need help with a starting point for redo

memaof4November 7, 2007

my best friend since we were in elementary school has decided that she wants her house to look nice-matching things and organization-we have had her kitchen painted and now we have to purge-and you would not believe tha amount of JUNK that she hsa-she is willing ready and able but i am overwhelmed-she wants me to take it over and get her life in line-any suggestions on where to start-I would love to hear any tips or tricks of the trade-I am new here as a poster bt I check over these boards daily-thank you so muck I know all the people on here will have wonderful ideas

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Welcome to the boards! You've found the right place for sure!! I think it's great that you are giving your best friend support in assisting with organizing and purging and getting her home in order. Fresh paint too! WOW!! First of all, there's one thing that's bothering me in your post and that is where you state that your friend wants YOU to TAKE OVER and get HER life in line. Believe me, I can relate to how she's feeling firsthand, BUT...........she's the only one that can do that. I could be interpreting this all wrong, so if I am please explain so that I can better understand. Will you both be present throughout this challenge? can not make decisions as to what goes out and what stays, but you CAN help her purge by asking questions along the way, such as-----"Is this item useful? Do you own more than one of them? Do you really need all of these cookbooks??" The last thing you want to do is find boxes and start piling this stuff up to store for later. I mean this 100%!!!!! Later never comes AND you'll be 100 times more overwhelmed than you are now! PURGE PURGE PURGE!! This is NOT something you can do for her...remember that. You can be support and help her toss things out, but she's the one that has to make the final decisions. I have tried every angle the past few years to get my house organized and clean by asking (BEGGING) for help from my best friend, sister, husband, niece, etc. Every single time it would boil down to the same thing. The same questions would be asked over and over again-----"We don't know what you want us to do with all of this stuff and every time we ask you want to keep it all! What do you want us to do exactly?" I was wanting a clean organized home, but yet couldn't part with any of the items in question when all along is was the items that were cluttering up my home!!

I suggest that you read everything you can on this forum board first of all and then approach your friend and sit down with paper and pen and begin making a priority list. Have your friend do the actual purging and then you can help her organize. If she hesitates too long over certain items have her place them into a box and label it a "maybe" box. This will be for items she "might" decide to keep or isn't quite ready to toss out yet. If you see a trend and the one box turns into several, then your friend isn't ready to let go of this stuff and you will not be able to help unless you are willing to pack all of the extras up so that she can store them. UGH!!

Your friend is really lucky to have you. Just make sure she's ready to let go of the "junk". That's the hard part.

Good Luck!!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 8:30AM
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I used to follow Flylady but it got too overwhelming. She says start with the kitchen sink, then the kitchen, gradually have "neat" spread throughout your home just like the "clutter" spread. I am working on my kitchen-dining room today. Have already gathered up one very large bag of garbage.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 9:45AM
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It sounds like she (and you as her cheerleader and set of helping hands) need structure.

We were talking about this w/ AdobeSunshine--you might read some of her threads.

There's no *wrong* way, particularly--except to remember that you can't organize clutter.

So "stuff out" is the first goal, and you and your friend should just pick something that works.

First determine the routes it will take out of your house--locate the nearest charity drop-off, or the consignment store that's easiest to use (or both). Figure out the best way to simply throw things out.

Decide whether you'll make a run to these "stuff out" resources every Saturday morning, or Wednesday evening, or something. Don't spend forever planning this, just chart the pathway so that it's ready for you.

Then, just pick a routine that will help get things out of the house.

Since there are 2 of you, you might be able to do a bigger "lots of effort all at once" sort of push than AdobeSunshine can. Maybe smaller things like "Do a Dozen" or "15 minutes," or "Toss Ten" aren't the most powerful. (though your friend should pick one of them to use daily in addition to the times you can help her.)

So maybe you pick one room, and dedicate an entire week to just that room--first purge, then re-evaluate and plan (what DOES she want in that room, what will she do in it, and what stuff does she need in order to do that?), evaluate & install infrastructure (shelves, dressers, organizers inside the bathroom vanity, etc.) and decor.

Or if the room idea is too overwhelming or the room itself is too large, maybe you mentally draw lines dividing each room, and each day the two of you go through each section simply trying to get rid of stuff.

Get her to create a notebook of ideas--maybe go buy one of those 5-subject spiral notebooks, and put tabs on each divider, so each section is two rooms. And she can just jot down ideas in there, so that any creative ideas that bubble up now, don't get lost because you're still purging.

(also note that, if she really does want you to whip her into shape, this is the sort of thing people do for al iving--she may be asking a bit more than is fair of a friend, without realizing she is doing so, and you may need to do some thinking and talking w/ each other about boundaries)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 9:58AM
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I think it might be kind of fun, and less overwhelming for both of you, to split your jobs up.

Like it's been said, she's the only one to decide what stays and goes.

So how about you go through her kitchen with her. Take a notepad with you. Open every cupboard and drawer in there. Ask her what she thinks she needs in that particular cupboard? A tupperware organiser?? Additional Shelving? Baskets? Utensil organisers?? Bins to store things in?? Chip bag clips??

Once you've picked apart and decided a use for each and every little space in that room, part ways. Leave her to sort and separate. Tell her she can leave a pile of "Maybes" for your input.

Now YOU get the fun part. If she's comfortable enough, get her to hand over the debit card, if not, get her to pay you back. Go out and find all the things she needs to create better spaces, and organisation.

Then when you get back you can work together on organising it all. And you can be the voice of reason when she really wants to keep something she REALLY doesn't need.

If you come to a room where it's more of a decorative problem, and she feels you're better at decorating without cluttering, switch jobs. Ask her specifically what has to stay, decide what you think would be good in the room, and send her on a mission to find it. A bookcase with doors in the living room? Pictures with certain colours? Shelving??

Once again, keep a pile of maybes, on things you're unsure of, or think could go in another room. If she's willing, you could have free reign in spaces like that.

I found in my recent quest, when doing an entire room, it's easiest to remove everything from that room. Then one by one, bring the essentials back in, and then definate keepers and keep going until the room is completely finished, and not cluttered at all. Then go through whats left.

Do I really need or use this?? If I do, what do I need so it has an appropriate spot? Does it NEED to be in this room?? Etc Etc.

That works for me anyways. I have a much easier time creating a visual of what I want, when I have a clean slate. If the rooms busy and already poorly serving a purpose, I have a hard time seeing it any other way.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 1:38PM
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Thank you so much for all the ideas, I knew I had come to the right place-I have actually not been able to check the board for a few days-you are right I cannot decide what stays or goes,(if it were up to me it would ALL go and start from scratch)but we have made progress this week, each night we have worked on the den and office area, I told her that if she really wanted this she must be ruthless, we have a garage sale or goodwill box, each time it is filled it goes in the garage. We have a trash it box, and we have a box for what stays in that room and another for what stays but doesn't live in that room-so far we have filled 3 goodwill boxes, and 5 large garbage bags and the other boxes are only about 1/4 full-we are making progress but it won't happen overnight-also before when I said she wants me to take over, she meant the decorating, and maybe the supervisory role or just the one to keep her motivated-you have all been so kind and I thank you for your help. It is like having a whole new group of friends-and keep the ideas coming

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 7:58AM
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Pick a reward, now.

Like, maybe when you finish the den, you both go out for an ice-cream cone, or something. Or, for every six bags of trash, you get an ice-cream-cone break--pick a goal to achieve, and pick something your friend (and you) can reward herself with.

Or, you get her to daydream about something sort of splurgy for the den in terms of decor, and rush right out and get it.

That'll keep the motivation going.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 10:32AM
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One idea is to rent a small truck from U-Haul (or borrow a truck from a friend) -- and simply spend the day filling it with stuff to go to Goodwill -- and then drive it ALL over -- and get rid of the stuff THEN-and-THERE.

I had a friend who still claims to want to take lots of stuff (even in bags) to Goodwill but somehow never gets around to actually doing it!! I've suggested the rent-a-truck idea ---- BUT she always wiggles out of it.

A truckload of bags and boxes would sure make a fast difference!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 10:49AM
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It seems like you are off to a good start by providing some structure--room focus, boxes for stay, go, trash--and support.Then I just echo that another aspect of your support is to ask those questions--what do you want to DO in this room; how do you want this room to work for you, what you you like to feel when you walk into this room, closet, etc, so the focus is not just on tossing stuff, but on the purpose behind it, which forms the basis of what to keep or toss.

Have you read Don Aslett's book "Clutter's Last Stand"? It is a great book, not only kind of making fun of all our clutter, but providing some alternatives to actually keeping a THING; these alternatives help people find ways to let go, and can give you as the friend another source of ways to help her get through this.

And, by all means, do those things that preserve the friendship and add some hilarity to the process, and stop when either of you is wearing thin (or before) so that this will be a source of GOOD memories.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 11:23AM
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I have another thought on this.

If you are doing her entire house, and she starts to get overwhelmed maybe you could switch gears. Go to your house for a day, and tackle something you've been wanting to do. That way the stress to make decisions will be off of her, and she can be the help and voice of reason. And maybe seeing the results at your house will get her motivated to get back to de-cluttering he spaces.

I just know with how much I've been doing, I've hit a few points where I start to second guess, or feel guilty for disposing of things and I get a little stressed and overwhelmed. The end result is always fantastic and I feel way better after. But during I start to wonder if I'm doing the right thing, or throwing away things I should be keeping.

It might help a bit to take the stress and pressure of her for a day to give her mind a break, if she starts to seem like she's not sure anymore, or starts keeping things YOU know she could get rid of and never think about again.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 2:06PM
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Munkos, that's a great idea!

I've had the same experience as you, running out of steam.

Also, if one person is receiving alot of help, eventually that will start to wear on them. They'll feel inconsiderate, greedy--like a "taker."

By going to Memaof4's house, her friend will get to return the help, and be a "giver"--thereby restoring balance to the relationship.

Also, she'll get to be the outside expert, instead of the expert-ee (which is a hard position to always be in; I have friends who always speak to me as if they know everything and are kindly teaching me, and they annoy the pants of me!)

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 12:05PM
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