How do you cut the clutter and mess when you are exhausted and in chronic pain all the time? Lisa shares her experience with the clutter.
I have walked into the homes of people who live with chronic illness and the rooms are so dark. Navy blue blankets filled with dog hair, dark curtains, stacks of old magazines, broken lamps. The person will tell me how depressed she is, and I understand . . .
I know I cannot change her emotions, but I so want to change the environment. I want to do is start collecting items and running the washing machine, opening curtains and fluffing pillows. I wish I could leave her home feeling a bit more cheerful for her, then when I came.
As the new year began in 2012 I looked around my home and felt depressed. I had been decluttering for months, yet there was still: Too. Much. Stuff. I wanted a calmer environment. Peaceful. Serene. It took time and I have to constantly work to not let it build up, but at last, not every cupboard has stuff following out of it, every drawer getting stuck.
Do you love where you live?
When you are in pain and snuggling up on your couch, despite not wanting to be there, do you feel comforted by your surroundings?
I understand that many of us who live with illness do not have an abundance of money. Hands hurt or do not work well. Bodies ache and we can barely get to the grocery store, much less the craft store.
But, has your environment taken over your life?
In my home, last year, I couldn’t find anything. I used up so much energy just looking for something. I constantly had things falling out of closets or cupboards and bruising my feet for a week (tips here). My knee would barely unbend and yet I had to jump three hurdles to get to the washing machine to start laundry. It was a “danger zone.”
I remember when we had to evacuate for fires. I ran through the house filming everything in case it burned down and we needed the tape for insurance reasons. How embarrassing! I swore I would delete that tape if we never needed it. But, our video tapes are kind of disorganized so I have no ideas where it is, except “in the box” of tapes.
For years, most of my clothes lived on a pile in my room. My husband had gradually taken over our walk-in closet and I could no longer walk in it and the clothes in there were too small anyway.
So, for the last year and a half, I have been on a quest to get organized, to be intentional about what goes where. Some things I am still struggling with, like mail piling up, the garage being a dumping ground of the whole family, my son’s Legos that seem to multiply every night. But still, I am pressing on. I began with attempting to clean a one-foot square area per day, Monday – Friday.
I am going to share some posts here at Rest Ministries for awhile about getting organized, decluttering, crafty projects on a budget, how to use Pinterest to change your life, and how to simplify. I think it is one of the dark hidden secrets among many of those of us with chronic illness. The junk.
We aren’t hoarders–we just have no energy left over to clean, carry stuff outside, move things to the right location, etc.
Have I got it all figured out?
Hardly! But thankfully, I can see progress.
I love to create. I used to cross-stitch and do all kinds of crafts that used a lot of finger power. Now with deformed hands and four silicone joints, I cannot do those any longer. But creating is still a part of who I am–it balances me out. It gives a different part of my brain a chance to work, and something more fun to think about.
If you are not a crafty person, that is okay. You can read these posts, or hit delete. Please don’t feel obligated to start creating… but if you have put away your crafty side for awhile, buried it under the pile of “who I used to be,” maybe it is time to get it out and shake the dust off and join us for some new adventures. Why crafts? Because “getting organized” sometimes means finding a new way of doing something, a new use for an old item, a different way of arranging things, learning what motivates you to put something away rather than leave it on the counter.
And sometimes that means you have to get out a little glue, a cardboard box, or some duct tape. Don’t be scared. I’ll walk you through it. (smile)
And I would love to see your decluttering projects! Perhaps you will even be brave enough to have a before and after photo.
You can upload your photos anywhere you wish (our Sunroom, Facebook (with public status on the image), Flickr, Pinterest, your own web site, etc.) and then link it here to our “Project Declutter Link Party.” That way we can all oooh and ahhh over your ideas and encourage you and maybe borrow a few of your ideas.
Let’s tackle the mess!
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.
Follow Rest Ministries on Pinterest for some stuff we love for those who are chronically ill, from products to recipes, quotations to tips to make life easier.