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I'm not domestic at all

Zoe's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

I live on Kingsland Road, just less than five minutes from the Museum of the Home. It's my favourite museum in London. I live in a block of flats, on the second floor, with my partner.

Take part in our Stay Home collecting project

A person doing yoga on a pink mat on a rug
I have never been much of a yoga person, but needs must during a pandemic

In what ways has the coronavirus pandemic changed the way you use your home?

It's a very nice flat, with a big open plan lounge and kitchen. However, the main draw of the flat is its central location.

Now that we can't go anywhere or have anyone over, it seems useless to be living so centrally and expensively when we don't have any outside space – and really, only one main 'room' of inside space to hang out in.

How do you feel about your home? How have these feelings changed?

Before lockdown, I saw my flat as less of a home, and more of a place to easily get back to after work, an event or a night out. I'm not domestic at all; I can barely cook pasta, and I grab a sandwich from Pret for more dinners than I'd like to admit to. Now I'm faced with endless attempting to cook, eat, clean up, and keep my house nice.

I feel like the only things we're meant to take pleasure from these days (cooking, exercise, keeping a nice home) are just things I've never thought about or wanted to do. I've realised how much of my existence is based out of the home.

Person sitting on a red rug next to a plate of food and a bottle of wine
Sometimes it's nice to switch up where we eat, just to have some excitement in our lives!

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

My partner moved in with me one week before lockdown. It was a relief at first, as I'd rather be with her than a flatmate; and also the novelty of it was exciting. We got excited about making the home nice and making it belong to both of us.

Now that lockdown has gone on over six weeks, we're feeling less excited about being in each other's company 24/7. This is normal of course – I'm sure many couples are feeling this way.

But since we moved in just before it all happened, it's hard not to associate the feelings of stress and annoyance with moving in, instead of just with the pandemic, as we didn't have a 'normal' way of relating to each other in the home before this all started.

A tent pitched indoors
We set up her tent in the living room and 'camped' overnight. She even played nighttime woods noises on her phone to make it more authentic.

What do you appreciate most about your home? What do you find frustrating?

I appreciate that we're close to lots of parks and outdoor space, even if we don't have any private outdoor space at home. We're also near many supermarkets.

I appreciate that I'm at a time in my life that I'm living with one other person who I know well instead of many flatmates, but also I don't (yet?) have children or pets to manage.

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

It has made me focus on taking care of myself at home, rather than outsourcing those tasks to others (like getting food out, relying on an office to supply me with water, heating, etc). It's also made me try to use my space in as many ways as possible – creating little nooks for eating and exercising and working, so I don't always feel like I'm in the same space.

How is your sense of home affected by your neighbours or those living nearby?

I honestly have never met any of my neighbours. I sometimes think that it would be nice to live in a more residential area, where neighbours get to know one another, as I have heard other people say they are really feeling a sense of community in their neighbourhood.

Being so central, I live near shops and offices but not too many other residential buildings, and I don't know anyone in my block of flats.

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