Can’t Clean Because of Too Much Stuff

What if you can’t clean because of too much stuff lying around? Is there an easy way to get rid of clutter before it takes over?

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

Can’t Clean Because of Too Much Stuff

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Clothes and Shopping BagsWhat if you can’t clean your house because of too much stuff, what do you do? There’s a gentleman that wrote into the show and says.

Help me please, Angela. My wife started an online e-commerce business where she buys and flips products. She sources products cheaply from the clearance racks of stores. Stores like Marshall’s, Kohl’s, and Walmart, and then she sells them on Facebook Marketplace, Next door, and eBay. I support her business and all, but our house is getting out of control.

There’s stuff everywhere, bags of stuff, odds and ends that we trip over because there’s no more room for us. On the weekend she sources furniture from yard sales and thrift stores and our house is wall to wall filled with things she hasn’t sold yet. We can’t clean the house because we can’t get to anything. I mean, we can’t clean our bathroom because there are 14 boxes of arts and crafts in there. Our bedroom has 12 wire shelves that we bought from Costco to hold boxes of more stuff. It’s not the clutter that’s bothering me. It’s that we can’t clean because the clutter is in the way. Every counter in the kitchen is piled with bags of stuff and now we have dirty dishes in a stack on the floor because there’s no more room.

There is a Lot of Stuff Happening Here

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Clothes on CouchThere’s a lot of stuff happening here, and its great that you said you support your wife in her business, and that she’s starting a business. Which means this must be a new business. 

It’s also worth noting that she is starting a business in 2020, during the COVID pandemic.   Where there were stay at home issues, and people were staying at home trying to reinvent their lives and spend more time with their families.  This meant meant a lot of people took time off work or they had to quit their jobs.

Lots of people who have kids now had to switch their job schedule around because their kids were not going back to school full-time. So, it’s possible that your wife felt like during this period of time, she needed to reinvent herself to help support the family.

There is More Than Clutter Going On

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Cluttered in HouseSo, there’s more than clutter going on in the home. Therefore, it’s important to be aware that there may be other things that are going on that are influencing these decisions. Now shopping is fun and lots of people love shopping.

I think I’m the only person I know that does not love shopping. And if I can pay someone else to do my shopping, I say, go do it and then just bring me back the stuff if I need it. If I don’t need it, then don’t even bother.

But there are people who love it and this sounds like a fun job for someone who loves to shop. Because sourcing projects, going through clearance racks, imagining how you’re going to sell them and what price point you’re going to sell them at could be an exciting, fun business.

She Might Need the Excitement of a New Business

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Happy Woman on ComputerSo, I understand the excitement and the thrill, and that might be what she needs to keep going during this COVID pandemic. So, it’s important to acknowledge all the steps along the way. Now, whatever is happening is doing so at the expense of the family.

So you did not intend to live inside a store, but yet you have 12 shelves that you’ve gone out and bought and I know those wire shelves from Costco are not cheap.

I know that you’ve put a lot of money into buying shelves to support her business and to house these boxes and bags of things that she keeps bringing in. So, if you did not intend to live in a store, then you need to intend to not live in a store.

You Need to Not Live in a Store

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Woman and Man Washing DishesYou need to make sure that the goal is that you don’t live in a store, that you get rid of the shelves, and that you have a bedroom again that is peaceful and a comforting place that you rest at the end of a long weary day. So, what we are looking at here is a new business that is taking over your old way of living.

I want to pay attention and I want to honor the fact that you are aware of that because there’s something awesome about you. This is, “Hey, our lifestyle changed and it’s not what I’m accustomed to. How do we go back to the old way or how do we get through this?” I love the fact that you are aware of. When you are aware, you have choices.

Start Having Business Meetings

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Man Bringing Woman Cup of TeaSo, one of the choices that I would recommend as a small business owner is that you start having business meetings. And if you’re supporting your spouse, it’s possible you’re also a business partner. If that’s the case, I recommend that you have a weekly business meeting where you start working through some of these issues.

Will the day come when you will decide that you will hire or rent out a storage unit to store the things that are now in your home? 

Then the next thing is, are there boundaries? Are there rules and parameters on how long you’re allowed to keep something that you’ve purchased before you sell it? And what happens at the end of that period of time if you haven’t sold it, do you give it away?

Find Out the Rules That She Has

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Couple with Shopping BagsDo you have a discount? Do you offer it for sale? What are the rules? Because if there are no rules, it is possible you’ll have products that will sit around for years on end. Now, it states that she’s buying these on the clearance racks, the stores that were selling them were also trying to get rid of them.

So if they have a target market that comes in and normally buys these things, and then for some reason, they were unable to sell them then maybe you will have better luck online where you can reach a better audience.

But we have to take into consideration that they were on the clearance rack for a reason. They weren’t selling on the clearance rack and so maybe the marketing has to shift a little bit, so it’s done differently. So how many days are allowed for sourcing?

You Have to Spend Time Clearing Out Items

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Woman Looking at Rack of ClothesHow many days a week are allowed to make listings and how many days a week are used for cleaning and prepping the items? Because the buying is what’s happening and if you’re not moving stuff at a quick pace, then stuff’s going to start piling on top of each other and along with that, other things happen. Stuff gets stepped on or broken.

When you actually go to sell something, it’s not going to be in the same condition that it was when you received it. It is possible food could spill on it. It’s possible a variety of things could happen. So you need to make sure if this is your inventory and if this is the way that you’re planning on making your money.  You have to make sure the stuff that you’re purchasing is protected and that it’s cared for so that it can be delivered in the same presentation style that is shown inside your ads or listings.

Being Cognizant of Cleaning is Paramount

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Woman Carrying BoxSo, there’s a whole lot of stuff going on here. The fact that you are cognizant of the cleaning is paramount. If there are 14 boxes of arts and crafts inside your bathroom, I can only imagine the trouble that causes getting out of the shower and then you drape a towel over these arts and crafts. And if the arts and crafts get wet from the towel or from moisture in the air, it could probably ruin those items.

So, yes, there’s a risk to the way that you’re doing this, and it’s possible that it’s become so overwhelming so quickly. So, the fact that you are aware is great but I would recommend at this point that you have weekly meetings and maybe even get involved with a coach.

And there are coaches that are going through the same thing. They’re helping people through the same types of issues. Now, one of the cool things is you’re not alone.

A Lot of People Have Reinvented Their Businesses

Can't Clean Because of Too Much Stuff, Woman Shopping On ComputerThere are a lot of people that have reinvented their businesses and they’ve started e-commerce stores during the pandemic. There are probably Facebook groups where there are people that do similar businesses, if not the exact same thing.

And they could help guide and coach you through these different areas. Because right now it sounds like there’s this new thing happening in your life and it’s a little bit frustrating. So, to be the best supportive person to your spouse, what I recommend you doing is getting to a point where you have rules.

For instance, no bags and boxes of store items that you’re going to resell inside the kitchen. That’s the place where you put your food, you wash your dishes, you need a sanitary space, and you shouldn’t have your dishes on the floor.000 Savvy Cleaner Spacer Bar 2020Resources

These good karma links connect you to and affiliated sites that offer products or services that relate to today’s show. 

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