Stay at Home Solutions
Maintain Your Independence

Blog, News, & Resources

Stay at Home Solutions blogs on topics such as aging in place, universal design, adaptive equipment, home modifications, accessibility, durable medical equipment, legislation, and caregiving.

7 Ways to Take Care of You and the Household for Life

I’ve worked with a lot of determined people. These are people who live at home and want to take care of themselves and their own things in their household. They want to be in charge of their lives.

Two people sitting and watching the sunset. Photo by Unsplash

Two people sitting and watching the sunset. Photo by Unsplash

Truth be told, I’m one of those people too.

At the same time, I’ve come to the realization that barriers to taking care of my daily needs and my house eventually come into existence. It’s possible for me to have an accident, a progressive disease, or just basic aging that will make it more difficult for me to manage my household.

I won’t always have the energy and strength to take care of my needs and my house.

All of these possibilities can make me start to fear and worry about the future. Who will take care of the yard and change the furnace filter? How will the cooking and cleaning be done?

The antidote to fear is to plan on making changes in case life throws me a curveball. Here are seven painless ways to help you take care of your daily needs and household.

1) Move to the main level in your home.

Think about the places at home that you need to use to take care of yourself and the house.

Living room and kitchen. Photo by Unsplash

Living room and kitchen. Photo by Unsplash

In my case, I use the main entry (my back door), bedroom, bathroom, laundry, and the kitchen, all of which are on the main floor in my house. This eliminates the need for me to use time and energy to walk up and down stairs to do a daily activity. For instance, I don’t have to ask my husband to carry laundry up and down the steep basement stairs because I’m afraid I’ll fall. I can just do the laundry on my own time.

Sidenote: Although I don’t launder my clothes and linens daily, I do laundry once a week to keep things fresh! It still helps to keep laundry on the main level of the home as opposed to the basement.

Once you’ve identified the places you use the most at home, try to do as many daily activities as you can on the most accessible level. For example, let’s say your bedroom is on the second floor and you always sleep in the recliner in the living room on the main level. So do you really need a separate bedroom and living room? You could convert the living room into the bedroom and use the bedroom for a different purpose.

I know some of you may find this to be radical speak, but honestly, think about it. Humans are creative. We can make our homes whatever we want and need them to be.

If making a simple change, like moving our everyday activities to the main floor, ensures that you’re able to manage the household and take care of your physical well being, then what’s the problem in that?

2) Store seldom used items in the basement or attic.

What are younger family members for? To help out with physical labor when necessary! That’s an evolutionary fact!

When you store seldom used items, like seasonal holiday decorations or sentimental items, in the basement or attic, it gives the main floor in your home more room to keep things you need on a daily basis.

Don’t use the linen closet to store your inflatable Santa! Use the linen closet for storing linens, cleaning supplies, or pantry items. This way you’re not wasting time and energy shoving Santa to the side while looking for a clean washcloth.

Tip: Try to store infrequently used items in clear plastic totes or label opaque plastic totes in order for people to know what’s inside.

3) Make cleaning equipment accessible.

On the main level of your home, put your cleaning equipment within reach, not on high shelves or shoved in the back of stuffed closets.

Some easy ways to do this would be to:

  • Install pull down or pull out shelving in top and bottom cabinets.

  • Hang brooms and mops on the inside or back of doors, closets, or cupboards.

  • Designate a cleaning caddy to make it easier to carry supplies with you to different rooms.

  • Store specific cleaning supplies to the room, like leaving bathroom cleaning supplies in the bathroom.

4) Store cleaning solutions in smaller bottles.

It’s easier to handle smaller bottles than great big gallon sized bottles. Think about the cleaning caddy, would you want to lug a gallon sized bottle of cleaner around the house or a pint sized one? You save energy and reduce the risk of injury when you use smaller bottles for everyday tasks.

This reminds me of watching my grandmother struggle to pour a 32 oz bottle of dish soap just to wash dishes. I asked my mother to buy smaller bottles or pour dish soap from a large container into a small bottle. Granny doesn’t need to struggle with washing dishes and neither do you!

5) Use ergonomic designed cleaning supplies.

When looking for ergonomic designed cleaning supplies, consider the following:

Pump handle on soap bottle. Photo by Unsplash

Pump handle on soap bottle. Photo by Unsplash

  • Pump handles on bottles

  • Lightweight brooms, mops, dusters

  • Grips on handles made of rubber

  • Tools that do more than one thing: multifunctional

  • Handles that are length adjustable

  • Long handles on equipment like dust pans (so you don’t bend so much!)

All of these qualities will help make your job taking care of the household much much easier! Work smarter, not harder!

6) Reduce the amount of things you own.

People don’t like to hear this tip because they automatically don’t want to give up their possessions. I understand. But the more stuff you own, the more work, time, and energy you need to devote to take care of it!

You just need to get super honest with yourself and ask questions like: do I really need informal and formal dining room sets?

As pretty as the formal dining room is, the answer truly is “no”. Pick one set and use it every day.

I’m not trying to be mean and tell you to give away everything you love. I’m raising the awareness on how owning a LOT of things can make it difficult for you to take care of your household for your lifetime.

7) Decide who can help care for your household.

Family and friends smiling at camera. Photo by Unsplash

Family and friends smiling at camera. Photo by Unsplash

If there’s an elective surgery or an accident that leaves you unable to care for your household, you need another option to make sure the laundry and dishes are done.

Ask your friends and family if they’re willing to help with specific tasks. It helps if the household task is something they like to do (and do well!). In my grandparents case, my uncle helped with yard work while my mother cooked complicated meals with my grandmother. Communicate on what’s going to work best for your family member, because in the end that’s going to work best for you!

Make sure two people aren’t doing the same thing! For instance, assign your pharmacist granddaughter to take care of medicine while your son mops the floors. Establish how often these things need to be done up front. Don’t leave people guessing how frequently you do your household tasks.

Inform family members and friends where to find things they need to do the task. It’s frustrating when you’re trying to help someone and you don’t know where their cleaning supplies are located!

Another reasonable option is to hire a professional service. Have a list ready with the things you’ll need assistance with, like vacuuming, mopping, changing bed linens, etc. Be aware of pricing and add the cost to your monthly budget. Also, price several different companies and ask other people about their experience with that service.

If you start planning these changes now, the chances of you being able to care for yourself and household for a lifetime will improve. I understand that not every tip will 100% pertain to your situation. However, you can take the ideas you like the most and apply it right now.

Sometimes life makes you feel completely out of control. These tips will help you feel a little more grounded and more certain about taking care of your home. Share what you’ve done to make household management easier in the comments below. You better do it before you need it!