Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Please Share Your Tips/Ideas etc for doing household type chores, Or any chore

MsHumptyDumptyMMsHumptyDumpty Posts: 1,567
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Water Cooler
I thought of this idea tonight after I responded to a member asking for ideas on how to clean her kitchen floor without hurting her back.

Most of us have had to learn new ways to do many different things around the house, with vehicles, outside chores etc.

**Guys you are more then welcome to share here too :D

Please share as many tips or ideas as you want to on how you do your chores now.

I have a back injury, 2 fake knees and walk with a cane.

1. Grocery Shopping -
I grocery shop a lot more often now so that I don't have to make 2 or 3 trips to my car. There are times when I come home I am hurting so bad that I could not go back out for other items in the car.

I carry a cloth bag made to carry groceries in and I load it myself after I go through check out. Most of the time all my items will fit into the cloth bag.

2. Scrubbing Floors -
Until my knees went (I got fake ones now) I did my floors on my hands and knees and boy where they ever clean lol Once I was down I often did my lower cupboards and lower parts of stove, dishwasher, frig etc. It was a huge help as I did not have to bend to do any of it.

But once my knees went and even with new knees you can't go down on your knees (it is very painful) I use one of those light weight floor mop thingies that you attach a "wipe" to. But I put a wet rag on mine and spray my floor with cleaner and then get a new wet rag to rinse it with. (not the jet cleaner thing. Mine is just on a pole with a flat area on bottom to attach wipe/rag. Sorry can't think of name)

3. Dusting -
I have a swiffer with the longest extension pole I could find. I rarely ever polish any more. I just can't get back into the back of my furniture to rub the way you have to in order to polish.

4. Making meals -
I have a high bar stool, and I use to prep my foods that I am going to be cooking/eating. salads, fruits, meat etc, any time i need to cut and/or prep foods I use my stool to sit on.

I cook in a crock pot about 95% of the time to save me from getting up & down checking on foods. Also saves me from bending to lift things out of the over.

L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    This is a good thread for many members to watch and contribute to.

    We all know that due to our spinal conditions, there are some limitations/restrictions that require us to change the way we used to do things.

    Vacuum We purchased one of those I-Robot vacuum cleaners. It does a fantastic job on wood floors, tile and rugs, We still have a normal upright (but very light vacuum cleaner. I set the I-Robot on regular schedules so that it can clean during the night while we sleep.

    Kitchen / Bathroom In the Kitchen we installed a floating floor made of composite that sites on foam. This has made it much easier to stand while cleaning. For the bathroom, I basically just do the counter tops. No real change here to the way I used to do things.

    CookingI just do it in spurts. I generally plan our weeks meal in advance and make 2 meals in a day, but take breaks in between. Since cooking is just one of my passions, I can tend to do more than I should, and pain some price for doing that.

    Shopping Always using a shopping cart so I can push it and have something for me to rest on.

    Outside We've switched to container gardening when it comes to our herbs. Its a lot easier since many of them are high enough that I dont need to get down on the ground.

    LawnWe investing in a tractor. I still have a self propelled lawn mower, but the tractor does the bulk of the work

    Weeding/Planting/etc Not much relief here. I just generally plan my work. Get down on the ground and essentially crawl on my knees to the next spot. I tried one of those sit down carts with wheels, but I still needed to get up and down too much.

    I probably could go on and on about the different ways I've needed to approach chores, but these are the ones that come to mind.

    And no matter what way I change something, alter a process, etc. I will pay the price IF I do anything too long. SO, I guess in a nutshell, I am all
    for Moderation !!
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • My rule with my husband is if he takes the laundry down, I'll sort, wash and fold and he has to carry it up.

    Bathing my kids who are 1 and 3- I get in with them. Nice hot soak for my legs and back, no leaning over the tub (hurts TERRIBLY).

    Vacuuming- we bought a new house in August and had all the carpet pulled up and refinished the wood floors. This has been AMAZING! I'm able to get by with a sweeper vac every other day that weighs nothing and a swiffer wetjet.
  • I'm sort of lucky as Veteran's Affairs pays for housekeeping to come to my house, and for groundskeeping/snow removal as well. I say "sort of lucky" as they do this because I live alone, and don't have anyone else living here who can help me with that, and I am unable to do it myself. For the services, I am so very thankful, as I don't know what I would do otherwise. When I do have to do light housework during the week, like sweeping, I take a lot of breaks, I have to. One room at a time. I'll sweep everything into a pile, and leave it, hope like heck one of the fur critters doesn't root through the pile, and once my leg/knees/back/neck and arm have stopped screaming at me, move onto the next room and the pile gets bigger til I'm done, then I scoop it up in the dust pan and toss it. I also have a dry/wet mop that's perfect, great for the quick dust mop, and great for the quick spills as well.

    I downsized to a smaller house last year, it's actually only a 1 bedroom, so I decided to use the finished 1/2 of my basement as my bedroom, that way I don't have to lug laundry up and down the stairs. I wouldn't have been able to anyways, as when I first moved in, my arm was still paralyzed. I have a bathroom down there too, along with a jacuzzi tub, so it's perfect. The laundry room is right off my bedroom, and I don't have to lug it around, and I have a spare bedroom upstairs, and they have their own bathroom!

    For shopping, I only do groceries for a couple of days at a time. This ensures I get out of the house at least every other day, and that I don't have many groceries to carry, and that I won't be in the store for very long. I always use a cart to lean on for support while walking, both for my back, and because my leg and knees tend to give out after walking for a couple of minutes. For cooking, I'll do the preps first, well before it's time to actually cook, so I have lots of time to recover from that, and the actual cooking part doesn't take long. While doing the preps, I sit for as much as I can. And I don't think I'll ever live without a dishwasher ever again either ;)

    As Ron said though, it's so very important, no matter what we're doing, to do everything in moderation. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • Don't feel obliged to do anything you don't feel comfortable doing. The world will continue to go round and you will feel a lot better than if you let yourself become a martyr to other people's expectations (or your perception of their expectations)of you.
    Better a pain free slob than a suffering saint, I say.
    My skin has become so thick over the years that I actually ENJOY it when people are afronted by my messy garden, or even messier house.
    I like being pain free. It has taken me years to achieve this and I know from bitter experience how fragile it is for a spiny to maintain this state. I know that the consequence of succumbing to peer pressure, or pride can be painful and even dangerous and I ain't going there.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    My first reaction to how handling chores is...less often...and liking it!

    Everthing used to be more perfect when I had growing family of five. Now I look at my dishes and like..there's more in the cabinet..I don't need to do them today.

    The floor washing or vaccuming..indeed the worse.. and I let anyone else do it. I just can't.

    My expectations are lower. People still regard my place as immaculate...(amazing what you can throw into the closets) so I think slowing down on like the OCD of it all has helped me. :)

    I pushed it at the beginning of all this pain..life of pain. Now..my body feeling comfortable and pain under control is a sweet day!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Lots of ideas. I hope we can keep this thread going :)

    I just remembered a item I bought that I LOVE!

    I have only found them at the 1.00 store - surprisingly.

    They have a dust pan that has high sides (so the stuff don't fall out) on it and the handle comes up to about my waist. NO bending over. :D
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    We have a customer who comes in our Wine shop several times a week. He recently had a patent for a simple device that goes into the corner of your waste basket.
    So when the garbage is full, instead of struggling to get the bag out, it comes out so easy. The plastic shield that goes into the basket creates an easy air way for the bag to lift out.

    He is going to put this on QVC in 2 weeks. I bought one of his pre-market item. (Apprx $4-$6)

    It works
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • cool! I think we get that channel not 100% sure...

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    When I had my surgery I was living alone, I had a small dog which needed to be fed, so I used to put her plastic bowls onto a long handled dustpan, this way I could lower it or lift it from the floor, the long handled broom used to help with this so no bending.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Liz that is a great idea!!! I went & got a automatic feeder and water set up, but I still have to bend to get them when they need refilled.
    Thanks for sharing this very helpful idea :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Your very welcome, I am glad you found this a helpful tip

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • About those long handle dust pans that have been mentioned here a few times - It came to me the other day that I can use one of them to pick things up. Like when I drop the remote or about anything I can slide it under or use my foot to slide it onto the dust pan.

    I have one of those grabbers and they are very helpful but it is always good to have a back up plan :)

    Speaking of the grabbers. If you have not tried one, they are very good. I have put in & pulled out a push pin from my cork board using these. They can handle that small of a task. I have also used them to lift my heavier vases and other decoration type things from high shelves. They are pretty good for just about anything :)

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • wow i love this thread!! i have a grabber in my living room and one with a longer handle in the kitchen (i always had this cos i am not tall enough to reach the top shelves in the units anyway!).

    over the past couple of years we have taken up the carpet everywhere except the stairs, i felt it was safer to have carpet there, (thinking of how desperately it needs a clean right now!)

    my swiffer mop is great, and i have one i wrap a cloth around and squirt liquid floor cleaner if needed on the wood floor.

    on kitchen tiles i am squirting liquid cleaner on any stubborn marks, leaving it for an hour before going back to mop up, i also have a scourer for the floor but havent needed it yet!

    i have a swiffer type mop for the dusting, on a handle with replacable heads, no effort needed and gentle on ornaments.

    now i have to own up to haveing all this primarily because i hate housework... even before it hurt!

    i wish i could find a way to clean my hens out without bending, or even picking them up for their cuddles without bending!

    i also have leather funiture and cushions so it can just be wiped and i dont have to launder it (have a little dog that likes to show his pawprints whenever possible!

    looking forward to learning more tips! :-)

  • SwedishFishSSwedishFish Posts: 57
    edited 07/06/2012 - 5:49 PM
    I was never a big fan of chores (one of those things sometimes that I had more OCD about lol!) but with the neck/back issues I can't do nearly as much as I used to do. One load of laundry can be enough to put me on the couch for the day! Here are a few things:

    - make your kids do anything and everything :D

    - I am a teacher and I got a rolling cart (like travel cart so that I didn't have to buy a new computer bag) for my laptop, papers, etc. and I use the elevator at school. I resisted by my PT would not let me carry heavy things on my shoulder anymore. And I ask students to pick things up for me in the classroom (I teach high school). I have learned if there's help to be had, don't be ashamed to use it! I have even started letting grocery store workers take my groceries to the car for me as lifting them out and down in is difficult.

    - I too have the laminate-type flooring (pergo) and cleaning it is so much easier with the swiffer products. And I also have the long-handled duster. One story house so that helps too.

    -I also bought a long-handled cutting shears that are very lightweight and you pull a string to actually clip. I haven't tried it out yet but thinking I will be able to do some tree/bush trimming hoping at any rate, after the surgery recovery.

    - a friend said that she used the grabber to take wet laundry out of the washer and to put it into the dryer although she had front loaders so not sure if it will work as well in a top loader but worth a shot.

    - My laundry detergent is pretty heavy and on a shelf above the washer/dryer so I buy the bigger size that you can just fill the cup without lifting the bottle.

    - I too seem to do shorter grocery trips more often than I used to. It is exhausting.

    **love the ideas on the long handled dust pans for the dog bowls and other things. That hadn't even occurred to me how I was going to bend down to get the food and dump it into their bowls. I have an automatic water dispenser but like someone else said I have to still fill it periodically. The boys can do it when they're here but when they're at their dad's for weekends I won't have any help.

    I do think that part of me has learned to just let it go. My house doesn't have to be perfect but I also can't have it be a total disaster and gross! A friend of mine just offered to come over on Sunday and help me clean anything I needed help with. I was mortified and then thought - she wouldn't have offered if she didn't mean it. So I'm going to let her do it! I think I am one of those people who has always had a hard time asking for help so this has been a humbling process!

    Looking forward to more ideas and I will add any that I learn as I go through this process!
  • OK so it will work to pull the dog bowls up with the dustpan but how did you do the food? Mine's in a rubbermaid container on the floor so I have to lean over and reach in. I do it even though it's hard but after surgery next week I know for awhile I won't be able to. Any thoughts?
  • BlueSkiesBBlueSkies Posts: 59
    edited 08/12/2012 - 10:04 AM
    So glad I searched for and found this thread! Someone brought up a topic of guilt and shame recently, and one thing that made me think of is that my guilt and shame is lessened any time I can do things for other people and it is increased any time I have to ask people do do things. I was so glad to find a thread that discussed ways of doing things for other people without having to ask for so much help. I am definitely not one of those people who feels pleasure by having people into the house when the house is messy, but even more important, if my environment is gross and untidy, I feel really worse physically. A little clutter is no big deal but dirty dishes or an overflowing trash can are nasty and gross.

    I found on Pinterest some "dump recipes", i.e., recipes you can make in advance and then just dump into a crock pot. So I made the menu for the week and the grocery list. My husband went to the store for me, and today we are working together in the kitchen preparing items to freeze in a zip-lock bag so we have dinner for the week.

    The biggest change we have made was to move from a 4,050 square foot house on 1.5 acres to a 2,600 square foot house with a very small yard that is maintained by the HOA. A smaller house really helps tremendously...less to maintain, less walking to do to deliver items, less mentally overwhelming. I have a cleaning lady who does the housework for me weekly, and my kids are older and do their own laundry, but as far as daily stuff goes, I unload the top rack of the dishwasher and pull the silverware tray out to unload myself, and then I have one of my kids do the bottom rack. Usually I can wash the pots and pans myself, but on days I can't stand that long, I put them in the dishwasher. I know it isn't good for them and it shortens their life, but at least it gets them out of the sink and keeps the kitchen from looking or smelling gross. As for laundry, we have the Whirlpool Duet which is helpful because it can handle huge loads, meaning that what normally would be 2 or 3 loads is only one. When I have to fold, I sit on the ground in front of the dryer and if I have hang-up items, I drape them over the open dryer door so when I stand up, I can hang them all up at once.

    I do all our bill paying online, and I have resolved to do all my clothing/shoe/holiday shopping online too. Amazon and Overstock have fair prices on most everything, and I can more easily compare prices online anyway. When I do the planning for grocery shopping (and organize it into order of the grocery store layout, starting with the produce and going south, lol), my husband doesn't mind going there for me, and honestly, he does a lot less impulse buying than I do!

    If I could figure out a way to take care of my 3 little dogs, I would be a lot better off. My pomeranian is still a puppy, and she requires a lot of care. Maybe I'll buy a doggie door so they can go in and out without my help. I liked the tip about lifting the food bowls with one of those open/close dustpans, but any hints about how to feed and water them without bending would be useful because if I left food out all the time, my pug and Cavalier King Charles would look like black and tan whales!
  • BlueSkies - I love having a doggie door but a word of caution. Our dogs are small - like under 15 lbs. Someone broke into our house by climbing through the dog door and then went and opened a window assuming for an accomplice. So either a VERY small adult or a child. With our schedule going back to no dog door was an issue, so now we have a security system and when it's set it will sense motion a certain height above the floor so as soon as someone stands up, it would detect them. Our dogs don't set it off (they did at first but we changed slightly the angle of the sensor). So just a caution with dog doors!
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    It was my tip about using the long handled dustpan for lifting and lowering the feeding bowls. I used light plastic bowls.

    I would manoeuver the empty bowl with the broom on to the dustpan and bring it up to the counter level, refill and lower again.
    The drinking bowl would be the same procedure, just making sure there was not too much water, I had to use this method for 3 months as I lived alone at the time, my dog was also a Cavalier King Charles, my favourite breed.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • This is a very helpful site.

    Thank you for the post! :)
  • Amazing how many of these tips I discovered while I was healing from my spine surgery.

    -Using that long handled dust pan to feed and water the dogs. I thought I was just brilliant and had to be the only one that thought of that! ;) Sure was handy.

    -I had a steam mop that I purchased on a whim for the tile floors in the den/kitchen area where all the "living" takes place in my home a few years ago. I found when I added a tablespoon or so of Mr. Clean to the water it not only REALLY cleaned the floors without as much effort as regular mopping but it smelled like I had done it the traditional way. (DON'T USE A CLEANER WITH FEBREEZE THIS WAY IF YOU HAVE BIRDS!)

    -Get a grabber thingy. More useful than you might think.

    -Buy smaller sizes of stuff. (milk, laundry detergent, etc.)

    -When they ask if you need any help to your car at the grocery store. Take them up on it.

    And one thing I found about going out to the grocery store or any other errands. Go after the normal work day starts and before it ends. Avoid lunch time on weekdays. This may sound harsh, but there are more older people out and about and it's much easier to get through some slow painful tasks when you're surrounded by people who may be having issues getting through their own tasks as well. I was asked more times than I can remember by people older than myself (I'm ONLY 47 lol) if I needed a hand lifting something or getting in/out of my truck. (do parents not teach their kids manners any more? Guess that's for another topic.)
  • Another thought about getting into deep bins and such like for dog food etc. Use the typical grabber but put a plastic cup on the end and scoop the food into it & lift it up to you. Then pour into a bowl/container until you have enough. I do this now and do it so I only have to refill smaller storage bowl about every 4 days. I then feed him out of that bowl into his bowl. So yes there is extra step involved but no more bending :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • odile53oodile53 Posts: 65
    edited 05/10/2013 - 5:01 AM
    I set a timer for ten minutes, and whatever I'm doing at the time, when the bell goes off, I quit. I'm also getting a lot more casual about my standards. Everything is clean, but organized so that I can reach it. With the dog, I put his food bag into a big step-on garbage pail, and can lunge to get a scoop of food out. I learned how to aim for his dish, and most of it gets in there (plus, he picks up whatever ends up on the floor, anyways.) I got a new plant water pitcher to pour water into his dish as needed.

    I learned this trick with the dishwasher, because I was going to be dipped in sheep dip if I had to resort to hand dishwashing:

    I put an office chair in the kitchen, and sit down on it and kick myself over to the dishwasher. I position myself at a 45 degree angle to the dishwasher, and use the grabber to roll out the lower rack. When unloading, I pile the clean dishes on the counter from the dishwasher, roll the rack back in, close the dishwasher door, and then stand up and return the dishes to the cupboard.

    I'm about five months out of surgery, and have perfected "the lunge."

    I use an eight pound upright vacuum to just vacuum the middle of the carpet (I don't bother with the corners, and wait for my husband to get home for him to move stuff so I can vacuum under it.) That eight pounder is powerful enough to creep along the floor on its own. I stand as close as possible to the vacuum, and don't use my arms to propel it back and forth to avoid pressure on my back. What I do is essentially do the cha-cha with the vacuum cleaner: As I step back and forth, and keep my arm in one position, the vacuum does its thing. It takes longer to vacuum this way, but believe it or not, the rug is actually cleaner.

    I didn't get a roomba after I saw a hysterical video on youtube about what happened when a dog had an "accident" while the homeowner was out of the house and the roomba was running. You can go to youtube and look up "roomba and dog p--p" if you need a good laugh (warning--if you're still having paraspinal muscle pain, support your back before watching this, but it is hysterical!)

    I picked up a garden hoe from the Lehmans Hardware website: It has a very small blade that is sharpened on all three sides. It's angled so that I can stand completely upright while using it. If you get at the weeds when they're small, it's effective. I use my grabber to pick up the weeded weeds and pitch them into the rollabout garbage bin. This only works if the weeds are just sprouting. Otherwise, it's chemical warfare all the way. Big bags of mulch, etc, have to wait until I can nag my husband into doing that. I hired a lawn mowing service, and it's worth every nickel. They come weekly. It ended up costing me about $120 last year.

    The way I figure it is this: Everyone I know, knows what I've been through. If they're critical about my housekeeping, I'll be happy to hand them a broom and mop and tell them to have at it!

    Actually, those grabbers are so handy, I think even the able-bodied should have them! I just might get one for all my friends for Christmas!
    I'm not a spinal diagnosis. I'm a human being with a spinal diagnosis.
Sign In or Register to comment.