Organising for Winter

Welcome to Week 38 of Tidy 2020. Gosh, what a week of highs and lows it has been here at The Tidy Coo Shed. At the beginning of the week, the rule of 6 was brought in across the UK with a big impact on my Home Educated children’s ability to meet up with their friends. Fortunately, children under 12 are exempt from the numbers in Scotland, so we are still able to see friends and have my wonderful brand photographer, Laura Walter, around to take photos on Monday.

On Tuesday I discovered that my fantastic rescue horse, who had been so badly mistreated that under three years ago he had forgotten how to walk, had come third in an online Endurance competition where we completed 100 miles in 6 weeks. Fastest round was the winner with time reduced for the number of metres you climbed. With almost 100 riders entered, among them some very experienced endurance pairings, and doing almost every ride with one or more of my children in tow, I expected to bumble along in the bottom half of the competition, so I was absolutely delighted to come so close to the top.

On Wednesday evening, my husband, whilst suffering from a migraine, coughed a couple of times, panicked and booked himself a Covid test for Thursday morning. So there was a bit of a scramble to implement our self-isolation procedures, but it all went very smoothly. I was able to work virtually with my booked client on Thursday, postponed my Friday client and offered another client who was on my wait list a virtual session on Friday.

Friday morning (less than 24 hours after the swab was taken – fantastic work NHS Grampian), my husband got the all clear. There then followed a mad dash whilst I rebooked my postponed client and headed out the door. The hours spent with that client meant I clicked over into a Certified Gold Consultant which I was delighted with. I still had my evening session to do online (which is why this blog is late), but later that evening, my fantastic photos came through from Laura which I am delighted with. She really is such a talent and I highly recommend her if you need a brand Photographer (almost any photo on my website/insta/FB that looks professional is taken by her).

So after that incredibly long intro this week, I hope that you will excuse me if I take a slight break from my planned subject and talk a little about Covid Preparation for winter.

I appreciate that I have been harping on about this during the summer, but with these new regulations kicking in across the UK, I think that it is more important than ever to check that you are ready for this winter and, in particular, self-isolation if necessary. Obviously, as a Professional Declutterer and Organiser, I’m going to recommend that you get your house in order because it is much easier to self-isolate in a place that is only filled with the things that you love, but these are also things that you can do without going through the whole shebang.

First of all, I suggest that you make a plan for what happens in the event that you have to self-isolate. In this plan, you should bear in mind that research is suggesting that Covid-19, like Chicken Pox, is a dose dependent virus. This means that the amount of virus that you are initially exposed to can have an impact on how badly you suffer. So even though we may expect an entire household to catch Covid-19 once it is brought into the home, it is still worthwhile isolating from the rest of the household as much as possible. In our case, my husband kept largely to our bedroom whilst I slept in our middle daughter’s room. If he had actually been displaying symptoms, then he would have had to have stayed in the room, leaving only to use the bathroom (cleaning it afterwards).

If you have a job that allows you to work from home, is your working space set up to be comfortable and to allow you to do so? If you run your own business, like I do, what steps can you take to try to Covid-proof it? I now have the ability to work online with clients who I can’t get to and I have taken time over the summer to train in Photo Management so that I can help clients even when I can’t get out to see them and when online sessions aren’t appropriate.

Now is definitely the time to go through your cupboards and fridge to check that you have enough food to last several days in the event that you have to self-isolate without being able to get a food delivery slot. We have some milk and bread in the freezer for precisely this reason. Even if you steer clear of Covid itself, you may well catch the Flu or a nasty cold, so it’s worth having some emergency meals in the freezer in case you don’t feel up to cooking (especially if you are a parent and have small children in the house demanding to be fed!).

One of my lovely followers on Facebook, Amanda Roberts, commented on my post about making sure that you have enough fuel in your car to be able to get to the testing centre. So perhaps making sure that you keep your car (if you have one!) a quarter full at all times.

Make sure that any medications that you take are in date and stocked, particularly paracetamol (I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy the entire pharmacy worth, just make sure that you have a couple of packets).

Then there are other things that are a good thing to sort out now as the nights draw in and before winter storms begin. Living in deepest, darkest, rural Aberdeenshire, winter prep is important even without Covid, so we had our septic tank emptied this week and we need to get our chimneys swept. Check that the gutters are clear and that your pipes are lagged.

I’ve been taking an inventory of our wardrobes to make sure that we are set up with the winter clothes that we need. If, like me, you live rurally, it is worth making sure that you have your salt and grit in stock. Ensure that you have torches that work and batteries for them in case of powercuts. Particularly with so many cars having been off the road over the summer, consider getting your car serviced even it is not due just yet.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions for winter or Covid prep – I’d love to hear them.