So you’ve baked banana bread, deep cleaned your kitchen, potted all your plants and colour co-ordinated your bookshelves. You’ve caught up with all your favourite people on Zoom and perfected the art of a weekly meal plan. But are there any other useful and productive things to do in lockdown that you may not have thought of yet?
I’d like to bet there are! As lockdown has progressed, I’ve come across more and more odd jobs and useful tasks to do in this time. So I thought I’d share on my blog too, incase these might be of use to you too!
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Productive Things to Do at Home
Organise foreign currency
Most people have multiple foreign currencies lying around after trips, but forget to properly organise it. Sometimes, if I have quite a bit left that I wasn’t able to spend and it’s country I’m likely to go back to, like the USA or the UAE, I’ll leave it in a money bag with my passport and travel documents.
However, I often keep at least one note and coin from most countries I go to as a souvenir.
Something like this album for paper notes is an excellent way to organise foreign currency, as well as this coin collection album. I’ve ordered mine in, and can’t wait to file away my coins and notes!
Perform overdue maintenance tasks on household appliances
If you’re anything like me, you only end up doing these jobs when something is clearly not right with the appliance. But we all know prevention is better than cure, right?
I took my bedsheets to come out covered in tiny fibres and odd pale marks for me to realise my washing machine was very much in need of a big clean. I regularly clean out the detergent drawer, but realised there are several other key areas of the washing machine that need maintenance every 2 months or so.
Other ideas include descaling the limescale from the shower head, the iron and the kettle, as well as cleaning the dishwasher.
Organise your travel toiletries
I used to have all the hotel freebies and travel sized toiletries in a big box under my bed until I realised I was always forgetting them. So last week I took the time to organise them in the bathroom, shelf by shelf and categorised by suncare, toothpastes, hand sanitisers, wipes, body care and face products. Not only can I see the full range of everything I own (it’s quite a lot!), but I’ve realised I have more than enough to use some bottles day-to-day instead of buying new larger size ones.
Make a schedule of all important birthdays
One way to make your friends and family feel special is to remember their birthday ahead of time, and not just on the day with a Facebook message!
Why not take the time to get all the important dates written up so you can ensure to get cards, gifts or presents arranged in time for the big day.
Organise your grocery cupboards
OK, so there’s a chance you’ve already had a big sort of your kitchen cupboards, but did you check the expiry dates? I went through every bottle, tin and jar in the kitchen to review the ‘best before date’. Some items I just had to bin (needed to have used by 2016, oops), but some still had a few months left. So I re-organised my cupboard to bring priority products to the front and then I planned to cook meals using these ingredients. It actually meant we had a few dishes we haven’t had in ages!
Delete and backup the photos and apps on your phone
Got some of those red icons indicating an update is ready? First, do all of these.
Then why not do a purge of unused apps, like those games that were fun for five minutes or one of those photo editing apps that does what all the others do. Freeing up space on your phone will also help it run faster and last longer.
Finally, delete those photos! If your phone is full of images from WhatsApp conversations, clear them out. Bursts, accidental videos and the 300 unsaved selfies that didn’t make the cut? Just get rid of them. I’m coining a new phrase here – organised phone, organised mind!
Back up your photos from your laptop
One of the most rewarding but time consuming tasks I’ve done is organise and back up all of my photos. The first time I did it, I even had scanned photos from 2004 to back up but I gradually managed to organise and back up every photo from then until now.
I’ve upgraded to 100GB which costs me a mere £1.59 a month. I highly recommend as the storage system is faultless and so easy to use. There is also an App, so you can keep your Google Photos up-to-date on the go.
For the physical hard drive, it’s best to really ensure it’s a top quality product, which in this case means paying a little extra. I recommend this LaCie 2TB Mobile Drive External Hard Drive which connects via USB cable, it’s super secure and also lightweight to transport.
Organise make-up, clean brushes & wash bags
I see more and more articles and videos online about how to wash make-up brushes, so I assume we’re getting a bit better at this. But what about your make-up bags or toiletries bags with all those eyeliner smudges or toothpaste marks on them? Don’t forget to wash these too! Pop them in a sink with hot soapy water and scrub them with an old nail brush. It’s super satisfying to have a clean make-up bag again!
Wash lanyards, laptop bags, backpacks & other reusable bags
I’d like to guess that a lot of people haven’t washed their backpacks or laptop sleeves in a while. Am I right? This is the perfect time to wash all those lumpy items and leave to dry in the sun.
For backpacks and laptop sleeves, these can go in the washing machine most of the time. Shorten the straps on the backpack and clip together any fasteners, and place in a pillowcase in the washing machine. Normally a 30c wash on a low spin (400 or less) will do the trick.
For things like lanyards (which I keep my keys on), or detachable straps, I prefer to soak them in a soapy sink. After an hour or so, pull them out and scrub with an old nail brush.
Sort coppers or other coins
If you’re anything like me, you’ve collected a growing number of coppers (and 5p/10p coins) over the past few months or year. I definitely have less than a few years ago, but it’s still worth sorting them out.
In the UK, you can take them along to your main bank in small bags and exchange them for coins or notes. You’re unlikely to make a huge amount of cash (unless you have mountains of coins!) but it’s good to clear them out.
Organise loyalty cards
You know all those hundreds of loyalty cards you meekly say yes to at the cashier, but you’re never sure if you actually want them?
Now is a good time to sift through the pile – remember to check your purse, drawers and any bag or backpack pockets. Some might be a coffee card, where you’re one or two away from a coffee and therefore it could be worth keeping. Some are just another piece of flimsy plastic with no points or real perks.
Start your family tree
This is a huge task that can take weeks and months of painstaking research, plus plenty of patience to hear back from people!
Researching your genealogy is a great task to do during lockdown as there’s every chance others are doing it too, and therefore higher chance of matching up family members.
One of best and most effective ways to trace your family history is to use Ancestry.co.uk. My parents have been working on this for over 5 years, and have discovered all sorts about our family history. They use Ancestry.co.uk which has been really successful as it has such a huge database!
In addition, Ancestry.co.uk also have DNA kits which can be sent to your home. Their DNA database is the largest in the world, so this is the very best way to find out your heritage – who knows what you might learn!
Buy a digital photo frame and upload memories to it for an elderly relative
These were really popular maybe 10 years ago or so, and are less used now. But actually, for elderly relatives (especially those who live alone) having a digital photo frame with a carousel of family photos can be really lovely. I highly recommend this frame from Nixplay, which can be on either landscape or portrait orientation.
Using apps such as Frameo means you can update the photo library remotely too.
Clean up your online presence
When was the last time you checked what comes up on Google when you type your name in?
Whether or not you’re looking for a new job, it’s always a good thing to clean up your online presence. From dating profiles, to your old MySpace to even anything you may have contributed to forums or media sites.
If many people share your name, then add your hometown or current location to your search so ‘Sarah Jones London’, for example. This will help filter the results and hopefully bring up more relevant name matches.
Organise your digital music library
Have you ever played music on your iPhone and thought to yourself, what is this? Or I really don’t like this song or artist anymore.
Then this is definitely the time to remove old or unwanted music from your music library.
Do you have an ever-growing pile of trip tickets, passes, photos and holiday momentos that are cluttering drawers? Why not glue them into a scrapbook and add some written anecdotes alongside? It’s the perfect way to remember your adventures and have a keepsake to show your children and grandchildren one day!
So there’s my suggestions of productive things to do in lockdown, some of which I imagine you may not have thought about yet!
Feel free to drop me a line if you think there are other ideas I’ve missed from this list, I’d love to hear them.
If you’ve enjoyed this feature on productive things to do at home, then do feel free to share.
Disclaimer: This guide is curated by myself. There are several affiliate links in this post, but this feature is not sponsored or written in partnership with any brands.
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