How to make the most of your “Quarantime”:
One of the primary goals when I work with clients, whether they live in a house or a condo, is to transform their disorganized home into a place where they can relax and unwind, especially after a stressful day at work or school. For anyone self-isolating because of Coronavirus, having your home feel like a calming escape from the rest of the world is more important than ever.
There’s no denying that everyone is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 and having to drastically alter how they go about their daily lives. Even as a Professional Organizer, I’ve been presented with unique challenges and have made some drastic changes in order to continue working:
- Just as you may be required to work from home, I am doing the same. So, while I can’t meet you in person or offer in-home consultations, I am able to meet and work with you virtually. I am now working as a Virtual Professional Organizer! All you need is your computer, tablet or smartphone and we can set up video meetings using Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. It is super easy to set up and use. In fact, I’m discovering many Clutterfly clients working from home are using these methods for virtual meetings with their own clients.
- For the first – and hopefully only – time, I’m taking a break from recommending that clients focus on decluttering and getting rid of things – unless you have room somewhere to set bags and boxes aside for donating later to charity. Right now, charities are not operating or accepting donations. The only decluttering you should deal with right now are things destined for recycling or the garbage bin. Instead, I’m recommending focusing your efforts on tidying, organizing and cleaning. Begin with one area in a room, and keep working in that room before you move on to the next one.
Start in the busiest room in your house – the kitchen:
• Sort through your food. From the pantry to the fridge and freezer, toss out all expired food. Reorganize food so that the newest items are in the back and the oldest foods up front and ready to use. This is a great time to use up old canned goods and frozen foods! Using up what you already have on hand will not only cut down on food waste, it will help reduce the number of trips you need to take to the grocery store. For more tips on organizing your kitchen, read my blog post Your Disorganized Kitchen.
• Sort through cookbooks. For mealtime inspiration, go through your cookbooks and select new recipes to try. Look for ones that will use up what's already in your cupboard or freezer. Or stick with family-favourite recipes, but substitute ingredients you’ve run out of with what’s on hand. The goal is to make use of ingredients, including spices, you already have. This tactic will also help cut down how often you have to venture out for groceries.
While going through your cookbooks, set aside any that you don’t like or will never use, putting them in a cardboard in a box to eventually donate. You may even decide to get rid of all but your favourite cookbooks and food magazines, realizing how many recipes are online. Even LCBO’s Food & Drink has archived of years of recipes online, eliminating the need to save stacks of magazines.
While you’re in tidy-up mode, you’re bound to come across things that you’ve been saving for good or for special occasions or when guests are over. Stop! You may be cooped up at home, but you can still wear a pretty new dress, light a fancy candle or eat from your fine china today – or at least this week – not sometime in the distant future. Do whatever you can to add a little joy to self-isolating. So here are some ideas for making use of and enjoying what you already have.
• Sort out your liquor cabinet. Depending on where you store your wine and liquor bottles, they may be in need of some dusting off. If you come across something you’ll never drink in a month of Sundays – because, quite frankly, two-plus weeks of self-isolation is as close as we’ll get to this actually ever happening – get rid of it. Got a few bottles of spirits that are almost empty? Search online for cocktail recipes to use them up. And those extra-special bottles of wine or Champagne that you’re saving? Pop the cork and turn an evening at home into a celebration.
In Ontario, the Beer Store has suspended the return of empty bottles at all retail stores across the province, until March 31. City officials are asking for public cooperation in keeping these deposit containers out of the blue box and bringing them in to stores when the program resumes. For details and updates, click here.
• Sort through your closet. Set aside things that still fit, but you never wear. Now’s the time to slip into a silky nightie instead of flannel pjs, even if you’re single and home alone. Wear that gorgeous lacy bra you bought ages ago, but still has the price tag on, even if it’s while working in your home office. Make your self-isolating stylish and sexy!
• Sort through your cosmetics. Toss out old beauty products, including nail polish and mascara. As for perfumes, spritz a different one on each morning. If it’s one that you love the smell of, especially if it puts you in a good mood, keep it. As for any that you no longer like – get rid of them. The bonus? Less bottles of perfume, mean less things to dust! Do the same with your lipsticks. Put on a new shade each morning: any you no longer like the colour, texture or scent – toss them. Then continue putting on makeup each morning, using only the products that make you feel beautiful.
Those luxury bath treats and beauty products you received as gifts at Christmas or Valentines? Use them. End your day with decadent bubble bath and then slather on your very best body lotion for bedtime.
If you’re feeling even more anxious than usual, it’s not surprising. These are trying times for even the most resilient. Try to focus on the positive, finding joy in the simple act of using things you’ve been saving for good or special occasions. If you have any ideas, tips or suggestions for finding joy in your home while self-isolating, I’d love to hear from you. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I may even share it on the Clutterfly Facebook page!
Remember, even if you’re by yourself you’re not alone. We're all navigating through this pandemic together – and I’m a phone call away. You can call or text me at 416-892-5919. Whether you’re one of my ongoing clients whose routine in-home Clutterfly session has had to be cancelled or you’re a first-time client wanting more information, let’s have a quick chat and then let’s meet online! We can go through steps at your desk or you can literally take me on a tour through your home or the area your want to tackle first.
From all of us at Clutterfly, keep well – and keep washing your hands!