- Keep the cleaning supplies you need for each room in the room, so you don’t have to use extra energy to go and get the cleaning supplies. That way if you’re standing in the bathroom and thinking, “The sink is dirty,” you can just pick up a spray bottle of vinegar and spray it down, then wipe. Then you are done for that section, no more.
- I will literally clean one thing in my bathroom every day to keep it manageable. So: toilet bowl, sink bowl, shower (which you can do sitting down if you have a shower chair, extra bonus you can do the tub with your feet), floor (which I just swiffer), doorknob/lightswitches. I may have days where I do nothing and so it takes a little longer, but eventually everything gets cleaned and while it may not all be sparkling at once, usually my bathroom is at least sanitary.
- For making the bed: get rid of the top sheet. I always get tangled in it anyway, it’s one less thing to wash, and it means you only have to arrange the pillows and pull one blanket up to the top of the bed in the morning.
- If you are trying to do laundry and getting laundry out of a top-loading washer or dryer, an occupational therapist told me to lift the opposite leg of the arm that I am reaching in with to avoid hurting my lower back. You don’t have to lift it high, and you can balance on the machine, but this really does wonders for helping save back energy.
- Fold clothes sitting down, preferably near where the clothes are going to go (say, near the dresser).
- Make sure your laundry basket has handles near waist height (or attach it to something with wheels) so you can get it to the laundry without having to physically lift it or bend. If you have stairs, then the laundry will not break, so just throw it down the stairs. Seriously, my doctor suggested this, and just clear the area at the bottom of the stairs and it works wonders. If you drag it, drag it with both arms so you don’t hurt one shoulder.
- For vacuuming (one of my nemeses), try to either (1) bribe a currently able-bodied friend to come and help in return for cookies or something; (2) make sure your machine is light and not one of those super-heavy behemoths; (3) push it with both arms and your body, not with just one arm, or you risk hurting your shoulder.
- When doing dishes, see how many you can slide along the counter versus carrying across the room. Carry them on your arms instead of in your hands. I have also considered getting a wheelie cart for this. Or just using plastic reusable plates (which are much, much lighter), and disposable paper plates on my worst days.
If you have the resources, consider trying to get a prescription to meet with an Occupational Therapist. Their job is to empower you to do the daily tasks you would like to do, but with accommodations you implement. A lot of the above I’ve learned from OTs. (And yes, I know, OTs take insurance and money and those are both hard things to have.) If that is a barrier I’ll try to come up with some more tips.
These are excellent tips. Thank you!