Ideas for the House-Bound
by Lucy E.M. Black
As we are all adjusting to the “new normal” and what that may mean for each of us, there have been a number of articles written on what we should be doing with our “spare time” while we self-isolate and cocoon. Some experts posit that this is a time to be productive, while others suggest that relaxation is the best way to keep our stress levels minimized. I’ve been developing lists to help provide shape and focus for my day. I thought that I would share some of the things that I plan to do during this unsettling time with the hope that some of the ideas might also be helpful to others.
Recipe Binder. I’m collecting all my favorite family recipes and put them together in one accessible binder so that my family and friends can easily access or copy them.
Photograph Boxes. I’ve begun to sort through the many boxes of loose photographs and photograph binders and label the people and places. I may even get so far as to digitize key photos and create a family photo book using Mixbook or another platform.
Books. The time has come to pack up those university books and get them ready for donation to local charities. Imagine how much more space I’ll have when I’ve culled our books!
Furniture. I’ve been itching to re-arrange our living room/dining room and family room for years. Pinterest has lots of ideas as does houzz.com.
Clothes Closet. I need to be honest and admit that my size-10 clothes are probably never going to fit me again, so my clothes closet needs a savage culling. There are lots of local charities who will take the Barbie-sized collection. I may even purchase a wardrobe app (i.e. Stylebook) to help me sort through and organize my closet.
PERSONAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS:
Journal. These are unprecedented times. I think I should journal some of my ideas and experiences. This could become a best-seller someday when future generations want to know what we did during social isolation and distancing—or not.
Notes. I want to jot notes on things I’m thankful for, new things I’m learning, and accomplishments that make me proud. I think this will help to keep my energy positive and focused.
Pampering. I don’t often make time for much self-care in the pampering line, so I’m going to kick this up a notch (you can choose any number of things from facials to foot massage to yoga and meditation) with whatever I have at home.
Fitness. I can’t go to the gym now, but I can go for long walks, climb the stairs 20 times in a row, and try to stretch and lift hand weights so that I don’t become too sedentary. I’m hoping we can dig our bikes out soon and start cycling. There are also great workout videos on YouTube (but they often make the killer workouts look far too easy). I think singing and dancing to favorite music should also count here.
Games. Board games or online games such as Scrabble, mah-jong, and online puzzle games (all of which are free). The added bonus is that such activities are reported to help keep our brains fit.
Viewing Pleasures. Binge-watching TV shows is a guilty pleasure that seems entirely appropriate for this time. It’s also a good time to watch a foreign film or reacquaint yourself with a second language (i.e. Duolingo). Watching something educational or a documentary is also on my to-do list.
Meals. We’ve been trying out new recipes with the food we can find available in the stores. I’ll be attempting to make my own pierogis from scratch soon.
Relax. There’s no shame in simply relaxing and enjoying the day or even sleeping in late once in a while.
Museums. I’ve discovered that hundreds of museums are now offering online tours of their collections such as the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Art Galleries. There are also amazing virtual tours of some of the world’s major art galleries. Here is a tiny selection: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the McMichael Art Gallery of Ontario (Cape Dorset artworks and Group of Seven artworks are featured), and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
MUST DO PROJECTS:
Home Safe. I’m sorting through items in our home safe (i.e., insurance policies, wills, bank statements, burial plots, etc.) to make sure everything is up-to-date. I may even include a letter stating preferences for the funeral. I will definitely write a loving letter filled with important messages, including tips on my chess strategy.
E-mails/Computer. Cleaning up my emails, my electronic file folders and my computer is long overdue.
Junk Drawer. Cleaning the junk drawer and the tool area are two big messy projects that I want to tackle. If I get really ambitious, I’ll also take on the bicycle shed.
Bucket List. I haven’t made one of these, so it’s likely as good a time as any to begin (besides which, I really do like making lists).
Home Improvements. Planning, researching, and costing out a major home improvement project is also on my dream to-do list (we desperately need to replace some vintage flooring), but re-painting rooms is also on my wish list.
Vacation. Although we can’t travel for some time, researching our next destination and planning out the places we want to visit should happily engage me for several days. I want to be ready to go when the travel advisories say it’s safe to travel again.
Social Media. Connecting with friends and family through phone, social media and other communication platforms goes without saying.
Photo by Allie Smith @creativegangsters
Lucy E.M. Black studied creative writing at the undergraduate level and later earned an M.A. in nineteenth-century British fiction. She has also studied at the Sage Hill School of Writing, the Humber College School of Writing, and the University of Toronto Creative Writing Programme. Her short story A Hawk in Winter won third prize in the 2014 International Rubery Short Story Competition. Other stories of hers have appeared in Cyphers Magazine, Fast Forward Fiction, Gargoyle Magazine, under the gum tree, the Hawai’i Review, Forge, Temenos Fiction, Romance Magazine, Vintage Script, and The Antigonish Review. The Marzipan Fruit Basket, a debut collection of her short fiction, was released by Inanna Publications in June 2017. Her first novel, Eleanor Courtown, was published by Seraphim Editions in October 2017. She lives with her husband in a small town near Toronto.