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Peter Walsh

Peter Walsh

Design professional and star of TLC's Clean Sweep

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Meryl Starr

Organizing expert, author and personal consultant

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Debbie Stanley

Author and owner of Red Letter Day, a professional organizing...

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Question:I am trying desperately hard to get organized. I am a packrat and am trying hard to change that habit. When I look at what I have to do, I get overwhelmed. I have started by trying to doing small projects, but my husband wants it all done now. He starts h

When my husband and I got back together last year after 2 1/2 years separation, he was willing to help, be supportive, understanding....you know the words. Well, that has not happened. He just belittles me and makes me feel like a horrible person. I know I have a lot of "stuff" and I know that I need to get through it and get organized. But when I look at everything I do daily, the anxiety hits and I just can't do it. I do everything at home. Housework, cooking, taking care of kids. Plus, I work at home doing bookkeeping, run a small business and home school one of my kids. He goes to work, then watches TV or surfs the internet. The only laundry he will do is his own, the only dish he will wash is one that he used. Yet he will complain that the rest of the things in the house are not done. I have accepted the fact that he is not going to help me around the house. And the kids and I accept what we can do in a day and what has to wait.

Recently his mother moved in with us because she lost her apartment. He says that once they find her a new place, that he will be leaving to move in with her and I am ok with that. But since she got here, it has only made things worse. I need to get organized. Not for him or her, but for me and my kids. I am tired of being totally stressed out about what is not done. The anxiety is overwhelming and I am hoping that this board might offer me the support and advice that I need to take my life back from the clutter.


Asked by CandleMaMa6 on 11/7/08 2 Answers»


It's all about starting small and doing a little bit every day. And just think--soon you'll husband and his mother will be out of your hair! That will be two less stress factors to weigh you down! I'm glad you said that you want to do this for you and not someone else. That is a lot of motivation in and of itself. Also remember not to strive for perfection, if you're naturally a little cluttered, that's OK! As Victoria said, you have a lot on your plate, so give yourself a pat on the back for juggling so much and still wanting to strive to improve yourself!

Answered by: LauraLee311 on 11/10/08


Hi CandleMaMa6

It's not easy when you're not getting any help. I'm sorry you have to endure such immaturity. Only washing his own clothes and his own dishes is a good one. I wonder what his buddies would think about him if that one got around. Nice guy. Sorry.

As for how to get moving on taking back your life from clutter, I read the expert interviews and they all have some helpful advice. Debbie Stanley says, first of all stop blaming yourself. Your day sounds pretty full to me, so let yourself off the hook. It's not like you're a lazy sloth. You've got a lot of stuff going on and you're doing it on your own.

Both Peter Walsh and Meryl Starr say to start with a vision of what you want the space to look like and then start pairing down.

Start small and devote a certain amount of time, even 10 or 20 minutes each day to a project you have planned. It's unrealistic to think you can get it all done at once, but you can commit to tackling smaller aspects of the job until you get it all done.

You're not a horrible person! You're a wonderful person and you can do what you set your mind to. Take one room and visualize what you want it to look like, then make a plan for how you're going to get from point A to B. Then set aside a little time each day to getting there.

You can do it. Good luck!

Answered by: VictoriaB on 11/8/08
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