Spring cleaning, bring it on?

brown wooden floor

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Welcome to spring!  The time of year here in the mid-west when you are praying you feel well enough to go outside and enjoy sunny skies and warmish days.  It is also the time when you want to rid your home of that closed-up feeling of winter and bring in the spring with the thoughts of fresh beginnings and spring cleaning.  But, how in the world can those of us with CI clean our home without making ourselves more ill?

I have written several posts on de-cluttering as I am a huge believer that a de-cluttered home is much easier to clean (less stuff = less cleaning).  So, if you haven’t de-cluttered your home, maybe that would be a good place to start.  If your home is fairly clutter free then spring cleaning it is.

So how can we clean and still keep ourselves on a somewhat even keel?  That is a very good question and the answers will vary for each of us.  Here are a few things that have worked for me over the years:

Don’t clean on days that you are not feeling decent, it only makes the days that follow worse.

Stop cleaning BEFORE you are exhausted.

Keep hydrated.

Make sure you plan your main meal in the morning before you begin cleaning, you’ll be too tired in the evening to cook.

Start in one room and work in that room only until it is completed.

Enlist help of others in the family, it is their mess too.

Give each child (age appropriate) a list of cleaning jobs you expect completed in his/her room such as changing all bedding, going through all clothing and getting rid of items that don’t fit, washing inside windows, going through all toys and books putting away what they want to keep, dust all furniture, vacuuming, and cleaning closets.

Soak toilets, and fill bathtubs and sinks with water and add cleaner.  Let it sit for a while to make cleaning easier.

Carry a bucket of all necessary cleaning supplies with you to each room so you don’t  waste precious energy on searching for items.

Make sure you have enough trash bags before you start.

Do not worry if it takes a week or more to clean a room, it will get done.  Instead, praise yourself for all your hard work!

If a task is too difficult for you to do and you have no help, skip it.  Maybe next time!

Organize as you clean.  It will take longer to clean but it will make cleaning the next time much easier.

Make sure everything has a place before moving on to the next room.  If an item doesn’t have a specific place, find one or get rid of it.

Don’t throw the entire room’s dirty clothing, bedding, and window coverings into the laundry room at once.  This will clog up your laundry room.  Instead, do one load at a time.  If you get tired, you won’t have to step over piles of laundry until you can get to it.

Wear a mask so you don’t breath in the dust and dirt as you are cleaning.

If you are working with cleaners that are not 100% natural, make sure you have ventilation,  and you wear gloves and a mask.

Clean each room until you are satisfied, no need to clean to some else’s standards.

Have a tub to place items in that don’t belong in that room.

If your kids are very little, maybe they can visit grandparents.

I always clean the easiest room first, it gives me motivation to keep going.  (the hardest room makes me too tired to continue with the rest of the house)

 

So…………do you participate in a spring cleaning ritual?  If so, do you have any energy saving tips?

…………..Until next time, YOU are a superhero, no matter how clean your house is!

 

 

 

 

 

Laundry, one load at a time…..

photo of wit and yellow tops

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Chores …….we all have to do them and there never seems to be an end to what should be done.  To top it off, they are really not all that much fun to do.   Being endless, chores can become overwhelming for those of us with CI, resulting in depression and anxiety.  We get depressed looking at the endless chores left undone because we are too ill or lack the physical energy it takes to complete them.  Tasks get pushed further and further down on “the list” which creates anxiety with all that is left to do.

So, how to tackle the chores that are the musts:  laundry, dishes, groceries and meal preparation, and make them as easy as possible?  I am by no means an expert at home management, but I have had a lot of experience living with CI and having a home to take care of.  It is a ton of work and I made a lot of mistakes along the way.  With every mistake, I searched for ways that would make each chore one I could physically manage.

So this post will touch briefly on laundry.  No matter how many times we are able to wear those not-so-dirty pjs (or fill-in the blank), they will eventually need to be washed.  If you have other people in your household, their clothing and bedding will need to be washed too, adding to the chore load.  I have tried various ways to tackle the endless mounds of laundry;  everybody has a different laundry day………..a BIG nope!  Even when the kiddos were old enough to do their own laundry, if I didn’t feel well enough to supervise, things didn’t proceed as it should.  Laundry got backed up and the room became way too crowded for my liking.

Then I went to doing all the laundry in one day.  Neither me nor the dryer could keep up.  I learned quickly, if I felt well enough to do laundry for 10 hours……….I sure as hell didn’t want to spend my day doing that!

Now, I have no system other than I try to do one load of laundry a day.  That is it.  Everyone is responsible for telling me when they need to do laundry and IF the washer is open, the answer is yes.  I no longer allow loads of dirty laundry to sit in the laundry room.  The room is small and the passage to and from the garage so the clothing can be a tripping hazard not to mention a source of anxiety to be looking at room full of dirty clothes.

So, one load a day from washing to hanging up (I hang up most of our laundry to save it from wear and tear of the dryer and have our clothing last longer) but what comes out of the dryer is folded and then put away by the owners.  If I am having a decent day, I may be able to do two!

If laundry is your responsibility, how do you handle the loads?

……………….Until next time, you are a superhero!

favorite de-cluttering & cleaning book

books in black wooden book shelf

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I have read many, many books on decluttering.  For a while, I would say it almost became a hobby of mine to search out and find books on the topic.  I would search shelf after shelf in used books stores, Goodwill stores, libraries, and occasionally websites of full-price retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Despite the numerous books that I have read, many fell very short in their benefits.  In fact, many books I read were down right disappointing.  In my very humble opinion, there was one book that stood out among the rest for readability, practicality, and relatability.

My all-time favorite decluttering book is, Clutter’s Last Stand by Don Aslett.  This book is the only decluttering book that kept me interested from beginning to the end, I didn’t want to put it down.  Mr. Aslett drew me in with his humor and casual writing style, putting me at ease with the fact that I did not have my clutter under control.  If you would be interested in checking it out, you should be able to get it through your local library in order to save money.  If your local library does not carry it, many libraries will try to find a book for you through an inter-library loan at no cost to you.  Otherwise, you may be able to find it at a used bookstore.

Until next time……happy reading.

 

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Prep work before de-cluttering

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Big projects such as decluttering take a huge amount of time, physical and emotional energy.  Dealing with CI while taking on large projects requires some prep work.  In addition to  gathering the necessary supplies (discussed in a previous post) it is also important to plan ahead for meals.

When you are worn out after a long day,  the last thing you want to do is to head to the kitchen (especially if you have been working in it) to prepare a meal.  Feeling exhausted, it is easy to go for something fast and convenient and probably unhealthy.  This is when meal prepping  before you start your day comes to the rescue.  By gathering ingredients and putting them into your crock pot or pulling a home cooked pre-made meal out of the freezer to thaw will be extremely beneficial at the end of your long day.  It is also important that you have healthy snacks such as cut fruit and/or veggies in the fridge plus a portable drink to be with you during your cleaning sessions (most of us with CI need to stay hydrated!).

Setting a timer to remind yourself to take your medicine and/or supplements on time may also be a good idea.  If you are like me, you tend to get caught up in the work and you lose track of time.

Also, don’t forget to take breaks as needed, no need to power through.  We all know that we will pay dearly for not listening to our bodies.  The most important thing to remember about decluttering is that you are creating a better living environment for you (and your family).  So make sure you take the best care of yourself so you can accomplish all that you are able.

Until next time, don’t forget that YOU are a superhero!  Who else could do what you do?

 

 

The cleaning begins.

bloom blossom cleaning dandelion

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Congratulations!  You have decided to declutter your home and you have chosen a small area in which to begin your journey.  Now let the games begin, the game where YOU get to decide what stays and what goes.  I know, this is easier said than done, so not only is it important for you to start in a small area but I also believe it is just as important to choose an area in which you have little emotional connection to “the stuff.”  For me, this would be our work area that includes a desk, some drawers and shelves.  Because I am not emotionally attached to any of the items my choices are rather simple, I either need to keep it, pay it, file it, recycle it or throw it away.

Working in areas where you have little or no emotional connections with the items allows decisions to be made quicker and easier resulting in a smooth and gentle process.  Being able to work quickly and efficiently gets the cleaning juices flowing giving you the desire to move on and continue the beautiful work that  you have started.

………………until next time.

You are a superhero!

 

a home adventure begins…

pathway in between of green leaf trees photo

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Now that you have decided to declutter your home, what is the first step you should take?  Well, that is a very good question.  From my many past mistakes, I can tell you that trying to work on the entire house at one time is not a very good idea.  You end up with the whole house torn apart, nothing gets completely done – or partially done for that matter – and due to your CI you can’t finish the project for weeks/months and now you have created a bigger mess than when you started.  This leads to more feelings of  frustration, disappointment, guilt and overwhelming sense of failure and who the heck needs that!  So, the first thing you need to do is to prepare yourself for the project.

Before you start make sure you gather the necessary supplies.  There is nothing more frustrating than to pump yourself up to begin a project only to find out you don’t have everything you need to actually start.  Here is my list of things I think you will need:  trash bags – not the huge 40 gallon contractor size bags as they will become way too heavy to lift.  So unless you have dedicated help from start to finish, even to the point of the trash being taken to the road or dumpster, go with 13 gallon trash bags or smaller.  Cardboard boxes, again smaller is better, you will need to be able to lift the box and it’s contents and dark colored markers to label the boxes.  Also gather paper towels or rags, a multi-purpose natural cleaner , gloves and a mask.  I always wear a mask when cleaning and vacuuming so I don’t inhale any dust particles.   All of the items I listed can be purchased at a Dollar Tree (at least at my local store) except for a natural cleaner, and boxes can be found in a Starbucks or grocery store dumpster.  Now label your boxes:  belongs in another room, donate, give away (to a specific person), consignment shop (if needed) and sell.  I would strongly caution you against making a box (boxes) for selling unless you have someone who is going to do it for you or at least help.  Selling takes a lot of time and energy and you don’t want boxes of unwanted stuff sitting around creating more clutter or find its way back into the general population.  Last but not least, a pen and paper to write down all that you are donating for tax purposes.  I have also used my phone to take pictures of donated items.

Now pick a week you hope to start, for example, the first week of April.  Why pick a week and not a specific date…….well, we all know that CI is unpredictable and again, you want to make it flexible to work around your needs and set you up for a win.  No need for giving yourself the extra pressure of picking a specific date and then waking up feeling blah.  If you feel poorly one day, don’t begin the project………you have a whole week to get it started.  Starting when you are having a bad day  will only give you bad results.

If a start week is too rigid for your circumstances, maybe choose a month you are going to begin to clean,  just don’t put it off too long.  If you keep pushing the dates out, it could mean that you are not really wanting to declutter your home.   But, I have found that watching a few episodes of Hoarders Buried Alive or a similar program is all I need to increase my motivation.

Now that you have gathered the necessary supplies, you need to set yourself up for a win and experience a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment for a job well done.  In order to do this, my first suggestion is to go small.  Make sure you pick an area within a room, like a closet or side of a closet if it is a walk-in, a desk, a bookshelf or one cabinet and work only in this designated spot until it is completely finished.  If you are like me, staying focused on this one area will be a challenge as you will discover things that need to go elsewhere…………don’t move on.  Stay on task.  Having the right supplies on hand will help with this.

Until next time…..