Think #minimalism means an austere lifestyle? Think again! You don’t have to sleep on a bamboo mat, wear the same outfit every day or drink only loose-leaf tea. But it does mean that you slowly pare away the things that don’t matter or get in the way of your focus — or avoid buying them in the first place. Advertising continuously assaults the psyche to create wants for things that aren’t really that necessary or useful. Minimalism (and its post-purchase streamlining strategy, #decluttering) counters that by helping one focus on the people, things and experiences that matter most.
In the major countries of the former British Empire, the day after #Christmas is celebrated as Boxing Day. A legal holiday, the event grew out of a custom for wealthy landowners to offer their servants and workers a box of edible goodies, gifts or a monetary tip during the Christmas season.
Stateside, many make the erroneous assumption that “Boxing Day” is on the calendar as a day people might set aside to box and store their Christmas #decorations for another year. In #quarantine times, however, the Organizing Blog would like to propose a modest compromise:
Let’s celebrate Boxing Day as a way to #declutter and #donate to a good cause. And since we have plenty of time at home due to pandemic travel restrictions, let’s take the whole week to do it.
The first step is to declutter. Start with the stacks and stacks of shipping boxes you’ve likely accumulated buying gifts from Amazon and other outlets. With online shopping up 40% from 2019, households are drowning in cardboard. Break down and #recycle any box that can’t be repurposed.
Next, conduct an organized destaging of all of your household holiday trappings, including wrapping paper, decorations, tree, lights, ornaments, and tchotchkes. Take your time and store everything in dedicated, labeled bins and boxes for easy access next year, or use these clever suggestions from HGTV.
As you pack up, toss anything that’s damaged or dingy. Dead light strands, cracked ornaments and worn fabrics aren’t worth saving or storing. Then, set aside any items that don’t provide a Kondoesque “joy.” These items may still be of good use to someone — just not you.
Finally, gather those unwanted and orphaned items together in extra boxes and bags and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup. Consider it a tax-deductible gift to the nation’s veterans, made in the true spirit of Boxing Day. You may not be landed gentry, but every little bit you give helps veterans access health care, housing and other resources.
Take advantage of a pandemic-era “Boxing Week” to get rid of the things you don’t want and show your appreciation for those who served. Happy New Year from the Organizing Blog!
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!
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.
Quentin Butcher, Business Director, Vietnam Veterans of America
March: It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, or so they say. Whether or not there’s any truth to the old saying weather-wise in your part of the country, you can take a cue from it as you begin #decluttering for the spring season ahead.
Instead of approaching decluttering slowly this season, roar through your house to make the first crucial dent in what needs to be done. Every little bit you can accomplish can help make your home more organized and comfortable, so attack the trouble spots as fast as you can.
Pick a room and “start by tossing the obvious trash,” More Than Organized says. “Look for packaging and the broken bits first. Get them out of the way. Expired coupons, empty used envelopes, bottles and dried-up glue can also go.”
As you get rid of the trash, you’ll reduce the overall volume of stuff and likely uncover lots of other items that are out of place, unnecessary or unwanted. And just as quickly as you trashed the unusable stuff, you can reshelve or remove these things.
Other things you can declutter quickly include duplicate items, decorative items you don’t love enough to display, clothing that doesn’t fit, inactive files and paperwork, and basically any practical item you haven’t used in a year, Home Storage Solutions says.
Deciding what to keep and what to trash or donate isn’t easy, we know. Given enough time, you can probably find some sentimental attachment or dream up some future plan for every little thing that’s cluttering up your space.
That’s why you have attack task fiercely, like a lion. “Be as ruthless as possible with your decluttering decisions,” says the Simple Lionheart Life blog. “The more you get rid of during each decluttering session, the quicker you’ll clear the clutter.”
If you find any still-useful items such as clothing, toys, books and household items that you no longer need or want, bag them up and contact ClothingDonations.org for a free donation pickup. This will get that extra junk out of your sight fast.
Decluttering isn’t really “done” until the clutter has left your home completely. Once it has, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief — and March can go out like a lamb.