Do you struggle with keeping your home clean and organized on a daily basis? What about with getting spring cleaning chores done every year? Spring cleaning chores? What are these spring cleaning chores you speak of? I know, some days it’s hard enough to get the daily chores done, never mind any additional seasonal tasks. Is a lack of time and energy making it hard for you to keep up with your home and get chores done? If you answered yes, girl can I ever relate.
I’ve shared some awesome practical spring cleaning tips in the past (if I do say so myself, ha!) for getting cleaning chores done. But that doesn’t mean I’m always able to follow my own advice. You’ll never find perfection over here that is for sure. So today I’m going to share a few more tips with you (along with some free spring cleaning printables!) for getting those dreaded tasks done when time and energy are a limited resource.
For those that might not know, I live with the autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. For the most part I manage it pretty well with diet and at the moment I am not dealing with pain in my fingers as I once was. However fatigue is still something I battle with on the regular. And I don’t often know when it’s going to hit and put me out of commission for awhile. Some days I’m fine and others not so much. I tire really easily and the simplest of tasks can throw a wrench into my day. It becomes about budgeting my energy, knowing when to spend it and when to save it. You see, I only have so many spoons.
If you struggle with an autoimmune disease or chronic illness and have never read the spoon theory, you really must. It’s such a good analogy for how some of us have to live life day in and day out.
Basically I assess every single thing I have to do in a day by how much energy it’s going to require. I don’t just make plans and hope I’ll have the energy to do them. Experience has taught me that it’s imperative I also factor in the rest I’m going to need before and after doing anything. Constantly trying to be one or two steps ahead of myself is exhausting too. It’s something most people in my life don’t realize simply because I don’t look sick. They like to joke and make fun that it’s my age and I’m just getting old. I usually just laugh it off and change the subject. I know they mean well and don’t really understand the constant energy limit turmoil I live with. But it’s always on my mind.
Every single minute of every single day I’m evaluating every thing I do by the amount of energy I need. Because every activity costs me a spoon and I only have so many to use.
So when it comes to keeping my home clean and organized my energy limits have to be considered. They cannot be ignored. I cannot just “push through”. It doesn’t work like that for me. Maybe for you too? So what do I do? How do I get my chores done when I only have so much energy? Here are some of the things that work for me. Maybe you’ll be able to apply some of these techniques to your own life. Ultimately though you have to do whatever works best for you.
Create a Priority List:
Knowing your chore priorities is essential when dealing with limited time and energy. You have to know what is most important so you can concentrate on those things first. Otherwise it’s easy to be distracted with the less important. Putting such a list together is so hard to do especially with cleaning tasks that all seem important. However when dealing with limitations, we have to be willing to make some tough decisions and of course let some tasks slide. It’s okay.
For instance, clean kitchen counters are more of a priority for me than clean kitchen floors. So the kitchen counters always get done first. As my energy allows I move down my priority list. Eventually my kitchen floors do get cleaned. Not everyday, maybe not even every week. However, I don’t eat dinner off my kitchen floors so I let it go as a top priority. Everyone’s priority list will look differently depending on needs.
As for seasonal chores, go ahead and print off these pretty spring cleaning printables for free. Highlight the tasks that you see as a priority for you. Cross off the ones that you can let go of for now or temporarily for now. Do those that you can.
The biggest reason I talk so much about decluttering and having less stuff is the time and energy it saves you. Maintaining all your stuff is costing you far more than dollars and time. The energy it sucks out of you can be overwhelming if we let it take over. Simplifying has been a lifesaver for me. The less I bring into my home the less I have to find a home for and the less I have to clean.The next time you buy something, first ask yourself what the “extra” cost will be in terms of time and energy. Is it worth it? Evaluate the things you already own the same way and purge, purge, purge. I am constantly pushing myself to purge even more.
In addition, having a smaller home means less square footage to clean. I moved from a large home to a much smaller home in 2010 and I am so grateful. That large space was robbing me of so much. As were all the activities my kids were in. These are choices we make. There are many things in life we can’t control (like sickness) but these are things we definitely can do something about. Let’s stop complicating life more than we need to, okay?
Ride the Wave:
Having physical limitations and fluctuating energy levels is a little like the ebb and flow of an ocean. Sometimes the waves are larger and more fierce similar to when you are feeling drained and exhausted. Other times the waves roll in calmly allowing you to be a little more productive. I have found that riding the wave, as I like to call it, is how I get anything done. When I have the energy I do what I can starting a the top of my priority list. When I need to rest, I rest. Sometimes I can go for an hour or more before crashing, other times I’m lucky to get 10 minutes in. My body dictates the ride and I pay attention to that.
Flexibility is key when riding the wave because we never know what the next wave might bring. If I try and swim a really large wave by pushing through it, I just don’t get as much accomplished and I usually end up way more exhausted. Shorter bursts of energy and more frequent rests is often what works best for me.
Know Task Times:
Now here’s the thing. We often put off doing a task because of the time we think it will take. However I’ve learned over the years that you really can do a lot in small chunks of time. For instance, in a 15 minute work burst, I can clean a toilet or my makeup brushes. I can tidy my bedroom or organize a junk drawer. For the next couple of weeks, every time you go to do a task, time yourself. This is such an important step because I think it will surprise you. Keep a list of these times on your phone.
After a period of rest one day, set your timer for 15 minutes. Select a couple of things you know you can get done in that time and GO for it. You really will be amazed. As well, once you’ve simplified your home, you’ll notice that the time it takes to do certain tasks goes down.
I’ve got an entire list of 100 Organizing Tasks to Tackle that I offer for free to my subscribers. If you would like this list, please subscribe HERE.
Set Up Your Environment:
Knowing you have limited time to do certain tasks, do your future self a favor and set your environment up for success. For instance, keep your cleaning supplies where you use them. I keep a cleaning caddy in each bathroom ready to go. Sometimes when I finish getting ready for the day, I’ll realize that I still have a little energy and will reach under the sink to grab my cleaning wipes to quickly wipe the sink and counter down. If they weren’t there waiting for me, I’m not sure I would do it because of the extra time it would take for me to round up what I needed.
Something else I do is keep my Pixie girl stocked and ready with my work supplies for the days I need to work from my bed. For those that don’t know, Pixie is my portable office girl. She is such a support to me and has simplified my life so much!
Ask for Help:
If something is stressing you out that you can’t get to, reach out and ask or hire help. Quite honestly though, I’m terrible at asking others for help. I’d rather over simplify life so I don’t have to. However, what I am great at is giving my kids chores and responsibilities to do. I started them young which made a world of difference to getting them on board. I really don’t know what I would have done without them when I was first diagnosed. Such a blessing. Sadly two of my kids have left home now but thankfully I still have one at home that helps his momma out when she needs it.
When I worked full-time outside of the home years ago I did hire a housekeeper to help me every two weeks with some of the heavy lifting like the bathrooms and floors. It was worth every penny to me.
Be Kind to Yourself:
I have friends on Instagram that share their daily cleaning routines. It amazes me how much some people can get done in a day. I am not that person. Watching their Instastories can easily spiral my thoughts into a negative space if I’m not careful. It’s so easy to beat myself up about what I can’t do and what my home doesn’t look like. Instead I have to remind myself every day that I’m doing the best that I can. Comparing ourselves to others doesn’t do us any good at all. Don’t be hard on yourself or get down about your limitations. It is, what it is. Leave notes of encouragement or scripture around your house as small little gifts to yourself. Give yourself grace and focus on what you can do today and not what you can’t.
(these cute printable notes found HERE)
When you have limited time and energy it can be so hard to get chores done. I hope you find these seven tips above helpful. If you are struggling in this area, please know you are not alone. I pray that these tips would be an encouragement to you as you go about your day. And may you always experience beauty in the midst of an ordinary day.
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