While I’ve been stuck at home during the lockdown, I’ve been doing my best to keep busy. Obviously, I’m still working plenty from home online—meeting with clients and working on customized nutrition programs—but I’m still finding myself with a little more free time than usual. So, instead of wallowing in my isolation, I’m trying to pull myself up from my bootstraps (technically, I’m only wearing my socks indoors) and finish up a few DIY projects around the house.
First and foremost, it’s time to break down my pathological need to hold onto too many old things from my past, on the off-chance that I “might need them one day.” I’m sticking to the following handy guideline to make sure I let go of some things the way Rose let go of Jack at the end of Titanic: definitively, albeit with an air of sadness.
- Understanding that someone might be able to use this, but it isn’t necessarily me. If I can donate this, it’s time to let go.
- Evaluating the item in the “here and now,” without considering our shared “history.”
- Considering when I actually last used something, and being honest about it.
- Following the “20/20” Rule: if it can be replaced in under twenty minutes, or for under twenty dollars (and I haven’t used it forever), then I probably don’t need it. It’s why I can hang onto my favorites blanket for as long as I want without feeling an ounce of guilt, even though I’ve had it forever: I can’t replace it for twenty bucks, I can’t replace it in less than twenty minutes. It’s practically irreplaceable to me: however, it’s probably time to let go of my “The Lion King” pillowcases…
- Checking to see if there are any “redundancies” throughout my item list. I definitely don’t need ten pairs of black jeans, so I can donate some.
As my space feels smaller and smaller the more time I spend in my apartment, I want to rid it of any unnecessary items, and approach my life in a less cluttered way, for both my mental and physical health.
Somewhere That’s Green
I’ve been wanting to make myself a small composting box for a while. Usually, I used to think of compost piles as gigantic mounds of dirt appropriate only for farms, but compost is basically just organic material that has decayed in the presence of oxygen—it happens in nature everywhere, and all the time. If organic materials did not break down naturally, there would be mountains of dead plants, trees, and fruit covering the surface of the Earth. In nature, decomposition is facilitated by a variety of bacteria, fungi, and animals—compost is what is left once the organisms that need air to decompose things have done their job. All we are doing as composters is providing a place for aerobic decomposition to occur and trying to make it happen as fast as possible, and that’s it. Here’s my simple method for building a compost bin for “dirt” cheap; I’m starting out with this to see if home composting is for me:
- Get a large cardboard box, remove tape/glue so you can open it, and give it a round shape.You can’t turn it, you can’t move it around, it’s not tight-closed and it will only last 1-3 years, but if you can’t even get some pallets and nail them together it’s better than nothing.
- Cut the folds on one side so they get narrower if you want to get a more rounded shape (7-8 inches of width usually does the trick), then fold them under the box.
- Get one more large box and cut 2 circles of the same size of the bin. One goes on the bottom to help keep the sides of the boxes firm. The other one goes on the top and acts as a lid, and also helps with stability.
- On the bottom put a thick layer of whatever brown material you use, as a buffer.
- You can place it directly on the ground, but you should never expose the box to outdoor weather. The more stuff you put into it, the more stable it’ll become. You can use a small garden pitchfork to turn the compost but you need to be extra careful in order not to damage the bin, or you can just use a smaller tool (I use a tiny pickaxe).
Of course, I don’t have the kind of room at my place to appease the “green thumb” gods via every compostable material that’s available to me, but I made certain to call up some reputable waste management services to rent out a green waste container for my building. It feels great to know that, whenever I toss organic material back into that “green waste” bin, I’m limiting the methane gas building up at the landfill.
The last DIY project? Myself. As a gym-rat without a physical gym location to regularly pester anymore, I definitely felt the crushing anxiety that hit so many of us at the outset of quarantine: that debilitating fear and loneliness, and that lack of human connection. For me, it manifested as a lack of motivation to get out and about and work out. Now, my plan is to focus on tidying up my diet (I was eating my feelings for at least a month), to go for safely, socially distanced walks throughout the day, and to combine that with yoga and bodyweight exercises that I can do in my living room. If this lockdown has taught me anything, it’s humility—instead of working out for a “look,” I’m exercising to reconnect my heart, soul, and mind. By the time our lockdowns have lifted, I hope that I’m ready to be a stronger force for good in the world around me.