Hacks and how-to guides to make life easier.
Get advice from parents on how to overcome the challenges of the new norm at home.
Today is National Working Parents Day, which is a day to pay tribute to all parents, working or not, who are caring for their families. In the wake of COVID-19, this year’s Working Parents Day is especially important to celebrate.
The ongoing pandemic has disrupted the lives of parents across the country by forcing them to work from home all while managing their children’s remote school day.
For many, this is a massive change. The new norm of remote work and school is causing stress and additional challenges. If you’re a parent that is trying to balance your new life at home, just know you’re not alone.
On this special day, Rinse wanted to help parents who are trying to navigate these new challenges by sharing tips and tricks from Rinse customers who are parents.
Tips & Tricks to Navigate the Challenges of Managing Work and School at Home
Below are some of the top tips and tricks from our customers!
Find Balance and Stay Focused
- If you have space, make sure to set up private areas for study and work to help with concentration. Sean M., San Francisco
- The thing that has helped me the most with managing my new normal is the iPad to entertain my kid while I’m in a Zoom meeting. I also created her own workspace for learning, playing, or for art/creative hour. Alexa helps with setting timers and reminders to keep our day on schedule. And we’ve used UberEats, Caviar, and Instacart for either breakfast lunch, or dinner. Basically any kind of home delivery service has been essential for us. - Crystal O., San Francisco
Create Structure and Accountability
- At the start of each day, I meet with my daughter for 5 minutes and we go over her schedule and what she needs to do. We write it on the whiteboard and when she's done she puts a checkmark. Then when I have a break between meetings I can see her progress and ensure she hasn't forgotten anything. - Bonnie S., San Francisco
- Structure in me and my daughter’s daily life is a big help. Making sure we have our own spaces to work and all the tools we need. - Terrence B., San Francisco
Discover New Tools and Services That Free Up Time
- We use outschool.org, they hire trained teachers to teach virtual classes of all topics and levels. The classes are one-off or in a series and they're a great way to keep a child entertained and learning while not in school or engaged with school activities so that my husband and I could work. - Katherine D., Washington D.C.
- Removing the laundry from our housework helps significantly with the quality of life. As parents, we can spend more time playing with kids, and it’s less stressful. We can not live in the pandemic without Rinse. - Koji K., San Francisco
- Having Rinse to do laundry has helped tremendously during COVID-19. I'm able to focus on my work and my daughter's school which has been very helpful. - Alicia V., Los Angeles
Breathe Deep and Accept Imperfection
- You don't have to do it all. If the kids watch YouTube at 10 am, don't stress. If you can't finish your work because you've chased your kids, don't worry. - Amanda P., San Francisco
- Let go of high expectations for yourself and the kids. It's too much to expect us to perform as we did when working in-person. Three video calls a day is a lot. - Crystal M., Rinse San Francisco
The team at Rinse would like to wish all parents the best as they continue to persevere through these uncertain times!
Every parent right now is tasked with the tough decision of how to educate their children this fall. Whether you choose distance learning, going back to school, a learning pod, or a combination of these, the risk of germs being spread is still a concern. Squelch any fears of bringing the virus into your home by setting up a disinfecting zone now.
We asked the home organizing experts at NEAT Method to share tips on how you can make disinfecting simple and fill your home with joy, not germs, this school year.
Choose a Location
You’ll want to locate your disinfecting station near the entry in your home that is used most frequently. If you’re lucky enough to have a garage, you might consider locating dirty items just outside the garage door, so anything that needs to be washed is contained in the garage until it can be cleaned.
Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and whatever else you choose to place in your station should be gathered together and sort it by type. Make sure you have extras on hand. This is one area where we fully support a back stock supply. Just make sure you don’t buy more back stock than you have room to easily store. Creating additional clutter will likely cause more chaos, and that’s the last thing you want.
Keep it Separate
Place your categories where you want them to “live”, making sure to create separate areas for clean and dirty items such as reusable masks. Consider hanging one Command hook per family member on a nearby wall for clean masks, and a bin below for dirty ones. If you choose to have your children change clothes when coming home, add a hamper as well.
If you need it, Rinse is here to pick up, clean/disinfect, fold, and deliver your laundry - 7 days a week. Feel free to learn more about our cleaning procedures in response to COVID-19 here.
Contain & Label
You may need to repurpose a small end table or bookshelf to corral all your supplies, if you’ve chosen an entryway with no existing storage. If purchasing an organizer makes sense, we like this rolling cart. Place each category in its own easy wipe bin. Don’t forget to add labels to keep everyone in your family on the same page and to avoid mixing clean and dirty categories. Make sure they are visible and fool proof.
With a dedicated zone in place for disinfecting germy surfaces and hands that enter your home, you can breathe easy if going back to school is what you ultimately decide. Rinse and the folks at NEAT Method have got your back no matter what!
Feeling like you’re in a COVID-caused rut? What you put on every morning may have something to do with it. We went to Nicole Chiu-Wang, style expert and previous co-founder of Boon + Gable, a fashion technology startup that connected customers with personal stylists, for advice to break out of your funk and sweatpants at the same time.
What are you wearing right now? What have you been wearing for the last four months of working from home? Have you considered that what you’re wearing while you work from home might be affecting your emotional state - and not in a good way?
When Shelter-in-Place was announced in mid-March, many of us settled in for what we thought might be a month or six weeks max at home. For those working from home, this often meant video meetings and, so began the COVID-19 work-from-home uniform equivalent of a mullet. Instead of “business in the front, party in the back”, this work-from-home uniform consists of comfy yoga pants (or some similar athleisure / pajama pants) on the bottom paired with business casual on the top.
Now, most of us are going on four months working from home and it is starting to take its toll. While your new work uniform sounds like a perk of working from home, it may actually be contributing to your less than sunny mood.
How do I know this? I’ve been working as a personal stylist for almost a decade and have dressed hundreds of people. I founded Boon + Gable, a personal styling and shopping service, to take the pain out of shopping and to give more people access to the help of a personal stylist. Over the 4+ years we operated, Boon + Gable stylists shopped for more than a thousand women and men in the SF Bay Area and New York City. What I’ve learned from helping this many people get dressed is that it’s never really about the clothes - it’s about how the clothes make us feel about ourselves. It’s pretty simple - if you love what you’re wearing, it will help you feel better about yourself.
Here is my list of the top four things you can do to get out of your work-from-home funk and start feeling better about yourself:
1 - Shop your own closet
While it’s tempting to shop all the online sales and purchase yet another pair of stretchy pants, look no further than your own closet to find something to wear that will instantly make you feel more like your pre-pandemic self. Pull out something that used to make you feel your best, that you were saving for a special occasion, or that reminds you of the great times when you wore it in the past. Wear it on your next walk around your neighborhood or your next essentials trip to the grocery store and remind yourself who you were before Shelter-in-Place.
2 - Upgrade your yoga pants
The double-edged sword of yoga pants - they’re so comfy and yet four months in, you may find wearing them around the clock is taking a toll on your self-esteem. The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice comfort to feel better about yourself when it comes to what you wear on your unseen bottom half during your video meetings. Try splurging on a pair of cashmere joggers - they’re just as comfortable (I’d argue they’re more comfortable) as yoga pants and the cashmere softness is so luxurious. And if you find that cashmere joggers are your new favorite thing, you may want to go all the way and invest in a cashmere jumpsuit or a cashmere hoodie to pair with your joggers. On the other hand, if cashmere makes you itchy, opt for fleece-lined joggers!
3 - Splurge on a silk scarf
In April, every magazine from People to Vogue was touting how to turn your favorite silk scarf into a face mask. YouTube videos abound showing how to DIY a face mask from a silk scarf. Have you always wanted a beautiful silk scarf à la Hermes and the like? Well, now you have two excuses to splurge on a fancy silk scarf - you can spice up your video calls with it tied around your neck (or in your hair) and you can turn it into a super practical yet beautiful face mask!
4 - Dress up for yourself
As we hunker down at home for the rest of 2020 and potentially beyond, you may be planning more socially distanced gatherings with friends - from picnics in the park to front yard happy hours and 6-feet apart walks. Whether you buy something new to wear or shop your own closet, make the proactive choice to dress up and do it for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it and you’ll feel better for doing it.
Despite our desire for 2020 to be over, we have a ways to go. Prioritize your mental health and practice the self care of getting dressed. At a minimum, feeling good in what you’re wearing is definitely going to help your disposition and you may even find that following the tips above is actually fun - which we could all use more of in our lives right now.
So, what are you going to wear tomorrow? Not sure? Shoot me a note!
About the author: Nicole Chiu-Wang previously co-founded Boon + Gable, a fashion technology startup. She now works in Product at Google and continues personal styling clients as her side hustle.
We are just halfway through 2020, a tornado of uncertainty and a tidal wave of new challenges. One of the MANY changes we’ve had to adapt to is working from home, and with that has come a new workday over Zoom. Aside from scrambling for the unmute button when addressed, and keeping pets, kids, and partners out of the frame, virtual meetings also present the challenge of feeling present and engaged.
If we know one thing it’s that clothes have the power to make or break your day because they impact how you feel and can help put you in the right state of mind. After talking with authorities on the topic, it turns out that holds true even when working from home. That’s why we went to Christina Santelli at Style Me New, the personal styling experts, for tips on how to stay present and presentable in the age of Zoom by leveraging the clothes you wear.
Being present has a lot to do with being in the correct mindset to accomplish the tasks and goals to be successful during your workday. One of the most reliable ways to be present? Get dressed!
Rolling out of bed ten minutes before your first Zoom meeting may seem pretty appealing, but at some point the appeal gives way to the truth – you look like you just rolled out of bed and you probably feel that way too. There have been many memes and videos circulating of folks being caught with not just their pants down but with NO pants at all! Not acceptable, and probably not great for that person’s promotion prospects.
To set yourself up for a successful work day, it’s important to make a conscious effort to get up and establish a morning routine similar to the one before the 2020 apocalypse descended upon us. So, in addition to brushing your teeth, having your morning coffee, (or shake, or whatever gets you going), put some thought into your clothes when you get dressed, like you used to.
I am not suggesting you wear stuffy trousers or uncomfortable pencil skirts but something that allows you to be comfortable yet put-together, so you’re ready and prepared to take on your day. Our clothes don’t just impact how others perceive us, they impact how we see ourselves and set the tone for how we feel throughout the day, so set yourself up for success!
Here are a few suggestions to elevate your Zoom look, and, in turn, your virtual work day:
- Don’t wear wrinkled clothing. It just looks like you don’t care which translates to I don’t care about this meeting.
- Do lean towards brighter pieces or prints – they will help you appear more awake and engaged.
- Do add interest and polish to simple looks with a statement piece. For women this may be a necklace or scarf. For men, this may be a crisp button down with an interesting print.
- Do keep things fresh. Since your colleagues will just be seeing your top half consider your full look. Updating your eyewear frames to something more colorful or with detail can change how you are perceived or just give your colleagues something new to look at!
- Do be mindful of fit, making sure that nothing is too low cut or too fitted.
- Don’t wear garments or accessories that are shiny as it will create glare, not to mention may be visually distracting.
Putting effort in to look polished during the day won’t just help you appear professional, it’ll also help you feel great and put you in the right headspace to do your best work!
In this “temporary new normal,” it has become clear that the home is now where everything happens. Laundry rooms have become mission control for work from home operations and dining room tables have been turned into makeshift montessori schools. For many of us, it has been a challenge to make our limited amount of space function for everything we now require of it.
At Rinse, our mission is to make your life easier. As #laundrynerds, we’ve created the perfect system for taking care of your clothes, but given the new challenges we face at home, we went back to Brian Yetwin, one of LA’s best celebrity organization experts, to get his sage advice on organizing your space. Specifically, how should we set up (1) home school and (2) a home office.
Welp, life is a bit more complicated these days, but establishing and organizing a classroom at home doesn’t need to create stress. Here are some homestay hacks to bring the learnin’ home.
Study Central: When picking a good spot to help grow those brains, consider traffic, noise, and light. Less traffic and less noise means fewer distractions. Natural light supports productivity and wellness. Ideally your homestay classroom should be near wherever you spend most of your time so you can be available for questions.
Table Top: If you’re desktop is the kitchen table or another shared space, keep school supplies in a plastic shoebox to be packed up at the end of each day. A clutter-free table helps remind us that we are still masters of our organized, external world, which helps soothe the internal clutter that may be playing on our anxieties.
School Supplies: Focus on the essentials to avoid clutter, but the main goal is to eliminate excuses to walk away to find missing supplies. For younger students, their plastic shoebox bin can include: pencils with erasers, pencil sharpeners, crayons, washable markers, scissors, a glue stick, a notebook, blank and lined paper, and stickers for a job well done. If your littles or bigs have access to a laptop or tablet, make sure there’s an outlet near by, and for your sanity, invest in some headphones for plug-n-play activities and school work.
Inspriation and Decor: Give your kids some freedom to customize their workspace. Hang a pegboard or magnetic dry erase board for art, assignments, or items of inspiration. Designate a small space for a small plant, a stuffed animal, or whatever brings your student joy.
* Pro Tip: Stacked paper trays are a great tool for home school. They can be drying racks for art, an inbox and outbox for paper assignments, a place to put blank paper, textbooks, workbooks, and flat school supplies.
Above all, don’t stress. Your homeschooling area doesn’t need to be perfect. A flat surface, a good chair, good light, and space for storage will do the trick. Good enough can be great!
You’re not alone. 1 in 3 people feel disorganized at work. That was before many of us found ourselves working from home with the opportunity to reinvent a home space as an office you can organize, use, and love. Need some tips for creating a happy homestay office? Read on:
Deticated Space: Where are you going to put your office? Evaluate how the space will be used and customize the area to meet your needs. Consider noise pollution and privacy. Using noise-canceling headphones, without music, keeps the silence in while signaling housemates that you’re focused on work and not to be bothered. Also, remind your brain that home is currently split into your office and your house. Keep your office work in your work space and avoid letting your work world sneak out beyond your workstation.
Gear: Speed, efficiency, and a strong WiFi signal are critical at home. Don't pay for equipment you won't use but it may be time to upgrade your computer, ear buds, modem, router, speakers, or printer.
Lighting: Ideally, you want natural light, but don’t always count on the sun to make an appearance. When used correctly, ambient light creates a relaxing environment. The right light captures soft curves of a room and allows your pupils to mellow out. Softer ambient lighting is proven to draw stress from the body. Chain hardware stores have light specialists that can help find the best light for you, even if your office is in the garage and you need to dump the fluorescents for some inexpensive, DIY can lights.
Chair: Invest in a good ergonomic chair to keep your back, pelvis, neck, and shoulders happy and healthy. A lot of business upgrade their furniture often, or overbuy, giving you a great opportunity to snatch up a second hand chair. To keep the blood flowing, ditch the chair and consider a standing desk with a cushioned mat under your feet.
Organize: A shoebox for documents, a mug for pens, and a charging station can do the trick, but consider upgrading to better suit your needs. Anything you need to organize your home office has likely been invented. Keep aesthetics in mind to create that perfect form + function combo.
Ultimately, you want to make your home office a place that reflects your personality while keeping you organized and efficient. Small touches can have big results. A memento, memorabilia, and photos, will enhance your productivity while putting a smile on your face. Work well, my friends!
In this time of necessary social distancing, we now have more time than ever at home. One way to help maintain sanity is to finally organize your space, just the way you want it! We went to NEAT Method, the organization experts, for their tips on cleaning out and organizing your closet.
When your clothes come back from the dry cleaners, it shouldn’t feel like a chore to put them away. At NEAT Method, we’ve worked in all types of different closets; from spacious walk-ins to shared reach-ins. What works for a large closet, doesn’t always translate to a small one, so we’re weighing in on organizing your newly laundered clothing in a closet of any size!
Categorizing your clothing by type is the first step to getting your closet organized. Not only will it help visualize where you might have unnecessary duplicates, but it will also keep pieces from getting lost and forgotten.
2. Less is More
Editing your wardrobe is important for keeping any size closet streamlined, but it’s especially important for small spaces. Consider your available space before ruthlessly editing. Sell or donate pieces you no longer wear and repair anything that’s in need of a little extra love.
3. Color Code
Color plays a huge role when putting together an outfit every day. Sort each category by color to make outfit planning a breeze and add visual appeal to your closet. Take it a step further by arranging the colors in rainbow order.
4. Get Slim
Wooden hangers are big and bulky, plastic hangers bend and break and flimsy wire hangers should be returned to your dry cleaner. Switch to space saving velvet slimline hangers to elevate the look of your closet and prevent clothes from falling to the floor.
5. Think Vertical
Make use of forgotten vertical space by adding additional shelving as necessary for shoes, folded clothes or accessories. Don’t be afraid to embrace white space in areas where you don’t need the storage.
An organized closet not only makes putting your clothes away simpler, but it makes getting dressed easier too. Once you put these tips in place, you’ll breathe easy knowing your closet is well arranged and clutter free.
NEAT Method is a luxury professional home organizing service with markets in major cities across the US and Canada. Their trained organizers transform thousands of homes from chaos to composed for an array of clientele.
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