So, where do all of these suggestions and tools come from? Why have I developed so many household management tools? I lived my life with a cane, a wheelchair, or from bed on and off for about 5 or 10 years (depending on how you look at it) of my adult life. I cared for a small child, two aging parents, my home and my partner through it all.
When you have little to no physical capacity you become very efficient or very frustrated. I chose efficient. So I did everything I could from my computer, my phone and my chair.
Once I was on my feet, it didn’t quiet down much. Years of accumulated projects, clutter and neglect had to be caught up. A career had to be re-established and my mom had a fall that landed her in a wheelchair, so the house had to be adjusted.
So it’s been busy, and yet to our credit, we are still here. On my bad days, my mom used to tell me that anyone else would be broke, divorced and on the street after everything we’ve been through. She always gave us credit for getting through it so well. I suppose it is true, sometimes surviving is enough.
So this is how I did it.
- Engaged a VA (Virtual Assistant) to make phone calls and background checks and interviews while I was in the hospital.
- Hired a housekeeper to tidy up, do laundry and make meals, and look after my baby, when I couldn’t.
- Hired a house cleaner to clean my house.
- Shopped from my computer and the phone.
- Created to do lists, packing lists, menu plans, and calendars to keep it all on track.
- Made checklists for everyone in the family, so that everyone had a job and knew what was needed of them.
- Did everything I could do to help, and to keep things running.
Before you think that everything is easy when you are rich. We aren’t. We are a middle class family who had to drain our savings to survive. So most of my suggestions are cost effective; some of them are even a little creative.
But mostly, they just work. Running a home isn’t easy for anyone.
If you are a career person, you squeeze everything into the few hours you are home; after everybody is done for the day and you have a free moment, probably less than a couple of hours a night, unless you are missing out on a ,lot of your sleep. And you probably are.
Your urgent to do list is as tall as you are and your wish list is ignored, probably lost in that pile of paper in the corner. The only answer is to simplify, prioritize, organize and outsource.
And that is the basis for my tools. I couldn’t function without them, without others to pitch in. Life is for living, not for surviving. If we prioritize and share the load, it becomes a lot more manageable and enjoyable..
I was forced to learn this the hard way. I never thought that I would have a housekeeper; it sounds like something only for the wealthy, and I’m not. But once I was forced to try it, I learned to accept it as a necessity to my work-life balance.