Keeping Your Home Presentable When Not Feeling Well

Years ago, I helped my mother prepare for her Sunday School class meeting because it was her turn to host and serve a dessert. So we picked apples from a tree in our backyard and made two apple pies. I'm telling you, Martha Stewart would have been proud.

Those days are over. My mother is now 93 years old, and I am 66. Mother has had heart issues for several years. In 2017, my oncologist informed me that I have myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). We look for easier ways to do things these days.

Managing when not feeling well

How do you manage when you aren't feeling well? I don't want to pick apples or make pies from scratch, but I still want to keep my house presentable and sometimes have friends over.

Here are ten suggestions.

  1. Clean shoes in the house It is best not to wear your street shoes inside because you track in dirt, making your floors harder to clean. I have a favorite pair of house shoes, but you might want to copy Mr. Rogers and change into a clean pair of tennis shoes.
  2. Make your bed. When you make your bed, it makes the room look neater.
  3. Look around. When you leave a room, look around and see what you can take. For example, does a dish need to go back to the kitchen or a newspaper tossed in the recycle bin?
  4. Tame your stuff. Hang up your clothes and put items away immediately. When I was in college, one of my friends lost her purse. She looked everywhere. A classmate called two weeks later and said, "Remember when you stopped by? You left your purse here. I found it when I cleaned my room." Talk about a messy dorm room! Unfortunately, that happens when we don't put away our belongings. My friend's purse had been under all that stuff for days.
  5. Curb your clutter. Never miss an opportunity to donate. Last July, my friend Terri told me she was collecting for a garage sale fundraiser in October. I placed a box in the trunk of my car, and every time I thought of an item I could donate, I put it in the box. By October, I had a whole box to give her, and I didn't miss any of it.
  6. Process your mail. Open and take care of mail daily. Mail has a way of stacking up on the kitchen counter if we don't. I once called a friend to confirm she was coming to my party. "What party?" she asked. She looked at her unopened mail for the invitation and said, "Oh, here it is!" We miss out when we don't take care of our mail.
  7. Easy cooking Don't you love how you can toss in a few items in your crockpot, then have a delicious meal in a few hours? I watch for the easiest recipes I can find. The fewer ingredients, the better for me because I can't handle a lot of spices, and my mother has celiac and needs gluten-free. I frequently search for simple gluten-free recipes. If you have any, please send them to me.
  8. Clean as you go when cooking. Wipe up spills, rinse dishes, etc. My friend lines her cookie sheets with aluminum foil to catch spills when heating food. She loves how it eliminates messes. Also, avoid going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. Who wants to wake up to that?
  9. Have a system. Tired or not, things still have to get done. Think of ways to manage. For example, can you start a load of laundry when you first get up in the morning? Maybe you can fold laundry while watching television.
  10. Use your local businesses for help. I belong to a book club, and we take turns bringing cookies. Do I bake cookies? Rarely. I live near one of the best bakeries in Tulsa, so I order cookies from them and display them on my plate. I think Martha Stewart would understand. (If someone asks for my recipe, I fess up and tell them. It turns out that I am not the only one who knows this trick.)

Living with MDS

I was 61 years old when I started my treatment for MDS; I felt fortunate because I had recently retired. But, I don't know how young people cope with cancer. Somehow, they manage to work, care for their families and homes, and go to their treatments. Now, that's a superhero! So, what are some of your tips to make your life easier?

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