Cleaning and Organization Hacks for Spoonies

10 Cleaning and Organization Hacks for Spoonies

Cleaning and organization can be some of the most difficult everyday tasks for spoonies. 

I know that I often struggle just to keep up with daily tidying up, much less doing any deep cleaning. Once I do that cleaning, I am exhausted for hours or even days to come, which is not a sustainable system for me.

What can we do? How can we keep our spaces tidy? Outside of hiring help – which is not attainable for many of us – there are a few simple tricks that can help you keep your space cleaner and better organized. 

Check out the list – and be sure to share it with your spoonie friends and loved ones!

Cleaning & organizing tools.
Cleaning and organization tools.

Tip 1 – A Little Bit, A Lot

What on earth does that mean? Once when I was explaining my approach to tidying up to one of my kiddos, she came out with this phrase. 

You see, my philosophy – one I picked up from my mother – is that the best way to keep a space clean is to do small tasks as often as I’m able. Tidying up the kitchen or living room only takes a few minutes if I do it two or three times a day. That is much more manageable than waiting until the end of the day and trying to catch up with a whole day’s cleaning in an hour or so. (With a houseful of kids, our place gets really messy, really fast!)

So as my daughter once said, do a little bit – a lot!

Tip 2 – Work Smarter

When I run errands, I do what is called “trip chaining”. This means that I plan all of my errands so that I can stop on my way and get gas, pick up prescriptions, get dinner, etc, all on my way home from whatever store or location I was already going to. 

It saves time and gas, as well as stress – and it is a great way to clean your house, too!

Make a list or a mental note of everything you need to do, then see how many of those tasks you can group together. I tidy up the living room and carry things through the house to their proper locations on my way to the bathroom, kitchen, etc. 

My kids know to expect me to drop things off in their rooms this way for them to put away. The less walking I have to do, the less tired I will be afterward.

Tip 3 – Outsource What You Can

Obviously, it would be great if we all had housekeepers. This is not realistic, though, and most of us do not have friends and family who are willing to come over and clean our houses for us.

What we likely do have is friends or family who live in the home with us or visit regularly. Those people can help take some of the work off your shoulders. Simply delegate tasks to children or your spouse, or ask roommates or family members to pitch in if possible. 

Every task they take on is one less for you to have to do!

Tip 4 – Settle for ‘Okay’ More Often

When you are chronically ill or disabled, you may not be able to mop the floor or scrub the shower as often as you would like. When you can’t outsource these tasks, consider settling for a little less than perfect. 

I lean heavily on my (knockoff!) Swiffer mop and the shower cleaner that you can just spray on, let sit, and spray off. Are those surfaces as clean as they might be if I did them the old fashioned way? Probably not. Are they good enough? Most of the time, absolutely!

Tip 5 – Get Rid of Some Junk

My kids have way too many things. Toys, clothes that do not really fit, books they do not read, movies they do not watch, etc. It all sits around and junks up their rooms to the point of disaster! 

I cannot really be too angry with them, though, because parts of my own spaces are very similar.

I have a tendency to hold onto things I do not need. This has always been detrimental to my housekeeping, but it is especially so now that I am disabled. The big lesson I am learning as I age is that getting rid of the things you do not need is a good way to minimize the mess and make cleaning less necessary. 

Now, if I can only commit to that fully!

Tip 6 – Get Some Fresh Air

I get overwhelmed when I am stuck inside the messy house for too long. 

I have found that a good way for me to reset mentally and cure that overwhelm is to get outside and get some fresh air. Even going to the dollar store or pharmacy can help me with a change of scenery and a moment away from the mess. 

While this is not always possible or practical, even a change of rooms can help you mentally reset and rethink your plan of attack for cleaning your problem spaces.

Woman performing cleaning and organization tasks.
Cleaning and organization can be difficult for those with chronic illness and disabilities.

Tip 7 – Don’t Be Ashamed of Taking “Shortcuts”

Have you ever laughed at those infomercial products that are marketed ridiculously? Me too – until I became chronically ill. 

Now, I realize that most of those products and ways of doing things are aimed more at disabled people. Now that I see how much time, effort, and discomfort can be saved when using some of these unconventional approaches, I’m actually a big fan. 

If you are considering using one of these devices or a modified approach to cleaning or organizing, don’t be ashamed if you need a little extra help. That is what those products and techniques are there for!

Tip 8 – Function First

Just like my clothing has to be focused on comfort over fashion these days, so too does my home décor have to be focused on function. I would love to have more beautiful things in my home, but neither my budget nor my lifestyle really warrants those things. I need practicality, always.

Instead of glass trays and bowls, I use heavy plastic to hold things. I put those holders through the dishwasher when they get dirty instead of cleaning them by hand. I label things clearly, even if that makes them less aesthetically appealing. My home works for me and my family – even if you would never see it on the cover of a magazine.

Tip 9 – Use Technology When Possible

I love the fact that so many small tasks can now be done for us. From dishwashers and laundry machines with timers to self-cleaning devices, there are so many ways that technology has stepped up to make life a little easier for those with chronic illness or disability. 

While not all types of technology are currently accessible to all people, take advantage of what you do have access to – and consider upgrading when possible to make your life even easier.

If you have a smart home device or system, research how it can be used to improve the efficiency of your home – and the ease of your day!

Tip 10 – Prioritize Real Dirt and Germs, Let the Rest Slide

No, I am not suggesting that you should never clean your house. But if it comes down to washing dishes covered in old food and cleaning up after your pet over vacuuming and dusting, the first should be the obvious choice. 

My mother in law is notorious for saying “the dust will still be there tomorrow”, and she is right. There are some cleaning tasks that can wait, even if you planned to do them today. 

Get done what absolutely must happen – tasks that would endanger you and your family if not properly taken care of – and let the rest wait until more spoons show up in the drawer.

What about you? What are your favorite ways of approaching cleaning and organization as a chronic illness warrior? Has your disability impacted the way you organize and clean? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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