Ways Your Apartment Life Needs to Change Because of the Global Pandemic

The coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, has dramatically changed our lives in just a matter of weeks. With potentially several more weeks to go of sheltering in place, now’s a good time to realize that many aspects of apartment living will be different going forward.

Living in an apartment complex presents unique challenges for residents, beginning with due to the more constrained spaces than in detached housing, and a large number of people living in the same building and sharing many common areas. There are times when you can’t avoid other people, but you should already be practicing social distancing, or staying at least six feet away from other people as a precaution against catching the deadly virus.

Here are five ways your apartment life needs to change because of COVID-19:

1. Avoid high-traffic common areas

With so many people sharing common areas in an apartment complex, it’s impossible to avoid others when doing your laundry, grabbing your mail, or enjoying one of the many amenities of modern apartment living, such as pools, fitness centers, and party rooms.

For the time being, you can do without a swim or a workout. If you can go on a walk or a bike ride, do that rather than hit the fitness center, as long as you practice social distancing. As it is, some complexes might have already closed their pools and workout rooms to reduce the chance of residents catching the virus. There are also several workouts you can do in your apartment.

Once it gets to the point where your apartment manager reopens common areas such as pools and workout rooms, it will be wise to continue practicing social distancing for quite some time.

You’re still going to need to get your mail and do laundry while avoiding other residents. This might mean grabbing your mail early in the morning or late at night. If you see someone else in the mailroom or at the mailbox clusters, wait until they’ve finished and let them leave the area before getting your mail.

You can’t escape doing the laundry. Hopefully, your building manager has set up a schedule to allow people to do their laundry safely. If not, scope out the laundry room for a time when either no one else is in there, or there are just a few other residents using it. If there is someone else in the laundry room, be sure to keep your distance. If you don’t feel safe, come back another time. That might annoy you, but safety comes first in these unprecedented days.

When using the laundry room, wear disposable gloves since you’ll be touching a lot of common surfaces. Once finished, properly dispose of the gloves and do not touch your face. Thoroughly wash your hands when you return to the apartment. Again, this could be the new normal moving forward.

2. Cut back on visitors

Now’s not the time to have friends over to your apartment for drinks or dinner. The fewer people you have over, the less chance of exposure there is, both for them and other residents of the building. As much as you might want to socialize, there hopefully will be time for that later on.

You can always keep up with your friends via Zoom video conferencing. You can have virtual dinner parties, social hours, and book groups via Zoom. Just set it up in advance with your friends, and when the appointed hour comes, jump online and show off what you’ve made for dinner or toast each other with drinks. You can also Face time with your friends, watch movies together via Netflix Party and even play video games against others, all remotely.

Sadly, this might be the new normal at least until there is antibody testing and then a vaccine, and there might not be a vaccine until sometime next year. Moving forward, it’s not a bad idea to lean more on virtual applications and technologies to keep in touch with friends and family.

Some apartment complexes host social events, but these should have been curtailed by now. If not, it’s a good idea to skip them.

Clean the apartment

3. Keep your apartment clean and disinfected

You’ve probably never washed your hands more than you have the last month or so. Similarly, you’ve probably never wiped and disinfected your kitchen counter, appliances, light switches, and pretty much everything in the bathroom as much as you have. Well, guess what _ you need to keep it up. Moving forward, you can’t let up on being a neat freak. It’s important to keep surfaces clean and disinfected to avoid any chance of being infected.

You also need to make sure you keep a reliable stock of cleaning supplies, such as Clorox disinfecting spray, wipes, paper towels, and bleach.

And it can’t be said enough: wash your hands as much as possible, and avoid touching your face, as the virus enters the body through the mouth and eyes.

4. Order online

A new reality for many Americans is ordering groceries and meals online and having them delivered to your apartment. Although the system can be a bit difficult to navigate at first because of overwhelming demand, it is safer than going into stores and restaurants.

Many shoppers are finding that it can take several days for your grocery order to be filled and delivered, so you need to plan accordingly to make sure you don’t run low on food. You can also choose curbside pickup at the store, and your groceries will be brought out to you.

Having meals delivered to your apartment from various restaurants is nothing new, but expect this option to become more prevalent, not only during the crisis but beyond. Several apps are available to make it simple to order from your phone.

5. Work from home

If you’re still employed, there’s a good chance you’re working from home and will continue to do so until restrictions are lifted, and the economy begins to return to normal. However, that could take some time, so go ahead and settle in. If you haven’t already, you should find a spot in your apartment where you can set up your laptop and become comfortable. Give yourself enough room so you can spread out papers or other materials. Try to find a spot where you won’t be easily distracted by the TV or a roommate.

This might need to be your setup for a while, so make the most of it. Again, working from home could become more commonplace in the future, even if it’s just for a day or two a week once things return as close to normal as possible.

There are several keys to being productive while working from your apartment. Pretend like you are going into the office and structure your day like you would if you were in the office. You also need to stay disciplined. When working from home, it’s easy to be tempted by social media, the TV, or other distractions. Pretend like your boss is looking over your shoulder and set goals on what you plan to accomplish every day.

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