Using my home-bound time productively

I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy in these weeks of enforced home confinement.  Apart from blogging and writing, my normal staples, I’ve been sorting out a lot of junk what I call ‘valued possessions’ and Miss D. calls ‘stuff’ in the garage.  I’ve tossed several garbage bags full of outdated or unneeded things, and I’m now in the process of going through storage boxes and totes.  My basic principle is that if I haven’t needed or used something in the past year or two, why keep it?  Tools and essential spare parts we keep on principle, of course, but the rest of pile is shrinking daily.  We may be able to make room, in the next month or two, for the workbench both Miss D. and I need.

I’ve also been cleaning, checking and upgrading AR-15 and AR-10 rifles for friends.  Trends change, and some folks want to update their weapons in line with the latest ‘fashions’ in the 3-gun community.  Personally, I’m not sure that’s a good idea unless you want to play games.  In my (albeit not recent) experience in real-world military and civilian combat scenarios, simplicity usually beats complexity, and hard-wearing, tough equipment is better than finicky gizmos that are too easily bent out of alignment or even knocked off the gun altogether.  (There’s a reason the US military still orders its standard M16 rifles and M4 carbines with a fixed front sight baseit’s tough!  It can take being knocked against doors when entering or exiting vehicles, or the rifle being dropped, and retain its setting.  The same can’t be said for many folding backup sights, often preferred by sporting shooters because of their smaller size, lighter weight and ‘tacticool’ look.)

At any rate, I’ve been buying parts such as upgraded triggers, sight bases, and some red dot sights.  Vendors such as Brownells, Primary Arms, CDNN and many others are still operating, and able to ship their products to you at home.  Unfortunately, other vendors may claim to be operating, but are very poor at communicating and taking far too long to process and/or ship orders, despite stating on their Web site that items are in stock.  (Yes, Acme Machine, I’m looking at you!)  I suggest being careful before placing orders, and making sure – if necessary by talking to the vendor and getting confirmation in writing – that they have stock and can ship it timeously.

I’m setting up a gun cleaning station, and will be tackling one or two firearms every day until I’ve been through my entire collection.  Some haven’t been fired in a couple of years, and could use lubrication and general maintenance on principle;  and some that I have shot have been neglected due to other demands on my time, and are overdue for a cleaning.  Plenty of work ahead there!  I’m also sorting out my ammunition reserves, to make sure I know what I’ve got.  Fortunately, I’ve been keeping them well stocked, so I’ll be able to shoot for the next few years, if necessary, before having to resupply.  The current ammo drought won’t be a problem.

What are you doing with the extra time on your hands while you’re practicing “social distancing” at home?  Tell us about it in Comments, so we can see what we’re all up to.



  1. Like you, I'm going through the debris of 60 years, trying to downsize a bit before I really need to. I'm also rebuilding my ham radio shack and doing a bit of reading. Lots of watching instructional or educational YouTube videos. Plus a few just fun ones.

  2. Hey Peter;

    I am taking my time being furloughed from my job doing work around the house and doing some repairs and modifications. The House needed some TLC, after living here 23 years.

  3. 1. I already work from home. That hasn't stopped (fortunately).

    2. Dealing with two single-digit age children, and a 44 turning 14 sulky, depressed teenager, er, wife. 🙁

  4. We just moved at the end of last year, so most of the clutter reduction was already accomplished – though a lot of the stuff we (OK, mostly I) retained is still in cryptically-marked boxes, so sorting through them and finding important stuff is an ongoing task.
    There's still much to be done on the house, but most of that involves either bringing in contractors or making trips to the home-improvement center, both of which are on hold for now owing to the Pestilence.
    So, work actually happening? Starting a victory garden! Got a couple of patches tilled (one for perennials and one for annuals), some planting started, and some seeds sprouting in trays in the basement. In support of the garden and the yard in general, I've been learning how to operate a small tractor and various implements.
    Also setting up some household tech: home theater and Internet radio.
    There's a bunch of tech "real" work I should be doing, even if my clients back in California are currently shut down, so setting up the lab in the new location is somewhere on the to-do list.
    At some point, I'll order a modest truckload of lumber for some outdoors projects, assuming we don't come out of lockdown before I have the list ready.
    … I just don't understand how some people manage to be bored.

  5. Wait a minute … you would trust anything said or coming from a company named Acme? I guess as long as you're not a coyote …

  6. I'm doing similar work: reorganize the garage and tools, review and separate paperwork, clear old 'stuff'. The unneeded paper goes right from shredder to the mulch piles; waste not, want not. After the first couple piles and a stack of boxes, you see real progress happening.

  7. Still working remotely from home, just more hours now due to my job. Blessed to have it.

    No spare time for all these big projects others seem to have, but I've done some yard work and spring cleaning this past weekend when the weather allowed.

  8. I've been in a lot of remote meetings. And remote tabletop gaming. Point is, a lot of time staring at a screen without anything to occupy my hands. So I've been finally making progress on a long standing project to finally get my baseball card collection properly organized and inventoried.

    At this point, the biggest issue I'm running into is supplies. My local card shop is out of pages, so I have to pay a few extra dollars to order from an online source. I'd prefer to support my local shop, but if they don't have what I need, I'm willing to pay a few extra bucks in shipping to not go through Amazon.

  9. Getting the condo fixed up to sell, and packing stuff. A lot of the work is on hold, that Pestilence thing. I've packed 40 boxes, numbered and indexed, and things don't look much different. I haven't even started on the workshop/reloading area.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *