Though there are many lessons to be learned from the current pandemic, staying home with restrictions has forced me to be more resourceful.

When paper products were hard to come by, we relied on our vast supply of cocktail napkins during meals that were normally reserved for entertaining. One pack from a friend reminded us to “be jolly” each day while others provided comic relief with sayings like: Age isn’t important unless you’re wine or cheese.

Paper plates from our daughter’s Friendsgiving party prompted us to “be grateful” during these turbulent times.

While stuck at home, my daughter wanted me to teach her how to cook despite the fact that I need some serious lessons myself. Still, we baked vanilla cupcakes that turned out really well and I also taught her some basics like making pasta and rice.

When she sent me a video of someone making an egg-in-a-hole, I must admit I was intrigued. After finding an easy recipe online, I made two of the egg and bread concoctions for her that were a success.

Her request for a smoothie bowl didn’t go smoothly, so we’re planning a redo with a few tweaks.

It astounds me how much random stuff we have in the house that comes in handy when errands are reduced to once a week and supply can’t keep up with demand. From the surgical masks we’ve had for years to the cupcake liners I kept for some reason we have plenty of provisions during our quarantine.

After watching a video demonstration for making a face mask from a bandana, a coffee filter and two rubber bands, I was pleasantly surprised we had all of the above.

When my daughter gave me some items she no longer wanted, I had my friend stop by to pick up a bag of clothing for her daughters on my porch. In turn, she left me a book I am enjoying and she had a spare scrapbook for my daughter who wanted to fill one with photos for a friend’s birthday.

Our no-contact swap meet ended with a storage tower from my daughter’s bathroom that went to another friend, a designer and DIY expert who will give it the TLC it deserves.

In the meantime, we also had scrapbook paper and glue sticks and the poster board and markers needed for a drive-by to celebrate another friend’s birthday.

Recently, my daughter made a picture wall in her room with photo paper we had and secured the images with double-sided tape from a previous project. She also hauled a bean bag chair from downstairs to reclaim for her updated bedroom.

For Easter, I filled baskets we had with a quarantine theme, from toilet paper to bandanas and snacks. Now I plan to make better use of the wicker baskets I found in storage. The leftover cupcake batter I froze made for some tasty treats after Easter dinner.

Before heading out to the grocery store again, check your own inventory to see how resourceful you can be during the stay-at-home order. Being practical and creative can stretch what you and your friends have while reducing your risk and saving time and money.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at

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