Keeping my house clean when chronically ill

cleaning tips when sick and in pain
This morning I cleaned my house a bit: the bathroom and the kitchen.

I feel really happy and more organized and clear headed when my house is clean and organized.
Of course, with chronic pain and illness, this is something that I have had to lower my standards on, but there are things I can do to keep it generally clean and tidy.

How I keep my house clean when chronically ill

Here are the basic habits I try to maintain:

1. Take the rubbish out every day: this is the basic must do thing for me because if the bins are full then the house does not get tidied of rubbish.

2. Have a clean and clear sink: this is the basics in the kitchen because a cluttered sink prevents any more cleaning happening in the kitchen.

3.Make my bed in the morning. Sometimes I have to lie back down on it after I make it but it is great to know it is made.

4. Tidy up one area before I leave the house. It’s wonderful to come home to a place where you can sit and relax after you arrive home. Don't forget it could be just your favourite chair and side table.

5. Tidy a kitchen bench before I go to bed. Waking up to a dirty bench where you prepare coffee, tea or breakfast is stressful. Having a clean bench is wonderful start to the day.

6. Delegate. Get others in the house to put away their own stuff and occasionally have a 10 minute tidy up that everyone joins in. It makes it more fun and when 5 people participate that's a total of 50 minutes cleaning!

7. Sweep. Just sweep the main thoroughfare and the kitchen. Don't try and be perfect.  I have wooden floors and a giant mop that glides over the floor. I do this most days and do not worry about the corners. It's amazing how a clean floor can make the house look so tidy.

These are my lucky seven. Of course I would love to get more done but over time and with the help of a pain management specialist I have become more realistic.

Handy tips:

1. Pacing: I must pace myself or I suffer the next day so I break my tasks up into 10 minute chunks. I figure I can do most anything for 10 minutes and then I have to change the activity or set of muscles I am using. How about you? Can you do 15 minute tasks? Some people may only be able to do 5 and some days that is me but, hey at least I am getting something done.

2. Lowering expectations. We may have all had a spotless house once but our situation has changed. I try to have one room where visitors can go that is clean and tidy. If I am having a good week the front hall might be clean too!

3. Have a simple house. Having many ornaments means more things to clean and more guilt when we can't clean them. I have decluttered my house to the bare minimum so I can maintain it. Even that is an effort, but the rewards are great.

Get many more coping tips for living with fibromyalgia or any chronic illness by joining my email list below.

Many thanks to Leo Babauta and FlyLady who have helped me over the years with cleaning ideas.


  1. Pacing is one thing that I do daily.

  2. I had to learn as I get pushing myself and falling down in a heap!

  3. Wonderful goods from you I actually like what you have done here, You make it entertaining even tho its about cleaning. I cant wait to read more about this dreaded disease. This is really a great website

    1. Thank you Hultquist, I appreciate your lovely comments

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  6. This is a great article with good knowledge of cleaning, thanks. i am in Chennai, on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India.

    1. Hi Nandhini, it's so good to meet people from all around the world. Thank you for your kind comment

  7. Michelle9:53 AM

    Thankyou for these wonderful tips!! I often feel overwhelmed by all that I need to do but am unable to do. I am going to try to take your advice starting this week! Have a blessed day!!

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