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. With other projects, though, you’ll have to venture out to pick up a few things. This can be stressful during a period of social distancing.


You need to be conscious of both exposing yourself or others to the virus, so it’s important that you follow CDC guidelines and guidance from your local government for your community. You’re also going to want to make sure you’re ready with a 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.

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Buying or selling a home can be stressful even under ordinary circumstances. Unfortunately, the current state of the world is far from ordinary. The housing market is feeling the crunch, as fewer buyers want to get out and shop for a home, and fewer sellers want to take a risk with selling. This isn’t to say that nobody’s buying and selling, of course; the market is just going through some changes.

One of the biggest changes revolves around how buyers and sellers are handling social isolation and social distancing. If you’re thinking of selling, or are in the market to buy, here are a few new “rules” to keep in mind when entering the real estate fray in the era of self-isolation.

Increasing Online Presence
One of the big changes to the real estate process is an increased dependence on online resources instead of in-person shopping. This includes lots of pictures and videos of properties being posted online, but many sellers are taking things even further than this. Recorded virtual tours, online conferences to allow buyers to ask questions about the property, and even livestream walkthroughs with a seller or agent showing the property are all increasingly popular options to supplement or even replace in-person showings and conferences.

Fewer Open Houses
Open houses are a popular way to show off a property to many potential buyers, but in the current crisis these events are a big no-no. In many locales, open houses aren’t even allowed under state and federal guidance. In states where they haven’t been specifically banned, many sellers are still hesitant to hold an event that would bring multiple people into close contact with each other. Online “virtual open house” conferences are popping up as one option to adapt to this, letting multiple potential buyers come together on Zoom or a similar video conference service at the same time to get a better feel for the property that’s being sold.

More One-on-One Time
As convenient as online access and virtual tours are during the current isolation period, few if any buyers would sign on the dotted line without getting a chance to see a property in person. To accommodate this, many sellers and agents are meeting with potential buyers by appointment only. This lets a potential buyer get a good look at the property in question while also restricting the size of the meeting as much as possible. Many of these appointments are made with the understanding that if any participant feels the least bit under the weather on the day of the meet-up, then it will need to be rescheduled for another time.

Respecting Social Distancing
Even when buyers and sellers do meet up, the process is usually a little different than it used to be. Social distancing rules are usually respected, meaning that everyone involved should stay at least six feet apart at all times to prevent potential infection. Discussions about the property and general Q&As are more likely to occur outdoors in the open air, and any greetings or introductions skip out on traditional handshakes. Masks, gloves, shoe covers and hand sanitizer are commonly available on site, and many sellers go through and open all of the doors and windows to both maximize airflow and to allow interested buyers access to the entire house without having to touch doorknobs or other surfaces in order to see inside.

Closing Remotely
Remote closing negotiations are becoming much more common, taking advantage of video conferencing to bring everyone together without actually having to be in the same room. There may be some instances where people have to meet up to actually sign paperwork, but digital signing is more common because it removes that point of contact. Even when people do come together for closing and signing, it’s much more likely that everyone will utilize social distancing and that both parties will use their own pens instead of sharing.
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The world we live in is significantly different than the world we knew just a year ago. Around the world, people face self-isolation and quarantine as we attempt to stop the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. This can be scary, especially for those who live alone or who have distant loved ones that they’re worried about. Fortunately, we also live in a world where technology can bring us closer together even as we must stay apart.

There are a number of ways that modern technology can help us stay connected. While some of these depend on you having the right pieces of hardware, others are software solutions that almost anyone can use. If you’re feeling lonely, here are a few tech solutions that might help bring you closer to friends and loved ones.

VoIP Solutions
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and VoIP-like phone services are seeing increasingly widespread use around the world. These services allow you to make voice and even video calls over the internet, letting you stay connected without the need for a landline phone or cellular service. Many of these services allow for text chat as well, and most are available both on a computer and as a smartphone app.

Video Conferencing
Software When you need something a bit more robust or sophisticated than what a VoIP solution offers, video-conferencing options like Zoom and GoToMeeting can help. Video conferencing software lets you connect people from multiple locations into a single chat. Most of these solutions allow for video, voice and even text chat, ensuring that people won’t be left out if they lack a webcam or have slow internet service. Some of these options even allow the use of virtual backgrounds, so you can set a favorite photo or other image as a backdrop for your video call as an added bit of fun.

Virtual Vacations
To help people around the world have something to do, many zoos, museums and other public spaces have taken to streaming video or offering up other virtual options while they are closed. A family trip that might have been out of the question otherwise can now be simulated by starting up a conference call between multiple households and embarking on the same virtual tour together so that everyone can experience it at the same time.

Community Groups
A lot of people already use social media to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, people are turning to sites like Facebook and Twitter to stay connected even to close friends. By setting up private groups or interacting on specific posts, isolated friends can still share stories and humor, post pictures and share status updates, and generally stay up to date on everyone’s well-being.

The Rise of eSports
One thing that got a lot of people to pay attention and start taking COVID-19 seriously was when various sports organizations started cancelling their usual events and seasons. In the time since, people have started paying more attention to online gaming competitions and eSports. There a wide range of games that people can watch online and then talk about with friends and family, and some professional athletes have started playing and streaming their games as well. Some race car drivers have even taken to having online races using various video games.

Senior-Friendly Options
There are an increasing number of options available to help families stay in touch with seniors. In addition to VoIP software and similar solutions, there are also dedicated hardware devices such as tablets that are designed with senior ease-of-use in mind. These devices coordinate with apps placed on the phones or other devices of family members, giving seniors one-touch access to their families so everyone can stay connected. This also helps families check in with their senior friends and relatives to calm fears that they might be under the weather.

In It Together
As you can see, there are several options available to keep in touch even while we have to stay physically distant. This isn’t an exclusive list; you may have additional options available that aren’t covered here. Just remember that no matter what you use, check in with friends and loved ones periodically both to get that much-needed social contact and to ensure that everyone is okay.
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