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How to Clean when you’re Chronically ill

Doing house hold work is really tough job to do, and if you are chronically ill, then its a nightmare. Comment if you agree with this statement, i know you will agree 🙂

I’ve been doing this for years, so I thought I’d type it up for you, in case it helps someone

-> Gather dishes and take them to the kitchen.

-> Gather laundry and put in hampers. Sit and rest.

-> Empty out sink(s), scrub sink(s), run pure HOT water with soap in sink, put a load into the sink to soak. Sit and rest.

-> Sort the laundry *as you put it into washer*. Fill the load, add the soap, adjust dials, start washer. Sit and rest.

-> Wash dishes in sink, rinse, put on drain rack/towel. Squirt toilet bowl cleaner into toilet, set timer for 10 minutes. Sit and rest.

-> Timer dings, scrub toilet. Spray antibacterial stuff on outside of toilet; wash hands. Set timer 10 minutes. Sit and rest.

-> Timer dings; wipe outside of toilet with rag, put rag in laundry hamper. Wash hands. Sit and rest.

-> Wash 2nd load of dishes in sink, rinse and drain. Put really nasty/greasy cookware/pot into sink. Put load from washer into dryer, add dryer sheet, turn dryer on. Sit and long rest.

-> Pull yucky dish out of sink, rinse big chunks off. Drain sink and rinse it; put fresh water in. Put new load of dishes in to soak. Go to bathroom and remove everything off counter. Sit and rest.

-> Put load of laundry into washer, add soap, start washer. Spray antibacterial stuff onto bathroom counter/sink. Wash hands. Set timer 10 minutes. Sit and rest.

-> Timer dings, wipe down bathroom counter/sink. Put rag in laundry. Wash hands. Sit and rest. -> Wash load of dishes in sink, rinse, drain. Put new load into sink. Sit and rest.

-> Replace the counter items onto the bathroom counter. Remove clothes from dryer. Put washer clothes into dryer, add dryer sheet, start dryer. Sit and long rest.

-> Put dry dishes away. Sit and rest.

-> Fold dry laundry while sitting down; stack ‘hangable’ items in one pile, laid out like they were on a hanger. Grab handful of hangers, flip through the collars and insert hangers. Sit and rest.

-> Hang items in closet. Sit and rest. Put items in drawers. Sit and rest.

-> Finish washing dishes (including that previously nasty pot you already soaked). Wipe down counter(s). Sit and rest.

-> Take laundry out of dryer. Sit and rest.

-> Wipe down top of stove (the range). Put away dry dishes. Sit and rest.

-> Fold laundry as above. Sit and rest.

This covers about 4-8 hours, depending on how long you can stand, and how long you need to rest. During that time you washed, dried, and put away 2 loads of laundry; washed the inside and outside of toilet, and bathroom counter and sink; and washed 4-5 loads of dishes and wiped down the sinks.

And without keeling over! (Ideally) I normally need a full rest day the day after this- BUT I’ve found I need a full rest day after doing about HALF this much, so in for a penny, in for a pound (my opinion about MY work). Hope this helps

– Click Here to get  Yours Fibromyalgia Disability Sticker for you Car

Share you views with us in the comments below…

Also Read:

14 tips for household work to avoid fibromyalgia flare

Hacks that can make cooking with chronic pain Easier

Written by Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason is a health researcher in Idaho. Twenty years of researching health to heal her own chronic conditions has motivated her to share what she has learned with the public. Michelle writes informative and helpful advice about a variety of health issues, and is active on facebook, pinterest, and her blog.


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  1. I’d take a week to do all that, but I have far more problems than just fibromyalgia too! If someone else doesn’t do the cleaning, it doesn’t get done here!

  2. Thanks for your post
    This is how I clean also but can’t do that much in a day
    Thank goodness I have a wonderful husband who helps so much and finishes things when I cant. Also have a dishwasher which is a wonderful help. I tell people I just putter. Can’t do much all at once. You have such a good system.

  3. I use the TV to pace myself. I turn on a program and sit and watch. When a commercial comes on I get up and do something then sit back down when the program comes back on. It takes a while to get things done with this method but I don’t over due. Anytime I have something to do outside the house, dr appt, run errands, lunch w/friend I try not to do anything the day before or the day after. I have many days where it is just to painful to do anything or I can’t stay awake long enough and I try not to beat myself up. It will all still be there tomorrow!

    • I clean during commercials, too! People laugh when I say that, but it’s the only way I can get anything done.

  4. Thanks so much for posting! I never thought to break it down into smaller bits. Altho I do set a timer to help, I will ignore it just to “get to a good stopping point,” and then have to rest 30 minutes instead of 10 because I “did too much.”

    I am going to rework my “today” list (not even started yet and it is already after Noon!) but every day is different, and Oh Well . . . I do what I can do when I can do it and the rest waits until tomorrow.

    I am very thankful my husband is such a big help and so understanding. He has taken over all the really heavy work, and helps even with the small things when asked.

  5. Thank you so much for the post!!
    I do all those things also and I too need a couple of days of rest. With other health issues, (one is my back and spine) it’s hard for me to do my housework ?…Another chore that’s hard is sweeping and mopping ?
    I can wish all I want to go back to getting everything done in four hours, have the energy I had and cooking…now I’m getting use to the fact that I can’t do everything in 4hrs… I’ve accepted all of my health issues and I know Our Creator only gives his toughest soldiers​ the toughest things to go through and overcome them ?

  6. This is like me also. I agree with others, this is a lot to get done in one day. Thank you for sharing this post.

  7. Only the people who suffer with this disease and others diseases can understand what you are going through. The pain just doesnt go away with the result you can do nothing no matter how hard you try. I have to live with this for the rest of my life as do others.

  8. I have Psoriasis & Psoriasis Arthritis, cleaning has become harder for me . Thanks for your helpful tips . I will share them .

  9. This is just an example, it’s not set in stone. The concept here is to learn how to multitask, to stagger the items and rest in between. Take any parts of this that work for you.

  10. While technically your article may have been an attempt to demonstrate how pacing and multi-tasking can make housework marginally easier, in reality I think most people with a chronic illness would agree that this approach is far too ambitious for the majority of us to accomplish. The end result is that not only are we unable to complete common household tasks the way we did before our illness, we’re left with increased feelings of shame and inadequacy due to the fact that we can’t accomplish most of what you’ve listed. Every single day I live with the inability to function at anything close to a “normal” level and this was just another painful reminder of the true extent of my limitations.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt like this was far too much to do in one day! I felt exhausted just reading that multitude of chores being done one after the other, all in one day! It’s a wonderful system she has here, it’s just that – I hate admit it – this many projects would take me at LEAST a week if not more! =P

  11. Cleaning and laundry in the same week let alone the same day?!?! Crazy talk! Progressive cleaning and laundry is always the way to go. Simplify. Pacing and baby steps…whether it takes a day or a week to complete one task… Is always helpful to not cause flares and for a more productive tomorrow! No room for perfectionism in chronic illness. If you need it done asap, pay someone! Don’t forget to take your time, breathe, watch your heart rate, stretch and wear supportive footwear even indoors, performing household chores is a form of exercise that you will feel later and can very easily cause a flare! Take care of yourself first.

    • “Cleaning and laundry in the same week let alone the same day?!?!” ….LOL! Just what I was thinking too!!!

  12. Great advice, Michelle. I do my housekeeping in almost the same way you advise and it covers a good portion of it. My husband is a great help and, fortunately, there is no resentment between us as he sees how I’m doing my best. I also have help from a housekeeper. I know this not in everyone’s budget but if it it, I highly recommend hiring someone who can do the most difficult of tasks and who is willing to work on different projects each visit.

  13. Thanks for your post! I’m lucky enough to have a dishwasher, so I do soak dishes in hot water with gunk or stuff that the dishwasher won’t clean off, then put them in and let the dishwasher do the rest. My husband works really hard long days so my biggest priority is to have dinner cooked for him, then dishes.
    For myself, i would do other cleaning jobs on separate days.

  14. So true rest…rest is the key. So hard to pace myself. I always end up doing too much and regretting it. These suggestions are awesome. Thanks! It helps to see it spelled out. I’m trying to get my son and husband to do more, but who am I kidding? I usually end up doing it. However, I now let the dishes and laundry pile up. I have to go on strike and lay on ice. I hate that I even care about my messy house but I do because I’m home too much. Thanks again. I love that you encourage others to leave comments. Like therapy saying or if this case texting can be quite a relief.

  15. On my good days this is how I have realized I need to accomplish my chores and have also learned not to be so hard on myself along the way!

  16. I live with this myself and I tend to over do and be like I use to, get r done in one day. But as I ve read others post I know I am not alone. I hate that I can’t do like I did. Love yard work and reorganizing my home, love to be creative in many things. but limitations has kept me from doing so thanks for the tips to deal with the chores and pain.

  17. It is not really a symptom but I have so many pillows in the bed, I have trouble finding a spot just for me. On certain days, different ones work and the rest I toss out, only to have to rearrange in the middle of the night.

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