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Make your home somewhere you want to spend time

Nobody really wants to spend their time cleaning or decorating – but now we are all spending more time in our homes it’s the perfect chance to get stuck in to some of the jobs we've put off or just ignored. 

From big jobs to little wins spending a bit of time now means you'll have somewhere which is nicer to spend your time in. And don't forget when family and friends can finally visit you’ll be able to show it off. Or if you've decided it's time to sell up and move on it will look great for buyers.

Get out in the garden

If you're lucky enough to have a garden or a patio – has it been neglected and left for a time? Then getting outside and giving it all a clean and a tidy is a great idea and something the whole family can get involved in – might even break the box set binge fest happening (again). It doesn't matter if your space is tiny, a few tubs and some bedding plants can soon transform a tired space into something pretty. And now the garden centres are starting to re-open you’ll be able to buy a few flowers and perhaps even some veg.

Give the furniture a scrub up – they should clean up with some hot water and washing up liquid and bit of elbow grease.

And if you've only got a balcony or a window sill you can still get creative – hanging baskets and pots are great for flowers and you can grow herbs and salad leaves. And watching something grow from a seed is great, especially if you can eat it later.

Tidy the garage or shed

The garage and shed are sometimes the dumping ground for things we don’t want or need but don’t have the heart to part with just yet. So, they get tucked away and usually forgotten about.

If the task seems too daunting then split the job up – start with a shelf or two or the pile hidden at the back rather than trying to tackle everything in a day. And you can get the kids involved as well.

Try and think about what could be still used – upcycling an old chair might be a great project. And you don’t have to bin things you don’t want – think about free cycling, recycling, charities and friends who might be able to make use of something which you no longer use. Or brush up on your eBay and Gumtree skills and sell things once isolation rules are lifted.

Try a bit of DIY

Don’t be scared, we’re not talking about plumbing the bathroom! Some of the smaller jobs are easy to do and you’ll find lots of guides on YouTube – everything from hanging a picture to bleeding the radiators or mending the squeaky door.

And you can be creative – again there are loads of hints and tips online for crafting – painting up an old picture frame and hanging your favourite family pictures is a great idea – you can be super colourful or simply stylish. It’s totally up to you.

Get the paint out

A lick of paint can instantly transform the look and feel of a room. Always begin with a clean wall and don’t forget to repair any holes or broken areas. Use masking tape to save floors and windows and prime the walls especially if you’re painting over a darker coloured wall with lighter paint.

Too daunting? Even one feature wall can be transformative and if you don’t want to paint, there’s always wallpaper for the more adventurous.

Set up a home working space

Some of us will be working from home – in fact about 44% of people in a job are currently working from home. And if you are using the kitchen table to have a conference call you’ll know it’s not easy with family life happening around you.

Think about the ‘spaces’ in your home which could be used – great if you have a spare room, but if you don’t, could you use the corner of the bedroom, the space under the stairs or once you’ve made over the shed could this be the new office – commuting to work across your garden might be lovely.

And, if you are investing in a desk, think about the amount of time it will be used and get one which fits once you might not have to be working from home – think about glass tops and slim styles which could become a piece of furniture when you are back in the actual office.

Always try to work somewhere which is quiet but has some natural sunlight and perhaps try to avoid the noisy bits of the house (if you can). Definitely stay away from the TV unless you crave a bit of background noise to get you through the day.

Organise the kitchen cupboards

If we’re honest, we all have a draw or a cupboard in the kitchen which is where we shove things and forget about them (maybe even two). So, now’s a great time to have a really good tidy up of the cupboards and work out what you use and need and what you’ll never touch again. So, perhaps the popcorn maker you’re holding onto from when the kids were at home might find a new home with a neighbour if they’ve got kids. And don’t just think about the pots, pans and gadgets you are holding onto.

We all have a jar of spice in a cupboard from years ago – take a really good look at the food you’ve got and list it – and if it’s out of date and not edible then ditch it. Make a list of what you have to make the food you love to eat and it might even help you cut the food bill for a few weeks with a bit of meal planning.

Too many clothes?

Perhaps you could spend the hour you’d be travelling to work sorting out your wardrobe. Make three piles – ‘keep,’ ‘charity/sell’ and ‘needs attention’ (might be dry cleaning, sewing on a button which you’ve been meaning to do for months). Get rid of anything you’ve not worn in over a year. And if you are really struggling with an item, pop it to one side and look again later or ask someone else in the house to give their opinion as honestly as they can!

When you re-hang the clothes you are keeping, co-ordinate them into seasons, colours and outfit types e.g. work, going-out, leisure etc.

It’s also a great time to start planning the outfit you’ll wear the first time you can visit your favourite place to eat or meet with family and friends again.

Scrubbing up well in the bathroom

Cleaning the bathroom is a chore and can be pretty costly as we reach for off the shelf cleaning products – but some water, white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice will do just as well and are better for the environment.

If your shower head is a bit clogged, then mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a freezer food bag and pop the shower head in it making sure all the heads are covered. Tie it up and leave it to soak for an hour. Then give it a wipe before you pop it back. It will be unblocked and back to full power – nice.

The same cleaning mix can be used on glass doors and grouting. Use an old spray bottle filled with the homemade cleaning solution and spray it on the glass and then wipe with a clean cloth – for harder bits like tile grout – leave it until it stops bubbling and then scrub away with an old toothbrush.

Lockdown hopefully won’t last forever

Hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll all see some parts of our lives return to normal – schools will open and the office will be our usual place to work from.

But spending a bit of time now to tackle the jobs we’ve ignored will hopefully make the time we spend at home a bit more enjoyable and when lockdown does end and family and friends can visit they’ll be amazed at your handy work – inside and out.

And, if you’ve decided that a move is back on the cards, your home will hopefully be buyer ready and more inviting.