This Lazy Woman’s Guide to Housework

I have never liked housework. Now that I deal with fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, and arthritis, I’m less able to do it. It still needs to get done though, so here are some of my thoughts and tips to get the most done with the least effort.

Work out what your bare minimum is.

What do you have to have done for you to feel you are not living in filth? For us, that includes vacuuming, sweeping the kitchen floor, doing at least one load in the dishwasher, and a load of laundry. Remember, I have four kids, three dogs, and a cat. (We have 3 cats, but two stay downstairs with my mom.) Your list might look very different.

Add in extras when you have extra energy for it.

This might include dusting, washing windows, vacuuming the edges, mopping, cleaning the bathroom, etc. Everything will eventually get done, and you don’t have to wear yourself out in the process.

Now for some specifics.

  • Don’t worry about using dusting spray. Grab some Swiffer cloths or microfiber rags and go to it.
  • I only clean the outside windows maybe twice a year. Usually I stick to just the insides.
  • Using a cotton dish towel and non-streaking window cleaner will give you quick results on your windows and mirrors.
  • We don’t actually mop. I sit on the floor with either Clorox wipes or some spray cleaner and a rag and clean up any obvious spots.
  • We keep rags under my sink in the bathroom. I also keep doubles of many of my cleaners. That way, if I find myself suddenly thinking an area needs cleaning, I can spot clean easily without tracking down the supplies.
  • All cotton socks with holes in them become rags. We wash them, but if they are needed for a really gross job, it is no biggie to toss them.

Finally, if you have kids, put them to work. It is an important life lesson for them to know how to care for a household. Believe me, it is no good for them to move out and have no idea what actually goes into taking care of a house.  Here is a good example of what kids are capable of doing. I found this chart on Pinterest. There are many other versions available too.

Cleaning tips to make cleaning simple
Kids’ Chores by Age

Do you have any tips or tricks for making housework easier? Please share below or email me at leighbryant@flawedmessylife.com if you would rather. My links for Twitter and Instagram are also below.

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Try new things

Trying to learn new things can be scary. I’ve never been very good at it. I hate the idea of not being able to do something perfect right away. Unfortunately, that way of thinking leads to never doing anything, and that’s not any fun. 

I’m still not very good at trying new things in front of people, but I have started to try out some new hobbies and games by myself. Most recently, I have been working on learning to crochet.

I’ve always wanted to learn to crochet, and be good at it, because my grandma used to crochet. I have a few afghans she made. I’ve tried to learn off and on over the years. It seems like my fingers always get tangled, and then I give up in exasperation. This time around I seem to have it. Well, enough that I’m not giving up anyway. 

I made this rat bed for my neice, N.J., for Christmas. 

Self confidence, brave, new things

And I made this blanket for C’s kitten, Leo.

Blanket

This is my attempt at a pot holder. It works at least. 😉

Finally, I decided to try to make a mug cozi.

OMG. Yeah. Those are supposed to be straight edges. I really need to work on that. 😄 It still needs a button so it can be fastened onto the mug.

The important thing is that I really enjoyed doing it and I’m having fun trying new patterns. I’ll keep writing about my successes and failures here, so you all can share the experience with me. 

Do you have anything you have been wanting to do, but have been scared to try? Let me know in the comments below or on TwitterInstagram, or my Facebook page.
Ed

4 Cooking Shortcuts (Plus 5 Really Easy Recipes)

Even perfectly healthy people can find themselves short on energy at the end of the day. Anyone with chronic and/or mental illnesses knows that fatigue is a real problem. You still need to eat though. I usually find myself short on energy for cooking, so I’ve collected some helpful shortcuts over time. I’d like to share a few with you.

1) Buy frozen, precut veggies, like onions and bell peppers. This really reduces prep work. Bonus, they are easy to keep on hand and won’t go bad if you don’t use them right away.

2) Utilize canned foods. Veggies are obvious, but don’t forget about canned beans and meats. Canned beans are quick. They don’t have to cook, they just need heated up. You can buy canned chicken just like you can get tuna. It works beautifully in casseroles, and is much quicker than cooking up some chicken breasts and cutting them up.

3) A slow cooker is extremely helpful. It allows you to throw some ingredients in in the morning and not worry about it until suppertime. I especially like to use it on days that I know I’m going to have no desire to cook once evening comes around. A little energy earlier in the day is easier to find rather than later.

Bonus tip: Use slow cooker liners (found near the foil and cling wrap). These make clean up so much easier, so they are well worth buying.

4) Another appliance I’ve found to be a great investment is my rice cooker. If you use it to cook your rice before adding it to the recipe, it will dramatically cut down the cook time. I just start it up, go do something else while the rice cooks, and then throw everything together in the oven for a quick meal.

You can use a rice cooker for more than just rice. There are lots of recipes for soups, stews, oatmeal, pancakes, and more. I have quite a few pinned on my Pinterest board here.

Cooking shortcuts are just the start of course, simple recipes help also. The following are five of my family’s favorites.

Easy Baked Ravioli – Frozen ravioli and jarred sauce make these recipe super simple.

Swiss Cheese Chicken – You can make this as suggested, or use canned chicken instead and cut the cooking time way back.

Creamy, Cheesy, Chicken Spaghetti

Taco Bake

Crock-Pot Pulled  Pork – Surprisingly simple and super yummy.

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6 Tips for When You are Feeling Down

We all have down days. Whether you are diagnosed with depression, or just having a down day, some of these suggestions will help you care for yourself.

1) Practice Self-care and Nurture Yourself

I think top priority should be making sure you are clean and dressed. You just feel better if you have that covered. So, pamper yourself with a long soak in the tub, or at least grab a quick shower. Then get dressed in some comfy clothes. Psychologically, it helps to wear real clothes, so lose the PJs if you can.

Now do something you enjoy, and makes you feel pampered. Have a cup of hot tea. Get a massage or a manicure. Take time to read that book or magazine you’ve been wanting to dive into. Listen to some music, or just take a nap.

2) Engage Your Brain

Do something that really makes you think. It can help you to interrupt those negative thoughts. You might do a crossword, word search, or Sudoku. Perhaps you might want to learn a new skill. Try a new recipe with a cooking technique you haven’t used before. Learn how to knit or crochet. Try your hand at a new sport.

Journaling is another great activity for engaging your brain. You can write about what’s bothering you, focus on more positive things, or look up writing prompts to use.

If you enjoy it, planning can be great way to distract yourself. Plan a dream trip (even if you might not take it), what you want to do this weekend, a party for a fun event coming up, or anything else you would like to plan.

3) Get Moving

It can be tempting to hang out in bed, or on the couch, all day, but you are much more likely to feel better if you get up and get moving.

I think everyone knows that exercising can help your mood due to the endorphins it releases. Give it a shot, and go on a walk or for a bike ride. How about dancing to your favorite music? If you aren’t up for that, just try some gentle stretching. If you can bring yourself to do it, doing some dishes, or a load of laundry, will get you going and also give you a feeling of accomplishment!

4) Be Social

When you are depressed, or feeling down, it is easy to isolate yourself. That isn’t very helpful though, so try to get out of your head and have some outside contact.

One if the most obvious ways to do this is to call a friend to talk. Bonus if you can invite that friend over or out for lunch.

If you don’t have someone you want to call, try chatting online or texting. Maybe now is a good time to write someone a letter.

Another way to get some social interaction is to bake some cookies, and deliver them to someone. Perhaps you have a friend or neighbor who would appreciate them, or maybe a local nursing home would like a visitor.

5) Get Creative

There are so many ways to cover this one. We have already covered some of them (journaling, knitting, crocheting, baking/cooking, planning something, etc). You can keep it simple with coloring, drawing or just doodling even. There are many types of crafts out there to try, but if you are short on ideas, visiting a craft store might give you inspiration. If you aren’t up to creating something yourself, try visiting an art museum.

6) Be Spiritual

I, personally, am an atheist, but if you aren’t, and feel better when you pray, then do it.

Other activities that I feel can fall into this category include getting outside, deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness.

If you find any of these suggestions helpful, please let me know in the comments, and feel free to add in your own ideas! Perhaps I’ll make a later post detailing what my readers find helpful on their down days.

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My Inspiration for this Blog (part 2)

And then comes the middle…

In the midst of this, I started watching YouTube videos with the kids. They had some favorites they wanted to share with me, and I thought it would be good bonding time.  It turned out to be some great laughs for me. My kids have good taste!

I decided to watch past videos, and looked up their funny stuff on Pinterest. If you know me, you know this is typical. I’m a “researcher”. I always like to know more.

I learned that these two funny guys are incredible people. They care about their fans. They have struggled themselves, and want to be there for their subscribers. These men are Phil Lester of AmazingPhil and Dan Howell of danisnotonfire.

I found quotes like these:

It's a good thing to be strange, normalness leads to sadness. --Phil Lester

You are an independent mind in this universe that can do everything and anything you have ever dreamed of. --Dan Howell

Am I important? You are the center of your own universe, as a human with existence. So yes, you are important. Every human that can realize they're in existence, is important. Always remember that. --Dan Howell

Then I ran across these:

You are a human with one life, and it's up to you to make it the best life you can. -Dan Howell

You decide who you want to be, and do what you want with your life. -Dan Howell

These quotes hit me hard. Like “having a freaking epiphany” hard. I can actually do what I want with my life. I really don’t know why it took this particular wording, at this particular time, but it did, and it clicked.

So then I was thinking, what do I want to do with my life? What will make it the best life for me? It’s the same questions as before really, but something clicked in my head. So I thought, no matter what I do, what does everything I do come back to? I want to help. I want to help people. From there it was a matter of brainstorming and narrowing down ideas until this blog was born!

(Now, at the beginning of this, I stated that my inspiration for the blog was embarrassing for me. Why? Well, for some reason I’m a bit embarrassed to be so inspired by two twenty-something guys on YouTube. Is that reasonable? I don’t know, but there it is.)

Interested in more? Check out my Posts To Start With page to get started. Make sure you subscribe to get notifications about my most recent posts too.

 

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My Inspiration for this Blog (part 1)

I found a new purpose to my life in a kinda round about way. It sounds dumb, and is a bit embarrassing for me, but I want to give credit where it is due. I suppose it starts with a quote.

A story begins somewhere…

Over time I have read plenty of great quotes. Wonderfully uplifting, motivational words. For example:

Choose everyday to forgive yourself. You are human, flawed, and most of all worthy of love --Alison Malee

I don't know a perfect person. I only know flawed people who are still worth loving. --John Green

My Inspiration for This Blog pt1

There are so many more. These are great, but didn’t help me with one of my bigger problems. Not only do I suffer from low self-esteem, but I’ve been struggling to find a purpose beyond being a mother.

Trying to be OK with life in general not having a purpose didn’t help. I still needed a direction for myself.  For the longest time my kids were enough. They take enough time and energy those first few years, it can be very easy to let them be your sole focus. So, with my kids being out of the stages that require such intense focus, I found myself a bit lost. I didn’t need to spend all my time chasing them, researching solutions, and caring for them. I had unfocused time that was filled with nothing of importance.  This contributed to my depression to the point where my whole existence was centered around trying to survive depression and anxiety.

Now I have the right meds, and they made a big difference, but I was still struggling somehow.

Go to Part 2

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A Quick Family Overview

I’ll go into more detail later, but here is a brief glimpse at my family.

I’ve been married for 19 years. My husband, J, is my best friend. (I know. Cheesy.) He travels a bunch for work, but I love when he is able to be home more.

We have four kids. My oldest, F, is 17 and will be 18 in three months. Next is E, who is 15, then C, who recently turned eleven. Finally, we have W, who is 7.

I miss baby and toddler stuff, but I’m very much done having more kids.

My mom lives with us. This March will be 13 years. I honestly didn’t know if it would work for even a few months when we started, but here we are now with no plans to change anything.

My parents have been divorced since I was 5. My dad lives in another town about an hour from here. We see him every few months.

I also have a younger sister, R. She has two great kids, N.D., 14, and N.J., 10.

So, that’s the basics of who I’ll be talking about here. 🙂 Of course there are my in-laws too, but that will be another post.