Written by Eilish Sweeney
It’s been nearly two weeks since I moved back to my mom’s house from my on-campus apartment at CSUF after the school closed down due to COVID-19.
A couple of weeks ago, I would’ve given anything for a few days at home to get a break from my crazy schedule trying to balance two jobs, an internship, classwork, and about 200 miles of commuting every week. I went from being out of my apartment 5 days a week aside from eating dinner and sleeping there, to being back at home 24/7. Though I’m thankful to have the ability to be able to work and attend class from home, like many people, I’ve had a hard time adjusting to being indoors all day.
Here are some ways that I’ve been passing the time that you can try out, or get inspired by:
1. Make earrings
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a passion for kitschy and attention-grabbing earrings. I tend to buy most of them from independent artists making their living through Etsy shops, or get them as gifts from friends who see a pair of earrings that looks strange or cute and know that I would enjoy them. A couple weeks back I saw someone on TikTok make a video about earrings they made themself out of Calico Critters and supplies from a craft store. I grew up having a couple of Calico Critters as a kid, and seeing that they were still around (and that someone had the genius idea of turning them into earrings) really inspired me to make a pair of my own. After turning 7 Calico Critters into earrings and repurposing a few necklaces, I still had quite a few supplies left over, and have now made it my goal to make earrings out of various objects I find in my room. The most recent pairs I made were out of glow in the dark stars and planets, Polaroid pictures, and little charms. What I’ll make into earrings next, who knows?
Brief supply list if you want to try making earrings (you can find all of these at a Walmart/craft store/on Amazon for pretty cheap)
- A set of craft/jewelry pliers
- Needles to poke holes in the items that will become earrings (I suggest embroidery needles over regular sewing needles since they’re thicker!)
- Eye screws
- Jump rings
- Earring hooks
2. Make a blanket
So far, this has turned out to be the best way I’ve found to pass time and de-stress lately. I learned how to crochet when I was a kid and thankfully I’ve just retained the muscle memory of how to do it all these years. If you need a calm and mindless activity to pass a couple of hours every day or give you something to do while you watch tv so you don’t keep checking your phone, I’d strongly recommend learning to crochet or knit and making a blanket or some other fun project like a scarf or hat. Supplies for this are pretty cheap and easy to find too, all you need are knitting/crochet needles, and a couple of balls of yarn. I’ve been making a circular blanket the last few weeks using a 10mm crochet needle, and Bernat baby blanket yarn. Aside from how addicting it is to work on, it’s also very low stakes if you’re a perfectionist. If you mess up a couple of stitches or rows, all you have to do is pull them out and do them again until it looks how you want.
3. Revisit your favorite albums
If you’re like me and have a habit of listening to certain albums over and over again until you wear it out for yourself and don’t know what new music to check out, try revisiting some bands and albums you were a fan of back in high school or middle school! I got sucked down a hole the other day of thinking about the “2014 Tumblr Aesthetic” (if you know, you know), and started listening to some of my favorites from high school and feeling very nostalgic.
Here are a few to listen to for the first time or enjoy again:
- Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend
- Electra Heart by Marina and the Diamonds
- AM by Arctic Monkeys
- Melophobia by Cage the Elephant
- The Balcony by Catfish and the Bottlemen
4. Organize your closet/shelves
Whether you’re like me and you’ve just moved back home, you’ve moved to a new place you haven’t finished unpacking after a few months, or if you’ve been living in the same place for a while, it’s never a bad idea to spend some time reorganizing your closet, cabinets, shelves, and any place you store belongings. Despite where you keep most of your clothes (in shelves, drawers, or hanging in your closet), it’s easy to mindlessly put laundry away and let things get so messy that you can’t find your favorite outfit when you most need it. I’ve found that taking the time to pull everything out of the space you’re cleaning (your closet, bathroom cabinet, bookshelf, kitchen drawers, etc) and organize it into a way that works for you to find things easily is a great way to pass a couple of hours, and get something really productive done. If you’re overwhelmed by your clothes/closet I’d recommend sorting everything to see if there are things you no longer wear and could donate, then look for folding techniques to help you store items you may have a lot of (like t-shirts or jeans).
A couple of tips for organizing your closet if you’re not sure where to start:
- Make sure your laundry is done so you have everything that needs to be stored in one place. The worst thing is finishing reorganizing all your clothes and getting them to fit perfectly, then realizing you have 20 shirts and pants you just washed and don’t have a place to put them away.
- If you have clothes you only wear during winter and summer, you can put most of them into a storage box somewhere in your closet, and pull it out when that season comes around.
- Group clothes by type/cut/pattern. If you have five turtlenecks, keep them together. If you have seven oversized button-down shirts, keep them together. If you like picking outfits based more on pattern or color, then keep all your neutrals/florals/stripes/etc in groups, regardless of what type of clothing they are.
- Put your clothes on hangers (or fold them), and put away the groups of the types of clothes you wear most often in the spots of your closet that you see first or is easiest for you to reach.
5. Catch up with friends virtually
If you’re having a hard time not being able to see your friends or family, you can catch up with them digitally and maintain social distancing. Even if you see some of your friends during video calls for work, spend time talking with them about things other than work! You can call or FaceTime your friends, family, or partner spontaneously, or plan times that you’re both free during the day/week to dedicate an hour or two to stay in touch, watching a movie or show together, or cooking/working on projects/cleaning at the same time and keeping each other company. Even though I’ve been working, doing my internship, and attending class all from home, I try to stick to schedules whenever I can, so spontaneous calls aren’t always the easiest for me. Lately, my boyfriend and I have been watching the Netflix documentary series Tiger King every night when we have free time before bed and talking about the episodes over Netflix Party or FaceTime.
Though we’re all in a time of uncertainty, it’s important to maintain social distancing and stay at home whenever possible to protect yourself and those around you from getting sick. I hope that some of my pastimes/hobbies can give you ideas of something new to try, or inspire you to come up with a new way to help you get through a couple of hours of free time on a slow day!