Spring Cleaning and MS

With the spring months upon us, so too comes the annual spring-cleaning tradition…”out with the old, in with the new,” isn’t that what they always say? And for many, the decluttering process is a very therapeutic activity, making your home interior both more aesthetically pleasing and increasing the accessible nature of your environment. But this type of deep cleaning of your home can also be quite taxing, even for those who are able-bodied and not living with a chronic condition like multiple sclerosis.

For those who are considering a potential “spring cleaning project”, but are concerned about their ability to do so, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:

1. Divide and conquer

The biggest hurdle to overcome for anyone looking to deep clean and declutter their environment is simply overcoming the enormity of the task. “Where do I even start?” you may ask yourself. The answer, especially for those who may experience fatigue or other associated symptoms of your MS is to start small. Separate these tasks into discrete areas and tackle one at a time instead of doing everything in one go and becoming overwhelmed, overheated, and tired. Every item you check off your list, no matter how small, is progress!

2. A little help from your friends

One of the hardest things to do is ask for help when you need it. But for those with a circle of friends (or friendly neighbors) this could be an opportunity to make an event of your project. Order pizza and provide snacks, and be candid with your friends about what you need help with most and why due to your MS. You’ll be amazed at how quickly people will be willing to lend a hand, especially in these ever-isolated times – many are just itching to get out of the house. If this is not an option due to geographic or other limits, consider using online services like TaskRabbit or Fiver to hire local help for basic tasks.

3. Haul away

If you’re decluttering and you’ve identified items you no longer need, look into haul-away donation services. Many counties have furniture banks accepting donations of used furniture that can be repurposed and will pick up, as do other non-profits (pick up). For smaller items or if you do not have a donation service available, consider using local networks such as Buy Nothing groups on social media to see if your items can be of use to someone else. These groups typically require the person obtaining the item to come pick it up from your home.

4. Keep it cool

As we enter the warmer months, heat sensitivity remains a chief concern for people living with MS, and when you enter strenuous physical activity – like cleaning – that symptom can stop your efforts cold, no pun intended. Luckily, for those that experience heat sensitivity, there are several different kinds of cooling garments that are available that can potentially alleviate the impact this symptom can have on your day-to-day life. In addition, MSAA has a Cooling Program for those who are interested in such a product but cannot afford one. Make sure to reach out to our Client Services team to learn more!

5. Know your limits

It can be tempting to “Marie Kondo” your life but setting your heights too high can lead to disappointment. Be realistic about how much you can accomplish in a specific timeframe without mental or physical burnout. Instead of letting “spring cleaning” drive this work into a specific time of year, remember that periodic maintenance and deep cleaning in small bursts all year long will save you plenty of time and anguish.

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