Prepare for the Next Shutdown

Yes we went through it once. When will the next time come? 2024? Plan ahead!

Let’s face it: Nobody wants to be sitting at home for the next 30-plus days. On the bright side, now is a perfect time to get a start on projects you’ve been pushing off. And if you missed your spring cleaning in 2019, you have few excuses in 2020. Here are some tips on how to make the most of quarantine by getting your house decluttered and clean.

Purge the Garage

There is a good chance that your garage bears the brunt of your hoarding tendencies. We tend to view our garages as free storage space. While it is true that your garage is a great place for seasonal decor and sports equipment, there are things sitting out there that really need a new home. Items you should never store in your garage, according to Jenny Stanley of Family Handyman, include books, pet food, and paint. Even more to the points, you probably have boxes and boxes of clothing, shoes, household goods, and toys that you have zero intention of bringing back into the house. Spend one of your quarantine days with the family going through your discard pile. While you can’t have a garage sale just yet, many organizations will happily take usable goods off your hands and disperse them to people within your community that may have lost their job due to the coronavirus layoffs.

Hack Into Your Home’s Storage Potential

Now that the garage is clean and organized, it’s time to go room by room to clean and declutter. A good place to start is the closets. Give everyone a box and ask them to fill it with clothing that no longer fits. They should also be provided with a second container for items that do fit but are not seasonally appropriate. For these, look for ways to store them without resorting to the garage. You might, for example, store them under a bed. If you have stocked upon food to avoid multiple trips to the grocery store, there are ways to make your pantry more organized even if there is double the normal number of cans and boxes in it. You can add a shoe rack to the door to hold things like spaghetti noodles and canned foods or hang a shower caddy inside the cabinets for long-lasting perishable, such as onions and peppers.

Pretend It Is for Sale

If you are still hurting for motivation, it’s time to play a role-playing game. In this exercise, you will need to pretend that you are about to list your home for sale. Aside from family photos and treasured keepsakes, stage your house the way you would for real estate photos. Prioritize the rooms where you spend the most time, which are where buyers would pay the most attention. explains that these areas include the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom.

Clear Out the Kitchen

The kitchen deserves a section of its own since you are likely spending much more time here cooking (and baking) during the first quarantine of our lifetime. If you don’t have one already, designate at least one drawer for collecting junk. You’ll also want to remove excess magnets and papers — even artwork — from the refrigerator. The kids will more than likely protest, so don’t be afraid to use some of the old picture frames you likely found while cleaning the garage to display their works of art throughout the house. You can also use rope and clothespins to create a clothesline gallery in their bedroom.

Even if you’ve recently transitioned to working from home, you, at the very least, can use the time you would spend commuting on taking care of projects around the house. And although there are very few bright sides to our current situation, at least you will have that much less to do once restrictions are lifted and life resumes a normal pace.

Contributed by Alice Robertson