Create your niche at home

By: Jodi Argentino, Esq.

Ok. So you have HOW many people full-time in your home?

For most of us, I think it’s pretty accurate to say that we don’t usually spend 24/7 in one house/apartment with all the adults and all of the children (and all of the pets).  There is work, school, activities, sports, sleepovers, trips, etc. that keep us moving and, for many, just crossing paths in our living space.  

Do you suddenly feel like the spacious apartment you have enjoyed is like living in a clown car with your spouse, kids, and the family dog?   Did you even KNOW that your teen smelled like that? or that your spouse typed SO loudly?   Did you realize that your dog slept ALL day on YOUR bed?

We are all having realizations and experiences because instead of ships passing for a few hours per day as we carry on our busy lives, we are all STUCK in one space.  Even if you have the luxury of spare rooms, it somehow feels like wherever you go someone else is in your space!   Sound familiar?  Here’s a way to combat the chaos:

REARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE.   Sounds funny – maybe you like where the couch has always been….but think about unique ways of adjusting your physical space to coordinate with your new (albeit temporary) way of life.  

Start by making a list of what each family member needs, time-wise, space-wise to be comfortable and productive and what bothers you about your current arrangement.  Perhaps both you and your spouse are working at the dining room table:  Who’s phone calls take precedence?    Can you see your kitchen from your dining room table and does that mean the dishes will be nagging you as you try to get your work completed?

This situation is clearly going to be for longer than any of us originally expected.  So instead of “it’s fine for a week,” we need to start thinking “what would make things easier and more pleasant for the next 30, 60, 90 days?”  

Take a step back, look at the space around you, and think OUTSIDE THE BOX:

  • Create a “room” within a room by putting your comfy seating in a configuration around the TV and make it a cozy movie space to accommodate more people hanging out in the living room at the same time!  
  • Repurpose that folding table from the garage to put in a corner of your living room for one person to have a separate work space. 
  • Set up a designated “de-contamination” part of your entryway that includes Clorox Wipes, hampers for dirty clothes and cloth masks, hand sanitizer, Lysol spray (and room for shoes) so that you are keeping the outside germs out of your living space as best as possible.
  • Invest in some inexpensive gym equipment (or bring that old weight set up from the basement or Pinterest homemade options).  Move your kids bed to one side of the room and use a newly exposed corner of a bedroom so your teen (or you) can run/jump/spin/lift out the wiggles…even if, aesthetically, you would never put the bed THERE or crowd the room with that old clunker of a machine.
  • My personal favorite:  Happen to have one of those decorative room-divider screens in the basement because you bought it when you were in college and kept it around?  
    • Create a work cubicle for your spouse and give them the “corner office” that they’ve always wanted!

Remember: you don’t need as much space to have your room “flow” from the entryway because, chances are, no one is coming and going that often.  Your usual Feng Shui can go out the window in favor of awkward but functional activity niches!