You’ve likely seen on the news how everyone is being told to stay home at all costs. Now you’re working from home, your kid’s school is canceled for a few weeks or worse your work has closed due to the pandemic you might find yourself feeling a bit lost. We are all supposed to practice social distancing so staying at home is at the top of our to do list! Turn off your TV and quit reading all the scare statistics and just focus on what you do have control over!
Cleaning Up Your House
Despite your desire to sit all day in your pajamas, you should actually do a thorough wipe down of your house and most importantly the high touch areas of your house. If you have Clorox wipes, that’s great! If you don’t you can use other home cleaners as well, but bleach is a great killer of germs. You can also make your own house cleaner if your local grocer has been bought out of all the cleaning products. These are the HIGH touch areas you want to definitely clean: light switches, doorknobs, mailbox, doorbell, garage door buttons, handrails by your stairs, faucets, remotes, cellphone, car keys / house keys, toilet seat, toilet handle, fridge door, microwave door.
Consider creating a space to change into sanitary home items. The virus can live on clothes and will live on plastic. We have implemented garage door entry only, removing shoes and coats in our lower level. We primarily live on our upper levels of our home. This means once you come in from the garage, you remove your shoes, wash your hands and use hand sanitizers. It was a no brainer to want to change into pajamas or comfy clothes once we got home anyway but removing our shoes downstairs instead of our entry way and handwashing when you hit the door is a new one. Our son is 10 months old and crawling / walking, so if we are transporting any germs not just the corona virus into our home it would be on our floor where his hands are. He puts his hands in his mouth and well ours too. You get the picture.
Spring Cleaning Early
Spring has finally sprung in the midst of all of this craziness around the globe and you might consider catching up on all the household chores. You could do some deep cleaning of your home air ducts and or car, besides you can only handle watching so much Netflix or Hulu, mostly because your kids are watching and judging you on how you spend your time. Here are a few projects you could tackle around the house that have been on the honey do list for quite some time but we’re hardly urgent. Important to note that if you do not have the supplies or means to do this without going to the store, mark those items off your list for now. We need to stay home if at all possible or consider making your list for when you do have to go out for something essential that maybe you can get it at the same store.
Filters and Vents
You can tackle cleaning filters and vents. I learned after the fact that the filter on my microwave was actually washable! I had thrown it away and couldn’t find the right size to replace it with. I did get it replaced when the turntable in the microwave broke and I already had a service professional at my home.
I could have used a warm water and dawn dish soap to soak and clean the wire filter and replace it after it was dry. You can use your vacuum attachments to get the filter on your fridge clean. If you don’t routinely clean the filter it makes your fridge work harder than it has to in order to keep your fridge cool. Check out our post on refrigerators for more info.
If the weather is decent you can venture outside to clear away debris from around your air conditioner unit. Make sure there is a clear path for it to breath. See our video on how you can clean it yourself without having a service person come to your home. It’s important to realize that bringing anyone into your home right now increases the risk of contamination and you will need to do your cleaning all over again.
There is usually a vent in the bathroom that sucks all the moisture out of the room when you are in the shower. You might not notice it much because it’s usually on the ceiling. You will need a chair or small step ladder and you can unhinge the cover and use your vacuum and long nose attachment to clear most of the lint. You can use some paper towels and some water to clear off anything else. Don’t waste a Clorox wipe on that. You aren’t going to be touching it and it sucks in air, it doesn’t force it back into the room. It won’t be spreading germs around the room or house.
It is that time of year you should replace your HVAC filter as well. If you don’t already have that on a schedule, it should be changed every 3 months. Pro tip you do not need to buy the high allergen filter, it will make your system run harder than it needs to and at this point you have already sanitized your home, so you do not need to worry about virus or germs being pulled into your air system.
You should always clear the lint trap in your dryer, but consider using some of this ‘extra’ time home to make sure the vent is clear from the dryer to the outside of your home. This will also increase the efficiency of how quickly your clothes get dried because the air flow will move easier out of the dryer.
Cleaning Cycles and Other Odds and Ends
You can run a clean cycle on your oven, it will be stinky! And it will be very warm to touch. It is a good idea to be home whenever you run this because of the heat it will permeate around your oven. And well… you are going to be home for a while, so might as well! Once it is done, it should take a couple hours, wait until it has cooled off and you can use a damp rag to wipe down the inside of your oven.
Replace the filter in your ice maker, who knows the last time that might have been done! Out of sight out of mind!
Wipe down and clear the debris trap inside your dishwasher.
Some clothes washers also have a clean cycle you can put some white vinegar in, and it will clean it right up!
You can defrost your freezer and deep freezer.
Replace that thermostat with a more efficient one, order it online, unless you can support a local small business. You could try calling ahead and talking to a knowledgeable salesperson who might have it for you at the door so you can be quick in and out. If you can’t then buy it online. You can however choose to support a local charity or organization with your Amazon.com purchases, consider the good they are likely doing for other who are less fortunate than you at this juncture.
Dig A Little Deeper
If you have hard water like me, you can soak faucet heads to remove hard water deposits to get that water pressure back. This takes little to no work, just a plastic bag, a rubber band, water and white vinegar. If you don’t have white vinegar you can purchase it at the grocery store the next time you go out for your essentials and or order your groceries online or through a delivery service like Instacart.
If you have a weak stomach this next one you might want to skip… but you could pull all crud out of your sink and tub drains. You use a wire hanger after straightening it out leaving a hook at the end. Stick it down the drain and turn and pull out to remove sludge and debris from your plumbing. Again, if you don’t have all the tools to do this, just leave this one on the list for a later date.
If after all of this, you are still searching for something to do you can consider researching the replacement of one of your appliances. As exciting as it may sound, if you have the time it’s much better to do it now when there isn’t much else going on. There is no March Madness or preseason baseball to watch, just get this done. This is the year; now is the time you’re stuck at home anyway! You might as well shop for that fancy new washer and dryer!
If you’re able to work from home you might need to pace yourself on these little projects so you satisfy your employer too, but you’re already saving time by not commuting to and from work, your hygiene standards are probably a little lower to work on your couch than in at your employer so you saved more time there! You are looking at maybe an extra 12-20 hours a week that you just got back into your life! No carpool, no dropping kids at school or sitter, no forcing your kids to get up and dressed. Depending on their age, they might turn on their computer or iPad and get their assigned homework from their teachers on their own, or you might have to manage that a bit too.
This isn’t a punishment, if you don’t get all of it done this week, there is always next week! Or the week after that or the week after that…