Making everyday tasks easier can be a challenge

Oxford Mail: Niall Strawson Niall Strawson

Those that know me would never say I am particularly timely and rarely early, but this year I felt the spring clean was now due. The thing about January is that it is a time for a fresh start. My last article focused on getting a break before facing 2014 – I decided that getting the house in order is the first step in that direction. Clean house, clean mind and all that.

One of the major banes of my life is laundry. The odd thing about being a wheelchair user is that clothes last a day before they need a wash. A rainy day and my trousers are a mess, soggy muddy sleeves on my jumper and a sweaty T-shirt from all the pushing.

In my flat I have a small washing machine and one of those folding airers. This means that the cycle of laundry is not exactly efficient. I have to wait for each load to dry which takes days and my house turns into a Chinese laundry of both freshly cleaned and mucky clothes. Not only does this look grim but I can’t exactly kick my clothes out of the way so I end up getting stuck trying to navigate between all the clothing piles, elaborate indoor constructions strewn with pants and socks, and things on hangars on every conceivable door handle and chair back.

Courtesy of Santa I was given a tumble dryer for Christmas – oddly probably one of the best gifts ever given. Finding a spot in a one bedroom flat for a tumble dryer is no easy task, especially in a space carefully organised for maximum movement between furniture. I eventually decided that the bedroom is the best place for it.

I don’t want a big white box cluttering up my living room nor my bathroom as I need space to move around. Getting into bed and getting access to my clothes is a small part of my day and an easy one to compromise. Furthermore having a tumble dryer staring at me whilst I relax would be a reminder that my housing situation is compromised by my disability needs.

In order to install this tumble dryer I needed to reorganise my house. I needed a plug socket and a window for the vent. This meant moving sofas, tables, which is no easy task as a wheelchair user. I had to call on mum and dad to travel hundreds of miles to come and totally reorganise my house.

It’s odd that when you first have a disability you worry about not walking and your health, but really it’s about getting on with the mundane activities with the least amount of hassle.

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