Facing fatigue daily or almost daily is a lot for anyone to get through, and it’s frequently cited as the most frustrating symptom for people living with MS. It’s especially challenging when anyone with MS also has to keep a house clean, get food on the table, run errands or do the same work they did before receiving the diagnosis.
By Lauren Kovacs
“Spring cleaning” is more than scrubbing floors. Yes, dusting and cleaning under the bed are both good starts. Cleaning how you do stuff is also important. Methods to your madness will iron out life-wrinkles.
I admit spring cleaning is something I abandoned on the side of a dusty road, in the desert, years ago. Along with the OCD Cleaning Lady and the Floor Nazi Mom, I left them behind too. Relax; I gave them a bottle of water. They were replaced with the “Do What You Can Lady.”
With three boys, a husband, and a dog, I am drowning in major testosterone. Physical spring cleaning is often a losing battle for me. I take one task at a time, now. I also make lists of what tasks need attention. Cleaning toilets never makes that list.
Learn to work smarter. Expel as little energy as possible, but be proud of the tasks you do complete. One trick I use to move laundry is using a rolling plant stand. I can no longer lift laundry baskets onto my walker and pushing it was scratching my wood floors, even with putting felt dots on the bottom.
When putting away laundry get help and put away winter clothes, as you uncover summer clothes, at the same time. I put the youngest one’s clothes into a designated container to give away, as it comes through the wash. The older boys put their own clothes into large plastic tubs, with the size and season written on paper on top. If one of the boys happens to eat miracle grow and suddenly needs a bigger size mid-season, it is clean and dresser ready.
It would be easier, if they were turtles and their clothes grew with them. I am also wondering if being nudists would help. I guess having weeds with big feet, in my house, is just life. The dog grows out and does not need clothes, thankfully. We just adjust his collar.
Once we switch over seasons, I make a list of what is needed. They are boys. Stuff gets stained, torn, or runs away with the socks. Pinewood Derby paint does not wash out, by the way. Blood on soccer uniforms responds well to hydrogen peroxide, before the wash.
Do what you can and what you are good at. I am good at organization, making lists, and researching. Cleaning the blinds, I am not good at, however. Embrace your gifts.
Clean your methods too. Make sure to know easier paths to get things done more efficiently. Save energy the best way you can. Even driving can be made more efficient. Maybe have a route mapped in your head of how you shop. Write down the map, if you have cognitive issues.
I like to spring clean with a small bag of M&Ms. I reward myself with the completion of each task. Reward yourself in some way when doing anything really. You know the effort it requires.