Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Free Printable Checklist: How To De-Clutter When You're Depressed
As I've alluded to already, I have depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. I've been on disability for about a decade because I can't hold a full-time job. (I still maintain that having OCD should be a valuable asset when you're working for a genealogy website, but it also made me slow, and apparently that's bad)
Anyway, when I have what I lovingly refer to as a "crash day," I make sure the kids are dressed and fed and that's pretty much it. There's lots of sitting on the couch and staring into space while the kids watch TV and destroy the house. When I eventually snap out of it, the living room is usually hoarder-level terrifying (actually, not really. Those homes are SCARY). I have no idea where to even begin. I have no idea where all this stuff came from in the first place.
After years of experience and trying MANY cleaning and organizing ideas and programs and books and websites and checklists and organizers, I have found something that actually works for me.
I go by CATEGORY instead of by area or by amount of time.
I have done the "set the timer for 15 minutes" thing and spent that time overwhelmed. I have tried starting with one corner and couldn't decide between doing trash first or kids stuff first. For me, I needed something to do my thinking for me when my brain wanted to check out.
I now share with you this free cute checklist, as a PDF file through Google Docs, in case you get the same way. It's for the "overwhelmed" since having a checklist that says "depressed" on it can sometimes be discouraging. I'm 99.9% sure the mushroom graphic is public domain. If I am wrong, please let me know.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
If you want to redo it with your own graphics because you're not into adorable mushrooms, by all means, go to town, just be sure to mention me if you offer it on your blog or website. And don't charge anyone for it; that makes you a total jerk.
Anyway, here's what I do - I empty the washing machine so that when I do my first category, clothes and things made from fabric, I can throw them all in the washer. I literally go all around the house, not just one room, and pick up anything that can be thrown in the wash. If I find shoes, I put them in the shoe basket by the front door.
Then I unload the dishwasher so I can then go around the whole house and pick up anything that belongs in the kitchen and put them right in the dishwasher.
At this point I'm usually warn out already and I sit for a few minutes, have something to drink, and remind myself that depression is real and it's okay to need breaks.
Then I slowly continue down my list. If the house is really bad it can take 3 days to do it.
When I get the family involved, things get done much more quickly. It seems to work well with the kids. When I say, "please help pick up," they often stand there without a clue where to start, themselves. If I bring out the laundry basket and say, "let's throw in anything that goes in the clothes washer," they get more focused, and then we make a game of literally throwing towels and shirts across the hall into the basket.
I have my list laminated so I can use a dry-erase marker to check things off and then wipe it off to start over. You can buy sheet protectors if you didn't get a totally awesome laminating machine for your birthday like I did. I bet one of your friends has some unused ones lying around that you can have if you ask.
One last thing.
DEPRESSION IS REAL AND IT'S OKAY IF YOU HAVE IT. Be gentle with yourself as if you had a broken leg or were recovering from major surgery. It's okay to not be 100%.