Daily Discipline: Let’s start to declutter our space and our minds

I found this article here at a site called respaced. How many of these concepts ring true for you? I am ashamed of the mess, but it contributes to the depression, right? AND I ABSOLUTELY Self medicated by shopping, I always have, sadly!

I am not sure professional help would be best for me, I dont know if bringing someone else into my mess is a good thing, I would probably have to do a spot cleaning first. I like the idea of doing small spaces at a time. I would certainly thing starting in the bedroom is best. Since we are depressed and we spend so much time in bed, maybe we need to clean that room first! I am thinking that looking around the clutter does not motivate me to get out of bed. so, maybe if we pick up just a little bit of clutter here and there, we can slowly get this room clean. Once this is room clean our mind clutter should start feeling better, what do you think?

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Never before in human history have people owned as much stuff, let alone had access to as much stuff as they do now. It’s hard enough for a healthy person to deal with, but if you are struggling with clinical depression, the daily work of “stuff management” can become absolutely overwhelming.

How clutter contributes to depression

Shame cycle: Organizing is not just a physical task, but a cognitive and emotional task as well. It takes a lot of energy, which you do not have when you are depressed. Consequently, you might avoid sorting through your things, which allows the clutter to build. You then might beat yourself up for not being able to do “such a simple task”, which worsens your self-esteem and increases your depression. The more depressed you are, the less likely you will be able to muster the energy to deal with all of your stuff.

Self-Isolate: To make matters worse, when the clutter build-up gets bad enough, you might feel so ashamed of yourself and your space that you do not allow anybody to come over. This is self-isolation, which can make you feel even more depressed. Depressed people spend more time indoors, which means more time staring at their clutter while that negative feedback loop plays in their heads.

Self-Medicate with Shopping: If you are depressed, you might even try to self-medicate your depression by buying yourself something new to cheer yourself up. And that might work in the short term, but soon enough you may realize that all of that shopping is just making the clutter problem worse. It just feeds the shame cycle.

What professional organizers do to help depressed people

Get support: The first thing I encourage a depressed person to do is to get support. Hire a professional organizer, who will figure out the fastest, most efficient way to clear your space while working within your limitations and your needs. Get an organized and COMPASSIONATE friend or family member to sit in on the organizing sessions with you and the PO so he or she can learn how to be a support to you in between organizing sessions. You need a cheerleader.

Clear large amounts of space to boost morale: The first thing a professional organizer is going to do is to start building up your morale, so you can start believing that you can do this work. Your PO will help you believe that you can have control over your living space. So what I do is ask myself, “what is the biggest impact we can make while doing the least amount of work possible? How can we clear a significant amount of space with little effort?” Usually that means clearing really large things out of the way first – furniture, exercise equipment, stuffed animals. Seeing clear space start to appear right away has the effect of energizing clients. And when I can energize my depressed clients, we can build momentum, which is what we need to continue with the rest of the project.

Set realistic goals for project completion and maintenance: If you are depressed, any organizing system I put into place for you needs to be as simple as possible to minimize your energy output. For example, it’s probably not realistic to put a shoe rack by the door and expect you to line up your shoes on it each day. But it’s no effort at all if we put a basket beside the front door so you can simply throw your shoes in. It might be difficult to fold your clothes and stack them on shelves. So instead, I might encourage you to set up a basket for each type of clothing and tell you to toss each piece of clothing in, unfolded, by type.

Do a little bit each day: Doing something will make you feel better than doing nothing. Set a timer for 10 minutes, grab two boxes – one for donations and the other for trash — and start clearing your space. If you do even that much each day, it will make a tangible difference. Depressed people tend to engage in all-or-nothing thinking, meaning they think they have failed if they haven’t completely decluttered their space. Instead of aiming for perfection, aim for progress. Heck, that’s a good mindset for us all to adopt, whether we are depressed or not.

Work during peak energy times:  If you know that you feel your worst during the evening, don’t attempt to start your organizing project then. Figure out when you feel your best, and schedule a short organizing session then.

Depression can be a devastating illness that effects how well you are able to maintain your living space. You don’t have to try to figure out a solution to this on your own. A professional organizer can coach you through this difficult time, allowing you to live in a space that will help improve your mood, not worsen it. If you live in the Portland-Metro area, you can email me at info@respacedpdx.com for help. You deserve to live in a space that heals, and I can help you get there.

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So, taking these ideas, lets look at what we can do… if you are bed-ridden at the moment, then the bedroom is the best place to start, but really, anywhere is perfect.Grab yourself a trash bag from the kitchen next time you are down there (I know you are eating). If you are having a lot of energy, do one of the kitchen posts from earlier today. Next have a basket with your supplies at hand, Something to dust with, your trash bag should be enough to get you started. Also, I want you to have a basket available.

1. Now, the first thing you are going to do is clear a path between your bed and the bathroom. Our minds are so cluttered, walking past lots of clutter does not help us heal ourselves. It just contributes to the cluttered mind, like another viscous cycle of depression. So keep your supplies right next to your bed, when you get up to go the bathroom, do not walk past anything that needs to be thrown away. Grab your trash bag and toss it in there! Easy, right?

2. The next time you walk past you are going to pick up ANYTHING that does not belong in your bedroom and place it in the basket. I Know you have dishes on the table next to your bed, if you are super depressed you probably have a couple of days worth of dishes right there. Put them in the basket and put the basket by the door. The next time you go to the kitchen to eat, drag your basket down and put each item in the room where it belongs. It might not be put away yet, but at least get it in the right room!

If your room is really messy you might need to do this a couple of times, but each time you get out of bed, do something. If you get a little bit of energy, then by all means keep going, declutter that entire room if you can, I promise it will make you feel better. I am amazed at the clutter I accumulate when I am depressed, lets take control back!!!

Daily Discipline

How are you feeling today? Are you feeling motivated? Do you think you have the energy to get up and do just one task?

What if we set a timer and do one simple task until the timer ends? Do you think you can do that?

Today’s challenge over at UFYH is

Challenge: Unfuck Your Fridge

Throw away anything expired or gross (pay special attention to condiments), wipe down all shelves and surfaces (hot water and vinegar works well and is safe for around food), the replace everything neatly. Don’t forget about the rubber seals around the door that can collect extra crud.

Today’s challenge over at Fly lady is also in the kitchen:
Zone 2: Mission # 2 Tuesday

Back to the kitchen we go! Your mission for today is to wipe down the doors of your cabinets. Use a damp rag and wipe down the fronts and the edges of your cabinets. This is really a simple thing to do but we have a tendency to ignore the cabinets because there is always so much more going on in the kitchen. Finger prints and grease attach themselves to the cabinets and make them a little sticky. A good wipe down will make such a difference. Remember we are taking babysteps!!! Small little missions that add up to a shiny kitchen.

Make Your Bed!

Even if you are just going to get right back in it

Even if you are just going to get right back in it

Ha, I saw this on UFYH today and just had to share!
So, in an effort to put one foot in front of the other today, I am going to make my bed after I get out of it. I am going to get up and walk all the way to the shower, I am going to wash my body and change my clothes. I am going to make my bed. I will try to follow my flying routine, if I can do that much and I will even try to get outside today, maybe take my neglected pets for a walk… What will you do today? We can be in this together! Tell me what you are going to do to put one foot in front of the other today?

Un Fucking my habitat

My last post described just how messy my house is… Actually, it didnt even begin to explain just how bad it really is… but we did talk about a method I plan to try out to get my shit together… I have also come across this site in the past and I even have their app on my IPAD. You can pick 10/20 minutes that you have available to work on your chaotic mess and the app will give you a task to accomplish in that time frame and even lets you set a timer. It is customizeable and you can add your own tasks to the rotation… perhaps even use it in conjunction with flylady and add some of their weekly tasks to the list.

Over the years, I have tried to motivated the kids with different things. We have even tried a method called cleaning by the numbers.. where we pick a room and set the timer for an hour. Then we start cleaning like maniacs until the timer goes off or the room is finished, whichever comes first, if the room is finished before the hour, the kids get a break until the timer goes off and then we start in another room for another hour. However, the way it usually works out is.. during either the first or second break, I get side tracked by some hobby, a nap or just plain laziness and we all end up blowing off the rest of the house….

Anyway, these are just quick tasks you can use to get some things done. I am thinking about combining the two programs UFYH (Un fuck your habitat) and Fly lady and see what kind of a dent I can make in this mess! Surely one of them will work, or maybe a combination of the two.

Do you have other sites that can help get a messy house together?

Clean Up This Mess!!

Clean Up This Mess!!

Like I started to say in my last post, one of the biggest symptoms of this out of control life, is my messy house! My room is cluttered and my kids would live in rats nests if I didn’t occassionally get off the arse to make them clean. For the most part, my depression has made me SUPER lazy and my kids have learned from my example. So, here I am… trying to get control of this Shit hole (Sorry, but there really is no other word to describe it). One of the things I have done in the past (when I was a happy, skinny, non-depressed wife without any children) is clean up a different room each day… I had a little board and I would dust and vacuum the appropriate room on the appropriate day…. I did white on one day, colors on another, sheets and towels had their own day as well. It was really simple, one load of laundry each day and an easy way to keep the chaos at bay without feeling like all I did was clean all the time. (By the way, I could do that now… clean all the time, it could be my profession and I Swear, the mess would still never get under control!) I have unpacked boxes in my garage (We have lived here almost 18 months now). I even have a pile of boxes, filled with brand new clothes that I didnt like or didnt fit. (you see, part of my depression includes an insatiable appetite for shopping and it is easier to be depressed and shop, when you can do it from the convenience of your bed and order online!) Anyway, these boxes have been sitting in my garage for about a year now, just waiting for me to return them… (Can you say Goodwill?)

But, I digress, are you getting the idea? My house is a shit hole and I need to get it under control! It is hard to say if the depression causes such apathy that I let my house become a candidate for the messiest house in the country or… does the messiness contribute to the depression. In all honestly, I think it is a viscous cycle of depression… you have depression and you get lazy, you stop cleaning… the mess and the chaos surrounding you gets out of control and it makes the depression even worse! See how easily this becomes an ugly cycle!

Right now, thankfully, the kitchen is probably the cleanest room in the house. No, its not because I am a great cook and I am always in the kitchen cooking for my children and cleaning up after us…. quite the contrary… as Ive already told you, my bedroom is the familial hub in this dump!  For the past few months, we have been ordering out pretty much every night! As a matter of fact, my eldest son who is quite the smart ass most of the time (honestly, where does he get that from!?) mentioned that I only cook when my on again, off again boyfriend comes around and recently, when my father came into town.. (By the way, in case you are wondering, we did a marathon cleaning session right before dear old daddy arrived AND we stuffed a lot of shit in the closets, drawers, sheds, etc! Oh, and even though the house looked somewhat presentable when daddy dearest arrived, it was back to chaos within five minutes of his departure!!! HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN!?) Anyway, my dearest son told me that I never cook. Mind you , this conversation was during a marathon cleaning session when I got inspired by some pinterest organizational ideas and I spent a fortune on supplies to clean and organize my kitchen. (Oh yeah, did I mention that my finances are a train wreck!! I make decent money, I do, but HOLY SHIT, I spend too much and live pay check to paycheck, which I should NOT Be doing with the amount of money I make, but… that is story for another post!.) I digressed again… (Hmm I wonder if I should get checked for adult ADHD, Maybe my son gets it from me……. wait, Squirrel!) So, we are organizing the cabinets in the kitchen because my oldest son (who does the dishes) has started putting pots where the glasses go, measuring cups where the spoons go…. you get the idea, he puts shit in which ever cabinet looks the most empty at the time. So, we are organizing cabinets and he is whining.. ( you know, standard, “Oh my God, we are doing the whole entire kitchen today!?) and I am trying to keep my cool, trying really hard! (and with my depression, keeping my temper in check can sometimes be a major ordeal, I didnt realize this before taking anti-depressants, I thought yelling and screaming and flipping out was just me (wow, I am thinking that sounds like my middle son….) then with some medication adjustments, I realized it is not me and I actually dont like to yell all the time!) OK OK  where was I? Oh yeah, so we are cleaning the messy kitchen up and  I am yelling about the cabinets being in such a disarray, I said, I cant find anything in this damn kitchen! You shove things wherever they fit and I can never find anything!!!” He replies, “Its not like you need to look for things very often.” I think at this point my face contorted into some odd shape and foam may have started coming from my mouth when I said, “what?” He kindly responds, “you only cook when you are trying to impress someone, like John (My on again, off again significant other) or Pop Pop.” I really wanted to mad. Actually, I was seething! No because my smart ass son spoke such an unjust, unkind comment, but, because it was true… I really dont cook much. I come home from work (when I am working, but again, that is for another post on another day) I strip out of my work clothes and into my pjs, I pick up a magazine or book, grab the TV remote and laptop and there I sit for the rest of the night. The kids come and go from my room, sometimes they all climb into the bed with me, sometimes even our 4 pets join us. Then, we decide what fast food we are hungry for (I did mention that I am about 50 pound over weight) and now that I have a teenage driver, it just makes it that much easier to be lazy and gain weight. We give our orders to him and he goes for a little spin in moms car and we eat dinner. Usually, we eat on our own, in different rooms, while each of us dives into the tech device of choice. Sometimes, we all eat in my bed. Occasionally, something will entice me to the little round table in the living room, and we all eat there. I haven’t seen it lately, but I think our kitchen table probably has about an inch of dust on it….

Ok, so this blog is about getting this shit together… This is not something that is going to happen on its own or very quickly… I have wanted to hire a cleaning lady for some time now, but quite honestly, the house is too messy to even let a cleaning lady in the door! I would be embarrased! We dont let anyone in our house, ever!

So, I have gone through this dilema a few times in my life and I have come across some great site to help me get started. It wont come easy! It will be a lot of work, but, like that skinny, in control, non depressed wife I used to know… It can be done one day at a time, in little baby steps.

With all that said… I introduce you to The Fly Lady… She has broken down household cleaning to a science. There are some daily tasks, that get done each and every day.. like cleaning your bathroom quickly with a method she calls the swish and swipe (It really is kind of genious) and after you do a little daily checklist, like spending 15 minutes decluttering the “Hot spot,” you then break your home into zones. Each day, you get a task for the current zone, that you add to your routine and after some time, your habits start to form and you slowly get control of the chaos. There are plenty of testimonials on the site, how people have gained control of their lives by following the Fly Lady system and “learning to fly.”

There are plenty of tips for cleaning and getting control of all the clutter. There are tips to get your man to help and your kids even get their very own tasks. All in all, it has worked for so many, it cant hurt to try it right? I mean this mess is out of control and its not going to get clean itself, so maybe I will give this a whirl and see how it works out for me..

Care to join me, flying? Leave a comment and tell me about your messy house (It will make me feel better!) and tell be sure to come back and let me know if the system is working for you….