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Cleaning, decluttering, victory gardens: The most-read home and garden stories of 2020

Cleaning, decluttering, victory gardens: The most-read home and garden stories of 2020

Oh, 2020. We can’t really say we’re sorry to see you go. If there’s one thing this plagued year has brought us, though, it has been the gift of time. And many of us used that time to spruce up our surroundings. We cleaned. We decluttered. We planted victory gardens and went a wee bit overboard on the houseplants. We painted and we organized. We carved out space to do work and school from home.

It has been an exhausting year, but we’ve tried to make the best of it, and our homes and gardens, in many cases, are better for the effort. Hopefully the calmer, more organized and nurturing environments we’ve created will long outlast the pandemic. Because in a year or so, when we’re all harried and stressed out again by the bustle of life, we’ll be grateful that we took this time to try to create some order.

Here are the year’s most-read home and garden stories, very much a reflection of our anything-but-normal year. And here’s to brighter days in 2021.

The right way to clean and disinfect household surfaces

The top story of the year, not surprisingly, was this Elizabeth Mayhew piece from March, on how to clean and disinfect surfaces in your home. Although we eventually learned that surfaces are not considered a huge risk in terms of transmission of the novel coronavirus, the advice for keeping a hygienic home is evergreen. Knowing how to properly clean and disinfect counters, faucets and more is always a good thing.

[Candles are comforting us in a dark year. Here’s how to choose the right one for you.]

Melania Trump’s Rose Garden redo draws criticism, but it’s long overdue

Gardening columnist Adrian Higgins wrote in July about Melania Trump’s plans to overhaul the Rose Garden at the White House. The garden was designed by Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and installed in 1962, when John F. Kennedy was president. The renovations were to include updated drainage for the lawn, new pavers and more roses.

The six do’s and don’ts of Zoom happy hours

Gathering in person, at least indoors, became taboo this year because of the pandemic. So people turned to video conferencing for cocktail parties and family get-togethers. Staff writer Jura Koncius talked to experts about the etiquette for Zoom happy hours and shared advice on being a good virtual host, whether it’s okay to share the link with other friends and more.

Can an air purifier help protect you against the coronavirus?

As we learned more about the coronavirus over the course of the year, it became increasingly clear that it could be spread by airborne particles and the droplets from sneezing and coughing. So our consumer writer, Laura Daily, looked at whether air purifiers could help protect people against the virus. The answer? Yes, somewhat. But that doesn’t mean they make it safe to have a bunch of people in your home for a party. “A purifier may lower the level of particles in the air, but it doesn’t eliminate the risk,” Richard Corsi, dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at Portland State University, told Daily.

Looking for a paint color that will never go out of style? Try one of these timeless shades.

Paint colors are always a hot topic around here, and in that way, at least, this year was no different. Yes, Pantone and all the major paint companies select an annual color of the year, predicting what will be trendy. But what if you want a shade that will hold up well over time and never feel dated? Lindsey Roberts spoke with color experts, paint company representatives and interior designers to hunt down those timeless colors.

6 spring-cleaning tasks you may have overlooked

Yes, we were meticulous about cleaning counters, light switches and other high-contact surfaces this year, thanks in no small part to the pandemic. But Mayhew took the opportunity during spring-cleaning season to point out six things that often don’t get the scrubbing and disinfecting attention they require, including can openers and toothbrush holders.

How to grow your own food in a modern-day victory garden

Higgins wrote in April about the value of planting a vegetable garden during the pandemic. It was a chance to get outside and soak up the sunlight, of course, but it also offered people a way to grow their own food, giving them something they could control in a topsy-turvy year. He outlined the basic considerations in starting a vegetable plot and made recommendations on what to plant.

A native plant guru’s radical vision for the American yard

In February, Higgins wrote about Doug Tallamy and his recent book, “Nature’s Best Hope,” which calls on Americans to rethink their traditional residential landscape, particularly the lawn. Tallamy advocates, instead, for more natural landscapes to support native plants, animals and insects. Think of it as trying to harness the essence of a national park in your own backyard.

How quarantine decluttering can increase productivity, lower stress and save you money

Professional organizer Nicole Anzia wrote about the many benefits of decluttering your home. With so many of us doing work and school from home, she said, it makes sense to try to create a little more order so we can better focus. Having fewer items to keep track of can reduce your stress level. And, of course, knowing what you have on hand reduces the likelihood that you will spend money on duplicates.

How homeowners should handle plumbing, housecleaning and other services during a pandemic

The pandemic also made regular service appointments and home repairs, or even having your regular cleaning service come in, more challenging. No one wanted to introduce germs into their homes or risk exposing a home-service professional to the coronavirus. Helen Carefoot talked to experts about how people should handle those appointments during the pandemic.

More from Lifestyle:

An 18th-century Parisian garden of delight can teach us much about what not to do today

Your firepit can be a respite during a coronavirus winter. Here’s how to use it safely.

The pandemic isn’t going anywhere. Here’s how to organize your masks and other supplies.

Published at Wed, 30 Dec 2020 12:00:00 +0000

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Written by Riel Roussopoulos

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