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Staying home and staying organized

As we settle into the new normal of being homebound, this might be a good time to reset, get a jump on personal-home projects and get things in life organized.

Whether it’s those short stories you’ve been longing to write or that overflowing junk drawer, using your extra downtime to organize, plan and create can payoff now and down the road.

Here are just a few ideas that can help you achieve a great sense of accomplishment from at-home life.


  • 1. Get a handle on that junk drawer

    It’s a small task that you can get done rather quickly that can leave you feeling like you ticked one off the list. Empty out your drawer and only put back the essential things you really use and need. Store other items you need in their proper places.

  • 2. Organize sentimental items

    While these items carry fond memories, this is a good time to see if any items still need to be saved. Maybe taking a photo of your memento is enough to remind you of that special moment or person.

  • 3. Organize your paper files

    Keep what you need and recycle the rest. Be sure to properly shred documents with your personal information.

  • laptop to storage data drive
  • 4. Free up data storage space

    Organize and clean your devices and digital storage, and then back up your files on the cloud. Here’s what we mean:

    • If you use a digital camera, delete unwanted photos and videos on your memory card.
    • Delete files, photos, videos and audio you don’t need on your phone, tablet and laptop.
    • Download the photos from your camera’s memory card that you decided to keep.
    • Backup everything from all of your devices onto an external drive and/or the cloud so you have your entire collection stored.
    • Delete from your phone, laptop or tablet, photos and files you don’t need to access.

  • 5. Clean out your inboxes for emails, texts and social media messages

    Tired of scrolling through endless messages? Make sure you opt out of email subscriptions you’re no longer interested in. File or delete emails and clear out old messages.

  • 6. Clear up your DVR/PVR recordings

    Don’t forget to review your series recordings and delete the ones you no longer want to follow. That way, you’ll have plenty of space to start binge-watching the next Tiger King.

  • 7. Delete apps you’re no longer using from your phone and other devices

    Once you’ve got your go-to’s, you can move them around on your home screen or put them into folders so they’re more organized and easier to find.

  • 8. Update and securely record all of your passwords

    We may have many different passwords for work log-ins, social media platforms, subscriptions, online banking and more. This may be a good time to organize and strengthen your passwords so they’re easier to remember and track. Recommendations shared by the Better Business Bureau include:

    • Use at least 8 characters, combine upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
    • Avoid using family and pet names.
    • Close accounts not used in over a year to reduce exposure to hacking and number of passwords to remember.
    • Backup everything from all of your devices onto an external drive and/or the cloud so you have your entire collection stored.
    • Delete from your phone, laptop or tablet photos and files you don’t need to access.

  • man with guitar and mic
  • 9. Get started on creative projects or activities

    You may have been waiting to find the time to start a personal passion project such as writing, videography, singing or photography. Perhaps your personal project is more every day in nature such as learning how to cook.

    While you may not complete your personal works in the next few weeks or months, getting started is already half the battle to finishing.

  • 10. Draft up that business or career plan that you’ve been mulling over

    You may have been inspired for months or years to make a change in your working career. You can use this time of being homebound to research and develop ideas.


  • 11. Review your finances and budget

    Perhaps your goals or situation have changed. Revisiting your budget can help ensure you’re staying on track, making necessary adjustments and moving towards your financial goals. Check out money management tips from Manulife, which underwrites BCAA Life Insurance.

  • a pile of family polaroid photos
  • 12. Organize and archive printed photos

    If you want digital copies of your photos, scan them and store your files onto an external drive and/or the cloud. Then organize your printouts (chronologically or by occasions for example) and store them into boxes or albums using proper archiving methods so they last.

  • 13. Review books and magazines

    While some books and publications may have special meaning for you, there may be a few that you no longer need to keep on your shelves. Check your local used book shops to see if they’re accepting donations at this time.

  • 14. File your taxes if you haven’t already

    The deadline to file your Canada federal income taxes has been extended. Getting it done sooner will help you get a better picture of your financial situation so you can make any necessarily plans.

  • 15. Review your Will or make one

    Yes, this may be a bit dark to bring up considering the COVID-19 situation, but it is something that should be considered at some point as another form of personal organization and planning.

    If your situation is straightforward, you may be able to write your own will using a kit. However, speaking to a professional estate planner or lawyer is always a good idea.

  • 16. Declutter your home, one space at a time

    While municipalities are advising everyone to hold off on trips to the landfill and clothing donations, you can still get going on organizing your home. Some tips to help:

    • Get rid of anything that’s well past it’s expiry date, from makeup to household products to packaged food.
    • Throw away anything that’s damaged and can’t be fixed. Be sure to practice proper recycling.
    • Get rid of clothing that are gently used or have tags on them that don’t fit or you may not use any more.
    • Consider donating items still in good condition to a charity or passing them on to family or friends. Check charity websites to see if they’re still collecting donations in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Be sure to sanitize items before you pass them along.
    • Check websites of your local landfill stations and recycling depots to find out adjusted times of operation and new rules related to COVID-19. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, hold off on trips to the landfill and safely store away dry recyclables and other garbage at home.