John Friedlich

[ Table of Contents ]

Adaptive Living for the Disabled

Housekeeping and the Expenditure of Energy:
A Short Guide for the Disabled Individual

Housekeeping (or lack of same) is a significant problem for the disabled individual. When one is struggling with day-to-day survival, immaculate cleanliness does not seem quite so important. The following are a few creative approaches to making housekeeping easier and possibly even fun.

It is essential that disabled individuals guard against overdoing it when it comes to housekeeping. Saving some of one's energy and strength for all the other hour-by-hour demands is not just wise, it's essential. Here are a few tips from the Disability Consumer Testing Laboratory in Bethesda to help you out.


Dust Control:
Get a bunch of cats. More is better because they have a way of dying off when you forget to feed them. Once every few weeks take a few of them and attach unrolled fly paper strips to their tails. Then release a bunch of mice. As the cats chase the mice under the furniture and from room to room they will take the dust with them. Then introduce a dog so the cats will hit the high spots too. Cat hair need not be a problem either. Just get the cats a bit of chemotherapy before you bring them home.


Get a sauna. At the end of the day take a bath in your clothes and then get in the sauna. It will feel good and if you were smart enough to buy only permanent-press clothes, they'll look great by the time you get out. Better yet, do this in the morning instead so your clothes don't have that slept-in look all the time.


Cleaning the Bathroom:
Simplicity itself: Never use it. Just cut an opening in the screen of a window. All the neighbors will rave about your wonderful 'compost heap' although the person across the way might have to move the kids' bedrooms to the other side of the house. You might even be able to make a little extra money selling the stuff to neighborhood gardeners. Constipation tends to be a problem so in the winter be careful of that really nasty frostbite and in summer watch out for sunburns.


Asking Friends and Family for Help:

It's really not fair for us to expect others to be picking up or cleaning up for us just because of our condition. It also wears thin real fast and we can find our friends and family deeply resenting it. Here's an alternative. If an area of the home needs attention, carefully balance something like a flower vase with lots of water or a bucket full of old ashes right where it can't easily be seen, but can be easily knocked down. Then invite someone over. PROBLEM RESOLVED! They knock it over, they clean it up, the frustration is focused on the object instead of you, and instead of their feeling upset with you they feel guilty about themselves. Like it? Just don't do it too often to the same person - he or she might catch on. Hope you have lots of friends!


Next time your neighbors are going away, offer to water their plants while they are gone. While you have their keys, get a duplicate set made. Then plan on doing your entertaining whenever you know they won't be home. Since they are likely both working they will probably have some great snacks in the refrigerator, good liquor, and a much newer stereo system than you have. And don't forget to put their address on the invitation so people will be impressed with what a nice house you keep. If your guests make enough of a mess the neighbors will just think it was burglars. Before they catch on they'll probably get so frustrated or scared they will move away. You can then start on a new neighbor.

© Friedlich, 1994
Excerpted from The Chronicles of CFIDS

[ Table of Contents | Action Page: how can I help? ]

Send comments or submissions to

©1996 - 1999
Web page design by
WWCoCo New Media