Guest Post from Andréia ~ One benefit of being decluttered

“I have appreciated my decluttering efforts when having a party, as I wrote before, but never thought I would be finding myself appreciating them in illness. Recently I had health problems that forced me to do some bed rest. I have two young children, so it was only a “kind of” bed rest. However I did not have much energy and the little energy I had was devoted to the children, in the time I had to care for them alone, and not the house.

As you may all imagine, the house was left “to its own devices”. After one week of me doing nothing (my husband washed the dishes everyday) I decided to do something. Surprisingly enough, I only had three loads of laundry to wash (including sheets) and not so many things out of place. Did the house clean itself up? No. As I don’t have as much stuff as I used to have maintenance got easier. Make the beds, wash dishes, sweep the floor, put clothes in the washing machine and the house seems fairly clean. It seems a lot, but as I was a person used to 3 days of mad cleaning to get the house in reasonable order, that really is something else. It also gave me peace to rest. My house was a little messy, but it was not unbearable. It was not cluttered and out of control. I can say that being ill made me want to declutter even more. It made me see that, if I have even less, I can calmly manage a house even if I am ill and depend on others for a while. They will have no trouble keeping my house in order because there is little to keep in order.

As I have chronic conditions now (not life threatening, but that require care), I have to be prepared for bouts of extreme pain that may keep me from most day to day house chores and that will be harder to deal with if I have a cluttered house I have to keep on top of. As I get older I know my body will be more fragile and I don’t want to waste precious energy and possibly putting stress on my body that I can’t take, because of clutter.

As I had time on my hands (arm was hurt and I could not move the mouse, so no computer or internet for me) I started to think about all that I was still keeping that I did not need to keep. I thought about all the stuff that could be decluttered and make my life even simpler. I calmly evaluated room by room in my house and discarded in my mind what was not needed.

So what can you declutter in your house that would help to keep it manageable if you are sick?”

Today’s Mini Mission

Absorb ~ Read a book that has been sitting on your shelf for a while and then declutter it.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

  • Owning your life skill ~ By Doodle One of our long time regular readers Doodle has kindly agreed to help out here at 365 by writing a blog post for me every other Wednesday. Today is her first regular post although not the […]
  • Digging in the archives ~ Day 247 Decluttering due to illness Todays post from the Archives is also a guest post from one of my readers Donna Tressler. I hope you enjoy it. I have included a link to this post because Lena said in her email to me that […]
  • Simple Way back in the early days of my decluttering mission I wrote a post about keeping it simple. I stand by those words to this day and have pasted them below for you to study again. Here […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Andreia, I so understand that feeling of being able to relax when ill because your house stays in good shape. I have several health issues that cause a number of problems including chronic pain and fatigue. My mother is also 85 and having some walking issues. The best thing for us has been the decluttering. We have very few surfaces that need dusting, mostly laminate floors that are easily dusted, and bathrooms that are easy to keep clean. I was very pleased when a cleaning service declined working for us because they didn’t feel our house was dirty enough.

  2. Andreia, I am very sorry you are going through this illness. I hope that you are feeling better soon. 🙂

  3. Andreia, I’m sorry for you. I hope you feel better soon. At the moment, I’m afraid my room isn’t yet “sickness proof”, however, I’ll hope it will become less cluttered over time.

  4. Andreia, I too have chronic health issues and when I am not up to decluttering or sorting I take a notebook and mentally go through each room and jot down what I can get rid of. Then when I am feeling stronger I do the actual work. Quite a lot of decluttering is actually about thinking and making decisions and this part can easily be done from a sick bed or sofa!
    Best wishes to you.

  5. Andreia, thank you for this post. You have expressed everything that I came to feel myself a little over a year ago when I had a car accident and couldn’t take care of the house or do much of anything for several weeks. During that time of enforced rest I found this blog and was encouraged to begin my decluttering journey, motivated in large part by the things that you talked about, such as spending my time and energy on other things than taking care of stuff in the house.

    I hope you will recover very quickly from your health problems.

  6. Calico ginger :

    I hope you get all better soon Andreia! Your insight goes for all kinds of family emergencies, not just sickness. It is such a comfort to know where important papers are, be able to tell others exactly where to find things or put things away for you and not have your spirits torn down by the thought of an avalanche of housework to do when the crisis is over.

  7. It is wonderful to read about your positive attitude, even when you are facing challenging health issues. What an inspiring post and something for all of us to think about. I hope that you will feel better so you will have the energy to manage and enjoy the most important things in life. Good health is something that is more important than any “things”, yet most people don’t realize it like you have. Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you will regain your health.

  8. Andreia – am sorry that you have suffered recently and glad your husband stepped up and of course your darling wee boys giving you lots of hugs – I always felt there was a special sort of healing came from those little arms wrapped around you.

    Am so proud that your home managed to self-maintain during your bedrest. Alas last time I was bed ridden sick, three of my family turned into The Three Little Pigs – the 4th who would have likely taken over things like dishes and laundry was away and told to stay away. And of course, two days later The Three Little Pigs all came down with it and so guess who had to get out of bed?

    • Andreia – we had a break through last night! We watch Hoarders: Buried Alive with morbid fascination. At the end of it my daughter boosted it up the hall and started tidying her room frantically. Clothes literally flying out the door, I assumed that indicated they were destined for the laundry and took them away. On my return she had the wardrobe doors open and was pulling stuff out, literally flying out. Her clothes are more or less under control these days apart from use of the floorobe, but lots of stuff on the shelves in her wardrobe. Turns out her problem is obligation clutter. Things people had given her – things from years ago, things from someone that she didn’t want to receive anything from but didn’t know what to do with it, things from people that she thought she’d wait until she found the perfect person to pass it onto, notes from little cousins that she felt bad tossing out etc etc. So I told her we’d make an out pile in the garage and anything she didn’t use or love could go on that pile, she didn’t need to worry about finding these things new homes but we’d just focus on getting it out of her room tonight. If she wanted to be part of the re-housing we could do it over the next couple of days, if she wanted me to do it, I could take care of it. She was only interested in making sure a framed cross stitch made by grandma was offered to the little cousins first but the rest could go.

      As one of the people on Hoarders had a problem with obligation clutter, my daughter must have identified with her in some way and was off to head that off at the pass!

      As a side note, under her bed was clear – not a thing! Yay! If you remember the big mouse hunt earlier this year and we had to search under her bed and pulled out half a tonne of stuff while shreiking and tippy-toe-ing on the spot and waving our hands and teary eyed? Well she hasn’t stored anything under there since.

      • Moni, that’s so wonderful that your daughter suddenly saw the light. Happy Dancing for you and for her.

    • Hi Moni! I was bed resting, but I could still bark some orders! 😀 😀 :D. I am glad Hoarders: Buried Alive had that effect on your daughter. I can confess it had that effect on me a few times. I have found myself tearing papers and discarding stuff after a few episodes. I am happy your daughter is making progress 😉 and that mouse did render you a service 😀 !

  9. GracefromBrazil :

    So glad you did not have the added stress of having a house to care for. Take care of yourself.

  10. Hi everyone! I would like to thank you for your comments and encouragement. I want to clarify what I have so you will no be so worried: I have Osgood-Schlatter lesion on both knees that I discovered this year, so I can´t crouch, can´t lift heavy objects, can´t kneel (obviously 😀 ); I also have lumbar spine injury, which has to be treated otherwise it will give a whole lot of pain, it also makes me unable to lift heavy stuff, move in certain ways and so on. And I also have a bursitis on my right shoulder. Don’t be alarmed and don’t feel sorry for me. Although this conditions are chronic I can live with them very peacefully if I do physiotherapy and lots of under water exercise (aerobics). If I don’t I will have pain. And I can’t do the above mentioned things. But they are not life threatening diseases and I can live with them without pain if I take good care of myself.
    So now all that I decluttered has helped me to be able to care about myself in a way I would not before. That was the message I was trying to convey. All I have are just objects, stuff that I can live without. We have to focus on being well and the less we have to take care of, the easier it will be to take care of it. I am only 36, but I can surely tell you I am going to be a fragile old lady. So I want my house to have only things I can take of. I know I am very far from it still, but I am getting there. Thank you all again!

    • Just to add, normally I would answer everyone individually, but my shoulder is not helping… 😉

    • Andriea, my father had Osgood-Schlatter. He did well with it as long as he kept moving like you say you need to do. You sounds determined to take care of yourself. That’s good.

  11. Hi Andréia, firstly thank you for sharing this story with us. I am so glad that your home is in such good shape that you can take time to recuperate without having to worry so much about the state of your house. I only wish you didn’t have to be sick to find out this advantage of being decluttered. I do hope that your health situation improves.

    Having put up with a chest infection for the last week and a half I can appreciate what you are writing about here. After doing my usual Monday housecleaning, having not done it last week when I was sickest, I then got a call to say I was scheduled for a Defence Housing house inspection this Friday (today). I was overjoyed to think that, after not cleaning for two weeks and still only having to do the basic cleaning this week, all I had to do to be ready for inspection was to weed the garden and do a little pruning.

    Once again I hope you are feeling much better soon.

  12. Hi Andreia, my eldest daughter had Osgood-Schlatters, I had always thought it was a teenage ailment, I feel for you. It is a silent but debilitating thing. I hope it passes soon.

    For us it was a flood. We have a very large rambling house and I am super organised. Consequently though I knew and felt cluttered, we gave the outward impression of not being so. The flood was not disasterous but it gave me the excuse and the kick up the backside to start moving stuff. We have one room which is only used in the summer or for entertaining as it is ruinous to heat. That room, the Gin Gan (where the horses used to turn the grinding stones) has become our “holding bay”. Everything goes in there and is sorted into the appropriate charity pile, sale or tip. I have been reasonably strict about moving stuff out of there and not letting it take root, but so keen are we to let go that it is filling up faster than I can empty it!

    • Hi Gillie! Thanks for the support! Good for you on your decluttering efforts! Get that room empty, so you can use it again. My condition will not pass, because it is too advanced and it is irreversible. All I can do know is take care of it so it won`t advance and debilitate me even further.

  13. Andreia, I’m sorry to hear of your health problems. It is fortunate you were getting a lot of decluttering done earlier. You are young to be in this position, but all of us can expect to face some kinds of limitations as we age, so why not start now? Thanks for an inspiring post.

  14. Oh wow Andréia, that is a beautiful example and story. I have never considered that being a benefit. I love the fact that it not only felt great whilst you were ill, but it also strengthened your resolve to keep going. That is just so beautiful.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope your health stays positive for as long as possible.

  15. Thanks for putting your story on this blog. i really enjoyed this blog .