I am a disabled veteran, was diagnosed with depression at age 5, and am currently PMSy, which makes my chronic hip and back pain worse. I can generally stand up, but not for very long.
For a couple of weeks, I’ve been really down and very behind on housework.
Here is how I do things that need to be done, with depression and chronic pain.
Step 1: Decide, “Today, I WILL do a thing.” and choose a thing to do.
Ew. I hate doing dishes and tend to put them off. Especially pots and pans.
Step 2: Ask myself, “CAN I do this right now?”. Yeah, I feel ok. My hips are a little sore, but my back isn’t bothering me at the moment. I think I can stand up long enough to get this done. There isn’t much there, and the dish drainer isn’t full, so I don’t need to empty it before I get started.
Step 3: Get started. Since I’m doing dishes, I gather every, single dirty dish from around the house and bring it to the sink. I also empty and clean the large side of the sink. I keep a trash can nearby so I can easily throw out paper towels, tea bags, straws, etc. that get put in there.
Step 3.1: Still getting started.
A lot of people like to put all of the dirty dishes into the sink and fill it with water. I don’t. I put a little bit of soapy water, maybe one or two inches deep.
And I wash one dish at a time, rinsing it back into the soapy water.
This saves water and fills the sink a little at a time. I never use more water than I actually need to. I also do this so that, when I am working, I’m not staring down at a daunting pile of filthy dishes. I see one dish, which I can totally do.
I also do not like to use a dish cloth. When it gets greasy or gets lumps of food, it’s disgusting. I prefer a baby bottle brush, because I only have to touch the handle. I am eliminating triggers and excuses.
I use paper towels on the teflon pans. I know they’re wasteful, but they work better for me than a rag that then gets thrown into a basket to be cleaned, maybe two or three weeks from now?
Step 4: Try not to focus on the pile. It’s shrinking, trust me.
At this point, my hips started to ache. It had been maybe 7 or 8 minutes, I really can’t stay on my feet very long. But I can’t take breaks, either. Once I sit down, I generally don’t have the energy to get up again other than to use the restroom. So!
Step5: Soak the big, nasty stuff last.
This non-stick skillet was really crusty and gross. It needed a little soak to break up the dry food. By now, there is plenty of water in the sink, too. This is a really good place to take a break, but set a timer so you don’t forget or give up.
Since I can’t take a break, I took this time to clean and scrub the countertop where the dirty dishes have been piling up, and to scrub the grime and gross from around and behind the sink.
My mother has a nasty habit of taking the dirty dishcloth and wiping it all over the countertops. It drives me nuts. Don’t do that at my house.
Now, at around the 12 minute mark, my hips are sending warning signals. Almost done, but…
Step 6: Not yet.
After the last dish is cleaned and laid out to dry, I clean the sink. The whole thing. Both sides, the faucet, the splash guard. Don’t let any food bits stay in the sink.
Ok! Now I’m done. That steel water bottle needs washed, too, but I am DONE. I can’t stand up anymore, hell, I can barely sit up straight after that.
So, why didn’t I just empty the dishwasher and refill it? That would be faster, yes. It would also require a lot of bending over, and reaching up to put the dishes away. My body isn’t that cooperative, so I leave it for Husband to do when he gets home. This is also why I don’t dry the dishes. He won’t be home to put them away for another 6 hours or so, why hurt myself more than I need to?
This is so great. Work within your limits, listen to your body, do what you can, and don’t beat yourself up over things like not using the dishwasher. Excellent job.
Q: I just started a new job where I’m working twice as many hours as I’m used to, and my schedule is all over the place (some days, some nights, a random day off in the middle of the week instead of a weekend). My routines are all screwed up, and my house is a mess. How do I figure out any kind of routine when my schedule is so unpredictable and I’m exhausted all the time?
This week, we’re going to be chipping away at the projects/areas we’ve been avoiding. Whatever it is that first comes to mind that you really don’t want to do around the house (crafting supplies! the garage! that box of junk mail you never got around to shredding!), that’s what you’re working on this week. Just 20 minutes every day, and then stop and get on with your life. You might not be able to finish it all this week, but any progress will be a huge improvement.
My project is my spare bedroom. I seem to think that if I can close the door, it doesn’t exist. My 20 minutes starts now. What’s your “I don’t wanna” area?
Hey UfyH, I live in Yurrup, and it is now 03.14 (the middle of the night/morning). Obvs. NOT a “reasonable hour”. Could you pretty please post this reminder at a reasonable hour for us poor sods over here, too? Cheers.
Hi! Unfortunately there are about 40 time zones, so if I did the unfuck tomorrow morning and make your bed posts for every time zone, that would be 80 posts a day just on those two, and I don’t think I’d have any followers left to see anything else I might post.
What you can do, though, is set the post to reblog at the right time for you (when you go to reblog, use the blue dropdown that says “reblog,” hit “schedule” and then enter the day/time you want it to post). That way, it’ll pass your dashboard at the right time for you.
To submit something, post it to your own blog and tag it with ufyh, Team Unfuck Your Habitat or Unfuck Your Habitat. There’s a good chance I’ll reblog it. I love to reblog success stories.
I can’t always get to all of my asks. I’m only one person, and I get a lot of repeats, rude asks, sometimes Tumblr eats them, and sometimes they can be answered by doing a cursory search (search bar is on the sidebar). If I don’t answer your ask, please don’t send three follow-ups asking if I got it or demanding that I answer it.
Please take at least a cursory glance at the frequently used tags page and the last few pages of posts before submitting an ask. I get a lot of repeats.
I do not have a degree from stain college. If you have a specific stain question, Google is your best friend. Someone out there has found the perfect stain remover, and it’s probably on the very first page of Google results.
Before and after pictures are my favorites!
This is very important: No matter how fucked your habitat is, you are not beyond help. You can make progress. It will take time. But it’s easier than you think.
If you are someone dealing with physical limitations, chronic illness, chronic pain, mental illness, or any other situation that makes getting your living environment under control difficult, please know that you are not lazy, and that we know that “getting off your ass” may not be easy or even possible sometimes.
We encourage anyone who has limitations to modify challenges, suggest alternatives, and, above all, put their health first. If you can only do five or three minutes of unfucking, that’s worth celebrating. If you accomplish something that’s been modified so you can do it seated or in shorter stages, we want to hear about it.
Q: I live with my retired mother. We constantly argue about how to keep the house clean. I say we need to list the chores/tasks she wants completed and when. She says I should just “see” what needs to be done. How do I get her to understand that we need a clear schedule? Without one, I feel like I’m cleaning all day. And even then it’s never clean enough.(more…)