Cleaning with a Chronic Illness can be challenging. I have learnt this recently more than ever. Picture this; a warm summer’s day. Hubby and I are excited about having the weekend together. I get home from work on a Saturday and the house looks like a bomb has hit it. The sofas in the front room had their cushions all over the floor and blankets were strewn all over the place. I walk into the dining room and the table is piled high with a mixture of paperwork and clothes. There’s also bags and boxes on the floor under the table and next to it (I’m not even sure what was in them). The kitchen also looks like it hasn’t had a clean in a week (it has, but it doesn’t look like it!). Something just had to give, we had to sort this out.
We’ve had conversations before about the house. For a while, I was paying for a cleaner to help us keep on top of it, but we’ve needed to budget recently and we had to give that up for a while. I can’t wait until we can get one again! The problem is, with my health issues I just can’t do a lot of it. And hubby is working longer and longer hours, feeling more and more exhausted. So the house has suffered. Now, I realise I am being very real with you here, and sharing something not many people like to share. But, I think it’s important for you to know this. And, I think it’s something that a lot of people living with a chronic illness struggle with, so it should be talked about more.
In this post, I am going to share my personal cleaning with a chronic illness tips. We are in the midst of working out a system, and I feel good about how it’s going to work for us. So, I want to share it all with you. I also plan to update this post with new information as I have it, or write other posts with updates, we’ll see. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For more information check out my affiliate disclosure.
For now, though, let’s look at how I plan to combat this issue, and my tips for cleaning with a chronic illness.
Be real with yourself
By this I mean, know your limitations. Have a very clear understanding in your head of what you can and can’t do. Now, I appreciate that this could depend on the day, I get that believe me. However, let’s take you at your best for now. Are there things you physically cannot do? For me, I get back and lung pains when I lift anything too heavy. Certain movements can trigger it, too. So even on my best days doing things like hoovering is something I will find very painful. I also struggle with emptying the dishwasher. It’s the angle of taking things out and putting them away in my kitchen that just triggers it for me. So these are tasks that I immediately know that I cannot do, no matter how I am feeling that day.
Now, of course, my fatigue will come into it as well. This is where I am starting to adopt the spoon theory approach and work out my limitations on a daily basis. So, I need to work out how many spoons different tasks will take. For example, putting the blankets back on the sofa properly makes me feel exhausted afterwards. I’d say it takes a good 2 spoons. Cleaning the hob on the cooker takes just one. This means I often ask hubby to help out with the tasks that take up more spoons. And if I am having a particularly tough day then I may need to be real with myself, and him, and not do much at all.
This is something we haven’t been great at when it comes to my health. We talk about the big stuff, but not really the smaller everyday things. I haven’t been making it clear to him what I can and can’t do. This means he get’s fed up and feels like he’s doing everything. After a full 12 hours out the house that’s not fun for him. We have been working really hard at communicating about the house (and other things) without getting angry with each other. Otherwise, we can really easily end up in a routine where he’ll just say ‘fine, we’ll do it your way’ and I’ll be feeling mad and guilty about my health and everything it touches, as well as frustrated that one of us had to ‘win’. I always like to find a compromise in a situation and it actually feels like neither of us ‘win’ if one of us get’s our way. We’re both so much happier when there’s give and take between us. That’s when we both win.
We have learnt some interesting communication techniques and have tried them a few times. For now, though, just actively deciding we are going to discuss this without getting caught up in an argument and entering our normal snippy routine, is working pretty well. Sometimes you really can just decide to do, or not do something, and it works.
Communicating that you need help with keeping the house clean and tidy is super important. I wrote an article all about why asking for help is a sign of strength that I think you’ll love.
Create a Chore List
This is where my planner addict heart skips a beat. I get to combine my love of planning with this! Whoot! There are so many ways you can create a chore list to help with cleaning with a chronic illness. I know lot’s of people use a bullet journal. You may prefer a printable. My plan is to have a master list of everything that needs doing. Then break that down into daily tasks for the week. I plan to add whether it’s a blue or a pink task (Mike or Cat) and the number of spoons it takes on a regular day. Of course, I can also track how many it takes that day (on a good day a task could take one spoon, and on a bad maybe three or four). This is where bullet journaling becomes super fun!
I’ll be sure to share mine here once it’s complete as it could be some good inspiration for you. If you already have something like this then be sure to share with me in the comments 🙂
Accept done over perfection
*sigh* my house has never been perfect. Even before I had my recurrence and the fatigue. It was something I was constantly struggling with. I’m pretty bad at putting things away, and yet I struggle with rooms not looking ‘just so’. Of course, this is even worse now. We have more stuff, too. So, I am working on accepting done over perfection. What does this look like? I’m not entirely sure haha!
My plan is to not sweat the small stuff. If the room is clean and mostly tidy then that’s OK with me. If there’s still a pile of paperwork on the table, or a few cushions have been knocked on the floor by the dogs then I can deal with that. As long as we can keep on top of the cleaning and most of the tidying I think we’ll be good.
Make it easy
This might sound simple. But it can make such a difference if you make it easy for yourself to do your chores and clean. I’ve recently found a love for this disinfectant and I bought one of these. I now have some on the side in the kitchen ready to use. I also have a bottle in easy reach for mopping the floors. I also love this cleaning solution for wiping down surfaces. I ensure there’s always plenty and some cloths so it’s easy to clean.
I know what I am like. If I can’t find a cloth or cleaning supplies, I won’t do it. It’s just who I am. Maybe you’re the same. Maybe you have some inner fire that drives you to clean no matter what. If you’re one of those people I’m not sure why you’re reading this, though haha! (I mean seriously, who is actually like that?!).
In conclusion, you can see that with a few simple steps you can make cleaning with a chronic illness easier. Unfortunately, this is something we all have to do, so finding a way for it to work for you, and your family is key. Don’t get me wrong, I am counting down the days when I can budget in a cleaner again. But, for now, these are the things I am doing to help us get a cleaner home.
So, what about you? Do you have any top tips for cleaning with a chronic illness? Come along to my Facebook group and join the discussion. Also, please comment below with any ideas and tips you’d love to share 🙂