It has now been several months into the quarantine, and many of us, albeit reluctantly, have found ourselves making adjustments to cope with our New Normal.
A huge part of our new reality is that we are spending more and more of our time at home. Being the space that is wholly under our control, the home has become our safe zone, a refuge from the many risks and dangers from the outside world.
If you haven’t re-organized your home since the start of the quarantine, you might want to think of doing that now. We may be stuck in our current predicament for a long while yet; the sooner our personal environments are set up to be useful in the New Normal, the better off we will be.
The good news is that the basic principles of home organization still applies, albeit with a few tweaks.
Eliminate the non-essentials.
Non-essentials are items that currently have no clear use or purpose in our current situation. These basically clutter up our spaces and leave little room for us to move around to do our work or accommodate what’s actually important.
Look through your belongings and see what things you may have no use for in the coming months such as cosmetics, office attire, formal and travel wear and more.
Items that belong in this category can either be thrown out, or donated to someone who might be able to use them.
Find the proper home for each essential item.
Items that have a clear use and purpose should be housed or stored in areas that maximize their utility.
Also remember: out of sight, out of mind. An item that’s deemed useful but cannot be found when it’s needed is not really useful at all. It would be advisable to store essential items in such a way that they can be easily seen and obtained when needed.
Organize according to how you live.
Don’t rearrange your stuff in a vacuum. Consider how you and everybody else in your household move around and use your spaces.
Items that are placed well out of reach of those who need them, or areas seemingly made inhospitable to some family members because of how they are arranged, will become wellsprings of resentment later on.
Consider as well how some things just logically go together. Group together items that have similar functions and house them near the areas where they are used most frequently.
Establish and maintain the organization system.
Once you’ve tidied up and created well-organized spaces, you need to maintain them. Agree with your household members on which item goes where, how to keep everything neat, and how often to do major and minor cleanups.
From time to time, you will need to check if your system for organizing your spaces and belongings is still working for you. It may need to be adjusted as your situations change whether as a result of the quarantine or other factors.
Each room’s purpose
To apply these principles to the various rooms in your home, you should think hard on what purpose you will assign to each room especially in the New Normal, then design and arrange the room’s layout and contents accordingly.
The bedroom should be a place to rest and regain one’s strength at the end of the day. It should be a haven for you where you can spend the slow and quiet hours for rest or reflection.
To have a bedroom that serves as the relaxing spot where you can slow down and recover from the day’s challenges, keep the area around the bed, especially the floors and the nightstand, free of items that do not contribute to having a restful experience. Stow away items in your dresser or under the bed to improve the flow of the room. Having a couple of indoor plants will also add some spots of color and life to the space.
Many of us have the tendency to just stash our stuff in our closet and hope that we can find them when we need them. Seldom does this work, however, and we end up wasting precious time and energy searching for a piece of clothing buried beneath piles of other clothes.
As the central repository of your clothes, your closet determines how you present yourself to the outside world. It should, therefore, equip you with what you need to wear, depending on the season and situation. This will not be possible with a disorganized closet.
As you regularly update your wardrobe throughout the year, so should you also be decluttering and arranging the contents of your closet. Group similar clothes together and consider tossing out those that are too worn to be presentable, or ones you haven’t worn for the past year. Especially now, when you may be working from home, items such as formal blazers and suits may just be using up space in your closet. Consider placing them on storage or tossing some out to free up space for clothes more suitable for our current situation.
Given all the lockdown restrictions on dining out, as well as our reduced food budgets, many of us are cooking and baking at home nowadays. Some have even begun to sell food online as a business. To help us in preparing food that nourishes our family or brings money to our pockets, we need to have our kitchen items in order.
Check out the food stored in your pantry and refrigerator for those past their expiration date. Toss out utensils and equipment if you already have something to replace them such as old measuring spoons or worn out egg beaters. Remember: your kitchen drawers are prime real estate when it comes to storage so they should contain items that are ready to be used everyday.
The lockdown, in a way, has provided households and families with more opportunities to share meals. Such times are welcome instances for everyone to catch up on each other’s activities and enjoy each other’s company.
The dining room, therefore, should be a place that encourages sharing and conversation. The dining table and chairs, for example, should be clear of items that are not needed during mealtimes. When meals are served, the items on the table top should be within easy reach of family members. When mealtimes are done, all dishes, utensils and linens should be cleared away as well.
With more family members spending more time at home, the living rooms has been seeing a lot more action. This area is sometimes made into a makeshift classroom, or the family’s home theater for movie nights. What’s important is that this should be a space for family members to comfortably congregate and spend time together.
To achieve a family living space that’s welcoming and relaxing, make sure the space is free-flowing and clutter-free. Get rid of papers or knick-knacks that may have accumulated on the console table and other flat surfaces. Organize the cords under the TV and other devices by clipping them together. Utilize the space behind a sofa by placing a trunk to store throw pillows or a low bookcase to showcase the family’s book and movie collection. Move furniture around to free up floor space and improve the flow of movement around the room.
Now that more people are working or learning from home, we are realizing the importance of setting aside space where we can think and concentrate on our work.
As usually directed to us in our offices or classrooms, our workstations at home should also be kept neat and uncluttered. Plus, we also need to tidy up the surrounding areas to have presentable backgrounds for our video calls just in case we haven’t set up fake ones in Zoom.
As our primary base of operations, our homes should be set up to support our goals and activities as we all adjust to living in a post–COVID19 world.
How do you plan to re-organize your home for the New Normal?
Photo credits: Header (Jason Briscoe), Kitchen (Naomi Hebert), Bedroom (Shop Slo), Closet (JamestheThomas5), Dining Room (Danill Silantev), Living Room (Patrick Perkins) and Home Office (Isabel Achison) on Unsplash
This post contains affiliate links.