:: STUCK@HOME 2020 ::
This pandemic has gone on far longer than many people had expected. Precautions may be in place for an extended period of time, especially with the cold weather months just beginning. Back in March, I put together some references for everyone to take note of and hopefully benefit from with ease and maybe even pleasure. The long, comprehensive lists below may be helpful to refer to regularly and include subjects such as cleaning/disinfecting, checking on and helping neighbors and seniors and loads of ideas for activities and entertainment for all ages.
As long as we do not become ill and can somehow stay afloat financially, this time that so many of us may have to spend at home may actually be a perfect chance to handle some tasks that we have procrastinated… such as organizing possessions, making repairs or improvements, or even things that are far more simple, such as making phone calls, writing letters, cleaning out computer files. You name it. If you have complained about not having enough time to handle certain special tasks, you may have just had that fall into your lap. Or, if you have found yourself complaining that you don’t have enough rest or leisure time, please seize this moment. It’s better that the time fell into your lap, rather than into your lungs, of course. To find out more about information as to what to do with spare time spent at home, please scroll down for tips, ideas and serious considerations.
As of now, it seems that places such as grocery stores, US Post Offices, pharmacies, doctor offices, banks, gas stations and other convenience businesses and services will remain open until further notice, so we can still try to keep some of our daily routines somewhat normal. However, we should all continue to proceed with much caution as we interact with other people and we should be more careful of what we touch, etc.
Below are some tips on keeping your body and home healthy.
– not to sound like a broken record, but wash your hands furiously and often (friction is important)
– disinfect your soap dispenser and/or soap dish daily
– disinfect the kitchen and bathroom faucet handles daily
– change sponges, dish rag and towels frequently
– during this time, change your hand towel more frequently– the more people in a household, the more often to change the towel — 1-2 people = 1-2 times per day / 3-5 people = 3-4 times per day / 5+ people = 4-6 times per day
– wipe off such things as phones, doorknobs, refrigerator door handles or toilet flushing handles frequently with alcohol wipes daily
– clean off computer keyboards, mice or trackpads more often
– clean off radio and tv knobs and/or remote controls more often
– wipe off steering wheel after returning to vehicle from stores, particularly where you touched cart handles, doorknobs, money, etc.
– when out and about, make sure to immediately wipe hands with alcohol wipes after touching such things as shopping carts or baskets, doorknobs, cash and coins, wallets, credit cards, computer keyboards, credit/debit check-out machines, ATM machines, snack and beverage machines, public counters and desks, pens, pencils, purses, luggage, tote bags, shopping bags, backpacks, library books, school books, phones, steering wheels, fuel pump handles, toilet handles, animals, garbage pail, raw meat and/or seafood containers, cough/sneeze, etc.
– you can also have paper towels and tiny squeeze bottles from hotels and fill them with liquid soap to keep in your vehicle at all times in case you can find a sink
– wash tote and shopping bags after each use during this time
– wash clothing as soon as possible after coming home from a situation that seemed questionable to you
– disinfect luggage upon returning from a trip and let it air out outdoors if possible and later seal it up in large plastic garbage bag before storing
– wash or wipe off objects and/or surfaces that may have been contaminated by someone’s hand or cough, of course
– use natural cleaners as much as you can, such as white vinegar, but when still in doubt, an alcohol spray or light mix of bleach and water spray will be a stronger choice— but remember, not much bleach is needed to wipe off a surface
Here is a sampling of natural disinfectants to clean with. (Save the bleach for true panic.)
Below is a link to a list of some staple items to have on hand in your kitchen during such a serious time as this. Some items may take extra time to search for since we are all making such purchases at the same time. This Red Cross link has a lot of other information which we won’t need to use, hopefully. But, it’s still good information to consider in case of needing later on.
For a sampler list of ideas as to what to do with spare time at home for the coming weeks, here are some organized by separate subjects and based on a level-of-fun (aka LOF) scale from one to five.
Check-on-Others! – LOF = 3-5
– take some time to get to know your neighbors… within the recommended ten feet distance, perhaps
– help neighbors out with tasks or errands, especially if they are seniors or have health issues
– check in with senior neighbors, particularly if they have mobility or other heath-related issues
– ask neighbors if they need certain supplies that you might have enough to share or collect for them from a store
Possibly Overdue Maintenance Tasks – LOF = 1-2
– sort through electronic images from phone or camera
– weed through document files in your hard drive and delete whatever you can
– study finances to create ways of recovering from possible weeks of lost work
– clean out cell phone applications, photos, emails, texts, contacts
– organize your online bookmarks, your videos, your documents, your photos
– clean all camera lenses, computer screens, computer keyboards, etc.
– repair something in your home that you can easily do yourself
– sew all torn clothing or replace buttons that were lost
– still have photo negatives? — now is a great time to look through them and weed out the ones you will never want to keep and organize and preserve the ones you do want
– still have cassette tapes or CDs? — now is a great time to weed through them and decide what you want to keep or transfer for online viewing/listening
– still have old VHS tapes of family and friends or performances and special events or vacations?– if you happen to still own a player, now is a great time to watch them with the whole family for many laughs and loads of memories of the past!
– What? You even still have silent family videos? And you still have old slides? Now is the time to enjoy them, provided you have projectors or slide light boxes.
Early Spring Cleaning Sessions – LOF = 1-5 (up to level 5, because it’s so amazing to have such a clean house!)
– clean windows from inside
– deep clean baseboards
– dust all furniture
– vacuum whole house, including behind and under furniture and spider webs
– mop whole house
– wash or shampoo things like dust ruffles, rugs, upholstery, curtains, etc.
– clean ashes from fireplaces
– wash/dry/fold laundry like never before! got kidz?— remember, kids can help with laundry chores by matching socks as early as pre-school ages!
– got pre-schoolers? elementary-schoolers? teens? — teach them how to help out around the house in order for everyone to share the burden
– open the windows in your home and let it air out— this is also a great way to listen to birds… y’know, like in stereo… #stereobirds
Survival DIY Chores – LOF = 1-3
– learn how to soak dried beans and then cook them Beans
– learn how to blanch perishable foods and then freeze them Blanch & Freeze
– stock up on staple foods – finding room for overflow
– check out DIY videos for cooking tips. tricks and/or recipes
– if you have been meaning to try out some new recipes, now is a great time to test them out, provided that you have all of the ingredients that you need
– need a website to help you use up some random ingredients in your kitchen? Try SuperCook!
– read books about green cleaning without toxic OTC cleaners Green Up Your Clean Up
– read about homesteading ideas to learn about how to make your home and lifestyle more sustainable Homesteading
Personal Projects – LOF = 2-5
– frame some photos that you have been meaning to hang on your own walls or to send to family members
– write in a journal
– send letters to friends and/or relatives
– create a keepsake box
– knitting / crocheting and other needlework
– organize your recipes in binders by subject
– maybe bake a cake or some bread for neighbors — yeah, just wash your hands a lot and don’t cough or sneeze around it… duh… OR… on second thought, maybe just don’t bake that cake or bread. It’s the thought that counts. Maybe just tell them you “would-if-you-could” …???
– collect wood for fireplaces for friends and neighbors
– grab a binder and start a home maintenance and improvement guidebook, completely customized to your home, inside and outside
– call friends who live far away — CALL them! Like on-a-phone! Chances are, they are HOME. Catch them! Prepare for the memories and laughter to explode!
– draft a master list of personal, professional, creative, gardening, home maintenance or improvement goals
– conduct a personal life audit and/or fill out a life balance sheet— because you now have that extra time to think deeply about your current life situation
– got grandchildren? — send them little cards, letters, pictures or treats through the mail!
– curiosities = research— beekeeping, beer crafting, maple tree tapping for syrup, making soap, making candles, raising farm animals— anything you have ever been curious about— now is a great time to start thorough research
– consider a design or plan for a new vegetable or flower garden, or even designating a spot for planing new fruit trees
Fun with Kids… or with Your Spouse… or just with YourSELF! LOF = 4-5
– have jigsaw puzzle / pizza parties
– make sock puppets and be silly Sock Puppet Silliness
– art projects
– read as many books as you can
– play cards and/or board games
– weed through toys/books/games/clothing for future yard sales or donations
– check out online worksheets for kids So Many to Choose From
– family birdwatching, studying nature, listening to peace and quiet
– create and bury a time capsule in your back yard Time Capsule
– build a faerie or gnome garden
– treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, and soon, Easter egg hunts, if we are still in this situation by Easter
– teach kids about ways to work against climate change, such as changing habits of what you buy, how to recycle better and ways to upcycle items that can be reused for new purposes
– got teens? teach them about driving skills, changing oil, emergency preparedness, stick shift, 4WD, battery jumping, flat tires, etc. Car Care Tips
– still got teens? teach them about basic money skills — budgets, checking account balancing, credit cards/debit cards, loans, interest rates, business math
– all ages— teach them basic cooking skills, laundry tricks, house cleaning tips, etc.
– got computer whiz kids? — have them help you with your computer or phone apps
– scrapbooking — #oldskoolmethod — elementary children will love cutting out images that they love and gluing them in a composition book, journal, binder pages or an actual scrapbook if you happen to have one
– photograph party— have kids help sort through photos — either hard copies or digital and delete or recycle blurry or unflattering images as well as asking which photos they would be interested in having in there own collections
– have “class” outdoors— maybe even build a family outdoor classroom! Outdoor Classroom
– have kids of most any ages help collect fallen tree branches from the winter months and place them in tidy stacks for future fireplace burning or in a place where you wish for them to decompose, as they will also provide some shelter for wildlife and become a place where pollinators can breed and maybe mushrooms can grow
Electronic Fun – LOF = 4-5… hopefully, just a straight FIVE-o-FUN!!
– catch up on movies, tv shows, YouTube videos or music streaming sites where you can create playlists
– have you missed out on several podcasts? — wow, there are great lists of loads of podcasts out there! Google “lists of great podcasts” and see what pops up as recommended!
– Pinterest! Create an account if you don’t already have one to spend time finding images of things you love or would like to accomplish and make “boards” full of “pins”— this is certainly a fun pastime, but also a great reference tool for projects, professional work, etc. Pinterest
– try Spotify or Tidal for streaming music where you can create your own playlists— including a soundtrack for your next party when humans can finally get together again and have fun!
– start a YouTube account and try making a video about what you do for a living or what you can offer as a service online or over the phone, especially if it’s counseling or giving professional consultations of some sort
Outdoor Projects LOF = 1-5
– wash your vehicle
– vacuum your vehicle
– wash your windows
– neaten up your front door for curbside appeal as spring approaches
– fill up pots or trays with potting soil and plant seeds
– if the weather is behaving, go on ahead and start cleaning up your yards and prepare to start gardening
– got animals? chickens/ducks/goats/horses? now is a perfect time to do a deep cleaning of hen houses, duck or goat pens, stable stalls, etc. — ‘cuz-you-got-time
– take tours (walks/hikes) around your property to see what spring plants are poking up through the soil, thus far
Organizing! LOF = 1-5
– clean out a closet and/or chest of drawers and see what needs cleaning or repairing, donating or passing down to family members
– clean out kitchen cabinets and drawers
– now is the time to weed out expired food from your entire kitchen
– clean out the entire refrigerator/freezer
– clear off a desk
– organize your jewelry and see what needs cleaning or repairing, donating or passing down to family members
– go through your office supplies and art supplies, etc.
– create a filing system or adjust the one you already have
– weed out bathroom toiletries
– weed through toys
– Feng Shui your space for a better flow of energy and try to add some indoor plants
– make master lists for each room of things to do
– make master lists for outdoor tasks, projects and gardening plans
– the weather is getting warmer, so a garage or attic could handle some attention for clearing out and cleaning
– organize your tools and hardware
Outdoor Leisure & Exercise LOF = 5+
– take a hike — long or short
– build a natural teepee
– if allowed and you happen to own a kayak or rowboat, take it out on water for a very quiet moment out in Mother Nature
– create a quiet space for outdoor yoga or a place of mindfullness
– read a book outdoors
– yoga sessions outdoors
– forest bathing
– build an obstacle course
Interesting Collection of Videos to Share !! LOF = 5+
– Owl Girl
– just relaxation in a chair with a book or tv show can aid in the exhaustion of an overworked individual
– resting with hot beverages or soups and other comfort foods can help boost energy and outlook on life
– genuine bed rest can work wonders for a fast pace work life
– taking this semi-mandatory time off at home can be a hidden relief that many didn’t even realize that they needed for trying to regain energy, better health, better sleep and better eating and exercising habits