It's the time of year we all start thinking about spring cleaning. And while there's something satisfying about throwing open the windows, clearing out the junk, and starting "fresh" with a clean space, the task of cleaning your entire home can seem like a monumental task.
For people with arthritis or joint pain, spring cleaning can sound even worse. If you or a loved one experience chronic joint pain and are worried about your upcoming spring cleaning chores, check out these practical ideas that might help you tackle your to-do list.
1. Don't do it all at once. To all you go-getters out there—you really don't have to clean your entire house all in one weekend.
Think about it: it's not very efficient, nor useful, to do all your chores as quickly as possible if it's just going to make you feel more painful and rundown in the days or weeks after a weekend cleaning splurge. This is why self-pacing is such an important skill to develop when you're living with a chronic health condition like joint pain.1 Slowing yourself down may help prevent you from exacerbating your joint pain or experiencing unintended consequences such as slips and falls.
You know your body best, so figure out a sensible schedule when it comes to tackling your projects. This could mean:
2. Use better body mechanics. It's not just what you do that can affect your joint pain, but how you do it. Perform your spring cleaning tasks in ways that are easier on your body. Here are some ideas that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggest:2
3. Focus on your priority spaces. While spring cleaning is usually associated with going through a house top to bottom, you don't necessarily have to get into every nook and cranny. Instead, think about prioritizing the higher traffic areas in your home first (like your bathroom, kitchen and living room) and save the smaller, less priority tasks (like going through your closet or organizing your garage) for later.
4. Invest in sensible supplies. Along with using your cleaning tools and supplies in an ergonomically correct way, make sure the tools you use suit your abilities and needs. For example, if you buy detergent or window cleaner in bulk, transfer some into a smaller bottle for daily use. That way, you don't have to lug around a heavy container all day. Here are a few more ideas:
5. Delegate when possible. When in doubt, ask for help. You can always delegate larger tasks to willing family members and friends or even hire a professional cleaning service.