Good housekeeping for the very tired, overstretched and poorly(117 Posts)
Any interest in a tips and support thread? I have chronic fatigue syndrome so have little energy, can't afford a cleaner, but nicer home environment would be a real life if I could achieve it :-)
I don't really have the energy for a full-on flylady thing, and the tone does annoy me a bit, but I am trying to incorporate the principle of little efforts, consistently applied, add up and make a difference, although often I just can't.
I so know how you feel - I also have cfs so know how doing the smallest thing can wipe you out.
I've found pacing really useful for managing my energy and enabling me to get stuff done without it impacting too much on my health. You have to be strict with yourself though which is what I find hard to do especially when you have a good day.
I give myself 10 points per day. Household activities are pointed as follows:
30 mins seated ironing - 2points
Sorting washing /hanging /folding - 2points
Washing kitchen floor - 1point
Washing up after big meal-2points
unpacking dishwasher - 1point
Hoovering - 3points
Light lunch - 1 point
When we everything is pointed up with the rest of the activities (school run 3 points, shower 1 point, 1 hour catch up with friends 3 points, food shop 3 points etc) it helps me not overdo it on one day and then crashing the next day so I've got more consistency in my life.
There are certain things I just can't do - hoovering being one so dh does this. It might not be up to my standards but that's tough I've got to live with it. He is good at cleaning the bathroom though
I split jobs into smaller parts so that I'm not doing too much at an one time. So rather than spending a day doing all the washing I'll just do smaller loads over the course of the week. Other chores I do sitting down such as ironing or chopping vegs for dinner. I also take breaks in between cooking. Dh does the washing up as I can't stand for too long.
I think with cfs you can't be wonder woman - and getting your head round that is half the battle.
Are you still working? I'm currently signed off and its made a massive difference.
My dc are at school so I can do stuff slowly during the day without interruption.
Hope that helps?
I'd like to join in I won't list it all, but basically we have a small home, limited storage, no outdoor space, 2 adults with chronic illnesses, a toddler not yet in childcare, and soon a newborn Add to that a lot of working from home and well, it can get a little crazy!
I've been on the minimalism threads for a while and although the process has been slow, making our home more minimal has made a huge difference to our ability to maintain it. It is so much easier to tidy and clean now as we have less clutter and lower maintenance lives.
This has included making my cleaning approach simpler. Our tenancy agreement says we can only use ceramic hob cleaner, so as not to damage it, so we have a small bottle of that. Some soda crystals and vinegar in stock for maintenance washes on machines, cleaning down plugholes etc. A cheap cream cleaner for stains and steel. And a bottle of concentrated disinfectant, which I dilute and use to clean pretty much everything - I put some diluted in a spray bottle as a daily spray, I use it to clean the floors, work surfaces, bathroom, the lot. Cheap bleach for the toilet. The disinfectant is the key thing, just having one main cleaning product for everything in itself has made things easier to get done. I also have microfibre cloths as they're easy to clean with and can do stuff even with just water if I'm in a rush.
I have an eCloth mop for the floors, so I just spray diluted disinfectant and use that, it's very light and has a huge head so it's quick and easy and far less strenuous than a proper mop and bucket. The head can be thrown in the washing machine.
We have a Henry vacuum, but basically not using an upright is easier for us.
Windows are not a priority for me. The ones in the living area get smeared easily with a toddler and every so often I grab the microfibre cloth and give it a rub. As long as they're not awful and I can see through them then that will do Everyone comments on our nice view so it can't be too bad!
Key thing for us: if we're having a bad day, so what. We'll live. Just take it easy. At the moment the kitchen is a bit disorganised and there are toys everywhere, because I've had to rest for the last 3 days and am only very slowly getting back to moving about, and DH is tired out looking after me, DS and, well, himself! But there's no health hazard, rubbish still goes in the bin, dishes are mostly clean, so there's no point in worrying. The fact is that due to the slow and steady process of being more minimal, despite the lack of attention to the house it's mainly just toys all about and some stuff out in the kitchen, it won't take a lot of effort to put those things back and so things are still fairly clean and tidy.
That was really long Basically I'm in and I'll try to think of more succinct and useful contributions in future
Marking my place, will be back in a bit to add my list of illnesses
I'm in for this, I have no diagnosed illness, but they're still working on it, DH has just been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and is unwell with it.
I need to find a place for everything that is essential and then everything should be easier- in theory!
Yes to everything having a place. Also age appropriate jobs for the kids. Mine know that when they get in they have to get their pack lunches out etc and bags ready for the morning before bed so it's not a mad rush.
Agree with Larry re:when you're having a bad day then you just do what you can to get through it and sod the housework.
Today I've done one load of washing including hanging out and folding. Made Shepherds pie which I had to do in three parts. Morning and afternoon school run. Managed some washing up too - go me
Actually I'm really pleased with everything I've done today as I'm not dead on my feet tonight.
Fingers crossed that I haven't overdone it and I'll be painfree tomorrow.
I have CFS too as well as another condition called POTS, and numerous mental health issues.
I REALLY struggle.
I am trying to declutter because that's having the biggest impact, I can't tidy at all because there is so much crap in the way! But of course it's so frustrating with this illness as I can't just have an epic clear out in a week. Today I managed nearly an hour of chucking stuff out, and it felt great but I HAD to stop despite wanting to continue. Frustrating.
I have actually been flyladying for the last, erm, two days but I'll chill here too if that's ok.
This can be really overwhelming and the feeling of failure is huge but I'm learning to celebrate my achievements and not beat myself up when I don't finish my to do list.
I've recently reconciled myself to the fact that the long to-do list is a curse for me as I feel so rubbish when I can't get anywhere close to half of what I used to be able to do so I've overcome this hurdle by only having one thing to do each day
I've been ill for nearly a year now although only diagnosed 6 months ago. Since I got the diagnosis it made me realise that I wasn't going to get better overnight and I had to adjust my life and expectations accordingly.
Tomorrow I'm going to aim to do a load of washing and start meal planning and shopping list for the next couple of weeks. As well as the school run.
Oh I'm terrible for making crazily long lists!
I'm finally learning to only choose a few bits to attempt each day. Frankly I feel so shit at the moment that anything at all is worthy of
It takes a while to adjust doesn't it?
For me I wanted to carry on thinking I'll just get over it and carry on doing the same as before but it's only really in the last few weeks that I realised I was wasting too much energy on stuff that, in the grand scheme of things, didn't matter and then being too tired to deal with the kids and help them with school work etc and just be with them.
It's bloody hard work adjusting isn't it.
I think we differ there, I was always shit at all things house related I never really learned how to do it, and then when I got ill it snowballed!
I have an example of health related household tasks for me today:
- I tidied up in the kitchen = dumped things in sink (no dish washing), rubbish in bin (no taking bins out), wiped surfaces (my dilute spray and kitchen roll, so could just chuck the tissues when done), put things back in cupboards and drawers (which I organised some time back with some baskets for plastics and some cupboard goods, crockery is in a drawer with minimal stacking, and cleared out anything that doesn't get used, so it's a lot easier and quicker to take things out and put them back).
- cleared toys = big basket and a box, sat on the floor throwing them in, box is temporary but will be replacing with something similarly open/tub-like.
- organised a cupboard = sat on floor, pulled everything out, organised items sitting down and threw rubbish into a carrier bag (no taking bins out).
- smaller bins = bathroom and bedroom, emptied into a small bag (no taking bins out).
There's a bin theme here Taking the bins out involves 2 flights of stairs here and 2 locked doors, so not super simple; DH took them all out however so we're not sitting with bags of rubbish everywhere.
We need to vacuum ideally in the living area, but neither of us will be doing that until tomorrow. I've reached my limit for the day and DH is pretty tired. It's liveable for now. I also have a lot of clean laundry to put away but that's not happening immediately either. Frankly I think it's pretty awesome that all of the clothes hanging about are clean!
Overall the place looks fine (apart from a bit of a crumby carpet!), and I was able to do that all moving slowly or sitting down over the course of about half an hour. When I'm well it's more like 10 minutes, even better.
This is the perfect thread for me thanks for starting. I have RA which is mainly under control with meds but I get extremely tired & if I physically overdo it my hands & wrists will hurt and swell up. I've had this for 7 years and have 2 dc's aged 7 & 2.5. I work half days every day and then have the afternoons with them.
I find every day pretty hard keeping up with daily life. I am tired when I wake up but have to rush to get to work. I often stay at work longer than meant to to finish things so then rush to the childminder sometimes without having eaten any lunch. Pick up ds from school and then return home exhausted to a chaotic, messy house, washing everywhere, breakfast stuff still on table etc..
It really gets me down as its constant and I can never get on top of things. I try and tidy up around the children but then feel guilty that I'm not spending the time with them.
Everyday they bring more 'stuff' home from childminder or school. I've tried decluttering & organising things but it never lasts.
The thing that most upsets me is that sometimes I am so exhausted I haven't the energy to cook properly so they end up with not the best tea in the world. Ds has a school meal but I feel I'm not doing my best for dd. I find it hard food shopping and really stressful if they are with me.
Sorry for the big long moan, don't want to depress everyone else! I would just be pleased to chat to other people who also find things hard as I often feel surrounded by mum's who have it all under control and I feel like a rubbish mum.
I'm with fuzzpig, write lovely long lists but always been a bit shit at the house stuff. (Bit annoyed that my list writing is suffering at the mo due to a dodgy thumb that keeps dislocating) A therapist once told me that its because im a perfectionist, and nothing will ever be good enough, so i just dont start
I have hms, psoriatic arthritis, trigeminal neuralgia, pots and loooong term depression and anxiety. So housework is really, really behind. I also have two dses (2 and 4), am a student so spend their nursery time studying, and my dh works shifts. Which means while he is in work, everything piles up, and he then spends his rest days getting back on top of it, ready to go back to work and do it all again. I do have a cleaner who comes once a week, and she is gradually making a difference and each week it is slightly better than the week before
But, we need a long term strategy. I have been lurking on the declutter thread and have been having a massive throw out of crap, plus this week we've been working on storage and rearranging upstairs (our box room is literally a box room at the mo, we are trying to turn it into a bedroom). I've written we a lot in this paragraph, in reality it will be mostly dh with me doing what i can...
(Oo, and can i just point out to y'all that if you want a health type whinge, there is a "spoonie" thread in the disabled parents section. Non-parents welcome too )
Jemster - I know what you mean about the rushing. When I was working you could see a hurricane trail of devastation behind me in the morning. Then I'd get back from work and walk in the door and it just looked like we'd be burgled. I was never the most tidy person in the first place.
Have you tried meal planning? I do a monthly meal plan which means that the first couple of weeks I end up cooking double the portion size then I can use them in the last couple of weeks of the month. It means that you need a few hours to plan for the month (I do this over a couple of days). Then you can just take meals out in the morning and it'll give you a bit of extra time each week. I do a weekly shop and if we run out of anything then it's tough we just have to wait till the next week's shop.
I'm happy to share my last months meal plan if that helps anyone.
Beyondthelimits - my dh does shifts too which I find good as he's about sometimes in the daytime but like you say when he's doing nights the house just descends into chaos. It doesn't help that he has non optional overtime and has already worked 30 hours in two days and still has five days left before a break so he's going to need to recover from that on his days off.
I'm currently sitting on my hands to stop myself from getting the hoover out but I know if I do then I'll overdo it today as I've got loads of running around later with the dc's.
Definitely agree with decluttering helping. I'm quite harsh with binning the crap they the dc's being back from school /gps /parties etc. Any art etc worth keeping is generally filed in the loft and a photo taken.
Hope you all have painfree and quietly productive days today.
<off to unpack the dishwasher >
DH accidentally made himself ill last night (essentially forgot that there are some things he can't do now, as he's in the middle of a relapse), which resulted in little sleep for himself so he's pretty worn out now and currently snoozing on the sofa. I decided to be as proactive as possible and washed some dishes this morning. Vacuuming still needs doing and is still not going to be done! Haven't the muscles for it today.
Jemster I understand about the food thing, I try to remind myself that he's happy and healthy and that it's not every day. I try to do some stuff to help, although it's not perfect:
- I keep leftovers of meals that he likes as much as possible (he's a toddler foodie ), so even if just a small bit is left there's a good toddler-sized meal in there usually. Harder of course if you have more than one or older children.
- I spend a fair bit of the grocery budget on snacks and easy-ish to prepare foods that he likes, that are good quality, free from bad stuff, etc, to make me feel better when we have to turn to them (because it is when, not if).
- We do grocery shopping online as it wouldn't be possible for us to get to the store and then bring it all home and up the stairs ourselves. It might cost us more at times, I'm guessing, but I'd be pretty lost without it. I then do small top ups of things like milk and bread where necessary as that's much easier to manage.
These aren't all possible for everyone, but our biggest luxury is actually food. We don't spend crazy amounts but it's the main area where we allow ourselves to treat or splurge for convenience and for health reasons.
HeyMacWey yes please if you don't mind sharing your meal plan that would be helpful to me.
Larry that's a good idea about getting in plenty of snacks & easy to prepare meals, what sort of things do you buy?
Jemster Some of our go to things:
- quick cook noodles (like Amoy Straight to Wok, or ones that boil within about 5mins, DC1 loves noodles), we add a touch of stock and/or soy for taste, quite easy to throw in any little frozen veggies or leftover meat
- naice sausage rolls (he's a sausage fan but I try not to go overboard with them for health purposes)
- organic pouches of fruit or fruit and veg, eg Plum do one that has things like spinach and apple mixed with quinoa, Ella's do some (both fruit only or fruit and veg); he won't touch the veg-only ones as he's always disliked pureed savoury stuff, but likes the fruit flavoured ones as they're fun to squeeze and kind of sweet
- Soreen mini loaves, organic carrot cereal bars, date bars (eg from Organix Goodies), oat biscuits (like Nairn's)
- Yeo Valley yoghurts, used to also have Plum ones but he now takes the bigger servings from Yeo Valley
- dried fruit, like raisins or sultanas
- tinned tuna! He likes tuna mayo with raw onion (the onion is for me but he likes strong flavours)
- peanut butter is great for calorie-dense and relatively healthy fats, we get Meridian peanut butter (also almond butter) as it's 100% nut and nothing else, which he has on toast; likewise hummus
- rice cakes, of seemingly any kind (we buy the big plain ones but he also like the snack pack type which have flavours on, again all the organic brands seem to do them)
- bananas, cherry tomatoes, clementines, grapes, fairly easy for him to eat and he will actually eat them, and they last pretty well in the fruit bowl
- popcorn; you can buy quite a variety of 'good' popcorns now (ie not super sugary or greasy stuff), I can't remember the names but I think Metcalfe's and Tyrell's, or if you do some advanced prep it's quite easy to pop corn in a few minutes in a saucepan with a little bit of oil and then stick in a plastic tub for dipping into over the coming days.
- baked beans are sometimes a hit, as are eggs; in fact, eggy bread is very popular with DC1, I use just a little oil and an undiluted egg (ie no milk) does about 1 whole slice of bread, so he gets pretty much the whole egg along with the slice and it's very quick to cook.
The biggest issue we have is meat and veg, as he doesn't like regular cooked meat so we can't just buy cooked chicken, for instance, and he is very variable on vegetables. Frozen broccoli is usually reliable, easy to eat, easy to cook from frozen in the microwave, and hence the veg pouches too. Meat is trickier, as he only likes stuff in a lot of sauce or seasoning (eg curried, marinated) so that's where we get into saving leftovers for him, like a bit of bolognese or some curry, as I don't like the instant packs of these things as there tend to be all sorts of extras/salts/sugars in them. When I do a roast meat I season it all over and freeze slices for future use, and we keep aside curry sauce/curried meat, pasta sauce etc whenever we make it, either in the fridge or freezer. He also really likes rice but we don't fancy the ready made stuff, but we eat a lot of rice so we almost always have some for him.
He has completely gone off of cheese (unless it's mozzarella on a thin sourdough pizza, honestly, the child has high standards...) but he used to like small cheeses so we used to get these little cheddar things, I can't remember what they're called but they're small individually wrapped sticks of proper cheese, not processed, but aimed at children (I think they were called Little Moos or something).
Up there is quite a bit of fruity stuff, that's what I can recall off the top of my head, but he doesn't actually go for the sweet stuff much, mainly savoury, so I'm probably missing some things... Sorry it's so waffly!
I'm another one who struggles to keep up with the housework, I have fibromyalgia.
What I've found works for us is to have a list of what jobs have to be done each day so I want the kitchen clean and tidy and I want the bathroom clean and I'd like the house to be presentable - doesn't have to be immaculate but I'd like to know visitors can come and I don't get stressed over the house looking a total tip. I then worked out what were the jobs I really struggle to do, what were the jobs that would be a great help if someone else did them, what did everyone have to do to help keep the house looking presentable etc. I then did a chore list - the dc have to help and we explained that we are team, that we all create the mess so we all have to help with jobs and that I was struggling with some jobs so each child (I have 2) has 2 small daily tasks and then one job that needs doing a coulple of times a week.. this means one child hoovers and one child does the recycling. DH then does jobs as needed on top of pitching in with keeping the kitchen tidy after meals (which I expect everyone in the house to do). I also expect everyone to put their belongings away. It's not perfect, the house could do with being hoovered more and there's always dust or a cobweb to be seen somewhere but it's fairly clean and tidy.
I meal plan, breakfast and weekend/holiday lunches are help yourself. I do packed lunches after tea while everyone else clears (and the first to finish will help). Meals are all quick and easy to prepare such as chilli, baked potatoes, fajitas and I also use the slow cooker. Any meals which require more prep then someone helps (I've been stuck before now with having visitors and doing a long winded meal with no help resulting in several days spent in bed afterwards and I won't do that again). I also do online food deliveries - really helps getting someone to bring the order into the house rather than my trying to traipse round the supermarket and then lug it home. I also consider online shopping for other things - if I have to use fuel to get to the shop then postage can be cheaper PLUS the benefit of my not having to walk/carry etc.
My dc are 10 and 12 and have been doing age appropriate jobs since they were small. We started the chores when they were 7 & 9 and adjusted as they got older. They do whinge at times but as I point out, we all make the mess so we all have to help clear up and clean the house.
On bad days, I do the absolute minimum to keep us going (putting a meal on the table!) but I do try and think "I'm going to the bathroom, ok get a cloth and wipe the sink or put cleaner down the loo and wipe" even just one little thing I find helps keep the place looking ok and doesn't wear me out too much.
I'm interested in reading everyone else's posts and seeing what new tips I can find!
Thank you Larry that's really helpful, some great ideas there that I will try.
Daisy you sound very organised and like you do a great job - wish I could be more like that
Jemster - your kids are still very young, it gets easier as they get older because they can help and they can tidy away their own stuff so focus on what you have to do to get through the day.
Could DH help at weekends to do what hasn't been done?
With meals - what about meal planning say 14 meals on a rolling plan so you know what you are eating each day for 14 days and when you get back to day 1 it starts again? It might make it easier because you could have a set shopping list and just reorder online for delivery (if that's possible or click and collect) and with careful planning, some meals could be doubled up so cook once and reheat once (could even go a step further and cook 4 meals worth, freeze 3 so 3 weeks of "ready meal" on that night). Things like chilli (I omitted the spice when mine were small and then added it to mine and dh's portion after I'd served dc), bolognese sauce, pasta bake, baked potatoes, beans and cheese or tuna mayo, fajitas/enchiladas/burritos, curry (korma is mild and sweetish so kids tend to like it), soup with rolls etc.. The chilli, soup, bolognese sauce, curry can all be bulk cooked and frozen. Use frozen/prepared vegetables to help your hands. Use a slow cooker for the bulk cooking (get a big 6.5L one) - chop, bung everything in and let it do the work for you.
Do you have a dishwasher? Could you get one/fit one in? We bought one as soon as we could and it made a big difference. We taught the kids to put their plates straight in (scraping in the bin first ) - might not be put in perfectly but it's easier to quickly sort if needed than to carry all through and load up. We also taught them to unload - your oldest could help unload onto the counter and then you/DH put away what you don't need for the next meal - it helps by taking a little pressure off you/your hands and dc learn how to do a job.
My youngest learned to hoover at 2 - he was obsessed!! Ok, it wasn't perfect but he loved helping (mad child mind... he used to beg to clean the bathroom..... ) and we showed him how to do little jobs working on the idea that we are a team and we all help. We changed the jobs as he got older (same with dc1). By choosing little routine jobs, it helps you as well as helping them realise the things we do to keep the house running smoothly.
It will get easier and honestly, I wasn't always organised (& I'm often still not!), it took trial and error to work out what would work for us and I had to let go of the ways I used to do things, adapt to a different way of life. Yeah, house still gets messy - I wouldn't want anyone to look at my floors this evening or look behind the sofas but as long as you don't look too closely it looks ok! I hope I've said something useful that you can perhaps adjust your own ideas to help you.
Thanks very much Daisy for the helpful ideas. You're right they are still young especially dd who just depends on me to do everything.
I think because I work every day although part time I never really have enough time to do anything properly and then come the evening I am too exhausted to do anything.
We do have a slim dishwasher so maybe I could start asking ds to put his plate in. I do ask him to do little jobs and he huffs & puffs about it!
He doesn't understand that I sometimes need help & don't feel well & I wouldn't want to burden him with that.
DH is good and helps alot but there just dont seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything.
daisy I just wanted to join in with a at your youngest vacuuming at 2, I'm hoping mine will join! DC1 is 22mo but for the last 2mo has started 'cleaning'. His vacuuming currently involves using the Henry on the carpets (and sometimes the windows ) whilst switched off, as the Henry is permanently in the living area, but if I vacuum whilst he's awake he comes to push the head around, and if he's allowed anywhere near any kind of cloth - he's particularly taken to fishing out his muslins or flannels - then he will wipe down the highchair tray or DH's desk (it's not a streak free finish just yet!). He has also started to help me with laundry by pulling dry things from the airer and handing them to me to fold... sometimes when I'm trying to rest with a cup of tea, but if I don't start folding I get a stern look from him and a garment thrust in my face...
Anyway, that was a little off topic, but hopefully it means we have some home help in the making!
I also wanted to agree on frozen/prepped veg, this is a big help for us. We particularly like frozen broccoli, spinach, peas and cauliflower, but we've also used frozen stir fry veg and frozen mixed Mediterranean veg and they've been really good and much easier than lots of chopping. For fresh veg, we have mainly salad things that are also easy like cucumber, ready-to-eat leaves, cherry tomatoes, cooked beetroot, and also carrots which we grate (probably the most effort that goes into any of our veg ). We don't often eat potatoes, but occasionally we like mash so we buy frozen mash and then add some of our own butter and milk to it. There is no way I could do with peeling, chopping and mashing myself
If you use garlic I highly recommend the Zyliss garlic crusher, you put the clove in as is with skin and it squishes out pretty much all of the garlic with little effort, the skin and bits just peels off and is really easy to clean. I couldn't close our previous crusher but this is great. We also have one of those one touch can openers and we're now looking for the one touch jar opener (I feel like one of those adverts from JML aimed at the older generation...).
Ditto on the slow cooker (well, we have a pressure cooker, but basically something like that helps a lot). Plus a good knife sharpener, so that no stabbing and sawing is required to cut through things.
DH and I both react badly to handling cold meats/fish too (the cold does something to us, for DH his hands swell and sting, for me it makes the joints in my hands get very sore) so we mainly buy things not needing much handling - chicken pieces, mince, fillets, eg - but if we have to handle it then we use things like latex gloves or washing up gloves and that helps a lot to insulate from the cold.
If only we could fit a dishwasher in somewhere... <sob>
Does anyone have any tips for getting out of the house for work in the mornings without being completely stressed out with the disorganisation?!
Most mornings when I wake up I feel tired still and a bit achey so I don't exactly spring out of bed! I know I dont leave myself enough time but I'm just not at my best in the mornings.
DH is great as he gets the dc ready & breakfast & drops them off but I still find myself rushing, trying to find something half decent to wear, then it needs ironing, then I remember ds needs something for school.
I feel like my crazy mornings get me off to a bad start to the day.
I know I should get everything ready the night before but once dc are in bed and I've eaten I just have no energy left and often fall asleep on sofa.
What do other people do please?
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