FREE THINGS TO DO AT HOME DURING QUARANTINE TO CREATE A HEALTHY HOUSE
Are you like every other home in America right now, staying home is your new normal? We chose to self-quarantine really right away and have mostly kept everyone home aside from a few necessary trips to the store and some work obligations. While we’ve been at home, we’ve been on the hunt for free things to do at home during our quarantine period.
Of course my list of things to do is much different than my two girls’ list. Theirs has been reading, playing, mom-imposed quiet time and school work. Mine is of course working, but also looking for ways I can improve my space and create a healthier home while we’re in the midst of all this quarantine and COVID-19 business.
I truly believe that our homes are an essential tool in leading a healthy life. I think that the fewer toxins we have in our homes, the less burdened our body becomes. By unburdening our bodies and letting them return to their natural, healthy state, we are allowing our immune systems to function at a higher level and allowing our organs to cleanse themselves.
This is why, given all that is going on with the spread of COVID-19, improving the health of your home is a HUGE positive impact you can have on your family’s health and wellness. But, while we’re all in quarantine mode, it can be difficult to find items or go to stores. This is why I’ve come up with this list of free things to do at home that will improve your home’s health. That’s right, you don’t have to buy a THING, and you can improve your home’s health and ultimately your health.
1. START A NO-SHOE POLICY
Let’s talk about one of THE most unhealthy habits in your home — wearing your shoes. When you’re looking for free things to do at home during quarantine, THIS habit is by far the simplest. All you have to do is leave those shoes at the door. You might be rolling your eyes, but listen to this:
Our shoes walk through parks, public restrooms, schools, work and stores. We are picking up not only viruses, germs and bacteria, but also chemical toxins as well as pesticides. When you walk through your home, you’re letting all this get embedded into carpets and rugs and land on floors.
What’s more concerning is that these things then end up getting pushed up into the air. Once they attach themselves to a particle of dust, they can be very difficult to remove. The toxins can travel throughout your home and end up in your HVAC system. Sometimes they can be filtered out, but not always.
2. OPEN THE WINDOWS
I live in Minnesota, and while currently the calendar says spring, we just had a sprinkle or snow last week. It’s warm enough to spend time outside more, but not necessarily so warm that I’d leave my windows open for long periods of time. That being said, my work around is to open the windows in one room, close the door, turn on the house fan and ceiling fan and let the fresh air in.
This is another SUPER simple way to let toxins present in your air OUT of your house. And if you’re in the middle of a self-quarantine, believe me, you’re creating toxins and breathing them in more than ever before most likely. Opening the windows as a free thing to do at home will also help bring fresh air in to dilute any VOCs or gasses present in your home. The process works like an exchange, thus called an air exchange.
We open windows in our house at least a few times a week for brief periods, even in the winter to help increase our home’s air exchanges. Make it a habit while you’re at home to rotate through your house and open each room’s windows.
3. USE GLASS INSTEAD OF DISPOSABLE OR PLASTIC
Okay, of all the free things to do at home while on self quarantine, this one may not sound that exciting, but it actually is an extremely healthy habit to start. Now, I’ll warn you, that doing this during a time of quarantine, may make you feel like you’re in the kitchen constantly, BUT, you could ease into this free thing to do at home.
Plastic is FILLED with a variety of toxins that leach into our foods. Not only does plastic contain petroleum byproducts, but it also contains toxins that directly affect your hormone production and alter your immune function. Plastic also stays in our bloodstream for a long period of time, allowing it to build up to levels that burden our bodies.
So while you’re looking for other free things to do at home, keep in mind, you could completely cut out plastic dishes and cups while you’re doing a self quarantine. We’ve been doing that more in our house and really upping our game when it comes to using natural materials to eat off of. This post is all about replacing plastic in your kitchen, which could be a good project while you’re home.
4. GET VACUUMING
Again, this isn’t THAT exciting of an activity, but using a vacuum and cleaning up dust around your house can actually help improve your indoor air quality and reduce toxins inside your home. As I talked about earlier, dust around our home is filled with pesticides and toxins that we bring into our home from outside sources and on our shoes and pets.
Once these toxins are in your home, they eventually end up moving around and settling, finally, into dust corners and other areas we don’t often clean (hey, we all have them).
Now, you may be like me and have a lot more to do at home right now if you’re under a self quarantine. For me, my seven and five year old are home from school and I’m trying to do school lessons along with my daily work for the time being. But, with that being said, I also have two little helpers at home now who have a “daily chore”.
When vacuuming make sure that your vacuum is equipped with a CLEAN HEPA filter (a lot of vacuum filters can be washed and dried to help their efficiency). Second, get out that crevice tool and make sure you clean out all the corners and vents if you can reach them.
5. MOVE ELECTRONICS AWAY FROM YOUR BED
This may be a hard time to tackle this one, especially as we’re in the middle of self quarantine and electronics seem to be saving our sanity. That being said, free things to do at home are free things to do at home, and this is one with a big impact.
Keeping electronics near our beds can not only affect our sleep, but puts us in close contact to EMF waves that our body sees as a stressor. These stressors ultimately affect our immune system and burden our bodies.
The great thing about electronics in our room, is that if you can’t move them out of your room, you can still move them to the opposite side of the room and make a much healthier decision. EMF waves drop off quite rapidly, and at six feet of distance (hmmm, that phrase is really getting some mileage), it is usually at a spot where it won’t affect your physical body.
So, grab your alarm clocks, phone chargers, sounds machines, baby monitors and smart devices and move them to the opposite side of the room or out of your room completely to create a healthier sleeping space for you and your family.
6. USE YOUR VENTED FANS
This may be a head-scratcher for you, but the humidity levels in our homes play a big part of the health inside our homes. In fact, a study done out of Europe showed that homes with higher humidity often had families who were ill more often than homes where the humidity levels were lower (around 40%). We naturally create a lot of humidity within our homes through our daily activities and just our breathing.
Home humidity levels should be kept right around 35% – 40% for the healthiest indoor environment. If you have a smart thermostat, you can check the humidity levels there, or if you can purchase a simple hygrometer, which can help you track your home’s humidity.
Using things like vented fans during activities that add moisture to the air, you can prevent your home from becoming too humid. If you’re cooking, bathing or doing laundry, try to run whatever vented fan is in that room. It will help draw the humidity out of the home instead of letting it stay inside.
7. CLEAN OUT YOUR CLEANERS
When you’re looking for free things to do at home, a great idea is to go through all your cleaning products and ditch the toxic ones. You can use the ThinkDirty App to scan all your cleaners (Check out this blog post where I walk you through that process).
You can get rid of what you don’t use anymore and make a plan to replace the rest. My favorite option for finding a safe and green cleaner is to opt for a concentrated cleaner. The nice thing about going this way is that you’ll only be replacing ONE bottle from here on out. Talk about simplification!
Use this quarantine time to make some positive changes! You can still order these cleaners from Amazon or other retailers and make your switch while you’re stuck at home.
Here’s the list of my favorites:
- Tohi MultiPurpose Cleaner (similar to Thieves)
- Grove Collaborative All Purpose Cleaner
- Branch Basics Concentrate
Or, I also have this recipe to make your own cleaning concentrate with things you likely have in your home already:
Make Your Own Green Cleaning Products Concentrate
- 1 tsp liquid castile soap
- ¼ cup washing soda
- 1 cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
- 4 drops tea tree oil
- 8 drops lemon essential oil
Heat vinegar to warm or boiling and mix all ingredients together. Store in a glass container and use 1 part concentrate to 4 parts water in a spray bottle.
8. DUST AND CLEAN WINDOW SCREENS
You know that dust issue we’ve been talking about, well another great habit to implement while you’re stuck at home is to dust (and dust properly) as well as clean your window screens. Dust from outside and dust from inside has negative affects on our indoor air quality. The more particles in the air, the lower the indoor air quality is. Again, dust is filled with toxins from product over spray, toxic foam from our furniture, toxic fibers from carpets and pesticides from outside. Getting rid of that dust is a GREAT way to benefit your home while you’re cooped up during a self quarantine.
Now, doing dust removal the right way is key. Instead of using a dry duster and pushing the dust back up into the air, it’s important to use a wet mop and wet duster to collect the dust and then wash it off. If you’ve got helpers at home during a self quarantine, get their assistance too. Make sure you don’t miss any areas like ceiling fans, vents and grates, window/door frames and baseboards.
When you’re cleaning your screens, you can simply vacuum them out or gently wash them off with soapy water. Just make sure they’re completely dry before reinstalling them.
9. CHANGE OR CLEAN YOUR FILTERS
We have so many filters in our homes now with all of our systems and devices, but filters don’t do any good to our indoor air if we aren’t cleaning them or replacing them. These filters collect a large portion of the dust that floats around our house or around particular areas. Things like our vented kitchen fan collects grease and other dust particles and needs a good cleaning frequently.
Your HVAC filter may only need to be replaced or cleaned every 4 months or so. But ensuring you do this regularly will help you create a healthier environment in your home. So while you’re hunting for free things to do at home, add this one to your list of “to-dos”.
Look through your utility room and identify everything that uses a filter (think humidifier, air to air exchanger, etc.). Then get to work either ordering replacements or cleaning the filters you have.