Organizing at Home During Social Distancing

As we all sit at home for days (twelve for me now) we try to get ourselves focused on projects to get us through the day. It is very difficult to start as we are ridden with anxiety from the news and the quiet on the streets. But let’s think of this time as a time we never had and may never have again…time to get stuff done that we only talked about before. Lists we wrote that got ripped up without anything checked off. So let’s get organized one step at a time.

Let’s start with your house. I started my organizing by writing a list by room of tasks, no matter how menial that I wanted to accomplish. Sometimes being able to check something off your list is all you need to feel productive for the day. Let’s start….. Go…..

By room:

Kitchen:

1. Cabinets: Go through all your cabinets and organize shelves so that everything is within reach and organized. Make sure dishes are in same cabinet and Tupperware is stacked somewhere where it won’t hit you in the head. I prefer putting it in a pullout drawer, organized by size with lids on the side. This may be a good time to make a little box of items you never use to donate at a later time.

2. Pantry: Organize your shelves by type of food and check expiration dates. This would be a good time to have a large garbage bag next to you. It is amazing how much we overbuy when things are on sale. Yes I am also guilty. I just found 5 bottles of salad dressing that expired last year. So much for the savings I thought I was getting.

3. Deep clean: Now is the time to get out that cabinet polish, countertop refresher, windex and whatever else you use to clean your kitchen. Put the gloves on and go crazy. Your kitchen will thank you and remember this glorious day when you are back at work and leaving dirty dishes in the sink again.

4. Floors: Don’t forget to swiffer, mop and shine that beautiful ceramic tile that was bought with the intention that beige is great because it doesn’t show any dirt. Well, let’s kill all germs and make our floors shine!

Bathroom:

Whether one, two or more, now is the time to deep clean and organize the bathrooms in our house:

1. Empty Medicine cabinets and Vanities: We are all guilty of shoving things in cabinets, drawers and at the bottom of vanities. So take everything out and use that big garbage bag again. Throw out expired or unnecessary products. Again you will remind yourself to not fall for those sales. Clean surfaces and return products to shelves and the bottom of the vanity. Be sure to clean all area surfaces before returning products. Another job we never get to when working outside of the house.

2. Scrub, scrub, scrub: Now you can get on your hands and knees and scrub that shower, bathtub and the toilet bowl and surrounding areas. Use your gloves so you will not hesitate to clean until they shine so brightly.

3. Floors: Don’t forget to swiffer, mop and scrub those tiles until they look like you just put them in your brand new bathroom.

Voila! The most important rooms of the house are done, now let’s make a list of other jobs we can do around the house.

Living Room/Dining Room: Give these rooms a deep clean and don’t forget the furniture polish and wood floor cleaner too. Put clutter away or throw out accumulated nonsense. Another two rooms in your house are now sparkling.

Bedrooms: Clean out drawers (don’t forget to have an empty donation bag right next to you), Organize closets, dust and polish furniture and hang up all the clothes that are around. This may be a good time to put on a load of laundry.

Miscellaneous: For those of us who have basements and/or garages you can extend these cleaning, sorting and donating projects to these areas as well. Check the next time bulk will be picked up and make an area in your garage for that pickup. While we are organizing, don’t forget hall closets, mud rooms, linen closets, and so on.

Start by writing down all the rooms in your house on paper with space in between. On each space in between write down the jobs you want to get done. Check off each as it is accomplished. You will feel so satisfied at the end of the day and days that your mind will not be consumed with the virus and its impact outside but rather on changing your world temporarily while we wait for the world to heal.

Don’t forget to take before and after pictures to look at one day when you are back to the 9 to 5 craziness your life used to have.

Please comment and share your lists and accomplishments. We are all in this together. Stay safe and healthy.

Is Social Distancing Our Future?

With the outbreak of corona virus spreading through our nation, causing closing of all schools and businesses to work from home, are we headed towards a stay-at-home society? Every day more and more changes and restrictions are being discussed, so much so that fear is rising and people do not know what to expect. Stores overcrowded, bars and restaurants on take-out only, gyms and other businesses that provide services are closing, while the news is just making everyone scared about their future. People are worried about their savings, their pay checks, and their overall quality of life. When can we expect things to get back to normal or will this be the new normal?

When Corona Virus swept through China, Italy and other parts of Europe, Americans just held their breaths. Then, we heard of a case here and a case there. Still trying to remain calm. Now we have gotten to people cancelling trips, parties, weddings, etc. way into the month of June. Could it be that we would be social distancing til then? Will people be able to get back on track after this? What about the children who are trying to learn at home with parents struggling to keep their own jobs going and lack of babysitting help? How long can our society go on like this?

Let’s take a deep breath and try to put it into perspective. First of all, our main concerns should be that we have what we need in our homes to get by for a few weeks – food and basic supplies. We have to assume that we will be able to get additional supplies as we need them. Most importantly, we need to have all of our prescriptions filled for the next 90 days if possible. Be aware of online medical help that is available for non-threatening illnesses. We do not want to go to doctors offices or hospitals unless it is a complete emergency.

Whenever you go to a public place be sure to keep sanitizer handy and to wash your hands frequently and for at least 30 seconds. Avoid touching others and just get done what you need and go back home. Check on neighbors especially the elderly who may not be able to get to the store. If you are going anyway, see if they need some basic supplies picked up for them. A lending hand will long be remembered and reinforce the true nature of community and society. Be considerate when buying supplies – do you really need 2 cases of toilet paper right now or shouldn’t you be thinking of the next person shopping ! Let’s not overreact or hoard supplies. Let’s all have faith that we will be back to normal within a few weeks.

Be thankful for our health professionals and first responders who are risking their lives every day to continue protecting and caring for us. Before you decide to complain about limitations being imposed on you, think about the next person and what they are going through as well.

This is the time to enjoy the simple things in life and perhaps thinking about a simpler time which has gone so far away from us. Share meals with your family, enjoy game nights, have conversations and do all those things we never have time for during the normal course of our lives. This will be difficult for the children who are used to playing sports, being involved in activities every day and those that are not used to relaxing. Welcome this as an opportunity to show our children what we should enjoy doing all the time: being with those we love.

I wish everyone good luck through this national crisis. When it is over we will have so much to catch up on and discuss. Stay calm and have faith that this too shall pass. Please feel free to share your concerns and triumphs through this time.

Stay safe and wash your hands!