Life Hacks

MobileWOMEN columnists have banded together to bring you a list of our favorite life hacks…those random things in life we do to make living life in a chair a little easier. We hope that you read something worth trying in your own life. We'd love for you to share your own life hacks on our mobileWOMEN Facebook page so that other readers can learn from you, too!

  • I wipe my wet hands after I wash them or come in from the rain on the back of my pants. No one will ever see it!
  • I always buy the drawstring trash bags so that I can put the tied drawstring over my handle bars on the back of my chair to pull it outside so that I can keep my hands free to push my chair and my lap free.
  • I clip my shopping bags at the mall into my chair’s seatbelt so that I don’t have to hold them and know that they’re safe.
  • I found that I needed reachers in my car in case I drop something but that the normal reachers were too long in such a tight space, so I use salad tongs instead. Works like a charm!
  • I have a water bottle with a sling style holder. I can hang it on the joystick mechanism of my power chair and can easily pick it up by the sling when I want a drink.
  • I’m a quad and use a battery operated letter opener. The letter slides through automatically and opens.
  • I always keep a grocery store poncho, which comes in a pouch, in my purse for when it rains. It keeps me and my chair dry when I get in a bind.
  • When walking the dog, I tie up the plastic bag, once it’s used, and hold it in my scissor brakes until I get home to the trash. It’s a hands-free system!
  • I always keep a hooded raincoat in the car!
  • If I’m getting coffee to go, I try to get one of the trays that hold the cups to help my carry my coffee.
  • I keep reachers in parts of the house where I need to reach things. They definitely come in handy with laundry deep in the machine!
  • Although I use a manual chair when I’m out and about with friends and family since that’s what fits in my car, I do find that using a power chair has made a huge difference in my independence.
  • When I’m grocery shopping, I find that I can either carry a basket easily and rest it on my foot rest if I’m grabbing a few items, or I can maneuver the smaller carts that some grocery stores have and push it through the store if I have more items to buy.
  • When shopping, I can place plenty of bags on the back of my manual or power chair and still wheel around easily.
  • I have a driver, who happens to use a chair as well, who I pay weekly to drive me wherever I need to go since he has a lift on his van. I have access to other means of transportation if he cannot drive me, but having a personal transportation option instead of just public transportation has given me a lot more freedom.
  • Sometimes if things are too high for me to reach, I find a way to use items near me to reach up and grab what I need. This past summer, I stayed at a hotel that had a hair dryer way too high and out of reach. I grabbed a towel from the bathroom, threw one end up where the hair dryer was, and was able to pull it to where I could grab it to use.

by Amy Saffell