Take Advantage of the Pandemic

If you are stuck at home, as millions currently are, make use of your time to accomplish some long-neglected tasks. It’s a great time to do some painting, repair some things that need attention and most importantly strengthen some family ties.

Take some time to email or text family members with your hopes for the future and your fondest reminiscences of the past. Perhaps there’s a bit of family history you know that should be shared with others. Think and talk about your plans for a reunion, vacation or family picnic when the pandemic eventually ends.

Talk about the woes your ancestors faced during the Spanish flu of 1918. Remember some of the fun things that happened at prior family events and share the memories. Think back to the oddball events that shaped your life and the lives of your family members. Talk about and relive them by sharing with the whole family.

It will bring you much happiness and, hopefully, much joy for the whole family. If others respond in similar fashion everyone will learn more about who you all are and how your families live or have lived.

While we remain physically distant from one another, sharing memories, hopes and dreams will draw us closer.

And if you are still going stir crazy this is a golden opportunity to clear out the basement, garage and attic. Pack up all that stuff you don’t need right now and take it a Dino’s Storage near you. Dino’s will even lend you a truck – free – to move your stuff to the storage facility.

Is Stark Design on the Way Out?

The signature look of stark, white, impeccably clean minimalist design may face declining appeal in home decor. Instead, comfort and usability will likely guide home design going forward, design experts predict in a new article at realtor.com®.

The era of sheltering in place during the COVID-19 outbreak has turned homes into security blankets, where comfort reigns, they say.

“Austere polished concrete floors, stone walls, all-white color palettes and industrial finishes can be found in homes nationwide,” realtor.com® notes in its article. “Today, that vibe feels detached from the world that we’re living in, where a safe, comfortable space to hunker down is the true luxury.”

Designer Sheila Bridges says a trend toward “more is more” design likely will take root. “I believe that the trend has already begun to swung back toward maximalism; perhaps, ultimately, we land somewhere in between,” Bridges told realtor.com®.

Trends like wallpaper have already been re-emerging in recent years. Designers also recommend bringing out treasures from past travels and memories to display. Plush blankets and throws – always a favorite of home stagers – likely will be spotlighted in a bigger way going forward as they’re draped over furnishings. Further, colorful pillows and geometric patterned rugs can help liven up a space.

“You can work wonders with lighting,” Susan Solliday, president of the Arizona North chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, said. “Think about a fabulous hotel you have stayed in – or for that matter, an image of one. They are not cluttered with things, but they do have the right lighting. The amount and type of lighting directly affects your concentration, appetite and mood. Lighting also creates depth, shadow and accentuates the important.”

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a similar aesthetic shift became apparent, designers note. “People wanted to be at home with their loved ones, and it became more important for designers and homeowners to create homes that felt safe, secure, warm and livable,” Bridges says. “Home offices or live/work/play spaces will continue to grow in importance.” Indeed, designers predict a wave of formalized home offices to gain popularity as the transition to remote working from home continues to play out.

Don’t Toss Them, Reuse Them

Every day we go through any number of simple things and toss them in the trash. But often there are good uses they can be put to. Many household items can be used in ways they weren’t originally made for, helping you save money, spruce up the house and more.

Take the lowly egg carton, for example. You can use it to start your own miniature garden. You can also use the sections to separate and freeze cookie dough, meatballs and other comfort foods that are perfect to make ahead and eat the next day.

Old socks can have a useful life. If the washer ate a mate, or a hole popped up for your big toe, here are a couple of new uses. Turn your old sock into a brand new toy that your pet might actually play with. Put a tennis ball inside the sock to create a toy for your dog or sew it closed with some catnip for your cat.

Old T-shirts can be cut to make great dsting or cleaning rags.

Shoe boxes have creative uses. Use them to keep important papers and documents organized, or as extra storage for your childhood and family photos. They can easily be labeled.

Jars are very versatile. Use jars as glassware or for food canning. You can also use one to organize your desk by placing pens or makeup brushes in it. If you need a holder for your toothbrush or toothpaste in the bathroom, use a jar.

The empty tissue box can be used to hold and organize plastic bags or trash bags. You can easily tuck it away under the sink or beside the trash can to make it easier to quickly switch out a full bag.

Wine bottles can hold some beautiful fragrant flowers to brighten the room at the center of your dinner table, windowsill or kitchen counter.

Cereal boxes can be cut at an angle to make great holders for keeping important documents and papers. Instead of just throwing your mail anywhere, you can stay organized by placing it in Cap’n Crunch’s former home.

Old dresser drawers can be used under the bed for towels and other things even after you replace the dresser. If you’re really crafty, you can turn it into shelving on your wall to hold plants or make it into a brand new bookshelf.

Mugs tend to accumulate over the years and pick up stains from coffee and other drinks. You can use the old mug with your college mascot on it to finally organize your messy office and place your pens and pencils inside. Or organize all of your makeup brushes with the souvenir mug you bought to commemorate surviving that family trip. You can also use it to plant your favorite flower and place it right next to your window to get plenty of sunshine.

Sandwich bags aren’t just for school lunches. You can use the household staple as a piping bag for decorating delicious delights. Decorate cupcakes, cakes and other sweets just like the best dessert shops in the country.

Paper towel rolls can be used to organize your cell phone cords or TV wires. Are you tired of seeing your cords tied together in a bunch? Just put them through the roll to keep them untangled.

Old newspapers and magazines can be crinkled up and used them inside a package box before shipping it. The paper will make a great cushion for fragile items. If you’re in the process of moving, save money on supplies by using the papers to wrap your fragile glassware.

Plastic or paper shopping bags can be used as trash bags for your smaller bins throughout the house. You can also separate your recyclables with them.

If you’re eating apples or other fruits that are in season, they most likely will have seeds that would make a perfect personal project for any rookie gardener. Take your old jar or egg carton, fill it with some dirt and plant your seeds.

Old dryer sheets can make excellent dust rags to pick up dust mites under your table or pet hair all over your couch.

You should change out your toothbrush often, but there are ways to reuse that old one, too. Toothbrushes are great to help clean difficult, hard-to-reach places in your bathroom such as underneath the fixtures on faucets and more of the dirtiest places in your home.

An old pillowcase might help keep your closet full of sheets and other pillowcases organized. If you have matching sets, you can stuff your folded bedsheets, linen or other pillowcases inside. You can also use it as a homemade Halloween bag to collect some of the most popular Halloween candies.

A lazy susan can be a great way to organize your kitchen cabinets after you ditch it for a fancy new spice rack. Don’t struggle with searching for a sponge or a spray bottle that disappeared in the back of the cabinet. Place the lazy susan underneath the sink cabinet and all of the important supplies on top of it. Spin it around and find anything you need.

If you have an old bar cart that you barely use anymore why not find a new purpose for it? You can make it into a new bedside table or even turn it into a bookcase.

Bread tags can help organize the cords behind your TV. They can be written on to add labels, too.

So you redid your kitchen and the old paper-towel holder just doesn’t have a home anymore. Well, it turns out it can hold more than paper towels. Move it into the closet to stack and organize bracelets or necklaces, or keep it in the kitchen and put a trash bag roll on it for easy trash swaps.

Does your cereal quickly go stale a few days after opening it? Use an old clothespin to keep the package closed and fresh every time you open it to eat it. An old clothespin can make a great clip to close a chip bag or any of your favorite snack foods when you’re done with them.