When You're Stuck Inside for What Seems Like Forever

Most of us are in the same boat right now - staying indoors, close to home, not venturing out into the world. I'd like to think that means most of us are tackling all those projects we've been putting off for the longest time - regrouting the bathroom tile! Dusting the ceiling fans! Polishing the silver!

But, let's be realistic. The first week or so probably feels either a little like vacation, or little like a hot mess. Transitioning is not the easiest thing - especially when humans are creatures of habit. And, don't forget to add kids, partners and pets into the mix. Now try and be productive!

Regardless of how much time and energy you are expending on work or kids or trying to go stir crazy, let's reframe some of your time at home to tackle some more basic projects. I've created a list of things you can do that will probably take an hour or two each day. Even if you only do half of these while you're home-bound, think of all the progress you'll have made! Work your way down the list, or pick and choose which apply to your space.

* Most shelters are happy to accept sealed beauty products, cleaning products and linens you no longer want.
1) Under the sink: Take it all out. Still use those products? Do they still smell right? Have a pedestal sink? Phew! You're done already!
2) Other cabinets and drawers: Take it all out. Still use those products? Do they still smell right? What categories are you finding in here? Put things back either by amount of use (daily or special occasion) or category (make-up or medicine).
3) Medicine cabinet: Take it all out. Still use those products? Do they still smell right? Don't have a medicine cabinet? Phew! You're done already!
4) Countertops and shelves: If you've already tackled the other storage in the bathroom you'll have a much better idea if there's space to store the items you have been keeping out. Does it make sense to put them away so you can enjoy open counter space? Or, are these items you use constantly? If they're in a drawer are you going to forget to take a pill or just get annoyed all day long?
5) In the shower & Back of the door: Take a peak to make sure there aren't empty bottles taking up precious space or five bottles of hair conditioner and no shampoo.

* Donate sealed food items to local pantries. Everything else you want to get rid of can go to a local charity, too.
1) Under the sink: Take it all out. Still use those products? Do you actually have four bottles of dish soap and didn't realize it?
2) Just the drawers: Take everything out of the drawers that have utensils, junk, etc. in it. If you have deep drawers that hold pots, dishes or appliances, tackle those with cabinets. Really assess how much you have and what you really use. If you have crocks on the counters with utensils, take those into account, too.
3) Just the cabinets: Okay, this one might take you more than an hour, depending on the size of your kitchen. If there are some cabinets that are perfect as is, shut the door and move on to those that aren't so great. Take it out. Compare what you really, truly use vs. what you wish you might use someday. How realistic is it that you'll start making mini pies regularly? If you have more than one cabinet with, say, glasses in it, take out all the glasses and assess them together.
4) The pantry/where ever you keep food items: Keep food items that will still be used in your home. Did your kid move out, and you'll never eat those granola bars? Or,  you find there are three jars of olives for recipes you never made, and you hate olives? Set up your pantry space so you can see what categories you have and how much. Shop from here before going to the store.
5) The fridge and freezer: Toss out anything soggy or moldy. Check that condiments are still smelling and looking as they should. If you can't identify something, toss it out. Use drawers to separate categories like fruit or greens. Keep drinks in one area, leftovers in another, snacks maybe in a bin on a shelf.

*Bag up donations as you move through the space. You'll be surprised how quickly you can see a change.
1) Nightstands: Try to create a tranquil place to help ease you to sleep and wake you up. Clock, lamp, maybe a book or journal and whatever else you need for bed should be here. Glass of water, lotion, glasses. If you have shelves or drawers in your nightstand, clear those of anything excess as well. This is not a junk drawer.
2) Under the bed: Ideally, this space would be clear of anything other than maybe some dust. If under bed storage is necessary, make sure containers are covered or sealed to keep items clean. Store items that you grab for rarely like extra linens, out of season shoes or keepsakes.
3) Dressers: Tackle a drawer at a time. Make sure there what's inside fits comfortably and would still be worn. Fold clothes. Clear surfaces of anything more than decorative items or what you use regularly, like jewelry or personal care items.
4) Closets: Look at hanging clothes, then tackle a drawer or shelf at a time. Ideally you would have nothing or just shoes on the floor. Condense luggage into itself. Assess accessories as well as clothes to make sure they still fit your size and style.
5) Backs of doors/Piles on chairs: If you've done all the other spaces in the bedroom already, this will be a breeze! Put clothes away and laundry in the hamper. Deliver items that don't belong to the correct room in the house. Try to keep these clear as much as possible, or for a specific use. For example, maybe hooks on the back of the door are perfect for the few pieces of clothes have been worn already, but aren't ready to be tossed in laundry.

*These spaces may be mixed into the other spaces in the house. Feel free to organize them on their own or within those other rooms.
1) Linen closet: Categorize by size or use: twin size vs. queen size; wash rag vs. body towel. Make sure you have sheets for the bed sizes you currently own. Two to four sets of sheets per bed is reasonable for most homes.
2) Coat closet: Make sure the coats still fit. Ask yourself if you need more than one or two coats per season. Don't forget to look through whatever else is hiding in there: umbrellas, hats, shoes. Deliver items that live someplace else to the correct rooms.
3) Laundry/Cleaning supplies: Something has definitely spilled in here, because it always does. Wipe that up before putting back bottles of detergent that you actually use. If there are brands you won't use anymore, give them to a shelter or friend who will. Categorize cleaners by use: bathroom, dusting, floors.
4) Toys: There are always toys. Categorize in whatever way makes sense for your child and how he/she plays. Get rid of broken toys and things that have been outgrown. Have a place to stash parts and pieces. As you find the puzzle box or action figure missing a piece, you can consult the "Parts & Pieces" first.
5) Garage: Separate categories like tools, yard work and sporting goods. Give each category their own storage area. Break down each of those categories as needed. For example, you may have baseball, hockey and football within the sporting goods area.

* Again, these area probably anywhere in the house. Address as needed.
1) The desk: The whole point of the desk is to have a place to work. If you can't see the surface, that's priority number one. Start with drawers and cabinets so there's a place to store whatever's on top. Shred or recycle paperwork you don't need anymore. Make files for the rest.
2) Gift wrap: Separate bags, tissues, bows and wrap. Consider storing in plastic bin, a hanging gift wrap holder, a tall clean trash can or even all inside the largest gift bag you have.
3) Craft supplies: First, decide if these are all supplies it still makes sense to keep. Are your knitting days over? Donate yarn and needles to someone who still knits all the time. If glue and paint are dried up, toss it. Use small containers or baggies to corral tiny items like beads, gems and confetti.
4) Holiday decor: Separate decor by holiday or time of year. Label bins so you don't have to dig through all of them to find the scarecrow in the fall.
5) Pet supplies: Have a designated place for toys, food, leashes and whatever else your pet may need. No searching for the collar or medicine. Stash it all together.

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