The Problem is a Double-Edged Sword
On one hand, we are spending extra time at home, which requires us to make it feel good. Because you all know I preach “If your home isn’t serving you, make sure it isn’t draining you.” And for some of us, clutter is draining and anxiety causing.
On the other hand, there’s no obvious places for clutter to go, and it’s not garbage, so tossing it in the garbage feels like a waste. But tossing it outside of a closed donation center is irresponsible and wrong.
There is no lesson in just dumping our items willy nilly, my friend. So please don’t do that, and encourage your loved ones to be responsible during this time about this too.
The power is in going through the items with a mindset of living with less, and defining your own level of “enough”.
This is why I advocate the process of removing clutter in layers (little by little) and not just renting a giant garbage bin and shoveling all of your items into it and starting over.
Decluttering and minimizing constantly, while never getting to the root of the issue is like this:
You really have two options:
- don’t declutter until we are through these current lockdown/isolation/distancing measures and then go hard on your efforts
- or declutter now because you desepratley need to have a clutter free home and find alternative solutions for getting rid of it
If your option is to declutter and minimize, there are solutions that will work to release some clutter during this time. And I’m going to share those with you below.
These are all suggestions that Allison and I chatted about in the podcast… click here to listen to that.
The question is: Where can I get rid of my stuff now?
Find a home for it amongst your local family and friends.
A simple facebook posts that says, “Hey friends! I have this item that is looking for a new home? Can you use it or love it?”
Shift your focus.
Instead of looking for donations – look for garbage or things to sell. Keep your sell pile limited to things that are worth your time selling. Maybe that looks like nothing under $80 or creating groupings so you can get rid of larger masses of items. Groupings like a garbage bag of kids clothes for $20. Decor items for $10.
Grab the phone and call.
Call around for alternatives and check that your local donation center is closed. If it is, seek out alternatives. These are places that are still open and providing social services. Some ideas are local libraries for your books, seniors care facilities, women’s shelters, humane society and animal rescues, homeless shelters, orphanages and other social programs that are still operating critical services for vulnerable populations in your area. Keep in mind, that you need to do the footwork and find the ones that are actually accepting donations. Ask first, and find out what hey really need and get it to them. If you don’t ask first, it’s like dumping stuff on their doorstep. Remember the gif above?
Create or participate in a Kick it to the Curb event.
Our local cities and towns have helped us organize these for years. It saves the amount of usable items that get tossed in the dumps every year.
The premise is simple, take items that you no longer, use, need or love and put them at your curbside for a weekend event. Clearly label the items as “FREE” and wait for it to be picked up by other members of your community.
You can even post a photo of your pile on your community groups on facebook.
If it’s not picked up, you bring it back in (Over five years of participating in this event, I’ve only had a handful of items not grabbed).
Post items for free online.
You can get rid of items by taking a good photo of it and adding a brief description of it online. But where?
- Add it to Facebook Marketplace as a free listing.
- Kijiji/Craigslist under the free category.
- Facebook Groups like local “Buy Nothing” and “Free Everything” groups.
- Buy and Sell groups on Facebook.
- Add some items to the website www.freecycle.org.
Once you have gathered your items to give away just simply put them out along the roadside; No contact and no fuss.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and Upcycle.
Use them as something else. One example is I have used canning jars in my pantry instead of going out and buying those lovely plastic airtight bins for dry goods. Paint is another great way to update old decor items in a way that could help you use and love them. Breathe new life into old items. I love the mantra “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.” You can find dulicates and consolidate them into one vessel… like your multiple shampoos bottles, put them in one or two and use them up before buying any new ones.
And finally, create a donation stash in a non-living space area of your home.
This is the least ideal thing for many of you, but if you have a space like a shed or garage that you can put donations in until the donation places open, then do so.
And that’s the list of ideas that will hopefully give you some inspiration on how to declutter during these times.
If you have another idea to add, let me know in the comments below!