Jump to content

Menu

Where do you start??? Feeling *very* overwhelmed, so I'm doing NOTHING.


DB in NJ
 Share

Recommended Posts

We need to list our house for sale. We have 16 years of our stuff, plus kids stuff, plus mom's stuff, plus my grandmother's STUFF. We need to repaint, repair, replace. Oh, and we need to make it "pretty" out front (curb appeal, yanno).

 

Anyway, I am so very overwhelmed that not only do I not know where to start, I am just not starting at all.

 

Do I pick a room? A particular item (say, books)? A zone? A drawer??

 

I thought I had a plan, but all I can do is look at it, sigh, and plop on the loveseat to watch another episode of SVU.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would it be too overwhelming to plan a yard sale? It is getting to be nice enough weather for it. Pick a weekend a few week from now and start choosing what to out in the sale. You might be surprised what people will buy.

 

You then have motivation to start the sorting process and to mame some cash. Then afterward, start decluttering room by room.

 

I would do the decluttering before tackling any other projects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd pick a zone of a room. A closet, a desk, etc. Then move on to the next zone in that room. One thing at a time.

I agree with sunflowerlady; declutter first. It's a lot of work but makes the biggest difference, both for how the house looks and to help with the feeling of being overwhelmed. One you have less STUFF to contend with, everything else seems much less daunting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here you go!

Turn off the TV.

Put on some music - I like John Philip Sousa Marches.

Start in the kitchen. Do the dishes. Clean up the sink. Then move on to the counters. Put stuff away.

While you are in the kitchen, start with the left most drawer. Completely empty it out and put back only the things you want to keep.

Make sure you have boxes or bags for throw away and give away. Get rid of those immediately (put  the car to take to Goodwill or put in the trash).

Keep working for however much time you decide. Be sure to take a 10 minute break every hour.

Do the kitchen drawers, left ones first, top to bottom, then left to right.

Best wishes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Donna, do you have a basement and/or garage full of junk?  If so, start there and ruthlessly throw out stuff.  That will put you in a throwing out mood and also will give you space (in the garage, but don't start hauling stuff down to your basement).  Then start maybe in the living room and stuff you want to save (hopefully not much) or give to Goodwill, put in in your garage and then just do room by room and then clean out garage again.  By just quickly getting stuff out of the house, you will like the new decluttered look in your house and that should get you motivated to tackle each room.

 

I did not have a Goodwill or any place like that near me when I moved so I just threw out everything.  I figured that was best for me rather than trying to decide where to take stuff.  Actually tons of people just picked thru my stuff by the curb and took it so that made me feel a little better about throwing all of it away but I still would have just tossed the stuff .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it were we I would start by looking into the cost of a storage/moving container to put things into while the house in on the market and start filling and purging.   Then see what projects needed to be done first either by need, most impact visually or by the amount of time it takes to do. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we did this last year, I made a list room by room.  Each room was divided into a declutter section, repair section, and staging section.

 

Then, we just started on the list.  We started in the decluttter section of each room (to make room to work on repairs).  I sourced and bought empty boxes, packing materials, and tape.  I kept an ongoing donate box and when it would get full I would head to Goodwill and start another box.  We cleared an area of the garage to stack packed boxes.  I gave each box a number and kept a list of box contents on a legal pad.  DH insisted on taping boxes completely closed so we wouldn't be tempted to get back into the packed stuff.  When the garage was full, we rented a storage unit ($150) and moved boxes to there to make room for next stack in garage.  We spent 6 weeks prepping the house to put on the market.  It worked.  We sold fast and above list.

 

ETA:  We started in playroom because we had tons of toys.  That was helpful for us because the toys would be spread throughout the house creating visual clutter and would feel overwhelming.  Packing it up eliminated that.  So I would advise to start with the clutter that feels most oppressive.  It will feel really good to complete.

 

Also, my master to-do list was fairly detailed so that I could check something off each day.  Small, manageable chunks kept me moving forward.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Take it in very short stages.  Start with a list of things you think you can do today, in very short shifts, that don't require a lot of brain power.  As PP said, start with the kitchen maybe.  Get a box and label it "give away?":

 

1.  Clean dishes for 15 minutes.

Break

2. Clean counter tops/floor for 15 minutes

Break

3.  Sort 1 drawer for 15 minutes. (when sorting put anything you think you might not need in that box you labeled)

Break

 

 

In other words, just set a timer and do work as efficiently as you can for 15 minutes.  Don't worry about the big picture.  Just whatever task is on your list.  Each day try to tackle something.  Start small and short.  Eventually you may develop enough momentum to complete significantly longer and more difficult tasks.  

 

I know this is hard.  Wish I could help IRL.  My dad was military.  I've moved 30 times.  And not one time was "easy".  :tongue_smilie:  But starting small and in short bursts helped me.  It might help you.  Best wishes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Pick a room.

2. Start filling bags with give away stuff.

3. Fill bags until you have a carload.

4. Drive to Salvation Army or Goodwill.

 

Or

Schedule a pick up by going online or calling. The date should be as soon as they can come to your street , so you have a deadline even if that is 2 days away.

1. Pick a room

2. fill bags

3. repeat 1 and 2 in another room

4. drag everything outside on pick up day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would start by decluttering, get rid of anything that is easy. By that I mean, take a quick look in each room and remove anything you know you can donate/purge without a second thought. In the kitchen open each cabinet and pull out those things you don't use, don't like, won't miss and get them out of the house. In the bathroom dump all old, out of date shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc. In the bedroom, open the closet and pull out any clothes you know you don't want (if this is "easy" for you, if not wait on it for now). In the office, pitch any piles of magazines or junk mail if you can do it without having to sort too much. Check the linen closet and see if you can quickly identify some things that can go. Take a quick look at the living room, anything in there jump out at you? As you fill boxes or bags take them directly to your car for donation.

 

This will help you get a good jump on removing things without having to dive in too deep. Once you've gone through the whole house this way you will have cleared some space so that when you start your second round (where you will need to take more time and sort through things) you've already made progress in that area.

 

It's a good motivator for me. This is how I have started for each and every move we've made. It also worked well when cleaning out my mother's house after she died.

 

I typically start the repair, replace portion by going room by room and listing what needs to get done, then divide and conquer. Is it possible to have the children declutter their own rooms? Assign the curb appeal to your husband? Set up a painting party weekend and knock that out all at once?

 

I hope I didn't just overwhelm you even more with my system!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would start with the STUFF. Trash is THE BEST. You don't have to box up and move trash to a new house! It goes to the curb. Spend an hour in your worst storage area and see how much stuff you can put in a trash bag for collection. You can be all green and conscientious in your new life, but right now you're in survival mode and should toss everything that isn't truly nice. Sure, by all means recycle if you have a regular collection because that's like getting a bonus trash day, but don't waste ANY time wondering if trash or donate is the best choice. When in doubt, TOSS it.

 

After one hour, take a break and assess your progress. See if you can beat the number of trash bags you fill the second hour. Touch everything ONCE. Make the decision quick and final, then move on. These things never seem to be as hard as we dread them to be and having it hang over your head is worse. This is where a very assertive friend comes in handy. Can you recruit anyone to motivate you or come to help/supervise so that you're actually MOVING and not reading this response?

 

Another way to go is to do the math. How many rooms/areas do you have to go through? How much time to you have left to do it? Leave a bonus cushion week at the end. Do the division and realize that you may have only two days to devote to each room. Spend those two days packing up the room and only leaving out what you need to show or can't live without.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first thing to do is massive purging. Start with the top of the house and move down. Decide if you want to pack and take the item with you to your next home. If you schedule a massive pick up by Purple Hearts or Veterans of America, it is your deadline to be done with purging. Scheduling a pickup also prevents the dread of having to drag a ton of stuff to the Salvation Army. win win situation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in the middle of this and it's exhausting, emotionally and physically.  I would start with your most important rooms, the rooms that will sell the house.  Get an honest opinion from someone who is good at decorating and decluttering. You can start packing while you are decluttering. We rented a storage unit but a clean corner of the garage will work as well.  Packing the non-essentials can make it so much easier to keep clean and tidy.  Once you finish a room really focus on keeping it ready. By the time you are done, your house will be half packed and easier to show.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd dedicate an hour each day to the job. Pick something and do it - for one hour. I'd start with decluttering, because it'll make painting easier later. Pick a room, drawer, shelf or closet and go. If you feel like doing more and have time, do another hour. Once you get started, and you see a finished shelf or whatever, you'll want to continue every day. At the end of a week, you'll be very impressed with yourself.

 

At the end of the hour, load up your trunk with donations and add to it each day - when it's full, take it to donate.

 

If you're a list maker and a box checker, walk around the house and make a list of the jobs that need doing first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am in he middle of this very process now.  Hang in there.

We started with packing what we knew would move with us, but won't be needed for about a year.  (We're moving to Australia.) Then we put a "Free Sign" by our mail box and started filling a basket under the sign as we sorted each room, sending everything that isn't moving with us on its way to a new home as quickly as possible.  We are now at the point where the downstairs is almost packed except for things we needed every day, and we will start on the upstairs this weekend.

 

The important thing is to start in one corner of one room and just keep plugging away at it little by little.  Get stuff that you don't need right away into boxes, things you don't need gone - and you will start seeing progress much more quickly.  If you can start in a room that can become the box repository once it;s done, you will make faster progress in subsequent rooms.

 

(It's been so much more pleasant in our home since we have started t make progress that I went back to the first boxes I packed and got rid of half of their contents, too!!!)  :p

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We moved from Florida to Ohio about a year and half ago.  Before that we had never moved out of county.  In my garage and shed were sealed boxes from nearly 30 years ago.  We had a lot of stuff.  It was easier to just move the stuff than deal with it.  However, with the big move and needing trucks, it was time to go through everything.

 

I chose to start with the garage.  We didn't use our garage for parking because we needed the storage space, and the driveway was laid out weird that made it difficult to do so (we have a lot of vehicles too).  The reason I chose the garage is because as I pre-packed the house, I would store many of the boxes in the garage.  If your garage is clean because you park in it, ignore this.  If it is storage, spend a day or weekend and clean it first.  Have a bin for trash and another for Goodwill (or other donation location).  Have boxes ready for packing.  If you want a yard sale, have another bin.  Get everyone to help.  Not only does many hands make for lighter work, it will keep you from tossing something special to someone else.  Everything either has to go in one of those bins.  Once the garage is clear, you can proceed into the house.

 

You'll do the same thing with each room.  Start with the least cluttered room.  Evaluate each item.  Does it go in the trash, donate, yard sale, or packing box?  If it is a person's bedroom or general storage, have those people help you.  Always label every box with details of the content.  Don't fill one box with extremely heavy stuff.  If there is any space in the box, anything remotely breakable will move about and break.  Be sure to wrap everything.  The word "fragile" on the box doesn't keep things from breaking.  If stacking boxes, do remember to put fragile items on top.  I did line boxes with large garbage bags just to be sure the bottom contents didn't get wet should some water get near the boxes.

 

The goal is to have very little in the house.  It will make the house appear larger and stay cleaner.  Have the children think of what they absolutely cannot pack away.  Keep just those items.  Try not to panic and just shove everything into a storage facility.  It is just putting off a headache and won't make it easier.  Doing this will make moving, once the house sells, so much easier.  Life will be better because you will have finally decluttered.  Keep reminding yourself how nice it will be.

 

Curb appeal is easy.  Trim bushes and rake.  Edge everything.  Buy some flats of annuals and plant those throughout flower beds and around the mailbox.  If you have a pressure washer, spray the porch, walkway, sidewalk in front of the house, and driveway (bright white concrete looks so nice).  You can pressure wash the front of privacy fences and the brick on the house (it can get green on the north side).  Paint the front door.  

 

Definitely get the children and DH to help you with the major rooms.  For now, grab a couple bins/bags and go to the easiest location - diningroom, linen closet, coat closet, laundryroom, etc.  It goes somewhere - donate, trash, yard sale, or a box.  You'll feel better if you did something, so find the easiest one of those.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is such a personal decision. I like to go by categories, so that I see how much of each kind of 'stuff' I have. For example, books. If you get all your books together, you can see if you have too many, or just the right amount. It is easier for me to declutter when I see a whole pile, rather than go room by room, piece by beloved piece. 

 

I know some will disagree, but I would rent a storage space for now. I see you have parents and grandparents stuff. BTDT. Put the books in first, simply because they are heavy, then other things. You are used to how your house looks now, but when you move to a new place and live with less for a while, it can be easier to give away or get rid of excess stuff.

 

Btw, I speak as someone for whom decluttering is like pulling teeth. I have always found that emptying out a space and doing something -- closet organizers, paint, etc -- make it easier to weed out excess when I move back in to the redone space.

 

Good luck! I feel your pain, lol.

 

ETA. I find it can help to set a time limit, whether it is 15 minutes or an hour or more. I am amazed by how fast I work when I can see the stopping point ahead.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are doing this too. We have some major landscaping work to do so we are finishing that up now before the weather gets too hot. We ordered 3 cubic yards of soil and mulch. We are redoing a flower bed and remulching everything. Next I will powerwash everything, caulk and exterior paint where needed, replace some outdoor light fixtures, and restain the deck and play set. For my market, things must be immaculate.

 

For the interior...We are decluttering and packing first. That will make it easier to paint and clean. Things are only getting packed if it will be in use in our new house. I am being ruthless. As I get rid of stuff (I am for a vanload dropoff at goodwill every time I buy groceries), I have noticed a few things I need to help our house photograph well, like fresh bedlinens and pillows for the master bedroom. I pick those up as budget allows.

 

I have a master list for it all along with a timeframe I am working in...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps the first step is to head to Home Depot and buy some moving boxes and large trash bags. You could scrounge up free boxes in various places, but I find that having nice, symmetrical, strong boxes help my brain work better.

 

Good. Now you have a place (those lovely boxes and bags) to put all that stuff you are needing to sort through. Trash in trash bags, donated tuff in trash bags (if you are *pinky swear* going to bring it somewhere...otherwise throw it out), keeper stuff in boxes. Clear out a small area to stack your filled boxes. Have a cookie and some tea. It's going quite well now, don't you think?

 

((Hugs))

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Put the kids to work! Em and Matty could help you with the yard stuff for sure. Just focus on one thing at a time. Looking at everything at once is overwhelming to the best of us! I'd do one room at time. It might take you a week to purge/go through/maybe pack some stuff.

 

You have my sympathies! I hate the purging/packing/cleaning of moving! (at least our last move was from a rental so no 'getting ready to show'. The house before that..ugh!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This may sound daunting, but start with the garage. Be relentless. Your goal is to clear an area where you can stack boxes of items you are prepacking. If you have the funds, you could consider a PODS or offsite storage unit.

 

Get some boxes and some big black garbage bags.

 

After the garage (or if you just can't face the garage, or have the luxury of off site storage), go with either the smallest or least used room. Start with closet/cabinets (storage areas). Use the boxes for things you want to keep but don't need for the time your house will be on the market. Use the bags for donations and trash.

 

When you go through items, ask, is it beautiful? Is it valuable? Is it meaningful? When did the wearer last don this? Be honest and cull whatever you can. That way when you come across the few items that are not practical but are sentimental and/or beautiful, it's okay to keep them (but in the storage box).

 

Place storage boxes in your cleared garage or other stores space. Place trash out as bags fill (look into one of those giant bag dumpsters from Home Depot if you really have a lot to toss). Put donation bags in your vehicle as you fill them. When your vehicle is full, take a break, make a goodwill drop off run, treat yourself to a coffee, come back and dive in again. When I finish decluttering, I thoroughly clean and then "stage" the room. I have then been known to lock the door and move on, or put an off limits tape across the opening of a non-doored area. If the room is someone's domain, I take pictures and charge that dweller with the responsibility of keeping the room to that standard. I also try to leave an empty laundry basket or unsealed box in the closet for a catch all bin for quick pickups before unexpected showings.

 

This job is a lot of work but getting started is mostly a mental battle. Once you start tossing and make that first goodwill run, the endorphins will keep you going. Best wishes to you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am in the same boat as you, op! You have received some great advice, so far. We have to mud and paint all the walls in our second bathroom and redo the trim. I wish we never started remodeling for the sale because now we are in over our heads and can't afford to hire a contractor. My only advice is don't bite off more than you can chew when it comes to fixing and remodeling. My only other advice is to get fired up about the next chapter in your life and use the excitement and anticipation as energy to keep you going. We have lived in our community for twenty years and it has changed so much from idyllic to drug ridden crime central that we are now excited to get the heck out of here! We have lost so many colleagues and community members to senseless violence in the last two years that it is mind boggling! We just want to live where we can take our kids to park and on trails without the fear of being confronted by unpredictable people on drugs. I know that nowhere is perfect, but our community has seriously turned into the wild west! I have found that keeping my eye on the prize helps me stay focused and motivated. Good luck on selling your house and moving on to your next great adventure!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're moving as well. It's so much work. I'm feelin' your pain. LOL Just go from room to room, cleaning out, taking out, deciding what you're keeping, what your unloading, etc. Also decide, if anything, what needs to be done to each room as in repairs. Make your list about what has to happen and go from there. It's definitely daunting. I just visualize each room or task singularly, so as not to become overwhelmed. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You already have many good tips from others, such as to do a massive decluttering, so I'll just say...starting is always the hardest part for me!!! I know the overwhelmed feeling all too well. Once you decide where to start and dig in, continuing on is easier. Once you begin to see progress, it will motivate you to keep going. Good luck!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just thought of another tip. When I walk around making a list of things to do, I break it down shelf by shelf and put an estimated amount of time it should take. Then, if I have 10 minutes to spare, I look for something on the list that should take about 10 minutes, or whatever amount of time id like to spend. So if clearing out a drawer should take 15 minutes, I write something like 'top drawer kitchen, 15 mins.' I also add 5 minutes to every job above what I think it should take. That way, I don't go over and I feel accomplished if I'm way under. Lol! But my brain likes little cheats like that. Lol!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Do I pick a room? A particular item (say, books)? A zone? A drawer??

 

 

I forgot to mention in my above post.  You generally want to do it by room.  If you did books, for example, it may be a bit more a headache when it comes to unpacking.  Book boxes are heavy.  It makes them a challenge to slide around and require a dolly just to move a little.  If you gathered all the books in the house to pack, you would have to go all over the house to unpack.  By doing a room, the box could later be placed in that particular room of the new house.  It also makes it easier to find things if not yet unpacked - as in you know "x" was in the livingroom so you'll look in the livingroom box.

 

The exception would be homeschool books.  They'll still be heavy, but you could pack all those together.

 

Heavy coats, comforters, sweaters, and other bulky items can easily consume many boxes.  It may be better to invest in those vacuum "space" bags.  It'll keep them protected and reduce their footprint.  Screws and other small things can be put in a Ziploc.  Don't forget to label. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1-800-GOT JUNK will remove an amazing amount of stuff at a pretty good price. I was so happy to see them I took pictures of the truck and  my stuff leaving (later scrapbooked  :001_smile: )

 

Freecycle-they have yahoo groups for different parts of every state. I was amazed at the furniture people would make fit in a subaru wagon. From normal to odd items there always seems to be someone who wants them. 

 

Goodwill

 

Your town dump. My town dump became my new favorite place. I made several trips there a week. 

 

Its overwhelming but once you get started its almost fun. I spent time looking at old photo albums, uncovered my daughters first pair of patent leather shoes (she was obsessed with them), got teary eyed over other stuff. 

 

I started in my kitchen (you know that drawer full of menus you never look at) and went from there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

I thought I had a plan, but all I can do is look at it, sigh, and plop on the loveseat to watch another episode of SVU.

 

I understand. I've been self-medicating with How I Met Your Mother.  Finally I decided I could carry the laptop from room to room and watch while I declutter/paint etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would clean out the garage so I had a place to put yard sale items.   Then I would go through one room at a time.  Sell, donate or trash.  I only like to deal with things one time...so I make the decision and put where it belongs and be done with it.    If your going to have a great deal of trash, have them drop a dumpster and you will not have to deal with taking things off.   Every couple of days take off your donation items  or have them picked up and then set a date for a yard sale.  For the outside --hire a crew to come and pretty up everything...they can bring a crew in do it in an afternoon and it will save you a lot of time.  Best wishes on getting it done!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...