How a Professional Organiser Organises for Self-Isolation.
So here in the UK on the 15thMarch we are not at shut down or in Quarantine yet. Many people may disagree with this, which is not a subject that I want to get into at this point. Suffice to say that the UK government is being led by scientific advice and the excellent Prof. Chris Whitty. It isa scary time and I appreciate that. The scientific community has been waiting for it – we knew that it was coming, but we thought it would be ‘flu, not Corona.
Whether or not you agree with this advice, it looks like schools are, for various reasons, going to remain open for several weeks yet. Some people who have underlying issues may choose to go into self-isolation before the schools shut and that is a very valid option if you are concerned. The over 70s among us may be asked to self-isolate before the rest of the population, but there is still time to prepare.
So, what are we, as a household organised by a Professional Organiser doing?
We are NOT panic buying. The “every person for themselves” scenes being played out across the UK this weekend make me want to cry. There are vulnerable people out there who cannot afford to stock pile and who can only go once a week or so. PLEASE only take what you need. There is no suggestion that the supermarkets will shut even in quarantine. Quarantine is to SAVE lives, not to kill us by starvation. The only reason we will run out is if people panic buy. Supermarkets are being re-supplied as usual; in fact, even more than usual with delivery regulations being relaxed so that they can. Please don’t be the person who has (as one delivery guy said) 9 packs of 24 rolls of loo roll delivered. I mean, even as a family of 6 with each of our 4 children having dubious bum wiping techniques, it would take us 6 months to get through that. Similarly, hand sanitisers and soap – honestly, EVERYONE needs to be washing their hands to make a difference, not just the precious few who have snaffled all the soap. If you do have stacks of hand sanitiser and soap, you are no safer because you’ve left people without any, and they will be spreading their germs…
Lecture over (but please bear the previous point in mind for future points). Can you afford to put something into the Food Bank trolley that many supermarkets have? Please do. They are running particularly low at the moment.
Do a cupboard stocktake. What do you have? What are you missing? As someone who menu plans and batch cooks, I probably have enough food in my freezer for a couple of weeks if need be and that is without buying any extra. However, next time we do a supermarket shop, we could do with picking up ONE pack of rice and ONE pack of pasta. Of course, my kids go through packets and packets of cereal every morning, so it might be fun if we find that there is none of that available! Buy what you NEED.
Meal plan. I bought some beef chunks the other day and the other half has made it into Boeuf Bourguignon. We will eat a portion tomorrow in pie, the rest will go into the freezer as usual for later in the month. He’ll be cooking a curry in the next few days too and, again, the extra from that will go in the freezer. If we get ill, then we will be grateful for pre-cooked meals.
Buy from smaller businesses if you can. We LOVE Forest Farm Organic Dairy whose cows will need to be milked throughout this. Even in lock down, the cows need milking and we will continue to go to them throughout this time (unless we show symptoms, in which case we will dispatch a kindly neighbour/friend/relative to do this for us). My husband has a trip to the Green Grocer planned next week. Smaller companies need our help to get through this time.
Look at ways that you can work from home. As a Professional Organiser, I’m self-employed. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. I’m looking at virtual sessions to help people if I end up at home. My husband needed to make sure that he had an extra monitor and keyboard at home before starting his Working From Home routine this coming week. Not everyone can work from home. Start looking now for childcare options if you need them. My neighbours and family are all sorted, but I would look after their children if need be during quarantine; particularly if they were front line staff.
If working from home is not a usual occurrence for you and you can do it, try to maintain a routine. Get up at your usual time and log on. Organise a meeting to chat to your colleagues in the morning and afternoon. Make sure that you still feel connected and part of it. My other half has an 8.30am and 4pm meeting set up with his team to check in. If you are in the fortunate position my husband is in, surrounded by loving family, make sure that you check in with your colleagues.
Set up older relatives with technology. Do this now! My father is in a specialist care home for Huntington’s and they are shut to visitors. I absolutely support this and I know that the marvellous staff there will do their utmost to make sure that they are as happy as they can be, BUT I will be checking in with him with Skype. Quarantine does not mean that I can’t chat with my mother on the phone every day; check in on her that she is ok.
If you are going to be at home with your children, please don’t panic! I wrote a post about this the other day with education in mind. Suffice to say that the most important thing during this time is going to be connection. Stock up on art supplies, educational dvds, books and games… but don’t worry if your plans some to nought.
Buy wine. Lots of wine.
Also, eat the cake.