This is not my cat.
The first thing I am going to say is that none of my links or mentions of products are paid for. I simply talk about what products and tools work best for me. I don't need to be paid to sing the praises of things I like.
The second thing I am going to say is that the cat in the photo above is one of the cats from the rescue where I help out a few days a week. Her name is "Sprout," and she is up for adoption! I think she is one of the cutest cats I have ever seen (except for my own, of course!) She is one of the ones I would take home, if my partner had not put his foot down and said, "No more animals!" There are a few others there I would like to bring home, as well, but I have to just be satisfied with seeing them a few times a week. Oh, well!
As anyone who suffers from fibromyalgia or any related illness knows, keeping up with housework can be a real challenge. Many things fall by the wayside, and often, you find yourself just focusing on maintenance and on picking up (until you have a big event coming up at your house!) These days, even maintenance is very hard for me. I try really hard to keep up with it, because my partner does the big, heavy, outside stuff, and it wouldn't be fair for him to have to do everything. I do what I can, and he doesn't complain (until he runs out of underwear!) As fast as my illness is worsening, I seem to be picking up lots of tricks just as fast, thank goodness.
One of my recent, amazing finds was this laundry cart, which I picked up at my local Goodwill store for $14! Laundry is probably my second biggest chore, after animal care (I still do most of the animal care, which is fine with me, as long as I am able to do it.) The baskets of laundry, both wet and dry, were getting to be too heavy for me. Just moving the laundry around to be hung to dry or put away was wearing me out. Thanks to this cart, I can get either task done much more easily. The bags make it a lot easier to carry the clean, folded laundry upstairs to be put away, too. They also allow me to keep everything separated: mine, his, household (sheets, towels, etc.) When I unload the washer, i can just plunk the basket on the cart and go. I do laundry just about every day, unless I'm caught up or am having a really bad day. I just couldn't believe my luck in finding this cart as cheaply as I did!
Another tool I have sworn by is my Simplicity Sport and Shop Vac vacuum cleaners. The fact that these are rugged, lightweight, and very simple to assemble and disassemble makes them perfect for people with fibro. The Simplicity is worn over your shoulder and weighs about 7 pounds. It does not sacrifice power, though, let me tell you! I use the one I have at home exclusively for cleaning up after the cats, and it does such a good job that I bought one for the rescue. These types of vacuums work better on hard surfaces, but both of them come with attachments that allow you to clean carpet--they just may not get the deeper stuff. Our home and the rescue are mostly free of carpet.
The last tool I can think of off the top of my head is the sifting litter pans that I bought last year to replace our traditional ones. We had several large boxes we were using for the cats, but scooping them got to be too much for me as I got sicker, so I switched to the sifting ones. We now only have two (out of six) that are not sifting boxes, and they are not that big. Making this switch has made a world of difference for me in terms of my ability to clean up after the cats! Not only does it save time, I end up far less exhausted when I am finished. I have also stopped buying the pine pellet stall bedding, which was super-cheap, at the local feed store and am now using corn or walnut-shell based litter. While these are a lot more expensive, the waste is a lot more lightweight and easier for me to manage. Since all but one of the boxes are in the basement, this has also made a huge difference.
I have also switched most of my pet shopping to online ordering. When I shop for the animals, I usually need a case of this, a big bag of that. It was getting to be too hard on me, so I simply place an order online every two or three weeks, as needed. I'm probably saving some money in the process, which is not a bad thing. We looked into placing our Costco orders online, too, but they did not have everything we needed, and we found that they have a delivery charge for each item! Yowza! No, thanks! Since we only hit Costco about every couple of months, I'm just going to suck it up and go on my next day off, if I'm feeling well. You win some, you lose some. There is still a lot of stuff that we order online, and that's been very helpful.
Finally, I am coping by resting in between tasks, by doing whatever I can sitting down, and by trying to let go anything that does not get done on a given day. Missed chores are not the end of the world, I have to remind myself. The house will still be standing when I get back to what I need to do. I am sure that I will discover plenty more tricks and hacks as time goes on. These few have made a huge difference for me!