I’m one of those people who got really into home organization and general home improvement while stuck at home during the pandemic. At this point, it’s been months of full-on nesting. You can only spend so much time in the same environment before realizing how many things you desperately need to fix, reorganize, and declutter. Plus, taking on home organization and upgrade projects gave me a much-needed sense of control during these uncertain times, but that’s a whole other story you can read about here.
In case you’re also looking to lean into organizing, cleaning, and upgrading right now, I compiled a list of projects I’ve tackled over the past couple of months, as well as some product recommendations I stumbled across in the process. Because hey, it’s not a bad way to pass the time.
1. Fix your ugly cord situation.
You know what I’m talking about—the disastrous tangle of cords around an outlet, thanks to the all-too-common problem of having too many plugs and not enough places to plug them in. I had four outlets in particular that were total eyesores, so I decided to do what I could to streamline them and pretty them up.
Your plug situation might be different than mine, but there were a few products that came in handy and might work for you, too. First was this Sleek Socket outlet cover and extension cord ($24, Amazon), which allowed me to work around inconveniently placed outlets and instead centralize my plugs in less annoying, more discreet areas. Being able to push my desk all the way against the wall instead of pulling it slightly out to make room for plugs? Lifechanging. Second, this set of cord concealers ($19, Amazon) for finally covering up the ugly black cords snaking down my walls.
2. Swap out your showerhead.
This was the easiest project I did with the biggest amount of payoff. A nice showerhead is an investment for sure, but I shower more than I do basically anything else, so why not make an event out of it with a spa-like showerhead? Plus, even the shittiest bathroom feels massively upgraded with a fancy new showerhead.
I went with the Moen Aromatherapy Combination Showerhead ($200, Bed Bath & Beyond), which dispenses essential oils while you’re showering. I don’t utilize that function a ton, since the replacement pods are pretty pricy, but every once in a while, it’s an easy way to feel like a total self-care queen. Beyond that, it’s still an awesome showerhead—especially thanks to the second detachable and easy-to-use head with a magnetic base. For a more affordable option, try this highly-rated AquaDance rainfall showerhead combo ($40, Amazon).
3. Overhaul your fridge.
When I got diagnosed with ADHD, I started reading about how some people with ADHD have difficulty with object permanence—meaning, when we can’t see something, we kind of have a hard time remembering it. This for sure manifested with my fridge. I have a terrible habit of wasting food because anything that was out of sight was definitely out of mind (like veggies in my produce drawer), so I usually forgot to use a lot of my food. So I decided to ADHD-proof my fridge by getting a set of clear bins ($27, Amazon) and organizing it in a way that I could see, at a glance, everything that was in there.
You might not have ADHD or a need to tackle your fridge in the exact same way, but there’s likely some work to be done in there. That might be reorganizing where you put what for a better experience or just going through and tossing expired condiments.
4. Throw out expired products.
Speaking of expired things, this is another easy project to pass the time with. I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty laughable how many things became pretty obsolete to me this year. I don’t wear makeup now and barely have a need for hair products (it’s not like I’m styling it on the regular anymore). Don’t get me wrong, tossing expired products is something I need to do always, pandemic or not, but I have a feeling there were a few more unused products in my arsenal this year than usual.
Not sure how to tell if your beauty products are expired if they don’t have the date on them? The FDA has some advice on that here.
5. Set up a doorway drop zone.
I never put much thought into my entryway, given that I don’t have a ton of space. I had a place to drop my keys, my shoes, and my mail. What more did I need? Well…times changed, and face masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes all became part of my coming and going routine. So I decided to redecorate my tiny little entryway to optimize it for our COVID era.
I set up a few new hooks for my masks and used an upcycled candle jar (see below) to hold lots of extra hand sanitizer so I wouldn’t forget to take some with me if I was venturing out into the world. Plus, I made some much-needed changes to my existing mail dump area—like separate trays for junk mail and mail I actually need to check out for some immediate sorting. Admittedly, I’m not coming and going as much as I used to, but it was a nice little upgrade.
6. Consolidate candles and upcycle candle jars.
I can’t be the only one with an abundance of almost-empty candle jars all around my apartment. There are a ton of hacks out there for dealing with this problem, most of which involve getting leftover wax out of candle containers, reusing that wax, and upcycling the jars.
My personal favorite method is pouring hot water into an old, mostly used-up candle; it will melt the wax and cause it to float to the top. Sometimes I’ll just toss the wax, but other times, I’ll remelt it and combine it with other leftover wax to make totally new candles. You need your own wicks for this, such as these pre-waxed ones ($7, Amazon). But you don’t have to get that crafty. Old candle containers make great decor or extra storage around your house.
7. Free up space in your silverware drawer.
If you suffer from a lack of kitchen storage, this upgrade suggestion is for you. This bestselling cutlery organizer ($10, Amazon) allows me to store my forks, spoons, and knives in a fraction of the space that my old flat rectangular silverware holder took up. Which, in turn, freed up more much-needed drawer space. Easy peasy.
8. Upgrade out your lights to smart lights.
This one was pretty indulgent, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not obsessed with my new lighting setup. Being able to control my lights from my phone comes in handy more than I thought it would, like when it’s late at night and my scaredy-cat ass wants to turn on the hallway light ahead of time to go to the bathroom or when I settle into bed only to realize I left the living room lamp on. Also, special features like light dimmers and different types of light (like warm vs. cool) might not be necessary, but they sure are cool.
Personally, I use a few Philips Hue Smart Lighting products. I started with a two-pack of Philips Hue White LED Smart Bulbs, ($30, Amazon), then upgraded to the Philips Hue White Ambiance LED Smart Button Starter Kit ($120, Amazon), which includes a hub that adds Alexa integration and a few more cool features. But there are lots available on the market, from brands like Sylvania or Yeelight. Another option is to use smart plugs to attach to lamps and such, but if you’re anything like me, you don’t need to add more traffic to your plug situations (see above). If you don’t want to convert your whole home, just pick a particularly annoying lamp or light to control, like that one hard-to-reach lamp.
9. Install a bidet attachment.
This is one project I haven’t yet tackled myself, but plenty of other people have, thanks to the initial toilet paper shortage that hit at the beginning of the pandemic. But even if it’s easier to get your hands on some TP these days, converting your boring old toilet to a bidet with an affordable attachment is still a worthwhile project. Check out these affordable bidet attachments, as well as some instructions on how to install and use them.
10. Refold your clothes using the KonMari Fold.
My drawers are disaster zones—even now, despite barely touching most of my clothes in lockdown. If you’re similarly messy and cringe every time you have to dig something out of your dresser, spend an hour refolding and reorganizing your clothes. There are lots of methods out there, but personally, the KonMari Fold is where it’s at for me.
For the uninitiated, the KonMari Fold (which you can watch here) makes it way easier to find individual articles of clothing and stay organized, thanks to the small rectangular shape that you store upright. Kind of like filing your clothes away. Also, in general, following Marie Kondo’s advice leads to all sorts of home organization projects if you need more ideas. Just read her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ($11, Amazon).
All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.