moving out/in, same house, want organization

aprilquiltsAugust 27, 2006

I am one overwhelmed gal! We just passed the 4 month mark on our addition/makeover, renovation...whatever. We are on the home stretch I think, but I've been saying it will be 3 more weeks for about the past 6 weeks. ARGH.

We are having our floors refinished, and will have to move out completely next week. Most of our stuff is already out and in storage units, but the beds, dressers, etc. will be moved late next week.

The floors are set to be sanded/finished, etc. starting Tuesday of Labor Day week. We will be living away for that week. That is also the first week of school for my two boys, so I imagine it will be a pretty hairy time.

In any event, my goal is just to get through these next two weeks. What I would like to know is how to organize and get settled efficiently once I move back in. I really want this to be the start of a lifestyle change. I had been doing really well a few years ago with clearing out and keeping clean, but when we had some deaths in the family, it kind of turned everything upside down. Now, I can't seem to get back into it.

I keep thinking, "A place for everything, and everything in its place." The problem is, I'm not sure how to FIND that good place and stick to it. I can't afford loads of goodies, as this renovation has cost way more than we thought it would.

I'd love some help!


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I think it's difficult to make a total lifestyle change overnight. Go easy on yourself and we'll be here to cheer you on.

Start thinking just a room at a time for moving back in. I'd pick the kitchen because that's the easiest room for me to identify items I don't use. Get those excess items gone as you are putting things away.

Then I would move on to clothing purging. The closets will be easy to organize if you don't have clothing with you don't really wear. Be ruthless, especially with the kid's clothing. You won't go naked!

On to the bathrooms and linen closet. Purge excess.

To me, those three areas are the biggies. If you can dump magazines and any books you haven't read you'll be ahead, but for the most part those don't make or break us on a day to day basis. Cooking, getting dressed, doing the laundry, those things are easier when organized and will get you going on to the other areas.

See if you can make a list of what you want to store long term(holiday decorations, camping gear, gardening gear, etc.) vs what you need in the easy to get to closets. Coat closet for coats and boots, linen closet, clothing closets, a space for cleaning items like brooms and mops, etc. Keep a running mantra. Floors are for walking on, chairs for sitting on, coat closet for coats (not everything under the sun), kitchen cabinets are for food and cooking utensils, etc.

Resist the urge just to shove stuff in closets and cabinets, thinking you will get to it later. I've found when I'm having difficulting getting something organized, it's because I have too much of something for the space available. Remember the "finite space" theory. We only have so much and we have to use it for the things we need. When we overload that space, it gets unorganized.

Good luck on getting that remodel finished. I've lived through a couple and am still on the home stretch with the house we are in. I've actually gotten quite comfortable with bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling in places. LOL.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 1:13AM
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April said:
Most of our stuff is already out and in storage units

Has it been stored away for 4 months? And you've lived without it? I would be VERY selective when I unpacked about what stuff stays and what goes.

When you packed, did you pack by room? I would tackle one box at a time, one room at a time. Like Gloria said, the kitchen is pretty easy. Resist the urge to get everything unpacked and put away in a weekend--you'll end up cramming things in closets just to get it done. Try for "x" number of boxes per day. That will give you a goal so you don't live with the boxes forever, and you can count your accomplishments.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 6:09AM
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What Gloria said is just what I needed to hear today. She's right, it cannot be an overnight change.

I think of my house struggle like losing weight. 1)I have to change my habits for the better for ME, not out of pressures from someone else. 2) It's a gradual lifestyle change. I can't start an exercise program with 100 sit-up and a 5 mile walk on Day One. It's one change at a time and sticking with it.

And I've back slid lately. I need to get back with the program here!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 9:13AM
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Thanks so much for all the encouragement. It really helps. The last 2 years have been pretty out of control. The rug got pulled out from under me when my brother was killed in Iraq. He was a helicopter pilot, and father of 4. It has been a long journey, and one that I wouldn't want to go on. It is kind of strange because before that, I really did have control of my house (using flylady, etc.) , but after that, I never could get my mind around it. I want to get back into the mindset I had before, but I can't seem to get there.

On a happier note, this is an example of "Be careful what you wish for". This remodel is really a dream come true, and I do not have any room for complaining as it is truly a privilege to be able to get a new kitchen, etc. I had said for about a year that I wanted to "pretend I'm moving". What I meant by that, was that I wanted to go through everything using the moving filter..."Do I like this enough to move it?" Well, we had a major issue very early on with cement dust COVERING everything we owned, so I had another filter, "Do I like this enough to CLEAN it and MOVE it." I really tried to cut things out, but I'm sure I will still unpack things that I don't need.

As for things in storage, it has been a process. I started by taking all the pictures, quilts, etc. off the walls and storing them, and went from there. It hasn't all been in storage for 4 months, but we have been without a kitchen for 4 months, so all of the kitchen items have been packed away.

I have MADE myself resist the urge to buy anything during this time. Some of this wasn't difficult as funds are short, but a lot of it was that I didn't want to buy something only to put it in storage.

When I packed our clothes, I did a major purge, but I know that I have more to get rid of when I unpack. I got rid of bridesmaids dresses and clothes I have had since high school. I am a short gal, at only 4'10" so I felt that I needed a wide range sizes in clothing (esp. jeans, etc.) because even 5 pounds results in a different size. I have been at this size for the last 2 years or so, so I finally got rid of the sizes that didn't work.

My biggest issue is how to unpack in a way to get and stay organized? I think resisting the urge to just "get it done" is a great idea. I have two little boys ages 8 & 10, and a wonderful DH, so this will be a family affair. My 10 year old was born organized. When I asked him what color he wanted his room painted, and how he wanted it decorated, he said, "I just want it organized." I have no idea where he came from ;).

Thank you so much for the encouragement and the tips. It really helps.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 9:33AM
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I'd make a quick sketch of your kitchen. Then I'd make a separate sketch of the cabinets. Decide now, on paper, what you'd like to put into each cabinet. Look at the sketch of the kitchen to see if it will work with where the fridge, stove, sink, etc. are located.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 12:46PM
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I would make sure to have a few boxes set aside and marked clearly for the items you absolutely must keep track of: items the boys need to bring to the first days of school, health/beauty aids, important papers/bills/etc., trash bags, and the like -- and stuff that likely will be the last items packed because they're in use and that will be the first items unpacked because they'll be needed quickly. Mark the boxes and know where they are so they're not mixed in with the boxes you can't/won't get to as quickly.

I used just such a method to keep track of stuff during my whole-house remodel. I didn't have to move out, but I didn't have access to some rooms of the house for a couple of days at a time, so it was somewhat similar.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 1:44PM
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There is a great slogan in Quilting circles.
MEANING GET THOSE QUILTS OUT OF THE SEWING BASKET AND FINISH THEM EVEN IF YOU SEE SOME BAD STITCHING . sorry about those caps. So I agree get them done and then go back room by room or box by box and do a more detailed sort. If you stop and look at every piece of paper you'll get too discouraged.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 2:08AM
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"Finished is better than perfect." You must be familiar with the Jane Stickle quilt (Dear Jane) :). I meant to say that I packed away finished quilts that were hanging on walls, etc. I do have unfinished things, but most of those are in "sewing room" labeled boxes. The sewing room isn't finished yet as it will be in the new space in the basement. I'm very excited about it, but all of that will wait until the rest of the house is unpacked and in some kind of order.

Thanks for the tips on everything. I really appreciate it. Now I just need to be patient and wait to move out and move back in. I guess it truly will be a LABOR day for us.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 9:11AM
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April, I'm so sorry about your brother. Since you used Flylady before, are you still on the mailing list? If not, I'd re-up and just start in with her system again. If nothing more than allowing you to focus on the zones while you unpack the non-essential stuff, it will give you a sense of direction.

Gloria (we're in zone 5 right now, living rooms)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 12:45PM
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Very sorry about your brother!

Anyway -- here's my "method" for dealing with the Move-In.

During the whole time --- be sure to have a notebook handy so that you can write down any ideas for organization or questions for this group OR "Need, Want or A Brillant Idea" LOL!!! Nothing is worse than having A Brillant Idea that floats off your brain and gets lost in the flotsam and junk .....

Phase 1: The Basics: Worry about the Bedrooms, Bathroom and Kitchen -- and just make sure that you can use them. It ain't pretty but usable.

Phase 2: Put Items in the Room (or Closet) Where They Belong. Write down any ideas about the room ("get more lamps" "shelving ideas" "baskets or plastic boxes for closet") Just some examples!!

Phase 3: O.K. You've lived in the house/room/space for awhile. NOW really consider WHERE and HOW you want the room to work for you. For example (JUST an example) --- maybe a Coffee Station might work in the kitchen. OR create a better place for baking .... OR craft center ....

Phase 4: Research, Plan -- or Rotate and Reorganiztion. This is the Room By Room reorganization to make each space really work. Measure and write them down!!! Create a notebook with sections for each room. Put in the measurements -- and then work on a decorating plan. Check out decor books and magazines ....

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 10:55AM
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Wow! Thank you all so much for the encouragement and instructions. There are some great ideas there! We are getting close to moving out. I really like the idea of keeping a notebook for ideas. I hope I labeled well enough for our move. We'll find out in a week or so.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 10:05AM
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we had to move out of our house for 6 weeks while repairs were done after a tree fell on our house. On top of that we had major remodeling done. Everything went into a 40' container which was in our yard. when the house was ready to move back into, we initially took out only the items we knew that we needed - beds, couch, dining table and chairs etc. Each box was opened before we bought it back in. If we really didn;t want it was sealed back in its box and stayed in the container. if we weren't sure, the box was left open. It took a couple of weeks to go through everything, but at the end of the day, we had a huge yard sale, of things we definately didn't want. Anything left over went to goodwill. then we were left with the 'possibles'. this was harder, but about half of the stuff come back into the house, the other stuff went to goodwill. now, three years on,i am in the process of cleaning out again, and everything that has not been used in that time is going. I am going through one room at a time and todate goodwill have had another 15 bags of stuff. I honestly feel much better and its it getting much easier to clean and organise what we have left. So, good luck, hope this helped

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 9:37PM
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Even though this wasn't meant for me--it was so timely. Because we moved out of the castle (when? it seems like years) and we are beginning to plan the move back in. The point Julie made about living without stuff is a good one. We have a garage full of stuff here, and have managed nicely without it.
Today I used your idea, Gloria and we stored the Christmas stuff in our new attic--its up and out of the way, and labeled, plus there are lights up there. I put the Halloween & turkey stuff and Easter things up there too, along with the red white and blue decorations. Mercifully we don't celebrate any other holidays.
The only problem that I still have is that I throw things out and my darling husband pulls some out and says, ?? this is good. I wonder if I can just wrap the stuff up and ship it somewhere.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 2:04AM
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Marge, I feel your pain! LOL

I find it helpful to store "still good" stuff in the trunk of my car until I can get to the Salvation Army. The trash stuff I hide in dark garbage bags! Years ago DH salvaged some "for sale by owner" signs and he's finally agreed we don't need them (we never did--he's kept them in the rafters in the shed all this time in case he ever found someone trying to sell a house). He's been going up and down the street trying to give them away. I'm hoping they go out with the trash tomorrow.

DH was having a fit the other day because he KNEW we had one pair of jeans in this house that didn't fit anybody and he couldn't find them. (Why was he looking??) I finally had to admit they were in a bag to go to a charity garage sale. Fortunately he was OK with that, and didn't insist on going up and down the street trying to find a guy who wears 32x32 jeans!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 7:09AM
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Julie, list those signs on Freecycle! That's great Freecycle material. Turn your DH onto Freecycle, if he's really looking for people who could use the stuff.

My favorite give away saying:
**I have faith that the universe will provide us with xxx if we need another one.
**You KNOW we would have never been able to find that if we hadn't been digging in all of this stuff.
**You have exceeded your fair share of the space, so you'll have to keep it in "your" space.
**And just where, exactly, did this come from in the first place?
**I DID deal with it, it's in the trash where it belongs. Remember, a place for everything and everything in it's place.
**It's costing us $200 per square foot to store that thing. Is that worth it to you?

Our current go-around is an old wool coat with holes, which he finally replaced. I'm going to cut out the wool and put it in the compost pile, but he thinks I should donate the thing. His feeling is that it's better than nothing if you have nothing. I told him there were tons of decent coats at the thrift stores and he could just go out and find someone living under a tarp to give it to. He's not willing to do that, so I guess I've won this battle.

I actually did 90% of the decluttering when he was at work. I would load up the van and drop it off at the store right next to where I worked. This summer, he accused me of decluttering his boots. Turns out that he hid them from me in the trunk of his car!


    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 12:58AM
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Actually Gloria I did find a homeless encampment near the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. I stopped the car, and left a box of freshly laundered double bed sheets, old pillows, clothing, etc. and ran back in. I was all dressed for court, so I have no idea what they thought. I didn't want to hang around and have a big discussion. So your saying #1 actually came true for somebody.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 2:21AM
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I've been away, so I'm late chiming in, and don't have time to read everything. But I noticed THIS:

I have MADE myself resist the urge to buy anything during this time. Some of this wasn't difficult as funds are short, but a lot of it was that I didn't want to buy something only to put it in storage.

This helped me tremendously--I stopped buying stuff (mostly bcs I was trying to pay off my credit-card debt). And found that it was easier to declutter, and to organize.

That (not buying things) is the origin of my catch phrase--"First, do no harm."

Just don't buy it in the first place! Why buy it, and have it turn into clutter? That's no better than buying it and putting it into storage. Keep that momentum going.

Say to yourself what I say to my kids: what are you willing to get rid of, to make room for this?

I've gotten to the point where I cringe when someone gives us a present--we have no more room.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 2:20PM
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talley sue,
That is GREAT advice! It is funny that your catch phrase is "First, do no harm." as it is mine too, especially when the workers come in. I say they should all take the hippocratic oath to first do no harm. :)

I hope I can continue on my no buying kick. I'm a little concerned b/c there are SO many great kitchen goodies that are calling my name. I am making myself wait for all the drawer organizers, etc. until I know what my needs will be.

We are moved out at this point, and just waiting for the floors. It is an exciting time to be sure. I'm a little anxious because even after the floors are finished, there will still be a few workers coming in and out. I SO wanted to have all the work done before the floors, but the timing didn't work, and we desperately need to try to get our lives back. My little boys are so weary of it all (as we all are.)

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 5:39PM
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When I was younger, I moved from apartment to apartment fairly often. I used each "pack up, move in" experience to pare down excess belongings. Each time I threw out tons of storage containers from the kitchen. I'd ask myself of all belongings "If I were in a hurry to pack, would I bring this?" Each time I moved, I ended up with only the things I really used and loved.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 10:27AM
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