Organizing Your Home:  
   Three Levels of Caregiving and Your Home,
   Home Care & Organizing Resources

Organizing your home on top of being a parent-caregiver may seem overwhelming, especially if you are not a natural-born organizer!  We are beginning this section of our site with a recommendation for resources that come from experts in the field of home organization.  We will also add in some articles specific to families with special-needs and medically fragile children.  We also want to hear from you!  Join our online community at TCC Forums, and you can share what works, and what doesn't in your home, as well as ask for solutions to home management and organization problems that you face in your family's home.  


From Lynn Morgan Rosser:

My personal approach is to look at where we are in our care for our children, which I break into three basic levels: 

        1. Crises
        2. In-Between Crisis - somewhat stable
        3. Normal for Us

1. Are we in crisis-mode (i.e. a child is in the hospital, a child is at home with a 24-hour care schedule,  a behavioral crisis, etc.) with barely enough time to crunch out the most basic day-to-day tasks?  If so, we let go of any notions of home-life perfection and, when possible, find help!   This is 'survival time' and prioritizing family basics is extremely important, as is reaching out to friends, family and community when we need help.  This is NOT the time to beat ourselves up over details or creating the perfect holiday.

This being said, if your child's condition requires an extra-clean environment for their health, then house-cleaning is part of your caregiving effort and has to be given as much priority as medication and therapy.  In this case, seriously consider obtaining help from volunteers or professionals, as you are able.  If you are not able to get help, start by concentrating on the areas your child is in direct contact with - their bedroom, bathroom, and the family spaces they live in.  If you have an infant, this is an easier task, as they are not yet mobile around the house.  Define spaces for toddlers with gates to keep them in 'clean zones' while you work on getting other areas clean.  Air purifiers may be important for your child's room and home in general - ask your child's doctor what is needed.

2. Are we feeling somewhat stable or in-between crisis?  Now is catch-up time.  There are many undone things left over from being in crisis that need to be attended to.  It is a good time for a close friend, family member, or if you can afford it, a professional team, to help you give your house a good fresh start.  Consider asking for a professional cleaning team gift certificate if your family/friends/community are able to do this.  This is a great time to recover, de-clutter, and get systems in place to make things easier for the next time you are handling a crisis. Prioritization is a key element - what needs to happen organizationally to make a sudden hospital visit happen logistically?  What needs to be in place to help with a sudden behavioral crisis?

3. Are things in a 'normal life' pattern, whatever that may be for your family (which for some includes an element of always being in or between crisis, and that is important to acknowledge)?  For our family, this is a good time to find a rhythm and develop good/better habits, especially if we've been flying by the seat of our pants, in and out of crises.  (If you are one of those people who are naturally good at house keeping and organization, congratulations, your talents will be very beneficial to your family!)

Below are some home organization and care resources, both books and online.  
Feel free to contact me with your own favorites!

Recommended Resources:  (This is a beginning list - a place to start)
 (Note & Disclaimer:  I am not making any money from these referrals, they are based purely on my own experience with these authors and sites.  Use them at your own discretion, keeping your child's health in mind.  Web sites may promote advertisements, other fee-based services and/or products that I have not tried and, therefore, cannot recommend either way.)

BOOK REVIEW:  House Works, by Cynthia Townley Ewer
My all-time favorite book on house cleaning and management as of this writing.  This book is particularly straight forward, attractively produced with great photographs, is logical in its approach, and has the unique property of not taking it for granted that you already know how to do everything, without talking down to you! This book focuses on making your home work for you and helps to banish both perfectionism and chaos. I like the focus the author has on 'clean enough,' which allows the reader to set their own standards based on their own situation - very valuable for a special-needs or medically fragile household.  

    House Works, by Cynthia Townley Ewer (also available through your favorite bookseller)

Other great resources that are fixtures on my home care shelf, which are available through your favorite bookseller:

    Organizing Plain & Simple, by Donna Smallin
    The One-Minute Cleaner Plain & Simple, by Donna Smallin

    Organizing from the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern

There are TONS of organizational, home care and advice books, websites, web pages, etc.  The important thing is to find something that works for you and makes your life easier!  I will be putting up articles soon on the additional cleaning and challenges of special-needs and medically fragile home care and management.  
Check back soon!


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