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A silver lining

A silver lining
Getty Images

There are a lot of downsides to being stuck in quarantine (you’re living them so we won’t list them here!) but there are some surprising upsides. One quarantine perk many people are discovering is that they finally have the time to devote all their energy to a big project they’ve wanted to do for a long time. From losing weight to redoing a bathroom to planting an orchard – you’ll be amazed and inspired at what people can accomplish when they have nothing else to do.

I refinished an heirloom china cabinet

I refinished an heirloom china cabinet
Courtesy Anna Raway

Anna Raway, has long loved the antique china cabinet and set of dishes she inherited from her mother. She even loved it so much she gave it a name – Frank. But while she loved Frank she didn’t love how he looked. “I had planned on refinishing Frank this summer but I decided to do it now during the coronavirus pandemic because I needed my mind to focus on something that wasn’t negative,” she says. “It took me three straight days to completely take him apart, strip it, refinish it, and put it back together. All I needed was paint, spray paint, sandpaper, brushes, and a screw gun.” She couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. “Every time I walk by I tell Frank what a lovely job he’s doing.”

I grew into a very good boy

I grew into a very good boy
Courtesy@Nana_George

Norman was just four weeks old when he came to live with Lindsay and Kyle. “His mother was way too young and lacked all maternal instincts, she would even bite the pups when they tried to nurse,” Lindsay says. “Quarantine has given us ample time to spoil him rotten and make sure he has everything he needs to grow.” And grow he has! “He’s transformed from this meek, nervous little guy to the smartest, sweetest boy. We can’t believe how far he’s come in just one month.” This may not be your typical transformation but it’s an important one as many animals are suffering during this quarantine period as well and need good homes, she adds.

Wondering if dogs get coronavirus? Find out here.

We made over our bedroom set

We made over our bedroom set
Courtesy Three Coats of Charm

Stuart and Iris Kingston run Three Coats of Charm, a small business refinishing furniture. “With the quarantine, we’ve stopped selling pieces and have used the time to finally tackle our own bedroom furniture,” she says. Using paints leftover from other projects, they painted their vintage French provincial style bedroom set in a modern light grey with raw wood accents. “This project has allowed us to work together, be creative, and brought us so much joy as we made our own home more cos and beautiful for very little money. But even more importantly, it has given us a sense of peace and accomplishment, which is a real blessing when so many other things in the world are out of our control.”

Read on for the DIY errors to avoid at all costs.

I'm building muscle and losing inches

I'm building muscle and losing inches
Courtesy Melissa's Quarantine Transformation

A support group played a big part in helping Melissa Romano, lose weight and work towards her fitness goals so when quarantine hit, she knew she had to find a way to keep it going online. They decided to do a quarantine challenge where they all follow the same nutrition program and do at-home workout challenges together. “I decided to do this to stay on track during my wellness journey by focusing on my health and wellness and not falling back on old habits. This group of amazing women helps keep me accountable while inspiring and cheering me on,” she says. “I can’t believe how much this has transformed my body. I’m getting stronger every day and I can see muscle definition in my arms now!”

Check out these easy weight-loss tips.

I planted an orchard

 I planted an orchard
Courtesy Molly Hayward

Molly Hayward and her partner have long dreamed of having a lush garden, orchard, and to raise their own chickens. While these aren’t 30-day projects, quarantine has given them the time they needed to get started and make some real progress. “While we won’t have any yield for another handful of months, working outside in the elements, rain or shine, feels incredibly nourishing and important,” she says. “This has really helped preserve my mental health, too. It reminds us that there is a season for everything and that this (coronavirus) too shall pass.”

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I created an indoor garden

I created an indoor garden
Courtesy Ashley Hubbard

“After growing up with a mum who had a natural green thumb, I was always disappointed that I couldn’t keep a plant alive to save my life,” says Ashley Hubbard. Then a few years ago her grandma asked her to save a beloved plant that was dying. “At that time I was in the middle of a very abusive relationship and nurturing that plant was one of the only things that brought me any peace,” she says. The plant flourished, giving her confidence, and after she got out of that relationship, she started her own collection of plants. But they’d always lived on a wire shelf so during quarantine she decided to completely overhaul her plant shelf into an indoor garden. “My plants keep me grounded and help put things into perspective,” she says. “We’re all just kind of houseplants, right? All we need is a little sunshine, the correct amount of water, some pruning and a little extra TLC to show how beautiful we really are.”

Find out which are the best air-cleaning plants, according to NASA.

I transformed a boring closet into a school nook

I transformed a boring closet into a school nook
Courtesy Kristen Morgan

Pre-quarantine, the Morgans had two coat closets in their entryway and neither of them was being used very well, leading to a messy pileup of coats, shoes and school backpacks. “I decided that if we removed one closet and replaced it with a built-in bench nook, that would give us an organised space for school items, as well as a pretty space to put bags and coats when we’re allowed to have company over again,” says Kristen. “It took us about a week to construct it and paint it. Once the quarantine is over and I can shop again I’ll get a cushion and some organising baskets for shoes.”

I updated my dingy old bathroom

I updated my dingy old bathroom
Courtesy Lauren Noel

Updating her bathroom had been on the to-do list for a while but until the quarantine, she didn’t have the time to focus on such a huge project, says Lauren Noel. The challenge was to do it all with only things she already had at home as she was following quarantine recommendations to avoid going out unless necessary. “I removed the gross ’90s wallpaper, painted the walls a soft white, painted the vanity and mirror with chalk paint, made a roman shade for the window out of repurposed fabric, changed the tile grout from a dingy brown to bright white, and used a metallic wax to change the colour of the vanity hardware,” she says. “It feels so clean and bright now, I love it!”

I made my daughter her dream room

I made my daughter her dream room
Courtesy Patty Morrissey

When Patty Morrissey found herself quarantined at home with her 8-year-old daughter, she knew some things were going to have to change. “We have a small house and now that my daughter is spending all of her time at home, I decided she needed her own space to play, hangout, and do her schoolwork,” she says. It was a huge undertaking but as a professional organiser, she was up to the challenge. “We moved furniture, decorated, organised, cleaned, and sold my daughter’s unwanted toys and clothes on Mercari. The results are amazing; she loves her new room and she’s happily spending more time in her room,” she says. “It was a fun project to do together, it gave us a sense of accomplishment, and she’s taking better care of her space, like making her bed every morning, doing her own laundry and folding it and putting it away.”

Read on for bathroom etiquette rules people break all the time – but shouldn’t.

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