Can you rise above your own clutter? I'd like to know how.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tennisnut, May 14, 2008.

  1. tennisnut

    tennisnut New Member

    I look at my dresser tops, table tops and even the floor and there it is. Where I sit at my computer is horrid. But when I decide to sort through it - I walk away. I probably need about a fraction of it, but I would have to look through and make decisions. Sometimes I make new stacks.

    If anyone has a de-clutter technique I would love to know.
    Cheers TN
  2. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    Hello there!
    This should probably be on the chit-chat board. Do you know how to get there?
    Under message boards, there is a place to click on.
    Great topic- you'll get tons of replies over there. I have a couple of techniques that I use.
    Clutter clutters your mind and can make me crazy - I can't stand it!
    Post over on chit-chat and believe me, you'll get some suggestions!
  3. tennisnut

    tennisnut New Member

    Thanks, I have done that. This is not only a physical, but a mental problem, because not only do I not have the energy but the inclination - I feel locked into my various messes.
  4. jole

    jole Member

    I know where you're coming from. It's the inability to concentrate long enough to finish a task, right? Anyway, that's what it is for me. I know how to organize things, just don't have the clarity of mind to do it most of the time.

    I've found that by putting it in a basket and leaving it for a day when my mind is clearer helps some, but even then I can only work a few minutes before I become frustrated with the task.

    For me, this is part of the fibro fog, and something I have learned to deal with. My floors can be vaccuumed in small segments and get done, but things that take concentration simply can't.

    Wishing you well....
  5. lkraft

    lkraft New Member

    My mom came 2 weeks ago and helped me declutter. It was kind of humiliating because she is 60 and I'm only 36. But she is wonderful at organizing. Yes, I had those moments where I was holding an item and my brain just couldn't register what to do with it. My mom would say, "Get rid of it!". Then she helped me clean out the storage closet and put the 'save' items in labeled rubbermaids. We paced ourselves and spent 2 afternoons on it. I still crashed after she left, but the stress it relieved for me was worth it.

    I know not everyone has a mom who can come and help. But at least you know you're not alone in feeling overwhelmed by it.

    Maybe a close friend could come in? Do you know there is actually 'organizer'-type people that actually love doing that kind of thing? My mom was so tickled at her accomplishment and I praised her up one side and down the other!
  6. harmony21

    harmony21 New Member

    Me too, I have that problem and with the FM have a heck of a time to get things right, am trying to minimise my possesions but its hard

    Watch those declutter shows or get some books they have brilliant idea, I have got some boxes and name them accordingly to what they have in them, pretty boxes iam talking about

    You will get there, it takes time

    Take care and do what you can when

    angel hugs

  7. SusanEU

    SusanEU New Member

    Check out the Flylady website.

    Sue in Ontario
  8. TeaBisqit

    TeaBisqit Member

    I recently moved, and I have to get this place in order because it's a low income building where they do cleanliness inspections and fire inspections. And I'm having the hardest time finishing unpacking and dealing with all my stuff. I have alot of stuff. And while there are probably some things I can get rid of, some of it is new and I want. I just don't have enough places to put it all. And it is super hard when you don't feel good and don't have the energy. It's a huge source of stress for me.
  9. lillieblake

    lillieblake New Member

    This is my problem too, but I have 'solved' it to a good extent this way: If I am cleaning off the table or my desk, I pick a number (say 15) then I have to pick up and take care of 15 items before I get a reward (15 mini M&Ms). Then I take care of another 15 items, with the reward, for a certain period of time (1/2 hr). Then I continue another day.

    If the house is a mess, I use the same method and do that many things in each room, then get a reward.

    I like rewards. I started this when I was in college because I have ADHD and I needed a way to read a massive amount of stuff.
  10. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I posted an answer on Chit Chat but this most certainly belongs here!

    Those of us with what we affectionately call "Fog" have cognitive executive functioning problems. These problems make staying on top of that which creates clutter almost impossible for some of us.

    This is one of the most difficult and painful ME/CFS/FM issues.

    Peace out,

    ETA What I posted on ChitChat

    Hi ~ Welcome to the clutter zone 05/15/08 08:58 AM

    This is a huge problem for many of us. It has to do with cognitive issues we have.

    We have executive functioning problems which create huge issues.

    Executive functioning includes: planning, working memory, organization. Also, the ability to initiate and stop actions, to monitor behavior and to plan future behavior when faced with something new.

    So, for me, when I'm trying to go through a "pile", every envelope is something new! AAAAAAAAAAA!

    I had an Occupational Therapist for a while to try to help me set up simple systems but it was not successful. I found it hard to fully comprehend them, even though I understood they were pretty basic, let alone maintain them. But, I would say: That's great, makes so much sense, I'll do that!

    I have boxes and bags full of old mail, etc., which I store away as well as I can. I cannot clean my kitchen or do my dishes as there are so many steps. I once spent weeks entering and leaving my kitchen without doing my dishes because I simply could not figure out why it had suddenly become impossible to even make a dent. Finally, it dawned on me that I had no sponge or scrubber and no detergent.

    Can you afford to get someone to come by on a regular basis to sort through things and prevent piles? I would if I could. If there is any way you can get anyone to help you stay on top of things, do it.

    Try not to judge yourself by your mess. There are lots of wonderful disorganized people, with this, other conditions or nothing at all wrong with them, who are kind and generous and good hearted! That's way more important.

    Peace to you,

    [This Message was Edited on 05/15/2008]
  11. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi Tennisnut,

    A very pertinent topic. I've thought about asking this questions myself to see what tips I might get.

    To me, this problem tells me that the organizing areas of the brain are being significantly affected. While other areas are more intact. Interestingly, the functionality of these different areas areas of the brain seem to change day to day for me.

    A solution for myself is patience. I try to look for those times when I feel I can do a bit of organizing. But if I start feeling exhausted, nauseous and overwhelmed, I know that it is not the time. If I persist, it can quickly wring me out emotionally as well.

    I've learned that staying within my mental/cognitive energy envelope is almost more important than staying within my physical energy envelope. In both cases, the best approach for me is to practice patience. Part of this involves being easy on myself.

    Regards, Wayne
    [This Message was Edited on 05/15/2008]
  12. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Too true, my friend!

    One of my kids is coming to live with me in my tiny bachelor/studio apt for at least the summer. Her dad is paying for a person to come and help me tomorrow but trying plan what to do is making me extremely nauseated!

    It's awful! Awful!

    You know, Wayne, you have made me feel much better in the past re this very issue and I want to take this opportunity to thank you once again: Thanks!

    Peace out,
  13. sascha

    sascha Member

    there are many days i cannot do one thing beyond feed myself. something falls on the floor (i like to blame it on the cat) and there it stays, sometimes for weeks.

    i made up for myself THE RULE OF FOUR. when i am able, i accomplish 4 small things- like hanging up four things in the closet. then that's it, and i can rest again for a while.

    if i'm wildly ambitious, i might do a 'bonus' and do one more thing on top of the four things i did. and then i feel virtuous and proud.

    many many days i don't do even the Rule of IV- just can't. and i think that's the important part- to realize that we just can't do much of anything a lot of the time.

    yes, it's hard to see stuff mounting up to do. but if i did more, i'd suffer more.

    so many people know exactly what you are talking about. sascha
  14. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    I am perfectly cool with this being here! Just thought someone would certainly come on here and say - MOVE IT TO CHIT CHAT. I'm never the one that says it.
    Also - the poster didn't say anything about mental clutter, I thought it was just stacks of papers forgive me.

    Anyway- I do do piles/stacks etc. I have found that when I can see them it makes it worse. I found some pretty trunk type containers to put things in - one on my countertop by the phone for instance. I can shove bills etc. in there. I also keep large manilla envelopes labeled "to file" "to go through" and stick things in there. At least they're all together. Loose papers make me crazy.

    I have folders for each of my kids as well that I keep handy for school things.

    Even with all of my stacks and piles I do know where things are! If my husband touches a piece of paper it freaks me out. is a great website by the way.

  15. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I'm sure there will be some good replies on ChitChat. Just thought there might be some really specific stuff on this board.

    I used to have systems just like yours that worked for about 17 years. (I've had ME for 29 -- they didn't work for the first three or the last nine.)

    Like you, it wasn't easy for me but if I stayed with my system, I could keep my head above clutter - just! It was absolutely essential that I have labeled manila envelopes and many other supportive things in place but I could cope. Things are different now.

    Now I become ill and inert with the cognitive effort it takes to understand my dirty dishes. It's so frustrating! The combination of worsening physical ability and increased cognitive difficulty have overwhelmed the systems. That's why Occupational Therapists are necessary as it's very much an aspect of the illness.

    I'm waaay past flylady now. But, thanks for mentioning that site because it's a good one and would have been a big help for me during my remitting and relapsing phase.

    Peace to you!

    [This Message was Edited on 05/15/2008]
  16. rosemarie

    rosemarie Member

    I am so upset with my self I try and get my house picked up, it is a mess. I have a husband who just drops the mail on the nearest chair,shoes on the floor {usually in the middle of the floor. Dishes that need to be put in the dishwasher.

    Yes I know that this also fits on the chit chat board. But this for me is phyical, just loading my dishwasher exhusts me.

    I sit at my kitchen table to clear it off but I end up moving things around. For me getting my dishwasher loaded and my counters and stove cleaned off it a major effort that takes me two hours to do that.

    And I have not cleaned off all of my counters just the ones nearest to the stove.
    How can just loading a dishwasher wear me out? Just doing the smallest things exhaust me? I am so sick of having a mess in my house but I don't have the mental or phycial abilties to clean it and keep it that way.

    I hate the look on my hubby's face when he walks thru the door and the living room is still the same mess it has been for a month. He is really good about it, when I clean up the small part of my kitchen he tells me how nice it looks and that I am doing great.

    Many years ago before I knew that I had fibro , I was achey , tired easily and had a tough time cleaning up my house but then I had 3 little girls. Now it is just the two of us. Hubby told me years ago that it made him feel loved when I cleaned up and kept up the house.I love him and tell him often but I still struggle with house work and how it makes me feel . So I really understand how you feel about this topic.
    Thanks for letting me vent.
  17. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    And yes, so much of it has to do with the hits many of us have had to our Executive Functioning abilities. We resemble people with brain injuries, from what I've read.

    I can relate to what many have written here, esp. Rafiki. I can go into the kitchen to prepare a meal, and then wonder why I am in the kitchen. Actually, preparing a meal that involves more than popping something in the microwave can be a real challenge.

    Oops, sorry, that 's a bit OT. Well, I'm a bit OT (Off Today), lol!

    Back to clutter: I consider myself extremely lucky to have a 2 BR apartment. But the second BR is now a junk room. This is despite having all sorts of bins and folders, drawers, you name it. Sigh.

    My big accomplishment of late was to place next to my computer two bulging folders that contain information I must summarize in a letter to be signed by a doctor and sent to another doctor. Aaaaaaaaa! That sentence alone made my head spin!

    Things got so bad that bills and notices from my auto insurance company got lost in piles and I my insurance was cancelled! Luckily, I was reinstated.

    Like Rafiki, the idea of having to explain to someone what needs to be done is beyond me. I recall once a friend offered to grocery shop for me. When she asked me what I needed, all I could come up with was "food".

    So back to the piles. It is my aim to do a little at a time. The insurance cancellation was a wake-up call, and i have been better about keeping on top of incoming bills and such. But the older piles...I know there are important papers in there.

    When my brain is able to handle this without a meltdown, I try to take a small pile and sort it into three: junk to be thrown out, important stuff to keep, and stuff I'm not sure about. The trick is to stop before you mix up the "throw out" pile with the "important stuff to keep" pile.

    Keep those suggestions coming!

    Frankly, I'm still hoping for a brain transplant.

    --The Zombie
    [This Message was Edited on 05/15/2008]
  18. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    You actually made me laugh and cry!

    I completely and totally understand "food"! Why do people ask these impossible questions?!

    Smile, breathe and go slowly...
  19. Junegal

    Junegal New Member

    looked into She offers lots of good advice and helps with babysteps. Even if you can't keep up with her entire program (I never could, even BEFORE I got CFS) the little things will help you change your life around. I personally find the clutter bogs me down terribly so I need to get it under control so I feel better in some small way. Sometimes it takes months, but I get to it and like the feeling of having control over something in my life. On Flylady, her whole philosophy is that you have to do just a little bit a day, I think it is like 15 min a day of working on the clutter. Check out the website, sign up for the emails, and do what you can. Even if you can only keep up with 10-25% of her recommendations, hey, it is a start!
  20. MsE

    MsE New Member

    Just thinking about all the things that need to be done around here leaves me overwhelmed. I'm doing good if I can manage one chore a day. My brain isn't working. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just downright lazy. That's an embarrassing thought!