What started out as two weeks at home now seems like it could last quite a bit longer. As we adjust to long-term social distancing, it’s time to look at how we can make our homes more functional for this new way of life.
A few simple changes around the house can help your family establish new routines and feel more productive during these difficult times. Here are four ways to make social distancing more enjoyable by adapting your home to the current situation.
Get a New Perspective
Chances are your home is designed to be a retreat at the end of a busy day. But now that it’s where you work, play, eat and exercise, the layout may not be as efficient as it once was. Take the time to examine each area of your home with your new daily activities in mind. For example, do you still need a landing zone and spot for school and work bags? Or maybe you have an eat-in kitchen and can use the dining room for other purposes.
Look for unused areas that can be converted into functional space. Creating spots for specific activities will allow you and your family to be more productive in your home. You could turn a table in the entryway into a desk, so your child has a designated spot for homework. Or try packing your work clothes away to free up space for a play area in a walk-in closet. Now is the time to worry about how things function rather than how they look.
Get to Work
If working at home is new to you, your house probably isn’t set up with a home office. It may be OK to work on the couch with your laptop for a day or two. But now that your full-time job is at home, you need a functional workspace. Having a spot you can leave at the end of the day will help you separate work from home life.
If (like many of us) you have a room that has become storage space, now is the time to clean it out. If you don’t have room for a separate home office, look for areas where you can set up a workstation that doesn’t need to be taken down each day. Whether you repurpose a console table or prop a board up on some bricks, your workspace should include a comfortable chair and have enough room for your computer and work papers.
In the Kitchen
Just a few short weeks ago, busy schedules and small living spaces made eating out and frequent trips to the store the norm for many people. Now that we’re not eating out and grocery shopping less frequently, food storage has become a priority. But if you have a small or disorganized kitchen, storing two weeks’ worth of food can be a challenge.
The first step is to clean out your fridge, freezer, and cupboards. Getting rid of food you won’t use can clear up a surprising amount of space. Then organize the remaining items into categories such as snacks, side dishes, and staples. This will make it easy for everyone to find what they’re looking for and let you know when you need to restock. If you lack cupboard space, take advantage of those unused spots in the kitchen. Areas above cupboards or on top of the fridge are great for storing bulkier items like chips and cereals.
Creative Storage Solutions
It turns out staying at home requires a surprising amount of storage. Between decluttering, cleaning out unused rooms, and bringing in additional supplies, you might find yourself with a lot of extra stuff. And while you may have sold or donated items in the past, that’s currently not an option. This means you may have to get creative with storage solutions.
Thankfully, your home has valuable extra storage under beds, behind doors, above armoires, and under stairs. Take advantage of these hidden spots to free up much-needed space now that everyone is home all the time. Things you’re not currently using, like sports equipment, extra furniture, and decorative pieces can all be put away to make room for the items you’re now using daily.
Making changes to create a more functional home will help your whole family get through social distancing with minimal frustrations. And when life returns to normal, you can always put everything back the way it was.