There are a few things that I started questioning, long before any sign of Covid-19, which were always received with some variation of “we can’t do that, it won’t work”. Now, the virus has fertilised the ground for these seeds to take root and grow.
One of my first realisations is that our lifestyle needs to be rejigged. Not only for future periods of containment but continued sustainability.
Here are some of the questions I have. I’m sure you have others more pertinent to your lifestyle.
Why do we have spare rooms?
Lockdown has shown that, if you are privileged enough to have a vacant room or any other space that is not well-utilised in your home, it’s wasted.
Why do we keep a room open for guests who rarely arrive? In our case, maximum twice a year. Jonathan, you’re due for a visit. Many people now have to find work and school spaces as bedrooms, kitchens and dining rooms are not always appropriate.
If you’re aspiring to have a ‘guest room’, don’t. Your home must be a haven where you feel safe and comfortable, and above all functional. WGSN, international research company, predicts that in the future, we will need to “think of spaces as hybrid, expanding or contracting as needed” with “workstations central to living spaces”.
Why do we need two cars?
Our two cars were never really anything to think about. Based on our poor public transport, it’s always been a necessity. And you know, work at a location. Then kids came along, and they needed to get to school. That was generally the weekday reasoning cause on weekends, all our trips and outings pre-lockdown were generally together in one car. I miss those so much.
If working at home is going to be the default for many of us who can – even after lockdown – why do we need one car per adult? A side note, Twitter recently announced that its staff don’t ever have to return to work at their office, if they don’t want to. Other companies have already followed.
There’s going to be an increase in online shopping, reducing our need to be in malls and shops at whim. Home deliveries will go mainstream. Drones are on the rise over land, sea and air. Cab-hailing apps are going to increase. Autonomous vehicles are on the way and may actually be the answer to our horrific road fatalities. It’s predicted that “driverless cars would be 10 times safer than those driven by humans within three years, and 100 times safer within a decade”.
Face-to-face meetings are now an absolute luxury. Then there’s the bonus of reduced peak-hour traffic, no more mindless rushing like the Pied Piper of Hamelin’s rats. Not forgetting the environmental savings.
Only those taking kids to school need to venture into traffic at the same time every morning. Rethinking our modes of transport is not new; we just need to fast-track our adaptation of some of these options.
Why do we keep wardrobes full of clothes?
Many times, we don’t wear all the stuff we keep. I still hang onto some heels as I ‘might’ need them some day. There are so many who could do with the stuff that lies about our homes. And the circular economy has gained ground. If you haven’t heard, recycling clothing is the new new. Excess, in general, is passé.
Hoarders, time to get some therapy. Don’t stress if you’re a hot-shot Insta-babe. WGSN predicts that clothing and accessory rental will be coming to a city near you. You can still get your glam on as we realign our concept of ownership. In the long run, it should save some bucks.
Minimalism is key for getting us beyond the aftermath of Covid-19. Business closures, reduced income, unemployment, higher retail prices – Mr President, you promised this would not happen, but here we are – are all realities we have to contend with.
We will have to plan better, our finances, time and resources. The full extent of the impact of lockdown will reverberate in the coming years.
Best I get to understand how many toilet rolls we go through in a month.