Do you ever have the desire to work in your home but you don’t have the energy or stamina due to a chronic illness or disability?
Wouldn’t it be great to get ideas on being able to get the decluttering, cleaning and housework done even if you aren’t feeling well or perhaps physically limited?
Sarah Mueller reached out last month in a post asking members to give their best tips on overcoming these obstacles in order to maintain their homes.
Our community responded in a BIG way…
Here are their best tips:
Give yourself grace. Smaller projects. (One corner, not the full room.) Set a timer. – Christine Tremoulet
Lots of rest in between. I went from a highly active person to collapsing my lower body because of spinal issues. Learning to listen to my body and take breaks has been my biggest obstacle.
Also planning your days out minute by minute so you can organize yourself, and again be kind to yourself if you can’t do what you thought you could. Another big one is ask for help when you need it. –Casey Gaudet
Disabled due to knee and ankle, limiting standing, your timed decluttering challenges have been a god send! – Claire Crane
I do a bit every day.. Still exhausts me but I know I’m doing my best – Helen Oxenham
I have to remember and list what I did each day. And I’m always amazed at how much I completed. Be gentle with your progress and kind to yourself. – Louise Grasso
I organize/clean/walk, whatever, until I need to sit. I take mini breaks. Music helps. – Patti Blair
Ask for help if you can. Mostly listen to your body. Don’t let people shame you for not doing more. Forgive yourself. Don’t try and do it all at once. Take it one drawer, shelf, corner at a time. – Angel Snow
Oddly, a simple wooden stool let my old knees “sit” to clean and sort stuff. That’s its purpose in the house. It has no true place, on purpose.
I sit and do dishes, make noodles, clean the pantry. Mine is a little two dollar one bought at auction! It saves me. – Tracy Lynne
I think Sarah’s ten minute plan works for all these limitations as well as for any one overwhelmed to just get started. – Kass Demeter
I clean and declutter daily, if I don’t feel the best, I only do a little. I vacuum daily and dust weekly, mop tile and wood floors weekly. It can be done. You just have to know your limits. – Kiki Burczyk Baran
I schedule things by 3rds. So instead of scheduling things by hour or half hour like I use to – now I do morning, afternoon and evening. No actual times set. – Robyn Michaels
I think it helps to remember the tortoise and the hare… Slow and steady wins the race… If I can only work for five minutes and then have to take a 20 minute break, that’s okay… If I keep those five minutes going throughout the day they add up pretty quickly and it is amazing how much I can get done in five minutes. – Elizabeth Wissbaum
I get fatigued really easily and hurt a lot sometimes. I have to make myself do a little at a time and limit my “sessions” to 3 or 4 a day. If I don’t, I can’t do anything the next day. –Andrea Thornton
Do what you can based on whatever is limiting you. So for me, I put a folding chair in the midst of what I need to do. Or sit at the table to sort, etc.
I use boxes and trash bags to group things. My husband is a great help, so if you need someone to help, don’t be afraid to ask. – Laurie Bailey
I have a stool on wheels in my kitchen, a life and feet saver! – Casey Gaudet
It really isn’t easy. Don’t quit, do a little bit at a time and try to let things go. Sometimes I just push and get something done then have to take it easy the next day.
Some people really need to ask for help, children or grandchildren to do the carrying. It’s a lot of work just to transport the items to a better location or out to the trash.
Also I have been trying to accept the fact that something’s have to be how they are because that is what works for me, my washroom is set up like a master closet so I am not having to drag my clothes up two flights then back down to dress for the day. It’s easiest for me and isn’t hurting anyone. – Maria Ann
For the physical things I try to go to my house so and pick a few items to donate, sell it trash so I am doing a little something and I don’t work very long 5 to 10 minutes at a time and then rest – Ruth Adams
My best recommendation is to not compare yourself with others. And don’t compare your bad days with your good days. It is easy to get discouraged by your limitations.
It helps me to write down my plans and priorities and make adjustments. But having a clear list helps. – Alaskan Melody
I’ve started writing down the things I’ve accomplished in a week. And the regular chores do count. This has helped me realize just how much I really do get done, in spite of the pain & fatigue. – Vickie Huerta
I make a to-do list. It includes small tasks as well as large. It makes me feel accomplished to cross items off. – Ginger Grant
Get help with the physical aspects and plan everything carefully first. Just do one small area of your home at a time and expect mess to creep around while you work to finish that area (the linen closet for instance).
If you think it’ll take half a day set aside a week or two. That’s how I do it and it works for me. The further in to decluttering I got the less time it takes because there’s less mess everywhere else and I’ve developed a style now so it’s easier to feel comfortable with my decisions. – Magnolia Gee
I’m disabled and have trouble walking. I have a rolling office chair that I sit in to cook, do dishes… I even roll and sweep. – Amy Christensen
I’ve been dealing with a spouse that needs a taxi driver. During those times of sitting and wait in the car, I’ve cleaned out my purse, cleaned up the car, brought notepad to make notes, plan my cleaning when I got home. Make necessary phone calls, rested.
It’s taken me a bit to get my mind more organized to have things ready to take. No the house isn’t clean yet, but I’m still trying. Inch by inch its a cinch, yard by yard, very hard. – Nanny Jeannie
My best experience it’s a 10 minutes per hour per room it will do great.. do you think it’s not a lot but does make a different… – Brenda A Hardt Cureses
My therapist suggested a gratitude/accomplishment journal. So at the end of every day, you write down things you accomplished over the course of the day, no matter how small, and also things you are grateful for. I was surprised at how much I actually do get done, because all I had focused on was everything that was left to do. – Chrissy Wheeler
Keeping a list of small jobs I want to get done (breaking things like a room of work down into things like the desk drawer, letters a-h in a file drawer etc). – Sandy Brandes
Keep moving, there are even things to do while sitting. Clean out drawers. Gather things in a box and sit and go through it. I always kept things I need to read where I would sit to take a break. You can do it…….not easy but you will get there. – Cheryl Gromoll
I started following this page in hopes of getting some help getting so I feel comfortable in my own home again. The 20 minute timer is a lot of help. – LindaLee Furstenwerth
Grabbers are a Godsend! I use them because I’m short. They came in handy when I blew out each knee, had back/disc issues, after surgery, & when I was pregnant! Great for picking up stuff off the floor or when something falls behind a cabinet, or for under furniture.
Standing dust pan saves the back! Magic eraser mop, Swiffer, & Clorox scrubber w telescoping handle for walls, ceilings, bathroom tile, & shower! – Cari L Shaffer
I make sure I take breaks, the timer idea I read in this group has helped so much. My new motto is “I can do anything for 10-20 minutes.” – Marcie Lynette Thompson
Have fibro and chronic pain following shingles (called PHN). I do regular home tasks, and I keep a list of simple projects and big ones. Work 15-30 minutes, rest with a book or puzzles, then do more. I’m collecting stuff I don’t want in small boxes I can carry. I’m putting books in rubber tubs in the basement to rearrange my wall space. – Edie Daley
I have issues with my knees, ankles, and mostly my lower back. I have a wooden folding chair that I sit in to declutter because most of mine is accessible that way. I just move my chair around the room I’m working in as I get deeper into the room. – Denise Ginn
Little wins as often as you’re able to and something that is highly visible to you when you’re in that room and you can see the improvement that you have made. – Mandy Robertson-Mercado
Make every trip count. Whether it’s to the bank, the kitchen, or downstairs to the laundry never travel with empty hands or trunk. You could be saving yourself a trip later. – Sharon Coates
I have learned to work shorter, take breaks, I can do to separate projects if I get frustrated with one I can go break to the other one or continue with it. Not getting frustrated or disappointed I didn’t get enough done makes a difference. As long as I am doing something.
While my disabilities are nowhere near others have, I am blessed to be able to be here, learn new and different ways to do things. – Glory Mahaffey
My best tip to myself is to work a small section then rest. I never set a timer since that causes stress for me. Too mush pressure which tightens my muscles. Slow and easy wins the race. – Heidi Francisco Hanz
As a single mom when my daughter was young, I networked… a lot! I set up rotating group play dates. Having to be “on” when it was my day was fueled by the joy of seeing the children interact and knowing the next play date would be a great break for me. – Darci Hemleb Thompson
If I have to go out, I make sure I’ve gotten my household chores done because I’m probably going to be out of commission the rest of the day. – Vanessa Penner
Eliminate the number of things I have to do in my house by decluttering so I don’t have to sort, purge, clean, dust, organize, put away etc. anymore things than I absolutely need. – Toni Bond
I have Lyme which affects my energy the most. Number 1: recruit help as much as possible. Number 2: When you’re in a health crisis there might not be too much you can do, so just focus on what you can do and let go of the rest. Number 3: When you’re able to do more, try and hit the stuff that will make the most impact and have the most lasting effect. – Jana Kroesbergen
Envision what you want. Mine was a house that could be easily cleaned. That meant clear floors so that I wasn’t wasting spoons cleaning up the crap strewn about the house. Declutter. As much as can be done on the days that one is capable.
Always, always begin with maintaining the decluttered spaces before moving on to a new area. Visible spaces first. Seriously, entire house, visible spaces completed first. Declutter unseen spaces: drawers, closets, cabinets. Only doing as much as can be completed that day.
Some days it is possible to tackle a closet. Other days it is only a drawer. If it is impossible to do more than get out of bed, that’s just fine too. – Sharon Wagoner
I have fibro and so there are days I can’t do anything… plus anxiety.. so I just do small sections.. break it all up into smaller sections.. or set a timer for 15 min at a time and do what I can then walk away and come back after 30 min to an hour. – Missy Walters
Want more awesome tips?
Consider joining our membership community, Organize My Home, to take control of the organizing and decluttering of your home with support from other awesome members.