Posted by: whimsigal | November 8, 2007

I finally went over the edge

Well, it happened. The mess got to me. I wasn’t trained to resist any longer than I did. Here, see for yourself what I was up against:

playroom before.jpg

And that was the cleanest part of the room. Their bedroom is just as bad if not worse but I didn’t photograph that. Last night, I couldn’t take anymore and I went crazy. Not in a mean way, in fact I was extraordinarily calm. They had three hours to pick out the toys that meant something to them and that they wanted to continue to have access to. After the three hours was up, the rest of the toys were getting boxed up and taken out to our shed for a loooong vacation. Was that wrong? I don’t know. It wasn’t a reasonable mess. It was candy wrappers, spilled juice, game and movie discs covered in unknown sticky substances, clothes left haphazardly all over the place. It was madness. It was toys left out for the dog to chew on, tiny Lego people that I am constantly having to track down hands, hair, and helmets for and frankly I just need a break from that. Ryan refuses to keep his toys in any reasonable condition and then cries incessantly when he can’t find it. I try to keep up with the pieces myself but he makes it nearly impossible to do. So, last night I packed up all the toys that didn’t get picked up and today I put them out in the shed.

All in all, it’s been okay so far. The only thing Ryan has missed is his Spiderman costume, but he recovered from that pretty quickly. I told them that after Christmas we’ll look into bringing toys back in the house but for now, we’re going to live with the ones they kept as vital.

I can deal with some mess because I’m not a neat person either but I can’t deal with a mess that infinges on everyone else’s happiness like that one did. Their room is next. It’s mostly clothes that Ryan pulls out of his drawers and doesn’t put back and I haven’t been able to come up with a solution that makes getting dressed easy for him. He looks through everything and then leaves the rejects all over the place. I’m completely open to suggestions from any organized folks out there. Any ideas that might save me from complete insanity?



  1. I wish I had some advice for ya, but sadly I do not. Cleaning up after themselves is very low on the priority lists around here. The girls and I have been planning to go through their toys lately but when we start we quickly become overwhelmed. It’s just too much.

    My son is terrible about making a mess of his clothes when he is dressing for the day. I try to make an effort each day to run through there and throw everything back where it belongs. I gave up on folding a long time ago.

    I’m interested to see what anyone else has to say.

  2. I don’t think it was at all unreasonable. Truth is, too many things make it hard to keep the house (or room) tidied up.

    You might try the same technique with the clothes — anything that ends up on the floor, goes in a box in the attic. If he won’t wear it, he doesn’t need it. It might even make life easier to have only three outfits in his room at time because it will make choosing easier while still leaving some choice.

    Then again, I am a bit of a hardass. 😉 Living in level three squalor will have that affect.

  3. You know what, you’re right. Stuffitis is really hard on a house. I may do what you said and take some clothes out of their room because now that I think about it, it’s not him being disrespectful. He just has so many things that he has to pull them all out to decide on what he wants.

    Thanks, Misti! You helped point me in a new direction!


  4. You’re so welcome …as I said, the ideas are hard won. But the house is so much easier to care for now — it only looks like a bomb site if both Rod and I have been sick for a while. 😉

  5. Advice? No. Commiseration? Yes!
    We do the SAME THING periodically at home. Then eventually we pull out the boxed toys and rotate a few. In fact, my husband’s game room is due for one of these “if it’s not put away in 20 minutes, kiss it goodbye” kind of cleanings 🙂

  6. you did great.
    I’m a “Love and Logic” facilitator (they have a GREAT website with free parenting articles on the side), and one thing is the “time” factor…Feel free to clean anytime between now and five o’clock..after that..everything in here is MINE to do with what I will….
    I’m a former home schooler of 3, and still the CLUTTER makes me crazy. I don’t want to be an old lady like my mom boxed in by her crap…..
    I also LOVE
    clean your sink, and having dejunked for 3 years and still continue to do so…don’t put it in the shed…just throw it out. You don’t want to have to sort through sticky nasty moldy DVD’s in a year anymore than you want to now.

    donna in mid michigan

  7. ummmmmhello and klasieprof (Donna), thanks so much for your comments.

    Donna, I get the Flylady emails every day and last year, really had my house in tip top shape. I have got to get back into it because Flylady really, really helps and my house is in DESPERATE need of help. LOL

    I’m going to google love and logic, too and see what that’s all about.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!


  8. My daughter was looking over my shoulder when your photo came up on my screen and she said, “What’s that? A tornado?”

  9. LOL

    It does look like total devastation doesn’t it?!

    It’s much cleaner now. 😉

  10. Bins. Bins are good. We have stacking bins. And then we (aka I) use the UPS method for cleaning when it gets to that point of near disaster. Sit in the middle of the room, put all the bins around you. Scoop things to you, then sort. It prevents zig-zagging across the room a gazillion times.

    The other thing we did was get rid of dressers (even in my room!) and install shelving in every closet. Now, the clothes don’t have to be orderly. Just toss them on the shelves. Something falls down, toss it back up.

    And finally, something I did when my kids were younger and there were more toy messes – I tidied every night before I went to bed. Sometimes the kids helped, sometimes they didn’t. I didn’t care – it was MY need. I like coming downstairs to a tidy house, not to “bloody hell look at all the freakin’ work I’ve gotta do already!” At the very least, I scoop things into piles, because piles look tidier. Stack books, stack mail, toss dirty dishes into sink. I keep 3 large baskets (still!) behind my couch and that’s where stray toys go. It takes about 10 minutes to sweep through the house, especially if you do it daily because it never gets to that point of chaos.

    Ok, enough bandwidth I’ve taken!

  11. Laura, I love all of those ideas, especially the one about getting rid of the dresser but I don’t know how I would go about implementing them. We have a nice sized home but many of our rooms are small. I’d be happy to sponsor a trip for you to come here and help me! LOL I think that’s the biggest part of the problem, that I have a hard time with organization myself and now I have this whole house to keep up with and I find myself overwhelmed on a daily basis. It’s not like I’m the Queen of Clean, I just tend to get stupid and take the messes personally, like they know I’m overwhelmed and are being messy on purpose. Case in point, last night. I went in to the playroom to tell the boys we were all going to bed when I noticed Ryan has crushed up Pringles all over the place. Literally, all over the place. I was in tears because I had JUST cleaned that damn room up and I won’t lie. I freaked out. I’m not proud of it and I apologized a few minutes later but I want to get to a point where it doesn’t matter. Obviously it was my fault because I left him alone with a tube of PRingles. It just surprises me that I can’t leave a 5 year old alone for a little while without expecting something like that to happen.

    Jesus I’ve written a book here. Anyway, I know the cleaning thing is my thing, it’s just overwhelming to clean up their mess and my mess when I don’t know where to begin with mine. I don’t want to pass that on to them but it looks like that’s what’s going to happen anyway.

    Thanks for your comment, you’re probably sorry you did it now! LOL

  12. Nah, I’m not sorry. 🙂 I’ve been where you are. Sometimes I still go back there. It’s not fun. Messes really stress me out too, and that’s why I’ve devised plans to keep on top of things before it gets too bad. (That doesn’t mean I always succeed!)

    It will help not to take it personally, like the Pringles thing. I doubt your son said to himself, “Mom just finished cleaning but I don’t care what she thinks!” However, you can wait until you feel more calm and centered and rational and discuss with your son why you’d rather not see pringle crumbs all over the place. Explain that there are things you’d rather be doing than vacuuming all the time. Ask if he can go outside and crush pringles chips. Ask if he will help you vacuum it up.

    Frankly, making messes is fun! I have a friend who honestly let her kids bring in bags full of fall leaves, INTO the house, so they could jump in them. Another time, I was over there and while her daughter did my hair, her son was getting silly and tossing popcorn all over the kitchen. Her kids were about 13 and 16 at the time! Later, they simply got a broom and swept it up.

    Now, I don’t like seeing messes all the time either. But as my mom would say, It’s MY problem. Unless the kids are doing it to be mean-spirited, it’s not really their problem. They don’t see the mess in the same way you do.

    Your kids are young. I talk and talk and explain, respectfully, to my kids when something bothers me or I really don’t want something to happen (like taking a brimming-full cup of red soda over the carpet), but I’ve had to learn not to see it as them being bad or purposefully destructive.

    I don’t know if I’m helping or not! Maybe you can pick one project to accomplish a week, and once you get things to a managable state, you can just try to maintain?

  13. Laura, you really are helping me. I have a tendency to take all the things my kids do personally when I know logically that they’re not doing it to hurt me. My dad used to tell me all the time how inconsiderate I was and how I must not love my mother because of how messy I was. I can remember thinking how *f*ing stupid he as for saying that and now I have those same dumb, self-pitying thoughts. Anyway, I have taken everything you said here seriously and am going to really concentrate for the next few days on chillaxing with the kids.

    You don’t know how much I appreciate you taking the time to respond like you have. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been washed overboard and now you’ve thrown me a line. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  14. I got rid of the kids’ dressers and got cubbyholes. Naturally, I blogged about it:

    Thanks for the picture. You know all our houses get like that, and it’s refreshing to admit it!

  15. Well shame on your father. And don’t forget to remind yourself, **often**, that that was HIS sh*t, not yours. He was projecting. Or making himself feel better by making someone else feel badly. Or getting on your mom’s good side by going to bat for her. Or something. I’m sorry, whatever the reason, that you were subjected to that, and of course, yes, you’ll have work to do to overcome that and get those d*mn voices out of your head! You are doing just that. Be gentle with yourself in the process.

    By the sounds of your recent posts, things are looking up! 🙂

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