Staying home offers chance to declutter, but what to do when you can’t donate?

Staying home offers chance to declutter, but what to do when you can’t donate?

Taking on an overloaded closet or dusty boxes in the basement could provide more than just the satisfaction of ending a long run of procrastination.

In a time of rising stress levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the act of decluttering can come with a number of benefits.

“In times like this when you’re stuck at home, you can have some anxiety,” said certified home stager Lora Cristofari. “Clutter can create more anxiety. There’s a liberating feeling of getting rid of some of that stuff.”

With Canadians being encouraged to stay home to help flatten the curve, many are taking the opportunity to tidy up and make progress in areas big and small.

“Every single person I’ve talked to is like, ‘I’m going through a closet,’ or ‘What do I do with my photos,’ or ‘I’m going through my old papers,’” said interior designer and professional organizer Jane Veldhoven.

“Everybody is organizing. I think that tells us that it’s because it makes you feel good.”

But while it may feel rewarding, many are wondering what to with clutter — books, memorabilia, clothes, etc. — that doesn’t find its way into the trash or recycling bin.

Thrift stores are closed, garage sales aren’t happening and people may be skittish about buying and selling online while trying to follow physical distancing recommendations.

Facebook community groups known for exchanging items such as furniture and clothing have also quieted in recent weeks, with Toronto’s Palz Trading Zone (formerly Bunz) encouraging members to limit their posts to ”essential” items.

Veldhoven said one option is to bag items or put them in a container with a label to ‘Donate’ or ‘Sell.’ Storing them in a garage or storage locker could work until things return to normal.

“Let’s designate an area that we’re going to call a green zone, which means green it can ‘go’ out of my house,” she said from Halifax. ”But it’s going to go somewhere.”

Cristofari suggested using clear bins so you can see what’s inside and move them to a garage or shed.

“Get it as far out of the room as you can so you can appreciate the work that you’ve done, and so that it doesn’t just sit in that room and just get shoved back into a closet,” she said.

Have a pile of old flash drives in that desk drawer? Veldhoven said taking care of digital projects can also be rewarding during these uncertain times.

“The process of downsizing, decluttering, organizing and putting things where you can see them, use them and enjoy them — that gives you a huge sense of control,” she said.

Clutter can be found in every room, drawer and cupboard in the house. It can sometimes be a daunting, overwhelming task to get it under control.

“Start small and create a plan,” Cristofari advised. “Dedicate a certain amount of time every day. So maybe it’s only 30 minutes a day. If you’re really ambitious, you can look at an hour a day.”

Veldhoven suggests that when starting out, determine which area needs the most attention. The master bedroom is often a good starting point.

“Normally you wear 20 per cent of what you have 80 per cent of the time,” Veldhoven said from Halifax. “That’s true for almost all of us. So you can normally let go of a lot more than what you think you can.”

Her advice is to take everything out of the drawers and the closet before taking stock.

“Make a humongous pile and a mess in a sense,” said Veldhoven, who stars in “The Big Downsize” on VisionTV. “Then take a really hard look at the amount of time that it’s been since you’ve worn it or used it. Have you forgotten that you had it?

“But also look at what does it add to your life to keep those things?”

Cristofari, who owns the Jax & Belle Home boutique staging firm in Newmarket, Ont., said the approach also works in smaller areas like a kitchen drawer.

“You have to take everything out (and) look at everything you have,” she said. “Do you really need five spatulas in that drawer?”

It’s also a good idea to keep a washcloth handy, Cristofari added.

“You’d be surprised how many crumbs land in that drawer,” she said. “If you don’t take everything out, you’re not going to see those crumbs. So while you’re organizing, you need to be cleaning.

“Do it at the same time.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2020.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

home

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eighty-one homeless camps were removed from Red Deer’s woods so far this year

Parks workers are catching up after a six-week COVID-19-related lull

Salons busy: Red Deerians rushing to get their hair done

As Alberta is emerging slowly out of COVID-19 restrictions, many Red Deerians… Continue reading

Outgoing Red Deer Food Bank director recalls two decades of providing for a basic human need

Fred Scaife experienced many uplifting moments, along with daily stress

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Drug trafficking charges laid in central Alberta investigation

Investigation included Ponoka, Brazeau, Leduc counties

Political parties don’t need COVID cash

The least essential service throughout the pandemic has been politics — which… Continue reading

Whitecaps ‘keeper Maxime Crepeau dreaming about being back on the soccer pitch

It’s been 80 days since the Vancouver Whitecaps last saw action, so… Continue reading

David Marsden: Jason Kenney is all hat, no cattle

There are few character failings more unappealing than those of people who… Continue reading

Montreal Impact allowed to train individually at Centre Nutrilait

MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact are giving their first-team players access to… Continue reading

Black Crowes, the Trews among artists in Budweiser Stage at Home TV concerts

TORONTO — Live Nation Canada and Budweiser are launching a weekly, one-hour… Continue reading

Most Read