From sourdough starters to spring cleaning, there are a lot of isolation living tips flying around. Here’s a list we think offers something for everyone.
During these times of uncertainty, our many hours spent in our homes might be challenging, but they’re also an opportunity to take a step back and use what time we can to advantage. But before we dive into any tips and tricks, let’s start with the most important item:
Take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Seriously. There are great lists of things to do and sort and try and clean—we’re about to offer one just jam-packed with goodies. But all these lists and methods are not for everyone—nor should they pressure you into tackling anything you’re not capable of at the moment.
Are you and your partner navigating remote work in a Vancouver apartment? Caring for elderly relatives? Homeschooling three kids under the age of ten? Um, you are busy. Trying to wrangle a teenager into respecting social distancing? Same. (Also, trying calling it “staying out of melee range.” Sounds cooler. Might appeal to the teenage brain.)
Our lives have changed, and we’re responding to an unprecedented event. None of us were prepared for this, and all of us are going to cope in our own ways, and at our own speeds. Be kind to yourself, and respect your current limits.
Now let’s get cracking with ways to use our time at home to advantage!
Digital done right
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be limited to storing sweaters and dusting under the couch.
Clean up those old emails
- We all have that digital inbox, the one electronic flyers fill up, that’s linked to our online shopping accounts. Now’s the time to go through those folders, delete spam, and file the messages you need to keep. Who knows, maybe you’ll find an email in there from a friend you haven’t talked to in a while?
Update and organize passwords
- With all our email, subscription services and shopping accounts, passwords can get out of hand. Whether you use a google account or another service, there are great options for organizing and keeping track of your passwords.
Get rid of old accounts
- Between cleaning those emails and organizing those passwords, you’re bound to uncover things you’d forgotten about. The moment is ripe to unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters and close accounts for services you no longer need.
Go through your downloads folder + desktop
- Do you even know what’s in there? You’re about to. Whether you dump everything into a catch-all downloads folder or drop files onto your desktop, it’s time to sort through the digital dust we accumulate.
Take out the trash
- That trash can or recycle bin on your computer is ready to be dumped. If you’re like us, you’ll want to take a quick look over the files inside to make sure you’re not deleting anything that you need, then it’s time to click that button.
Picture perfect papers
We all have that pile of papers, the one full of things we’ll deal with later. Good news: later is finally upon us.
That kitchen drawer
- It’s there. You know it, we know it, and our collective moms know it. Maybe it’s the place you cram all those cooking implements you might use “one day,” or it’s your catch-all for mail and charity donations you mean to follow up on. No matter what you cram into that drawer, this is the perfect opportunity to sort through what’s inside. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that spoon you’ve been looking for, or a tool for trying a new recipe?
That stack in your office
- You meant to file those papers at the start of January. Then February. And now we’re in the middle of spring and that pile has probably gotten a little bigger, there might even be things that you need for your taxes. Let’s dive in and see if your tax return can get a little better.
That pile of old pictures + memorabilia
- This isn’t a chore, this is how you remind yourself of all the wonderful things you’ve done and all the fantastic people in your life. You can sort through the box or bin or drawer you put everything in and unearth treasures you’d forgotten you had. For those of you who always wanted to take up scrapbooking, this is your moment.
While we always recommend leaving any major work to the professionals, there are those nuisance problems any of us can fix.
Tighten those screws
- That one screw on that one cabinet door handle, the one you can tighten with an allen key and keep meaning to get to? Now is the time, we know you can do it.
Tidy those cables
- That mess of cables behind your home office computer station or cluttering the back of your entertainment stand? It’s a pain. It’s been a pain for ages. With this extra time on your hands, you can bring that mess into line. (Fun tip: pipe cleaners can be brilliant for this, but pretty much anything works).
Rearrange that storage
- You know those storage boxes, the ones we get imagining the perfect system we’ll create for whatever it is we’re storing (usually sweaters or craft supplies)? And how, oh so often, we get halfway through said project and life gets in the way? Well, life has just gotten out of your way, so dive on in and finish what you’d started.
Clean those cupboards
- If you’re like everyone else, there’s a collection of tinned items cluttering up the back of your kitchen cupboards. Now is the perfect time to clean out everything you won’t use and make space for things you will. If you’re comfortable, it’s also an ideal time to donate any unwanted food items to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. (If you’re not comfortable dropping things off in person, you can make a money donation—they can really use the help right now).
Of course the list could go on. Especially when it comes to our homes! But while most of us can’t replace that kitchen sink or re-tile our bathrooms, we can make a list of priorities and plan for how they’ll get done when isolation is lifted.