You’re working from home, which means you don’t have a commute, which means you have extra time on your hands.
You’re working from home, which means you’re bored, and you’re looking for stuff to do. If you own your home, that “stuff” probably means home improvement projects. We’ve got tips on what to tackle during the quarantine.
Do an even deeper clean than usual
It is spring, after all. This year, in addition to your annual spring cleaning list, add a few tasks that are specifically intended to kill germs and improve the air quality in your home.
“It’s best to check if your cleaning materials are in the list of approved products released by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “While many of these products haven’t been officially tested against the coronavirus, these contain chemicals which were designed to kill similar pathogens. According to the CDC, it’s best to clean evidently dirty surfaces first with soap and water before disinfecting them. Remember also to wear disposable gloves when you clean. To prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria, clean frequently touched surfaces such as “counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.”
It's also a good time to change your air filters and opt for a better quality than you typically get. They won’t prevent coronavirus, according to experts. “Your typical HEPA filter is not going to be able to remove coronavirus from the air,” Dr. Erin Sorrell, an assistant professor of microbiology and a member of Georgetown’s Center for Global Health Science and Security, told BuzzFeed News. “The filter itself is .3 microns and the virus itself is roughly .1 microns.”
But, they can help keep dust and pollen away, which is important for household members who have allergies and breathing issues—if you buy the right ones.
“Regular HVAC filters are intended to protect the equipment, not your lungs and sinuses,” said Airista. “While ordinary furnace and ac filters do help to remove some dust from the air (when changed regularly!), they do little to trap the microscopic particles that cause the sneezing and wheezing of allergy season. That’s why you need special air filters for allergies that are designed to stop those tiny particles. They are called ‘high energy particulate air filters’ or more commonly, HEPA filters. Because HEPA filters are made from densely packed layers of glass fibers instead of paper, the best ones are able to trap more than 99 percent of pollen, dust and smoke particles and keep them out of the air you breathe every day.”
After you’ve identified that your filter is HEPA, look for the MERV rating. “HVAC HEPA air filters for allergies are rated on how well they block particles of different sizes. The rating system is called the minimum efficiency reporting system, or MERV. The ratings range from MERV 1 to MERV 12, with the higher number indicating filters that are capable of removing the smallest particles, including many species of pollen.”
Have some leftover paint around the house? Touch up those walls and baseboards. If not, home improvement stores are still open if you’re able to get out (and, if you do, be sure to abide by the appropriate social distancing rules and take proper safety precautions). Walmart also has paint, so you can pick up a couple of cans when you’re getting groceries or other necessities.
A fresh coat of paint will refresh your space and also make it feel new—which you probably need right about now.
Clean out your closets
“Face it: Even the most organized among us can have a messy closet, and now is the time to make it right,” said Curbed. “Start by taking everything out of the closet, purging what’s no longer used, and cleaning the interior. If it’s a clothes closet, sort your clothes by category and be sure to hang delicate items and stack thicker things like denim. Put your most-used items at the front, while seasonal or rarely used pieces can go up higher or in the back.”
Build a garden
Not only will it give you something to do, but also something to eat—which can come in handy if the quarantine period goes on for an extended period of time. Fast-growing vegetables likes arugula, lettuce, radishes, spinach, and turnips can “go from seed or seedling to harvest size in 40 days or less,” said The Creative Vegetable Gardener.
Stick to projects that are not super labor intensive or that will take a long time
Getting projects taken care of in this interesting time is about making smart choices. Someone in the family could get sick, or you could be called back to work sooner than expected. You probably don’t want an unfinished project when it’s time to get back to regular life.
Limit the products you need
You could run into supply chain issues, backorders, or delivery issues with your renovation, which could delay or derail your project.