Housekeeping and Fibromyalgia – Where do you rank?

By Lana Latest Activity March 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm Views 3,596 Replies 11 Likes 4


People who live with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia. often have problems with housekeeping and controlling clutter in their houses. Let’s face it – if you are not able to clean your home as well as you used to, things can get pretty messy and unorganized. Living this way adds emotional distress to our lives. It also contributes to social isolation because the last thing you want are guests when you can barely keep up with your housework.

My ability to do housework as declined over the past few years since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. In the beginning, I wanted to still do it all and the last thing I wanted to do was ask for help. Needless to say, that didn’t end well but I have learned some valuable lessons from that experience.

I still struggle with keeping up with housework but with both my conditions pretty well maintained, things are not as unorganized as they used to be. And I also ask for help! I have even gotten my children involved as they are aware more than anyone else what my limitations are. I have also found better ways of doing things that involve pacing myself, resting and even praising myself for putting in the effort. The biggest thing that I have overcome is my level of comfort with things not being as perfect as I would like them to be. This is a big step for someone who has a Type A personality.

For those of us with fibromyalgia, we know housekeeping is hard and painful work. Has housekeeping been a struggle for you? Have you found solutions to keep your home clean without overextending yourself? Or have you simply given up? Has your attitude about perfection changed?

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Replies (11 replies)

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  • Angelsomy
    Angelsomy September 12, 2012 at 8:53 am   

    Good Morning Lana! It's so funny…I was literally signing on to share my mornings experience(I know …it's only 9:30…LOL

    I took some more of the wonderful advice that I found here and joined the YMCA for a free month yesterday(if you have horizon healthcare your first month is free(I think you get a free month also for just taking a tour but they get paid by horizon if you have the insurance…I digress…as usual) Last night, I highlighted all of the classes that I feel are simple enough that I may be able to at least attempt. My main focus though was a Tai Chi class that starts at 9 am on Wednesdays(it's my day off and I read that wonderful article about Tai Chi helping Fibro patients). Obviously, my plan this morning was to go to that class.

    Now seeing as it's 9:30 and I'm sitting here in my pajamas still…well I wont state the obvious.

    I woke at 8:45…my alarm going off but more importantly my pain screaming that I missed my medication time. Ok…the Tai Chi is out for the day(I am realistic when reality is screaming in my face). Let's look at the schedule(after I take my meds of course). Oh look…Chair Yoga at 11 am or water aerobics at 6 pm. Let's see how the day goes…Ok…I think you guys know me a little by now…Let's aim for the 11 am. I go to get the laundry that isn't folded out of my son's room in the laundry basket…Wait..his bed isn't made properly from 2 days ago(My boyfriend isn't only type A …he's more like OCD when it comes to cleaning…so yea can't leave it cuz he's gonna freak soon). Let's make the bed with the sheets that are sitting on the end of the bed. Oh here come the kitties that love to get made into the bed…and don't forget the puppy who can't be away from me…Ouch quit it ouch quit it…Whew bed is made…Where was I? Oh yea the basket…

    Move the basket to the living room so I can sit down and fold the laundry…why..Oh yea I didn't tell you(there is a point here)…I need to have something to wear to work out in…a large t-shirt. Oh sugar bunnies…this basket has folded towels in it…better put them away. towels put away…wow that's alot of laundry that isn't done in this basket in this closet…wait…focus…tshirt…Ok downstairs

    Ok…so my daughter has once again piled the clean laundry on the table down here for the millionith time even though I've asked her a billion times to put it in the basket…I digress. Put laundry in basket while looking for tshirt. Whew…ouch quit it ouch quit it Damn I'm sweating. Nope…no tshirt…Where the heck can it be…

    Dirty laundry in a small pile …nope not there…should throw that in the washing machine(more clothes for the clean basket to be folded and move the clean to the dryer). Still ouching…still quit it…still sweating…an idea is forming though…

    Back up the stairs to those clothes in the basket in the closet…go through all of them…ohhhh that's where the tshirt is…back downstairs …put clothes into washer…carry laundry basket full of clean clothes back up the stairs…Oh My God…

    It just occurred to me…I'm sweating…I'm sore…I still have a bunch of laundry to fold…I need a break now…and that t-shirt…it's not big enough to cover my leggings to wear to work out…Work out…damn I just did …I need a nap…maybe I will go to the 6 pm water aerobics and bring my daughter & son for moral support.

  • EdnaShukis
    EdnaShukis March 28, 2012 at 7:33 am   

    I so understand… I have lowered my standards too and one of the things I have added lately… Is I stop apologizing for my house being in constant disarray… It frustrates me so much I can't do all I want… and I let it bother me, but now that I quit apologizing I do feel a little better. I do little bits now… What can I clean in 15 minutes and then rest… I used to be able to be fast and efficient and clean my house in a matter of hours… but now it takes for ever. LOL… I usually focus on one room a week now instead of one room a day. I also had four children and worked full time so they all had their chores so when I had a day off, I could play with them instead of constant cleaning… MY son't got lucky wives, because they can so it all, clean, dished (which includes sweeping the floor) laundry, take out garbage, etc. and don't need constand reminding. My significant other is also very patient and understanding, He does not nag me about the messy house he just accepts… Everyone that knows me knows not to interrupt me when I am cleaning because I may not get around to it again for a long time. Like most of you I do also have RA and Osteo… along with several other diseases including the FMS… that absolutely cause me pain and fatigue. But every day I wake up alive I rejoice. I have another day. Yea!

  • W Fox
    W Fox March 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm   

    In the last few years my boys moved out on their own and its just my 14 year old daughter and I. I had to move last year from a 3bdrm house to a 2bdrm and it was then I decided I really needed to downsize. I gave a lot of stuff away and threw out all the clutter. Now, to manage the house, I use the swifter floor sweeper because of the pain sweeping motion causes and I bought a floor steam cleaner to avoid bending and scrubbing and use of noxious chemicals. My boys come over to help with the laundry and my daughter does the overhead cleaning. My attitude towards perfection has not changed so I looked for the products to modify my cleaning habits.

    I dont have a dishwasher but am looking for a new place to live that comes with one. Doing dish's is near impossible with my hands so I packed away utinsles, dish's, glass's and pans. I only have settings enough for four people as compared to before it was like for a small army. I do keep a lot of paper products and disposable forks and spoons on-hand for when the small army comes to visit!

  • EdnaShukis
    EdnaShukis March 28, 2012 at 7:24 am   

    I so agree! Thanks for the hints… I too have drastically down sized and I need to do more in this way, someday when there is no pain. LOL

  • Lana
    Lana March 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm   

    I know what you mean about the dishwasher. I couldnt survive without mine. I also keep paper plates and cups and plastic flatware for the same reason.

  • morningsunshine
    morningsunshine March 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm   

    Housekeeping is a huge chore especially when we're hurting. I use to wipe my floors up everyday when my kids were still at home. Now its once every 5 days. When you lack the energy, I seem to dread chores and it bothers me that I have no energy to do them at times. I need to give myself a break and not be so hard on myself but even that is difficult at times. My husband helps me out alot. When I feel good, I do catch up cleaning, when I hurt, I do bare minimum cleaning. Its a constant fight to keep up. So yes my perfection level has changed to doing what I can but it does depress me that at times I can't seem to catch up.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous September 12, 2012 at 11:47 am   

    @morningsunshine, br thankful your husband helps. Mine usually comes home about 8pm and starts with snider comments. Funny thing is I find all his dinner mess…dishes n beer cans where hr left them. I feel horrible that I cant maintain a neat home. I'm thinking of naming my dust bunnies …Lol. I know if I overdue it today, the next 2 are going to be useless and very painful. Ive had to take on pushmowing grass because no one else seemed concerned our house looked aabsndonrd. I really wish my boys were older to help with lawn and pool at least. See before I wasn't one to sit still, now its hard knowing each day is such a challenge.

  • Lana
    Lana March 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm   

    I have used the words "bare minimum" to refer to my housekeeping as well. There is no way I could do it all like I did way back before RA and fibro. You are not alone in these feelings. All we can do is the best that we can and ask for help.

  • morningsunshine
    morningsunshine March 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm   

    Thanks! It makes me feel better to hear there are others out there, feeling the same way. Between my osteo-arthritis, all my replacement joints and surgery and add fibromyalgia into this somedays are just plain difficult to get everything done that I once could. When I feel good, I do pace myself and try to get caught up but it remains a struggle. :)

  • pokey67
    pokey67 March 23, 2012 at 10:48 am   

    Hi Morningsunshine,
    I would put myself in the same category as you. I wish I could do more. My standards have relaxed a bit because if I have energy there are other things I would prefer to do… like gardening. I do go on cleaning binges but it is tough with the daily up keep. Just doing laundry one day can be challenging. I have come to accept dust bunnies as being frequent visiters to my house and more often than not my counters are messed with coffee spills and crumbs. I have a 7 year old and doing things with him can be energy and time consuming. He has frequent melt downs and emotionally he drains me.

  • morningsunshine
    morningsunshine March 27, 2012 at 3:04 am   

    I give you credit for doing what-ever you can do. I raised 4 children and had I had the Fibro back then, Well I don't know how I would have gotten things done. My Grandchildren take alot out of me being with them for a full day! I love when they visit but I get exhausted! I remember melt-downs! (LOL) Thanks for sharing…Good Luck and be easy on yourself! :)