It’s Only Natural: Cleaning and Aging: Retirement and physically challenged

By Julia Guler

Contributing Writer

As we conclude the three-part series about “Cleaning and Aging,” we will focus on “Retirement and physically challenged.” My professional experiences have shown me firsthand the difficulties one faces in just keeping up with small, daily tasks as you age. I have several tips as to what can be done to help individuals keep themselves happy and healthy, as well as the home environment clean and functional.

First, if you are nearing retirement or recently facing some physical ailments, you may consider downsizing your home, if possible. As suggested in previous columns, you can just simply utilize your space at home by shutting off rooms not being used. Plus, adding in first-floor laundry and first-floor living allows you to manage your home easier.

Helpful tips:

Cleaning wands help to eliminate bending. Examples include shower scrubber wands, extended feather dusters and long-handled mops (wet/dry) or Swiffers.

Keep your home healthy by using biodegradable products or traditional cleaners, such as vinegar, baking soda, borax and a pumice stone. You may come from traditional eras, where using household items to clean is a normal practice . I have come from the “replace/throw away era,” as many readers may have. Hence, the reason for writing a column to help others to be educated in “green living/cleaning.”

More tips:

Lightweight vacuums are a lifesaver!

Large area rugs for hardwoods keep high-traffic areas cleaner longer.

Have cleaners reachable and in view to encourage clean up.

Hand-held extension grippers will save on your bending over to pick things up.

Finally, I would like to add that adding an extra rinse cycle on your washing machine will do three things.

1. Brighten and whiten your clothes.

2. Allow more use out of your clothing because of soapy residue.

3. Adding more soap doesn’t clean your clothes better, extra rinsing DOES!

In closing, I’d like to inform my readers about an upcoming new show on Bravo: Hoarders. I’ll be checking this out, and I hope this show will encourage people to reach out for help in de-cluttering their lives. Check your local listings!

Thank you for reading. Good luck on your endeavor to save our planet one step or “in-between” cleaning at a time!

Julia Guler is the founder of Willow’s Cleaning Services. For more tips or inquiries for her professional services, contact her on the Web at, via e-mail at or by phone at (815) 520-4996.

From the September 26-29, 2009 issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!