After being asked by public officials to practice social distancing as much as possible for an unknown amount of time, it’s understandable if we get a bit frustrated about not being able to take care of things outside of the home as much as we’d like. However, there’s always the glass-half-full attitude we can take to maybe get the household in order a little better – if we’re stuck at home, we might as well make sure home is in good shape, right?
- Clean out your garage – For me, cleaning out the garage has always been a huge chore. It doesn’t matter if I’ve only got one box or a stack of boxes and miscellany – I avoid cleaning out the garage and getting it organized. I moved to the Katy area about three years ago now, and I’ve still got empty boxes, unused furniture, unsorted tools, and items that I’m not quite certain what they are and will – unashamedly – ask my more-organized and cultured wife about. If we’re going to be stuck at home, we may as well be productive about it.
- Sort out the closets – It can be difficult to keep up with what’s in our closets. Between weight gains and losses as we move into middle age and children growing, many of us find that we have clothing in our closets taking up space and collecting dust. Make it a family activity by putting on a fashion show where everyone wears their most garishly-out-of-style and outgrown clothing. (Feel free to post it to social media, but the repercussions are on you…) Once you have everything sorted, wash the extra clothing and take it to a local nonprofit for distribution to those in need. Alternately, if the clothing is too outdated or too worn to be donated, take it to a recycling station. Yep – clothing can be recycled.
- Install a bidet – While neither I nor any of the public officials I’ve talked to in the last two weeks, can figure out why people are hoarding toilet paper – it’s still a part of our reality now. Installing a bidet – basically a booty-shower that mounts onto your toilet – in your home can reduce TP consumption and has the potential to save you money, according to “Business Insider.” Americans pay $40 to $70 a year on average for toilet paper and use 34 million rolls per day. Buying a bidet and installing it can reduce that expense by as much as 75%, BI said. According to bidet.org, the device can also improve the health of the backside – especially for men – and reduces annoyances like pipes clogged up from too much bathroom tissue. They only take minutes to install and cost anywhere from $25 to a few hundred depending on the model.
- Organize the books – Not everyone is a reader, but for those that are, keeping the books in any semblance of order feels like spending time with your best friends. Take the time to take all of the books off the shelf, dust the shelf and the books, and put them all back together in some semblance of order. You may come across an old favorite that you’ll have time to tackle now that you’re not commuting, or you might realize that some of those books could find a new home. Either way – you get to spend time with your books, and that’s a happy time for a bibliophile.
- Spring cleaning – It’s that time of year anyway, so why not deep clean all those things you may have been putting off. Shampoo the carpets, mop all the floors, bleach out the tub, clean out whatever-that-is that accumulated under the fridge – seriously, why is there so much kitty kibble under my fridge – and just generally make the place spick and span. Make the house smell of lemons or pine but kill all the germs regardless of your preference in bouquet.
- Check smoke detectors – Smoke alarms are an important part of keeping your family safe. Check the batteries to make certain they’re working by pressing the button on the smoke alarm for a few seconds. Generally, if the alarm starts blaring after you press the test button, the fire alarm is good; however, according to area fire officials, smoke alarms are only good for ten years, regardless of whether the battery is working or not. They have an expiration date printed on them that can be found by turning them – usually counterclockwise – and pulling them off the mount. The tag is usually white with a red border and will indicate when the device expires. If the budget it tight, contact the local fire department to see if they have any extras they might be able to provide for you. Detectors can often be purchased for $10 or less.
- Finish filing taxes – While it may be a pain, gathering up the last bits of information you need to file your taxes and getting those turned in will help keep you in the clear with the Internal Revenue Service. Tax Day is April 15, but with fewer things to do outside of the house, now is the time to stop procrastinating and get it done.
- Work on the yard – The weather is nice, the grass is growing and now that you’ve cleaned out your garage, you can get to that trimmer that was stuck in the back on a hook and get the yard cleaned up and ready for summer. Examine your lawn and see what improvements you need to make to create the green space you want this summer. That can include planting new flowers, patching bare spots where the grass has died and maintaining play equipment such as swings and horseshoe pits.
- Spruce up the guest room – Yes. We may be practicing social distancing now, but eventually life will return to normal and we’ll want to satisfy our social cravings – yes, even you, my fellow introverts – by having a guest or two over or having family visit. Strip the bed, wash the bedding, clean the windows and mirrors and just generally spruce up the place. Maybe put a little art on the walls. Prepare for those times when socializing is once again the norm.
- Clean out fridges and freezers – Food poisoning is one of the most common forms of illnesses in the world and the where and how you store your food can impact how often you suffer from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pull everything out of the fridge and clean up all those messes that accumulate over time while we’re busy keeping up with modern life. Use a household cleaner that disinfects and hit the countertops at the same time – two birds with one stone.
Whether you take on these projects or come up with some of your own, Katy Times hopes you can keep from going stir crazy as we all wait to get back to good times in public at our favorite local venues.