How to Quarantine in a Small Apartment

Think caterpillar – chrysalis – butterfly. And, actually Darling, I don’t like butterflies but you get the idea. Maybe think about aging a fine wine, when you are re-appear, you will be ready to drink.

I have lived in studio apartments and in places with so much space there were rooms with no furniture, but this is for the people stuck in small places.

First, ridiculous as it seems, get a nightlight. (Tolkien was right, everyone needs “a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”). Yes, grocery stores have them, look in the household goods aisle. Get two or three and when it gets dark, turn them on. That little extra bit of light will help – it’s comforting to be surrounded by a soft glow and it’s not comforting staring into a pitch-black bathroom or kitchen nook. It will save you flipping on and off lights. Fake candles and Christmas lights are also good, or a tea light in a clear glass holder, on a plate, placed in the sink. Get more light into your life.

No news an hour or so before bed – watch TV, a movie, funny animal videos but NO NEWS. And, after sunset, don’t read messages from people who love to be dire and gloomy – keep them for the morning.

If you can get natural/ eco cleaner, spray it liberally – if something smells clean, it is clean. And learn (if you haven’t already) to wash clothes in your kitchen sink. Pretend you are Laura Ingalls Wilder or in the wilds of Alaska. If you wear socks, you won’t have to clean the floors.

Make your bed – wash your face twice every day – have sleep pjs and work/ awake pjs. If you can, do a ‘night of beauty’ and have at it: face-mask, manicure, pedicure, the whole works. NEVER do a full hair cut in one night – cut some off, wash it, sleep on it, cut a little more. Haircuts you do yourself must take place over 3 days or you will be wearing a hat in public for weeks.

Never work from your bed – if it’s a small place, take the pillows off and use them to get comfy on the floor, or another area, but never work from bed – it makes it much harder to go to sleep.

Try to find ways to make yourself move – one silly trick is to use only one trashcan. Anything to throw out needs to be walked to, for example, the kitchen. This makes for a lot of 10 step walks all day – and all the other trashcans are empty, gives the illusion of being clean.

Be careful about getting a pet because quarantine will end, and then how is pet going to adjust to you suddenly being gone 12 hours a day?

If you can afford to, buy extra and give it away; if you need help, ask for it.

When you start to get frustrated and unhappy, play music and sort/ clean/ move: scrub the kitchen floor, iron your clothes on a towel, polish your shoes, go through all your make-up, sew on buttons, hand make all the birthday cards this year for everyone you know, dye Easter eggs, do paint-by-numbers, play with Legos, write out a recipe book, start a windowsill garden. Yes, it’s lovely some people are taking this time to learn a new language or how to bake brioche, charming for them but you needn’t set your sights so high that you get discouraged. Your goal is to get through with minimal damage to yourself or anyone else. That’s it. Just get through!