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If you live in one of the many cities that advocate (or enforce) a self-quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re suddenly spending a lot more time at home. Whether you’re working from home, homeschooling your kids, or just need to organize your space to stay, it’s a great time to get organized.
After consulting with some influential top-tier organizers and the president-elect of the National Association of Organizing and Productivity Professionals (NAPO), we’ve compiled a list of ways you can organize your home for quarantine.
1. Organize your pantry
As you prepare your home for quarantine, a great first step is to check your pantry and items that cannot be stored on the shelf.
“In a corner of the pantry, there may be food that is about to expire. What a great time to use those older items instead of letting them go to waste. Since grocery store shelves are emptier than ever, I would suggest organizing your pantry and fridge / freezer before anything else in your home. It is important, especially in today’s circumstances, to rotate foods, eating the oldest ones first, so nothing goes to waste! “
Shalae Price, Professional organizer
Start by taking everything out and marking the expiration dates. Take an inventory of your long-lasting essentials and what you might need more of. If you have an excess of some items, consider reaching out to older family and friends or donating what you don’t need. Clean out your pantry and cupboards before you start putting everything away.
Debbie Sandler, Owner of A better organized life, told us to “classify the remaining items into similar categories. Keep spices together, canned goods, oils and vinegars, baking supplies, cereals, etc. “Use baskets, jars, buckets, drawers, lazy susans and containers to optimize space.
2. Designate a space for work or school
If your job has moved to working remotely, or your kids are doing their homework at home, you’ll need to clear some workspace. Reserving a designated space will help prevent the line between work and home from blurring, and will facilitate productivity.
According to Price, “You need a clear space to be able to concentrate. Use the vertical storage space whenever possible. Keep only the essentials on your desk. The wall pockets can be hung on the wall to store files and papers. Paper sorters on a desk keep things separate and upright, eliminating visual clutter and freeing up space to work. ”
3. Create a physical space for the mental space.
Since you will be spending a lot of time in your home, we recommend that you tidy up and rearrange your general living spaces. Cleaning the space will help make it feel less cramped, it has several mental health benefits and it can make you feel productive.
Start by putting away loose items and finding more efficient homes for the things you don’t use every day. Use cupboards and space under beds. Try rearranging your furniture to create more open areas.
4. Organize your closet
Turn on “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” and delve into your closet. Try everything on and consider donating clothes that you haven’t worn in a year or more. Carefully fold and organize the things you want to keep by activity, style, or color. Put away seasonal items, like oversized coats and warm scarves, so your clothes have more room to breathe.
You can also get creative and repurpose old items. Cut out an old sweatshirt, iron a patch on your faded jeans, or dye a T-shirt. If you want to keep old t-shirts that still have memories, Sandler recommends turning them into a quilt
5. Sort your entertainment collection
Take an inventory of all your books, movies, and games. Find efficient places to store them, discover some old favorites to pass the time, and donate the items you no longer enjoy (local youth centers, retirement homes, children’s hospitals).
This might be the time to ditch the old CDs and VHS tapes, things that take up space and have limited use. You may find that you don’t need a lot of old movies that are available on the streaming services that you subscribe to.
6. Spend time with the past
Analyze your collection of photos, both physical and digital. Reviewing photos is the perfect time-consuming project for social distancing. You will be able to recall and remember good times, while making it easier for your future to create albums or search for specific photos.
Now is a good time to clean up your digital photos. Delete all the utility photos you took, remove the bad photos, and reduce the multiple ones. If you have time to go one step further, decide how you want to share your photos. You can create a book or share it with the family in a cloud account. This can be a good time to share family stories with the children or ask older family members to share their stories. “
Amy Tokos President-elect of NAPO
Then you can take those photos and work on unfinished baby books, albums, or scrapbooks.
7. Go to the garage
Garages and sheds often house equipment, tools, storage, and random moving debris. Cleaning and organizing your garage is a physical chore, ideal for getting some exercise and fresh air.
These spaces tend to collect more dirt, dust, and grime than indoor spaces. Empty the garage or shed, then sweep and wash the area. As you fill it out, go through everything and decide what you want to keep, sell, donate, or dispose of. Sort things by category and plan where you want to store different groups of items.
Use shelves and hang things to create vertical space. Consolidate similar items, such as Christmas decorations, into larger containers. Get creative with your containers – Old paint cans, gum or mint containers, and file cabinets can hold smaller trinkets and tools.
8. Clean the car
A detailed cleaning and organization of your car is a great preparation for your eventual return to work and normal departures. Go one step beyond washing the exterior and sort all the nooks, crannies, and glove compartments at random. Sandler Says: “Bring two bags, one for garbage and one for relocation items. Like extra glasses, coins, receipts, old DVDs, empty drink bottles, and expired coupons (except for Bed Bath & Beyond, they still accept them). Remove rugs and vacuum floors. Dust the dash and clean the interior windows. “
One task at a time
There is the opportunity to use your time during quarantine for things that you normally wouldn’t have time for in a pre-coronavirus routine. Cleaning, organizing, and reflecting on your material possessions will help you feel productive.
Price to put it better when he told us: “We are all going to be aware of the things we really need. We might discover that some of the mess we’ve clung to for years … does nothing for us, even when we’re living in crisis. That tells us it’s okay to purge and make room for other needs. On the other hand, we may find that we need to make room in our homes for items that we never thought we would need until now. “