Spring Cleaning Your Chronic Life:
Five ways to make your home chronically friendly
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Many of us who have one or multiple chronic illnesses spend a lot of time in our homes, so why not make your space a safer and more enjoyable place to be? Here are five tips for making your home a chronically friendly environment.
1. Minimalize your home décor:
I am not suggesting that your home be a cold or sterile space, but to instead limit how many knickknacks, pictures, vases, etc. By doing so you will have less to clean. Do you want to use what little energy and strength you have cleaning or doing things with the ones you love? If you are not ready to part with your treasures, store them and trade them out with the ones on display throughout the year. The purpose is to make cleaning easier, not gut your home.
2. Put your wardrobe on a diet:
Is your dresser or closet bursting with clothing that you never wear? Get rid of them! Go through your closets and dressers at least once a year and make a donation to your favorite charity or homeless shelter. Doing a mass cleansing takes more energy than I wish to use, so instead I pull a few items to donate whenever I purchase new items. Plus ridding your space of unused clothing will help you find your favorite pieces easier.
3. Create clear paths:
Is your home so packed full of furniture that maneuvering through it is like going through a corn maze? If you are like me, balance is an issue when you are on your feet. One of the things I have done to curb how often I was falling was to create clear, straight paths through out my living areas. Not having to zigzag through a space has reduced my falls. In addition, I have strategically placed my furniture so that if I feel myself about to topple over, I can hold on or fall onto a soft chair. Clear and open paths also make it easier to get around my home when I need to use my walker or wheelchair inside.
4. Reduce heavy lifting:
I may only use my heavy mixer once a month, but I leave it out on my counter year round. If I had to pull it out of a cabinet each time I wanted to use it I would never use it. Leaving it out grants me one less opportunity to injure myself.
5. Create a comfy daytime space:
Many people with chronic diseases spend a great deal of time in bed. The problem this created for me was that there was no separation of daily life and rest time. At the time my living room furniture was only comfortable when I was experiencing a “good” day. After replacing the furniture with pieces that didn’t hurt to spend time on, I began spending more time out of bed. Over time my body finally caught on that the bed was for sleeping or riding out a severe flare. My body relaxes when I walk into my bedroom, because it is no longer the place where I spend all of my time.