Written by: Jessica Larson, SolopreneurJournal.com
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to spend a lot more time at home than usual. The funny thing about being home all day is that you start to notice things you didn’t see before. Then there are the things you did notice but didn’t prioritize until now, as they begin to bug you. Or, in some cases, it’s simple things that need fixing or tidying or general improvements to make your sheltering-in-place experience feel more enjoyable.
There’s a broad range of projects you can undertake, many of them not impacted by social distancing guidelines. Outdoor projects can be done more safely than indoors ones (from a virus transmission standpoint), and a lot of tradespeople are eager for work. Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different, and that will affect what kind of projects you can undertake. Here are seven popular pandemic-inspired home improvement projects — ones that can be safely done while keeping self-isolation and social distancing restrictions in place.
1. Plant a garden
The great thing about gardens is, whether you live in a home with a large yard or limited space, there’s always an appropriate type of garden you can plant to fit into it. If your outdoor space is restricted, you can look toward container gardening — even look around your house for items you have that can be upcycled into a planting installation. Or, consider building a vertical garden where your plants grow upward rather than outward.
On the other hand, if your yard is large, the sky’s the limit. Plant a nice vegetable garden, butterfly garden, or a pretty wildflower garden that will spread over time.
2. Give the deck a facelift
Is your deck looking weathered, or perhaps are you just looking for a change? Refinishing your deck can restore its original beauty (and make it less painful to look at). Powerwash it first, let it dry, and then you can repaint or stain it over the course of a couple of days.
3. Renovate an extra bedroom into a home office
During this health crisis, many people quickly had to transition to remote work. According to Gallup, in just a mere three weeks, the percentage of people working from home jumped from 31% to 62%. A good number were unprepared and lacked the space to comfortably accommodate all household members staying at home all day.
As it turns out, many companies are liking the remote work model and may continue to utilize it even after the pandemic passes. If you don’t have a permanent workspace and have an extra bedroom (or another space) that can be converted into an office, now’s a great time to get to work. If this seems like too big of a DIY project for you, enlist some outside help: Dumpster rental services offer hands-free dropoff and pickup for reasonable rates, most designers are now designing online, and many contractors are continuing to do renovations while incorporating extreme safety measures.
4. Install a swimming pool
Now that summer is almost officially here, it’s pretty clear that many public swimming pools will remain closed for the indefinite future. In some regions, swim teams, camps, and other summer events are already canceled. With public water options so limited, having a pool at home to relax and play in during your leisure time would be a great improvement to your home! You can purchase a temporary above-ground pool or invest in a more permanent setup; the good thing about pools is there is a type to fit most budgets.
5. Renovate entry walkway
Tired of looking at your old concrete walkway and entry area that’s pitted and dull? Increase your curb appeal (and reduce your annoyance levels) by giving it a new look. Options to transform your walkway include resurfacing, stamped concrete, brick, or bluestone, to name a few. Many masonry companies are actively working since these jobs can be done completely outdoors with limited to no contact with customers.
6. Do a deep clean
Chances are, by now, you’ve done a lot of decluttering. Thrift stores were taking donations during the quarantine, but many have run out of space by now. If you’ve already donated or tossed out possessions you don’t want, you’ve got a great foundation for a deep clean.
A good place to start is in the kitchen. Clean out all cabinets and appliances, wiping them down inside and out. In the rest of the house, you can shampoo carpets, wash curtains, wipe down fan blades, dust, and vacuum in those corners you never seem to get to. While you’re at it, why not spray down blinds and give them a good scrub, too?
Most importantly, after you clean, disinfect all surface areas – especially the ones that are touched most frequently, like doorknobs and latches, light switches and outlets, faucet handles, tables, countertops, etc.
7. Build a business
Once you’ve whipped your own home into shape, you may have found you’re handier than you realized, especially if you’ve got the driving skills to handle large equipment. So why not consider offering your services to others in the neighborhood — either as a side hustle or launched as a full-time business?
You can drum up clientele by ordering custom-printed pens, tote bags, or other promotional prizes. When your neighbors walk by and marvel at all you’ve accomplished, they can grab one (because you’ve already sanitized them, of course!) and remember how to contact you when it’s time for them to undertake their own home improvement projects.
A positive aspect of this quarantine is the extra time and attention we have to devote to our homes — they could look better than ever once this is all over! Since construction is considered an essential business, the work is ongoing, so if you find yourself in over your head with a DIY project, you can always call in a professional to help. Either way, eventually you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your completed project … and then you can look down the road and think of the next project you want to tackle.