Holiday Fun for the Socially Distanced

It’s going to be a difficult holiday season for anyone who’s used to getting together with family and friends. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across America, many are choosing not to travel or to celebrate only with a handful of close contacts.

But that doesn’t mean that the fun has to end!

The most obvious way to celebrate is to fire up the phone, tablet or computer and have a videoconference with your loved ones. Yes, it can be disconcerting to keep your eyes on the screen for hours on end, but it’s a great way to keep in touch.

Add a #festive virtual background to your call, Good Housekeeping suggests, to keep the #holiday spirit alive. An added bonus? You can speak from a pretend winter wonderland, a professionally decorated drawing room or the set of your favorite Hallmark movie.

You can still engage in traditional holiday pastimes such as baking cookies, taking a drive to see the holiday light displays or sending letters to Santa without getting into too many strangers’ airspace, Postable says.

Another activity is to send the holiday cards you might not have had time to send last year. Even though this blog is going live with only 10 days until Christmas, nobody is going to complain if your greeting arrives a day or two late or send a New Year’s card instead.

Consider sending one of your cards to a local #veteran you know (or find one at a nearby chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association or other organization). They are getting older and will need to stay isolated to protect their health this year, and a card might brighten their season.

If you find yourself beset with holiday #clutter after all of the virtual celebrations are over, consider bagging and boxing your unused and unwanted stuff and contacting ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. It will be resold to new households, and the proceeds will benefit veterans programs.

The Organizing Blog wishes you and yours a safe, happy, healthy and clutter-free holiday season!

Holiday Travel During the Pandemic

The CDC says holiday travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you get on a flight, consider whether or not you may have been exposed in the last 14 days, if you or someone you’ll be visiting is in a high-risk category, and if area you’ll be visiting is seeing an uptick in cases. It’s a bad idea to travel with people outside your COVID “pod” — those you live with. If you do have to travel, check the travel restrictions at your destination and always observe rigorous social distancing protocols.

Keep Your Thanksgiving Small

Thanksgiving is this week, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people observe the holiday at home with proper social distancing. If you are hosting, the CDC says to keep the gathering small (five people or fewer) and dine outdoors or open the windows to allow fresh air into your space. You could also ask guests to bring their own food and drink, but if you are sharing potluck plates, allow just one person to serve and try using single-use plastic dinnerware to keep the virus from circulating.

Is It Safe to Donate My Used Stuff?

ClothingDonations.org is again scheduling pickups throughout the country. But with coronavirus cases and hospitalizations again on the rise, readers may be wondering whether or not they can make their donations safely. The answer is yes!

Donations can be made without coming into close contact with other people and risking viral transmission. Simply put your lightly used clothing and household goods into boxes and bags, then place the boxes and bags in a designated area such as the front porch for pickup on the scheduled day.

A ClothingDonations.org truck will visit that day and take that used stuff away with a contactless pickup — without even knocking or ringing the doorbell. In your donation’s place, the driver will leave a receipt so you can deduct your donation.

If someone in your household has already had COVID-19 and recovered, it should be safe to donate your used things, too. Early on, it was found that the virus could survive on hard surfaces for 24 to 72 hours. Transmission between people, however, has since been found to be mostly a function of airborne droplets. As long as you donate things that have been washed or wiped down, in other words, there is little chance of passing the virus on your stuff.

You can continue to wipe down high-touch surfaces in your home and use hand sanitizer after touching unfamiliar surfaces to protect yourself. But you can be secure in the knowledge that donated goods aren’t a significant vector for disease.

The same goes for shopping at the thrift stores ClothingDonations.org supplies with used goods. Donated by families like yours, those one-of-a-kind finds spend sufficient time out of circulation before being priced for sale.

Finally, remember that a clutter-free home is a home that’s easier to keep clean. So as you sort through and eliminate some of your stuff, you’ll actually be making it easier to keep your place COVID-free.

With new lockdowns and restrictions, you may find soon yourself with plenty of time at home to declutter. Box and bag that stuff up and visit ClothingDonations.org to schedule a pickup today!

Donation Pickups Temporarily Halted Due to COVID-19

The Organizing Blog regrets to inform readers that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted ClothingDonations.org’s regular donation pickup services. We are currently unable to collect your donations in all but a few areas of the country.

If you are unable to schedule a donation pickup at our websites, that’s likely because service in your area is unavailable at this time. To check on your location, call the pickup number for your state listed at ClothingDonations.org.

We will resume pickup service as soon as it is safe to do so for our donors and drivers. We encourage you to revisit the site when the social distancing guidelines designed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus start to ease.

Social distancing and stay-at-home orders may provide the extra time you need to get started on #decluttering tasks you might have been putting off, however. Be sure to revisit the Tales From the Closet archives for advice on all kinds of #cleaning, #organizing and decluttering tasks.

Take advantage of your newfound down time to sort out the stuff you no longer need, want or find useful. Bag or box those castoffs and set them aside; we will pick them up as soon as we can resume donation pickup service safely.

We appreciate your support and patience during the COVID-19 pandemic and hope that you, your family and your friends are safe.

Sincerely,

Quentin Butcher, Business Director, Vietnam Veterans of America