For those who enjoy a clean house, keeping it in that condition as we grow older becomes a feat.
For many of us, knees will give out, backs won't allow us to lift heavy objects or move in repetitious movements, and our breathing will remind us how our energy level has been reduced. And for most, personal retirement funds will not cover the cost of a housekeeper.
Over the years, I've learned an incredible amount of tips and tricks from cleaning for women 80+ years old. They were my best teachers in this area. Therefore, I pass their wisdom onto you.
The Basket Method
I love this one and therefore start with it. Once your home is cleaned to your satisfaction, purchase several small, wicker clothes baskets (or baskets of your choice). Place one in each room where you spend most of your time. Use these baskets for items you are currently using. If you're not using it, put it away or throw it out.
For example, if you're reading a paperback, keep it in the basket when you're not using it. When you move to your bedroom and wish to read it there in the evening, place it in the bedroom basket when finished. When you move back to the living room during the day and wish to read, take it with you and keep it in the living room basket when you're finished.
By utilizing The Basket Method, your rooms continue to remain picked up. The key to this method is to deal with the items away that you no longer use as opposed to filling up the basket to overflowing.
Black, Glass, and Stainless Steel
Do you decorate with these three items/colors? They are a housecleaner's nightmare. They take twice as long to clean and remain in great shape for about 30 seconds.
Cover your glass dining table with a table cloth. Cloths can be fun to change out and are far easier to place in the wash. There will come a day when turning into a pretzel to clean the fingerprints from glass just isn't possible.
It is the same with stainless steel - it shows every fingerprint and water drop. You can eliminate both by choosing not to decorate with stainless steel.
Black furniture and throw rugs will show every piece of dust floating in the air. We all live with the illusion that the air is clear in our homes. No. Dust and lint is constantly afloat throughout our rooms and if you decorate with black (or navy blue, maroon, forest green, etc.), it never looks good. Reconsider changing out dark colors.
Uggghhh. After a certain age (or at any age), you'll discover that tile is another nightmare. If you own 3,000sf of tile on your floors, you actually have a 6,000sf of cleaning to perform. First, you have to sweep it, and then you have to mop it. It is an absolute killer of housecleaners' knees and backs.
Tile becomes a liability with age. If you are prone to accidents, or dropping items, tile is relentless in making sure everything breaks. As we know, sweeping up glass so that it doesn't end up in our feet takes time.
It's also very cold in the winter time, not to mention just how slippery it can be when wet. For most seniors, these are not advantages.
If you are remaining in a tiled home, consider covering it with large area rugs. Even though the carpets need vacuuming, you only have to go over it once as opposed to twice. They are also a great insulation against the cold.
Sitting While Vacuuming
This can be a bit time consuming, depending on your energy level and size of house. But with a very lightweight vacuum (such as a vacuum stick), small jobs can still be accomplished. A well placed chair (or chairs) is utilized while you operate the vacuum. Naturally, you will only reach as far as the length of your arm plus vacuum, but it's still an option to keep your main walkways clean.
For those who live in a small home, this is actually ideal. You don't have to reach every corner, but you will be surprised how much you can accomplish.
Keep Cleaner in Each Room
What's the main cleaner(s) you use in any particular room? Keep an extra bottle/can there to make it easier on yourself.
One Day At A Time
Let's face it - this is a good one for people of all ages. Don't try to clean the whole house. Take one room a day, unless you wish to tackle more. Think of it as your morning exercise!
For example, Monday is Kitchen Day, Tuesday is Bathroom Day, Wednesday is Living Room Day, etc.
Have rooms you don't use? Clean them up and shut the door. This may seem obvious, but in some cases, it's not. If the door is closed, don't use it. Keep it for guests.
Throw It Away!
Let's get honest here - what the heck are you keeping it for, and just when do you expect to use it?
I no longer keep heavy items because I can't pick them up. If I can't operate it by myself, I don't own it. We don't physically improve with age, and most of us are not going to remodel the house at 85. Be realistic. Be honest with yourself. Are you REALLY going to use that again in your lifetime? And "I might" is not an answer. Get rid of it. Someone else can probably use it.
Less Is More
The less you have out, the less you have to clean, and the less you have to figure out where to store.
How many screwdrivers do you need? How many can you operate at the same time? Just how many cups/plates/glasses do you need in yfour house? When was the last time you had 300 people over for a meal? Will a set of 4 or 8 do the job?
I have seen people fill eight shelves in their cabinets with miscellaneous advertising mugs and cups - just in case.
How many pots and pans do you use and how many people are you cooking for? If you're not entertaining on a large scale, chances are this is not a feature of your future. Eliminate the items you no longer use.
When was the last time you used "anything"? Five years ago? If it's broken, do you really believe it's going to have a resurrection there in the closet? And if you did need it, are you personally going to fix it? Can you afford to fix it? Get rid of it.
Things are just that - things. They are not alive. They are not people with feelings. They are plastic and metal and will not come to your aid if you need help. Toss the junk and stuff. It'll make your cleaning job far easier.
Make It Fun!
I don't care how old you get - there's music you love! Blast that stereo while you're working on a room. Turn up the sound of a great movie, or TV program. Concentrate on something else while you're cleaning the room. Before you know it, it's done!
If you have cleaning tips/tricks for folks in their senior years, please feel free to share. We can all benefit from each others' knowledge.
And if you have found this article helpful, I'd really appreciate it if you'd share it - Thank you!