The Donation Centers are Closed and You Want to Unload Your Junk
You’ve watched more streaming content in the last month than you’ve watched in your entire life, you’ve completed your reading-challenge for the year, and you’ve done several deep cleanings to your house.
You’re bored, frustrated, and restless.
One option is to Maria Kondo the crap out of your house and get rid of everything that doesn’t make you feel even the tiniest sparkle of joy.
My mother is an anti-hoarder and I understand there are times when you have to thin out those closets/bookshelves/hutches as a way to do some self-soothing.
It’s super satisfying for me to thin out the herd of books overflowing on my shelves, but I lose that good feeling if all I’m able to do is to put those books in a bag and stick it into an already-packed-closet.
So, what do we do with our household overflow?
If you’re like me, you’ve driven past the closed thrift stores/donation centers, and have seen tons of bags piled high in front of these buildings. You don’t want to just dump your stuff on the pile and drive away.
Those centers will open again, and it will be someone’s job to sort through those mountains of no-longer-wanted possessions.
Choose to not be a jerk and deal with your junk in another way that doesn’t make life miserable for other people.
What to do with your cast-offs when your local donation centers can’t take them right now?
The first step is to be thoughtful about your actions. You don’t want to risk anyone’s health or add to their mental and physical hardship. You want to help your emotional well-being thoughtfully.
Be aware of the rules for recycling and donating
If you want to get rid of something electronic you have no choice but to wait until the e-waste recycling centers are open again. You want to lessen your carbon footprint not create unnecessary garbage.
Broken glass is another tricky one because it’s not recyclable, and you don’t want anyone getting cut. Make sure to wrap the shards of glass in bubble-wrap, newspaper, or seal them in a box and mark what it is on the outside.
Remember, you don’t want to just get rid of clutter — you want to do so safely.
Make sure your donation is sanitary
You’ll want to continue to use gloves and a mask when putting your donation together. Use disinfecting wipes before you put the item you’re donating into a clean bag. You don’t want to get anyone sick on the receiving end of your generosity.
Give it away
Put items such as end tables, lamps, and patio furniture out on the parkway with a sign that says “Free” on it as long as it’s okay with your neighbors and local ordinances.
There have been times when I’ve put something on the parkway for the large-item trash pick-up and it’s been taken before the trash collectors got there.
You may not be able to claim a tax deduction, but you’ll get it out of your house.
Put notices on apps like Nextdoor, Freecycle, Craigslist, or put up a flyer at the grocery store that lists what you’re giving away. Items such as unused juicers, spare coffee-makers, or other working appliances are always popular.
You can plan it so that there’s no contact when they pick it up.
Check and see if your library (though closed) is still accepting donations, or put your books up on Paperbackswap.com — though be careful that you don’t want to end up with more books than you gave away in the first place.
If you’re handy, why not make a little free library and put the books in there. Make sure to leave room for a canister of disinfectant towelettes that patrons can use when checking out their books.
That vintage scarf with the dolphins on it never flattered you but would look great on your friend — set up a swap. When you swap something with a friend or neighbor, you know that your once beloved possession will be going to a good home and will get the love it always deserved. Bonus, you can see them when they pick the item up or you drop it off — still obeying physical distancing protocols.
If there’s an antique or piece of art that you like but don’t have any use for, why not make a little extra effort and turn it into a gift?
Take that set of teacups that are gathering dust in your china closet, put them together in a basket with some tea, scone mix, cookies, and other treats. You can give it as a gift for a special occasion or just as a way to say that you’re thinking of someone.
It’s cute that you’ve had that blanket since you were a kid but there are too many holes in it for it to keep anyone warm. You’ll always have the memory of the good times you and Blankly had. Now toss it.
Anything stained, damaged, destroyed, in tatters, ripped, sprayed on, or unusable — throw it away.
If you can recycle it, great, but check to make sure that it’s recyclable because many surprising things aren’t such as mirrors, hangers, and clothes.
Selling it is a little complicated because you don’t want to overburden the postal service more than it already is.
It might be more thoughtful to get the item ready to sell instead of putting in the mail. Take the time to make sure that it’s cleaned, repaired, and looking its best.
Now is the time to let your inner organizer out and come up with unique ideas on how to make the most of your space. This is the puzzle you should be working on — how to organize your closets and cupboards.
Clean out your storage closet and then make sure that the items you wish to donate are in good shape. Put them in easily stackable storage containers so that they don’t take up too much space, are right where you can find them, and are no longer adding to the clutter situation.
Satisfy your need to purge in another way
The urge to declutter is real but that doesn’t mean it needs to be limited to your possessions — why not clean out your freezer, junk-drawer, crisper, or pantry? Do you need three half containers of ice-cream with a crust of freezer burn? No, you do not. The garbage can is hungry for anything you want to purge.
Sometimes just doing the tiniest tasks can make you feel as if you’ve accomplished something and can help with anxiety.
Find alternative solutions for getting rid of some of your stuff. You want to alleviate the stress that comes from having too many things in your house in a mindful way.