Managing Life at Home: My Handy Household #MSLifeHacks

Shortly after my MS diagnosis, I met an occupational therapist who checked my motor skills. She promised to help me learn new ways to handle tremors, how to do the dishes more easily and work around trying to cut food. My work with her also resulted in receiving some very handy appliances, like a kettle tipper, which helps you pour hot water for a cup of tea if you have tremors in your hands.

Helpful appliances like these can make a world of difference, but I also rely regularly on life hacks – and there’s no shame in that! Finding novel ways of going about things can make all the difference, especially if your mobility is impaired.

Here are some of my favourite household tips:

For the bedroom

• Wrap fairy lights around your bedpost if you want to read without having a bright bedside lamp on. Soft lights can feel easier on your eyes and are also great if you want to watch television. Plus, when you wake up with fairy lights, you wake up happy!

• If you have a physical limitation, use decorative, easy to reach baskets at the height of your arms to put your most-used items in around the house. Remember this: ‘The higher you have to reach, the less you need it.’

• Buy double-sided Velcro strips to fasten your rugs to the floor. No more sliding or falling over carpets.

• When you buy something new to wear, throw out or donate an old, unworn item. That way, your wardrobe will never grow too large and you won’t waste energy cramming hangers of unworn clothes into your closet.

For the kitchen

• Microbe alert! When you’re finished doing your dishes, rinse the sponge you used and put it in the microwave for two minutes. It not only dries the sponge quickly, but also kills nasty microbes and odours.

• Do the dishes the MS way! If you don’t have a dishwasher, leave dishes to soak for twenty minutes in very warm water – by the time you’re back in the kitchen, the water has cooled and the dishes are easier to clean.

• Move your plastic food storage or other small storage containers from the cabinet to kitchen drawers. No more falling plastic containers when you open the cupboard door.

Cleaning without toxic chemicals

• Baking soda (AKA sodium bicarbonate) is a wonder product. You can use it in the kitchen to help clean stubborn leftovers from the oven, microwave, floors or silverware. It can also be used as deodorizer and even to boost washing detergents.

• Vinegar is almost as versatile as baking powder; it can perk up wilted vegetables, and be used for your laundry and to clean around the house. My favourite vinegar use: add water and use as a window cleaner.

• Another great invention is toothpaste! It can be used to remove tough stains on clothes and carpets. But be careful about the type of toothpaste you use – using whitening toothpaste on colours can sometimes bleach the fabric.

• We all know the saying, ‘When life gives you lemons …’. Lemons can be more than that; they are a perfect partner around the house. Your microwave, glasses and fridge can be cleaned thoroughly by using lemon juice.

Want more hacks? Sit back, relax and follow 365 Days of #MSLifeHacks and #MSLifeHacks on Twitter!

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Jamie Tripp Utitus
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