Over the month of April RheumatoidArthritis.net will be discussing Spring Cleaning. We know that living with a chronic condition like RA can make those household chores even more difficult. We want to support each other in any way we can and discuss ways in which we can make spring cleaning easier.
Do you have any tips and tricks you’d like to share?
Or tell us what your least favorite chore is and how you get around to doing it?
Thinking of anything else…. come join the forum conversation!!!
Well as a guy, I go BIG, the leaf blower gets a good workout when the weather hits 50 Deg out. Works magic blowing out all the sand, gravel, salt, and anything else left behind after melting out of the Wisconsin winter that gets brought home on the underside of the car. It also does wonders “cleaning” out the inside of the old work van. I told you it was a guy thing.
There’s so much to be done in the spring and I know I need some kind of plan, but I wouldn’t know where to start. We bought our house new in 1995, and it’s all I ever dreamed of. Now when I think about cleaning, I just wish I could afford a cleaning company to come one day and do everything in a day. My fatigue is at the ridiculous level, but in my mind…ahhh, that’s where I can get a lot done. When it comes to reality, I would rather sit and have a good cry. There’s a lot I need to just give to goodwill so I won’t ever have to clean it again. I might take my husband’s advice and let him throw lots of things away in one swoop. Then I think of all the things that “might” be needed, or that could have sentimental value. Then I’m stuck wondering what I have piled up in drawers and the attic. I get depressed and feel guilty, and it’s back in that crazy circle again.
Any thoughts on how to even start, or should I just let it be thrown out?
Eebtool. if I could clean the inside with a leaf blower, I would!
Hi wannabe-healthy. I’m sure it can feel overwhelming, especially if you start thinking about the whole project. What works for my wife (Kelly Mack, a contributor here) and I is to break the decluttering up into pieces. One weekend, the walk-in closet. The next weekend, the hall closet, etc… Can’t say if this will work for you, but just an idea. Keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)
Richard, I appreciate the advice and will keep it in mind. It’s great to have a partner of like mind. My husband, who is my excellent caregiver, is recovering from foot surgery. I’m trying my best to do for him, keep up the laundry, dishes, taking our dog out, and so on. I want to help him as much as he helps me, but there’s no way. I’m taking a break now and will soon finish the laundry. Spring cleaning is on hold until he is back to himself, so it could be summer cleaning for me. Thanks! Donna
Hi wannabe-healthy, while Richard’s idea sounds reasonable, the reality of dealing with my RA and severe OA, and a bevy of other major medical conditions, is that decluttering one thing like a hall closet is too taxing. On a day when I’m feeling good, I’ll tackle one shelf in the closet. If I still feel okay … i.e., before I start a drip fest from my temples and neck, I might attempt another shelf. On a day when I’m feeling remarkably good, my husband drops everything to go mountain biking with me. Those days are infrequent. 😉 If that means the hall closet doesn’t get decluttered, I know my priorities… and thankfully so does he. Right now I’m resting after a shower. I wonder how many of us must rest after showering?
As for the discard decision made by your husband … what my husband does is show me what he’s going to throw out, while I rest. I have needed to become ruthless about what to discard, but also compassionate in another way. Our discards are picked up by a rescue mission from our front porch. Someone needier than me will be able to use my discards.
Another thing is that after my father died, his house was filled with a lifetime of memories… and possessions. It took my siblings and I weeks to sort through everything. I was lucky I had the time, but my siblings had to take time off from work. I decided I would try to let go of possessions more readily over the years.
For sentimental possessions, I now take a photo and upload it for safekeeping, before I discard them. If I don’t wear or use something after a year, out it goes. Ruthless… and compassionate, for someone else may need it more.
Great ideas Sonia. I know about the showers! Oh my gosh, I’ve always been a clean freak (especially hygiene), but there are nights I just can’t make myself take a shower. I will wash off a bit and plan for a shower next day. I am retired, but I now think it is work to stay clean. I know, while my husband recovers from his surgery, I will have to get by the best way I can.
I will keep your ideas handy. Thank you so much! Donna
Spring Cleaning… yikes! Here are suggestions I can think of.
*Use a swiffer when you can! floors, to dust the corners/walls, a ceiling fan. You could even wrap a face cloth around it and clean your bathtub!
* I let baking soda, vinegar, and a bit of detergent/dish soap marinate in the tub for 15 min; then just wipe down (you could use the swiffer-face cloth for this)
*PACING YOURSELF is huge. I’ll work on a small area, then take a break, work again, and then have a snack.
*using socks made damp with vinegar and water to clean your blinds.
*I sit on an ottoman or chair while doing things like dusting, organizing, or folding.
*wrap a damp rag (with cleaning liquid) around the bottom of a canned good and then just move the canned good around the countertop. easier to grip and lessens the pressure you have to apply. Maybe that can of condensed milk you haven’t used?
*use brushes with long necks and big handles to scrub/wash things
*ask for help and split up the work. 🙂
malmooge, I’m keeping your good ideas handy also. I like the idea of using a face cloth on the swiffer to wipe out the tub. I had thought about pulling an old sock on it, but just never did. One thing I absolutely cannot do without is my gripper. I am 5’1″ and that is just too short! If my husband wasn’t 6’1″ I’d really have a rough time. But I use the gripper to pick up lots of things from bottoms of cabinets and pull things I cannot reach when he’s not home. I do have to move out of the way when I do that, ha! I’ve already had arthroscopic surgery on my shoulder plus have degenerative disc disease (4 operations in lumbar and 1 operation in cervical). I was on too much pain meds until last year I had a neuro-stimulator placed in my lowerr back. Only problem is I can tell arthritis has invaded that area as well, but the stimulator is so helpful. I’m taking one third of the pain meds I used to. I see a pain specialist and he is guiding me off the pain meds. Being allergic to NSAIDSa is problematic since it would help with inflammation.
Every idea can be a life saver. So thanks again for your ideas. Hope you are doing well!
I use non-toxic cleaning products throughout our home. The chemicals found in typical cleaning products cause more physical stress on our bodies. Which we don’t need! I purchase cleaning concentrates and keep a spray bottle for each wherever it might be needed. It seems “spot” cleanups when I am feeling good and have a few extra minutes make cleaning easier.
A friend recently told me about a lithium powered battery scrubber she purchased at Walmart. It even has a 4 foot handle extension that works with various sized scrub brushes. I am counting on this making cleaning easier!
For our wooden floors I use a combination vacuum and steamer. This combines 2 steps into 1 and I simply put Melaleuca oil and Lemon Oil into the distilled water which cleans, disinfects and shines the floors. It is light weight and easy to use.
Sonia, I agree that we are long lost twins…ha. When I read your post, you sounded a lot like me.
The real truth is we just have to get by the best possible way. I’ve changed a lot since RA entered my life. I’m just fortunate to have such a good husband, and to be retired (disabled really). Going from a workaholic teacher who ran 4 miles a day to someone who finds it difficult to make a sandwich, or fold clothes (whatever task is at hand), it’s no wonder I grieve the loss of that person I use to be.
I believe with friends on this site I will be able to move on. I was beginning to think I was all alone. There are too many things in life I still want to do, and it’s time I start accepting my limitations and enjoy every minute I am up and moving (even though it is work to stay clean) lol.
My spring cleaning is now officially put off until summer.
Spring cleaning? I need all the tips I can get. I am still struggling to get my Christmas decorations down. I know, crazy! I just joined the group tonight, I have RA, Lupus, Sjogrens, Hashimotos, Fibromyalgia and I was recently diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis. I’ve been put on prednisone and Imuran for the Hepatitis and the prednisone is helping my RA pain, so today I got half the decorations off the 9′ Christmas tree. I had to dust them they have been up so long. Hoping to get the rest done tomorrow and then move on to spring cleaning. I have a grandson that is going to arrive this weekend we hope, my daughter started labor this afternoon. So I feel anxious to get this cleaning done and taking advantage of the prednisone and adrenaline. I will be using many of your spring cleaning tips, thank you all for the excellent suggestions!
bjgram88, You have a lot going on. I feel a bit better. After putting my Christmas things away, I left all my snowmen and all things “winter” around the house. I’ve been feeling sad because it is almost like they are looking at me, begging to be put away to make room for spring. So, like you, those have to be packed up first before I even think about spring cleaning.
Glad the prednisone is helping. I have dizzy spells when I take it, and I am allergic to all NSAIDS. I am on Orencia, Arava, and Plaquenil but I’ve not seen much of an improvement in my energy level. Inflammation is better.
Best wishes on getting your work done.
bjgram88, I hope you feel better soon. This past Christmas was the first time that we didn’t put up a10-12 ft tree. We got a 7 ft tree. My idea was that decorating a smaller tree would take less time, and same for putting it away after Epiphany. I toyed with the idea of a tabletop tree! We put the tree in a corner, so that I need decorate only 3/4 of the tree. What a difference buying a smaller tree made! Everyone commented on my smaller tree, and I thought to myself, ” Yeah, and I’m the one putting it away.” No regrets.
I have a drawerful of those same meds. My liver and other organs went wacko on them. I’ve been on ENBREL for a year now, and what a lifesaver. I can no longer take my old friends, NSAIDs, for pain relief. My liver again. The pain meds my body can tolerate no longer cuts it, so I pursue several other pain therapies, including Rolf massages and an occasional deep tissue massage.
Congratulations on the imminent birth of your grandson! What a blessing!
Hi Sonia Ottusch. I noticed you mentioned massage. Glad to hear it helps you. My wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here) swears by it. Thought you might be interested in her article on what she gets from it, as well as one from our editorial team looking at different types of massage and chiropractic therapy:
Wannabe-healthy: I miss running, too! I used to run 4-10 miles. It took me a long time to accept that I could no longer do a lot. I’m “retired”, too, a financial analyst. I volunteer a lot, but that has much decreased. For example, now my cooking for the homeless has transmuted into buying bread rolls and butter. Lightweight, easy to transport. Life is still good.
Sonia, I guess you remember the runner’s High! You must have run marathons. I just ran in my neighborhood and sometimes with my friend. It made me feel like a million dollars. I’m glad I experienced it, and when my husband’s foot heals, we’ll be able to walk some. My feet are beginning to really show damage from RA, so I will tape up the areas that blister and make sure I find the most comfortable shoes. I use Easy Spirit slip ons and they are great for short walking ventures.
As far as volunteering, I did try to at the school my grandchildren go to, and it worked out for awhile. I just couldn’t continue. I used to be busy at our church, but even that became too hard. I guess the thing that bothers me the most about that is not being able to commit. I never know how I will feel from one day to the next.
Take care, kindred spirit. We’ll just take each day as it comes, and be thankful for the blessings.
Thank you Sonia and Wannabe-healthy for the well wishes. I overdid it yesterday so laid awake in pain until 3:30 am, even with the steroids. Plan on starting with the Christmas decs again this afternoon. My daughter’s labor is slow going so the Dr. is going to speed things along tomorrow morning if she hasn’t progressed. Now I’m down to one day to get this done. My older daughter is here to help, so we have a chance of getting it done. Thank you again for the well wishes and I will have to consider the smaller tree next year. I usually have 4 trees up around the house and only used one, but it’s a big one and lots of work. Hope you all are feeling as well as possible!
I’m so very new to this RA thing. Tomorrow I will have my 5th injection of Enbrel. Not sure how great it is working–some definite improvement, but that only means I cry a couple of times/week instead of everyday from pain. I literally just walked form the kitchen to my computer and saw this thread. Currently, my pain is limited to my hands/feet. I just went to clean my lunch dishes but realized I can’t squeeze the sponge nor wipe a counter without significant pain. Hope this isn’t the beginning of a slow deterioration of my health–former college athlete, very fit and active. The “extra gear” I have always relied on to catapult me through life is missing. I just passed on a beautiful hike in the mountains because I feel lousy. I can’t even think about cleaning at the moment.
So sorry you have to deal with RA. It definitely makes our lives harder, but not impossible. Not to be off topic of spring cleaning, but I think you will find encouragement and understanding on this site. Since I’ve been on here, I have a different outlook. I’ve struggled with my health for many years, and all the tears, depression, pain meds, self-pity haven’t helped me one bit. But when I started reading and responding here, I don’t feel so alone anymore. I wish you many pain free days. I’m trying to realize the many things I have experienced, and keep the good memories in my thoughts. It’s not easy, because sometimes the pain and fatigue crowd out all my good thoughts. I will keep trying though. Who knows, any of us could go in remission for awhile. If that happens, look out world.
Sending best wishes to you.
Thanks wannabehealthy for creating such lovely discussion in our spring cleaning forum and for supporting so many others in the community. Thanks so everyone else too, this is a great discussion.
Also, wannabehealthy thank you for your kind words about our community, you are not alone when it comes to your RA here! We have a diverse community of people and are always here to offer support and provide you with any information we can on RA.
Best Wishes to all and please continue the Spring Cleaning conversation!
So sorry to hear about the diagnosis kingkatekong, but glad that you have come to a community that can offer information and support. Sometimes the emotional aspects of receiving a diagnosis can take a backseat to the physical. This article from our editorial team takes a closer look at these issues, with some management tips:
kingkatekong, I feel for you. Living with RA is totally un fun. For dishes, I now rarely use a sponge. I can’t squeeze a sponge much, and it hurts to scrub. Instead I use a long handled dish brush. I use the brush to also clean my large, deep kitchen sink. When little old ladies in church make me yelp when we shake hands, I know it’s time to get a cortisone shot in my finger joints. This last time, I got 3 cortisone shots!
I’ve been on ENBREL for 12 months. The feeling that a large, hot knife was being stuck in my joints and then rapidly twisted and vibrated is now just a bad memory. ENBREL slowed down my RA, and alas did nada for my fatigue and pain. That said, I find ENBREL a Godsend. Thanks to AMGEN, thanks to God.
It sounds like your RA is responding to ENBREL. I’ll pray for you to experience a remission soon. I hear you on missing your “extra gear”. My Sherpa energy is in the wind. Nowadays I focus on priorities. Take yesterday…. I’m recovering from a concussion (bad mountain bike spill that I don’t remember). Combined with my RA,my energy comes in small doses. I spent 20 minutes sitting on my exercise ball, sorting laundry. (Tip: I gave away my large, heavy duty rolling laundry cart and same for my heavy, plastic laundry baskets. I use ultralight mesh, folding laundry bags instead.) I put one load in my washer. By then I was sweating from my temples and neck. Time to rest. I manage my household and my life in bits and spurts.
I’m sanguine and calm by nature. When bad news or pain overwhelms me, like yesterday when I looked at my latest blood test results, I let myself have a good cry. Then life went on…and I put another load in the washer. I told my husband, and we cried together. Today I’ll call my rheumatologist.
Sending you hugs across the miles…
There are some great tips here. This year for the first time ever, I broke down and paid someone to do the deep spring cleaning – vacuuming the walls, ceilings etc for cobwebs and pet hair, scrub floors, windows, the usual drill. I can pretty much keep up with the day to day, but just not up to the hard-core cleaning I like to do several times a year. I like the tip to use socks on your hands to clean blinds – I have 4 windows with blinds on them and think I will try that. Best wishes to all.