Basic household cleaning can stress both your brain and your body. These simple tips might help alleviate some of the problems, leaving you more time and energy for what you love. Check the kitchen-centric Planning, Organizing, and Cleaning page for more tips!
General Cleaning and Housework Tips
What can you do in five minutes? Pick out a chore you want to tackle, set a timer, and go! Stop when the timer goes off to prevent overexertion; if you feel pretty good after a brief rest, set it for another five minutes and start over.
If you use window fans to offset summer heat, be sure to wipe the blades down occasionally to remove dust and other particulates.
The sparkle and shine of silver jewelry and housewares provides an instant lift. Even the worst tarnish is easy to eradicate by following easy tips from the Society of American Silversmiths. If your item is only lightly blackened or if you don’t care to dampen it, use an impregnated cloth instead.
The flexible rubber groomers used for cats and dogs are also great for removing discarded fur from your furniture and carpets. Lint rollers work well for smaller patches of fur.
Cleaning lower walls and appliances can be tough: the getting down and the getting up exacerbate what is often difficult enough already. Try sitting on a wheeled pad or cart – something you might use for gardening, or like a mechanic might use to slide under a car. Even the little platforms that fit under large potted plants can work, as can skateboards, but you ideally want something with a brake, so the whole thing doesn’t roll away just as you’re sitting down. Add a cushion or padding for comfort. And always be careful!
Even on a blustery day, opening your windows for a few minutes will make your home (and your body!) feel fresher, even if you don’t have the time or energy to clean.
Cleaning is easier when fewer items get dirty. If you’re surrounded by your treasures – vases, statuettes, memorabilia – consider storing some items for a few months, then replacing them and storing others. Cleaning will be easier, air will circulate more freely, and you’ll view your returning possessions with fresh eyes.
Take out the garbage every day or two, so you aren’t stuck with a heavy bag on pickup day. There’s not much worse than a burst bag….
Are there a lot of beds in your home? Consider adding Velcro strips or glue-on snaps to the feet of your blankets and sheets. This helps prevent waking up in a tangle of bedclothes and makes the bed itself much easier to make come morning.
Your curtains and drapes trap all kinds of substances: dust, pollen, pet hair, kitchen grease, cigarette smoke, and so on. Unfortunately, hand-held vacuums and steamers usually aren’t strong enough to handle this workload – plus using these tools can be hard on your arms and shoulders. Once or twice a year, take your window treatments down and clean them, or have them cleaned, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Many of us are clutter collectors: we allow “stuff” to accumulate in a junk drawer, an out-of-the-way closet, an overflowing basement, and elsewhere. Pick out your smallest trouble spot today and spend ten minutes tidying it. [If the job will take more than ten minutes, consider devoting ten minutes per day to the task until completed to your satisfaction.] It might give you more optimism about tackling larger projects down the road!
Many fibromites also suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, making it difficult to find suitable household cleaning products. However, plain old vinegar can cut grease and grime, disinfect and deodorize, remove stains, and help you with a wide range of other household chores! Visit VinegarTips.com to learn more.
After using household cleansers, wash and moisturize your hands. Many common cleansers can dry out delicate skin.
One of the simplest labor-saving devices is a long-handled dustpan. To adapt the short-handled type, you can attach a dowel rod, yardstick, or a similar item.
For many fibromites, running a lightweight carpet sweeper over the floor every day or two can keep the vacuuming down to once every week or two.
Using a steam mop can make cleaning floors easier: no buckets of water to haul around or messy mop heads to squeeze. These mops are relatively light and easy to maneuver, and the cleaning heads are usually washable (air-dry, though). Moreover, they don’t require the use of soap or other cleaning products – an important benefit for those sensitive to odors. Make sure that the steam mop you select is safe for use on your floors, though; for instance, these mops work well on sealed wooden floors but can damage unsealed or waxed floors.
Placing a front-loading washer or dryer on a pedestal can reduce the awkward bending and stretching involved in many laundry tasks. Some newer models have matching pedestals available for purchase, or you can make your own (or have one made) with heavy plywood and two-by-fours. Make sure it is sturdy enough to withstand all the jumping around that a fully-loaded washing machine can do!
Clotheslines should be hung at no higher than your chest height: otherwise, big loads of wet laundry can put excessive stress on your arms and shoulders. Hanging two or three parallel lines at the same height can help spread out the laundry, so that it dries evenly without touching the ground.