This week we are doing a series about cleaning when you're at low capacity. But I want to start by saying that you aren't a failure because you are struggling. 90% of people have a difficult time keeping up with their homes. The other 10% have lots of help, clean compulsively because they find it validating, or have the rare trait of enjoying cleaning with the mental and physical health to be consistent.
If you think that you'll be a "together" person once you can get on top of your home, I'm here to tell you that mentality is a waste of time. Keeping your space perfect is unattainable for most people. Yet we know that having things in chaos tends to stress us out. So let's aim to have a comfortable space. To do that, you need systems that work for your life.
Okay, on to the topic at hand!
I used to second-guess myself about everything. Take the kitchen problem- I'd dread doing the dishes every night and argue with myself about it.
Me: "I'm too tired to clean the kitchen."
Me2: "If you come downstairs to this kitchen tomorrow, where every plate has been used, each fork is dirty, and there isn't a clear space to make breakfast or school lunches, you will hate yourself."
Me: "But why is there so much work to do all freaking day? It's not fair. Let me be sad, no person should have to do everything all the time. When's the baby going to start pulling her weight?"
Me2: "The baby can't walk, but I know another baby who can, and she's running her mouth right now."
Me: "This is too much."
Me2: "There are shortcuts you can use. Why not use disposable plates while you're in a flare?"
Me: "No, the environment is in shambles."
Me2: "Paper plates are better, and it's not forever."
And so on. Finally, I gave myself permission to think about the things that would make cleaning the kitchen easier. Each time I'd start to argue, I'd be Doctor Evil in response: "ZIP IT!"
When you're at average or high capacity, you can do many things that you cannot currently do. And that is absolutely normal! So here is a list of suggestions that will enable you to conserve what little energy you have.
Know your energy. I don't have energy in the morning or the evening, but I like to wash dishes at night when the kids are in bed. This way I can put Netflix on while I work and pretend I'm having fun.
Have the right tools. Cleaning can be extremely difficult and having tools that work makes it easier. For the kitchen I suggest:
Dawn power wash to spray on pots/pans. Spray it on and let it work while you work on other parts of the kitchen. It'll soften up all the crusted food and save you time and effort.
Scrub Daddy/Mommy sponge. There is hype around these for a reason. One of my biggest issues cleaning the dishes used to be the way sponges smelled. It didn't matter what I did, they smelled of mildew after a few uses. Scrub Daddy sponges don't. If you squeeze out the water, they dry super fast and are extremely easy to sanitize. Pop in the dishwasher before you run it, and you're good to go.
Lysol wipes. I typically use a rag and disinfecting spray to wipe down the counters and stove, but when every minute counts due to how little capacity I have, it is far easier to wipe everything with disposable wipes.
Elbow-length gloves. I don't like feeling food or having my hands wet. I think it's an ADHD thing, but cleaning the kitchen and bathroom helps keep my hands dry and clean, and it helps. Plus I like washing dishes with very hot water, and the gloves protect my hands from the heat. (I'll put everything in a link here if you want a reference.)
Use disposable stuff- it won't be forever. If your space feels like a disaster, it will slow down your progress, if you're like me. You can use disposable plates. The plastic tend to be stronger, but paper plates break down better, environmentally. You can do disposable cutlery. If something is going to be cooked that you know is hard to clean (lasagna IMO), use an aluminum pan that can be tossed.
Ceramic pans. I will have a few linked in my suggested supplies below, but I have bought a ceramic pot or pan every time I visited Homegoods until I had what I needed. Along with silicone cooking utensils, these are extremely easy to clean and saves from having to throw out aluminum pans.
Ziplock bags. You can put leftovers in ziplock bags, which can be tossed after use.
Stool. Having a stool to sit on while washing dishes can be extremely helpful.
7. Have a cleaning order. I clean by categories, because I have ADHD and will easily get off track. When I come into the kitchen, this is the order in which I clean:
Turn on a show
Put away anything that's on my drying rack.
Put the food away. Stack pots/pans by the sink.
Gather trash and toss.
Gather recycling and put in bin.
Load the dishwasher with anything that doesn't need to be cleaned. For example, water cups and bottles. This frees up counter space to put any plates/silverware when you start washing up.
Wash the dishes.
Load the dishwasher.
Hand wash pots and pans.
Wipe down counters.
These are my best tips. Nothing makes cleaning the kitchen fun or easy for me, but doing these things definitely maximizes my time and conserves energy. Hope it helps!
Amazon list of supplies: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/4Z7FHGLJBY1?ref_=wl_share