Pain, fatigue and other symptoms can make spring cleaning and household chores… stink! We’ve rounded up some tips, tricks and life hacks for cleaning and doing laundry when you have a health condition.
1. Make a plan. Write out your cleaning to-do list (or find a free printable one online) and tackle your top priorities first. Pace yourself, even if it means spreading your chores out over several days or weeks. Think of spring cleaning as spring/summer cleaning – no rush.
2. Set time limits. Chelle Iredale, a writer for The Mighty who’s living with fibromyalgia, knows her cleaning limits: “15 minutes is a good amount of time for me,” she says. “Do what you can in that amount of time, then take a break. Re-evaluate how you’re feeling after each chore so you don’t overdo it.” Try to squeeze in some quick scrubbing or dusting sessions during TV commercial breaks.
3. Become a “no shoe” household. So what, if a few guests grumble? This rule will cut down on dirt. “When it comes to your health, do what’s best for you – not the masses,” Chelle says.
4. Pick products that make cleaning easier. It might be time to retire that ol’ mop and broom, writes Justina Bonilla, another Mighty contributor. Time-saving products like cleaning wipes, disposable dusters and wet mops can work wonders. You can even buy dust mop slippers and microwave steam cleaners these days. Also, shop online for cleaning supplies so you can take stock of your current stash and remember what you need.
5. Make things fun and comfortable. Listen to music. Or a podcast. Or an audio book. Anything that entertains or motivates you will make your cleaning session a little better, Justina says. Also, try to stay as comfy as possible by doing some chores sitting down (such as cleaning the kitchen table or wiping floor boards) and using a padded surface (think: garden kneeling pad or thick yoga mat).
6. Give into the urge to purge. Spring feels like a new beginning, which can make it a little easier to part with old clothes and clutter. Go with it! Less stuff = less work. While you’re at it, ditch some of your baskets and bins where junk mail and unworn shoes pile up.
7. Ask for help. Know someone who loves to clean and declutter? Time to phone a friend! And next time your birthday or the holidays roll around, consider asking for gift cards for a cleaning service or a new gadget (think lightweight or robo-vacuum) that’ll make cleaning easier.
Bonus: 6 laundry shortcuts! The Mighty recently shared a list of 24 laundry hacks for people with chronic illness, and here are a few favorites:
- Skip the hamper — leave the washing machine lid open and ask everyone in your household to put dirty clothes straight in the washer at the end of the day.
- Invest in a “grabber” to pick up dirty clothes off the floor.
- Use a rolling laundry basket (if you live on one level) or try large, lightweight reusable shopping bags instead of boxy hampers or laundry baskets.
- Set a stool or folding/camping chair near the washer/dryer to sit on and help prevent fatigue.
- Rather than sorting by color, sort into two baskets: one for pants, and the other for tops, socks and underwear — which makes for easier sorting/folding later.
- If you have closet space, quit folding and hang everything on a hanger.
Got any tried and true tips for tackling chores with a health condition? Join PatientsLikeMe today to connect with others and swap ideas like these!
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