Resourceful (and mostly free) ways to appreciate your home life

Hey 👋 I’m going to do that thing, haha, I’m going to do that thing where I say sorry for disappearing off the face of the earth for two weeks again. Not really – I’ve been on social media, if you follow me on Instagram I’ve been posting my work-from-home outfits.

I’ve been mostly staying at home apart from getting food and groceries, or going to the post office, but I’m one of those people fortunate enough to be able to work from home, and in all honesty, I find myself more glued to my screen and more focused on my tasks and my work than when I’m in the office. There are pros and cons to this, but the con is definitely that I feel burned out by the end of my workday and even by the weekend that I just end up watching YouTube videos or thinking about my wardrobe all over again, instead of doing what part of me really wants to do: write for my blog.

A number of potted plants close together, mostly succulents and bonsai
Some of our plants at home

I could write deeper about some things related to feelings, but for this particular post I wanted to keep it light-hearted. I thought I’d write something a little more like a list and hopefully give you some inspiration for what you can do if you’re feeling uninspired at home. This post itself was inspired by my appreciation for the things that I do have at home, that I could turn to or reach to or even just think about.

🎼 Music is truly incredible.

Music is a mood booster for many people. For many of us, we can find the right song for any mood – whether we’re happy, laughing, crying, upset, bored, nostalgic, energised – the list goes on. Nick and I sometimes watch YouTube videos when we eat dinner, and it’s become more of a habit to do that over lunch since we are both working from home. We watch a variety of things from comedy to educational pieces. Recently we discovered a YouTuber named Rick Beato, a musician who also features his friends – who are other musicians as well – in his videos, re-creating certain iconic parts of classic rock songs. He has done some analyses of songs as well (the one about the Smashing Pumpkins’ 1979 song blew my mind). But this made me unexpectedly nostalgic and remember some fond memories and refresh my memories on music back in the day – back in the day I could play several instruments, haha.

It probably motivated me to some extent, but not enough to pick up and play my guitar. But hey, if you’ve got one, you might have the time to re-learn or even just play to your heart’s content, maybe even get creative and write more songs. If you have the ability to play an instrument, congratulations. 😊 It is a wonderful ability to have. I want to say, too, if you don’t already have a guitar, please don’t feel the need to go out and buy a musical instrument. I hope you don’t feel pressure to go and do something just because someone else went and learned it. That’s what I’m trying to get at in this blog post – we can use the resources we already have and appreciate them.

Nick has been listening to and watching a lot of videos of AC/DC playing live concerts. Although I don’t mind their music, I’m not totally in love with it. But the musical style really heightened my desire to listen to classic rock. So I put on an automatically generated playlist of classic rock to listen to during my workout the other day. I really enjoyed it!

I’ve had some discussions about music with my colleagues. This has opened my eyes to some music where I’m like, “I’ve heard that before…” but could not put my finger on it, and have suddenly remembered it again. ✨

Yesterday morning I managed to do a workout, which made me happy because I’ve been working out in the evenings for the past few weeks, and while it hasn’t been too bad, I prefer to work out in the morning. I didn’t really know what music to play during my workout. I usually create a new playlist every few months to coincide with some of the music I’m enjoying, and occasionally I’ll go back to older playlists. But I picked about three of the old ones, shuffled all the songs, and played them. And that ended up being an enjoyable mix of songs. 🎧

I don’t know how many of you own CDs, or even vinyl, but I do. And a conversation with my friend Mitch made me look at my CD collection even for just a few minutes, and remember why I’d really held on to the dozen or so that I kept. I had left them at my parents’ house, long after moving out, and almost told them to let them go, but I said, “Fine I’ll take them”. And hey, I’m a minimalist, but I have a few sentimental items that conjure up those lovely memories, of when I bought a CD, when I met the artist, how obsessed I was with a band at the time, and so on.

And who knows how long it’s been since I played any goddamn vinyl on my record player…

💃🏻 By extension, dancing is pretty fucking fun.

I listen to music at the gym all the time, and I can’t work out without music. But something about being in the home environment feels more comfortable and less stressful, even though I have been going to the gym for years and love the environment there too. At home, I first started exercising without music, but then I put it on, and honestly – I caught myself dancing to the music between my sets. And not just dancing, but properly enthusiastically dancing, as if I was in a club.

Georgie says that like she’s been to a club. LOL. PSA: I don’t think I’ve ever properly “been to a club” in my life. I’ve been to club venues but I’ve never been in that environment you call a club that teenagers and folks in their early twenties go to.

Anyway, I used to be a ballet, jazz and tap dancer. And I loved jazz dancing so much; it’s where I picked up most of my “moves”. And I genuinely just enjoyed dancing to that music at home, so fucking much. It took me back to those dancing days. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed it, and still do. It gave me the idea that if I ever get bored, I could probably choreograph something like I used to.

But yeah, literally dance like no one’s watching. Or post it on Tik Tok. (I dunno, I don’t understand Tik Tok, haha.)

🖼️ Go through old photos or just photos from last week. For fun or otherwise.

Hilariously enough, I ended up trawling through old photos on my phone mostly because I was trying to look at how my style has changed over the years, and how my hair has changed as well (I dyed it red for ten years; it’s all natural now). I came across a whole bunch of blurry photos and photos I didn’t even like. I ended up just randomly deleting some duplicates along the way. Surprisingly, after looking at what I had recently deleted, I deleted 100 photos. I felt like I’d only deleted about five.

Along with that, I also came across some cute old photos of me and Nick from five years ago. 😆

I have this thought in my mind that every time we take photos on our phones we should make an attempt to clean the duds out soon after the fact, otherwise we end up with a phone or a device littered with screenshots and badly taken photos. In this digital age, it’s super easy to take a photo, but just as easy to leave dud photos in our phones. If you think about it, if you clean up your last 100 photos on your phone every day, it probably only takes you a couple of minutes, and eventually you might have deleted a significant amount of unnecessary photos.

When I was feeling super, super down at the beginning of this stay-at-home situation, I actually really wanted to flick through our printed wedding photo album again and just bask in and enjoy looking through it all. I think I may have only looked at it once or twice since we got married, but honestly! It’s a beautiful piece of work, and I’d love to sit down and give it that time to peruse again.

🧼 Really enjoy your toiletries. (Yeah, I said it.) (No, I’m not talking about toilet paper.)

Since becoming a minimalist and introducing mindfulness into aspects of my life, I’ve become a big fan of “empties” and just really getting to the bottom of a product or using up an entire product. Sure, some toiletry items go bad if you don’t use them. But others just kind of sit there without being used, and if you never use them, they just go to waste.

I’m not a makeup fan, but since working from home, I’ve applied more makeup than I usually would, mostly because I have time and, well, because I can. And I just have some makeup lying around that I wanted to play with and use up. I’m no makeup guru (despite my mum working in cosmetics and skin care), but I’ll be damned if my ability to draw on eyeliner hasn’t improved over the past five weeks I’ve been drawing it on. Before that, I struggled so badly because it smudged and I could never find a way to close one eye at the same time. 😒

I don’t have a lot of makeup but it’s seriously surprising me how I’ve had the same brow balm for two years and the pot still has a third left. I draw my eyebrows in literally every fucking day and there is still a lot of product left in this tiny pot. What the fuck. 😂

But yeah. Get to the bottom of that shampoo bottle. Get to the bottom of that body lotion. Persevere! Use up the shaving cream you’re never arsed to use because you just end up using soap and water. Spray on that cologne you don’t like that much because you can. Put on lipstick every day because why not. Just make use of it, even if you have nothing else to do. And this might sound silly to a lot of people, but really enjoy the process of slathering lotion on your body or applying lipstick on your lips. It’s nice when you’re being present and in the moment, even if you think what you’re doing is boring.

But yeah, if you want to be super intentional about how you fold or scrunch or roll your toilet paper, be my guest.

🧹 Do all the chores and housework you dislike.

So, I don’t like cooking, and a big part of it is because I embarrassingly just can’t. And I’m lazy. But twice in the past two weeks, Nick and I have made authentic Italian spaghetti bolognese. 🍝 He did a large portion of the work, haha, but it was still fun to go and participate and be a part of something I previously avoided.

I guess you can say that being at home kind of means you go into this routine of cleaning stuff because you’re bored. At the same time, we sometimes have more washing up to do because we eat all our meals at home. But being at home isn’t a terrible thing, and if we can make our space nicer to live in, even if it means doing chores we might usually complain about, then it really helps.

Cleaning is also really therapeutic. I will be really surprised if you don’t agree. 😌

Similarly, maybe there’s some stuff you’ve been putting off because it’s too much work or you “don’t have time”. Like mending some clothes. Time to get out the sewing machine. Or ironing clothes. Just iron that pile. 😆

🤸🏻‍♀️ Try to do the splits, braid your hair, or something with what you’ve already got.

I’ve mentioned a couple of things already, but oftentimes, when it comes to exercise, especially in this era of many people exercising from home, you’re told “all you need is yourself and some space on the ground”. So by the same token, you can do a lot of things just with yourself.

Something I realised recently is that with my long hair, I can learn how to braid it in intricate ways. All I need is my hair and a bunch of YouTube videos. If you don’t have long hair, maybe your partner or your sister or someone you live with does. Or maybe you just happen to have some yarn lying around. Whoop!

I used to be able to get pretty close to doing the front splits with my right leg, when I was a dancer, but then that all went out the window when I stopped dancing. 😂 I decided to do some stretches the other day instead of doing a strength workout, and I ended up trying to test my flexibility and actually enjoying trying to, uh, contort my body. I’m not going to be a Cirque du Soleil performer at any time in the future, obviously, but it’s actually kind of fun challenging my body with movement.

Similarly, dance!

Or paint your nails. Pretty much all of us have nails, and I’ve seen people of all genders paint their nails, or even paint their partners’ nails, and vice versa. ☺️ I also recommend Personail for easy-to-apply nail wraps (stickers). 💅 The owner Alice is absolutely lovely, and Personail are offering 50% off until COVID-19 blows over. 🙏 They have free shipping worldwide, not to mention, have gorgeous nail designs that last a really long time, and work out to be more affordable than getting shellac or gel nails constantly. Uh huh!

👗 Re-invent your personal style or declutter and reorganise your wardrobe. (And repeat 23 times, if you’re me.)

I don’t think I need to say any more here. As someone who constantly experiments with clothes and style, I think that being at home has motivated me to be a bit more controlled and intentional about my clothes. You can think about your personal style even if you want to wear sweatpants while at home. I feel like being comfortable at home without judgement of others (which is what many people struggle from) is a perfect headspace to be in to evaluate what we choose to wear. It helps us get real and be honest with ourselves.


So. Really, I just wanted to encourage you all to look around you at home and appreciate and try and use what you have. Eat that Vegemite at the back of your pantry. Just fucking enjoy the instant noodles, even if you know they won’t perish and will last a long time, even if you know they are bad for you. Enjoy them.

Go and dig in your godforsaken junk drawer. Reorganise your space because you are so damn lucky to have space, and why not move that couch to the other side of the room because you can. If you aren’t able to buy things or can’t afford certain things or they go against your values, just make use of what you’ve got, and use it over and over. Explore your house, it’s your fucking oyster.

And if you live with other people, enjoy their company. Actually spend time with them, and appreciate that.

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I thought I’d cope really well with being at home all the time because I already work from home and I’m just generally a home-bird, but I’ve been really struggling the last couple of weeks. And honestly, reading this post has made me realise that I’ve not been doing some of the things I normally do at home that bring me joy, like listening to music and having random solo dance parties to break up the afternoon. I think having Tyrone at home all the time has really thrown me off, but I’m going to try hard to incorporate these things back into my life.

I love the point about looking through old photos. Tyrone got a custom jigsaw made that features loads of travel photos and selfies, and it’s bringing back lots of happy memories. Although at the same time it’s also making me miss travelling!

I was clearing out my bathroom cupboards the other week and I found a couple of bottles of shower gel and moisturiser that that had come with perfume sets I’d received as gifts, but I’d never used them because I was saving them “for best”. I don’t know when I thought it would be! Anyway, I’ve started using them before they go off because why not!

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Haha I love this post. I can’t believe you’re putting on MORE makeup in quarantine than you used to! Perhaps I should get on that. I mean, I’ve been thinking of yes, reinventing my ~style~ this quarantine season (you best believe it), so I should probably start by actually dressing up? Achieving that aesthetic? Learn how to do the front splits too, why not.

-M

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