Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cleaning the Master Bedroom - Part 2

In part 2 of Cleaning the Master Bedroom, you will have two lists, one for those of you that need a basic list and a second list that is for a deeper cleaning.

Don't panic.  You only need to work from one of these lists, and these are suggestions. They are not laws or rules.  The cleaning lists are meant to be a guide, so relax and work at your own pace.  This is not a race, nor it is a time to push yourself beyond what your body is able to handle.  I have inserted hints along the way.  Before jumping in, read the hints.  They are important.

Number 1 Hint:  A timer is a great tool to use for cleaning.  If you have been very sedentary or you are coming back from a flare or relapse, you may need to work in short spurts, then rest.  I suggest setting your timer for five to fifteen minutes for each job;  however, when recovering from a flare, I have worked in short spurts of one minute to 3 minutes.  You know your body better than anyone else.  Sit down when you need to.  Moreover, do not forget to stay hydrated.

Hint:  Nearby, have boxes, baskets or hampers marked throw awaygive awayput away.   

Simple List:  Cleaning 101

  • Day 1  Pick up any clothes lying on the furniture or floors, that includes shoes. Put clean clothes away, put dirty clothes in the clothes basket or washing machine, and put your shoes where they belong.
  • Day 2  Clean trash off the dressers and bedside tables.  Use your marked hampers, baskets, or boxes.  Then, take care of the items in them.   
  • Day 3  Now, you can dust.  If it has been a while you may need more than one cloth or Swiffer Duster refill.  Microfiber dusters and cloths work well too, because they are washable, as well as holding a good amount of dust.  A vacuum cleaning wand or an ostrich feather duster works well on lampshades.  
  • Day 4  If you did not wash your sheets after raising all that dust, it is time to change your sheets.  Get some help shaking out your bedspread if you are not going to wash it.   And of course, make the bed.
  • Day 5  Vacuum and enjoy your clean, beautiful room.

Hint:  If you tend to be obsessive or a perfectionist, let it go.  You will only exhaust yourself, and most likely you will end up procrastinating.  Set your timer, and know your house is going to look better.  It doesn't have to be perfect. 

Deep Cleaning List (For bedrooms that are reasonably neat, because you       have been hanging up your clothes and you usually put away your shoes. )                      

  • Day 1  Pick up any clothes lying on the furniture or floors, that includes shoes. Put clean clothes away, put dirty clothes in the clothes basket or washing machine, and put your shoes where they belong.  Walk starting at the door, and go to each area of your room.  Remove items that do not belong on your dressers and bedside tables.  Rest.  Dust.
  • Day 2  Use the long handled cleaning wand on your vacuum cleaner and vacuum around the baseboards.  Rest.  If you have enough energy, vacuum the center of the room too.  (If there is someone in your house who will help you, ask for assistance vacuuming under the bed. Otherwise, do this another day.)
  • Day 3  If you like your furniture to be polished and you can tolerate the scent, you might want to polish your furniture.  This an optional item, but sometimes I like to do this because it helps clean off rings or anything that is missed with a duster.  Rest.  
  • Day 4  Wash and Change your sheets.  If you feel well, check your mirror an window for finger prints or doggy nose prints.   
  • Day 5  This might be the time to put up a new picture or change around your pillows, or maybe you should just enjoy a cup of tea in your beautiful bedroom.  A nap might be nice too.  Follow your heart and pace yourself.     

Hint:  We are trying to make our houses reasonably clean.  This should be a            process you enjoy, especially the results.  Perfection is not an option              here.  You need to care for your body, otherwise, you may have a flare            that keeps you from doing what you care about.

A Final Word

When we deal with illness that causes chronic fatigue, it is important to be patient with yourself.  Sometimes, a one week plan becomes a two, three, or four week plan.  The important thing to remember is everything you clean or declutter, no matter how small it seems, adds up.  Eventually, you will see a difference in your house.  

Moreover, you learn that even if you have a setback, you can take baby steps back to reasonably clean.  I have had to do this many times.  I would be nice to be able to say that my home is always clean and I am always neat. However, that is not the case.  When I have a relapse, I don't get much done. Things tend to pile beside my recliner.  However, I have seen an overall improvement in my attitude.  Instead of feeling frozen and being disgusted with myself, I know I can take those five minute baby steps back to reasonably clean.  

Finally, if you have not already developed the habit of cleaning up behind yourself, you will probably become more conscious of putting items away immediately.  And remember the old adage, "If you get it out, you  have to put it away."

I hope you have a fruitful week.  May you have a week filled with blessings.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Cleaning the Master Bedroom, Part 1 (Updated)

This is a slightly revised version of my previous article published in September, 2013.

When you are recovering from a flare or additional illness, give yourself a break.  You have to have a recuperation period.  Trying to do too much in one day will slow down your recovery,  therefore, I expect you to use common sense.  Pay more attention to pacing yourself and resting.  This does not have to be a perfectly thorough cleaning.  We will be coming back to our rooms again.  Do what you can do, and let it rest.  Be happy you were able to make a dent in the house work.

Your main goal and my main goal are to make improvements in our master bedrooms this week.  Of course, you always have the choice to devote your time and energy somewhere else, and I applaud that choice, because we are not all messy in the same places.  However, if you always leave your bedroom for last, try to spend some special time on it this week.

Before I list the suggestions for working in your room, I want to tell you what happened to me as I worked in my room.  Even though I had my room on my list several times in the last few weeks, I had only managed to make tiny little inroads.  I had dusting on my list.  It was not getting dusted, until this Saturday.  I also planned to wash the bedspread, change the sheets, and wash the dog, all in the same day.  Then, I added using furniture polish after I got off the dust.  The dust was thick:  I do not remember the last time I dusted the bedroom.  Yep!  It is said confession is good for the soul:  there it is.  

I used my timer.  I rested in between, and I still managed to overdo.  Last night the Fibro pain was all over my body.  Even my sternum hurt.  I could not go to sleep, and when my body finally told me it was ready to sleep, I threw up my medicine.  I had to get a basin and sit in my recliner with a towel over it, because I was too tired to stand up. I know this is icky, but I don't know any better way to remind you to take care of yourself.  Therefore, I slept in my recliner last night.

This is a warning and a suggestion, because you are only one that can manage your own body.  And even then, your body probably doesn't always cooperate.  However, when you pace yourself and do not try to get everything done in one day, things happen in the house.  And you can have energy left for tomorrow.  I have been doing well in that regard, until yesterday, when I became over-enthusiastic and got in a hurry.

This is a repeatable method of cleaning.  Remember, you are only to spend 15 minutes or less, depending on your strength to do these jobs.  If it takes you the whole week to do Days 1 and 2, that is acceptable.  If you want to make the master bedroom your chore for the day and your 15 minutes of decluttering, while you only tend to basics elsewhere, that is OK.  However, if you tend to this job as listed, you will end up with a reasonably clean bedroom. 

Cleaning the Master Bedroom  

(Nearby, have boxes, baskets or hampers marked throw away, give away, put away.)   

  • Day 1  Pick up any clothes lying on the furniture or floors, that includes shoes. Put clean clothes away, put dirty clothes in the clothes basket or washing machine, and put your shoes where they belong.
  • Day 2  Clean trash off the dressers and bedside tables.  Use your marked hampers, baskets, or boxes.   
  • Day 3  Now, you can dust.  If it has been a while you may need more than one cloth or Swiffer.  Microfiber dusters and cloths work well too, because they are washable, as well as holding a good amount of dust.  A vacuum cleaning wand or an ostrich feather duster works well on lampshades.  If you tend to be obsessive, let it go.  You will only exhaust yourself, and most likely end up procrastinating.  Set your timer, and let the perfectionism go. 
  • Day 4  If you did not wash your sheets after raising all that dust, it is time to change your sheets.  Get some help shaking out your bedspread if you are not going to wash it.  Sunlight will kill mites, so the old fashioned clothes line can be a plus.  I found a spray that will kill dust mites and not harm you.  I also read that vinegar and baking soda will kill dust mites, but I cannot find the proper solution.  If you are not allergic to dust mites or you have lots of static electricity in your home, I would not worry about the little critters. However, they definitely die when you wash those sheets and dry them in the dryer.

Pace yourself.  

You are making an improvement, not going for perfection.  When I put pictures of done rooms on here, you are seeing what the photographer wants you to see.  Can you see the basket of clean clothes sitting in a corner waiting to be put away?  No! Can you see the dog hair that is sitting at the baseboard where it was missed?  No.  

I plan to post Part 2 on Tuesday.

Have a good week!  Hugs, Deborah

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Master Bedroom, the Start and End to Your Day

On September 15, 2013, I published the beginning of a 4 part series on cleaning the master bedroom.  As I answered a question on my Facebook page Chronic Fatigue and Creative Decluttering, I realized this would be a good time to bring it back.  I hope you enjoy, as we review the easier way to clean any bedroom.  In fact, this would be a great way to teach your children that cleaning does not have to be a heart-wrenching chore.  

Image Courtesy of  [luigi diamanti] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week, I finished writing about the heart of the home.  However, would you be surprised that some people consider the master bedroom the heart of their home?  After all, it is a place where we should be able to retreat when we need some peace and quiet;  moreover, this is where we rest our heads at night, so our bodies can repair and be ready for the morrow.  Even though, many people with chronic illnesses do not get optimal rest at night, we still need to have a place where we can get the best possible rest for our bodies.  

A neat, well-tended bedroom is a blessing.  Have you ever walked into a bed and breakfast, a hotel room, or a comfortable guest room, and felt the almost instantaneous relaxing of your body?  Ah, what a pleasant place, my place to let down my hair, to put up my feet, and to find comfort and relaxation.  Compare this to walking in a room that has clothes tossed over various chairs, clothes baskets waiting to be emptied, boxes tossed in a corner to be out of the way, shoes lying in various places where they were taken off, weeks of dust on the furniture, and an unmade bed.  I can say this, because I have been there.  How about you?  Does any of this sound familiar?  

Image Courtesy of [winnond]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A bedroom does not have to be sumptuous to be delightful.  I have admired bedrooms that had stacked crates beside the bed for nightstands and unmatched tables for setting down items one needs.   The creativity of making a bedroom a comfortable place does not depend on a fat pocketbook.  However, there are some basics that make a difference in how a person feels when walking into his or her own room.  Here is a list of what I consider basic:  

  1. A chair with arms, so you can assist yourself in standing up.
  2. A dresser or chest of drawers for your clothes.  Even crates or inexpensive rolling carts will work.  If you want to dress them up, you could paint them or throw a scarf of some sort over the top.
  3. Tables beside the bed;  however, I have seen lovely design settings where stacked books were used.
  4. Lamps beside the beds and possibly a small book light for those that have spouses who are annoyed by light when he/she is trying to sleep.
  5. Closets are nice, but people used hooks and wardrobes long before there were closets.  Also, shoes can be neatly lined up under the side of the bed.  Some people even buy rolling carts.  I have a hanging shoe bag in my closet.

These are some of the essentials.  If you think of some more, please write a comment.  And I might add:  if you have CFS/ME or Fibromyalgia, you should consider a comfortable bed.  This is where I would put my money.  If you cannot afford a new mattress, at least top it with some sort of padding to cushion your body in the right places.  

Image Courtesy of [Maggie Smith]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Moreover, let me talk about sheets.  I am sure we all have our preferences.  Sometime in the middle of my bouts with Fibromyalgia, I discovered that thread counts do count.  It seems the sheets with a thread count of 600 or higher feel better when they touch my skin.  It is pitiful when even the sheets hurt your skin;  however, they have:  and, I felt desperate.  I could not stand to be touched for a time.  Just the brush of my husband's elbow against me at night made me stay awake for hours.  I hurt everywhere.  That is when we got a king size bed and I got a higher thread count in our sheets.  Let me add:  it was not my husband's fault:  it was the miserable illness.  How, anyone does not believe a person with Fibromyalgia is sick, is beyond me.  Thank goodness there is data now to back up what we feel in our bodies.

So there it is:  my introduction to a week of cleaning the master bedroom.  My goal is to walk in, to see and smell the freshness, and be rid of most of the dust mites in my room.  How many of you wake up with stuffy, swollen sinuses or with post-nasal drip?  I want my bedroom to be a launching point for my day, my own personal bed and breakfast room, and a place that oozes restfulness and peace to me and my husband.  

Finally, it doesn't matter whether you have children at home or you are the only one that lives there --your bedroom can help set the tone for your day.  I know it is your attitude that should set the tone for the day, but having a clean, neat room can make a difference.  I think order in our lives is an innate need, even a God-given need.  Therefore, I am looking forward to this week of working on our bedrooms.  Maybe, some of you will be able to do the advanced version.  LOL.  However, some of us have some heavy dusting to do.

Gentle hugs,

P.S.  Later on tonight, I will post the proposed cleaning schedule for our bedrooms.  I know there will probably be differences, depending on the state of your room;  so, please don't be frustrated if my suggestions do not exactly fit your situation.  If you have any questions, you can comment here or at Chronic Fatigue and Creative Decluttering.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Feeling Stressed, But Getting Better

                                                                         Joyful Moment

Tonight, I am letting go of the perfectionism that has been eating me for two days.  I don't think I'm  supposed to be doing Coffee For Your Heart
 By the way, I accidentally deleted the post I did on joy yesterday.  With a feeling of relief, I am bowing out of this series, because I need to let go and move on to where God wants me to be. 

My body needs time to heal.  And, my house needs whatever energy I can muster to dig out of the mess that has accumulated while I have been ill during January and February.  I need to focus on less than I did before I came down with the Big Germ.  I am letting the small joys of every day flit away, while I try to concentrate on too many things at once.

Have you ever found yourself overwhelmed by all your own ideas of the way things should be and the things you wanted to do?  Have you ever stopped and said, "Enough!  I am making things worse than they need to be."?   That's when it is time to stop and take stock.  Get back to baby steps, while letting go of any pretensions that have wormed their way into your life.

Message for Myself and Anyone Else That Needs It

Let go.  You don't need the extra stress.  

Baby steps are enough.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Make This a Week of Change

Every day is new, as is every week.  Do you have changes you would like to work on in your life?  Do you ever have lapses you worry about, because you are not as disciplined as you think you should be?  Get rid of those shoulds and start looking at the coulds. Say to yourself, "I could start with a baby step to work on the "habit"  I have been doing poorly."  

Or, you can join me in working on taking your prescriptions and supplements regularly.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How Cabin Fever Led Me to Clean Out My Make-up Drawer

My dear readers know I have been sick on top of chronic illness for three weeks.  Well, some do.  I haven't said too much about the throwing up this past week.  That is just icky.  I think it was a combination of the phlegm drainage and the antibiotic.  However, one cannot be sure.  Anyway, I went to the doctor, he prescribed medication, and I am better.  Now, I have another serious malady to cure:  Cabin Fever!

Yes!  Cabin Fever has hit.  I want to go to church.  I want to ride in the car.  I want to be around more people.  I need to do some of my own shopping.  Therefore, I am applying my own method of rehabilitation.  

  1. Dress (real clothes, not pajamas)
  2. Put on make-up and comb the hair
  3. Move my body  
I have been doing two and three;  but, I have only done one when I went to the doctor's office. 

 I really miss the day, the doctor  came to my house.  Yes, when I was a little girl, my doctor actually came to the house when I was sick.  Doesn't that seem more sensible, than a patient waiting in the car, because she is barfing? Not to mention exposing other patients to whatever is going around.  I was so glad when the doctor's office finally had an open examination room on Thursday.

End of that conversation and back to cabin fever. Today, I cured my cabin fever by shopping for new makeup.  I had decided I had to get makeup that was not contaminated by my eye infection and the flu.  Today, I washed all my make-up brushes in hot water, detergent, and bleach -- by hand.  I sat at my dresser and threw away makeup.  I will be adding pictures to "Saying 
Bye  to Clutter."  I also found my missing dental floss.

I got dressed, put on light make-up, and went to the drug store.  My husband was kind enough to drive me.  Thank goodness!  After walking around five minutes, I asked if they had a wheel chair.  The drug store did not have a wheel chair for customers.  What would they have done if I keeled over?  Oh yes, I would like to add that I wore a mask, because I know my immunity is low.  Also, I used hand sanitizer after I returned to the car.

Now, I will wait and see how I feel in the morning.  I plan on church or Sunday School, whichever I can get ready for.  I am picking out my clothes ahead of time.  Exciting!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Working at Your Energy Level

When inactivity is about to drive you crazy, and you have to do some housework or bust, jump in gradually.

Guess what!  Today, I actually got some work done:  Laundry Basket Emptied, Laundry Dried and Folded, Washed the Coffee Pot -- it tastes better if those old oils are washed off, and I spent time decluttering a drawer.  I would like to dust;  but my ear infection has been so bad and I have so much yucky stuff still in my head, I need to buy some masks to wear or make my own washable masks. 

When trying to return to your normal activity level, rest in between jobs.

I rested between everything I did.  I did not work for 15 minutes at a time, because my body made it obvious it is not back.  I could feel the weakness and lack of energy;  however, even with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the muscles will become weaker if not used.  Those of us with ME/CFS walk a fine line between using our muscles and not over exerting ourselves.  We need to use our muscles, then rest.  

Smile.  You accomplished something!  Then, relax and sleep well (hopefully).

I find myself more comfortable with myself if I put in a little effort, according to what I am able to do at the time.  I cannot always be thinking of myself as behind, because that is an indicator I have unrealistic expectations of what I should be doing.  I have also found I sleep better if I am active;  however, if I do more than my body is able to do at the time, I often end up unable to sleep. The fine line I do not want to cross is always there. So what is the best way to know when to stop?

Learn to listen to your body.  It will tell you when to rest if you listen.

I wish I had a magic formula to give you;  however, there is none that I know of.  This is a self-learned, trial and error ability.  Often, one runs into problems when the adrenaline rush of expecting company or wanting to do something so very much, he or she ignores the warning signs that pop up.

  1. How do you know when you need to rest?  
  2. Have you learned to work in short spurts with rest periods?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Are you a patient Patient?

Image Courtesy of [marin]/
Hello Everyone.  I saw my doctor again yesterday, and I am now on an antibiotic for ear infections.  I have been a sick puppy.  I had a swollen sore throat that felt much worse than a CFS sore throat.  So maybe this is it -- me on the mend.  Thank you for all the sweet notes, thoughts, and prayers.  I am going to be trying to gradually slip back into a routine, and I hope to bring you all along with me. 

From time to time, people with chronic illnesses get viruses and other types of problems on top of The Chronic Illness, whatever yours happens to be.  It's not fun, and it can be discouraging to end up with illness on top of illness.  In fact, my immediate reaction used to be depression over such things.  It would make me frustrated and angry to have  setbacks, because  I knew it was always hard having to get back on track, which never fit my idea of what "being back" should look like.  What I found out is being angry or frustrated over having illness on top of illness does not help me get well any faster.  In fact, it makes recovery time drag even more. 

Yesterday, I wrote paragraph #1 and #2.  I suppose that was my first effort in getting back into routine;  however, I can tell you now that not much is going to happen in that area.  I am still sick, fighting infection, and my body has become weakened from all that.  I did surprise my DH last night by having spaghetti sauce on when he got home last night and the water gradually heating up for the pasta.  All he had to do was bring the water to a full boil for the pasta and cook a vegetable.  Otherwise, we would have had frozen dinners -- so glad we didn't.

Today, it is obvious that "normal" is not happening here very soon.  Therefore, I may as well make the best of it with the occasional quick cleaning of an area in the bathrooms or changing the sheets.  Dusting is absolutely out right now.  In fact, I will probably use a mask or bandanna to keep that dust out of my sinuses when I finally do it.  Quiet activities are hot around here now:  reading, watercolors and sketching, puzzles, and TV.  Going with the flow is the wisest thing for me.  

To return to what I was able to do before I got sick, I will have to take one baby step at a time.  From experience, I know it will not be possible for me to get back to my prior schedule at the same place I was.  It takes time to build lost muscle strength after a period of inactivity, as well as rebuilding energy.  I will have to work on some habits I have let go while I was sick.  That is just the way it is.  There is no point in berating myself or throwing negative thoughts in my path.  It will hinder, not help if I become obsessed with "catching up."

Final words:  it is tough when you are a mom who has a chronic illness.  I have to admit to wondering how you do it sometimes.  I realize that part of being a mom is doing things you don't feel like doing all the time.   However, having been a mom of three children, I do remember pushing myself because I had to.  Maybe, I am paying for that now:  I don't know.  When I had children at home, I was healthier than I am now.  It takes longer for me to get moving now -- that is fact.

Moms and grandmothers who are caring for grandchildren, how do you do it?  What basics of life come first in you to-do list when dealing with being sick yourself?  If you don't share, I will give you my picks in the near future;  however, I would love to hear from you.  If you do not want to leave a comment by name, email me at deborahb.blogs@gmail.com and let me know how to credit your email response in my blog:  example -- mom of 3, Birmingham, AL.