Making a Clean Space Accessible

Living with a chronic disease like narcolepsy is hard enough, but keeping a clean living space on top of that? It’s virtually impossible!

At least for me - when I try to keep up on housework, other parts of my life can suffer. As a chronically ill person, even simple life tasks come at a steep energetic cost. It’s frustrating to feel limited by narcolepsy, but it is the reality for me and many others.

What I do to when cleaning my space

Having a clean living space is important for my mental and physical health. My allergies are better when I regularly clean my linens and vacuum my carpets. But these two household chores in particular are exhausting!

These are a few ways that help increase my own accessibility to a clean space…

Clean in sections

One way I like to keep cleaning management accessible is by cleaning my living space in sections. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of housework that needs to be done - from the trash needing to be taken out, to the bathtub needing to be scrubbed. It all comes at a cost, physically.

Cleaning in small sections helps reduce the amount of effort I put into cleaning all at once. For example, one day I might take out all of the trash (ie: trash-day). Another day I will  clean the kitchen (dishes, sink, and counters). And another day I will clean the bathroom (toilet, sink, and bathtub). Sweeping day requires less energy than vacuum day, since the broom is lighter and the hardwood floor areas are smaller.

I complete household tasks in smaller sections, depending upon my energy levels. This makes it less likely for me to overexert myself and have a flare in symptoms, or to become avoidant of chores because of how much they take out of me.

Make it fun (music, podcasts, audiobooks)

Keeping myself awake while doing chores is a chore in itself. Listening to music, interesting podcasts, and good audiobooks makes it easier to stay awake while doing chores, and it makes chores more pleasant! Eventually this creates a positive association, and sometimes I even find myself excited to clean because it means I get to enjoy these things.

Reward myself

Another way to create a positive association with cleaning is to reward myself after completing tasks. These rewards don’t need to be energetically or financially expensive to be effective. For example, after I clean the bathtub I like to fill it and take a long, luxurious bath in the clean tub with a lit candle. This reward is free and relaxing.

Invite a friend (to help or observe)

Inviting a friend over to help clean, or at least to help keep me accountable while cleaning, can be helpful!

Invest in ways to make life a little easier

Using good materials can make the cleaning process go a bit faster. For example, sponges are good, but I find brushes work better. Scrubbing paste is great for difficult-to-clean areas. Making the process go by faster and easier is worth the effort saved, for those of us where every ounce of energy matters.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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