Well I don't know about you guys but I am so glad that we’re starting to come out of lockdown in time for the lovely spring weather.
I must admit, like a lot of people, I have really struggled with having to be indoors so much. I am very much an outdoorsy person and having to stare at the same 4 walls for a lot of the past year has been a struggle.
Fortunately having so many interests such as crafting etc has been a real life line through this difficult time but there is also a downside to having so many things to occupy me.
I have a guilty secret - well not so secret to close friends and family - I am a very messy crafter!
My sister has been looking for work recently so I asked if she wanted me to pay her to clean my flat. Her response was 'No thanks, I don't want a full time job'!!!!
Talk about rude! But pretty accurate actually!!
The mess has become an outward reflection of the chaotic nature of my brain!! I'm not sure if it's Covid brain or menopause related? Probably a bit of both.
But definitely something I need to get in check especially now that the world is opening up a bit now and we can hopefully get back to some semblance of normailty .
I'm sure there are some of you out there that can relate with this too?! At least I'm hoping I'm not alone!
So below are my musings about the things I've struggled most with over the past year. Although I haven't found concrete solutions to all these issues, I have several ideas where I can hopefully keep the chaos to a minimum. I hope this is something you will find useful too.
1 - Home has become a complete mess!
You’d think with all this extra time at home I would be able to clean up after myself. After all, it’s just me at home. But No!!!
My housekeeping style could be described as ‘There appears to have been a struggle’!!
If, god forbid, I got burgled, it might take me a while to actually notice.
Having several craft projects on the go at once means every available surface gets covered with stuff - as you can see from this photo, my desk needs a little sorting out!!!
Then the projects end up spilling on to the floor. The amount of fluffy bits of wool/yarn I've found under the sofa (my usual crocheting spot) recently has been horrifying and I'm sure they’ve started mating with the dust bunnies!!!
Often I have to create art/craft project mock ups or video tutorials etc for my local college and for community learning workshops. These projects obviously have to be provided within a time frame so they end up taking priority over other jobs.
And because I suffer with depression and CFS, I only have a finite amount of energy. Once I've used that energy up I need to rest which means I don't end up getting as much done in a day as I used to.
Problem solving ideas include -
* Having a place for everything. Plenty of custom storage is something I dream about but it's not always an affordable reality.
Fortunately, Ikea always come to the rescue with loads of interesting and affordable storage solutions. You only have to check out Pinterest to find there are so many amazing ways you can adapt flat pack furniture to your needs.
Money has been very tight recently but I am slowly creating more storage in my flat for all of my art/craft materials. I've found plain white kitchen cabinets a really good base for a desk (not that you can see them under the clutter in this photo!) with a piece of thick MDF on top, which then fits in nicely with my other desk to create 1 long desk along the wall. These cupboards are now completely full but I still have some items that need homes, which is why my living room partly looks like this at the moment!
Which brings me on to my next point.
* Declutter regularly and take items to the charity shop or the dump. Like most people over lockdown I've been taking the opportunity to clear out anything that I've been meaning to get rid of.
I'm having to be very strict with myself, looking at things I haven't used in months/years and determining whether I will actually use them!
I'm very much one of those people who believes "one man's trash is another man's treasure" so I hate throwing things out especially if I know I could turn it into something creative. But I just don't have the room to keep things in the hope of someday making something out of it.
There are several Facebook groups for getting rid of items that often would end up in landfill.
I managed to get rid of a large metal filing cabinet which had been taking up far too much room but had been housing a lot of my arts and crafts materials. Because of the size I was unable to move it by myself and being in lockdown I didn't have anyone to help me. A local couple came and picked it up for it's new life as a COVID emergency food store!
So these kind of groups on Facebook are definitely worth checking out if you have stuff that's too good to chuck in to landfill.
*Find ways to save time on cleaning. Whether this is ensuring you have cleaning tools that help you save time or ways to keep clutter off desktops etc, there are lots of Youtube videos and Pinterest articles about how to keep things neat and tidy.
Obviously, this won't completely solve the problem but if at the very least 1 tip works for you that's a step in the right direction.
My current vacuum cleaner is on its last legs and as most of the tool attachments are broken I have to vacuum on my hands and knees which as you can imagine is very uncomfortable, dusty and time consuming.
I dream of the day when I can get one of those handheld cordless vacuum cleaners so I can whip it around the living room quickly which will save me so much time.
And talking of time .......
2 - Time seems to be flying by
I have a list of things to accomplish every day but suddenly it’s 4pm and it feels like I’ve accomplished nothing.
I’m sure the internet is as fed up of us as we are of it! Some days it feels like it’s going slow on purpose and a job that should take you an hour or so ends up taking all day!
And I've lost count of the amount of times I’ve been thrown out of zoom meetings
when the connection drops!
Problem solving ideas include -
*Plan my day out in advance - Working out what I need to achieve at the beginning of the week means I can keep track a bit better.
I find this helps me be more aware of how my day is going. I don't always get everything I planned to done but my day is always more productive.
*Getting up early - I am NOT a morning person.
As I am my own boss these days there isn't anyone to force me to get up of a morning and I don't usually have appointments I need to get to so it can be very tempting to linger in bed for a while.
However I do find that when I do have to get up and out early, the rest of my day is usually more productive.
So this is something I really need to get in to good habits with.
*Upgrade broadband to Fibre - Working online so much, whether that be on the web or in online meetings, takes up so much of my time. My internet connection seems to be getting slower (I expect these companies slow things down to make you upgrade!) and everything takes longer to get done. So I think the time has come for me to upgrade to Fibre broadband.
If you're just using the internet for shopping etc a slower connection isn't quite as important but when you're in the middle of a meeting and your connection drops, it's not very professional!
3 - I’m putting on weight!!!
As I'm home so much now, I’m doing a lot more sitting than I used to. I don’t think I’m eating much more than I used to (she says whilst brushing the cookie crumbs off her clothes!!!) but I do need to think more carefully about what I'm eating.
I am someone who likes healthy foods and usually I'm very good at making things from scratch rather than buying lots of processed foods but the past year has been a struggle in every way.
As mentioned above, my time management can be a problem which means I have on some days reached for a pizza or other quick, easy but calorie laden foods.
I’ve been pretty good at getting out and about each day for a walk but as I’ve said before, I crave the outdoors so it's no hardship for me. In fact, I'm sitting in my local park right now typing this post. But in terms of getting a lot of exercise it can be hit and miss - some days I manage a 3-4 mile brisk walk whereas others I just wander around the block. And at times it can be difficult to find space on the floor to spread out my yoga mat!!!
I had planned to really get into a proper routine with my yoga. I seem to do well for a few months, then I’m unwell or something happens to break that routine and I end up back where I started. So frustrating!
Problem solving ideas include -
* Batch cooking. When I'm in a good routine, I take a day out and make up a whole load of meals which I then divide into foil containers and freeze. Then when I have a busy day and just don't have time to cook, I can have a healthy meal ready in less time that it would take to get a pizza.
* Set a timer to remind you when to exercise. I get so engrossed in what I'm doing that I only remember exercise once I've finished a whole days work and then sat down to binge watch a load of tv all evening! Setting timers on my phone throughout the day gives me that reminder to do the important things I would perhaps forget once I got too engrossed in other things.
*Clear my living room floor. I do have a habit of sitting on the sofa and working on the laptop so I often end up with papers and books piled on the floor next to me. Ensuring I clear any floor junk before bed each night means I have space in the morning to roll out my yoga mat.