« Back to blog posts

Post-Covid Home Hacks

Way of Living – Home

June 15, 2021

Margarita Picone, a Client Experience and Hospitality Executive, joined us for a Way of Living conversation about confidently reclaiming our homes as we navigate how we use our space and time post-COVID. We all reemerge from COVID with this special opportunity to start over the design of our homes, as they can truly reflect and shape what brings us a sense of happiness. She shared accessible tips for efficient decluttering, redesigning to transform, and how to make loved ones feel comfortable in our homes.

Shedding the COVID 15

We all panickedly started hoarding items to make it through COVID with sanity intact. Here’s how to determine what you can get rid of to make your home feel lighter. (You won’t miss any of it.)

First, ask yourself: how many hand sanitizers, masks, board games, etc. do I REALLY need? Make an honest assessment and donate what you can. Get rid of the rest. 

If decluttering feels overwhelming, start with your closets. Having an organized home starts with an organized closet. For clothing, only keep what fits, and rotate in seasonal items. 

For items throughout your house, discard anything that you don’t use regularly. Keep frequently used items in accessible, high-traffic areas.

For heirlooms with sentimental value – those need to be organized, too. Digitizing your photos frees up a tremendous amount of space and also keeps those memories safe. Box your antiques. (You can put them in your newly-organized closet if you like.)

Most importantly, only surround yourself with things that make you happy.

Resources for Decluttering

  1. Food Bank Donations – foodbanknyc.org/donate-food/
  2. Free Clean-Out Service – theredup.com/cleanout
  3. PPE Donations – donatePPE.org

Restoring Your Home

You can regain and reclaim what your home once was, and perhaps, even make it better.

First, reconsider how you want to spend your time. We now have the opportunity to be outside, with loved ones and friends and engaging in activities that make us happy. We no longer need to have all of our hobbies and entertainment in our personal spaces, so only keep items that absolutely must be in your home and donate or discard the rest.

For example, if you started an herb garden in your home, take your new gardening equipment and skills outdoors and breathe in the glorious fresh air. This hobby no longer needs to be confined to your home. If you now have a billion board games because you wanted to keep your child entertained, keep the ones that have been played recently and donate the rest.

A physical purging of unnecessary items, which no longer align with your passions and habits, can be quite cathartic. It’s a kind of clean up for your home, body, and mind.

Next, redefine spaces. It’s important to have an intention and set a purpose for each space. By setting physical boundaries, mental boundaries will follow regarding the separation of work and play. 

Are you still working from home? Now’s the time to find a great spot for a proper work desk and set up your permanent home office. Did you buy weights, a stationary bike, and/or workout bands? Great! Set up a space entirely dedicated to storing your new equipment and working out comfortably. Take up an instrument? That’s fantastic. Find a space exclusively for practicing.

Then, make small changes. Small changes have the ability to transform a space.

For example, adding accents throughout your homes can make a substantial difference, adding a sense of warmth, vibrancy, or inspiration. You can find a lamp cord covering that matches the color of your wall. A small collection of flowers in your closet can elevate the space and make you smile. Margarita has her favorite antique chandelier in her closet.

Also, do not underestimate repurposing or rearranging. Simply moving an old lamp to a new space can redefine a room. Small changes have an enormous impact.

Embrace big changes, too. Paint and wallpaper can positively transform a room, and while it may seem like a commitment, these alterations don’t need to be permanent. You can always paint over your walls, and removable wallpaper is a fantastic option if you want to experiment with something fancier or more zen. 

Consider whether or not you want to make these changes on your own or hire a professional. Sometimes, hiring a pro can remove pressure when undertaking a hefty home task.

Finally, let your happiness guide you. Think about your favorite hotels or restaurants, and ask yourself what makes it feel special. Is it the scent? The sheets? Recreate that sense of luxury, decadence, or chicness in your own home. You don’t need to spend a lot – H&M has wonderful offers that can remake a room. 

Resources for Restoring

  1. Removable Wallpaper – nymag.com/strategist/article/best-removable-wallpaper.html
  2. House Services – thumbtack.com
  3. Lighting Upgrades – colorcord.com
  4. Framing Service – framebridge.com
  5. Color Consultancy – farrow-ball.com/en-us/colour-consultancy

Inviting People Back Into Your Home

We’ve all missed seeing our loved ones. There is no need to stress about the state of your home when inviting guests. Ultimately, people just want to reconnect with you, but below are a few simple tips so you confidently invite guests into your home again.

Before your guests arrive, set expectations. Let them know if they’ll need to wear a mask in your building, if you will be spending time indoors, or if any other guests were invited. Everyone has different comfort levels, so it’s important to share information so your guests are not surprised nor tense.

Try to help guests keep conversation light and positive. These are divisive times; try to facilitate more connections rather than divisions.

Even if you love to cook, there are evenings when takeout is the perfect choice. You can take the time to elevate it – for example, pair pizza with fancy champagne! Can’t go wrong with either, and together, they’re even better. 

Also, details are a way of showing love. Use your linen napkins. Use those lovely towels. Rather than receiving one, give your guests a thank you card. Find small ways to show how much you’ve missed them.

Most importantly, take the time to be present with them. We’ve had a trying year – being with loved ones is what matters.

Other articles:

Neighborhood News in New York

Way of Living – News July 13, 2021 Pam Frederick joined us for a Way of Living conversation about her journey towards being the owner, editor and publisher of the Tribeca Citizen, a local news website which exclusively covers the downtown neighborhood of Tribeca, Manhattan. After sharing her reflective thought process when making the decision…

Keep reading »

How Indigenous Worldview Can Change Our Future

Way of Living – Culture & Values July 6, 2021 Four Arrows, a scholar and author, joined us for a Way of Living conversation that invited us to consider how our worldview shapes our understanding of ourselves, our community, and our global responsibility. He first shared the fundamental importance of understanding the concept of worldview…

Keep reading »

Breathing with Bryan – Take 2

Wellness – Breathing / Wellness June 29, 2021 Bryan Mirabella, a human performance specialist joined us for a conversation about how breathing low, slow and deep can transform your life, from your emotional state to your physical health. He provided guidance on how to breathe to extend lifespan and shared the biology underpinning his methods. He…

Keep reading »

Breaking Bad Pandemic Eating Habits

Wellness – Eating Habits June 22, 2021 Jiying Zhang joined us for a Wellness conversation about reexamining our daily eating habits to reboot and reclaim our health.  She shared her own, personal story of learning about her own health to recover from chronic stress and exhaustion. Then, she provided actionable tips to alter our approach…

Keep reading »

Post-Covid Home Hacks

Way of Living – Home June 15, 2021 Margarita Picone, a Client Experience and Hospitality Executive, joined us for a Way of Living conversation about confidently reclaiming our homes as we navigate how we use our space and time post-COVID. We all reemerge from COVID with this special opportunity to start over the design of…

Keep reading »

Parenting with Sanity and Joy

Way of Living – Parenting June 8, 2021 Sue Groner joined us for a Way of Living conversation about the joys and challenges of parenting. She shared her CLEARR method, emphasizing how respectful communication with your child can alter the dynamic in your home, making your child more responsible while you experience less stress. She…

Keep reading »

The Power of Notebooking and Journaling

Way of Living – Literacy June 1, 2021 Stephanie Affinito, a literacy teacher educator, joined us for a Way of Living conversation about the types, benefits, and joys of notebooking. She illuminated how notebooking is an activity that can be tailored to our interests, needs, and hopes, ultimately supporting us to grow closer to the…

Keep reading »

Entrepreneurship in the Fintech World

Work – Fintech May 25, 2021 Luvleen Sidhu, the Chair, CEO and Founder of BM Technologies, Inc., joined us for a fascinating conversation about digital banking, taking her company public, and the practices that keep her grounded. She inspired us to start over with both our understanding of banking itself and how to reframe daily…

Keep reading »

Dementia with Dignity

Wellness – Awareness May 18, 2021 Patti Wick joined us for a powerful yet sensitive conversation about managing the effects of dementia, after a loved one is diagnosed. Patti shared data as well as lived wisdom that can help us to start over our thinking about dementia itself and start over our approach with loved…

Keep reading »

Timely Tech Tips

Way of Living – Tech Date: May 4, 2021 Christopher Hobbick, an IT expert, joined us for an important conversation about how to successfully, safely, and easily start over our digital lives. He shared the details of his upcoming application for estate planning and then provided quick tips for how we can use our devices…

Keep reading »

Bibliotherapy as Self Care

Category: Way of Living – Literacy Date: April 27, 2021 Stephanie Affinito, a literacy teacher educator, joined us for a Wellness conversation about reading as a method of self care. She defined bibliotherapy, illuminated self care, outlined the benefits of reading, provided tips on how to start over our reading life, and gifted us many…

Keep reading »

Finding Hope After COVID

Category: Wellness – Care Date: April 20, 2021 Mark Shapiro, MD, joined us for a Wellness conversation about his experience with COVID as a hospitalist in Santa Rosa, California. He vulnerably shared the personal and professional impact of COVID, his own takeaways and broader advice we can all use to emotionally start over, cultivating preparedness…

Keep reading »

Divided No More

Category: Work – Integrated Self Date: April 13, 2021 Atif Iqbal, a certified leadership and personal transformation coach, joined us for an indelible conversation about bringing your whole self to work; starting over by integrating the personal identity into the professional self.  The Challenges Behind Working with Integrity  Many of us have a professional self…

Keep reading »

Picture Books Are for You, Too!

Category: Way of Living – Literacy Date: April 6, 2021 Pernille Ripp, a teacher, author and educational advocate,  joined us for a conversation about the robust merits of picture books for readers of every age. She invited us to start over our reading lives by seeking the books that satisfy our interests and curiosities -…

Keep reading »

Fifteen with Gene

Category: Wellness – Fitness Date: March 30, 2021 Gene Schafer, an athletic trainer, personal trainer, and founder of ARC Athletics, joined us for a Wellness discussion centered around simple, yet effective exercises we can do in a short amount of time. Our talk felt particularly relevant after the pandemic, which has disrupted so many of…

Keep reading »

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Category: Work Date: March 23, 2021 Sarah Stamboulie, an executive, transition and leadership coach, joined us for a Work conversation about how to professionally start over while remaining in your current occupation or place of employment. She offered advice about how to navigate career development and proactively create opportunities within your organization, while being aware…

Keep reading »

Standing Up to Anti-Asian Hate

Category: Way of Living – Pop-Up Event Date: March 25, 2021 Soyoung Park joined us for an impassioned, vulnerable, and urgent conversation about her experience with anti-Asian hate in this country. Soyoung is a Korean-American teacher educator and a scholar of early childhood. Her presentation was extraordinarily moving, enlightening and informative. It invited us all…

Keep reading »

Humor, Seriously

Category: Work Date: March 16, 2021 We continued our Work series with an informative, hilarious conversation with Jennifer Aaker, a behavioral scientist whose research focuses on cultivating a meaningful life. She shared with us how humor is endemic to professional success, social connection, and personal well-being, and how we can foster more of it throughout…

Keep reading »

Chocolate — Sweet Indulgence

Category: Way of LivingDate: March 9, 2021 Peter Moustakerski, an absolute chocolate guru, joined us for a wide-ranging discussion about chocolate, including its long history, production details, health benefits, ethical considerations, as well as where to find high-quality chocolate on our own. He also led us through a delicious chocolate tasting, offering best practices for…

Keep reading »

Executive Search in Turbulent Times

Category: WorkDate: March 2, 2021 Gustavo Alba, an expert in recruiting and executive placement, joined us for a conversation about positioning yourself in the current job market, partnering with recruiters, and the effects of the pandemic on hiring practices. He offered insider advice and context to anyone looking for employment –   Reflect on Your Strengths…

Keep reading »

Upcoming events:


Stay Up-to-Date on Startover

Sign up to be stay informed about what is going on in the Startover community—new events, features and personal stories.