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5 Tips for Housekeeping with Chronic Illness

I don’t know if it’s just me (hopefully not) but I find that being a “normal person” is quite difficult living with severe chronic illness. It’s not really a problem if your disease is well-controlled and you are in remission but when disease is active and severe


Nope! I have to let go of things and use what little energy I have on taking care of myself and so things fall to the wayside... like housekeeping. It pretty much becomes the last thing on my list and I wind up buried by the stuff in my house until someone comes and digs me out. How I feel can even vary from day-to-day so it can be a guessing game on what I’ll be able to accomplish each day. Many days I wake up with intentions of accomplishing great things only to find that a few minutes later I’m in so much pain that I can hardly even sit up and I have to turn around and lay back down in bed for awhile.

Maintaining my home has been something that can be a big challenge for me but it’s something I like to do and take pride in. I’m currently not working because of my current circumstances but I do know what it’s like to try and keep up with housekeeping while working full time, part time, or not working at all. I also know what it’s like to try and keep up my house during times of very severe disease through times when things are less severe. Through each of those phases of life I have learned a few things that have helped me keep up with the house better and I wanted to share them with you today.

5 Tips for Housekeeping with A Chronic Illness

1. Accept Your Limitations.

I wanted to put this first because it’s important. Many times I am unable to do much of anything and I used to feel a lot of guilt about that. Living with guilt is silly when your circumstance isn’t your fault. You know what’s not your fault? Having Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, so let go of that guilt! I have had to learn to accept life with two severe chronic illnesses and also accept that I will not be able to do the things I want to be able to do at times. If the house is dirty at the end of the day I’ve had to learn to accept it and remember to appreciate other things.

2. Ask for Help.

I listed this next because it is also important. Sometimes you can’t do it all. Sometimes you can't even do anything. Letting others help you gives other people in your life the opportunity to step in and be of service and not only will it help get your home put back together but it usually makes them feel good too.

3. Make Lists.

My brain-foggy brain (that’s the technical term, I swear) needs lists in order to remember everything and be organized. I have a folder on my computer called ‘House Operations’ Where I keep daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly housekeeping goals.

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It helps me break down giant tasks (like cleaning the oven or washing all the windows) into a manageable timeline. Then I will know that I did indeed change the air filters in my house every few months, washed the pillows twice a year, or deep cleaned the oven because it was on my yearly household task list. My lists do not have set days to accomplish things by because that never works, so I have monthly lists. For instance I have “clean the mattresses and flip them” on this months list. Then I pick any day this month where I’m up to the task and I do it then. If it never gets done then it moves to next months list or I just put it off longer and let go of the guilt.

4. Use Pinterest.

Pinterest is a life saver when it comes to housekeeping lists. Type ‘cleaning schedule’ into the search bar and all sorts of daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning lists will come up. You can use one that someone else has made (they even have printable ones) or use them as a guide to make a master list for your own home.

5. Consider a Housekeeper.

It’s not in everyone’s budget but if you can work it into the budget having a housekeeper come once a week or even once a month could be a huge help.

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6. Let It Go.

Your pets will get fur everywhere, your kids will draw on the walls, the love of your life will spill coffee all over the house somehow (at least mine does and we laugh about it because we have no clue how it happens). You have to let things go and remember that what makes a house a home are the people and the pets living inside of it. Focus your energy on loving them, encouraging them, and building them up.

I hope these tips inspire you. I have to admit that even though my lists are fancy that I rarely complete them. They just help me feel organized and when I can tackle some things it's nice to have them around. Working full time or being a student and taking care of a family and then trying to keep up the house all while having a chronic illness... you deserve a medal.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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