Chronic Illness and Cleaning

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

I hate cleaning. I hate it with a burning passion, because it takes time and energy and effort and then you have to do it all over again next week. I like things to be done once and then stay done. Which, sadly, isn’t the case for the dishes, or the dust, or the cat litter trays, or the bathroom, or the toilet, or the carpet, or the cat hair …

I live with two lads who firmly believe that cleaning is a thing you do once every six months when it’s a flat inspection and that’s about it. If anything was cleaned, it was me who did it. Including most of the dishes. A few years ago we decided on a compromise: we’d all pay a bit extra, and each week we would have someone come over and clean the communal areas for an hour, these being the floors of every door that’s open (so my flatmate can leave his office door open if he wants and it’ll get vacuumed), the bathroom, and the toilet. It worked out fantastically for everyone involved – I suddenly had more spoons to spend elsewhere, and we all got a nice clean house.

Unfortunately COVID is a thing and my amazing cleaner is half way up the country at home. I’ve been managing to vaguely keep on top of at least the cat and dog hair, and the bathroom, but the toilet’s gone to the lads. Even more unfortunately we have a flat inspection in three days.

So I get to do all the cleaning.

Now I’m the kind of person who likes to get up, do everything in one hit, and then sit back down again. This sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. I’d read somewhere about doing things in bits, and taking rests in between – a concept that fills me with deep unease and no small amount of misdirected anger. Since I have only a few days to get the house to rights, and then a full week ahead of me (with a full day of driving immediately after that), I figured I should probably do the sensible thing and pace myself.

I got up, I cleaned a few more spots of cat puke off the carpet, liberally applied toilet duck (although at this point I’m convinced the toilet requires an exorcism), and sprayed the cleaning product all over the shower stall. Then I lay down for 40 minutes.

It was a bloody challenge to haul myself off the couch again and continue cleaning, but get up I did, and thus I cleaned. I did the shower stall and the sink, and lay back down. Then I got up and went out to the paddock for the first time in days.

And you know what? I think this whole ‘doing a bit at a time and then resting’ has a lot more going for it than my usual ‘DO ALL THE THINGS AT ONE TIME’. And I didn’t combust with misplaced rage while doing it, either. I’ll have to experiment with it more!