Starting 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 yourself.

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.

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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