When my son was growing up, I did all I could to keep up with him. It wasn’t always easy with my MS, but looking back I know now that I was lucky because he was an easy child to take care of.
But even good boys have a lot of energy, and going places together like the local playground, or doing simple chores like grocery shopping, was exhausting with a toddler in tow.
I tried to pace myself and I’d nap when he did. It worked out well for the most part.
But on top of trying to be a good mother, I also tried to be a good wife. And part of that (to me) meant keeping a clean house.
We were fortunate to be able to build our own house. We wanted to design a home around my physical needs. So when I became pregnant, we purchased land and began making plans for a new home and a new baby.
Our home would be a ranch, making it easier for me by having no stairs to climb. The hallways were built wider in case I’d ever need a wheelchair. Kitchen countertops were built higher to eliminate the need to reach down too far while preparing meals, and every bathroom had grab bars installed in the showers and near the toilets.
The washer and dryer was easy to get to, and the floor plan for the entire house was open and accessible.
But cleaning is cleaning, and it’s always fatiguing when you have MS. So I thought I’d reach out to my wonderful MS community online for tips they use to make it easier to do chores around the house. I added a few of my own, and now I’d like to offer our list to you. I hope you’ll find something that makes your life easier.
- If you have steps in your house, save yourself some trips by leaving items that belong upstairs near the bottom step. At the end of the day, grab those items (or place them into a bag for easier carrying) and bring them upstairs.
- Use pre-moistened wipes, such as “Wet Ones” or “Clorox” (most grocery stores and Target or Walgreen’s carry them) and leave a pack under each sink in the bathroom and kitchen. Use them for quick clean ups and sanitizers.
- If you have a pet, designate one central, easy-to-reach place (such as a basket) to store all of their toys.
- If you have cats, collect plastic bags and store them in an easy-to-reach area to use for cleaning their litter box. (We use a nice looking vase and fill it with plastics bags we collect. It’s not earth friendly, but it’s the best way we know how to easily scoop the poop!)
- Do a little cleaning at a time to save your energy. If you have limited mobility you should plan ahead how you will tackle your cleaning. For example, if you decide to pass through a room that needs cleaning, carrying a Swiffer with you allows you to quickly and easily clean dust and dirt.
- Look into investing in a steam cleaner. One friend said it is easy to use with its multiple attachments, and cuts down on labor. She recommends it as a superior way to clean windows, floors and countertops.
- Keep a stool in the kitchen so you can sit when you cook, or while you are using the stove.
- Purchase a “grabber” and keep it in the kitchen in case you drop anything that needs to be picked up. A grabber can also help you replace light bulbs that are in hard-to-reach places.
- Invest in some Rubbermaid turntables and place them inside kitchen or bathroom cabinets. They make it easier to reach items and keep things in place.
- Place a hanging rack over your washer/dryer to hang items you want air-dried.
- Chop fruits and vegetables ahead of time and place them into Baggies. Freeze them and use as needed. This saves time and energy. If desired, purchase pre-cut vegetables and fruits at the supermarket for easier use. (These may cost a bit more)
- Use fabric-washing bags to carry laundry instead of trying to balance a laundry basket.
- Purchase a lightweight vacuum (Hoover was suggested.)
- If it’s hot out, do your housework in the morning.
- If you live in a city purchase a rolling cart to use for groceries or other items.
- If you need to carry many large or heavy items, use a suitcase/carry-on with wheels.
- Flylady.com is a website for tips on helping you organize your cleaning routine.
- Use a toilet brush to clean the tub to save wear and tear on your knees.
- Pace yourself and ask for help. You don’t need to tackle everything at once. If you vacuum one day, dust the next.
- Don’t forget to enlist help. Ask, ask, and ask. Cleaning should be a family responsibility.
It’s a good lesson to teach your children the valuable lesson of responsibility. Everyone in the family needs to pitch in and help. Make a schedule and assign responsibilities. Post the schedule where everyone can see it.
What other cleaning tips can you share with us?