House Cleaning when you are too sick to Clean

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by TeaBisqit, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. TeaBisqit

    TeaBisqit Member

    I'm up for getting into low income housing. And I was told that they will want to do a home inspection on me within the next few weeks to make sure I conduct my home in a clean manner. Well, needless to say, since I've been too sick all the time, my place is a mess. And the stress of trying to clean it is only making me worse. I'm freaking out. And it's so important that I pass it. They said if I pass the inspection, they could offer me an apartment within six weeks after that. And I really, really should jump on it. I can't stay where I am, can't afford it for too much longer, and I really can't do the maintainance or take care of it. But I'm just so sick all the time. Last night, I had waves of dizziness so bad that I even felt like I'd fall over in the chair I was sitting in. How are we supposed to conduct our homes in a clean manner when we're too sick to clean?
  2. msbsgblue

    msbsgblue Member

    My mother taught me when I was quite young that if you have it in your hand put it away, if you pick it up put it back where you got it, the same with dishes, wash what you have from that meal and it won't pile up. Hang up clothes while you have them in your hand.

    Now I have been ill with this 20 years, and I do get behind on mopping and dust now and then, but I can do one room of dusting a day.

    I also have the horrible almost blacking out spells but you just have to not give up.
  3. lkraft

    lkraft New Member

    Ever hear of Fly Lady? She offers a free internet program to help you clean your house little bits at a time. I have read lots of testimonials on her site of people that had debilitating chronic illnesses. The program is very easy and she is very encouraging.

    Here's the site:

    It's worth a look-see isn't it? I don't follow her program religiously, but the program has helped me keep my house at least manageable.

    P.S. If you like it and decide to sign up for e-mails, I would suggest you create an e-mail account exclusively for She sends a lot and they can get in the way of your regular e-mails. I have never received spam from signing up with her.

  4. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I will give you some desperations suggestions.

    If you can't deal at all, can you put stuff in big green garbage bags or cardboard boxes to be dealt with later? Is there somewhere they can be stored out of sight but not in danger of being picked up by the trash collector?

    I have "stored" dirty dishes I was too sick to wash in green garbage bags. I have thrown away dirty dishes I was too sick to wash, for that matter. I find it best to have as few dishes as possible. I "store" piles of paper I'm too sick to sort through or piles of clothing I'm too sick to wash.

    The biggest problem with this is that one can end up, as I have, with tons of boxes packed up with stuff to be dealt with later and later doesn't come. I am still waiting for later but it's nowhere in site.

    Once things are out of sight, a broom or vacuum must be pushed around which is brutal. And, sponges or rags or, if you must, paper towel with windex or some such must slide around the bathroom. Then, you're done.

    I know this just buys trouble later on but if I were in a situation where I was too sick to clean, which I am, and something important was riding on it, I would figure out how to give the appearance of having cleaned.

    And, if there's anyone who wants to get you something for Christmas, ask for a cleaning service and get as many people for as long a time as you can. If you can swing that, have them clean stuff and box it up instead of putting it away in the cupboard. Then, if you move, that's done and, if you don't, you won't be using and dirtying that stuff again so it's not so much of a problem.

    Please remember that I really do have many boxes of stuff that I swore I'd go through years ago that I cannot throw away because there are photos and books and other stuff I want to keep in with napkins and receipts from the corner store and caps from bottled water. It's not a long term strategy... well, it shouldn't be. But, desperate times...

    Best of luck to you,
  5. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    If it's in the next few weeks you should ignore everything I just said, except the cleaning service, until 3 to 5 days before the inspection. If it's too late to do anything else, do it.

    If I had weeks I'd make a plan on paper where I'd divide the job up into teeny, tiny, daily duties: on the way to the bathroom always take something out of the living room that doesn't belong there. When you wash your hands, swipe a bit of the bathroom floor kinda thing. If I didn't plan it, I couldn't/wouldn't do it because I'd always be intending to do it later which, as we have already concluded, never comes.

    If you had 2 1/2 weeks and did one very small task per day could you get your place in shape in 18 tasks? If not, could you get it in shape in 36 tasks at two tasks per day? 36 10 minute increments is 360 minutes or 6 hours of cleaning.

    Wow! This means I could do 6 hours of cleaning in the next 2 1/2 weeks if I do 10 min. 2x per day! Who knew?!

    If I follow the not messing things up advice you've gotten from others, I could be in much better shape in the beginning of 08! Thanks so much for asking this question!

    Who knew!!!

    Good luck to you,

    DRAGONSGIRL New Member

    Lots of great suggestions. Here's what I do for the kitchen. Paper plates, plasic silvermare, plastic cups. and buy alot of frozen microwave food in throwaway cooking containers. Learned from Irma Bombeck a long time ago that candles are great! They make the dust shiny! Also, because light hurts me, (my hubby calls our house The Batcave!)keep your blinds drawn and even tinfoil big windows (if they'll let you) if there's no light but a few candles they can't see the dust and it looks so pretty! And for emergency cleaning keep your sofa a bit away from the wall and drop stuff your too tired to deal with behind it. No food stuff of course. Then get (or have someone get you) one of those Gophers. It's like having an extendable arm. REAL HANDY to get stuff off the floor and from behind the sofa. But the best suggestion of all was by msbsgblue, take care of it WHEN it's happening! I'm an Air Force brat and we were taught that everything has a place and everything in it's place! So good luck and after you get things under control remember how hard it was to get it that way and do your best to keep it that way.

    Best Wishes
  7. Tawra

    Tawra New Member

    I run a website on frugal living but we teach all aspects of housekeeping too.

    With CFS and FM Flylady about killed me. Just keeping up with the emails was enough to send me over the edge. I've been sick for 19 years here is how I do it with 3 kids, CFS, FM and running a business.

    5 minutes at a time!

    I check email 5 minutes
    Go do the dishes for 5 minutes.
    When you so sick and you fell like you're going to die,Watch TV.
    Then during the commercials work on the house until the show comes on again. I can do a load of laundry in 4 commercials. Put it in for one, dry for another and then fold it and then put it up. Of course while it's washing I do other stuff for those commercials.
    This gives me enough streangth and rest time in between commercials to get myself up and do something for 5 more minutes.

    Now, my house isn't great but if someone came to inspect it and I had 30 minutes notice it would be really good shape.

  8. budmickl

    budmickl New Member

    So many wonderful suggestions here, especially Rafiki's. It's timely because I have pulled 70% of my "get to later" boxes out of the garage today. I hope to get my car in there before the next big storm.

    But back to you...

    Can you contact a high school and see if there are any programs where the students need to do community service projects? Perhaps they could come in and help put stuff in boxes, or away if it has a place, under your supervision. Then they can do the real work - dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom.

    Perhaps scouts could be a help too?

    Where I live, in my neighborhood, we have a community association. Part of what we do is help people who need it - any type of help.

    I don't know your age, but in my county, there is a senior services group that would be able to help out.

    I hope it helps a little!

  9. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    Do you have any friends or family members who could come over for a few hours and give you some help? Possibly even take some stuff away with them so that your place doesn't look too cluttered.
  10. RainSpirit

    RainSpirit New Member

    You might look online for help. There are organizations that offer help with all sorts of things, including help with grocery shopping, house cleaning, etc.
    I "think" (not sure) that The Salvation Army helps with this...Churches, Volunteers of America. In Washington State we have a resource information line that you can call also to find help with things "211", maybe there is something like this where you live?

    I soooo understand...I used to have a house keeping business, and now it's a Huge struggle just to keep my place somewhat straightened up.

    Good Luck
  11. petstoregirl

    petstoregirl New Member

    Hey, I was just wondering how you were doing! Even posted about it since I hadn't seen you post in a while.

    Just wanted to say hi and that I hope you get it all worked out.

    What works for me for cleaning is just doing a little bit each day. Just pick 1 thing, like getting garbage, wrappers etc into the garbage. Next day maybe vaccume 1 room (or sweep 1 room). Next day do some dishes. Next day take some wipes or something and wipe down surfaces in the bathroom. Etc. If you just take it 1 day at a time, you'll get enough done to make it passable. It doesn't need to be perfect, just not rediculous. :) They know you're disabled, so I'm sure they know you have limits. I think they're just making sure you won't trash the appartment.
  12. doloresf1

    doloresf1 New Member

    I just have to say RAFIKI, YOU CRACK ME UP! LOL

    Now, teabisqit. Hon, relax. It's not as bad as you think.
    I live in low-income housing. I'm disabled. They inspect us once a year. So I want to reassure you they don't expect perfection.

    Mainly, they want things sanitary. A clean bathroom and kitchen mean a lot. No garbage or trash lying around. They do look in my oven. They don't like grease baked on in there as that can cause a fire. They check for overloaded electrical outlets.

    Picking up clutter and running the vacuum helps. So does removing any piles of newspapers and magazines. Anything that would be considered a fire hazard should go.

    Do you have a pet? A clean kitty litter box is important. And clean pet food dishes.

    This is heavy work and you're going to need help to do it since you're feeling so sick.

    But, you aren't going to get the "white glove test". These people are human too. I often think my place is probably cleaner than their place is! haha.

    I hope you get an apartment. It's such a relief for me to be here. Small, simple living. And the management is nice to the tenants. Of course, I guess if someone doesn't pay their rent, then the nice stuff stops. But, I'm paid up.

    By the way, I get inspected tomorrow! I just glanced around my apartment and I see that it's good enough. I'm not worried.

    God bless you, tea. Love, doloresf1
  13. lkraft

    lkraft New Member

    Yes, I'm the one that suggested Fly Lady. But I got too 'into' it and it WAS too much. However, I have gleaned some tips and tricks such as the 5 minute thing. If you only work on cleaning off a 'hot spot' for 5 minutes, its handleable. If you do that for one week, you've spent 35 minutes cleaning off that place that collects junk.

    I have made myself some homemade bathroom wipes. I cut a roll of paper towels in half. Then I pour a little bit of liquid Lysol in the bottom of a tupperware container (that fits the paper towel roll). I add about 1/4 cup water to that then place the paper towels in. Once they are moist, I remove the inner cardboard roll. I pull these out to do a quick wipe of my bathroom counter or the toilet. Fly Lady says you should do it every day. But I don't! I just do it when I have the strength and its easier than hauling out all the cleaning supplies. Also, I love how she says to just take a scrubby while you're in the shower, put shampoo on and scrub down the walls. Not perfect, but better than it was.

    Yes, I agree that with having these illnesses, little increments seems to be the best way.
  14. pez23

    pez23 New Member

    If you have anything on the floor, you could get help, maybe from a college student, to put things into plastic storage tubs. You could use the inexpensive ones and it will look neat. They should be able to access the front door and windows easily. Good luck.
  15. meditationlotus

    meditationlotus New Member

    I'm not going to add to them. Rather I would like to make a compassionate comment.

    I think that it is sad that you are made to have an "inspection". If the housing unit wasn't government funded, and you were simply going to rent an appartment, the appartment manager would not inspect your present living residence to see how you clean.

    I really don't like the stereotype that this inspection presents. Just because people need financial help, doesn't mean that they don't know how to clean their homes. Wouldn't it be nice if the government could offer a service to help people who are sick like us - to help us clean? I'm sure that there are people that would volunteer their time, so the government wouldn't be out any money - just someone to coordinate the services.

    I just don't like the stereotype. But, just the same, I am glad that public housing exists and that you will have a place that you can manage financially.

    Best of luck to you.
  16. doloresf1

    doloresf1 New Member

    Yours was a nice post.

    My mother always said, "We are poor, but we're not dirty". I think of her statement so often. And you are right, poor and dirty are not synonymous. Thank you! doloresf1
  17. soozan48

    soozan48 New Member

    this place is a disaster. Years of declining health and not putting things away properly has caused a pile up! I am slowly working my way through it but it is rough when you are disabled. I got one of those automatic shower cleaners. I did what someone on here suggested a while back and close the bathroom door since I am chemical sensitive. It works. I shower then get done in the bathroom, hit the little button (shower curtain pulled) and then leave room and close door. It has been doing a good job. Since I live alone, I do not have anyone else to clean up after and I do not cook very much. I just try to force myself to keep dishes cleaned up right away. I use those swiffer dusters. I use my foot and rag to mop the floors. I saw slipper mops somewhere in a magazine! I may get me some of those! Vacuuming is really hard for me to do. I just do some and rest. Then do some more when I can. I may break down and see if I can get someone in to do a spring house cleaning deal. I am too poor to have someone in regularly.

    I have the dizziness problem too.
  18. quanked

    quanked Member

    Teabiskit, I hope that you got your apartment.

    I have lived in student housing--they periodically inspect. I have been a landlord and I can tell you that one pays the price if one does not do any inspections. Any successful landlord is going to do some inspections.

    I had to tear out all the carpeting in one of the houses I was renting out because the tenant did some major damage due to not cleaning. I also had some ceiling damage because I did not inspect so I did not know it was leaking.

    I agree with posters that talk about doing housework in small increments. That is what I do (of course I can tell you that sometimes I do not even do that lol) when I can not take it anymore. When too much clutter overwhelms me I try to take it out with me each time I leave my room. I now feel like I have accomplished something if I clean the toilet or the sink or the floor. It is a rare day when i can clean the complete bathroom. Not sure when this became true.

    But, taking 5 minutes here and there througout the day can help me feel like I have some control over my space.

    I know there are days when I cannot manage 5 minutes. Then, the dirt and mess do not matter to me anyway. Just getting through the bad days is somehow enough.

  19. sascha

    sascha Member

    can you possibly get someone in to do it, and pay?

    there is such stress trying to get place ready when we're ill- happens a lot with me- i can't predict when i'll crash and be incapable of anything, including talking to people. happened recently- relatives from England were coming- staying in a hotel (business trip)- coming to dinner, which my son was cooking- i'd arranged for someone to come clean, so i left it all to her feeling relieved that i'd have good chance of being in good enough shape to visit with them the night they came (my son was cooking)- cleaning woman never showed - i did too much- had to cancel the dinner at last minute- i was lying down two days straight feeling really sick. YUCK

    do everything possible to protect yourself, and your future. and report back in! best, Sascha

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