in a cardboard box recycled from work. (I improved the durability of the box by gluing cardboard pieces inside.) I then painted the side blue, bc I read color coding is good for ADDers, gave it a box #, then entered it into a "Box contents" type file I keep in Word format. In this file I enter the box #, location, and description of contents.

I have a 3 day weekend coming up, and will try to spend the time sorting and organizing more boxes, labeling contents, etc.
It's a project I've been meaning to do for years and am now finally cracking down and DOING.

I have seen shows like "Hoarders" and similar programs....I try to use that for inspiration...and *not* act like the ppl on there.
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Old 02-16-17, 09:02 PM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

Try a clear plastic tub with a lid, and mark on some clear packing tape what is is inside. Get matching, stackable tubs. but only for stuff you are keeping. Once you get that all done you will probably have some good ideas of your own to figure out storage for the tubs.

I like the old Rubbermaid tubs, but have found that anything that goes in one gets lost. Out of sight, out of mind....I've moved a couple of times since 2004 and I'm still unpacking tubs and it's like Christmas morning.
The clear tubs at least will give you a chance at remembering what the contents are exactly. You can write on the tub itself, but it makes reuse a little more complicated...Or use a big index card and write down everything you put in your tub. Tape the card to the tub so you can see it.

And if you have different size empty tubs either store them with their lids on or somehow ID the lid to its tub...Tub A Lid A, and so on.

Cardboard boxes have their place too. They make great sorting bins, and for stuff that you are getting rid of it hides it so you're not tempted to keep it.

Last edited by DJ Bill; 02-16-17 at 09:04 PM.. Reason: Ummm....I don't remember now.
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Old 08-01-18, 02:48 AM
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Re: Starting to organize a big mess when it can't be completed in one session

My place is a disaster but I’ve found I can create little pockets of order with labels. One drawer is “sheets” or “socks”. Small baskets might be “supplements/medications” or “electric stuff”. If I make a rule that everything MUST go to it’s labeled spot and I can clearly see the labels from across the room then they usually go there.
The best luck though was having a friend come over to teach me tasks and routines she uses. Cleaning is a skill after all.
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