Cleaning & Organizing
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I am unorganized, and I am tired of it. We have a three bedroom house, and we only use one room - but there's not room for anything! MIL has a ton of crap in one room which she's supposed to get out soon, but that'll only open up a little room.

I'm not necessarily a hoarder, well.. far from it. But our house is so small there's just not room since we moved in together. One bedroom is all my clothes and shoes, and where I do schoolwork (and in March, my work - I'll be working from home.)

I just don't know where to start. I already have three full garbage bags of things to drop off at Goodwill, but I haven't found time to do that. Where do I begin? Any good tips? I need help!

Re: Unorganized

  • Two approaches I can think of:

    1) Big purge: spend a big chunk of time getting a ton of it done.  Start in one room, and when it's done, move on to another.  DH and I have done this over long weekends; luckily, we've gotten much better about just maintaining a normal level of cleanliness so it doesn't happen any more.  Pros: you get it done quickly and can enjoy your newly cleaned room(s).  Cons: at the end of your weekend, you look back and realize "all I did this weekend is clean."  :-)

    2) Lots of mini-purges: set the timer for an amount of time (15-30 minutes so you don't get burned out), and work for that amount of time.  You'll be surprised at how much you get done!  Do this several times a day until it's done (and actually, after everything has been sorted and organized, continue doing it to keep it that way).  Pros: you can easily work this in around your normal life.  Cons: results are much slower.

    Have you looked at the website?  If you haven't, click on "How to Get Started," and make sure to visit the "Baby Steps."  Despite the fact that the site is horribly disorganized, she really helps you develop some useful tools to keep your house clean and organized to avoid CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)!

    Good luck!  You can do it!


  • It's simple. Put the computer down and get to work. The 10 minutes (or more) you spend on the nest can make a huge difference between cluttered and clean. (I don't mean this to sound snarky... I constantly have to remind myself to get off the computer and do housework.)

    Put your Goodwill bags in your car and set a date to take them.  

    Give MIL a date to pick up her things, if she doesn't put it by the curb. In the future, do not agree to store items for an undetermined time. "Can you keep these for two weeks while I'm moving?" Sure. "Can you store these because I have too much stuff in my own house?" Umm, no. Your inability to throw away your junk is not my problem and I'm not going to let it take up my limited space. 

    If you can convince your husband to do a big purge - do it! Plan a weekend and make it fun. Order in your favorite food so you don't have to stop and cook. Pick a reward so you have something to look forward to when it is over. It could be big - buying new furniture for your newly organized rooms, or small - go out for ice cream.  

    Do you have a friend that could help for an afternoon? An outsiders opinion on "what to keep" can help you overcome emotional attachment to useless items.

    Have a defined goal for the space. Find pictures of your dream office space/guest room/ridiculously large closet and make it happen.  It is hard to get started when you're unsure of what "finished" will look like.

  • I would do a little every day.

    Take a garbage bag and throw 30 or 40 things away every day. Or challenge yourself to fill the bag. It will take you maybe 10 minutes and at the end of the week you will have 7 bags of trash!

    Start with one thing. Literally-pick something up. Where should it go? Does it belong in this room? No? Then where d you think it should go? Find a home for it.

    Now pick up something else and find a home for it. Ask yourself "Does this item help me create the room I want?" For example, if you have a room you want to do school work in...then it's fine if your textbooks and papers are in there. But does a hairbrush help you create a good homework space? no. So move it.


    <a target="_blank" title="" href="">[The New Party and Entertaining Bio]</a>
  • I am suffering from the same condition and have decided to start something new.  I don't know if it will work, but I am going to try. 

    This will not be on the internet, but will be a blog I keep in my computer only.  On Sunday nights, I am going to post (to myself only) what I got done that weekend and a picture of the rooms I need to reorganize.  I am hoping it will have the same effect that a list does--feels good to cross something off, and seeing the inaction and knowing I have to post inaction will be humiliating. 

  • When me and my husband moved in together, I went through everything and sorted it into things and his, then i put his things into piles of things neither of us want or need, things ive never seen him touch, totaly unrecognizeable junk. and then made him go through the piles. anything with no sentimental value, or anything no longer useful to him i put in a box in the crawl space for 3 months. if he didnt go through the box durring those months then, those are the boxes i gave away.
  • You're in the same boat as me!

    For myself, I found a couple books because I am a process person and I really like tracking my progress. Like another poster said, I too have started a blog but I'm keeping mine public (link in siggy). 

    The books I've found to be helpful are: Organize Now! and One Year to an Organized Life. Both books break down the issues into smaller, more manageable tasks/goals. The second one is especially fun because the author encourages you to put together something like a dream book so you always have what you'd like your place/self/ look like/be like in the forefront.

    To more directly answer your question, though, the thing that helps me is to just focus on one room at a time. I take everything out of that room that doesn't belong and I put it in a laundry basket or somewhere to just get it out of my mind. Then I figure out if I need to move around furniture or anything, and as I'm doing that I just clean the baseboards/floors since things are exposed. Then I start to put it back based on what is most used and what is high traffic, etc... 

    Good luck and have fun with it!

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