25 Aug 2021

Life hacks for surviving lockdown - advice on cars, pets and DIY

11:39 am on 25 August 2021

In the immortal words of Mr Spock, 'It's life Jim, but not as we know it.'

Christchurch Construction.

If you're doing any DIY make sure you take safety into account. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

In lockdown nothing is the same, and all of the things we took for granted are now not as straightforward as they once were.

RNZ spoke to the experts for some of their hacks to a more successful lockdown.

With queues out the doors of some hardware shops in the few hours people had to stock up before lockdown descended, it was clear many were keeping busy at level 4.

Builder Stan Scott, famous for his DIY videos for Mitre 10, wanted everybody to learn from the mistakes he made last lockdown, so they kept themselves safe.

"Last year I was just trying to do too much. One day I fell off the roof and then literally the next day I was rushing to get something done and I stepped backwards off the ladder, and I stood on a box of tools and fell over and cracked my head. So be really careful with ladders, but I think just slow down."

And if the hardware store was shut before you made it there in time to stock up on essential supplies, do not despair.

Stan Scott said there was still plenty you could do so you were ahead of the game and ready to pick up the tools, once we were out of level 4.

"Walk around your house, inside and out and make a list of everything that you think might need fixing. You know inspect the putty in the windows to make sure it's not cracked, give your exterior cladding a really good look, make sure there's no cracks or rot, or if there's any bare timber."

Next to fixing the house up and getting the garden in shape on the lockdown must do list, was taking the dog for yet another walk.

But what if you were one of the thousands being asked to isolate at home after visiting one of the locations of interest.

A Golden Labrador Retriever bored on a wooden floor in the kitchen.

Having to stay in the house is not just hard on people. Photo: 123RF

The SPCA's Dr Alison Vaughan said there were plenty of options for making sure your furry friend got enough exercise, even if you couldn't leave your property, including games of fetch and one called hide the food - although she recommended not doing the last one with jelly meat.

"You can simply hide food around the house. Or you can for example, take a cardboard box, make some holes in and pop the food in there so they have to throw it around a little to get the food out."

And for those who need to leave home and their pets in order to enter MIQ, she had this advice.

"Having instructions for your animal's care and having supplies like medication if they need it, and also if possible, finding someone who is willing to look after their pets. But what you will do when you get a call from a health official is let them know first of all you have pets, and then talk them through what your plan is."

A car in front of a garage.

After the last lockdown many people got caught out because their car's battery had run flat. Photo: 123RF

When this was all over, and you were planning that drive to the beach or a shop that was not the supermarket, don't get caught out like thousands of others did, last time we exited level 4, and find your car battery had run flat.

AA spokesperson Bashir Khan said this could be avoided by following this one simple step, once every seven days.

"Reverse the car out of your driveway or leave the garage open if that's where the car is and just start the engine and leave it to run for 30 minutes. But don't switch on the electrical devices and turn off the heaters and the fans because they'll just make the engine work harder."

And if you did not think it would happen to you, take a look at the call-outs the AA had in the space of 48 hours, post lockdown last year.

These almost doubled from 2400 over a standard 48 hours, to 4208.

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