living our best life possible – organization

blank composition desk display

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Chronic illnesses tend to have a dreaded side affect of memory issues which can be  extremely frustrating.

Through the years, I have experimented with different approaches towards keeping myself organized and on track.  The ways have changed as the kids have grown,  but I have found that now they are in their busy stage of life, I must keep a very detailed  schedule.

At this time,  I use my cell phone and a wall calendar to keep track of daily appointments, celebrations, work schedules, really anywhere I need to be and when.  Then, I write out my daily to-do list on an index card so I can carry it with me throughout the day (if I don’t forget it, that is 🙂 )

Which leads me to this week’s questions, How do you keep yourself organized?

Please take a moment to share!  I deeply appreciate all of you who take the time to leave information in the comment section.  I have learned a lot from all of you and I am sure others have too!  Thank you.

 

 

~ wendi is the author of three books and can be seen here.

In my kitchen with chronic illness.

macro photography of a stainless steel faucet

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When you are ill, you still need to eat.  Nourishing our bodies with real food is one important way to stay as healthy as we can.  For me, meal prep, well actually all kitchen activities are exhausting.  From food gathering to kitchen clean-up, it all wears me out and makes me want/need to take a nap.

There have been times when I wanted quick fixes in the kitchen.  Overwhelmed with life,  dealing with chronic illnesses, being a wife, a mother, and all of the work that entails, I physically couldn’t do it all and something had to give.  Well, I gave in to the wrong things.  I should have let the laundry go, let the cleaning go……..it was going to get messy again in about 13 minutes anyway.  Nope, I picked the worse thing to let go…………food.  I tried hitting the easy button.  I did my best to still eat a healthy diet in comparison to the SAD (standard American diet) most people were consuming but I short changed my health by taking too many short cuts in the kitchen.  In my opinion, when you are chronically ill food MUST be a high priority, right after your spiritual life.

In the kitchen I am slow, it physically hurts to bend down, and at times it hurts to carry a pot or a frying pan.  So I have tried to work around my physical limitations and make things easier for me, even though it makes my kitchen look crowded and not aesthetically pleasing. I had to give up having things look pretty and organized so the kitchen could be more functional for me.

Here are a few things I did to make the kitchen more functional.

1  –  I got rid of things that I didn’t use.  It is physically exhausting for me to be searching for things that I need.  De-cluttering my kitchen made space for all of the items I use on a regular basis in easy to find uncrowded places.

2  –  I keep all of the pots and pans that I regularly use on top of the stove.  No bending down wasting more precious energy.

3  –  Kitchen appliances that I or my family uses on a regular basis are kept on the counter at all times, this includes a microwave, crock pot, and a blender.

4  –  Everything else that I use on a regular basis is within an easy reach.  Nothing is kept on a high shelf, or a in a low, out-of-the-way cabinet making it a circus performance to get to it.

I know these things sound so simple and you are probably doing all the same things too.  But I have found through my YEARS and years of dealing with chronic illness, you need to be kind to yourself and set up your home in a way that works best for you no matter how it looks to an outsider.  This is true whether or not you are married, have children, or are a single person.  It is harder to do when you have to think about the needs of others in your household, but it is vitally important that you do what needs to be done to help you.  So, if you need a twin bed in the family room because you need to lie down while hanging out with the family, who cares how it looks!  You need a big bulletin board in the dining room to remind you to do certain tasks, put it there!  Those that love you get it………it took me way too long to figure this out.

So……back to the kitchen.  Set up your kitchen in a way that makes food preparation as easy as possible.  Make it functional, whether it looks “pretty” or not.  A functional kitchen makes a healthier you.

How do you make your kitchen more functional?

Until next time, YOU are a superhero and healthy food is your fuel!

bedside table

bed bedroom blanket clean

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You are probably thinking, why on Earth would you write about a bedside table?  Well, it came to me yesterday as I was tidying up my side of the bedroom and trying to fit all my “necessities” on the little table next to my side of the bed.  It was at that moment I realized that a functional bedside table is a necessity for everyone with CI.  How could I not have thought about this before?  My goodness, I have always had trouble trying to fit everything onto that tiny surface.

I know everyone with CI will have a different list of what is important for him/her to have next to the bed, but I have always had a pretty consistent list of must haves:  journals, a devotional, a lamp, lotion, lip balm, tissues, bottle of water, a supplement or three, my current read and note cards and pens for making lists/taking notes/writing a card to a friend/family member.  And all of that stuff takes up a lot of space.

There is little that is more frustrating than feeling terrible and needing something from the table, and as you reach for it, it and maybe several other things fall to the floor because the table is so crowded with guests.  As for me, it usually stays there with the hopes that it really wasn’t that important.

At the moment my table is just that, a small plant stand.  It is a nice one, solid wood, Amish-made, sturdy, but oh my goodness, it is small and only has the one surface.  So, I have made it my mission to find something else within the house to use as a gathering place for my goodies.  My dream is to purchase something out of the IKEA catalog but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, but hey, those of us with CI are all very good at making due.  We live a make due life day-in and day-out.

So, here are to things that make our lives just a bit easier, no matter how insignificant it may seem to others.

 

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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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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…..