Making Your DIY Shopping List

DIY projects are a great way to keep yourself busy during social distancing while also giving you a chance to hone certain skills or take care of a few things around the house. With some DIY projects you’ll already have everything you need at home, making it a simple matter of getting everything together and actually doing it.

Some projects may require you to venture out to pick up a few things. This can be a bit more stressful depending on where you live, so you’ll want to make sure you have a thorough list of everything you need before you head out the door.

The goal here is to make sure that you can get everything you need in as few trips as possible. After all, the fewer times you have to go out, the less chance there is for you to accidentally expose yourself or others to sickness. To that end, here are a few suggestions that can help you make your DIY shopping list and get everything you need in a single trip.

Build Your Project List

The first thing that you’ll need to do is figure out exactly what it is that you’re hoping to get accomplished. Think about more than just the project that you’re currently working on and look at your overall DIY slate. Not only can taking all of your projects into account help you cut back on trips for supplies, but it can also make it easier to see where supplies can be used for more than one project. You don’t have to list every single project that you might conceivably do, but at least create a list of the next few projects that you hope to tackle.

What Do You Have on Hand?

Figure out everything that you’ll need for the projects on your list, then start looking at what you already have available. Maybe you already have some lumber, wires or fasteners on hand; do you have enough to get through all of your projects? If you don’t have the exact materials that you’d planned on using for a project, do you have anything similar that could be substituted? Be sure and take things like paint, sealer and similar materials into account as well. Knowing what you already have will help you narrow down exactly what you do need, which will keep your costs down and make your shopping trip go faster as well.

What Do You Still Need?

Take into account everything that you’ll need to finish your projects, including any additional tools you’ll need to pick up and anything you’ll need for maintenance or decoration. Organize your list as best you can by items that should be located in the same area, reducing your back-and-forth time and keeping your contact with others in the store at a minimum. Be sure to check this list twice, as anything you miss will mean another trip to the store at some point.

Planning for Multiple Stops

One other thing to consider is that you may not be able to get everything that you need in a single stop. If this is the case, organize your list so that you group everything at each stop together. This means that if you need to hit the hardware store, all of your hardware purchases are in that part of the list. Any big-box specific purchases would be in another part of the list. Once you have these divisions in place, you can use the same tactic from above in regard to sub-grouping items that are in the same part of each store.

You should also use this time to plan other necessities for your trip as well. Make sure that you have a mask or other protection gear, hand sanitizer and anything else you might need and that you’ve made preparations for each stop. It’s also a good idea to come up with a timetable for your trip, figuring out what time everything opens so you can go as early as your schedule allows to avoid crowds. It’s important to be conscious of how social contact can potentially expose you to illness, as well as how you might inadvertently spread it to others; proper social distancing, protective gear and other preparations are as much a part of your preparations to shop as your list is.

Making Your Shopping List

One last thing to consider: While you may be used to keeping shopping lists on your phone or through a digital assistant, if you’re in an area where you really want to minimize potential contact with germs or other contagions then individual paper lists could be a better option. This reduces the possibility of your phone getting contaminated while you look at it or touch it, and the lists themselves can be disposed of once you’re done with them. It can also help with your organization since you’ll just have a single list to work from with each stop that you make.

What’s Your Isolation Routine?

Social isolation can be difficult, especially if you’re not used to it. It sounds easy on the surface: Just stay home! If you’re cut off from the social contact and day-to-day routines that you’re used to, though, this can have a significant negative impact on your mental (and sometimes physical) health. If you’ve been struggling with isolation, here are a few things to keep in mind as you fine tune your “new normal.”

Assessing Your Needs

As with most things, you need to do is stop and look at what you actually need in your day. Make a list, check it twice and see exactly what you need to include in your day-to-day activities. Be sure to include not just those tasks you do every day but also things that need to be done less frequently, such as refilling pill planners or getting the laundry done. Once you have a list, plan out your schedule a week at a time on a calendar for easy reference.

Avoiding Distractions

If you’re having to work from home for the first time, you might be surprised at just how unproductive you are when working from home. Some people flourish in the work-at-home environment, while others discover that the problem with working from home is that home is where you keep all your favorite distractions. Establish office hours for yourself, both to keep others from bothering you and to keep yourself from wandering off in the middle of the work day. For ease of reference, place your office hours on your calendar too.

Add Some Activity

Just because you can’t get to the gym doesn’t mean that you’ve got to give up your exercise routine. Lift weights at home, go for walks or jogs (while maintaining social distancing), check your streaming services for workout content, or buy dancing or exercise-related video games for your favorite console. While you probably won’t be able to replicate the same experience that you get at the gym, even a little bit of activity every day will still do you a ton of good. For that matter, even if you just set an alarm every hour to remind yourself to walk around the house you’ll still be doing yourself some good.

Get Out of the House

Just because you can’t go anywhere doesn’t mean you have to sit inside all day. Spend some time outside if you can. This could be a great time to prep a garden, get your yard in shape or order the supplies you need to put up some bird feeders. Some sunlight and fresh air every day will do wonders for your well-being, both mentally and physically.

You’re Not Hungry, You’re Bored

Don’t fall victim to the “Quarantine 15.” It’s easy right now to sit around the house and eat more snacks than you normally would because you feel displaced or anxious about tomorrow. Take a stand against overeating by finding better things to do with your time. You can also add healthy snacks and other better-for-you alternatives to your next shopping trip, replacing processed chips and candy with fruit, vegetable, and nut options.

Mind Your Mental Health

Isolation is very stressful, especially if you live or have family and friends in areas experiencing a large outbreak of COVID-19. All that stress, prolonged over weeks or even months, can have a substantial negative impact on your mental health. Add in the loneliness and depression that can occur as a result of social isolation and you could be looking at some very rough times mentally. Find friends or relatives to call or video chat with to talk about your issues, and don’t be afraid to seek out tele-health options for mental health as well.

Maintaining Your Routine

Don’t assume that things will be the same from week to week. Reassess every weekend to go over your routine from the previous week, figure out what worked well and what didn’t, and adjust your routine accordingly. It’s okay to change things up every week during your isolation. Take things a week at a time and even if you have a bad week this week, next week brings a fresh slate.