Many of us made adjustments to our homes when the pandemic was declared in March. We had to adapt quickly to working and learning from home. Then summer began, and schedules changed again. Kids abandoned their makeshift desks and parents shifted things around again.
But as the school year comes into focus, it seems that many children will be spending at least some of the week distance-learning, and many adults will be spending at least a few more months telecommuting.
That means it's time to get your house in order. If you can take control of your immediate surroundings, it will increase productivity, lower stress levels and save money.
To help empower kids, involve them in decluttering their rooms and getting a space set up where they'll be able to work comfortably.
No matter their age, kids want to have input on their rooms and belongings. Some will voluntarily pare down their belongings, while others will need help with the task. Empower your child to help make the decisions about what is kept, what is given away and what can be put in a "memory box."
Likewise, look for quick ways to organize your home office space, such as dedicating a spot for work notes and papers, organizing office supplies and possibly even trying to tidy up and put stuff away each night.
Some remote workers have a hard time turning off work, but setting aside papers and shutting down a laptop can help create closure for the day.
You'll likely have to do some decluttering, too.
The process of deciding what to keep and what to give away reinforces your values. Completing an organizing project gives you a sense of accomplishment. And both activities are empowering.
Plus, when you own less stuff, there is less to keep track of, less to clean and less to organize, all of which reduce your overall stress level at home.
Living in an organized home has the immediate effect of reducing stress, but it also gives you an overall sense of control for whatever the future holds. An organized home also gives you a certain peace of mind that you'll be able to adapt to any situation that arises, both in the short term and in the long term.
A home repair is easier to prepare for if you're organized, as is a move or renovation a year or two from now.
If you know what you have, you're less likely to spend money buying duplicates, and you'll therefore have less to store and organize.
If everything has a place and you know where to find an item, determining whether you need more should be easy. As everyone is dealing with the fallout from a changing economy amid the pandemic, having a better handle on your spending is a real plus.
Those of us with the flexibility to work from home don't need a work wardrobe for now. And kids may not need the same school wardrobe.
If you've organized your family's closets and cleaned them out before school starts, there's no need to fill them up again. Instead, consider what you and your family need for remote work and school, and purchase only those things.
Having an organized home may not seem like a top priority for many people right now. As this pandemic drags on, however, we're grasping for some sense of normalcy and a little bit of control over our lives, while still trying to adjust to so many changes. Having a home that is welcoming, organized and efficient is one way to feel better about the place where we have been — and will continue to be — spending so much time.