Claire Thompson
February 8, 2021

Pressure on family homes in COVID lockdown

Here’s our five point plan to keeping things going by making the most of the space you have during COVID lockdown.

It was what so many people dreamt of – being able to work from home and avoid the commute.

It’s at this point we realise that our homes are just not ready for the flexibility that’s being demanded of them.

Family homes that had just one person in them, or were empty during the day are often now filled 24/7 with people with competing needs. There isn’t a day goes by when we don’t hear about increasing domestic violence or divorce rates. About the trials of home schooling or distance teaching.

Everyone is going to need different solutions.

Here’s our five point plan to keeping things going by making the most of the space you have

1. What do you need?

Take a piece of paper, and (well-spaced) make a list including every family member, pets and regular visitors such as parents. Leave space at the bottom for ‘family’.

On the right make list of what each needs space to do and any specific timings. Include small but normal things – showers, baths, exercise, food and the like– as well as what the schools, workplaces, colleges doctors etc demand.  ‘Family’ could include flatmates if you’re not living in a family setting – it’s there or communal things like dinner together or family meetings depending on how your family rolls.

Be human about it – if you need to use social media daily to keep up with your friends, include that time – now is not a great time to make sweeping changes without consideration.

This will tell you what you need to have space for, from frantic gaming to quiet reading, from how many people need to queue for the bathroom to how many people want the remote control in the evenings for TV suppers.

The most important things just now are to note what’s different under COVID lockdown. One year in and the end is barely in sight, so our homes will need to accept this ‘new normal’ for some time to come.

From this list you’ll need to negotiate priorities like who gets first shower in the morning, and who’s walking Bonzo, when!

It will also give you ideas of what’s NOT needed so that things can be stashed away. If school’s are closed, you won’t need schoolbags out and at the read, or school shoes. If you don’t need to go to the office, work clothes can be tidied away. If the dry cleaner is open, maybe now will be a good time to take in things and make the best of any special offers.

2. Take a look at the space you have.

If you’re keen you could take the right hand list from page one and transfer the items to a list of rooms page, so you see immediately where the pressure points are. Or you may prefer to just think it through on the basis of what you’ve just flushed through.

You may feel you’re already well aware of the dining table that doubles as a desk, breakfast bar, gaming station, office desk and even a puzzle board. Mine acts as a repair station for household items too, and when the children were home it acted as a staging post for their sports equipment which needed looking at and cleaning before putting away.

Maybe things could be moved around to create an extra study, office, games room. Perhaps the children could share a bedroom in exchange for having an office space or games space. Maybe the spare room could become a study. Perhaps the bathroom could house the washing machine to make space in the kitchen or utility room for a desk.

Just don’t skimp on the things that keep you fit, healthy and sane during long periods of confinement alone or with people you’d normally not be with 24 hours a day.

Only you know what sacrifices you and yours can make for the benefits you hope to achieve, but do remember that this isn’t forever. It’s for longer than we all thought, and probably still for long enough to be worth the upheaval of moving things around, but still temporary.

3. Declutter

Those dreaded words. We recently wrote some tips for decluttering during lockdown, which may be useful. Check them out here.                  

In short, say goodbye to things that you don’t use, need or like, and give them a new life by recycling or giving away / or, if they’ve really had it, binning.

We’re here to help if you want to store things until everything gets back to normal. You can get a no obligation quote and even book online, if it suits you

easyStorage protective measures checklist for COVID lockdown

4. Create house rules

If you live alone, your house rules are a promise to yourself. If you’re sharing spaces, everyone will need to agree and understand.

Perhaps one parent needs the kitchen to themselves for a conference call at a certain time, perhaps school or university students need time, or the household PC, to connect with tutors.

Being organised and making sure everything is on a wall calendar will reduce stress and highlight any conflicts.

Little ones may need to have rules explained to them, and family roped in for looking after them when important calls are happening. This can also apply to pets, notably dogs who love to appear on camera during conference calls and are wont to choose that precise moment you’re online to bark at passing cats, delivery people or just because they can.

Remind everyone that this is temporary, that this is time to pull together.

5. Share the load

With no certainty about when the COVID lockdown threat will end, life will be far easier if everyone shares the load. Maybe one family member no longer has a job. It’s easy to put all of the housework, childcare, gardening, shopping etc on them. But they need time to recharge their batteries too, some time out for themselves and, most importantly, time to do the inevitable admin and paperwork that will face them, and time to look for a new job. Yes, there are jobs out there - ours for example

Maybe time online with Grandma doesn’t seem like a priority – but if Grandma lives alone and is shielding, it may be the highlight of her week, the thing that keeps her going through a time that’s harsh on her.

A thank you can go a long way / noticing that someone has stepped up to lay the dining table, cook, washed up, vacuumed, loaded the washing machine goes a long way, even if you don’t think they’ve done enough.

This is especially true for any young teens, for who these things are an unwelcome interruption to the important things in their life, usually their friends.

There has never been a better time to share each day the good things that have happened, the small happiness, the gratitude, changes in nature, funny things, recommendations for recipes, YouTube videos or Netflix series.

We know it sounds very ‘New Age’, yet these are things that will give us a fair chance of getting through the pandemic with our sanity and our families in tact.

And if we can help you create and clear more space to give you a headstart, you know where we are

Claire Thompson

Claire joined the easyStorage family as a blogger in August 2020 and is loving it! Her passions include writing and learning, and with easyStorage she’s learning new things fast. When not tapping at a keyboard she can be found renovating an old cottage, despite having inherited a complete lack of DIY skills from her father. She has two children, now grown up, and a dopey, loving Vizler (dog), Chester, who steadfastly refuses to do the same. She claims he’s her soulmate!

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