After a very sudden and tumultuous family situation, good old Fibro decided I needed a flare, too. I try to focus on being grateful that my body allows me to deal with emergent situations and that if need be, I can actually get through them. Inevitably, however, once through such issues, Fibro always knocks me down.
Sitting on the couch day in and day out is only made worse when you have to constantly see the piles of fur on the floor, the dishes in the sink or the laundry piled sky high. As for actually cleaning, forget it. The problem with just letting it all go, is that as soon as I’m back on my feet again, there’s a myriad of chores to do, taking up all my time and energy. While looking at the mess stinks, having the constant thought of knowing you need to deal with it once better is equally as bad.
So, I’ve come up with some ways to make it easier to keep a clean house, even when you’re feeling awful.
- Get rid of it!! If you haven’t seen Marie Kondo, she was behind our gargantuan task of throwing everything away. While the families on her show tackle the whole house in a week, that’s simply impossible for me. Instead, we chose a room a week and did it that way. This accomplished a few things: having less clutter means having less to clean or move around in order to clean. Eliminating things you don’t truly appreciate, means there’s more room to appreciate what you keep. When going through absolutely everything in the house, you find things you loved and haven’t seen for years. It was truly horrifying ALL that we had. We filled two dumpsters, gave away countless items and also donated to charity. Lastly, once you’ve seen ALL that you’re getting rid of, it’s a little frightening-you spent all that money on things you’re now paying to throw away. It makes it a little easier to say no to something cute at Target.
- Use baskets. I now have baskets galore! Baskets eliminate the look of clutter and help keep the things you need in the right places. I use baskets for my medication by my bed side, dog toys and supplies, beauty items that I use frequently and one on the stairs for things to go up.
- Prioritize. If there’s a ton of fur on the floor, I focus on vacuuming. If the dust is an inch thick, I dust. If you can’t do much, focus on the one thing that needs your attention most and do that.
- Do some things every day. Now this can’t apply on those days that you simply can’t move, however, my everyday list truly helps contain the mess from swallowing the whole house. Each day I do things like the dishes, one load of laundry, sweeping up the kitty litter and poop scooping. It may take me all day to get through my daily list, but I have found that doing some things daily make it much easier to keep the house tidier. (ps I poop scoop daily because they sleep with me-gross!)
- Brush your animals. This is a more recent discovery of mine, but I purchased a generic “furminator” and brush everyone every day. There is still fur, but now there are no longer one foot tumble weeds of fur blowing around my house.
- Invest in a Dyson. Dysons are expensive, I totally admit, BUT worth every penny. I bought ours with our tax returns. Vacuuming used to be the death of me. It took way too much effort, strength and time to vacuum my whole house. Now, I could never, ever be without my Dyson. It’s light, easy to use and the newer models’ battery allows me to vac the whole house without dying. I can now vacuum the whole house in about 20 minutes.
- Use a duvet cover. If you’re like me, you get crazy hot flashes. Trying to launder a huge comforter is a huge pain. It typically means a trip to a laundry mat or an expensive dry cleaning bill. Instead, I cover my comforter in a duvet, which I can easily take off and wash at home. I recently upgraded to covering my comforter with a quilt, under the same premise.
- Sticking to the subject of hot flashes: More often than not, I wake up soaked. Not only does this stink, but it means I need to change my sheets way more often than once a week. Instead, I lay towels over the sheet and pillowcase where I sleep. Then I don’t need to change the bed so often.
- Back to the baskets again. Keep a basket on the stairs. During the day put anything that needs to go upstairs in the basket and then make one trip up when you’re going up. This makes it easier to combat the clutter and easier to bring it all upstairs. I also use the stair basket when I go food shopping-to bring toiletries up.
- Dust with an Essential Oil spray. I use a blend of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca) and Lemon, diluted with water. This enables the dust to stick better to the duster, while also making your house smell great! Bonus, both lemon and melaleuca have antibacterial and antiviral properties!
- I use a towel to dry my hair. If I’m not ready to pass out after a shower, I use my wet hair towel to quickly wipe down the mirrors and sink in the bathroom.
- Eliminate things that need additional care. While I love plants, they’re one more thing to take care of. So when they recently got Spider Mites, they got tossed and this time, I won’t be replacing them. That’s one less thing to do!
- Some people say they tackle one room at a time. So really, it comes down to whatever you prefer. For me, I instead do one chore a day. So, while I mentioned there are things I do every day, for the things like dusting, mopping or changing the sheets, I instead do one chore a day. Instead of spending an entire day cleaning and using up all of my reserves, I find that doing one thing a day makes me feel less overwhelmed.
- Here is my worst suggestion and I hate it, but: ask for help. Studies have shown that kids develop better when they have responsibility. For us, we explained to the kids that everyone lives here, which means everybody needs to keep up on it. We used to assign each kid one chore a week, which had to be done by the end of the week. Now that the kids are gone, it’s just my Husband and I. So if I’m really struggling, he helps.
- Run it. I always hated running the dishwasher when it was only half full or throwing laundry in when it’s a really small load. Well, I’ve stopped. Now I run the dishwasher every night and the washer too. This way, nothing gets backed up.
- Use a Swiffer Wet Jet. I’m Sicilian, as are my friends. Sicilians always scrub the floors on hands and knees. As my BFF says, I feel like a Wet Jet won’t get them as clean. I agree. BUT……you know what really won’t get them clean? Is waiting to be able to scrub the floors on my knees. So instead, I relented and started using a Wet Jet. It takes much less effort to do that.
- Last, but not least: keep cleaning supplies handy. I keep my Dyson attachments right next to the Dyson and bathroom cleaning supplies in each bathroom. This eliminates the back and forth of either forgetting or locating supplies and saves some energy.
Keep in mind, as you read this, that my tips and hacks only apply when you’re well enough to clean. I spent close to two years on the couch, unable to do anything when I first got sick. At that time, Bri took care of the kids, cleaned the house, kept up with our massive yard and worked over time to keep us afloat. Now that I’m better, I can help again. And that’s how all of this works. Do your best, when and as you can and let the rest go.
I hope you find some of my tips helpful. Got any of your own? I’ll be happy to include them in a follow up post!! Love, Stace