Ways to conserve your energy when doing jobs around the home

Ways to conserve your energy when doing jobs around the home

If you have a disability or mobility difficulty, you may find that you become tired while trying to perform everyday tasks around your home (Mathiowetz, Matuska and Murphy, 2001), (Arthritis Care, 2015). This can make it difficult to get everything done around the home, or you may find you need to ask others for help. Listed here are some ideas on how to conserve your energy when doing jobs around the house.


General hints

  • Pace yourself and take time to rest throughout the day. Rest is an important part of conserving your energy, and helps your body recover from physical activity (Mathiowetz, Matuska and Murphy, 2001), (Arthritis Care, 2015).
  • Getting a good night's sleep can also help keep your energy levels up. Read our tips for a better night's sleep for more advice.
  • Use household appliances, equipment and gadgets to assist you wherever possible. For example, use a long handled reacher to pick up items from the floor, instead of bending down (Santiago-Palma and Payne, 2001).
  • Sitting to complete household tasks can help save energy. For example, you could sit while preparing food or doing your ironing (Santiago-Palma and Payne, 2001).
  • Organise your regularly used household items so they are accessible and easy to reach (Santiago-Palma and Payne, 2001).
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In the kitchen

Preparing and cooking food can be difficult if you have a disability. However, careful planning and use of appropriate equipment can make these tasks much simpler (Arthritis Care, 2015). You may like to read our advice on planning an accessible kitchen and kitchen layouts for more information on setting up your kitchen.

  • Get organised - some difficulties may be overcome by simply rearranging your kitchen so that items are close to areas where they will be used. It may also help to store commonly used items within easy reach, to avoid bending low or over reaching (Arthritis Care, 2015).
  • Pace yourself - trying to do everything in a short space of time can make you tired (Santiago-Palma and Payne, 2001). You could try chopping up and preparing food in the morning, allowing time to rest before cooking your evening meal.
  • Many activities in the kitchen can be done sitting down, which can help save energy (Arthritis Care, 2015), (Santiago-Palma and Payne, 2001). A perching stool could be used for this.
  • Using appliances such as food processors or electric mixers can save time and energy spent chopping or mixing by hand (Arthritis Care, 2015).
  • You may also consider buying ready chopped and prepared fruit and vegetables, or frozen vegetables, to save energy preparing these (Arthritis Care, 2015).
  • When you are cooking, consider preparing extra portions and freezing them for later use (Arthritis Care, 2010).
  • There is a wide range of food preparation equipment designed to make tasks easier - including cutting and slicing, chopping boards, peelers and graters.
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Cleaning your home

Cleaning can be quite a difficult and tiring task, depending on your abilities you may need some assistance with heavy tasks such as vacuuming or cleaning the bathroom (Arthritis Care, 2015). Here are some ideas that may help you manage cleaning tasks.

  • Cleaning the whole house in one day can be very tiring and may not be possible. If you space out cleaning tasks over the week, cleaning the house will be much less tiring.
  • Long handled cleaning items such as mops, dusters, window wipers or dustpans and brushes will help avoid bending low or over reaching (Arthritis Care, 2010).
  • Vacuum cleaners can be heavy and difficult to move around the home. If you live in a two storey home, you may consider having one vacuum cleaner upstairs and one downstairs.
  • Choosing the most effective cleaning products can help minimise the amount of scrubbing or manual work you need to do.
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Laundry

  • Washing machines and tumble dryers make washing much easier. Front loading machines can be raised on a platform so you don't have to bend as low to load and unload. A long handled reacher could be used to help pull clothes out of the machine.
  • To avoid ironing, consider choosing clothes that don't require ironing. Putting clothes on a hanger to dry can help reduce the amount of ironing you need to do. Sitting down to do your ironing can help if you get tired while ironing. A lightweight table top ironing board, or a fold away ironing board may be easier to manage than a conventional board (Arthritis Care, 2015).
  • Using a tumble dryer for larger items such as sheets and towels can be helpful, as these items are often heavy to peg out.
  • Pacing yourself with laundry tasks will also help stop you getting too tired. For example, iron in small batches rather than trying to do it all at once (Santiago-Palma and Payne, 2001).
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Advice last checked: 09 May 2017 Next check due: 09 May 2020

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement

References

  1. Arthritis Care 2013  Independent living and arthritis
    Arthritis Care - 4th Floor Linen Court, 10 East Road, London N1 6AD :  London Evidence type: 2
  2. Mathew, R. 2010  Energy Conservation. The art of pacing to foster maximum functionality
    View reference   Last visited:  17/12/2013 Evidence type: 2
  3. Mathiowetz, V., Matuska, K.M. and Murphy, M.E. 2001  Efficacy of an Energy Conservation Course for Persons With Multiple Sclerosis
    Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation   Vol.82   p449-456 Evidence type: 4
  4. Santiago-Palma, J. and Payne, R. 2001  Palliative care and Rehabilitation: CANCER Supplement
      Vol.92(4)   p1049-1052 Evidence type: 3
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