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Sept. 24, 2020, 3:47 p.m. EDT

Vacuuming — and 7 other things people stopped doing at home during the pandemic

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By Jennifer Kelly Geddes

If you’re anything like us, you’ve somehow let certain household chores fall by the wayside over most of this strange year.

Sure, some stay-at-home activities (victory gardens! sourdough boules!) have ramped up while we’ve been stuck indoors through the pandemic. But some home tasks seem to have received less attention — and others have come to a halt altogether.

Of course, it makes perfect sense during these extraordinary and stressful times that your weekly routine is a little topsy-turvy.

Below, our experts share with us the household habits they’ve been neglecting. Maybe their honesty will help jog your memory and help you create a to-do list for this weekend — or at least for when the world gets back to normal.

Vacuuming and dusting

For a while there, we were wiping down countertops, tables, and doorknobs daily. But other cleaning has eased off a bit, according to Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP.

“There’s less activity moving through the house, so vacuuming and dusting aren’t needed as much,” she says.

Then again, without visitors popping by, why bother with Pledge on the credenza?

Hitting the grocery store

Thanks to reduced indoor dining at restaurants and the fear of exposure to the virus, we are cooking at home more than ever. Trips to the store, however, have become less frequent.

Before the pandemic, some of us shopped three (or more) times a week for food, but as of late spring, that number was cut in half, according to a recent study.

Today, most homeowners buy more at once, getting groceries once a week or even every two weeks, and often using online shopping services, like Instacart or FreshDirect.

Doing the laundry

With the kids in their pajamas all day and parents working at home and attending Zoom meetings in comfy leggings and sweats, the volume of home laundry has diminished for many folks.

“Most colleagues see you from the waist up—and a nice shirt, top, or jacket with sweatpants are common work attire now,” says Gray-Plaisted.

Ditto for ironing dress shirts and hand-washing hosiery and lingerie.

Cleaning the guest room and bath

The dearth of visitors means that little to no cleaning is required in your extra bedroom and guest bathroom. Homeowners lucky enough to have this overflow space can simply close the door and then (hopefully) open it again in 2021.

Prepping weekly lunches

Remember that tasty lentil salad you used to make on Sundays to pack up for a week’s worth of lunches in the office?

With the kitchen so close to our work stations, many people have opted to forgo meal prep. Instead, we’re grabbing yogurt, toast, and leftover food to sustain us throughout the day.

If you’re looking to regain some normalcy in your weekly routine, though, try meal prepping again. It’ll certainly make it easier to juggle work and kids, and, as a bonus, you know you’ll be eating a healthy, balanced meal.

Sorting through seasonal clothes

When the world stopped, this past spring, our closets were filled with winter items, boots, and warm jackets. But as the weather changed, who really bothered to switch them out for summer frocks and sandals?

“Many people simply moved their dressy career clothes to the back of the closet and pulled the casual stuff to the front,” says Marty Basher, an organization expert at Modular Closets.

And since charitable thrift shops have been slow to reopen and accept donations, the typical seasonal clothing purge isn’t happening quite as much—leaving homeowners to find new and creative storage methods in their already crammed closets.

The solution here is to take an afternoon to reorganize your closet, bringing to the forefront the items you find yourself using more in 2020.

Maintaining the car

Not driving to the office and grocery shopping less means that your car is probably parked in the driveway much more than it usually is—and that’s not ideal.

According to the experts, cars that sit in park for too long can lose their battery charge, develop flat spots on tires, and even attract rodents or other pests

Try to get to a service station this fall, and be sure to have your belts, fluids, wipers, and other important gear checked out. And kick out the vermin.

Changing accessories

There was a time when homeowners would freshen up their decor with lighter, brighter accent pillows and accessories for spring and summer, and then reverse the process in the fall, with plaids and chunky knit throws.

If you’ve been living with the same look in your living room for seven months now, you’re not alone.

Since fall is officially here, and the weather is getting crisp, spend some time this weekend swapping out your colorful throw pillows for some cozy blankets. Might we suggest going all-in on Halloween or Christmas decor this year?

This story was originally published on Realtor.com

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