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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en + 1 Reasons Why We Just Don’t Declutter…

April 3rd, 2013 · 23 Comments

One of those posts when I am hoping that the whole world owns a shelf, a junk drawer, a closet or even (hohum) an entire room, albeit a very small room, that they just can’t face tidying. Behind this super efficient noticeboard, just off the kitchen lurks ours. We call it the lab… the computer lab, because there are literally tons of computers and computer paraphernalia in there… and a heap of other chaos. For all those folk who would like me to write about organising… you should be rolling on the floor in hysterics after seeing this. I just want you to know that the rest of our home is pretty much sorted… but this room is my nemesis!!!

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We all know we like it when our homes run like a well maintained machine… and we all like to get home and collapse on the couch and hope that things get packed away while dinner gets made. Unfortunately, life is a paradox: in order to sit on the couch and relax while your home runs itself, you have to have done a fair amount of work behind the scenes!!! Last month I wrote a couple of posts on getting organised and tips for sorting and decluttering… My goal was to sort out our dreadful mess… and each week I fully intended to link up to the Organizing Junkie’s 31 days Organiziational Challenge. I have done her 52 week challenge before – success. And we conquered her garage challenge last year…

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The school stuff isn’t too bad, apart from the dripping paper skeleton!!!

Well, it wasn’t the first time I have failed at this room and apparently it won’t be the last… because the project never ever got off the ground. Not EVER. Well I did take some before pictures!!! And then this past weekend when I decided it was “do or die” and I started unpacking things into the kitchen… our kitchen counters have been smothered in debris for three days straight… Of course, tomorrow evening we have dinner guests and I would love a flat surface to prepare on. I have a choice: jam it all back in there and keep the door closed… or just get focused, concentrate on the project at hand and actually get it done!!!

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I think the reason that I never got going was… well overwhelming!!! When it comes to decluttering I know what works – a little bit at a time, an hour a week is enough to conquer an entire garage in a month. Waiting for “time to declutter” well… I am thinking like any good intention… you have to start small. No one trains for a marathon in a week, no one makes life-style changes overnight.

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And the piles and piles of paper.

Well decluttering and sorting out a problem spot… can really become a weight on your shoulders and honestly why don’t we just get it done… It is simple really:


Se7en + 1 Reasons Why we Just Don’t Declutter.

  1. I really can’t face it: This project is just too enormous: There are papers to sort, wires to sort, half-finished projects to finish or discard, computer parts for ever and it just goes on. It is also a space that is actually quite a public area of our home – it is the space in full view of the kitchen, where screen time happens!!! And most important. Most of the stuff is not mine: which means I have to ask for almost each item: Do we still need this or not? and this? and what about this? Nobody wants to be part of this clean-up, as my mother would say: “It is like yanking teeth” – I get it, there are better things to do!!!
  2. I am avoiding what I should be doing: I have projects that I really want to get to… and yet it appears that I leave things to the last minute time after time. It is really quite simple, I love using deadlines to get stuff done. I won’t start a project because first I should declutter that room… and before you know it the decluttering that should have taken a day or two six months ago ends up not getting done and special projects, like our sketchbook project get dashed out in a week. I also have a little voice in my head: “How do you do it all” … my most often asked question… and honestly when I listen to that voice and find a fifteen minute gap in my day… I just grab a coffee and take a break. Because “How do I do it all?” The fact is, I often don’t need a break I am doing fine, and it would be more fulfilling for me to get even one little thing sorted… and slowly but surely those “one things” would add up!!!
  3. I don’t want to be caught with a big mess: You know when you are sorting out any project things are going to get a lot worse before they get better… a lot worse!!! Who wants to go there… who wants their kitchen counters smothered in clutter for days on end. This is easily avoidable by just doing one small section at a time. Instead of a giant project, where inevitably you run out of steam.
  4. I will just do something else quickly: Another thing that easily distracts me from a task like this is the little things that have to be done in a day… I will just bring the laundry in and then I will start… only by the time the laundry is in it is time to start dinner. The solution again is to just do the tiniest little sort before you head out to do all the jobs that have to be done on a given day.
  5. We think we need huge chunks of time: This is probably my favourite excuse… I will wait until the weekend, I am so busy with school during the week – I am!!! But I could easily sort a pile of papers while somebody reads to me, I could easily sort through the tangle of wires while I listen my children tell me what they read for history or science or whatever!!! On the weekends I say I need an afternoon in the week, I am far too busy going for ambles and spending time with my kids that isn’t “school-time.”
  6. I think we might need all that stuff later: There are literally piles of potential projects… I need to let them go!!! I print out things that I think will be great to do and then never ever get around to them. (Maybe because I should declutter that room first!!!) I have a shelf of games that we never play – that is why they are in there and not on the game shelf in the kitchen… they are classics, I played them as a child and we may play them someday. Hang on – we don”t play them, we have our family favourites and I should definitely pass them on… I know it, but I just don’t get around to it!!!
  7. I Don’t Like to Delegate: When I was a new mum I was terrified of the BIG THREE… so many books I read mentioned, just in passing, that a child’s emotional world is settled by the time they are three and all things pertaining to a child’s emotional well-being needs to have been achieved by then. Well, I failed, my kids are destined to be emotional wrecks… turns out those books were incorrect, just saying!!! Another stream of parenting books had me a little weary of the “Ten,” apparently if you have a ten year old in your home – or older kids, (hello I have a small army here…), then I should no longer have any household chores to do and all chores should be taken care of by the “Team.” Yet another parenting myth that I am steadily debunking. Yes, my kids do chores; yes, my kids can cook and clean… but a LOT of my days look like this: Load of laundry in; Make breakfast; Clean up from breakfast; Hang laundry out; Make lunch, Clean up from lunch; Bring laundry in and fold it and pack it away; Make Dinner; Clean up from dinner… Collapse. Yes I do have help all along the way but the lion’s share falls to me. Somehow delegation is not my strong point. I know it, and I need to find ways that my kids can help to keep this room sorted.
  8. And the Se7en + 1th Thing…

  9. I’d rather be blogging: Honestly I would rather do anything else and the idea that the reward of a room where we can actually find stuff… is just not exactly working for me!!! I need to see the result before I can appreciate the work that will go into it!!!

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Honestly, would you want to tackle this?

And so dear readers… Tell me you have a hideous clutter zone lurking in your home!!! I need your help. What do you think???


Should we have poll…

  • Clean out that mess once and for all. I have started and I may as well keep going…
  • Or cram it all back in there. I need to have a clear surface to make dinner for guests tomorrow anyway.

The rest of this week I fully intend to write all about books – I have heaps of books to share, and even a few to GiveAway… tons of activities to post – this whole month… and I will not mention decluttering… but I will keep an eye on the poll and let you know by the weekend which way you all convinced me to go!!!

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Tags: Organizing Se7en · Thoughtful Thursdays

23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rikki // Apr 3, 2013 at 3:18 am

    I have an entire room like this. It isn’t a small room. We call it “The Room of DOOM!” We are blessed with an extra bedroom. The intent is to have it be a room for the kids to play in, yes outside is best but we do have temperatures over 110 Degrees Fahrenheit for weeks on end during the summer so outside is a bit out of the question on those days. So the room stores old toys, new toys, school supplies ( you know Sonlight and all of those books!), books that have nothing to do with school, craft supplies, sewing supplies and random junk. Sadly, too much of the stuff in the room is mine.

  • 2 se7en // Apr 3, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Oh this is good to hear… The Room of Doom… about sums it up!!! I am hoping to hear that we aren’t the only ones and that many other folk have spots that are just beyond it… the thought of sorting this out… shew!!! Thanks for stopping by again!!!

  • 3 jacqui // Apr 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Ahhh, all of those reasons… We don’t have any spare rooms in our house, instead we have shelves and/or cupboards with this problem in almost every room… and a very large bookcase… I have made a little progress lately, one and a half cupboards and one drawer… not much but better than it was! You should clean out the room once and for all, you will feel so great once it is done!!
    jacqui´s last blog post ..A Very Windy Day. 
    Last Windsday Wednesday.
    It must be time to…

  • 4 se7en // Apr 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Oh Jacqui… I do know that you are right… it is just, ummmm like most things that are good for us, they feel so fab when they are over!!! Thanks for stopping by!!!

  • 5 Mrs FF // Apr 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    It’s easy and convenient to take the very easy way out, but don’t. Instead of writing about books this week, why don’t you declutter that monster one little corner/wall at a time and blog about it :)

    Ps: my study is the monster in our house and unfortunately it has become a dumping ground and it’s getting more and more overwhelming to tackle with each passing day :(

  • 6 Christi // Apr 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Yes, we have hideous zones – while I love the IDEA of a perfectly clutter free home, I am much more of a shove it behind a door kind of person. Out of sight, out of mind… right?

  • 7 Sharlene // Apr 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    My nemesis is my office which also has my craft area, game shelf and storage of things in general. My intention is to clean it up during the next few days of my holiday. I started and the floor is more visible. I vote for finishing the job, even if the result doesn’t last long. At least you know it was done, and it can be done again.

  • 8 se7en // Apr 4, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Mrs FF, you are right of course, I should take time off and just sort… sort… sort… but to be honest if I didn’t do just a little bit of blogging every day I would surely lose my mind!!! I have decided to tackle one problem each day and just work through it systematically. I thought I could do papers one day and wires one day and so on… So today was wires and cables and I didn’t finish, the problem is vast. But I will get back up tomorrow and keep on tackling with intention, eventually it has to get done. It is so good to hear how many readers have a dumping ground – makes me feel so much better about mine!!!

  • 9 se7en // Apr 4, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Oh Christi… I am so with you!!! Shove it behind a door… if it fits in a drawer just drop it in!!! Unfortunately I have totally run out of doors!!! And that room is exploding into our kitchen… it is time to sort it out and clear out some space so that at least the space behind the door is clear again for dropping stuff again!!! Thanks for commenting and have a great week!!!

  • 10 se7en // Apr 4, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Hi Sharlene, I am so encouraged!!! It is brilliant to hear how many folk have a serious problem zone!!! Well done on you for getting into it and tackling it… I am so encouraged. I have decided to tackle one box, one drawer, one problem each day until it is done… what a boring occupation… but I dare say it is time to get it done!!!

  • 11 Claire // Apr 4, 2013 at 1:15 am

    love your site and sharing … i say definitely go for it! at least do a little each day.
    we just got from camping and i made a huge discovery – instead of emptying EVERYTHING out of all those crates … i just emptied out whatever could fit on half the (very small) kitchen bench space at a time. then put it away. then did the next bit throughout the day. very soon it was all done. i couldn’t believe it.
    still need to put the crates away!!! and finish all that washing … but so much easier.
    so a little bit whenever you can will be much quicker and less overwhelming in the long run!
    my goal this year is a shelf or draw a day rotating round the house – not quite making that goal as the clutter testifies to !!! but just do one little bit at a time – set a timer – i love flylady lol!
    thanks for your blog, i love it!

  • 12 se7en // Apr 4, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Oh Claire… All these encouraging comments have inspired me so… I will not quit just yet… and the only way forwards is definitely very little footsteps at a time. I see the problem, I wasn’t breaking it down enough… I cannot say all the papers in a day, it actually has to be a small pile of papers everyday!!! Thanks so much for commenting and the encouragement!!!

  • 13 Wendy Meijer // Apr 4, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I have one of those rooms…that door needs to be closed at all times or it will make me crazy…I try and tackle a drawer or shelf or small area when I can. Baby steps are steps too!
    Wendy Meijer´s last blog post ..Slow Living Month 3

  • 14 Sue // Apr 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    We have a Wendyhouse in our garden – we bought it when our two daughters were toddlers to use as their playroom. They are now nearly 15 and 18 and guess what …. their toys are still there waiting to be sorted through and given away! I can hardly believe that I have actually admitted to this – but their just never seems to be time to sort through all the toys! Besides, when little ones come to visit, they just love going in there :)

  • 15 se7en // Apr 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Oh Wendy…I hear you, my kids go in there all the time… but I just can’t even think about it!!! So I am taking a pile of “something” out everyday and trying to deal with just that. I thought I had conquered the wires yesterday… turns out there were a whole lot more lurking in around the place… I am digging my heels in and will not despair too much!!!

  • 16 se7en // Apr 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Oh Sue, You always make me feel so much better… I am sure you remember that little room from your visit… nothing has changed in a year!!! It would seem that almost every person that stops by to comment has a place that they just can’t face!!! At least yours is full of toys – happy times!!! Lots of love from sunny Cape Town!!!

  • 17 Corli // Apr 4, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Oh all those reasons are so true…! We have nowhere to dump anything. No extra space, none. So where do I dump? Inside my clothes cupboard. AAARGH!!! It is amazing what one could stuff in there!! Until my husbands balks at having it spill over to his half, then I haul it all out and dump it on the bed. Sort it out or back into the cupboard if company is coming and I run out of time!!!!

    I vote keep going at one pile a day – it’s going to be AWESOME! Pour some coffee, crank up the music, and delegate meal making and laundry for the next couple of days?

    Lots of love, we miss you all!
    Corli´s last blog post ..it’s a long way!

  • 18 se7en // Apr 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Oh Corli… My closet is another dumping ground for me, and it consists one tiny shelf!!! Anything I don’t want the kids to find I hide in there… birthday gifts, christmas surprises, anything I am saving for a rainy day… I tell you we are due for a storm any time soon. Then what happens ius I forget what is in there…!!! Anyway, coffee + music…I am off to sort a pile of papers – I never want to see another wire – ever, ever, ever!!! Lots of love from way down south!!!

  • 19 Jaime // Apr 5, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Oh dear! It’s a constant battle isn’t it? I feel like my brain can’t work right if clutter is everywhere and of course it is! And the guilt. That’s the worst! I spent all last summer making our house perfect because it was for sale. It made me crazy to be perfect! Then we donated tons of stuff and packed and a very good friend sold us her house which was our dream house. Unfortunately she lives far far away and a lot of her things are still here. So I have the weird problem of having someone else’s clutter in my basement, spare bedroom and garage! There are two church organs in there! But we love the house and just laugh about it. Take it one day at a time dear! Clutter will always be with us! I loved all the comments. Another vote for flylady! I’ve done two house moves with her and three classroom moves!

  • 20 se7en // Apr 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Jaimie, thank you so much for your supportive comment… One day at a time is really the only way to go at this stage!!! And a sense of humor sure does help too!!! Wishing you a fabulous weekend!!!

  • 21 Se7en's Fabulous Friday Fun #165 - se7en // Apr 7, 2013 at 4:21 am

    [...] needed to write a post that would engage out readers… I didn’t intentionally do this… but nothing like sharing my inability to tackle a huge project and all of you jumped to the supportive rescue… Thank you so much!!! YOu have no idea how I [...]

  • 22 Nita // Apr 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

    You don’t seem like a quitter so forge ahead!!! I tackled a room like yours just three weeks after giving birth , albeit in a moment of sheer frustration (and insanity!!), and got it cleared, cleaned and organised in two days( with some help from my wonderful cleaning lady)- the high I felt afterwards cannot be described!!!

  • 23 se7en // Apr 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Nita you are right… I am not quitting… but it is very slow progress over here!!! I am down to bite-sizes!!! Isn’t is amazing what some pre-or post-baby hormones can do to spur one into action… alas I have no such help in my side!!! Hope you have a good week soon!!!

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