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De-cluttering Your Home When You Have A Chronic Illness

Updated on October 1, 2017
Terrielynn1 profile image

Terrie loves to help others. She lives with chronic illness and wants to help others to declutter, while still caring for themselves.

You can de-clutter your home even when you have a chronic illness. Please follow along and I'll show you how I manage to get it done. It might take twice as long, but that's okay. When your things just become stuff, it's time to de-clutter. Consider these questions as you go through the list of rooms, items, and memories.

Keep These Four Questions In Mind:

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Is it useful?
  3. Do I need multiples of the same item?
  4. Can I live without it?

Go through the house room by room. Let's start in the master bedroom. You'll understand why I start here by the time; you are done with this room. It will leave you with a clean, uncluttered room. Decluttering will not only give you peace of mind, it will also free up your space. Some people say to do it all in thirty days. I say why not ninety? Your health and well-being come first. Do what you can and take the time you need, just don't give up.

You will find peace in your space.
You will find peace in your space.

Set the Mood

*Turn on the music

*Open the curtains, let in the light

*Open the window, Fresh air is a must

*Gather 4 boxes to sort out things

*Grab a drink, refreshments a must

Supplies You Need For De-cluttering

  1. Four cardboard boxes.
  2. Labels- Keep, sell, donate and recycle.
  3. 2 Large garbage bags, one for the garbage and one for clothing donation.
  4. Spray cleaner and cloth, for dusting as you clean.

Make your bed and use as a table for sorting. Garbage and clothing go right into the bags as you touch them. Once you have the labels on all the boxes, you are ready to clean. The rules for sorting applies to every room of your house. Remember to start with a small area first or the floor. It will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Take a break when you need it and get a drink. Some organizers tell you to buy storage; I say stop, don't do it! De-clutter first. Once you have finished, only buy what you need.

Main Dresser

Bedroom Surfaces are clean and Items I am keeping are put back.
Bedroom Surfaces are clean and Items I am keeping are put back.

General Master Bedroom Sorting

Are your things just becoming stuff? If you answered yes, remove those items from your master bedroom first.

Take 15 Min at a Time to Sort and Purge:

  1. Look around the room and pick up garbage first.
  2. Pick up and sort any clothes on the floor.
  3. Put any items out that don't belong in that room.
  4. Use a box for items to give away or sell.
  5. Get rid of broken or unwanted jewelry and accessories.
  6. Remove books you have already read or don't want.
  7. Clear dresser and bed tables off and dust all surfaces.
  8. Decide what items belong on those surfaces before you put them back.
  9. Remove all clothing from the closet and pile on the bed.

Don't sort the clothes yet! Pick each item up and turn it around and hang it backward in the closet. We will come back later to sort and purge clothing. When you wear a piece of clothing, turn it around the right way. Doing this is going to help decide what to keep or get rid of later. Remember you have all day or a couple of days to do this room if you need it. Do the closet last or the next day. I treat the closet like it is a room. Once the cleaning is done, look around and take a deep breath. I bet you will sleep better tonight. Those who suffer from chronic illness will need to allow themselves to take longer.

(If you haven't worn a clothing item in two months, sell or give it away.)

Sorting, purging and cleaning leaves room for a more peaceful life.
Sorting, purging and cleaning leaves room for a more peaceful life.

8-10 Rooms In 90 Days

Even with chronic Illness, you can have a clutter-free home in 90 days. Freeing up the clutter and having space around you makes it easier to relax. By doing these tasks around your home, you will have peace of mind and space. Just remember to spread it out over the ninety days. Take a week to a week and a half for each room.

List of Rooms

1. Master Bedroom: Sort, purge and clean. Clean as described above. This room needs about a week to week and a half to complete, minus the closet.

2. 2nd Bedroom: Sort, purge and clean. Leave the Closet for last.

3. 3rd Bedroom: Sort, purge and clean. Leave the closet for last.

4. Master Bathroom: Purge makeup and expired medications. Then clean exhaust fan and dust. Make a pile of old towels and use them as grease rags in the garage.

5. Main Bathroom: Purge all expired items. Throw out any empty bottles. Empty the garbage, clean and dust while you are here. Shake out or vacuum the mats.

6. Laundry/Back Entrance: Throw out unmatched socks, empty bottles. Take items that don't belong there, back to their proper rooms. Dust, clean and empty the dryer lint and clean the vents. At this time sort coats into two piles, small or worn out. Shoes that don't fit or are worn out. Give these away or toss. If they are in good condition, then consider selling them.

7. Dining Room: Remove everything from the china cupboard or sideboard and set on the table. Start by removing anything that is garbage or broken and can't be fixed. Clean the sideboard and decide what items will go back. Only put back what you need, you love or use on special occasions. Sort into sell, keep or donate. Once you finish, clean and polish the table and chairs.

8. Kitchen: Do one cupboard at a time. Start with the lower cupboards and work your way around. Then do the upper cupboards. Clear off the countertops, clean and only put back the items you use every day. I find my kitchen feels cleaner when the counters aren't cluttered. Put small appliances in the lower cabinets for easy access. Don't keep ones you never use. Sort through it all, purge, keep, toss or sell. Clean all cupboard doors, inside and out.Take your time and take breaks, this room takes the longest. Don't forget to clean the windows. Seeing them shine always makes me feel good. Open a window or two and let the fresh air fill the room. Use two to three weeks for this room. Once the kitchen is finished, clean all the appliances. You will find detailed cleaning methods through this link. Cleaning the kitchen appliances, without chemicals.

9. Living Room: I left this room for last because it has the least amount of stuff in it. Use the boxes and sort, purge, toss and dust the whole room. Take items back to the room where they belong. If you have books, magazines or papers, limit how many you allow to stay. Nick knacks and decor need to be dusted and purged if you don't love them or need them. Clean your furniture while you are already cleaning the room. If you have a newer TV, shut off and clean with a microfiber cloth or lens cleaner. Throw away or recycle all unwanted items right away. Woo Hoo you made it through, your house sparkles and shines. Sit back and enjoy, you are done.

The Bonus Rooms:

1. Play Room: I call this a bonus room, not everyone has one. The same rules for sorting, purging, and recycling applies. You will need the garbage bag, four boxes, and labels. Sell or give away outgrown or too small toys. Pick up any waste or items to take to recycle. Go through old CD's, DVDs and Videos. Use the rule of 2 for 1. That means purge one for every two you keep. Put all in your sell pile, either post online or a garage sale. Toss games with broken or missing pieces. Sometimes you can bring them to art classes and schools. The items can be used for their art classes.

2. Garage: Hubby's bonus room. Tackle this room if you want. Here my husband is in charge of the garage. It's one place I suggest you have help. Not all the same rules apply here. Like duplicate items, my husband says he needs more than one of some items. You will still need to sort through and organize the area. Use a barrel for large garden and yard tools. Hooks and hangers for bikes, cords, and hoses. Use a cabinet for small tools and other small items like bolts, screws, and nuts. Small containers also work for any small items, including nails. Purchase a small metal cupboard for solvents, varnishes, and paints. They need to be kept separate from the rest of the garage items and away from heat or cold. Storage bins, containers, hooks, and hangers, work well for sorting and organizing our garage. Using organizing tools gets more stuff up off the floor. If you're like me, you might even have enough room for the car, when you are done the cleaning.

3. Paper Clutter: This topic is covered in an article I wrote. Click the highlighted words to read it. It's important to do paper separately, then take a break and complete the rest of the house de-cluttering.

Take Your Time

If Chronic Illness has you down.

Take a week to complete each room.

Don't over do it.

Take a break, do what you can.

Have a tea, sit and relax.

Use tomorrow for that task.

After Photos of the Rooms

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Master Bathroom. Fresh, clean and clutter free. Finishing the renos, next. Clean Dinning RoomThe other wall in the dinning room. Haha, after i saw this photo the paper has been recycled.Clean living roomThe other wall in the living room.Clean Kitchen, all cupboards washed down and de-cluttered. Come back to clean the appliances. When all the other rooms and closets are done.
Master Bathroom. Fresh, clean and clutter free. Finishing the renos, next.
Master Bathroom. Fresh, clean and clutter free. Finishing the renos, next.
Clean Dinning Room
Clean Dinning Room
The other wall in the dinning room. Haha, after i saw this photo the paper has been recycled.
The other wall in the dinning room. Haha, after i saw this photo the paper has been recycled.
Clean living room
Clean living room
The other wall in the living room.
The other wall in the living room.
Clean Kitchen, all cupboards washed down and de-cluttered. Come back to clean the appliances. When all the other rooms and closets are done.
Clean Kitchen, all cupboards washed down and de-cluttered. Come back to clean the appliances. When all the other rooms and closets are done.

Items to Clear Out In the Kitchen

Tupperware/Rubber Maid
Sell Small Appliances
Extra Dishes
Containers, no lids
Travel Mugs/ Coffee cups
Lids, no containers
If you have more than 2 of each size
Toaster or Microwaves
Wine glasses and Beer mugs

I don't know about you, but I had way more of these items than we need. Freeing up the cupboard and being organized sure feels good. No more dishes falling out and on my head.

Clear Out Expired Food and Spices

  1. Expired, spices
  2. Expired, baking goods
  3. Foods that are stale
  4. If you have more than one spice and both are partly used, empty one to the other. Then throw out or recycle the container.
  5. Don't keep foods you bought because of a sale if you don't eat it. Next time you shop don't buy items just because of a sale.
  6. While you are throwing food away, do the same with the fridge food items.

Make Some Money Then Donate What's Left

When you're all done and have taken a break, make some money. Take the Items that have value or are easy to sell and post them online. If you are up to it, plan a day and have a garage sale. Don't overdo it! I start by posting items for sale online. After that, I pick two to three days, over the summer and have a garage sale. Whatever items are left over get donated. By the time you are done and tired of selling your items, it's time to let them go. I like to donate to places that help others, at least it's going to a good cause. Leaving it in boxes stored away doesn't help the purging process.

If You Can't Sell Donate These Items:

  • Clothing that isn't ripped or stained and looks almost new.
  • Small appliances that work and you don't use.
  • Extra purses, scarves, and accessories.
  • Jewellery that's not broken and you don't wear it.
  • Unsold collectibles that your family calls hoarding.
  • Extra office or school supplies, donate to a local school.
  • Duplicate items, where more than one isn't needed.
  • The outgrown children's toys and those that are no longer used.
  • CD's, video's and DVD's that no one watches and are collecting dust.
  • Duplicate garage purge items and un-used tools.

If you aren't well enough to drive, to donate, call for a pickup service. Call the place directly. Look online or through your phone book.

List of Places to Call:

  1. Big Brothers Society
  2. Diabetes Society
  3. MS Society
  4. Got Junk
  5. Heart and Stroke Society

Don't Do It!

Don't pay for storage.

It defeats the purpose of purging.

It's a waste of time and money.

Don't forget, it takes gas to get it there.

Your mind won't be free of the clutter.

Then you worry about the fees.

That won't bring you peace.

Clean the Master Closet

The Master bedroom closet before I De-clutter. It is also my craft and linen closet.
The Master bedroom closet before I De-clutter. It is also my craft and linen closet.
The master closet is all clean and organized now.
The master closet is all clean and organized now.

Go and Clear Out the Closet

After you have finished all the rooms, go and finish up the closets. Take at least a week to complete all closets. Remember to take a break when you need to. Enough time has passed to know what clothing you wear and what clothes you don't. Start by taking out the clothes still facing the wrong way and lay them on the bed.

Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • Is it my size?
  • Do I love it?
  • Did I wear it during the purge?
  • Is it torn or discolored, faded?
  • Does it still have a price tag on it?
  • Is it just taking up space?
  • Could someone use it more than me?

Do this every time you pick up a piece of clothing or buy a new item. You will never have to purge clothing again. Please don't buy another item just because it's on sale. If you don't wear it, you are wasting money you could have used for something else. Next time you see a sale, set the amount of money aside you would have spent. You will be surprised how much you can save.

Like, the holiday you have always dreamed of having. Or maybe an extra down payment on your house. Once you have finished, going through and sorting the clothing, remove purged items from the room. Hang the only the items you were back up. Go to each bedroom closet and do the same. For the linen closet, purge towels and extra linens. Follow the same steps and ask the same questions. My master closet has been sorted according to color. Another way to organize is to have most worn Items, out front and the least worn at the back. I'll post an update when I finish the closet. I need to stop and take a break. Sit with me and have a drink, then come back to finish.

Following the steps I have laid out here will allow anyone with a chronic illness to be able to declutter their home without feeling overwhelmed. Take your time and remember to take a break when you need to. If you are having a hard time, extend the time I have given to complete each task. If you still can't get the cleaning and purging done then have someone to come in and help.

From my house to yours: Keep out the clutter and bring in the peace. May you have a new space and place to call home.

© 2017 Terrie Lynn


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    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Hi Flourish, thzank you. I do the same. Some people cant seem to let go even ith clothing that doesn't fit anymore. My grandson is a horder already. Some days I can only manage 15 min then I need a break. Have a good weekend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      Thiese are helpful tips. I like to break large tasks down like you describe because of my fatigue. Once I clear out a room and have items to donate I go ahead and donate them asap so no one in my family changes their mind.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      3 years ago from Canada

      thank you emily. Glad you like it. do you find the article helpfull?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Completely off topic of the article but you have a very lovely house, looks like a dream

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Thank you Tamara, for stopping and leaving a comment. That definatley makes de-cluttering a lot easier. Have a great weekend.

    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 

      3 years ago

      Wonderful article, here! I am a minimalist, myself, so I do enjoy posts like this one. Thank you for sharing!

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Thank you jacob. I new you would like this one.

    • Terrielynn1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terrie Lynn 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Thank you Dora. I was hoping to make it simple and easy to follow. I ended up making it a lot longer then I thought I would. I know what you mean, I always find more as soon I start to remove other items. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. Have a great week.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great ideas and good advice to take it in stride. There's always so much more to throw out than was expected. Clutter-free is my daily goal. You provide a really practical, helpful guide here.


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