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10 ways to brighten up your home during a pandemic

By Juwai, 08 October 2020
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With most of the world on lockdown or in a state of emergency to help combat the spread of COVID-19, many of us may be feeling the stress from feeling cut off from the social activities we used to enjoy during normal times. 

Even though most of us know that social distancing helps keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, staying home 24/7 is not exactly fun - it feels like incarceration though it is self- inflicted. The sudden isolation from friends and family may result in cabin fever, anxiety, and boredom about the pandemic.

However, it is also the perfect opportunity to improve our living space or get started on that protracted DIY project we’ve been putting off for years due to lack of time or motivation. But now, with time on our hands, this is perhaps the “silver lining” response to the pandemic crisis as we self isolate.

To get you going and help take you mind off those pandemic blues, here are 10 ideas to get you started on projects that might help snazz up your living space and bring about a new sense of rejuvenation.  


#1 Clean, clean, clean 

This should top the list of things to do on everybody’s list in light of the pandemic. Some of us may have helpers but if they are part-timers or not living with you, then it’s time to handle the decontamination chores yourself. Start by disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces first:  doorknobs, handrails, remote controls, gadgets like handphones and tablets, wallets. kitchen counters, tabletops, etc. Don’t forget your shoes as well. Spray them with disinfectant or if they are washable canvas ones, give them a good scrub with detergent.


#2 ‘Marie Kondo’ your closet

Lockdown is a perfect time to prioritise your wardrobe needs as you won’t be out and about socialising. Learn from Marie Kondo – the celebrity ‘cleaning guru’- and her KonMari method of tidying up. Declutter your wardrobe to maximise storage space and put aside items you haven’t worn in a year. You can do a second-hand sale or donate them to charity later. Place all your fancy evening clothes and travel outfits in vacuum packs. This not only save you plenty of space but will ensure they won't turn mouldy. Just make sure you have some appropriate tops when you take those Zoom conference call. And if you do it right, it should bring you joy, says Kondo.


#3 Get ready to work remotely

Set up your work-from-home (WFH) spot properly. Placing a laptop on your bed is not exactly the best WHF practice. You might be tempted to take more naps than do actual work. Find a quiet well-lit corner in your home and place a study desk or a table there. Use an ergonomic or comfy chair so you can work comfortably. And make sure your background is clean and uncluttered when you take those video conferencing calls


#4 Organise important documents

Most of us have a tendency to just dump important documents in a box, with the thought to organise them later which of course we regret when we need to find that particular piece of paper amidst the stack. Now you have all the time to locate and organise your VIPs (Very Important Papers) and compile them into respective folders (learn from your secretaries if you have one) which you can label for future easy searches. Or you can scan and save digital copies. 


#5 Update your living spaces 

Since you are stuck with what you have as you won’t be able to shop for new furniture, rearrange them to try and get a fresh new look. Consider rearranging your sofa and armchairs to another part of the living room or transfer a console table to the other side of the foyer. Replace art pieces with those you have in storage and move your home décor items around.  You’ll be surprised how your home will seem to look newer or feel more spacious. 


#6 Clear out kitchen cabinets

Clean and disinfect the shelves and give your utensils a good wash. Put loose items in boxes and store them in different cabinets by category - small appliances, canned and dry goods, cooking tools, and so on, and don’t forget to check dates on packages. Bin any expired items. As runs to supermarkets are also limited, groceries become a priority. Place older canned goods in the front, so you will reach for these first, and know when you’re running low.


#7 Deep-clean your bathroom

This is probably a chore most people avoid until necessary. But during this time of virus crisis, the adage - cleanliness is next to godliness - couldn’t be more true. Get all your brushes, mops and all-purpose detergents and give your bathroom a good scrub from floors to walls, including tile grouts. Deep clean bathtubs and toilet bowls with cleaning solution added with some bleach. Throw the shower curtain in the washing machine for a good clean spin and throw away old toiletries. 


#8 Upgrade your kids’ room 

Especially during these distressing times, why not tackle this chore with the kids. It could turn out to be a great family-bonding experience as well. Give your kids‘ room a new coat of paint. After painting, frame or tack your children’s art projects – drawings, craftwork or other nick knacks – on empty walls in a decorative way that would bring a smile to everybody’s face as well as inspire the little ones’ creativity. Add family photos and if you’re renting and are not allowed to nail anything on the walls, use double-sided tapes and stick them onto on mood boards.


#9 Try a little of carpentry

If elbow grease is not problem, launching a furniture restoration project is perfect at this time. Refinish or repaint an old stool or table with leftover house paint. Better still, create side bookshelves with leftover over bricks and wood planks from the garden. With a new coat of paint, these DIY pieces are not only practical but could add another decorative dimension to your living space.  


#10 Create a balcony garden

Many of us live in high rises so are devoid of garden spaces. Do not despair. Creating green spaces is a great way to uplift our mental health and depending on the space available, it can be big or small. Be creative – recycle old pots, vases and water bottles for your plantings. Seeds are available at most supermarkets or start repotting old plants to give them a new life. When your plants start growing, you will undoubtedly be filled with a sense of joy and accomplishment – a great tonic for handling the gloom and doom of a lockdown.