If you follow me on instagram then you definitely know that I moved into a new house last May, because I basically beat you over the head with that information in the form of badly lit cell phone pictures of every room in my house every single time I buy one tiny piece of decor or decide to move a plastic chair from the office to the living room. Redecorating my house is my current obsession. Probably because I don’t get out a lot. I spend about 85% of my life in this house so I want to be able to just sit back and think “ah yes, this shall suffice…this shall suffice indeed.” I mean, some days I bring a book out into my living room with the intention of reading the day away, but then I sort of just sit back on my sectional and look at my fireplace or my colourful bookshelves and then 2 hours have passed and I’m still on chapter 1 page 3.
To say I’m proud of my house would be an understatement. I am a very superficial person, so the fact that it looks nice (just don’t look at the paint job closely and don’t go in the bright mint green bathroom in the basement…and probably just don’t come to my house at all unless you are my IRL friend and I have invited you and magically didn’t cancel 2 hours before you were supposed to show up because my legs AND arms stopped working at the same time) is very important to me. But it’s more than that.
So just to reiterate after that very long and complex sentence: to say I am proud of my house is an understatement. But not JUST because of how it looks. I finally live in a house that works for my actual real life everyday #basic needs.
Since moving, I have spent a fair deal of my time cumulating “life hacks,” or as people who don’t blog call them “shortcuts” or simply “THINGS” that work to make my home more accessible. I haven’t implemented them all yet because being sick and disabled is expensive AF and I can only do a little at a time, but I will still share some of the things I have or plan on having when money is no longer an object (most of them are still sort of affordable, but it all adds up quickly). So follow me, chronically ill friends, as I help make your lives easier, or maybe not at all. We shall see!
LISA’S ACCESSIBLE HOME HACKS:
1. DON’T HAVE STAIRS IN YOUR HOME.
Which is obviously much easier said than done. Moving is expensive and finding legit accessible homes is very difficult. And adding elevators into your pre-existing home is probably not budget friendly/structurally possible. But I would be remiss not to mention that a home with predominantly everything you need on one level will cut your energy expending-ness in half. Yes, I have measured. Probably the best case scenario is to live in a house where the laundry room is still in the basement even though everything else you need is on the main level, and you live with another human person who is then sort of forced to do all of your laundry for you. Then you have 100% more energy than you would have if you had to do your own laundry. But that suggestion comes from a place of privilege because Matthew does all of my laundry for me.
2. HAVE LOTS OF EMPTY FLOOR SPACE.
The more clutter-free floor space you have the better. You won’t have to spend energy stepping over things, or tripping up in things and falling over and then trying to get back up and texting your husband who is at work that you fell down even though he can’t really do much for you because he’s at work and won’t come home unless its an actual emergency. So you then have to get up on your own and now you’re tired.
3. HAVE A CHRONIC ILLNESS EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS KIT IN YOUR NIGHTSTAND NEXT TO YOUR BED.
I wasn’t doing this until I had surgery back in October and knew for certain there would be times when I could not get up at all and didn’t want to rely on Matthew to fetch everything for me. I have a 2 drawer night stand (cheapo MALM nightstand from IKEA but the drawers are basically as endless as Mary Poppins bag so you can store everything in there). In the top drawer I keep things like: baby wipes, makeup wipes, chocolate bars, throat lozenges, Tylenol and my best friend Midol, chapstick, tv remote, deodorant, a hairbrush, concealer and a makeup mirror because I don’t let anyone see me without concealer on and who knows when I will be getting a visitor who is bringing me cupcakes or flowers, a book, a water bottle, glasses cleaning cloth, more chocolate. In the bottom drawer I keep my heavy duty chronic illness supplies like: my heating pad, my cooling pad, random braces I may need at a moment’s notice because what if I change the channel on the tv and it dislocates the entire right side of my body, and a backup chocolate supply.
This nightstand has changed my life.
4. GET ONE OF THOSE FOLDING, ADJUSTABLE BEDSIDE TABLES.
You know, the ones that they market to senior citizens because HEAVEN FORBID anything that helps less mobile people could be for YOUNG PEOPLE. But anyway, I got a white one from Walmart for $20 and it folds up underneath the bed when I’m not using it. It reaches over the bed so it’s good for eating. If I were just swimming in cash I would buy the Bedchill Plus because it has 4 outlets, 4 USB charging ports, 2 LED lights, speakers, remote control, and even DRAWERS, people! I could just live the rest of my life in bed and send a robot Lisa out into the world, but that sucker is like $600 and I doubt my insurance company will reason with me on this one, so thank u next.
5. GET SMART TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR HOME.
This one is pricier (a couple hundred bucks each for the doorbell and the lock) but I must tell you about it because it has changed my WORLD. Matthew loves technology, so when we knew we were moving into this house to make life more accessible for me, he started looking at some tech we could incorporate into our home to help with that. The thing he landed on is called a Nest doorbell and door lock. So basically we have a doorbell that has a video camera and microphone that is connected to an app on our phone. So if someone rings the doorbell, I can go into my phone and see who it is. If I like that person, I can hit the microphone and say something like “hello person I like, I am unlocking the door for you now.” And then I can click on the lock, which is in the same app, press unlock, and VOILA – the door opens for them from the comfort of my bed. And then they come in and visit me with cupcakes and flowers. It’s amazing how helpful this technology has been for me since we had it installed. It is also helpful for Matthew because he doesn’t have to stop playing video games in the basement to come upstairs and unlock the door. Win win win.
6. GET A SECOND HAND ROLLATOR.
A rollator is a walker on wheels and it usually has a little seat on it. They can be pricey but I got a second hand one on Facebook marketplace for $60 and it is life-changing. I recently dislocated a tendon in my arm and now my arm is in a cast for 6 weeks. Which means that when I use my crutch, I cannot carry anything anywhere. That gets annoying fast. So I bought this rollator and I use it around the house as support for walking, but it also has a basket under the seat that carries all of my things around the house for me. And then I can sit on it if I get tired. The other day, my bestie Pamela made a carrot cake for me, so I just used the rollator as a cake tray for the entire day. I was never without cake, and I didn’t have to carry it. I’ve also just sat on it while drinking wine and had Matthew push me around where I needed to go in the house. It makes me feel like royalty. 5 stars would recommend.
7. GET SOME RAILS AND A BENCH FOR THE BATHTUB, LISA.
This is the thing I know I need and I know will help me significantly but I have been too lazy to actually purchase. Showering is probably my #1 exhaustion-fest, and I assume it’s because I spend 15 minutes just standing still which is the hardest thing for me to do. A bench will definitely help that. And a rail to help me not fall flat on my face while getting in and out of the bathtub sounds like a solid investment to me.
8. BUY AN ICEPACK THAT VELCROES AROUND YOUR NECK.
This is not really a house related item, other than the fact that it lives inside of a house. Nor does it make anything more accessible except maybe in the long run it will make YOU more accessible? So yeah, it doesn’t really fit here, BUT it is one of my favourite possessions and I own this blog, so I made the executive decision to include it in this list. I paid $6 for mine at Shoppers Drug Mart and it’s basically falling apart now because I have used it so much over the last 2 years. You can put it around your neck if you are doing household chores and your neck hurts or you are warm AF. You can put it around your neck at night when your heating pad is making you too overheated but you can’t live without it on your legs and you just want your head to be cold and your husband complains about you having the fan on blast in January. You can put it around your arm or shoulder if you tried to high-five your friend and you dislocated your shoulder in the process. YOU CAN DO SO MANY THINGS WITH IT. Well, only things that involve cooling a part of your body. But when your body works the way my body works, a velcroing ice pack is basically the holy grail. Best $6 I have ever spent.
9. SOMEHOW HAVE AN ACCESSIBLE COUNTERTOP.
In my new (to me) kitchen there is one area of our countertop that just has a wide open space underneath it. So we put a chair there and I can sit down while chopping veggies or baking things. It saves a lot of leg energy, and would also be very helpful if you use a wheelchair. But because this was already in place in our new home, I have no clue how difficult it would be to make this happen to a counter that has cupboards underneath, or how much it would cost. But it is definitely a helpful thing to have so I just wanted to let you know.
10. USE AN INFANT CHILD’S SIPPY CUP.
I recently bought two sippy cups from the baby section of a local department store. They are pink and one has a cookie on it that says “smart cookie” and the other has a camera and says “oh snap.” The reason I love them, aside from those incredible puns, is because they are spill-proof cups with straws and lids that pop off at the press of a button. So I can do that with one hand and also drink from it if I’m laying down in bed without making a total mess. I can also throw them in my rollator basket to transport throughout the house without turning the basket into a little pool. And if my 11 month old nephew wants to come over for a juice party, I am prepared.
That’s it for my list for now! I am sure as time goes on I will find even cooler things to help make life easier.
Now I want to hear from you. What accessible or ergonomic things do you use, big or small, that should be on my radar?