During this time of social distancing and quarantine, many have a hard time sharing limited space with other household members. In times like these, clutter and lack of systems and productivity seem to hit us harder.
Personally, I have discovered a new joy being around my husband and children. For the most part, we have been able to create a productive and harmonious environment. One of my children even reported being able to understand mathematical concepts she was struggling with and new concepts seem easier to grasp. And I don’t need to mention how ecstatic our dog is with this at-home arrangement.
Thriving under these new conditions might require adjustments of all kind for most of us. Change can be very positive, depending on how we react to it.
Here is a list of things that might help us enjoy this new way of co-existing and making the best of the situation. I have previously discussed some of these ideas in different contexts, like those referring to cleaning and decluttering. But these ideas take center stage now. While cohabitating under one roof, details that seemed menial about our space might seem much bigger now and will bother us much more.
Keep it clutter free and clean
• Strategically place boxes of tissue throughout the house.
• Have antibacterial soap or sanitizer on every sink.
• Wash towels more often than usual. Especially that kitchen towel that everyone uses. Kitchen towels should probably be changed daily, to minimize the spread of germs.
• Handle your incoming mail daily, rapidly, and efficiently. The last thing you need is more paper clutter around your home at this time.
• Take 15 minutes at the beginning of each day to put the house in order. Specifically, these three things will make an enormous difference in how everyone perceives the space: clean counters, vacuum floors/carpets, and open-up shades/curtains to let the sunshine in.
• Gather dirty dishes and utensils inside the dishwasher throughout the day, so counters remain clear. This requires putting away clean dishes every night before bedtime or first thing in the morning, so the day starts with an empty dishwasher.
• Get caught up with your laundry as soon as possible. Laundry is often the nemesis of many households. You don’t need the added clutter right now. If you feel this is a weak point for you, here’s my blog about this topic to help you with this: https://myspacereclaimed.com/2018/01/09/there-should-never-be-any-clothes-in-your-laundry-room-wait-what/
Embrace a positive attitude
• Make beds every day. This gives you a sense of accomplishment to start your day.
• Get dressed as if you were going to work or school. The temptation to stay in your PJs is big, but if you get dressed, this will show in your demeanor on the phone as well as all those FaceTime calls and medical tele-visits we are all having these days.
Enjoy family time
• Go on walks outside with the family.
• Take breaks together, so you can watch a movie or play boardgames as a family (welcome back game nights and movie nights).
• Get to know each other better!
Think health maintenance
• Develop a system for ensuring everyone takes their supplements and medications as they should every day. In the absence of our normal routines, it is easier to forget to take our medications and vitamins regularly. You don’t need ADHD family members unable to focus appropriately or climbing walls when everyone is confined to a limited space.
• Since grocery shopping needs to be strategically planned these days (to avoid exposure to the virus), be equally strategic about what you do with the groceries once you get home.
- Plan your menus ahead of time and the amount of food to be prepared each day to avoid over-buying. It is not a good idea to hoard food that won’t get consumed and will go bad.
- Dedicate some time to clean, cut, and prepare groceries when returning from the store. This process should include removing the outer packaging.
- Clean your fridge, freezer and pantry and discard anything old or forgotten items.
- Transfer items to your container or basket system in the pantry, fridge and freezer. (Don’t have a system in place yet? Contact me and I can help you with this by phone or FaceTime – if this is not the absolute perfect moment to deal with this, I don’t know what is!)
- Washing, cutting and storing your produce in containers in your fridge provides accessible, healthy choices for snacks and allows easier food preparation. Cooking might become a much more enjoyable activity this way and can turn into a family event.
- Remove individually packed snacks from their original containers and place these in baskets in the pantry. This type of item is frequently consumed by many in the home. It pays to make snacks accessible in an organized way, especially when many hands will be reaching for them.
- Select a day during the week to cook food staple items. Make a list of what’s available and place this list on the fridge door (and pantry and freezer if applicable). Use translucent containers of the same system to place the various dishes in the fridge or freezer. This will make the food last longer and will keep the space sanitary, looking great, and more functional. Everyone will enjoy nutritious, varied menus by mixing and matching the elements of their meals at will.
• Try going to bed and waking up at the usual times every day and keep your meal schedules as best as possible. This allows the body to keep the routine. As a result, everyone will probably feel better overall
• Assign spaces for each household member to work or study. These spaces can vary by day, but it is easy to control clutter and increase focus if everyone has a space on their own to work or study each day. Please note this makes it even more necessary to clean up the areas before the day is over. It is easier to start the day if the space is clutter free.
• Avoid distractions by making sure your pets are cared for before you start your business or school day. This includes ensuring they have adequate water and food and they have gone outside (if applicable). Also make sure they have adequate quarters to safely and comfortably rest.
• To boost productivity, try listening to Binaural Beats using headphones while you work or study. Binaural Beats in the Beta pattern may help promote concentration and alertness. Listening to Beta waves helps to increase focus, overall IQ, productivity, critical thinking, decision making, situational awareness and memory. Moreover, Beta waves also help with increasing your energy, sharpening your hearing, and improving your overall happiness and well-being. Here’s an example of Binaural Beats in the Beta pattern.
• To take productivity to the next level, combine the binaural beats experience with the diffusion of essential oils that enhance your mood and increase brain activity. Young Living Essential Oils are the purest oils you can find. Among those that can enhance brain function and affect your mood are Vitality, Joy, Awaken, Motivation, Frankincense, Peppermint, Sandalwood, and Lavender.
I believe this time will show us that we can move on in more productive and efficient ways than we ever thought. We will arrive at better place as a society.