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My own mini flat

Clare's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

I am staying in my parent's four bed in Lincolnshire.

It's been five years since I moved out but, since I'm still a student, I don't have a place of my own yet.

It's me, my younger brother, who has autism, my parents, and our two cats.

Before this I had been living with my grandmother in Peterborough but, because of risks to her health, I thought I better to quarantine here.

Take part in our Stay Home collecting project

A bed with a floral duvet and various pillows

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

I'm a vegetarian and I'm also a lot fussier when it comes to cleaning than my parents.

This isn't usually a problem when I come home for short spells, but this long stretch of time was bound to cause fights.

When I was at my grandmother's I had a 'kitchen' upstairs so when I moved back here I brought my stuff with me and set up in the downstairs bedroom. It's attached to a downstairs loo so now I have my own mini flat in the house. It's small, but it's prevented fights.

A studio flat with a kettle, small bins and clothes rail
This is my whole space pretty much. You can see my kitchen set up, my wardrobe, and then the bed I'm sitting on.

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

I usually don't like staying at home because of feeling imposed to eat what/when my family are eating and feeling like I'm always cleaning up after them. Separating myself off from them has helped a lot and means that I feel a lot more positive about being in the house in general.

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

I don't normally live at home and my younger brother has autism so we're all quite used to doing our own thing. This situation has meant that we can spend some more quality time together than we normally would and I think it has been especially nice for my parents to know both their children are home and safe again.

I wouldn't say it's allowed us to become closer because we're already quite close as a family, but it's felt almost like a reprise from the 'growing up and leaving the nest' we've been used to for the past few years.

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

I definitely appreciate having my own space. If I didn't have this sanctuary everything would be a lot more stressful. I find the noise frustrating sometimes especially as I have a dissertation due soon, but being able to get away and still feel independent is helping.

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

I've taken up meditation which I meant to do for a long time.

I've been able to give myself more time in the mornings. I've gone from waking up at six to travel for an hour to my job as a teacher to waking up at eight just to check my emails.

I've found I have more time for reading as well and cooking, although it's mostly the same stuff over and over because of supplies and limited kitchen space. I also have a lot more time to talk to my family.

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

We live on a cul-de-sac of 14 houses so we have a group chat of requests whenever anyone goes shopping. We've also been getting some vegetables from one of our neighbour's allotments. I also bought a 16kg bag of flour because my parents were fighting about running out so we've been sharing that around.

As a family, we like to keep ourselves to ourselves, but I guess there has been a greater sense of community and shared responsibility.

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