Decluttering during Covid-19

By Andree’ Walker, Utah Recycling Alliance

I admit it, I LOVE the feeling of de-junking and de-cluttering my house. The additional time spent at home recently along with the lovely spring weather has made me focus on projects like cleaning out the garage and tackling spaces around my house.  But shortly after those endorphins and the thrill of a cleaned up space run their course and I am left looking at a pile of things that I don’t use or don’t need, I often have a twang of remorse and a feeling of guilt. 

Via social media I have seen that I’m not alone in the drive to do projects and clean-up, but what can you do with all of that stuff?

  1. Is it really junk, or can it be salvaged/repaired? 
    My 10 year old daughter brought me an electric pencil sharpener out of her room saying that it didn’t work anymore and needed to be thrown away.   Even after emptying the shavings box, it still wasn’t working.   Rather than toss it, I set her up with a screw driver and a can of pressurized air and had her take it apart and clean it up.  Viola!  With a bit of cleaning, it worked just fine and we reduced our waste and saved money.  An added bonus was that my 10 year old learned the value of just taking something apart.
  2. Repurpose.
    My kids have had a trampoline for quite a few years now and the pad has ripped and become dangerous.  They were gifted a new trampoline by their grandparents which we got set up last weekend.  Rather than throw away the old frame, we will be adding wire to it to create an enclosure for raising turkeys this summer.  Score!
  3. Save up all of those items for donation when local thrift stores are open again.
    This may be challenging, but find a place in your home to store up your items for donation.  It may be tempting to get them out of the house, but saving them for donation is much better than sending them to the landfill.   Additionally, many thrift stores are also asking you to hold onto your donations until they re-open.  Drop off locations may not be staffed and leaving your items unattended and out in the weather is likely no better than the landfill.
  4. Give it away to friends and family.
    Consider items in your de-clutter pile.  Do you have friends who may like those items?  It never hurts to ask!  You can also use the good old fashioned FREE sign out front of your house and post on social media.  We were able to find 5 bikes new homes that way! 
  5. Sell it.
    Many social media sites have marketplaces.  Your items may have value and you can sell them rather than keep them around your house.
  6. Consider items that come into your home in the future.
    Finally, this is a time to take a look at what you are getting rid of and make a habit for future purchases.  I am a sucker for free things, repurposing, and project ideas so I end up dragging a lot of things home.  If I can make them work, that is great, but if not, am I just adding to the landfill when I decide I’m overwhelmed and start de-junking?  I am trying to be more mindful of what I choose to bring into my home.

I’ve always love the saying:  Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.  This is a great time to keep those words in mind. Stay safe, enjoy your decluttering process, move it out of your house wisely and share your items and repurposing ideas with others!