If one was to compare their schedule today with that of exactly one year ago, it is likely that the contrast would be quite severe. Last spring, many people’s schedules were still teeming with social activities such as sporting events, parties and concerts.
However, those social gatherings were quickly wiped from schedules everywhere when COVID-19 hit, and the now blank schedules were soon filled with more solitary activities. For some this meant cooking, biking, or playing board games. However, for others, this newfound time was spent in another way: buying new things, or conversely, purging their belongings.
One quarantine cleaner was junior Grace Heilman. Heilman said she took the time last spring and summer to completely reorganize her clothing. She explained that she had a meticulous process, which spanned over a month in its entirety, in which she would go through a different type of clothing each day.
“I didn’t do all the clothes at once because I thought that would be kind of overwhelming,” Heilman said.
Heilman explained that she chose to get rid of clothes that no longer fit her and clothes that were no longer her style. She added that the clothes she decided not to keep were donated or given to friends.
Of the things she got rid of, she said that she had a particularly difficult time getting rid of some Lululemon items because they were expensive and as well as some clothes given to her by her sister or other family members.
“I felt bad giving them away, but I knew I would never wear them,” she said.
There were two main reasons Heilman said she decided to reorganize her wardrobe: the first and the main reason was her love for decluttering, while her secondary reason was quarantine-induced boredom.
“I am literally obsessed with organizing,” she said. “I watch YouTube videos all the time of people just cleaning their houses, getting rid of stuff, or decluttering their clothes because it’s so satisfying to me to see the end result.”
That same feeling of fulfillment, Heilman said, was present once her room was finally organized.
“I felt really satisfied,” she said. “It gave me something to do, and now everything in my closet or drawers are things I will actually wear.”
Heilman was not alone in her decluttering. English Resource Center director Neal Tomich also took three weeks last spring to completely clean out his home.
“I was just throwing stuff out,” Tomich said. “I got rid of any kind of dishes and pans I wasn’t using anymore, clothing and just junk.”
He added that he primarily disposed of clothing.
“I realized I’d been retaining decades of clothing in the hopes that I would eventually fit into them again,” he said.
Unlike Heilman, Tomich said that he was unable to donate or sell the items he got rid of and was instead forced to throw them away due to the state-mandated business shutdown last spring.
Tomich credited boredom as his inspiration for undertaking this project.
“It was mostly just to keep from going insane from being cooped up inside all the time,” he said. “You can only watch Dr. Acton and Governor DeWine talk so many times.”
However, some people’s preferred method of passing time is the complete opposite. Some, like senior Brooke Cowan, turned to shopping in order to alleviate their boredom.
Cowan explained that, when quarantine first began last spring, she was in need of things to do, so she turned to online shopping. Now, she said, the majority of the things she is buying are from hobbies she picked up during this time.
“I bought lots of puzzles because I love puzzles, and I also have bought lots of crafting things,” she said. “I most recently got this thing called a punch needle, and you can use it to make rugs.”
Clothes and shoes are also amongst the items Cowan said she has recently purchased. She said that while in a typical year, clothing is something she would usually buy a lot of, COVID-19 has forced her to alter her prefered method of doing so.
“I used to hate online shopping,” she said. “I don’t like buying clothes online because I don’t like that I can’t feel the fabric and look at the stitching and stuff, but now I have to be more open to it.”
Cowan also explained that since she has recently begun working after school again, she has had extra money to spend. However, she added that she has not been going out as much, so more of her money has gone into online shopping.
Despite her initial reservations about online shopping, Cowan admitted she has enjoyed some aspects of it.
“I actually kind of like it because I like having packages in the mail,” she said. “It gives me something to look forward to.”
While Cowan said that she has enjoyed online clothing shopping more than she anticipated, she explained that the most rewarding purchases were not clothes but instead items that provided her with a distraction in an otherwise boring time.
“I think right now everyone is looking for something to pass the time, so while I love buying clothes, the best purchases were easily the ones that gave me a fun activity to do,” Cowan said.
She added that some of the hobbies she’s picked up, like doing her own nails or making a rug, will be things she can use going forward.
“When this is all over, I can at least say that I’ve picked up some fun new skills and been able to do some cool activities that I can use in the future,” Cowan said.