The lists

Anyone who manages a home whilst battling chronic pain, illness and disability will know that there is a sacrificial element: we are the most selfless and courageous of women. We sacrifice our comfort and exert ourselves beyond limit for those we love.

In an effort to keep my home well in spite of chronic illness and pain, I follow some lists that a friend, Sylvia Britton of The Christian HomeKeeper devised.  Each day I follow the lists and integrate Fly Ladys' zones and missions as my energy allows. It works for me and may work for you.. keeping in mind that your physical limitations and home making requirements will vary from mine. So streamline to suit your self.

Here are the Lists.

Homemaking is different for women with chronic pain and fatigue. Every day they must deal with the symptoms of their illness and every day they must find a way to get the work done without overtaxing their bodies and making themselves, and their homekeeping concerns, worse.
These ideas are, for the most part, derived from my reading about Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Pain and personal experience with being ill for long periods of time.

I think the main thing to keep in mind if you have a chronic illness is that you must schedule time for rest as well as work. As with all busy women, women with chronic illness tend to push themselves. The woman with chronic pain however can end up in an unorganized, exhausted slump that takes major effort and rest to climb out of.

So, the things that women with chronic illness must look at in organizing and keeping their homes are:

* Major Decluttering is essential to creating a home that works for you if you have chronic pain or other illness.
* Get help when it is needed. There comes a time in life when we ALL begin to realize we cannot do all the things we used to do. More so for the chronically ill. Health, changes. We have to change our methods and lifestyles to match the changes in our health.
* Sitting down with your family and talking about your illness and how it effects your ability to keep the house. Talk about team work and work out ways to share the work load.
* Scheduling days of Rest Days and Work Days.
* Small increments of work every work day.
* Homekeeping and Rest Days Lists. Dealing With Major Life Changes.

We start with Major Decluttering:
This is something that most women with chronic illness are not able to do by themselves. I've thought about this and thought about it. I don't see any way to keep a home clean, organized, hygienic and easy to manage if it is not decluttered and organized.

Women with chronic illness are not always able to do this kind of major cleaning. But there are some options.
The first option is to work on it a little at a time. This can be done in several ways. The every day running of the household can to be handed over to other family members. Family members can be asked to make their own meals and take care of laundry. Daily cleaning routines can be delegated.

The second option is for the homekeeper to plan the Decluttering and have family members (or church family!) to carry out the actual Decluttering. These two options can be frustrating and seem to never end if the whole family is not working together toward the end result.

The final option is to hire someone to come help you with Decluttering. My suggestion is to plan out exactly what you want done and then hire someone to come and do exactly what you direct them to do for only a short period of time each day until the work is complete.

There are ideas and instructions for Decluttering all over the internet. Finding out what to do is not nearly so difficult as actually getting it done. But this is your first line of action: Get that house into shape. Think of an individual who is blind. That person cannot function in a house where nothing has a specific place. A blind person needs order and a distinct lack of "things" sitting around the house. This is what you need too if you are chronically ill, just for different reasons.

Sitting Down With Your Family
As I have been reading and talking to people in my life who have disabilities or who struggle with chronic fatigue, this is one of the topics that seems to have the most emotion surrounding it. The reasons are many.

Some women will not admit to others or themselves that they need help.
Some women know they need help but will not ask.
Some women know and will ask but cannot find help.
Some women cannot afford to pay for help.
Some women ask for help but it makes them feel so badly that they don't ask again.
There are various other reasons why this is an emotional topic.

So, I do realize that there are many, many reasons why women with a disability just don't ask for help, even reasons I have not mentioned here. But I think they must ask and keep on asking til they find help, in order to have a good quality of life. If a woman puts off asking her family or her church family for help when she needs it, there will only come a day when the difficulties progress and she absolutely HAS to have someone come in immediately to work in her home. You can use your imagination, but you probably know someone or have heard of someone who has put off getting help and her home is almost unmanageable.

Get help if you need it. If you can afford to pay someone once or twice a week, go through an agency and hire someone. If not, then ask Church family or your own family to sit down with you and talk about your needs and ask for help.

If you are going to be going through Decluttering or Packing to move, you need someone to do the lifting, moving, packing and leg work. You can do the brain work til you are in need of a rest. Be sure you only work for short periods of time. Stop before you are exhausted.

Talking to your family:

Families are all different and it wouldn't do a bit of good for me to tell you how to address your own family about your disability. But, using years of mentoring and counseling women as a pattern and guide, I can offer some suggestions before you start:

* Pray. Not just right before you talk, but for a long time before you talk to your family. Ask God to soften hearts, direct minds, give you strength and courage and help the relationships to grow stronger through this event.
* Stay calm. Don't get upset or overexcited when you talk, especially if they refuse to help you or if they tell you they will and don't show up to help. Stay calm, know that the Lord is your strength and help.
* Have a plan written down. Its your home, you are in charge. Know what you need and what you want from others. Write it down and make sure everyone understands it. You can make changes, take advice, but if you don't want to change something important, think about it overnight before making the change.
As part of your written plan you should include ample time to complete the task, (it could take weeks), and supplies needed for short term projects.
* Be the manager. You are the manager of this venture, so you are in charge of managing people to get the job done. That means you may need to make phone calls to firm up (remind) appointments and give people lists of things to bring to help, like garbage bags, etc. Remember to be kind and think of the needs of others. Its easy to get that single-minded determination going and forget that you're managing humans!
* Make sure everyone realizes that you can only work for short periods of time before resting. They can continue if you allow, but you need to rest.

Before we start the lists, I want to make sure that everyone who thinks they might want to use these lists realizes that these are patterns and suggestions. You will have to fill in the blank, so to speak, with your own household requirements to make them work. You can use as many of my suggestions as you like, but leave out the ones that you can't use. Then this will truly be a tool to assist you and not a list of things you have to do to be a good housekeeper!I am using my friend Glenys' list of things she needs done each day for examples. You use your own duties and make your own lists.

First List

Make a list of what absolutely has to be done daily. For Glenys it is….

beds clean
toilets and bathrooms clean
dishes and kitchen area clean
clothes clean

What You Will Need
A Bottle of alcohol or spray on cleaner
Hot soapy water and cleaning rags
Broom or vacuum

Mondays' List

Get up and get dressed, make your bed, get breakfast
Run a sink of hot soapy water, but not too full. You will add to this throughout the day and put dirty dishes in it through the day.
Make a bowl of hot soapy cleaning water and sit it on the counter, get yourself a cleaning rag.
Rest

Bring clothes to laundry room
Start a load
Rinse and put breakfast dishes into soak.

Rest

Change out laundry, start another load, etc.
Sit down to fold clothes, stack them in your laundry basket.

Wipe down countertops and appliances if needed
Prepare lunch
Put lunch dishes in to soak

Rest. Plan your weekly menu.

Pour cleaner into the commode.
Run a sink of hot water in the bathroom and add cleaner to soak.
Apply your cleaner to the tub and allow to soak.

Rest. Make your grocery list.

Rinse out the commode, sink and tub if needed. Sweep the floor in the bathroom.

The dishes will need little more than a hot rinse at this point. Rinse them off and stack to dry or put them in your dishwasher to run. The hot soapy water cleans them while they soak and the less you have to move them around, the less tired you will be while fixing supper.

Start supper. If you are finding that this is a difficult day, use paper plates and cups. If you don't use paper, then just rinse the dishes and put them into soak, or have a family member do it after the meal.

Wipe down the counters as you cook. Clean the stove as you go, rag in one hand, spoon in the other
If you are not using paper, rinse and soak the supper dishes. You can rinse them tomorrow morning. You can put away dry dishes tomorrow too.

Tuesdays' List

Get up and take care of yourself. Make your bed. Take laundry to the laundry room. Start that sink of hot soapy water. Get breakfast and put the breakfast dishes in to soak.

Rest and relax.

Start a load of laundry. Remember the basket of clothes from yesterday? Add to it today as you wash, dry and fold the laundry. If you make a trip to the bedrooms or other rooms the laundry goes in, take some with you. If not, then let it sit folded in that basket until you make the trip to those rooms! If someone needs something, its there nicely folded in the basket.

Make your bowl of cleaning water.

Rest - whether you think you need it or not.

Sweep the kitchen.

Rest.

Mop the bathroom.

Rest and then prepare lunch. Put the dishes in to soak. Wipe down the kitchen faucets and counters with your cleaning water or alcohol. Wipe down the bathroom faucets sinks.

Now sit and read or rest.

Start supper. After supper do the same thing you did last night.

Wednesdays' List

This is laundry day for the linens, so instead of making your bed, take the sheets off. Take care of yourself, take the sheets to the laundry and make breakfast. Always take any laundry from the bedroom and bathroom to the laundry room in the mornings.

Make your sink of hot water and your cleaning water. Put the breakfast dishes in to soak.
Start laundry.

Rest

Run the vacuum or sweep an area of the house.

Rest, read , relax.

Fold laundry. Take some to put away if you are going to the areas of the house where the laundry goes. Otherwise, leave it in the baskets.

Rest

Put sheets on the bed.

Rest

Serve Supper, rinse dishes and let them soak. Remember what I said about everyone taking their own plates to the sink. If you clean as you go, there will be few pots and pans waiting for you at the end of the meal. If you do find that you have pots and pans to scrub, put them into soak over night and tackle them in the morning when you are running your new sink of hot soapy water.

Crockpot recipes are less taxing on your mind and your body, so find some your family likes and use them frequently.

Thursdays' List

Rest Day

The only thing done today is to cook and put dishes in to soak.

Fridays' List

Get up and take care of yourself. Make your bed, take laundry to laundry room.

Start the sink of hot soapy water, your cleaning water and start one load of laundry if needed.
Get breakfast, put dishes in to soak.

Rest and read

Wipe down the kitchen. Sweep the kitchen.

Rest and fold clothes.

When you head toward the bathroom, take cleaning rags with you. Clean the sinks, commode and take out the trash.

Rest.

Do another load of laundry now or iron a couple of shirts.

Get lunch and then put the dishes in to soak.

While you are resting, read and relax, or fold clothes if you have the energy.

Start Supper. Put supper dishes in to soak.


Saturdays' List

Saturday is reserved mainly for getting ready to go worship on Sunday. If you go to church on some other day than Sunday, just change around the order of your days and use another day as your worship preparation day.

Get yourself up and ready for the day, make bed, take laundry to laundry room, run hot soapy water in sink, make bowl of hot soapy water to clean with. Get breakfast and then put dishes in to soak.

Rest.

Start a load of laundry. Take some of your laundry from the week and put it away. Once you get to your room, choose what you will wear to church, get it out and prepared. Prepare other family member's clothing throughout the day. Remember to take as few steps as possible, multi-task and take things with you from room to room.

Sweep or vacuum one area of the house.

Rest.

Straighten up one area of the house.

Sit down to fold clothes.

Prepare lunch, put dishes in to soak.

Rest and plan what your steps in getting Sunday dinner ready will be.

Pick up bathroom, wipe down sinks, commode and counter tops. Shake rug. Sweep.

Rest.

Start supper. While supper is cooking, take care of any leftover dishes in the sink or on the countertop.
Put supper dishes in to soak.

Before bed tonight, if you have energy, rinse off the dishes and put them away. If not, leave them til tomorrow.

Sundays' List

When you get up this morning, get yourself ready for church and then have your breakfast. Put dishes into soak and then do what you can for Sunday Dinner.
When you get back from church, set out dinner and enlist help from others. If you plan simple Sunday fare, you will be less frustrated.
Put the dishes in to soak and enlist the help of those who enjoyed your meal to do dishes or to dry and put them away.
You REST. Don't worry with the dishes right now, they're not going anywhere.

Later in the day you can rinse the dishes off and put them away.

Rest.

Read, rest and relax, visit with family and enjoy the day.

Ideas

Get a set of cleaning supplies for all bathrooms, upstairs rooms and downstairs kitchen.

When I say "Make your bed…." That doesn't mean make that thing with hospital corners. Just pull up the sheets, pull the comforter up over the sheets and let it go. If that isn't satisfactory for you, you will have to find the energy to make it correctly.

Place a basket at the foot of the stairs and fill it during the day with items that go upstairs, Don't climb the stairs more than you have to, but when you go…. take that basket with you. Don't over fill it.

Place another basket in the living room or dining room. When you find something that belongs somewhere else in the house in that room…. put it in the basket. Then later in the week, ask someone in the family to empty the basket into the correct rooms.

Take stuff with you when you go. Anytime you go to the kitchen for example, you can take dishtowels or napkins. When you are headed to the bathroom, take some towels or wash cloths with you and when you are going to your room, take along some clothes that are stored there or along the way.

The less steps the better. So multi-task by taking things to rooms that you are going to anyway. This will take some time to get used to doing, but it will save you so much wear and tear on your legs and knees!

Get in the habit of bringing all dirty laundry with you from the bedroom and bathroom when you go to the kitchen every morning. Put it in the laundry room so you don't have to walk back that way to do laundry.

Don't stress about leaving dishes in the sink to soak. Get in the habit of letting them soak instead of wrestling with them to wash them after every meal. Dishes soaked in hot soapy water practically wash themselves and if you want to you can add 1 tsp bleach to the soaking water to disinfect them. This is handy if someone is ill in the house. Allow disinfected dishes to air dry.

Take your shower or bath when you it helps you most. Some people get really tired after a shower. If you do, then you should wait til evening to shower. If it energizes you, then take it first thing in the morning. Or maybe you need a burst of energy in the afternoon, that shower might help you more if you take it then.

Don't follow a set list if you don't want to. If you can feel a good day or a bad day coming on when you get up, schedule your day at that time. For example, you get up feeling low, so you choose the Rest Day for that day no matter if its Monday or Thursday. Or you get up and feel pretty good, you can choose to do the day I have listed as Monday. You can also alter the lists by combining two or more days and only using the bare essentials in the lists

If you are in the bathroom, make it a habit of looking around and seeing if something really needs to be done. Have your cleaning supplies ready so you can swish the toilet or spray cleaner on the tub faucets to soak. Lists © 2007 Sylvia Britton

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Thank you for visiting with me today. I love to hear from you. I may not always be able to reply right away, but I will respond to every comment you leave. Blessings and comfort, Glenys