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The Stress of Spring Cleaning with IBD

The spring is definitely upon us and with that often comes this idea of “spring cleaning.” What is that really? I guess it is a time when a lot of people throw out or donate old clothes, kitchen appliances, and other stuff hanging around the house.

Some people have yard sales. Other people just dedicate a weekend or so to really going through everything in the home and see if it is still needed. A lot of actual cleaning tends to get done around this time as well (ex, vacuuming, dusting).

Spring is often looked at as a time for renewal…

…but when you suffer from a chronic illness like Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, it can be difficult to get in that mindset.

With inflammatory bowel disease, there is no on or off season. There is a ton of unpredictability. With that unpredictability comes never knowing when or if you will need certain clothing. For example, I actually still keep and oftentimes wear a pair of old sweatpants from when my brother was in the 5th grade (he is 27 years old now). Why do I do that? Because they are baggy no matter what size I am and the waist part always feels good on my stomach regardless if I have an ostomy, am recovering from surgery, or am distended.

The point I am trying to make is that this time of the year is often tough for people with IBD.

We want to be part of the family. We want our rooms and homes to look nice and be as clutter free as possible. We want to donate things so the less fortunate can have something we might have outgrown. We want to help with the vacuuming and dusting and scrubbing and {maybe} painting.

We want to be part of things! And we want the environment around us to be as nice, clean and up to date as possible for ourselves and our loved ones! We want all of those things!

Sometimes we are able to achieve them but oftentimes, we may not be able to. Just remember that it is not your fault if you are unable to get into the “spirit of spring cleaning.” It is just a season. You can clean anytime. You can go through old things and donate them all year long. You can de-clutter your environment as soon as you are physically able. Just because it seems to be that time of year does not make it the ONLY time of year for this stuff. And, you are not lazy. I feel that way so much I had to write an article about it here.

I can also empathize with those of you who are afraid to throw anything away because you never know what size you’ll be.

Not to mention, body alterations occur at random, so it is best to keep certain items so you don’t have to spend money and energy buying it again if needed. I am truly petrified to throw anything away and have become a true clothes hoarder. And ya know what, there are worse things in the world!

While spring can be a time for renewal, if you are in a bad flare up, recovering from surgery, are dealing with abscesses, strictures, obstructions or any of the other millions of things that can come alongside an IBD diagnosis, please don’t add in this extra layer of stress. I know it is easier said than done and between societal pressures, the pressures we put on ourselves, and wanting the best for those we love, it can be very difficult not to have some anxiety around this time.

I get it. So many people in our community get it. You are not alone.

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.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    10 months ago

    I can so relate to not wanting to throw away clothes because of how up and down weight is while having IBD. For over two years, I was so underweight and I didn’t throw out any of my old clothes because I kept fighting for the day that I would be back at my normal weight. So needless to say, for quite sometime I had a full closet of clothes that didn’t fit me. But! I’m finally getting to where I can wear them again!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • TheHealingCannabist
    2 years ago

    I’m newly diagnosed, as in about a year ago. I have UC, and I have not yet gone into remission. There are days when I feel pretty good but there are more days when I just feel absolutely awful. Drained. Exhausted. Hurting. And I can totally relate to not wanting to get rid of clothes because you don’t know what size you’ll be… I’ve lost 70 pounds in the past year. SEVENTY. Without trying. The ironic thing is that I’ve struggled with being overweight my entire adult life – and high cholesterol, high triglycerides – but I felt fine! Now I’m at a good weight, my cholesterol is actually low, my triglycerides are very low, and I feel like crap 80% of the time. 🙁 Very depressing. Thank you for helping me realize I’m not alone.

  • SusanHU
    2 years ago

    We’re so glad the article resonated with you and that you know you are not alone! We are here for your so please keep us posted on your journey! – Susan ( Team Member)

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