Needless to say, life in quarantine can be a bit redundant. If your schedule is anything like mine, you wake up, maybe mosey over to your couch, where you work, eat, nod off a bunch of times and scroll through the internet until your thumbs go numb and your brain becomes one with the infinite world of cyberspace. Then you go back to sleep, rinse and repeat. Yeah, my life is pretty dull right now.
But with enough perseverance and a dash of creativity, you can make life within the confines of your property both stimulating and comfortable. For example, some dudes have been running full marathons in their driveways and backyards, which sounds like way too much work for my taste, but great job, dudes! (Speaking of which, if you want quarantine workout advice, check out our guide.)
Other dudes, meanwhile, have been living in virtual reality, enjoying the fruits of digitized worlds as an escape from their dark, dreary apartments, which is pretty much always an option, no matter what kind of space you live in.
Now, frankly, there are no limits to how you use your living space, especially during quarantine. Heck, if you want to recreate the feeling of an outdoor bike ride, chuck your recumbent bike on your front porch or balcony and give it a spin (if you have a fire escape, though, you should keep it clear so people can use it to, well, escape fires). Nonetheless, there are some basic guidelines that can help you make the most of your small space, which I outlined down below.
The simplest way to make a cramped area more spacious is to make good use of your vertical space. That means stacking things where possible, adding shelves or hooks to the walls and hanging anything you can reasonably hang. For example, rather than using up my precious floor space by putting my guitars on basic stands, I hung them up on wall mounts, and now I can use that extra space to run in place or whatever.
This applies to outdoor areas, too. For instance, if you only have a small balcony, but want to plant some herbs during quarantine, using stools, small benches or shelving is a great way to add extra room for more plants and other decorations, since you can stack them like so. You can also hang plants from the ceiling, which obviously takes up no floor space at all. That way, you can have all the plants you want and room for your recumbent bike.
Add Storage Wherever You Can
When dealing with an extra small space, the more stuff you have out and about, the more stuffy and claustrophobic your place will feel. The easiest way to fix that problem is to get furniture that doubles as storage space. You could use a chest as a coffee table, and you could put your extra linens in it (if you have extra linens). Or you could use a bookshelf as a room divider, which could act as extra storage for, well, books or other knick knacks. If you’re really desperate, you could even buy some plastic tubs to store stuff under your couch, all of which will result in a roomier space that you can do whatever you want with, even if that’s just becoming one with the internet and slowly transforming into a cyborg.
Create Double-Duty Spaces
When you only have so many spaces, some almost certainly need to serve multiple functions. Really, you need to decide what you want out of a space before you do much to it, but I suggest you take a look around and consider how your spaces are currently being used. If you have an office with a massive desk and a bunch of supplies scattered about, but you usually work from your living room couch, maybe consider turning that office space into half office, half workout room. That way, you can actually put it to good use, rather than having it take up a whole area of your home that you hardly ever use.
Hide Your Clutter (And Get Rid of Stuff)
This is similar to the storage advice, but goes a little deeper. Again, the more random stuff you have out and about, the more packed your space will feel. But investing in some boxes and baskets is a great way to hide loose, unsightly objects. For example, I keep my internet router and all the wires in a straw basket, which looks a lot more natural than letting them sprawl all over the place. I also organize loose objects in my drawers and cabinets by placing them in little containers, which are much neater and easier to deal with.
Likewise, if you really need more space, the absolute best thing you can do is get rid of stuff. I know, you’ve probably heard it before. But honestly, most of us have more stuff than we need, and if you’re feeling cramped in your home during quarantine, letting go of a few things can surely help open up your space. What you do with all that new space is up to you.
Alternatively, you can scrap all of that and live out the rest of quarantine in virtual reality. Hey, it’s really not such a bad idea.